Top of the Lake: China Girl – 8.30pm Sunday on BBC First
A refresher course on Jane Campion‘s original miniseries will help in following this second instalment (thanks Wikipedia) because four years later, the still-damaged Robin (Elisabeth Moss) is back in Sydney with a new case about a prostitute who has washed up in a suitcase near Bondi.
Like much of Campion’s work, there are some very strange characters afoot here, but even more odd is the amount of actor/comedians in the cast, including Marg Downey, Adam Zwar, Christiaan Van Vuuren, Heath Franklin, Lawrence Leung, Kim Gyngell and Clayton Jacobson (not be confused with brother Shane). And let’s not forget Nicole Kidman with fake teeth, grey hair and playing a feminist lesbian. In other words, classic Campion.
The Other Guy – streaming on Stan
Former triple j breakfast radio host Matt Okine plays a breakfast radio host in this not very original series about relationships in and around Erskineville, Sydney. Aimed squarely at a twentysomething audience, this is probably what they want to binge on with plenty of raunchy humour and cringeworthy situations.
Some of the supporting cast would give Jane Campion a run for her money when it comes to uniqueness and Christiaan Van Vuuren, who plays a cop in Top of the Lake, is a drug dealer here but still peak chauvinist. Watch out for Harriet Dyer who steals the show playing Okine’s hard partying housemate because despite her bravado, there are flashes of her needing more in life. In other words, a bit like this premise.
The Young and The Restless – 12.20pm weekdays on Arena
Foxtel has been quietly been playing double (i.e. catch-up) episodes of this for months and now it is airing just three days behind America. That’s a huge improvement over what used to be an 18-month delay, and UKTV is doing something similar with Coronation Street and EastEnders.
Y&R is currently doing an Alzheimer’s plot with Dina (the monstrous mother of Abbott siblings Jack, Ashley and Tracey) as well as a lesbian love story, their first since 1977. Last time, with the iconic (and alcoholic) Kay Chancellor looking for “companionship”, the plot was quickly dropped after audience revolt. There is a worry that CBS’ “conservative audience” still may not accept this “shock development” today but given the show now tapes about four months in advance, the Bible Belt might just have to suck it up.
Shetland – 8.15pm Saturday on ABC
After scoring in the ratings with a BBC daytime drama (The Coroner), the ABC knows that anything British, with a hint of crime, will work for them on in a weekend slot. That’s why Aunty has taken this 2013 series after it aired first on BBC First. With 14 episodes in the can after three series based on the novels by Ann Cleeves (and a fourth on the way), Aunty now has another Detective Inspector to investigate murder in and around scenic locations.
Midsomer Murders – 8.30pm Sunday on ABC
Meanwhile, this murder mystery show just keeps going and going. Despite its reputation as a sleepy (but extremely violent) county, Midsomer is moving with the times with a 20th season premiere (!) that revolves around a period dress Jane Austen party that turns sour when a drone starts buzzing the countryside. This is one of the most widely seen British TV shows in the world and like Murder She Wrote, which ran for an astonishing 264 episodes, there seems to be no end in sight. And given 91-year-old Angela Lansbury is hinting at another Jessica Fletcher adventure, may I suggest she take a holiday to the English countryside in what could be the biggest TV crossover of all time?