Andrew Mercado’s TV Guide: Baby, Brothels + Brian De Palma

TV critic Andrew Mercado’s rundown on what to watch on the box next week

Dirty Dancing – Wednesday 8.30pm on Ten

Proving that there is nothing that Hollywood will not remake for a “new generation”, now comes Dirty Dancing. No, not the 1987 movie. Nor the musical stage show. Instead it’s the “Next Great Television Event”. Or is it “The Special Event”? Ten is so excited, even it can’t decide. Abigail Breslin is Baby, an unknown replaces Patrick Swayze and Debra Messing will hopefully be too busy for the next revival of a beloved chick flick because she is already reviving Will & Grace. Phew.

Harlots – streaming on SBS On Demand

Another great get for this streaming service, and an attention-grabber with a catchy title like that. Curious eyeballs won’t be disappointed because this drama from ITV is set in two London brothels in 1873, one upmarket and one decidedly not. Samantha Morton and Lesley Manville are magnificent as the two monstrous madams at war with each other and Downton Abbey’s Jessica Brown Findlay smashes her Lady Sybil image forever playing a trashy whore. May the pox strike you down, indeed.

Look Me In The Eye – Wednesday 8.30pm on SBS

Ray Martin has already done one “social experiment” for SBS but this is their most unusual collaboration yet. Two estranged people reunite, but don’t speak until they have first stared into each other’s eyes for five minutes. But some clever editing makes sure that there is more than this going on as the backstories and reunions eventually lead to some surprising moments. Not sure if this is going to get a big audience, but it is beautifully and sensitively made.

House of Wellness – Sunday 10am on 7TWO

Those full-page colour ads in TV Week – including one on the back page – suggest this is an advertorial with plenty of cash to make a splash. Whether or not anyone will care, given its timeslot, remains to be seen. But no doubt there is lots of wellness to be had with stalwart host Ed Phillips and guest stars like The Biggest Loser’s Commando and The Bachelor’s Sam Wood.

Blow Out/Dressed To Kill – Monday 8.30pm on SBS Viceland

Top double bill from director Brian De Palma. First up, Blow Out, an homage to 1966 movie Blow Up, but replacing the first movie’s photographer with an audio engineer (John Travolta) who unwittingly captures a crime on his recorder. It flopped on release but is now considered a classic. On the other hand, Dressed To Kill was a huge hit, with scorching performances from Police Woman’s Angie Dickinson and then-wife Nancy Allen, but its transgender subplot is not that PC today.

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