Mercado on TV at Easter: Manhunt the best pick from the new series for the holiday break


Plus Girls on the Bus for US politics junkies, or Obituary if you want a bizarre twist on a village newspaper journalist

Easter used to be a time to watch religious movies like King Of Kings and Ben Hur. Not anymore. Now it’s about the decline of traditional media in new series like Obituary (BritBox) and The Girls On The Bus (Foxtel/Binge). 

Obituary is a bizarre series from Ireland about a small town called Kilraven and its local newspaper. Rather than getting its journalists to multi-task, Elvira (Siobhan Cullen) is kept on the payroll, but only to write an occasional obituary. Huh? 

Unable to survive unless there are deaths, Elvira starts killing townsfolk, but only the awful ones. It is a bizarre concept that doesn’t go far enough, and there just aren’t enough laughs for what is supposed to be a black comedy. 

Girls on the Bus or Obituary?

The Girls On The Bus is based on the book Chasing Hilary all about the 2016 Presidential race. Rather than dramatise that fertile ground, this series invents a fictional story about pretend politicians. Huh?

The women are comprised of a social media influencer, a journalist from The New York Sentinel (instead of The New York Times), and a reporter for a faux Fox network. It all comes across as pointless, unless you’re into American politics, and it wastes great actors like Carla Gugino and Griffin Dunne.

Platform 7 (Stan) is set in an English railway station where a ghost (Jasmine Hobson) is trapped. She is trying to figure out how she died when suddenly she’s not trapped and wandering all around the town. Huh? This one is a shocker, with a lacklustre lead performance.

There is better acting to be found in Manhunt (Apple TV+), the new series about the search for actor John Wilkes Booth (Anthony Boyle) after he assassinates Abraham Lincoln (Hamish Linklater) at the theatre.

Assuming that everyone knows all about Civil War history, Manhunt starts with the killing and then jumps all over the place with flashbacks and flash forwards. It’s part period drama and part true crime western.

Lincoln ally Edwin Stanton (Tobias Menzies) leads the investigation and there’s some juicy political moments with the new President. Based on the book Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer, there are just seven episodes. Happy Easter all.

TV Gold: New episode of Mediaweek’s weekly TV podcast

Listen now on your favourite podcast platform for 30 minutes of TV reviews and recommendations every week from Mediaweek’s Mercado on TV columnist Andrew Mercado and editor-in-chief James Manning.

We want your comments, feedback and questions – [email protected].

This week: Obituary, The Girls on the Bus, Manhunt + Best of 2024 so far

Two new dramas set in the media and a series set at the end of the American Civil War.

Obituary (BritBox, series) tells the story of an obituary writer for a small Irish newspaper. She needs more bodies to keep her job. You’ll be surprised at her initiative.

The Girls on the Bus (Binge/Foxtel, series) is set on the campaign trail for a US election in what is an election year in the US. We meet four very different reporters who chase their stories in four different ways. Even though it is set in the current day, it manages to feature cameos from a character playing gonzo journalist Hunter S Thompson.

Manhunt (AppleTV+, series) is a dramatic recreation about the hunt for the killer of American president Abraham Lincoln.

As an Easter extra, Andrew and James detail their greatest hits of the year so far with some viewing tips if you find time over Easter for catch-up viewing.

Don’t forget this bonus episode: Leah Purcell on High Country and The Drover’s Wife

This week, the star of High CountryLeah Purcell, features in a special episode of TV Gold. The episode follows on from bonus episodes recorded with Marta Dusseldorp and Rebecca Gibney.

In this week’s bonus episode, Leah Purcell joins Andrew and James to talk about Binge’s High Country. She discusses what drew her to the script, working on location in Jamieson and the brilliant cast.

We also get news about the possibility of a second season of the mystery thriller. Leah also discusses the chances of a sequel to her movie, also set in the high country, The Drover’s Wife.

Listen online here, or on your favourite podcast platform.

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