Mercado on TV: Buy Australian – 6 Festivals and Summer Love both brilliant

6 Festivals

Plus: Television is at its best when it does positive stories…long may Old People’s Home rule

Summer Love (Wednesday on ABC) is bringing some much-needed warmth to the end of winter. And this eight-part comedy, from Robyn Butler and Wayne Hope, is as welcome as the ocean views from the beachside holiday house at its centre.

The first Summer Love episode, starring Patrick Brammall, Harriet Dyer, Stephen Curry and Sibylla Budd, is a hilarious clash between a childless couple and their neurotic friends and Bluey-obsessed baby. In the second episode, Miranda Tapsell and Richard Davies have to deal with a baby kangaroo.

Summer Love

Summer Love: Patrick Brammall, Stephen Curry, Sibylla Budd and Harriet Dyer

Summer Love isn’t just about pretty vistas and sunset cocktails, and there are darker truths at the heart of each story. A holiday house proves to be the perfect location for an anthology series and I will be there for every story it tells. 

6 Festivals (Paramount+) follows a trio of music-obsessed teenagers as they travel around Australia to see their favourite bands. This is a superb production that screams authenticity and director Macario De Souza gets every beat right.

Back in my Channel [V] days, we were always reminded that our slogan, “It’s All About The Music”, should be at the core of everything we did. 6 Festivals understands that too, and with performances from artists like G Flip and Lime Cordiale, and cameos from musicians like Phil Jamieson and Peking Duk, this is cool as. Respect.

8.30pm on Tuesdays is reliably feel good for the ABC. Now, after the surprisingly fascinating Australia’s Favourite Tree (iview), a familiar format is back with a new twist, and you’ll be smiling and/or crying all the way through it.

Old People’s Home For Teenagers (Tuesday on ABC) ages the format up from 4-year-old kids to 14-year-old teenagers. There is now an awkwardness to the young people that isn’t so pronounced when they are children, but this experiment is more than equipped to help them out.

Old People’s Home For Teenagers

Amongst a sea of big cash reality contests, and tacky dating formats with wannabe influencers, it’s good to remember that television is often at its best when it does positive stories about community and friendship. Long may Old People’s Home rule.

S seems to be the letter of the month from the UK, with British dramas like Suspect (SBS On Demand), Sherwood (BBC First) and The Stranger (SBS On Demand). The latter is a Netflix production I watched back in 2020, but all I can remember now about The Stranger is what happens to Jennifer Saunders.

Suspect is a very strange drama from Channel 4. With opening credits reminiscent of an 80s nighttime soap, and short half-hour episodes, this won’t be for everyone, but with James Nesbitt, Joely Richardson and Richard E. Grant all in it, it’s worth a look.

The pick of the bunch, however, could be the murder drama Sherwood. David Morrissey and Lesley Manville head the cast, and the mystery goes back all the way to the infamous UK miner’s strike of the mid-80s. One to watch.

Read more Mercado on TV columns here.

Mercado on TV

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