Exciting Netflix miniseries to watch tonight
HAS it really only been six weeks since all those big reality TV shows came back on air? Feels like so much longer.
Never mind. Thank god there are more than five channels these days. It's kind of a crimey week with three thrillers on this list of things to watch, all led by charismatic Brits even though only one of the shows is actually from the UK. Elsewhere, fans of musicals, property porn and probing documentaries are all well catered for.
(Netflix - now)
A pizza delivery man walks out of a building with motorcycle helmet on, visor down. Across the road, two shots ring out from the dark, hitting him in the chest. The pizza guy goes down immediately, dead. Why was he gunned down in such a calculated and professional manner? Was he even the target? His death creates ripples for his Syrian refugee family, the witness with a secret and a local politician whose ex-wife was the woman that ordered the pizza.
A four-part British crime miniseries starring Carey Mulligan as the investigating officer, Collateral is created and written by David Hare, a lauded and award-winning playwright. Hare's involvement is probably what lured Mulligan back to TV. More than just a whodunit, Collateral is a deeply political series that seeks to tell a bigger story about the state of the UK today.
(BBC First on Foxtel and Fetch - Monday, March 12 at 8.30pm)
Former British detective Jim Worth (Tim Roth) moves his family to a small, idyllic town in the Canadian Rockies, looking for a new start as the police chief. But the peace and quiet is punctuated when an industrial complex opens nearby and the town is flooded by all manner of criminal elements. Soon, Jim is at war with the oil plant's owner and his PR liaison (Christina Hendricks).
But Jim isn't who he seems and his dark past has a way of surfacing - in this town, everyone has a secret. Part-Fargo, part-Ozark and part-Sons of Anarchy, Tin Star is a brutal crime thriller.
(Netflix - now)
The unconventional romance between sex addict Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) and fuddy-duddy Gus (co-creator Paul Rust) wraps up in this third and final season of Love, a Judd Apatow-produced Netflix comedy that's always been a little quirky. More character-driven than story-driven, Love's preoccupation with slightly neurotic young Los Angelenos is likely what kept some viewers away.
But it's also the show's heart. If you've spent two years trawling through the wryly funny wreckage of their lives, be a completist and polish it off - the smart writing deserves it. Plus, Australian actor Claudia O'Doherty's irrepressible performance as the sweet Bertie is reason enough alone to tune in.
(ABC - Friday, March 16 at 8.30pm)
It's not the first time Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd has played a forensic pathologist, poking around dead bodies and trying to solve the crime while dealing with some kind of personal crisis. One imagines he might now know a bit more about corpses than your average actor. This time, it's on an Australian series and his character isn't immortal.
Daniel Harrow is the kind of arsehole, unorthodox genius who's terribly good at his job and terrible to all the people around him - like Gregory House before him or Sherlock Holmes or Doc Martin or any number of that archetype. Set in Brisbane, Harrow actually started on Friday, but that gives you four more days to catch up on iView before the next episode drops.
GRAND DESIGNS NZ
(Lifestyle on Foxtel - Thursday, March 15 at 9.30pm)
Property porn doesn't get much better than Grand Designs, as any fan of the franchise knows. The UK series has been going since 1999 and in that time, scores of architectural marvels (and some stinkers) have been erected and documented, and host Kevin McCloud has disapprovingly tsked-tsked at all those dreamers who forged ahead without (shock horror!) a professional.
The New Zealand version has only been going a couple of years and there's something ethereal about the series, partly because so many of the houses are built against the country's incredible natural landscapes. Their quests are challenging but so rewarding when it comes off.
(Stan - Wednesday, March 14)
Co-creator and TV whiz Jason Katims is trying to do for high school theatre kids what he did for footballers with Friday Night Lights. Based on a book that itself was inspired by a real-life teacher in Pennsylvania, Rise is a musical drama series about an educator (How I Met Your Mother's Josh Radnor) trying to connect with his disengaged students.
He hijacks the school's theatre program and up-ends its traditions, casting a girl from the "wrong side of the tracks" (Moana's Auli'I Cravalho) in the lead and upsetting the establishment with his play's mature themes. Rise is one of those heartwarming and emotionally involving shows about dreamers that Katims specialises in (he also made Parenthood) - think Glee, but more earnest.
WHY DID I GO MAD?
(SBS Viceland - Tuesday, March 13 at 8.30pm)
How people develop psychoses is one of the enduring mysteries of the human condition. How does someone go from being perfectly content and "normal" one day to confronting their nightmares the next?
This documentary series seeks to explore the impact and root of "madness", through the stories of Oxford scholar David who one afternoon saw hideous rat-like creatures running around his lab, seven-year-old Rachel who found a monster staring back at her in the mirror and teenager Jacqui who started hearing voices out of the blue.
What have you been watching? Share your TV and movies obsessions with @wenleima on Twitter.