Almost Off Topic

Raking over the coals

You might say there’s been a bit of a mixed reaction to the new series of Rake. Not all fans of the series have warmed to Cleaver Greene’s move to Canberra, and the show’s writer Peter Duncan appeared to apologise to viewers in an interview with the Daily Telegraph last week. He later clarified what... Read More »

Pointless without the laughs

The British game show Pointless has been a cult afternoon hit on the ABC for a few years now, delighting retirees and people taking sickies alike with its mix of obscure trivia questions and twee comedy banter. It’s the kind of show we don’t make much of here. We Australians make game shows (featuring ordinary... Read More »

Hypothetical Hypotheticals

The Australian’s Diary column had this to say the other day: Over at Aunty, it looks like a case of goodbye The Checkout, hello Charlie Pickering’s Hypotheticals. Diary hears the ABC is keen to ­revive the 1980s panel program fronted by Geoffrey Robertson QC to such fascinating effect. But in the hot seat for the... Read More »

Homecoming blues

Adelaide’s the kind of place a lot of young people move away from as soon as they can, gleefully embracing the wider range of opportunities in cities on the east coast or overseas, and only coming back when they really have to. Returning to Adelaide – or any other small-town type of place – after... Read More »

Stand up and tell a story

Stand-up is the main route into comedy these days. Try naming a comedian who’s been well known in the past 10 years who didn’t start their career in stand-up. Kate McLennan and Kate McCartney? The Chaser team? Chris Lilley? Sammy J? Adam Zwar? Troy Kinne? It’s a short list*. And one that means that the dominant... Read More »

So, so Hard

If the return of Hard Quiz tells us anything it’s that the ABC doesn’t learn from it mistakes, it just doubles down on them. How else to explain a show which in its third season still suffers from the same basic problems that we pointed out ages ago: It’s a quiz show about specialist knowledge hosted by... Read More »

Once were comedy Warriors

If there’s one thing we admire about the new ABC series The Warriors it’s the makers’ honesty. While various shows market themselves as comedies or comedy-dramas, when they’ve barely two gags in them to rub together, once it started shooting and realised it wasn’t funny, The Warriors quickly re-branded itself as a drama. ABC Media... Read More »

When Doves Cry

So yesterday on Twitter this happened: Love 2 signal boost enormous racists forspicy memes https://t.co/Q5VcxR5MGY — Ben Jenkins (@bencjenkins) March 24, 2017 Which got this reply: @bencjenkins might be hard ben, but listen to the podcast first — Mark Di Stefano (@MarkDiStef) March 24, 2017 Cue this snappy comeback: @MarkDiStef pic.twitter.com/Z7ioDJ1qkw — Ben Jenkins (@bencjenkins)... Read More »

Turning Off the Tap

It’s been a sad weekend for fans of cartooning, as the Antipodes’ greatest exponent of the art recently passed away to a vast outpouring of grief and dismay. We speak, of course, of the death of Murray Ball, creator of Footrot Flats, one of the warmest and funniest newspaper comics of the last thirty years.... Read More »

Australian Tumbleweeds on Howard on Menzies

It’s easy to be cynical about the term “event television”, largely because the event in question is usually a rose ceremony or some sport, but it’s hard to deny that Howard on Menzies has been an event. Love them or loathe them, Robert Menzies and his gushing admirer John Howard strode large across the Australian... Read More »