License article

Sunday, January 19


Boomtown: Final, ABC1, 6.30pm
This lively series concludes by revisiting the colourful characters we've come to know and love, and the haters will have plenty to feed off when our interior designer announces her plans for taking over the world. More attractive, and inspirational, is the remarkable Mike Young from BC Iron. Far from being knee-capped by falling iron ore prices, he's well and truly made lemonade from his economic lemons. Likewise fashion maven Ruth Tarvydas, who's bounced back from the closure of her King Street store and now looks set to make a motza in the Middle East. Indeed, what many of these self-made millionaires have in common seems to have less to do with living in "boomtown" and more to do with ingenuity, resilience, and the ability to perceive opportunity where others see misfortune. And it's that insight that makes this final instalment so rewarding.

Cricket: One Day Internationals, Nine, 1.30pm, 6.30pm
It's hard to feel sorry for extravagantly paid international sportsmen but as yet another cricket season drags on, and on, you do feel a twinge of pity for the Aussies and the English. The full five Tests had barely finished when this comp, the ODIs, got under way and everyone was back at it again. They must be sick of the sight of each other. And as for the audience? Well, the game that was introduced as a colourful family-friendly counterpoint to sober Test matches finds itself between a rock and a hard place these days, squeezed out by the traditional form on one side and the flash and dazzle of the Big Bash on the other. Whether the public has any appetite left for this, the third of five matches, remains to be seen.

Escape to the Country, 7Two 8.30pm
We're in Vicar of Dibley country tonight as a young professional couple decide they'd like to escape to the Chilterns. Certainly the area is picturesque - and within easy access of London - but both those factors may end up crushing their dreams. As Aled Jones shows them around the usual quota of properties they discover their budget - almost $1.5 million - isn't going to buy them a hell of a lot. Some of these house-hunters have pretty crazy expectations but although these two have their sights set high, you can't blame them. That's a lot of dosh but in the end perhaps still not enough to make their fantasy reality.



Men with Many Wives, Nat Geo Adventure, 9.30pm
America's fundamentalist Mormons have this whole television thing down pat. The first thing to do is plonk a telegenic young family in front of the camera and have the wives incessantly reiterate how deliriously happy they are and how they can't wait for hubby to get still more wives. The second is frequently to stress devotion to God/Jesus while avoiding any mention of church doctrines that might be offputting. The third is never to mention any of the problems endemic to Mormon fundamentalism - such as the large numbers of ''lost boys'' excommunicated from polygamous communities because there aren't enough girls to go around. In this new series National Geographic remains stoically uninquisitive and uninformative. In Centennial Park City, Arizona, we meet 30-year-old Isaiah and his wives, Marleen and Rebecca, who have five kids but are just starting. Marleen and Rebecca think Isaiah should bring home a Mexican wife to cook, and a Chinese one to give massages. Ho ho! Meanwhile, elder Arthur (two wives; 20 kids) oversees a program in which young men provide unpaid labour and can't talk to girls.

Air Crash Investigation, National Geographic, 8.30pm
A thorough episode examining the 1972 crash of a British-built Hawker Siddeley Trident airliner, which killed 118 people.




Zelig (1983) ABC 2, 12.15am (Monday)
Despite the inevitable revivals of old accusations about Woody Allen's life with Mia Farrow and her recent admission about who may be the father of their only biological child, Allen manages to stay above the fray. A film career that once looked permanently stalled continues to thrive (surely Blue Jasmine will win an Oscar for Cate Blanchett) and his previous work has in no way been diminished by time.

Zelig is a faux documentary about a nondescript everyman, Leonard Zelig (Allen), who pops up throughout the 1920s and '30s, mimicking those around him and ingratiating himself into their presence. Newsreels show him beside many famous names of history (Chaplin, Hitler, Pope Pius XI), having become an indispensable ally. But a break always comes, for Zelig has a rare gift for abruptly ending relationships with his adopted authority figures. Of Freud he says: "We broke over the concept of penis envy. Freud thought it should be limited to women."

Running a modest 85 minutes, Zelig is a brilliant examination of people who, driven by fear, change on cue to attain friendship, security and status.

Disturbia (2007) Thriller (pay TV), 8:30pm
In D.J. Caruso's Disturbia, Shia LaBeouf plays Kale Brecht, a teenage boy who kills his father in a car accident, punches his obnoxious teacher and is sentenced to three months' home detention. He fills his days spying on everyone living nearby through a pair of binoculars. His principal interest is Ashley (Sarah Roemer), who has moved next door and delights in being visually preyed upon. There is also Mr Turner (David Morse), a scary guy across the way who Kale believes is responsible for a woman's disappearance. This will put Kale and Ashley at risk.

If all this sounds familiar, it is. Disturbia is a mildly diverting remake of Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, but sadly without an acknowledgement or thank you in sight.