Free-to-air TV: Friday, December 7
Babies are popping out like champagne corks on Neighbours.
Neighbours, Channel Eleven, 6.30pm
IT'S the final episode of the season and Erinsborough's women are emptying their wombs in celebration. Babies are popping out like champagne corks. Vanessa miraculously gives birth to a two-month-old, freshly bathed child. Sonya is not sure whether she wants a baby or a long bath. Given Jarrod expects a jellyfish to slide down the birth canal, you can't fault her indecision. ''This is weird,'' young Callum says. I'm with you, mate. Meanwhile, Christmas is coming and Sheila is tarting up a hatstand with tinsel (I blame budget cuts at Channel Ten). Make Me a Supermodel winner Rhys Uhlich makes an appearance as a coffee table. ''Local hottie'' Kyle looks longingly at goofy Georgia, who's not even sure what month it is. Special mention in the closing credits goes to ''clapper loader'' David Cassidy for proving there is life post-The Partridge Family. But what kind of life is this?
Trevor McDonald: Mighty Mississippi, SBS One, 7.35pm
IN THE song Ol' Man River, the black dock workers toil while the white folk play and the water keeps rolling along. I wondered what had changed while watching this documentary. There's footage from New Orleans of white girls in debutante dresses in their white mansions on the Mississippi. And black crosses still on houses in the poor suburbs ravaged by hurricane Katrina in 2005, which mark the number of bodies found inside. Perhaps such contrasts are laid on a bit thick in this series by veteran Trinidadian-British newsman Trevor McDonald. McDonald struggles to get the best from his ambitious subject matter, but there's enough colour and movement to entertain.
Martin Luther King: The Assassination Tapes, SBS One, 8.35pm
WATCHING Martin Luther King jnr speak, you are struck by his poise and patience. Fires burn around him and the TV news reports that ''Negro youths are smashing windows''. Yet King never seems shaken, lingering on his vowels like a country preacher: ''I've seeeeeen the promised land.'' One of the marvels of this program, and there are many, is hearing the civil-rights leader preach peace to the Memphis crowds. But this is 1968 and there's blood on the streets. King's final days are captured through a seamless compilation of contemporaneous television, radio and print reports. This documentary is a reminder of the power of raw footage, unmediated by pontificating experts and narrators.
Love Translated, ABC2, 9.30pm
THERE are, apparently, about 20,000 luckless men in the US and western Europe seeking love in Ukraine. Exactly why they have turned to the Slavic hinterland is never made clear in this program, which is as excruciating as a bad first date. The documentary starts and ends with a middle-aged man in a bad sweater sitting alone in front of his computer. All we learn is how a good story can be squandered by bad editing, a horrid soundtrack and an inability to understand your protagonists.