Free-to-air TV: Monday, November 26
The cast of House of Lies.
House of Lies, Channel One, 9.30pm
SO MUCH about this man-slut dramedy is oh, so wrong, but not in any way that could be even vaguely conceived as oh, so right, except perhaps by a subscriber to Zoo Weekly magazine. To say the dialogue is disrespectful towards women is akin to remarking that Alan Jones has a bit of an issue with the female Prime Minister. Tonight's episode, titled ''Bareback Town'' for non-equestrian reasons made abundantly clear in the opening scene, pushes even its own elastic boundaries of taste, with such vulgarity as Ben Schwartz's character's summary of his wooing abilities: ''I will always be penis-deep in the lady's va-jay-jay.'' And this line spoken by white actor Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) to our hero, philandering management consultant Marty Kaan (played by black film star Don Cheadle): ''You could rationalise the Holocaust if you tried hard enough.'' Such attempts to shock are clearly intended in subversive jest, but a storyline revolving around Marty's attempts to keep his pecker in his pants for once despite the white women hurling themselves at him in every boardroom, so his black girlfriend will agree to ditch the condoms (without mention of an STD screen) is a little hard to swallow. It's a shame, because the cast (including Sea Patrol's Josh Lawson) is solid, and Marty's frequent soliloquies on the cutthroat game of corporate wheeling and dealing are punchy and funny. But it may be too soon to make light of race and gender issues not quite sorted in the workplace.
Family Confidential: The Courtenays, ABC1, 8pm
SCREENING again in tribute to the ailing superstar novelist Bryce Courtenay, this revealing insight into his extraordinary life and passionate positivity is well worth a second look. His sons, Adam and Brett, speak with a mixture of admiration and resentment not uncommon among the offspring of creatively successful people. His late son Damon's girlfriend, Celeste, offers a more detached view of the familial fallout from April Fool's Day, Courtenay's novel inspired by his haemophiliac son's death from AIDS. Courtenay's telling of his journey from South African orphanages to Sydney's high society and beyond is compelling, embellished no doubt with ''Dad facts'' - his family's name for his constant rewrites of their history. In a moving reflection on storytelling for survival, the writer eloquently explains his life-long preference for fantasy over truth.
This is England '88, SBS One, 9.30pm
THIS gutsy, addictive series from writer and director Shane Meadows with Skins writer Jack Thorne, is yet more evidence that the creativity Margaret Thatcher provoked in her less-affluent compatriots is the gift that keeps on giving. Drawing on his experiences of growing up tough under her regime, Meadows has crafted this unromantic window into the past, where hopes were routinely dashed before lives had barely begun to blossom. He revisits the troubled stories of single mother Lol (Vicky McClure), exiled skinhead gang member Woody (Joseph Gilgun), and the rapidly maturing Shaun (Thomas Turgoose), in this three-part series return. Long may the British class system inspire such quality telly.
Castle, Channel Seven, 8.30pm
TONIGHT, this New York crime series goes where murder mysteries eventually do, with the shocking plot twist of star sleuth as prime suspect in a murder that is particularly grisly - even for this popular genre. As forensic fantasies battle to outdo each other in the gore stakes, the old ''body found in a ditch'' plot line is increasingly being replaced by even more disturbing scenes of desecration - in this case, a mangled woman found nailed to the ceiling of her bedroom. With mounting evidence pointing to the NYPD's novelist-in-residence, Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion), his lover, Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic), must battle to clear his name. Fortunately, she has her best people on the job, including a glamorous forensics expert who sagely suggests that the dead woman's flatmate, who discovered her dripping from above, ''could shed some light on this''.