Friday, November 9
Chris O'Dowd stars in Moone Boy, which is based on his childhood.
FREE TO AIR
Moone Boy: series premiere, ABC1, 8pm
IT'S LATE-1980s Ireland and in the sodden little burg of Boyle, a 12-year-old Martin Moone is coming to terms with being … 12-year-old Martin Moone. As the youngest son of a working-class family, Martin is the runt of the runts, passed over by his siblings and frazzled father and largely forgotten by his mother, who is frantically campaigning for soon-to-be-president Mary Robinson. Lonely, Martin resorts to inventing a friend, Sean (Chris O'Dowd), who helps Moone Boy negotiate everything from school bullies to his older sister's inedible cooking. Though steeped in an Adrian Mole/Diary of a Wimpy Kid charm, this series, based on O'Dowd's childhood, suffers from a lack of focus: are we meant to be rooting for Martin or Sean, or his family, or all of them? Maybe, as the series proceeds, such issues will be resolved.
Lightning Point, Channel Ten, 4pm
IN THE past, ponies and boys were enough to keep the tweenagers glued, but the arrival of Twilight means young audiences now require at least one paranormal storyline before they'll deign to pick up the remote. Enter Lightning Point, where Summer Bay meets Doctor Who. Filmed around Byron Bay, this sun-and-sea-soaked series follows two peachy young things, Zoey (Lucy Fry) and Kiki (Jessica Green), who arrive new not only to town but to Earth itself. Zoey and Kiki are aliens from the planet Lumina, who, aware perhaps of Australia's visceral dislike of queue-jumpers, are doing everything in their power to keep a low profile. This is difficult, however, given they are both gorgeous and love surfing and chasing boys. The writers have done well here, ensuring the action remains G-rated while also keeping it interesting. Today's instalment sees the spunky-yet-puppyish Brandon (Andrew James Morley) coming to terms with the discovery of his own super powers, a fine metaphor for adolescence itself.
America Revealed, SBS One, 8.30pm
AS WITH most industrialised nations, the US is in reality a massive, continent-size creature, a colossal pulsing ecosystem, each part of which - roads, ports, power - performs an essential function. Hosted by the distractingly hyperactive Yul Kwon (a former winner of US Survivor), this four-part series seeks to dissect the hyper-networked organism that is the US, starting tonight with the food system. Focusing in the first instance on Domino's Pizza, Kwon shows how each family-size supreme arrives at the customer's door as the end product of a network of supply hubs and delivery webs stretching across the country, a web that is ultimately fed by farmers working on a monumental scale. This is not Food Inc.; don't expect Kwon to analyse the downsides of industrial agriculture. Kwon aspires to dazzle us with the miracle of modern agriculture, but his cross-eyed enthusiasm leaves little room for nuance.
Chasing UFOs, Nat Geo, 8.30pm
OH, NOT the bleeding Phoenix Lights again! Can't people accept that the V-shaped formation of lights people saw in the sky near Phoenix, Arizona, in 1997 was almost certainly just a group of military aircraft? That it wasn't actually a boomerang-shaped alien spaceship a mile wide? And that the slow-falling string of lights seen later that night was - as the air force explained - just a string of flares dropped over the bombing range at its nearby base? Apparently not. Tonight, UFO crank James Fox, sceptic Ben McGee, and gullible eye-candy Erin Ryder head to Arizona to pretend they might be on to something big. They interview a man who claims to have been abducted by aliens and, as always, spend a lot of time running around in the dark being filmed in night vision to try to make everything look Blair Witch-style scary. Consider your intelligence insulted.
Hurricane Hunter, A&E, 3.30pm
IT'S marvellous stuff that the Hurricane Hunters team does - flying modified Hercules transport planes into the very eyes of enormous hurricanes in order to gather data about them. This episode follows them as they fly into the eye of Hurricane Irene, which killed 56 people and caused an estimated $16 billion damage when it hit the Caribbean, the US and Canada last year. As they hit the worst weather in the ''eyewall'' of the storm, visibility is zero and the hail so fierce that it feels like the plane is being sandblasted. Yikes.
On Hannibal's Trail, Nat Geo Adventure, 9.30pm
Australian brothers Danny, Ben and Sam Wood continue retracing the steps Hannibal and his brothers took in their invasion of Rome.
The Real Bronson, CI, 7.30pm
Documentary about Charles Bronson, the prisoner dubbed ''the most violent man in Britain''.
A-League Football, Fox Sports 1, 7.30pm
Melbourne Heart takes on Brisbane Roar, live from Melbourne.
The Bucket List (2007), Channel Nine, 8.30pm
THE US has a genius for odd-couple stories, where wildly different people, often with a great disparity in wealth, become the best of friends. You can see it in the original The Odd Couple, the much-imitated Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and last year's underrated The Big Year. And you can see it in Rob Reiner's The Bucket List. Edward (Jack Nicholson) is a cutely belligerent billionaire who ends up being treated for cancer in the same hospital as the similarly diagnosed Carter (Morgan Freeman), a man who has always put others first. Together they begin a journey of achieving life-long dreams before death finally strikes. This is a flawlessly made film, from a near-perfect script by Justin Zackham, acted by two men who have no right to be this great. They must have done something right in a past life.
Something's Gotta Give (2003), Channel Nine, 10.30pm
HARRY (Jack Nicholson) is an ageing lion with a girlfriend 35 years his junior, whose romantic weekend turns sour. To the rescue comes the ''appropriately aged'' Erica (Diane Keaton). The joy of watching two consummate stars almost makes up for the fact we are being preached to.