Wednesday, January 9
Consentino shows off his tricks in Consentino: The Grand Illusionist. Photo: Vicky Hughson
FREE TO AIR
Cosentino: The Grand Illusionist, Channel Seven, 7.30pm
IF YOU missed Cosentino's turn on Australia's Got Talent last year, here's your chance to see the runner-up in action. Filmed during his sell-out show at the Regent Theatre and on the street amid unsuspecting shoppers, ''Australia's No.1 illusionist'' here showcases his Michael Jackson-style dance moves, a dandy aesthetic that borrows from Russell Brand and Captain Jack Sparrow, and a few good tricks. He's an engaging enough performer, but magic loses its immediacy and ability to impress when viewed through a TV screen. The body being sawn in half thing is a bit old hat but it's hard not to marvel, from a distance, at his telekinesis and Houdini-esque escape routine. We're guessing you'd have to check out Cosentino live for a truly magical experience.
My Big Fat Operation, ABC2, 8.40pm
OBESITY in Britain has become a problem of epidemic proportions. This series traces the journeys of 12 morbidly obese Britons who undergo bariatric surgery to help them win the weight war. Tonight we meet Shanel, a 22-year-old who weighs twice what she should for her height. She eats her lunch out the back of the cafe she works in, ashamed to let others see her eat. Matt is a 39-year-old who, at his heaviest, weighed 279 kilograms. In a deeply depressing sequence, he reveals - to the tune of violins, while patting his cat - that he lives with his mother, is too fat to work and that most of his friends are online. The surgeries are drastic but there's no doubting they come out the other end smaller, happier people. More on the psychology of obesity would have made for a more enlightening show.
Grimm, Channel Seven, 8.30pm
ANOTHER double serve of the police procedural infused with the supernatural tonight, with the first episode proving it's going to be tricky for Portland homicide detective Nick Burkhardt to continue to keep his secret - he sees mythological creatures - from his fiancee, Juliette. Burkhardt is descended from a long line of criminal profilers that began with the Brothers Grimm, see, and tonight must do battle with a bunch of fire-breathing beasts. The daughter of one works as a fire dancer in a racy club and, taking a liking to Burkhardt, sets out to get between him and his gal. How Juliette has failed to smell a big abnormal rat at this stage of this series remains a mystery. Good escapism is not about being plausible though, is it?
Russell Brand: From Addiction to Recovery, ABC2, 9.30pm
ESSENTIALLY a TV adaptation of his 2007 memoir, My Booky Wook, Brand says this documentary was inspired by the passing of Amy Winehouse at 27, the same age Brand was when he recovered from his drug and alcohol addiction. Brand meets Winehouse's father, Mitch, visits friends, agents and counsellors who knew Brand back when, and talks to addicts in prisons, rehab programs and on the streets. Brand is adamant (as presented to a British home affairs committee) that methadone treatment is simply transferring users from one substance dependency to another (he advocates the abstinence method), but doesn't speak to any of the many former addicts who have rebuilt their lives, helped by methadone.
Who Do You Think You Are?: Gregg Wallace, BBC Knowledge, 8.30pm
MASTERCHEF'S Gregg Wallace begins his journey with what seems like a mean and unnecessary swipe at one of his three former wives. He might not have intended it that way, but it makes him come off poorly and it undermines the whole episode. It's hard to get emotionally involved in a celebrity's journey if you suspect that they might actually be a bit of an arse. In any event, Wallace begins by looking up the great-grandfather who, family legend has it, deserted the Royal Navy around the turn of the century and abandoned his young family to run away to Australia. The truth turns out to be rather different but no less interesting. As is so often the case, Wallace's family story turns out to be dotted with tragedies. Who Do You Think You Are? remains a fine and fascinating series, with this season's subjects including Annie Lennox, Patrick Stewart and Celia Imrie. Fans of genealogy TV should also check out Coming Home (Thursday, Bio, 9pm), in which British celebs trace their Welsh roots.
Say Yes to the Dress, Discovery Home & Health, 7.30pm
IT'S AN ostensibly exciting time at the New York bridal salon - TV presenter Kelly Ripa (Live! With Regis and Kelly) is going to try her hand at selling wedding dresses. Tonight's brides are a study in contrasts. One momentarily feels bad that her father is selling his motorbike to pay for her $11,000 dress; another has no compunction about making her fiancee pay $50,000 for two of them.
Banged Up Abroad, Nat Geo Adventure, 7.30pm
American Gerald Amster tells of how he escaped from a Soviet prison after being caught smuggling heroin in 1976.
Mr D, Comedy, 9pm
Canadian comic Gerry Dee stars in a sitcom based on his own experience as a schoolteacher.
Never Been Kissed (1999), Channel Ten, 8.30pm
RAJA Gosnell's deconstructed teen movie in which a 25-year-old journalist, Josie Geller (Drew Barrymore), pretends to be 17 and returns to her old high school. She's supposed to be doing a student expose but no one - including a bewildered audience - knows what her article is supposed to be about.
That's because, in modern America, the only story that really interests people is the self-obsessed journey to self-realisation.
The most used word in this film is ''popular''.
The myopic dream is to be the most popular person in class, because that could help make you prom queen or king, and one day - who knows? - US president.
Though easy to ridicule and often hard to watch, the film has compensatory pleasures, especially Barrymore, who works overtime to generate genuine fun and warmth.
However, whether you love it or not will come down to the ending, a fantasy encounter in front of a packed crowd and the television cameras of America. Personal stories in the US have a tendency to be lived out in public.
Full Confession (1939), ABC1, 4.15am (Friday)
BORN in Marrickville in 1904, Australia's John Farrow sailed around the world, ending up in the US where he found work as a scriptwriter. It would ultimately lead to his winning a best screenplay Academy Award for Around the World in 80 Days in 1956.
Twenty years earlier, Farrow was fired from his first feature as director, Tarzan Escapes, because it was too free-minded. But at least he met and married its lead actress, Maureen O'Sullivan. In 1939 he directed Full Confession, the compelling story of Michael O'Keefe (Barry Fitzgerald), wrongly sentenced to the electric chair. Father Loma (Joseph Calleia) has heard the confession of the real killer but cannot use the knowledge to save an innocent man.
Farrow wrings maximum tension from the priest's struggle of conscience, and his attempts to get the murderer to publicly admit his guilt. Farrow was a deeply conservative Catholic, so not surprisingly he supported the seal's inviolability. But in Full Confession he argues cogently for a pragmatic and humane approach to worldly affairs. This film is even more relevant today than when it was made.