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THE RATINGS RACE: Week 50, when Love Actually made its annual return

Liam Neeson and Laura Linney don't actually get together in Love Actually, but they would if there was a sequel

Liam Neeson and Laura Linney don't actually get together in Love Actually, but they would if there was a sequel

Love Actually is the It's A Wonderful Life of Australia. We watch it every Christmas, even though we own a copy on DVD and we've seen it 28 times already.

For some gift suggestions for the friend who already has the complete set of The West Wing, go to Media-savvy DVDs.

Dynamo, Grimm and The Silver Surfer make up our televisual diet when we've finished with the news (while The Wedding Band is scoring with Ten's 16-39 niche). Are you finding any hidden delights in the SSS (silly season schedule)?

Give us a review of <i>The Wedding Band</i>. Is it a safe refuge in the silly season?

Give us a review of The Wedding Band. Is it a safe refuge in the silly season?

The royal-hoaxer interviews boosted the audience of A Current Affair, Today Tonight and 7.30 on Monday night, which shows that Australians still cared then, even if they're sick of the subject now.

Homeland was pretty annoying on Sunday. Podcasting on Entertainment Weekly's website, Dalton Ross raises some issues (WARNING: MASSIVE PLOT SPOILERS IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN SUNDAY'S EPISODE): "Are we supposed to believe that the CIA would actually not be monitoring the phone of an admitted terrorist who recently had a bomb strapped to his chest while he tried to assassinate the Vice President of the United States? Are we also supposed to believe that there is no security or cameras in the Vice President’s house and that you can tell someone you’re going to take a leak and then simply go anywhere you want? Oh, and since when can you Skype on a Blackberry?"

Ross says this is not the first time the show has "dipped into the pool of preposterous. Remember earlier this season when Abu Nazir needed to send someone discreetly to get his tailor/bomb maker — who was under surveillance — out of Gettysburg, and instead of dispatching a faceless nobody, he sent a famous war hero and U.S. congressman (Brody) to the man’s shop instead? Sure, that wouldn’t raise eyebrows! Makes about as much sense as answering a call from your wife on your cell phone while you are in the process of killing a guy in the woods.

Is <i>Homeland</i> too silly?

Is Homeland too silly?

"All this raises the question — did we give Homeland too much credit as a thinking person’s thriller? Have the incredible performances by Claire Danes and Damian Lewis blinded us to the fact that the show has had some creative missteps — hit and run, anyone? — along the way? Or are we simply holding the show to too high a standard?"

What do you think? Go to Comments to damn or defend Homeland.

Now that the "official" ratings season is over, it's time to go in search of the kind of viewing experiences you wouldn't usually bother with. Please share the wealth. Tell us about any guilty pleasures or eccentric treasures you've discovered in the schedule, and we'll find out how many other people share your refined tastes. When all else fails, the ABC will always be showing an ancient episode of Spicks & Specks.

Comfort TV: Spicks &Specks is always on somewhere

Comfort TV: Spicks &Specks is always on somewhere

What Australia watched, week ending December 15

Description Total         Sydney      Melbourne Brisbane    Adelaide    Perth

1       NINE NEWS         Network 9   1,093,000  320,000     368,000     227,000     95,000       84,000

2       NINE NEWS SATURDAY       Network 9   1,081,000  315,000     368,000     220,000     111,000     67,000

3       NEW TRICKS-FRI        Network ABC1     1,073,000  312,000     337,000     176,000     113,000     136,000

4       SEVEN NEWS     Network 7   1,055,000  250,000     261,000     227,000     125,000     193,000

5       SEVEN NEWS - SUN    Network 7   1,047,000  272,000     257,000     215,000     123,000     180,000

6       NINE NEWS SUNDAY   Network 9   1,017,000  287,000     322,000     216,000     103,000     89,000

7       60 MINUTES       Network 9   1,010,000  283,000     315,000     208,000     88,000       115,000

8       SUNDAY NIGHT  Network 7   949,000     260,000     251,000     209,000     96,000       134,000

9       DYNAMO: MAGICIAN IMPOSSIBLE         Network 7   933,000     232,000     198,000     216,000     85,000         201,000

10     A CURRENT AFFAIR   Network 9   914,000     260,000     313,000     195,000     77,000       70,000

11     TODAY TONIGHT        Network 7   908,000     227,000     213,000     184,000     110,000     174,000

12     ABC NEWS-SU   Network ABC1     861,000     266,000     245,000     147,000     87,000       115,000

13     ABC NEWS         Network ABC1     859,000     255,000     257,000     140,000     91,000       117,000

14     SEVEN NEWS - SAT    Network 7   826,000     197,000     197,000     181,000     115,000     137,000

15     DOC MARTIN RPT       Network ABC1     814,000     234,000     222,000     160,000     76,000       123,000

16     ABC NEWS-SA   Network ABC1     763,000     218,000     219,000     120,000     81,000       125,000

17     FAMILY CONFIDENTIAL RPT        Network ABC1     755,000     258,000     207,000     126,000     57,000         108,000

18     MOTORWAY PATROL         Network 7   747,000     196,000     232,000     137,000     68,000       114,000

19     SCU: SERIOUS CRASH UNIT         Network 7   744,000     189,000     218,000     142,000     80,000       115,000

20     BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS SUMMER    Network 7   738,000     214,000     212,000     139,000     75,000         97,000

21     THE BIG BANG THEORY -FRI EP2         Network 9   737,000     174,000     224,000     178,000     67,000         93,000

22     THE MANOR REBORN         Network ABC1     733,000     236,000     201,000     129,000     74,000       94,000

23     QI RPT       Network ABC1     729,000     196,000     237,000     104,000     81,000       110,000

28     7.30 SUMMER EDITION-EV  Network ABC1     697,000     217,000     202,000     125,000     62,000       90,000

30     M-LOVE ACTUALLY    Network 7   686,000     207,000     223,000     111,000     72,000       73,000

31     ONCE UPON A TIME    Network 7   674,000     199,000     178,000     145,000     63,000       89,000

34     THE MENTALIST -MON        Network 9   656,000     231,000     168,000     118,000     62,000       78,000

36     HOMELAND        Network TEN       653,000     208,000     185,000     96,000       86,000       78,000

38     JAMIE'S THIRTY MINUTE MEALS RPT   Network TEN       634,000     156,000     202,000     125,000     64,000         88,000

41     JAMIE'S CHRISTMAS WITH BELLS ON   Network TEN       622,000     166,000     210,000     118,000     45,000         82,000

47     THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH      Network ABC1     608,000     172,000     161,000     117,000     65,000         93,000

48     GREY'S ANATOMY-TUE       Network 7   607,000     172,000     166,000     144,000     53,000       71,000

56     GRIMM       Network 7   569,000     156,000     160,000     106,000     55,000       91,000

58     THE WEDDING BAND  Network TEN       560,000     155,000     180,000     105,000     42,000       78,000

59     WALLIS SIMPSON: THE SECRET LETTERS RPT    Network ABC1     557,000     169,000     131,000     134,000         53,000       70,000

61     PERSON OF INTEREST       Network 9   553,000     162,000     170,000     116,000     62,000       43,000

75     KITCHEN CABINET      Network ABC1     498,000     158,000     127,000     85,000       56,000       73,000

78     GRIMM-EP.2       Network 7   490,000     143,000     129,000     100,000     49,000       70,000

88     THE TRUTH ABOUT EXERCISE    Network SBS ONE        426,000     116,000     161,000     61,000       39,000         49,000

107   EGYPT: WHAT LIES BENEATH?   Network SBS ONE        350,000     114,000     105,000     64,000       31,000         35,000

(OzTAM estimates, mainland capitals)

This is the daily update of The Sun-Herald's Who We Are column by David Dale, who teaches Communications at UTS, Sydney. He is the author of The Little Book of Australia - A snapshot of Who We Are (Allen and Unwin). For continuing conversation about Australian attitudes, bookmark The Tribal Mind.

20 comments so far

  • Re 'Homeland', yes. They are slowly but surely jumping. In mid-air. They need to make sure they don't reach the other side. Brody needs to die. It's the only solution (apart from Carrie and Brody getting married and forming a Remington Steele-type agency of their own. Stephanie Zimbalist could cameo as Carrie's long-thought-dead mother, returned from the grave to watch the kids while they go all commando on Estes' arse or something...). No, Brody needs to die and Carrie needs to have another nervous breakdown. Start season 2 again.
    Also: How did Abu Nazir get in the country? I know in television land shaving off your beard and removing your spectacles renders you unrecognizable but come on.... And explaining it by having various characters exclaim "How is that even POSSIBLE!?!" is not explaining it.
    Also: They seem to have cottoned on to the idea that the uglier they can make Carrie the greater the odds of winning more Emmys. Hence the ridiculous new gagging setup, never before used in the history of television or film where you shove a hanky in her gob and then tie a rag around just the top half of the mouth and leave the bottom lip poking out. Attractive. Gritty. Real.
    For me the magic began to fade when they caught Brody and tried to continue the love story. It's not URST exactly but the cat-and-mouse equivalent. The not-knowing who's lying or playing who was the thing. Now it's gone and they're killing VPs by remote control.
    Brody needs to die.

    Date and time
    December 11, 2012, 6:59AM
    • Your right, TM. Homeland does stretch credibilty but I am still enjoying the ride. I am still wondering how it's all going to end. Is Brody playing both sides as it seems? Does he have real feelings for Carrie? Does Carrie have real feelings for Brody or is she just playing him?
      What's with the other storyling about Brody's daughter? Will Brody's wife run off with his best friend? Actually, when I write it down like that is sounds more like a soap than a thriller.
      But with all the rubbish on TV these days, Homeland is still an excellent show despite it's plot flaws. Not sure it deserves another season though. Where can the writers go from here?

      Am also enjoying Dexter this season. Very interesting. Still an excellent show. Also been watching season 5 of Breaking Bad so I can finally catch up to where everyone else seems to be. And I have been watching a bit of the History channel lately. Last night "Britains Lost Routes" is not bad. And tonight there is something call "She Wolves - Britain's Early Queens" which looks interesting. Then there is a whole bunch of shows next week on Nat Geo - "Countdown to the end of the World" shows. Stuff on Mayans, Nostradamus, Life After People etc etc. So I am getting an educatoin of sorts this summer! Hope I'll still be around after the 21st to enjoy it!

      BTW heard yesterday that Offspring has been renewed for another two seasons. This is good!

      Date and time
      December 11, 2012, 8:49AM
      • 'Britain's Lost Routes' sounds like the title of a 'Carry On' film. Something with Sat-Navs and fogged windscreens.

        I'm following your lead, Em, re-watching 'Breaking Bad' from the beginning, 1 episode each night. Should see me through to the end of January and then season 5 dvds not far off. Don't know how to download etc. I'll just wait like a moron for the shiny circle things.

        Not at all interested in Nurse/DJ/KateGate. But TM, if you think there's nothing left to be said, you're mistaken. They'll find something. There's life in the old horse yet. Sadly.

        Date and time
        December 11, 2012, 10:53AM
    • Stretching credibility? Absolutely. So did Jack Bauer in 24. Still enjoyed it immensley, just as I'm enjoying Homeland. I just treat it as escapist entertainment, nothing more, nothing less.

      Would I prefer Homeland to be the "smarter" version which it was made out to be? Sure I would, because those types of shows are few and far between, but even in it's current incarnation it's still better than the majority of crap that's being dished up to us on FTA at the moment.

      S2 of Boardwalk Empire or latest Dexter on FTA soon? I live in hope.

      Date and time
      December 11, 2012, 2:28PM
      • Darren, yeah, after I wrote "Britain's Lost Routes" I realised just how funny that title was.
        Sid James, Morcambe & Wise etc would have loved it!

        Finally finished watching ep 8 of Breaking Bad which is mid season final. Now I have to wait till the middle of next year to see how it all ends. What a show. It always leaves you wanting more. Perfection.

        Now it's back to my sci-fi collection. I am rewatching Supernatural. Up to season 3. Also up to season 3 of Sanctuary. And still have all the seasons of Being Human (UK) to watch.
        So should keep me busy through summer.

        Also saw the "Grumpys Guide to Christmas" that was on ABC last night. Summed up my feelings exactly. Bah, humbug!

        Date and time
        December 12, 2012, 8:28AM
        • Not at all "bah humbug" about Xmas (although I am about a Certain Horse Race and New Years Eve - both highly overrated events). Love the season, love the food, love everything except trying to get a parking spot anywhere near a shopping centre. I tend to do a lot of walking this time of year.

          Already have the Xmas tree up and decorated, and am planning what food to cook for the day and Boxing Day (which is the big party over at Chez TQD). Lego has been ordered. All is right with the world.

          Was all settled on the sofa last night, iPad on my knees, having a great time watching things on iView when Mr Bear came downstairs, in tears because of a whole litany of monsters were upstairs, starting with Daleks in our bedroom, and finishing with the boogy man under Miss Boo's bed (where it finds the room, I have no idea). Sigh, added it all to my wishlist (nice feature!) and will try again next time I have the sofa to myself.

          Is it wrong of me to be proud that the litany started with Daleks? Good to see Doctor Who is scaring a whole new generation of children, it terrified me when I watched it then. (btw, I don't show it to them, they see it at friends' houses, I know to avoid nightmare inducing entertainment.)

          So, caught up with "First Tuesday" (must read more Ruth Park) and damn you Margaret & David for making me want to see "Anna Karenina" (must re-read first!) and started "Red Dwarf". Didn't laugh once at RD, so thank you Mr Bear for rescuing me.

          darren, saw an ad for Your Book on the back of the SMH (dead tree edition) today!

          Date and time
          December 12, 2012, 4:57PM
          • Quietly: (I'll have to buy one and frame it. I saw a (very) brief review of it in The Melbourne Review too. Just four words for me, but good words. That'll keep me going for a few months).....


            Not watching nothing on tellie except 'Breaking Bad' which I have failed to ration sensibly, and so last night saw the Tuco-dies-in-hail-of-bullets / old-ricin-in-the-taco-trick-assassination-attempt / wheelchair-man-one-ding-means-yes episode which I still think (on third or fourth viewing) is one of the best episodes of any variety of Televisual Entertainments in Televisual History. The Mexican-twins-with-silver-axes-catch-up-with-Hank episode is coming up and that's almost as good but that one almost makes me cry it's so darned... good, also. Too.

            Meanwhile, I missed out on 'Dynamo: Magician Impossible'. Damn.

            Date and time
            December 13, 2012, 11:47AM
          • Sorry, tqd, I am a Christmas Grump. Can't help it. I will have to change when my baby grandson gets old enough to know about Chrissy but till then I will indulge my inner grump.

            But I do like the food and the family get together bit, I must admit. It's just the crowds and the shopping I hate and the fact that things go mental at work with demanding customers and incompetent suppliers, stressed out Boss and fellow workers etc. etc.

            I did enjoy the last "First Tuesday" and was surprised that a few of the "Top Ten Oz Books" I have never read. So there expands my reading list. Though not on that list, I have just started reading "Cloud Atlas" which sounds fascinating and seems like a good summer read. Am curious about the forthcoming movie of the same name which I have heard is very weird. Though not surprising with the Wachowski's directing. Great cast though. Look forward to it in '13.

            As for your kids, tqd and the Daleks. Well, great to hear another generation is scared of Daleks in the shadows. I remember that well, as they scared me too. And also fascinated me. I especially liked running around yelling "Ex..ter...min...ate!" Hey, I still do!

            And don't forget, the Dr Who Christmas Special, which I hope ABC show quickly after the UK.
            It will introduce the good Doc's new companion. Sounds promising and should give a new dynamic to the show.

            Date and time
            December 13, 2012, 1:53PM
        • recording Homeland and will digest in one or two hits so I cannot say if it has just shark (so avoided all spoiler hints etc). Have seen 81 movies so far this year - on a mission to get to 90 by 31 December - may yet do it - only thing interfering is of course werk.

          Like you tqd my summer movie viewing list does include Anna Karenina - but unless something monumental occurs it is not likely to include Jack Reacher (unless it is free!!). On the TV offerings I don't mind Wedding Band, really like Grimm, Once upon a time, and am watching White Collar and Burn Notice - am sure Ten will take thme off schedule now. Of course there are quite a few things on the hard drive (Spooks, Mentalist and Person of Interest) whihc can be watched during the endless summer period

          Date and time
          December 13, 2012, 1:37PM
          • Has anyone seen '7 Psychopaths'? I just saw it and I thought it was bonzer.
            By the same writer (I think) who wrote 'In Bruges' which I seem to recall someone around here liking.... Might have to look that one up now. I'm convinced.

            Date and time
            December 13, 2012, 4:00PM

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