Category: MDP On TV

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose!

Friday Night Lights has been on my radar for a while, recommended to me by very good friends. Sometimes it takes a while for the time to be right to embark on immersing yourself into a fictional world, and with FNL I’ve been waiting for that prefect moment.

Trusting your unconscious to signal when that right time be has worked pretty well for me in the past. I believe its the intuitive part of the story-telling hindbrain that pops up and says, time to view.

Anyway, this is a long way around saying that I’m glad I waited. Why? I had a sporting related trip to the US in May this year and met a bunch of basketball coaches, went to a heap of colleges, and experienced first-hand the awe of the 80K football stadiums. Coming to this series after those experiences, makes my viewing of this series much more enriched. I totally get it, in a way I just wouldn’t have before. Australia is reknown for being a sport-obsessed nation, but there is a magnitude of belief and culture around sports in the US that doesn’t compare, even to here.

I’ve only watched the best part of two series but I’ve been impressed on SO many levels; the acting, the script, the story arcs, the delicate balance between heartbreak and joy. I believe some of the power in the story comes from the way it’s delivered. The show’s wiki states that the whole thing was filmed without blocking and rehearsal, so there’s a lot of hand-held follow around filiming and raw ad-libbing. The actors were encouraged to use their initiative. The EP’s quoted as saying, “no rehearsal, no blocking, just three cameras and we shoot.”

Deep into series two now, I’m finding only a few tiny instances of straying into melodrama, but many more of intelligent, soulful story-telling and social commentary. I feel terribly connected to all the characters – even Buddy Garrity! If I had to single a couple out, Taylor Kitsch is pretty much to-die-for in the role of bad boy, Tim Riggins, and Kyle Chandler as Coach Eric Taylor is quite superb. Of the female cast, the characters Lyla Garrity, Tyra Collette, Corinna Williams and Tami Taylor worked best for me ( and LOVE LOVE LOVE Lorraine “Grandma” Saracen).

The anatomy of Eric and Tami’s marriage with the arrival of a new baby and their separation due to work commitments is beautifully portrayed, as is the Jason (6) Street’s journey from athlete to quadraplegic, Smash, Saracen and Riggin’s different struggles into manhood and Tyra’s desperate attempt to break the family mold. So much is going on in this show and its organic feel contributes to creating the illusion that you’re listening and watching and being a part of your own friends and family’s lives.

Not sure if it was my own personal experiences with sport, but the game scenes NEVER failed to give me goose pimples. What makes me sad is that it didn’t reach a wider audience – as it seems viewers were put off by a notion that this was a story about football, when in fact it’s a complex narrative about how our choices define us.

Love it and trying not to watch it too fast!


There’s something very compelling about survivor stories. Probably because we all have moments when we wonder what we would do if … any number of things happened to us.

In this new series hosted by Charisma Carpenter, we get to hear  stories from women who’ve survived violent attacks.

The series begins with Charisma’s own personal recount of fighting back when she and some friends were attacked in San Diego by a then police officer.

You only have to spend a moment speaking with Charisma (and her wonderful mum) to know that she’s a woman with enormous spirit and perfect to host this kind of show. I wish her the best of luck with it, I have a feeling it will be incredibly successful …

Featuring dramatically and emotional stories of women who fought back against their attackers and survived against
amazing odds, SURVIVING EVIL is hosted by Charisma Carpenter (Cordelia Chase on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off Angel.) Carpenter is the survivor of a real-life incident that she endured more than 20 years ago and the series begins with her story. The actress and two friends were swimming at San Diego’s Torrey Pines State Beach in 1991 when they were violently attacked by an armed, rogue police officer. Carpenter fought for her survival after being held at gunpoint, but her two friends were both shot by the attacker and seriously wounded. The police officer was sentenced to 56 years in prison for the attacks in addition to a series of rapes and robberies.

Charisma tells TV Line: 

“It’s about empowerment, about victims who take fate into their own hands and rescue themselves, or seek justice and find it,” Carpenter says of I Survived Evil‘s mission. “It’s about heroes, stories of survival. And happy endings.”

A slightly different review from me today. Well actually, it’s more of a teaser, for a new series called Rogue starring Thandie Newton, Marton Csokas and Leah Gibson. The IMBD synopsis goes like this:

Grace, a morally and emotionally-conflicted undercover detective, is tormented by the possibility that her own actions contributed to her son’s mysterious death. In her quest for the truth, Grace finds herself striking out on her own and falling deeper into the city’s most powerful and dangerous crime family. As Grace struggles to become the wife and mother her family now needs, her life is further complicated by a forbidden relationship with crime boss Jimmy Laszlo. In order to stay alive, Grace needs to help Jimmy find the traitor in his midst, while knowing he may have played a part in her tragedy.

Anything that reads morally conflicted immediately hooks me in, and to add to that, the cast is a mixture of British, Canadian and New Zealand actors. The first series was filmed in Canada by DirecTV.

The cherry on the top of this one is that my friend Leah Gibson gets a strong role as a sexy crime wife. You can read my interview with Leah from a while back, and with her agent Penni Thow. You can also read an interview with Leah over at Geekadelphia. So delighted to see her star rising! Check out this sexy clip with her co-star Joshua Sasse.

And Thandie Newton as Grace, the cop who finds humanity among the bad guys.

Looking forward to this series a lot. Now I just have to find a way of getting hold of it over here!


davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 





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