TONY SQUIRES SMH COLUMN

After the footy, excitement hits new peak

And so it begins. Here we sit on the couch in front of the telly, hanging onto a coldie and hope. As the season opens Friday (Seven, 8.30pm) none of us has yet lost a game.

The Crows host the Bombers, who have had their guernseys rolled in mud before getting onto the field. Will they come out firing? Has the peptide turned? Dennis Cometti will make sense of it all.

Remember the excitement of Twin Peaks, David Lynch’s wonderful and weird foray into series television drama? Well, Top Of The Lake (UKTV, Sunday, 8.30pm) has that buzz about it. This is film-maker Jane Campion’s baby, created by her, co-written and co-directed. It begins in the fog of a tiny New Zealand mountain town as a 12-year-old girl walks into the freezing waters of a lake. It’s deliciously unnerving.

Campion loves water and the mysteries of its depths. In The Piano, Holly Hunter’s descent into the gloomy underworld attached to that instrument is one of cinema’s great scenes.

Campion also loves Hunter, and vice versa. Hunter is on board here too, as the almost ghostly leader of a women’s collective camped on land claimed by the local druglord, played with effortless intimidation by Peter Mullan.

Throw in Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss and our own David Wenham, several face tattoos, a gob-smacking landscape and who needs Downton Abbey (Seven, Sunday, 8.40pm)? OK, most of you need Downton Abbey, but this is a modern masterpiece. Campion doesn’t take any shortcuts. It’s a mini-series of subtlety, mystery, intensity and personal revelation.

Subtlety, thy name is not Miguel Maestre, the all-singing, all-dancing cooking bloke on The Living Room (Ten, Friday, 7.30pm), which has swapped with American Idol to grab back the earlier timeslot.

Miguel’s performance is big, his voice is big, his gesticulations are big, his accent is huge and Friday his menu is of similar dimensions. As a tie-in with a film – you’ve got to pay the bills – Miguel creates a prehistoric feast.

If you’re expecting a Heston Blumenthal-style themed feast, with diligent research, amazing effects and scientific gastronomy, you probably wouldn’t be watching this show.

Basically, Miguel dresses in cartoon Stone Age gear and cooks the biggest steak he can find. Yabba dabba do. Try as I might, though, it’s impossible not to like him.

Finally, it’s taken me two days to get over the disastrous auction result for Mark and Duncan on The Block All Stars. While the other couples raked in profits of more than $200,000, the hard-luck heroes scraped past their reserve by $25,000 after an auction filled with more awkward silences than a bad blind date. (So I’ve been told.)

Was the urinal in the bathroom the problem?

 

PICKS OF THE DAY

Traffic Blues

CI, 2pm
Irish traffic cop reality.

 

Rugby League

Channel Nine, 7.30pm
Wests Tigers v Parramatta Eels from Leichhardt Oval.

 

Ross Noble: Nobleism

Comedy, 8.30pm
The Friday night Noble month continues with this stand-up special recorded live in Liverpool in 2009.

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