What to Watch: The Iris’ Weekly TV Picks (2nd-8th December 2015)

Need to catch a TV break and don’t know what to watch? Simon takes us through his top picks on must-see shows and films for the week. Click through to see what’s showing for your entertainment needs.

Wednesday 2nd December 2015

Inside the Clinic – ABC2 – 9.30pm AEST

You know a show must be good when it comes from the mind of John Safran’s protégé. Maddie Parry first got people talking following the release of her 2011 award-winning film Murder Mouth, which she quickly followers with her 2012 documentary Meatwork. Parry’s latest offering Inside the Clinic follows the 26-year-old filmmaker as she spends three months working at a Melbourne abortion clinic, to learn more about this still taboo topic from people working in the field. Working alongside the nurses and other staff at the clinic, Parry takes part in all aspects of the procedures which take place there, from sterilising surgical instruments to observing terminations firsthand. She also speaks to the women (who all remain anonymous) who present themselves at the clinic, as well as the anti-abortion protestors who carry placards and shout catch slogans outside the clinic at all hours of the day. An insightful exploration of an issue that is simply not talked about enough as it should be, Inside the Clinic is well worth a watch.

Thursday 3rd December 2015

Racing Extinction – Discovery – 4.30pm AEST

Having seen Racing Extinction earlier this year at the Melbourne International Film Festival, I can honestly say it is one of the most vital, interesting, and unmissable documentaries that have ever been made. Airing simultaneously across the globe, Louie Psihoyos’ film is an in-depth analysis of the fact that our world is currently on the verge of the next great mass extinction event. With his team of fellow activists, Psihoyos explores a range of issues related to this topic such as the illegal wildlife trade, agricultural overproduction and humanity’s excessive levels of carbon emissions. With the use of super sleuth techniques and the latest and greatest breakthroughs in technology, Psihoyos paints a grim picture of the current state of the earth, but presents a small glimmer of hope if we come together and act now to stop these threats before it is too late.

Friday 4th December 2015

Lantana – Masterpiece Movies – 8.30pm AEST

Rightly declared as one of the greatest triumphs of Australian film, Lantana is, to put it simply, a beautiful yet harrowing film. Set in the suburbs of Sydney, the film explores the interweaving relationships between a number of characters, with the central focus being the recent murder of the daughter of Valerie (Barbara Hershey) and John (Geoffrey Rush), and the way it affects the people around them, however peripheral to their lives they may be. Beginning with the image of unknown woman’s body in a lantana bush Lantana is also something of a mystery film, though it is more about the journey that leads to the audience discovering the identity of the woman than her identity itself. Also starring Australian acting luminaries such as Anthony LaPaglia, Vince Colosimo and Glenn Robbins, Lantana is a film experience that all should embark on.

Saturday 5th December 2015

Birdman – Masterpiece Movies – 8.30pm AEST

Winner of the Best Picture award at this years Academy Awards, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is one of the most unique and breathtakingly constructed films in years. Written and directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu (whose latest film The Revenant is currently being touted as an Oscars contender for next year, the film tells the tale of a washed up former Hollywood star who is attempting to break it big once again by appearing in a Broadway play. A biopic of sorts in the fact Birdman somewhat mirrors the life of its star Michael Keaton, the film is worth watching for the fact it appears as if filmed in a single take, a cinematic feat which would have been exceptionally difficult to pull off. As Riggan Thomson Keaton gets the career resurgence he is well overdue, playing the washed up actor to great aplomb. Also starring Edward Norton, Emma Stone and Naomi Watts as just a few of the individuals who continually get in the way of Riggan’s dream to stage the ultimate Broadway play, Birdman soars to great heights while keeping one foot firmly on the ground of cinematic greatness.

Sunday 6th December 2015

Supergirl – Fox8 – 8.30pm AEST

The title character of DC’s latest TV offering needs no introduction. The younger cousin of Superman, Kara Zor-El/Kara Danvers is just as famous and worthy superhero, with Supergirl finally giving the character the star attention she has long deserved. Played here by relative newcomer Melissa Benoist (who is largely known for her previous roles in Glee and Whiplash), this contemporary imagining of the character sees her working at a magazine run by Calista Flockhart. Also starring Chyler Leigh, David Harewood and Mehcad Brooks as Superman character Jimmy Olsen, Supergirl is a great escape that promises plenty of entertainment for fans of the character both young and old.

Monday 7th December 2015

Outback Nation – LifeStyle Home – 9.30pm AEST

One of Australia’s biggest exports, landscape guru Jamie Durie is hitting the backyards of America in his latest TV offering Outback Nation. Just like many of the shows he lent his name and presence to in Australia, its not all about cutting down a few bushes and putting in a new pergola, as Durie travels the country to give an outdoor gift to families who have fallen on hard times. In this first episode of the series Jamie visits the Sepulveda family in Florida, a family whose backyard was overrun by the junk of their hoarding and recently deceased grandfather. The biggest highlight of the episode is Durie’s construction of a zombie-sniping fort for the youngest of the litter, Aidan. Where can I get one of those??

Tuesday 8th December 2015

W/ Bob and David – Netflix – Anytime

Two of the most hilarious and talented actors of the last few decades, Bob Odenkirk and David Cross, have gleefully teamed up to create Netflix’s latest offering, the sketch show aptly titled W/ Bob and David. The show is something of a revival of sorts, as the pair previously teamed up for the nineties era show Mr Show with Bob and David. To make it even more like a reboot, Mr Show alumni such as Paul F. Tompkins, Brian Posehn, Jill Talley, Jay Johnston and John Ennis all return here to round out the comedic cast. There is really nothing to fault here, despite the fact the show only consists of four episodes. Here’s hoping the suits at Netflix realise the genius of W/ Bob and David and have the sense to commission episodes of the sidesplitting show for years to come.