About Us: Levantes, SBS, 8pm
Levantes - which means "East Wind" in Greek - follows a fictitious
Greek-Australian man who is blown, as it were, eastwards from Athens to Eastern
Turkey; from the centre of the Greek world to its edge. You never see the young
man, who is travelling to Turkey to avoid military service, but you hear him as
he sends a series of video-postcards to his Greek-Australian friend back home.
"My dear friend..." he begins as he reaches each new place - Athens, Ioannina,
Thessalonika, Thraki, Istanbul and the Black Sea coast - before relating to his
mate his disgust at the way Turks are treated in Greece and his pleasure at the
way he was welcomed in Istanbul. He uses his friend as an outlet, to express the
feelings that he could never express to Greeks while travelling in their
country. It's eye-opening stuff for anyone not familiar with the history of the
Balkans - the exchange of populations, the persecution of Jews, the Macedonian
issue, and the treatment of Turks. "It is illegal to call yourself Turkish in
Greece," the young man (narrated by Triple R's Chris Hatzis) says to his friend.
"You can only be a bilingual Greek who happens to be a Muslim."
The film-makers, Lisa Horler and Fionn Skiotis, made Levantes from an
perspective and believe its style is close to the protest poetry of the 1960s
and '70s. For anyone not interested in the political material, the scenes
Horler and Skiotis capture are just beautiful - the type of insightful, modern
images you might expect from a Michael Palin adventure.
Wildside, ABC, 8.30pm
Detective Bill McCoy (Tony Martin) has to come to terms with his hang-ups
about homosexuality as he is confronted by the murder of a gay man as well as
the appearance of his lesbian sister, Kate (former Home And Away star Dee
Smart). Fortunately, the characters' sexuality is just an extra dimension to the
drama rather than an issue in itself. In the subplot, McCoy's aspiring partner
Charlie Coustos (Alex Dimitriades) helps out a trouble-making 10-year-old, Rana
Jones (skilfully played by Pip McGrouther) who just needs some love and
attention. While the resolution of both plots is unconvincing, the excellent
acting and dialogue make the episode worth viewing.
Profiler, Channel 7, 9.30pm
This X-Files try-hard is just woeful - full of wooden actors with furrowed
brows who talk very quickly when speculating about the traits of their suspect
and thus hopefully appearing terribly intelligent. In this episode, Dr Samantha
Waters (Ally Walker) and the team from the FBI's violent crimes taskforce is
looking for a bomber who always strikes twice. Hmmmm, speculates Sam, the
suspect must be male, white, a loner with above-average intelligence, acting out
of anger and with a political bent. Holy Unabomber, Batman!
If only they were poking fun at themselves.
MOVIE: Over The Hill (1991) Channel 7, noon
American import Olympia Dukakis fails to enliven a mediocre outback comedy
that squanders the talents of a good cast (Sigrid Thornton, Bill Kerr, Steve
Bisley) under the uninspired direction of George Miller.
MOVIE: Life On The Edge, SBS, 9.30pm
Are you in the mood for a rural melodrama, set in China during the 1920s,
about an outlaw (Li Xuejian) who attempts to avenge an insult to his girlfriend
(Xu Fan)? Apart from the rugged grandeur of the remote setting there's not much
to recommend it.
The Pick Of Pay TV
FOXTEL: Monkey Business, TV1, 5pm
From today's perspective, the Monkees phenomenon of 30 years ago is
unnervingly prescient. The TV series of 1966-67 was shamelessly derivative (The
Beatles in A Hard Day's Night) and uncannily knowing in its methods of pop-music
star making. Who, today, would even blink an eye at the thought of building a
music phenomenon around four photogenic guys with charm to burn, and stealing
the bulk of the ideas from somebody else? And then there was their feature film
Head, which pre-empted by at least 20 years the contemporary mockumentary with
its gleeful cry, "look everyone, it's one big put-on". Unreeling tonight are six
episodes of the series, plus the ground-breaking, psychedelic film directed by
Bob Rafelson, co-written and co-produced by Jack Nicholson.
OPTUS: Singled Out, MTV, 10pm
MTV premieres its new dating-show series. There's no Dexter, but there are
overweight boys wearing nappies and angel wings. There's a wild-and-crazy
co-host, the ubiquitous cover girl and occasional film actor Jenny McCarthy, who
sounds like a cross between Nanny Fine's mother and Alicia Silverstone's Cher.
In a studio filled with members of the opposite sex, a single contestant
eliminates suitors. This is no-brainer, goofball stuff that relies on the
conventional appeals of spunky babes who want to impress and nerdy, sloppy boys
proud of having only one thing on their minds. -- Paul Kalina
Creative Tension, Triple R (102.7), 7pm to 8pm
The human's ability to consume gossipy trash and news trivia is astonishingly
high, and here's one more option for satisfying your appetite. Co-hosted by
media regulars Michael Bodey (The Age, Beat), Michaela Boland (3LO, InPress, and
former PBS) and Brett De Hoedt (former PBS), Creative Tension trawls the news
and entertainment stories of the week to come up with its own spin - whether
it's on Jeff Kennett or Leonardo diCaprio. The show has only just kicked off
after Boland left PBS's movie show, The Back Row, which can be heard in the same
timeslot. -- Darrin Farrant
On The Web
Profiler, Channel 7, 9.30pm
Get the profiles of the Profiler team, including our own Julian McMahon (aka
Agent John Grant).