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The Sydney Morning Herald

TV previews

Author: Michael Idato
Date: 27/01/2003
Words: 655
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: The Guide
Page: 18

ABC, 8.30pm

UP The second of four telemovies starring John Hannah as the very cool Detective Inspector John Rebus. While he's not quite as old, nor as weather-beaten as Ian Rankin's eponymous hero, Hannah is nonetheless brilliantly cast.

The Hanging Garden is a complex tale (though the television adaptation is by no means as complex as the novel) in which Rebus pieces together the mystery surrounding a war criminal caught between two gangs in Edinburgh.

Rebus gets personally involved and is driven close to the edge in his pursuit of the villains, and Hannah plays it to the line. He combines suppressed fury with a little edge, and turns Rebus into something quite three dimensional a rarity in scripted TV drama.


Ten, 6.30pm

DOWN Confusing and confounding for the casual viewer, this is weighed down by scriptwriting which reveals little to viewers who are not regular watchers of Ramsay Street. We're not asking for subtitles or flashcards, but unless you know that Lou (Tom Oliver) is in hospital needing a kidney transplant, you'd be waiting until at least the second commercial break for someone to drop the word ``kidney".

Welcome to episode 4165 of life in the famously exported Melbourne cul-de-sac. Rosie (Maggie Millar) has an eye on Harold (Ian Smith), who has decided to donate a kidney to Lou. Ruby (Maureen Edwards), meanwhile, has stepped into Harold's life, a move which has unsettled Rosie who has decided, despite what seemed like a year-long tug-of-love between Lou and Harold for her affections (Lou won) that she, in fact, loves Harold after all.

If that wasn't exhausting enough, Max (Stephen Lovatt) who, for the record, looks young enough to be hanging out with the gang rather than claiming fatherhood to at least two of them is dealing with the precociously slappable Summer (Marisa Siketa) and the hormonally simmering Boyd (Kyal Marsh).

It's filling, but not profound, and it lacks the gilt-edge of the great characters who form part of Neighbours' historic fabric. Where is Mrs Mangel? Where is dependable Helen? Where is television supercouple Scott and Charlene? Neighbours has proven it is the mother of reinvention, so why hasn't it reinvented itself at its best?

The Legacy of the

Silver Shadow

Ten, 4pm

UP What might have been a mindless lump of bad scripts is rescued by a big sense of humour and dry self-mockery.

Four kids Campbell (Alin Abella), Gretel (Sage Butler), Alex (Hannah Greenwood) and Josh (Alex Hopkins) stumble into the ruins of a Batcave and discover it once belonged to a '50s superhero called the Silver Shadow (Tayler Kane).

The Shadow remains with them through a recording of his mind, an artificial-intelligence, which plays Oracle to this group of Teen Titans. (Oracle was the wheelchair-bound reinvention of Batgirl in the DC Comics, who served as a central mastermind for a number of DC's superheroes.)

The result is reasonable, though the idea of teenagers playing superheroes in their off-hours is a more than overdone cliche in children's TV.

About Us: Love & Anarchy

The Wild Wild World of Jamie Leonarder

SBS, 8.30pm

UP Warning: this program may contain performance art. And it may not make a lot of sense. Having watched it through twice, I'm still not entirely sure what it's about, except one strange man, his hilarious wife, their odd friends, his unusual passions and the communion of all of the above.

Jamie Leonarder is just this guy. His wife, Aspasia, is the source of many profound observations including the fact that if Judge Judy ruled the world, we'd be better off. His band, the Mu-Mesons, are an industrial noise band made up of ex-psychiatric patients and other ``eccentrics", and his house is a mountain of pop-culture discards and public-domain films.

It doesn't make a lot of sense, but it's very entertaining.

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