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The Sydney Morning Herald

TV Previews

Author: Conrad Walters
Date: 29/06/2009
Words: 587
Source: SMH
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: The Guide
Page: 14

ABC2, 8pm

With a reverent nod to Get Smart, this grand piece of slapstick opens with scientific genius Victor Blenkinsop heading to a high-tech facility in the basement of a Tesco supermarket.

There he unveils the result of 17 years' work (and three marriages): a prototype super-soldier clone that could one day replace Britain's volunteer army.

The trouble is, the modern-day Frankenstein's monster is more sissy than soldier. Clearly Dr Blenkinsop (Jonathan Pryce) needs time to make a few refinements but the military officer in charge of this disaster just wants it all to disappear.

Clone is the creation of Adam Chase, a former producer of Friends, but abandon all expectations of a coffee-shop sitcom. This BBC series scoffs at realism in the manner of Blackadder and Red Dwarf.

Will it live up to that lineage? Maybe not it aired in Britain last November and there's no word of a second season but for six episodes it's prepared to try.


Ten, 6.30pm

Susan's wish to act as a surrogate mother is in danger after a break-in at her home suggests the community is less than comfortable with the idea, no thanks to jailbird journalist Paul Robinson, who blabbed her plans to the world.

Meanwhile, Korean exchange student Sunny Lee is preparing to move to Sydney after Zeke the Freak decides it's a bad time to move out and leave Susan exposed to the vandals of Erinsborough. And as if that strain weren't enough, there's also the matter of an unrequited "I love you".

Later, genetically modified cattle line-dance down Ramsay Street to protest against low wages paid at the local dairy.

OK, I made up that last bit. But would it matter if I hadn't?

As It Happened: 1929 - The Wall Street Crash

SBS One, 8.30pm

Much of this will sound disappointingly familiar. Investors surged into the sharemarket to cash in on a boom. They borrowed heavily to make the biggest return possible from good times that seemed unending.

Governments were reluctant to "interfere" with the market. The boom turned to bust. Rescue efforts came and went with little effect. Families lost their homes. And governments belatedly tightened the regulatory strings.

Two elements lift this above a simple regurgitation of the Great Depression. The first is context: the US used war bonds to fund its participation in World War I. After the conflict ended, the new respectability of investing made people willing to enter the share market for even bigger returns.

The second is humanity: selected stories help move the focus from the unimaginable millions to a few individuals. Among the stories told are that of a shoeshine boy, a female photographer and an economist who warned of the dangers but was only spurned.

Trial & Retribution

ABC1, 8.30pm

Lynda La Plante deservedly gets top billing as executive producer of this reliable series, although in fact the writing credit tonight belongs to Julie Dixon. Between them, they have crafted a taut mystery with an opening scene that sets high stakes.

Terry Dyer has just been released from a 12-year stint in prison for the murder of Sarah Randle's brother, a crime he still swears he never committed. When Dyer confronts Sarah, a muddy past is stirred for Sarah and her father, Ken Randle.

The usual detectives, led by Detective Chief Inspector Mike Walker, uncover an unexpected culprit for the death and, when DCI Walker finally reveals the true events to Ken, the resulting scene is masterful. Not a word is spoken but the emotion floods out nonetheless.

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