Australian and New Zealand TV

Review: The Almighty Johnsons (SyFy) 1×1

In the UK: Thursdays, 10pm, SyFy
In New Zealand: Already aired. Season two coming soon

New Zealand has pedigree when it comes to fantasy TV. There was Children of Fire Mountain in the 70s and the award-winning Children of the Dog Star back in the 80s. But you’d be forgiven for thinking that’s where it ended.

Not so. For now we have The Almighty Johnsons, a winsome little comedy-drama from the creators of New Zealand show Outrageous Fortune (which became Scoundrels in the US) about four brothers who are the reincarnations of Norse gods. Which ones, what powers they have and why they’re stuck inside the bodies of a bunch of New Zealand lads – well, that’s something we learn all about during the first episode… as well as who wants to kill them.

Here’s a trailer.

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Friday’s “Sally Phillips in the Sky, a Green Arrow TV show, more Luther and Dracula: the soap” news

The Daily News will return on Tuesday

Doctor Who

Film

Comics

British TV

US TV

Well this looks fun: Danger 5

Coming to YouTube on November 21st, it’s Danger 5. Looks a bit like a cross between The Champions, Thunderbirds, The Prisoner, the Godzilla movies and some really tatty 60s spy movies. I’m not entirely sure why they’ve all been crossed with one another, other than it appears to be made by Australians, who would be in the overlap of any Venn diagram of audiences of all those things.

It’s got a cool web site, too: “Devil-kittens of Hitler’s lust dungeon” indeed.

Classic TV

Lost Gems: Children of the Dog Star (1984)

Did you know there’s this tribe in Africa called the Dogon? There really is – this is true. What’s particularly interesting about the Dogon is that they have this weird relationship with the star, Sirius – aka the Dog Star – which is the brightest star in the Northern Hemisphere. Exciting astronomy fact of the day: Sirius is actually a binary star – there’s a great big star and around it orbits a tiny white dwarf star that’s impossible for the naked eye (and even most telescopes) to detect: its presence was only inferred mathematically in 1844.

And the Dogon knew that there was a second star there. In fact, they reckon there’s a third star there, too. And in 1995, some evidence emerged that there might well be a brown dwarf in orbit around the two main stars.

Freaky, huh?

Now there are various explanations for this that I won’t go into, but back in in 1984, enterprising New Zealand TV station TVNZ created a six-part children’s TV series, Children of the Dog Star, in which it was suggested the Dogon know all this because they were visited by an alien probe from Sirius thousands of years ago that told them all this. That wasn’t the only probe, however, and out in a New Zealand swamp, the remains of another probe might still exist, waiting to be reactivated.

Here’s the title sequence:

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Review: The Surgeon

Just to show the Internet is opening up the whole world, Australian TV is now joining the UK, US and Japan in filling up the torrent sites.

The Surgeon is a nifty half hour show that I managed to catch, despite my queasiness for all things medical. It lacks the gloss of ER et al but is far more “warts and all” than its US counterparts: the staff have rubbish bedside manners, they make mistakes, they’re rude to each other, they spend time at work chatting when they should be paying attention to patients, and the equipment is old and practically obsolete. I have no idea if this is an accurate reflection of the Australian healthcare system, but it seems in keeping with the NHS so I’ll accept it as such for now.

I probably won’t watch any more episodes, since I’m not really into medical dramas, but it’s nice to know there’s a little variety on the web now.