Running man: Mandela Marathons.FREE TO AIR
Election Coverage: Nine from 5pm, Ten from 6pm, ABC1 from 6pm, Seven from 6.30pm, SBS One from 9.30pm.
If by some fluke of nature you haven’t had politics up to your back teeth by now, the free-to-air networks are going to town on their coverage with every talking head in the country trotted out to give their two cents’ worth, offer opinion (expert and otherwise) on what’s happening and generally keep us up to speed. There’ll be a lot of the traditional ”people at a desk looking serious” format, but what holds the most promise is Ten’s The Election Project with Hugh Riminton. Just having the word ”Project” in the title gives hope we might get a bit of irreverence thrown in with the hard facts.
Eddie Izzard’s Mandela Marathons, SBS One, 8.35pm
Three years ago, comedian Eddie Izzard ran 43 marathons in 51 days to raise money for charity. In 2012, he attempted to run 27 marathons in 27 consecutive days in South Africa in honour of Nelson Mandela’s 27 years in prison. But as Izzard jokingly points out, it’s a pathetic gift, really. Because he’s only offering 27 days for Nelson Mandela’s 9000 days of imprisonment. Despite describing himself as ”a sack of potatoes on a mission”, Izzard tells us the secret is that it’s all in his mind: if he tells himself he’s going to run 27 marathons, his body will simply do so. But thanks to widespread media coverage, we already know that Izzard, 50 at the time, had to postpone his mission after just four days (and four marathons) due to ”unforeseen medical complications”. Izzard’s witty, sardonic commentary lifts this above a fairly run-of-the-mill exercise-cum-history doco. There’s the germ of a quirky off-beat documentary here, but I’m not convinced this failed attempt warranted going to air.
RuPaul’s Drag Race, SBS 2, 8.45pm
The girls split into two groups of four for this week’s ”girl group” challenge, judged by former Destiny’s Child Michelle Williams. The mood for Ongina’s team is ”Texas pageant-meets-teenybopper-meets stripper”, while Akasha’s channel ”sexy whores”. This camp romp is cattier than Australia’s Next Top Model, evidenced by Williams’s creepy meows. Some of the girls look surprisingly fabulous, while others just look like blokes in dresses.
JAMES W. MANNING
Finding Bigfoot, Animal Planet, 7.30pm
The clowns from Finding Bigfoot are in Queensland, attaching a tracking device to a little grey kangaroo. Why? Because they think yowies eat roos. Bigfoot hunter Cliff Barackman explains that back in the US: ”Wherever we see a large concentration of protein we find sasquatches.” The glaring problem with this assertion is the fact that Cliff and his pals have never actually found a sasquatch. Nevertheless, here they claim that they have succeeded in finding yowies, those elusive hairy hominids of Australian legend. Encouraged by locals who tell stories of yowies doing everything from attacking parked cars to killing goats and hanging them in trees, they head out into the bush to try to attract the creatures. This involves banging sticks together, cooking kangaroo meat and attempting to play a didgeridoo. When they eventually hear some unidentified noises they immediately jump to the conclusion that yowies made them.
Dangerous Roads, BBC Knowledge, 7.30pm
Actors Hugh Bonneville and Jessica Hynes take turns behind the wheel on a 1500-kilometre drive across some of the worst roads in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. The roads are scary but the scenery is beautiful and there are interesting glimpses of the country’s history and the lives of its people.
The Ant Bully (2006), Go!, 5pm
Lucas Nickle (voiced by Zach Tyler) is a little boy picked on by a big bully and his gang. Instead of trying to stand up for himself, Lucas sublimates his pent-up anger by spraying water on an anthill in a suburban front lawn.
Underground, ant Zoc (Nicolas Cage) develops a magic potion to shrink humans down to his size. Lucas is soon miniaturised and on a journey to understanding how different species live. That’s all great and noble, but the ants are human in speech and behaviour, which makes a mockery of the film’s plea to treat ants as ants. They are also painted to look like the African warriors from The Lion King. Doctoral theses need to be written about why Hollywood makes animated films in which animals have specific racial characteristics of speech and behaviour. Barnyard and Happy Feet (also both 2006) are no different, turning pigs and penguins into black street kids.
Apart from its irritating PC tone, the first half of The Ant Bully is generally compelling, the drama helped by the sweet character of Hova, beautifully voiced by Julia Roberts. Sadly, though, the film’s final act is unpleasant, turning into a full-scale war among the insects, and later with a human bug exterminator (Paul Giamatti).
Needless to say, Lucas is the one who melds the insects into a united front, exhibiting yet again the film’s belief in human superiority, despite continually pretending otherwise. Convinced of an coming conflagration, The Ant Bully is a call to arms, an instruction manual for bonding together not unlike those patriotic films made before World War II.
Yolngu Boy (2001), NITV, 9.30pm
Before Ten Canoes (see Sunday) came this touching story from debut director Stephen Johnson about three Aboriginal teenagers who find their friendship tested by the difficulty of achieving childhood dreams.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.