Step into the month of February, where an array of captivating small-screen choices awaits your entertainment. Explore the plethora of options available for your viewing pleasure.
Boy Swallows Universe
The much-anticipated adaptation of Trent Dalton’s 2019 book Boy Swallows Universe is now on Netflix. A seven episode series set in 1980’s Brisbane, Boy Swallows Universe follows Eli as he grows through adolescence, with a drug-addicted mother, an unwell father, and a drug-dealing step-father all amid an environment of gangland violence. Despite the seemingly unpleasant surroundings it’s a story about love, growing up, talent, and family and Eli is such an endearing character that I found myself wanting everything to end well for him so badly, that I had to watch the last episodes in segments- I was so engaged with the strong characterisations and direction.
The casting is fabulous with Felix Cameron as Eli, along with Brian Brown, Anthony La Paglia, Simon Baker and a flawless performance from Phoebe Tonkin as Eli and Gus’s mother. The set dressing and costuming is another trip down memory lane and done so very well. Adapting Trent Dalton’s novel with its whimsical musings and escapism can’t have been an easy task but writer John Collee, (Happy Feet and Master and Commander), has managed to do it. It’s a seven-episode series and brutal in parts but I can’t speak highly enough about it. I’m looking forward to rewatching this one as I suspect there are elements that I overlooked as I was too emotionally engaged to take everything in at once. Lola in the Mirror is the most recent Trent Dalton novel and hopefully they can keep the writing and directing team together to make that too.
Grief is a strong emotion that we will all experience at some time and Dan Levy’s debut as a feature film director and writer is strong too. It doesn’t have the brilliance of Schitt’s Creek but it does remind me in part of Four Weddings and a Funeral, but without the weddings. Levy plays artist Marc living in the shadow of his amazing husband who dies suddenly leaving him shattered and having to deal life and secrets. His reliance on his beautiful, yet very real and flawed friends, Sophie, ( Ruth Negga) and Thomas ( Himish Patel) helps him through the initial period of paralysing grief and these relationships are tested as he finds his way back to a place of acceptance. The emotions feel very real and will touch many. Its worth watching on Netflix.
A Symphonic Odyssey with Brian Cox
This program is almost beyond description; mind blowing and too big for my brain are two that I can think of. Astrophysicist Professor Brian Cox teams up with the Sydney Symphony orchestra and using pictures from space telescopes breaks down complicated theories explaining the universe. It’s one I will need to watch again because I spent a large part of the program just shaking my head in disbelief, in just our galaxy there are something like 20 million similar suns and systems to our own and a one-inch piece of the night sky contains some amazing number of galaxies- just mind blowing and I need to watch it again to check those numbers. The addition of the symphony orchestra and the stunning photographs add beauty and amazement to Brian Cox’s easy to listen to explanations and theories. Watch this on ABC iView and feel you brain growing as you do.
Season 3 of Total Control has returned to ABC TV and ABC iView. If you haven’t seen the first 2 seasons you could probably just dive into season 3 but I recommend you back and watch the first 2 seasons before you start as the backstories will give you a much better context. The machinations and deal-making of politics, the complexities of change, and systemic injustice make for interesting, and at times, confronting viewing.
Debra Mailman, (Alex Irving) and Rachel Griffiths (Rachel Anderson) lead the cast directed by agroup who include Rachel Perkins, Wayne Blair and Jub Clerc.