Depending on how much you know about the Murdochs, the 3-Part BBC documentary series The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty – debuting Sunday 20 September at 7:40pm on ABC TV, and simultaneously on ABC iView – will either remind you of the terrifying influence the family, and Rupert in particular, has wielded and continues to wield, particularly in relation to the national and international affairs of Australia, the UK and the USA; wake you up to some very frightening elements of their influence you may not have realised; or blow your mind.
I’m deeply into the Murdochs on a knowledge level – I’ve read Hack Attack, for example, which details some of the most brazen and criminal activities portrayed here – but I’m still finding the show thrilling (I’ve only been given the first episode for review). Beyond its careful and considered presentation of the facts, which are in themselves (terrifyingly) entertaining, the show features on-camera interviews with a lot of very senior players in the Murdoch company history. It’s flammable stuff, the kind of no-nonsense reporting that once could have ‘brought the family down’ but in our current age simply points a very strong finger, knowing full well that, at this level, the subjects have nothing to fear from anybody.
It’s BBC 2, and nothing about it is lurid or sensational. It does tip its hat, in its opening credits, to the TV show Succession, and fans of that show (I’m number one) will love the myriad connections.
A must-see, unless you’ve essentially given up all hope.
ABC iView is currently screening The Australian Dream, one of two feature length documentaries made about the AFL player Adam Goodes to be completed last year. It is essential, emotional viewing. Goodes, whose mother is Aboriginal and part of the stolen generation, found himself, having reached the absolute highest echelons of his sport (he twice won the Brownlow Medal for Fairest and Best in the league), in a nightmarish situation involving crowd behaviour, racism, and, of course, horrendous social media. While the situation ultimately led Goodes to a greater understanding of his own Aboriginality, it was an education forged in sadness and bile.
The film was written by Stan Grant, an Aboriginal ABC journalist who identified enough with Goodes’ story to use it as the basis for a seminal speech on Australian racism and subsequently this film. His thoughts on the matter are eloquent, precise, and angry (although his manner is unflappably cool), and his film, directed by Daniel Gordon, is likewise a clear-eyed screed, a dignified rebuke, and a vital document. * * * *
Also brand new to ABC iView is Year of the Rabbit, a new British half hour comedy series starring Matt Berry (Toast of London, What We Do In The Shadows, Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace). Set in a suitably grimy Victorian-era London, Berry plays a homicide detective, Rabbit, who, in ep one, gets circumstantially teamed up with a couple of younger sidekicks while investigating a series of murders linked to a secret society. It’s deadpan funny with a side of Pythonesque period parody, but also surprisingly compelling as a cop show, even as it spoofs the genre. I legitimately look forward to watching this trio of coppers as they embark into an ever-seamier and very well designed East End of The Big Smoke; they’ve already got spark and sizzle.