FREE TO AIR
Commando School, SBS One, 8.30pm
One of the best of the recent ob-doc series, this Channel Four production follows the trials of Troop 174 as its members undergo training to enter the Royal Marines. Each episode focuses on one or two of the recruits, and here it’s the bespectacled Tom Dilliway, who’s struggling to meet the physical and mental demands of the course. By his own account, he was a chubby kid saddled with the nickname Harry Potter. His battles, closely observed by astute corporal Adam Perkins, make for engrossing viewing.
Bones, Seven, 8.30pm
The formula is now so familiar that the rather bizarre blend of elements in this crime series no longer seems so strange. Essentially, a bunch of scientifically gifted eggheads banter over dead and decaying bits of bodies. They use their brilliant minds and whiz-bang gadgetry to figure out whodunit in each episode’s murder mystery as the series, adapted from books by Kathy Reichs, aims to mix science, sexual chemistry and sleuthing. Atits heart are darkly handsome special agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) and his brilliant wife, DrTemperance “Bones” Brennan (Emily Deschanel). Now they’re parents to a precocious four-year-old and must debate their level of concern about her use of profanity while trying to solve a case about a body discovered in a playground. There’s a bit of domestic repartee, a dash of The Wolf of Wall Street, a murder investigation and a misguided colleague with delusions of trumping Bones in the lab. It’s an improbable mix that somehow comes together to create a passable crime drama.
Debi Enker, Parks and Recreation, Seven, 11.30pm
The season finale has arrived, as has the Pawnee/Eagleton Unity Concert with Leslie (Amy Poehler) facing a big decision, Tom (Aziz Ansari) trying to get his restaurant on track and Andy (Chris Pratt) living out his rock star dreams. It’s all fun, but nothing compared with the brilliance of when Ron (Nick Offerman) bumps into his ex-wife Tammy (Megan Mullally). “Tammy,” Nick sneers, “What could possibly bring you to a children’s performance? Preparing a ritual sacrifice of a newborn?” Bazinga! Oh and given this is set in a music festival, keep your eyes peeled for the inevitable guest stars including The Decembrists, Yo La Tengo and a beautiful surprise in the closing seconds.
Scott EllisMade in Chelsea are still with us, let alone on TV. You’d think they’d have long since been buffed to death by private-jet upholstery – or at least have contracted terminal ennui from the sound of their own braying voices. Yet here they are, on an interminable excursion to New York, where they sit around in trendy bars gossiping about each other and occasionally flirting with young Americans who are just as dull as they are. Made in Chelsea is a chore to watch, even by the standards of the scripted-reality genre. The cast are stiff and listless, the dialogue is dreary, and the over-the-top telenovela-style direction serves only to underline the fact there’s nothing interesting going on. The tedium is compounded by the fact that every boring scene is followed by another in which everybody talks about what just happened. That a show so completely contrived could be so utterly devoid of entertainment value is extraordinary.
Tiny, LifeStyle Home, 7.30pm
An interesting documentary following American Christopher Smith as he builds a tiny wooden house on a trailer so he can tow it to a remote part of Colorado and live in it. Other “tiny housers” from around the US show off their homes and explain why they choose to live small.
Brad Newsome The Spy Who Loved Me, which has zero to do with Fleming’s book, is not a total write-off – the underwater Lotus Esprit is fun and Curt Jurgens makes a decent if dour villain – but it is not what a Bond movie ought to be.
Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn (1942), Fox Classics (pay-TV), 8.35pm
Based on an original idea by songwriter extraordinaire Irving Berlin, Holiday Inn is the story of a fractious stage trio that splits apart over the love of the girl. Singer Jim Hardy (Bing Crosby) wants Lila Dixon (Virginia Dale), but she dumps him for her dance partner, Ted Hanover (Fred Astaire). Jim retreats to a Connecticut farm, where he turns a farmhouse into a restaurant-nightclub called Holiday Inn. That he does most of this Herculean task by himself in a few days is not a lapse of moviemaking sanity, merely a nod to the musical genre where almost anything can happen if you wish it. When Lila later runs off with a Texas millionaire, a lonely Ted tracks down Jim and gets to fight him all over again, this time over a new girl, Linda Mason (Marjorie Reynolds). Along the way, Crosby croons 12 new Berlin songs, plus a few classics. There are several dazzling routines from Astaire, including his first with Marjorie Reynolds. When Reynolds laughs and smiles mid-dance, Astaire pulling both her arms over his left shoulder, you get to experience one of cinema’s most naturally sexy moments.