TV Review: Offspring

TV Review: Offspring

Offspring Rating:  M Distributor: Network TEN Release Date: Sundays, 8:30 PMNina Proudman reminds you what it feels like to be clutzy when you were hoping for cool. This professional ‘every woman’ is channeling more than a bit of Bridget Jones’ Diary as she flounders through her love life in Network TEN’s new Australian drama, Offspring.Nina, played by Asher […]

By Mark HadleyMonday 30 Aug 2010TV and StreamingReading Time: 3 minutes

Offspring
Rating:  M
Distributor: Network TEN
Release Date: Sundays, 8:30 PM

Nina Proudman reminds you what it feels like to be clutzy when you were hoping for cool. This professional ‘every woman’ is channeling more than a bit of Bridget Jones’ Diary as she flounders through her love life in Network TEN’s new Australian drama, Offspring.

Nina, played by Asher Keddie, is an obstetrician in a Melbourne-based practice who acts as a sort of centre to a chaotic family life. Her ex-husband is a demolitionist who cannot quite get over her; her sister is Real Estate agent with a run-for-cover personality; and the arrival of a perfectly presented pediatrician in town throws her own life into complete confusion.

Originally conceived as a two-hour telemovie, Offspring is the brain-child of the same production team that brought Australians The Secret Life of Us. It also includes some of the same actors, notably Deborah Mailman as Nina’s nurse-friend Cherie, who returns from a stint on a cruise ship heavily pregnant.

Offspring is a consideration of what it’s like to be a child, and give birth to children in a world where many people struggle for meaning. As Aussie dramas go, the plots are engaging and innovative story telling through dream sequences and cartoon inserts promises to keep the eyes dazzled. The series has higher aspirations, though, with its promotional material suggesting it will be about, “…the life forces that drive us all: love, sex, babies, food and music.” However The Secret Life of Us began the same way, and soon whittled that list down to just the first two. Viewers should be aware that the M rating is justified. Hopefully it won’t become the only thing to define the series.

Spicks & Specks
Rating:  PG
Distributor: ABC1
Release Date: Wednesdays, 8:30 PM

Spicks & Specks has been airing for six seasons now, so it seems unlikely that any adult of television viewing age could not have heard of it. But every now and then I come across someone who is just moving into the demographic for this Australian gem, so it’s still worth drawing it to your attention.

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Spicks & Specks is a musical quiz show hosted by Adam Hill, with the assistance of regular team captains New Zealand comedian Alan Brough and former Triple J radio announcer Myf Warhurst. The knowledge testing side of the program takes the form of a series of interactive games, much in the style of Theatre Sports. Quite possibly the most entertaining and regular is ‘Substitute’ where contestants are asked to sing popular songs, but drop the lyrics in favour of the words from obscure books.

There’s nothing threatening about this long-running series, even if you feel like you’re the sort of person who knows nothing about music. While its main rival RocKwiz (SBS) has the feel of a pub quiz, Spicks & Specks is more like a laughable board game with friends. The PG rating is pretty accurate though discussing the life-styles of the drunk and decadent occasionally leads to a suggestive conversation. What it does demonstrate very effectively, though, is just how much of a culture you can observe just listening to the radio. As an aside, that should give us pause for thought when the credits begin to roll. Apparently it’s not just background noise after all: what we listen to does shape us.