Saturday, July 20, 2024
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    Mercado on TV: ABC’s This is Going to Be Big – inspirational kids, teachers who are champions

    There are some great docuseries to watch right now, with feel-good fare like This Is Going To Be Big (iview), and disturbing exposes about powerful people behaving badly in Quiet On Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV (Foxtel/Binge) and Miriam: Death of a Reality Star (Channel 4).

    This Is Going To Be Big was funded as two separate projects, a feature film that screened at the Melbourne International and London Film Festivals, and now this 2-part series with extra content on ABC.

    A school for kids with disabilities decides to challenge its students by mounting an ambitious John Farnham musical. A group of neurodiverse students are cast and the challenge is on to get to opening night. All of the kids are inspirational and their teachers are absolute champions. Thumbs up.

    Not so joyful is Quiet On Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV. This 5-part docuseries looks at Nickelodeon shows from the late 90s and some of the footage is shocking. It shows kids series doing inappropriate sexualised humour, and minors being forced into degrading stunts that adults would have balked at.

    Mercado on TV: ABC’s This is Going to Be Big – inspirational kids, teachers who are champions

    Former producer Dan Schneider has just sued this production for defamation. He admits to being a “bad leader” amidst accusations of racism, sexism and verbal abuse on his sets. What he objects to is any implication that he was involved with or facilitated the hiring of two convicted child abusers. Very disturbing. 

    Next week, the two-part documentary Spacey: Unmasked (Wednesday on Nine) is being rushed to air just hours after being screened in the UK. This expose on Kevin Spacey has been commissioned by Channel 4, who just did another doco about a reality TV shocker.

    Miriam: Death of a Reality Star looks at the horrible 2004 Sky series There’s Something About Miriam. Six young men were flown to Ibiza to participate in a dating show, but nobody was told that Miriam Rivera was a transgender woman.

    None of them picked it throughout filming, but their reaction to the truth in the dying moments of the show resulted in violence and a lawsuit. Meanwhile, Miriam was pilloried in the British press for being a cheat and a liar, while producers salivated over how much publicity they were getting. Yuk.

    What’s not mentioned in this 3-part series is an Australian connection because Miriam was flown down under to be an intruder on Big Brother (2004). Unlike the English lads, housemate Ryan “Fitzy” Fitzgerald picked her “secret” straight away.

    Miriam’s life spiralled out of control after reality TV, and she would later die in tragic circumstances. She isn’t as well-known as Kevin Spacey, so there’s no sale to an Aussie network yet. Hopefully that might change soon.

    TV Gold: New episode of Mediaweek’s weekly TV podcast

    Listen now on your favourite podcast platform for 30 minutes of TV reviews and recommendations every week from Mediaweek’s Mercado on TV columnist Andrew Mercado and editor-in-chief James Manning.

    We want your comments, feedback and questions –

    This week: After the Party, Baby Reindeer, Thank You Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story

    Baby Reindeer (Netflix, series) is the latest hit series from the hottest streaming platform this year by a long way. Thank You Goodnight: The Bon Jovi Story (Disney+, series) features interviews and archival footage with original band members including former guitarist Richie Sambora. After The Party (ABC iview, series) is a brilliant New Zealand drama starring Robyn Malcolm which will keep you riveted until the final moments of episode six.

    TV Gold Bonus episode: Andrew and James are joined by Robyn Malcolm for an extended talk about After the Party (iview). Plus we also hear about last year’s brilliant Far North (Paramount+).

    Listen online here, or on your favourite podcast platform.

    The post Mercado on TV: ABC’s This is Going to Be Big – inspirational kids, teachers who are champions appeared first on Mediaweek.

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