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What’s on TV this week: Miracle Workers, Dirty John, The Umbrella Academy and more

Miracle Workers start this week

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It’s true, Daniel Radcliffe is a funny guy.

He may have catapulted to stardom as a wand waver but more and more it feels like his talents lie in comedy, especially the quirky kind.

Whether it’s playing the dog walker in the fake movie-within-a-movie in Trainwreck, as the rom-lead opposite Zoe Kazan in What If? or as Manny the flatulent corpse in Swiss Army Man (my personal favourite performance of The Boy Who Lived), Radcliffe has great comedic timing.

Maybe it’s his suuuuuper awkward British haplessness — it just works.

Which is why it’s so nice to see him on screen in a regular TV role in Miracle Workers — wait until you see how excited how he gets about a lost glove. Total joy.

MIRACLE WORKERS

(Stan — Tuesday, February 12)

Funny guy — whoddathunkit?

Funny guy — whoddathunkit?Source:Supplied

In any movie, TV show or book, casting a love spell is always discouraged — you can’t meddle with the affairs of the heart, it tends to end badly.

While not “magical” per se, Miracle Workers is about a couple of low-level employees (Daniel Radcliffe and Geraldine Viswanathan) in the heavily bureaucratic heaven department of “Prayers Answered”.

They strike a deal with a disengaged God (Steve Buscemi) whereby if they can make a couple of introverted humans fall for each other, he won’t destroy the world. How hard could it be, right? Right?!

This offbeat series was created by Simon Rich, adapted from a book he’d written some years earlier. Rich is best known for being one the youngest people to join Saturday Night Live and his former boss Lorne Michaels is a producer on Miracle Workers.

THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY

(Netflix — Friday, February 11 from 7pm AEDT)

Yes, there are only six kids in this photo, but seven overall — it’s part of the story, you’ll see

Yes, there are only six kids in this photo, but seven overall — it’s part of the story, you’ll seeSource:Supplied

Take seven kids with superpowers born in mysterious circumstances, and place them with a cold billionaire adopted father and it’s no wonder a bunch of messed up adults with emotional issues are spat out at the other end.

Based on the comic books co-created by Gerard Way, the former frontman for My Chemical Romance, The Umbrella Academy is a splashy Netflix production with a big budget, a kind of gothic version of X-Men.

After falling out as teens, the now 30-year-olds reteam when their father dies, seemingly from a heart attack, and they have to save the world from an impending apocalypse.

Starring Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, Mary J. Blige and Colm Feore, The Umbrella Academy joins a bulging pantheon of superhero comic book movies and series, but it’s got emotional resonance and a killer soundtrack.

DIRTY JOHN

(Netflix — Thursday, February 14 from 7pm AEDT)

An anti-Valentine’s Day story if there ever was one (Photo by: Frank Ockenfels/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

An anti-Valentine’s Day story if there ever was one (Photo by: Frank Ockenfels/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)Source:Contour by Getty Images

There’s something perverse about Netflix dropping Dirty John on Valentine’s Day because it is not a romance — it’s the opposite.

Based on the popular true crime podcast, the series stars Connie Britton as successful divorcee Debra Newell who thinks she’s finally found a good man when she meets John (Eric Bana) online.

John is a doctor, he’s kind and easygoing and he asks all the right questions on their first date. The relationship moves quickly, despite her adult kids’ strong objections. John isn’t who he says is and this charming conman becomes Debra’s worst nightmare.

Dirty John is a seductive miniseries with a shocking ending but it also has a TV movie vibe — everything is just a bit extra. What it does have going for it is Britton’s great performance.

2 DOPE QUEENS

(Fox Showcase and Foxtel Now — Sunday, February 17 at 7.30pm)

Queens (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for HBO)

Queens (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for HBO)Source:Getty Images

Have you heard that oh-so-funny joke? The one about how women are not funny?

Not that it needs to be debunked, but if some regressive organism was chucking a tantrum and shouting, “Well, prove that women are funny!”, you could point at 2 Dope Queens and draw a line under it.

Comedians Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson met by chance in 2014 before starting their own podcast (also called 2 Dope Queens) which featured guests from diverse backgrounds or sexual orientations, giving a voice to people who don’t often have the same opportunities.

Now the pair are on the second season of their HBO comedy special with guests including Lupita Nyong’o and Keegan Michael Key, chatting everything from fashion to sex playlists.

MAGICAL LAND OF OZ

(ABC and iview — Sundays at 7.40pm)

Raine Island turtles in Queensland

Raine Island turtles in QueenslandSource:ABC

Yeah, yeah, we have spiders and snakes that can kill you but what about all the other creatures in our ecosystem, the ones that Americans don’t mistakenly add “bear” to the end of?

Last night, the ABC aired its first original natural history series in almost two decades and the Magical Land of Oz is a tour de force celebration of Australia’s natural landscape and the animals that call it home.

Spanning the entire continent, from snowy peaks to the depths of our three surrounding oceans, the series takes you on a journey narrated by Barry Humphries as the cameras frolic with colourful, cute and unique creatures you can only find here.

There are three episodes in the series — the first aired last night and is available on iview now with the remainder to play out on Sunday nights.

Source: Wenlei Ma@wenleima

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