The Guardian 30 November, 2005

TV programs worth watching
Sun Dec 3 — Sat Dec 9

One hundred years ago patent clerk third class Albert Einstein grappled with the implications of his special theory of relativity and came to a startling conclusion: that mass and energy are one, related by the formula E=mc2. Science: E=mc2 (SBS 8.30pm Sunday) is a two-part docu-drama that explores the lives of that explores the lives of the men and women who helped develop the concepts behind each term in the equation. They included Michael Faraday (physicist who invented the electric dynamo); Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier (chemist who developed the theory of combustion); James Clerk Maxwell (specialised in electromagnetism and the kinetic theory of gases); Emilie du Chatelet (promoted Newton’s cosmic order in French scientific circles); Lise Meitner (physicist who identified nuclear fission).

For three generations the Donovan family has played a leading role in Aboriginal and country music circles. Today the youngest of the family is trying to move toward the mainstream. Casey Donovan became famous around Australia when she won the country’s biggest talent quest, Australian Idol, in 2004. But although her win was celebrated as the family’s crowning achievement, it also highlighted long-standing family divisions.

Dynasties: The Donovan Family (ABC 8pm Monday) is the intimate story of a family’s struggle with the changing nature of success. Music has been a way for the Donovans to bring family and community together. Casey’s grandparents, Micko and Aileen Donovan, were local legends in the northern NSW country town of Macksville. The couple were best known for their famous barn dances: rollicking get-togethers that people — black and white — drove sometimes hundreds of kilometres to attend.

Today three brothers still make up the popular Donovan Brothers band, a mainstay of the country and western circuit.

But it is older sister Agnes who has perhaps most keenly embraced her parents’ legacy. She has been the driving force behind the Aboriginal country music festival. Agnes brought up her daughter Emma to be a singer. Emma Donovan is today a successful performer last year launching her first solo album.

Extraordinary People: Not My Fault I’m Fat (SBS 7.30pm Tuesday) is the third part in a series that follows people with incurable, life-threatening Prader-Willi Syndrome, a brain malfunction which results in an insatiable appetite and a slow metabolism, causing victims to become severely obese if their eating is not controlled. The Syndrome affects about one in 20,000 people and is caused by an abnormality of Chromosome 15.

December 8 marks the 25th anniversary of the murder of former Beatle John Lennon. Hot Docs: Imagine "Imagine (SBS 10.10pm Tuesday) explores the extraordinary popularity of Lennon’s song "Imagine". The program re-examines the intense partnership between Lennon and Yoko Ono, who is now acknowledged as the co-author of the song and there are interviews where people from different parts of the world talk about how the song has impacted on their lives.

Resurrection (SBS 12.05am Thursday) is a two-part movie based on Leo Tolstoy’s novel of the same name and is one of the Taviani brothers’ best works.

Katusha Maslova is an orphan who has been taken in to work as a maid in the house of Prince Dmitri Nekhlyudov’s two aunts. During one of his visits Dmitri seduces Katusha who ends up giving birth to a child. She is kicked out of the house and has to resort to prostitution. She is accused of murdering a client and, as fate would have it, Dmitri is on the jury that sentences her to hard labour in Siberia.

Roman Karman: The Film­maker of the Revolution (SBS 1.40am Thursday) is a documentary of the Soviet war cameraman, one of the most influential documentary makers in the history of cinema. Karman was a roving ambassador of socialism. The documentary profiles Karman’s extraordinary talents and ability to capture the emotion and immediacy of his war zone surroundings.

The Power of Nightmares: The Shadows in the Cave (SBS 8.30pm Thursday) asks, "Should we be worried about the threat from organised terrorism or is it simply a phantom menace being used to stop society from falling apart?" This three-part documentary explores how the idea that we are threatened by a hidden and organised terrorist network is an illusion.

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