• An unexpected treat for "Rake" fans (unexpected by me at least). In this 12-ep Aussie series from back in the day (2008-09), Richard Roxburgh plays Art Watkins, a restless travel writer whose quest for serenity in Bhutan is interrupted by his mother's death and an inconvenient bequest--a half-interest in a derelict backpackers' hostel in the hometown he fled twenty years ago. A quirky codicil in Mum's will ("She's really making her absence felt!") keeps him in town indefinitely to "sort out some family stuff," including coming to terms with everyone he's hurt or disappointed in his previous life, e.g. his rivalrous brother, resentful wife and son, and mixed-signals-sending ex-fiancée.

    The setting (beachy, semitropical) and the secondary characters (surfers, scroungers, bikini babes and real-estate sharks) reminded me a bit of a Carl Hiaasen novel, though the trio of silent, unsmiling Native matriarchs called "the Aunties," who appear to be the town's secret rulers, provide a fair dinkum Aussie touch. S1 has a sketchy "story arc" (real estate sharks try to have their way with the land-rich, cash-poor locals); S2 just bounces along, quite entertainingly for the most part, though our minds tended to wander when RR was offscreen for too long. Art doesn't have his first drunken meltdown until well into S2, by which time his transformation into Cleaver Greene is well underway. Now all he needs, we thought, is a change of venue (maybe somewhere more populous and farther south?), a law license and a fresh team of writers....