New to ThreeNow in March

Paper Dolls (March 3) is a Paramount+ Australia commission about the meteoric rise and fall of a manufactured girl-group — five aspiring pop singers on the eve of the new millennium.

The publicity promises “a deep dive into the behind-the-scenes machinations of the making of a pop star [that] will challenge audiences to consider how far they would be willing to go for a spot at the top.

“Whilst unapologetically dark and unrelenting, Paper Dolls is a celebration of resilient women who continue to rally against an industry that is determined to exploit them, all accompanied by a nostalgic ’90s inspired soundtrack.”

Based on an original concept created by Belinda Chapple, but inspired by ’90s reality TV girl band Bardot, it stars Emma Booth (Glitch), Emalia (Australian Gangster), Naomi Sequeira (Evermoor Chronicles), Miah Madden (Redfern Now), Courtney Clarke (Last King of The Cross) and Courtney Monsma (Frozen the Musical), Thomas Cocquerel (The Gilded Age) and Ditch Davey (Spartacus).

“This could have been all froth and bubbles, but thanks to some astonishingly good performances from the five girls in the band, and Chapple’s source material and input (she’s an executive producer on the series), it packs a punch,” The West Australian said.

Paper Dolls isn’t so much lifting the lid on the inner workings of celebrity as giving audiences a more polished and twist-heavy reboot of what Pop Stars was serving up 20 years ago,” ScreenHub argued.

“Turns out the music business is sleazy, exploitative and heartless – I guess that’s what makes it so entertaining.”

Reviewers for The Australian had conflicting assessments — “more grit than gloss” vs a “weak imitation” of real life — while Mediaweek said, “Although its origins are very clear in the first episode, future instalments may go in a different direction as each member of the group gets their own individual backstory. Paper Dolls is off to a great start, can’t wait to see more.”

Platform 7 (March 24) blends supernatural elements and contemporary realism in a psychological thriller about a ghost trapped in a railway station. Reads the blurb:

Lisa has no memory of her past life or her death but after witnessing a cataclysmic event on platform 7, fragments of her memories return, igniting a fire within her. Who was she, and what really happened on the night of her death? Her own quest to solve this mystery runs in parallel with the young and ambitious Transport Police officer Akash, who is suspicious about the circumstances of Lisa’s death.

“The paper-thin script on this mystery drama about a suspicious death makes for a very long watch,” said The Guardian. “It’s a shame, seeing as it features stars like Top Boy’s Jasmine Jobson and Phil Davis.”

The Telegraph said Jobson “does her best with a faltering script”, which is “at its most powerful when it ditches the paranormal and portrays the way coercive controllers slink their tendrils around even confident young women like Lisa”.

Alert: Missing Persons Unit S1-2A (March 31) is set in the Philadelphia Police Department’s Missing Persons Unit (MPU), where police officers Jason Grant (Scott Caan) and his ex-wife Nikki Batista’s (Dania Ramirez) work on dangerous cases whilst striving to uncover the truth behind their own son’s disappearance.

It appears to be as mundane as it sounds, having languished for a platform here since its Fox TV debut more than a year ago.

Also new are S2 of The Playboy Murders (March 18) and S2 of Serving the Hamptons (March 13) while being dusted off are Gallipoli (March 7), Dublin Murders (March 15) and The Good Doctor (March 20).

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