by Mark Hadley

It seems everything results in the loss of grey cells, from negative thinking to simply drinking too much water. If ‘TV rots your brain’, as the adage goes, then we’d want to hope there are some programs worth exchanging a few grey cells for – possibly one or two that might even improve the survivors.

In this year that television turns 60 in Australia, I suggest there are at least six programs I’ll be prepared to take the risk for:

Family Law (SBS)

Based on the best-selling memoir by Benjamin Law, this is an insightful comedy drama about a sprawling Chinese family of seven and their first generation / second generation struggles. Your chance to begin coming to terms with Australia’s multicultural century, and God’s multi-ethnic family – or recognise your own ethnic mix on the small screen.

The X-Files (Ten)

Yep, you read that right. The original Skully and Mulder are back for six one-hour episodes that return to the format of life being larger than things that fit into a test-tube. Begin wondering about aliens and I think you’re only a short step away from realising Jesus coming to earth is not so far-fetched an idea.

The Rio Olympics (Seven)

The sporting event that guarantees something for everyone. Seven’s CEO Tim Worner is touting it as the first ‘completely unavoidable’ Olympiad. The broadcaster will ensure 200 medals and 28 sports will be available on demand. A chance to dwell on our amazing God who has made humans “… a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honour.”

The Hunt (Nine)

And while you’re contemplating our great design, consider what our sin has done to the world. David Attenborough introduces a seven-part series that showcases the extraordinary range of techniques predators use to trap their prey. A reminder that Tennyson’s ‘nature, red in tooth and claw’ is alive and biting, and God’s creation still longs for the redemption only Jesus will bring.

War And Peace (ABC)

The extended morality story from Leo Tolstoy executed with a richness and faithfulness only the BBC can manage. Tolstoy, who built his life on the words of Jesus and believed strongly in our saviour’s command to ‘turn the other cheek’, demonstrates the futility of war and riches through his epic novel.

The Get Down (Netflix)

Baz Luhrmann’s 10-year project to produce a dramatic history of hip-hop. Given the Australian director’s credentials you can expect a rich tapestry of the unexpected. Personally, though, I’m looking forward to seeing a positive portrayal of Christianity through key character Pastor Ramon Cruz, the head of a local church who challenges his flock with ‘fiery sermons and firm, steady leadership’.

This article was first published by Eternity newspaper. Click here to check out more Eternity culture articles.