Horror struck

Blight of the living dead … the Swedish robot drama <i>Real Humans</i>.
Blight of the living dead … the Swedish robot drama Real Humans.

You know you're getting a bit ropy when you find yourself watching a new Swedish series about hubots (human-looking robots) and wondering why - when they can get perfect eyes, skin and teeth (only marginally more credible than an eastern suburbs facelift) - they still opt for the stilted movements that year 3 students assume when they act like store dummies that have come to life.

My problem is not that the Swedes didn't shoot for more naturalism and more subtlety, but that I'm watching another stupid show about undead - never living - people without souls who are never given good dialogue.

This is a booming genre - that I loathe. As somebody who would prefer to watch Dora The Explorer than a Twilight movie, I realise that I'm in the minority in my horror at the faux-horror fashion. Let's be quite clear. Zombies, vampires, ghosts, werewolves and hubots don't exist. So they make poor protagonists because they can't engage with humans. Dogs have a better crack at empathy than a fictional undead invention - especially if it originates in Sweden.

Real Humans (SBS One, Saturday, 9.30pm) has enough of a buzz around it that I felt obliged to consider and actually engage. I now know how straight men feel when women ask them to watch Dance Moms. It's torture. It's as bad as The Walking Dead, which I understand is also huge. Zombies are just boring middle-aged men with unacceptably bad skin. They go on and on. You have to shoot them to stop them. Or play Nicki Minaj. It's December, and hubots and zombies are more annoying than a very long corridor of red lights in a Westfield car park.

As much as I love The Good Wife (Ten, Wednesday, 8.30pm), Alicia Florrick, as portrayed by the ironing-board-stiff Julianna Margulies, continues to play dead, leaving those around her to emote like mad. Alan Cumming's (Eli Gold) left eyebrow has moved more this season than Margulies's entire body. Cumming and Christine Baranski do all the heavy lifting in the emotional department, while Josh Charles, Archie Panjab and Chris Noth also remain impervious.

This presents no real impediment to the enjoyment of the show. But it is mildly irritating - as is the delay of opening credits. I clocked last week's episode: from the first line of dialogue until the signature music and credit sequence began, we'd already watched 20 minutes of action. Just plain arrogant, that is.

And while we are whinging, can anyone explain a three-part series about the formative years of James Herriot, that damp vet from All Creatures Great and Small? Did I miss Minder as a Little Chap? Young James Herriot (ABC1, Saturday, 8.20pm) is for people who still smile when they hear the theme from M*A*S*H. It is a nauseating period drama about a bunch of young vet students wearing awfully rough wool, and trying to create drama about a lone sheep on a moor.

Written with modern sensibilities that make the dialogue improbable, a country vet can be heard to describe the First World War as ''that imperialist debacle that has this great country in disgrace''.

There they go, tackling imperialism and curing far-fetched diseases with almost no science. Unless we are waiting for hubots to wander into the local pub, there is no reason to watch this dimly lit misery of a show.

The critical dummy-spit is to be expected at this time of year. It must be summer. Even Ron Moss has walked off the set of The Bold and the Beautiful.

This story Horror struck first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.