Luke Nguyen pictured on Who Do You Think You Are?
Luke Nguyen pictured on Who Do You Think You Are? Photo Contributed

SBS series to bring free-to-air TV out of the doldrums

IS THE current offering of reality cooking, LOL cats and desperate bachelorettes on the telly making you a bit depressed?

I have to say free-to-air television is a bit underwhelming at the moment.

Seven's fizzer, Restaurant Revolution, has been relegated to double episodes on Thursday nights, while its rival, The Hotplate, is still steaming ahead three nights a week on Nine.

I don't think Hotplate's content is any better, though.

I can barely handle the "dramas" of MKR for three months of the year and I fear I'll soon be in bachie overload when Ten's planned first season of The Bachelorette starts.

Luckily, SBS has come to the rescue with a new season of Who Do You Think You Are?

The genealogy series follows prominent Aussies as they delve into their family history, following documents and clues around the world as they unfurl the leaves of their family trees.

So far the show has profiled award-winning actors Geoffrey Rush and Toni Colette.

This Tuesday's episode profiles chef and TV host Luke Nguyen, who is very candid about his tumultuous childhood.

After immigrating to Australia from Vietnam, via Thailand, with his parents, Nguyen and his siblings worked long hours in the family restaurant, on top of going to school.

Early in the episode Nguyen learns from his mother she had a Chinese half-brother from his grandfather's previous marriage, and he travels to rural China to meet the family he never knew he had.

He also learns of the wars which divided his father's side of the family in Vietnam.

This show is more real than most of the other so-called reality TV on our screens.

Sure, the producers map out Nguyen's journey, but there's no scripting of a tearful family reunion.