Wellington architect Chris Moller is host of the third iteration of this successful franchise premiering this week. He’s not as disapproving or sceptical as Britain’s Kevin McCloud, who is always raising that well-known eyebrow with the benefit of many shows’ experience watching selfbuilders attempt their dream house. He’s not as desperately empathetic as Australia’s Peter Maddison, who always seems to bond instantly with his subjects, seeking their approval as much as they his appreciation. But Moller has a laidback easy charm about him and is cool in that way architects seem to be — maybe it’s the way they dress or can draw better than us — and obviously an expert when it comes to design. He shares with his counterparts an evangelical belief It was once banned from television for being too bloody. Now cage fights are prime-time TV events, knockout videos routinely going viral, and mixed martial arts is a billion-dollar industry. It combines multiple combat sports such as wrestling, boxing and jiu jitsu and, while the fisticuffs sometimes seem a bit amateurish, there’s no denying the raw, almost primeval violence of the contest. Despite enormous global popularity, and a growing fan base in Australia, MMA struggles to shake the stigma of danger and brutality. This gripping factual series, from director Ivan O’Mahoney, tracks a year in the lives of Claire, Martin and Ali — three ordinary Australians who share this extreme pursuit — to uncover what drives them, and the pressures they face as they balance their daily lives, jobs and families with the demands of the sport. O’Mahoney gains unprecedented access to fighters, their families and coaches, and unique behind-the-scenes footage at major MMA events. Never Mind the Buzzcocks Thursday, 9.30pm, ABC Two Catch the last recorded episode of the anarchic, very funny award-winning British pop quiz, which was axed by the BBC last year (to “create space for new entertainment formats”) after 269 episodes, with comedians Phill Jupitus, Sean Hughes, Bill Bailey and Noel Fielding among the best known team captains. A classic. Full-on action flick Taken 2 (Saturday, 8.30pm, Ten) stars Liam Neeson in the sequel to the smash 2008 kidnap drama in which he played the CIA guy whose daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) had been kidnapped by foreign baddies. Now semi-retired, he and his family cross paths with Murad (Rade Serbedzija), whose son died at his hands during Kim’s rescue. Murad wants revenge. The much-anticipated sequel Anchorman: The Legend Continues (Sunday, 9pm, Ten) delivers satire and much frivolity in the early 1980s as Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell) returns, offered the 2am slot in a “rolling 24-hour news station” in New York City. It may be his last chance at redemption but first he has to reunite the old team of weirdos. One of the highest grossing films of all time, Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Tuesday, 8.30pm, Eleven) is the third in the liveaction series from director Michael Bay and a great cast includes Shia LaBeouf, Josh Duhamel, John Turturro, Tyrese Gibson, Rosie HuntingtonWhiteley, Patrick Dempsey, John Malkovich and Frances McDormand. But of course it’s the gigantic Autobots and Decepticons hammering one another that steal the picture in this battle to save the universe.
Lachlan McDonald and host Chris Moller