The Best of the Week
SATURDAY OCTOBER 14
Taxi (Jones Too, Sky 208, from 10.00am). It’s Be Bald and Free Day, in case it had slipped your mind, and Jones Too is celebrating the chromedomed, starting with Taxi, starring Danny DeVito. My Three Sons, Newhart, The Love Boat and Lou Grant follow during the day. NB: Rubbing a bald head for luck is not okay today; that’s St Patrick’s Day.
The Brokenwood Mysteries (Prime, 7.30pm). An “encore” screening, as they say, of season three of the local mystery series, which means the new season can’t be too far behind. Writer Tim Balme’s sly humour is evident in the opening episode, in which there is a real murder during a dodgy “Lord of the Ringz” tour. The investigation leads to a spider researcher; comedy constable DC Breen (comedian Nic Sampson)
doesn’t cope well.
When We Rise (TVNZ 1,
10.40pm). It’s not subtle, but Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black probably doesn’t care. This miniseries (which began two weeks ago) charts the rise of the gay civil rights movement in the US from 1972 to 2013. There are depictions of real characters, such as Cleve Jones, Roma Guy and Ken Jones, who are played by Guy Pearce, Mary-Louise Parker and Michael K Williams. Rachel Griffiths, Dylan Walsh, Whoopi Goldberg, Rosie O’Donnell and David Hyde Pierce also appear. Catch-up episodes are available on TVNZ On Demand.
SUNDAY OCTOBER 15
World’s Busiest Cities (Choice TV, 7.30pm). How do more than seven million people rub along together in an area just over 1000 square kilometres? This BBC series begins in Hong Kong, where Dan Snow looks at the city’s history and Anita Rani and Ade Adepitan visit marketplaces, witness rituals and meet people squeezed into tiny living spaces. Mexico City, Moscow and Delhi are also on the itinerary. In other travel documentary news, Choice TV begins Rivers with Jeremy Paxman (Monday, 9.30pm), in which Paxo travels along the Tweed, the Thames, the Mersey and the Severn.
Joanna Lumley’s Japan (Living, Sky 017, 8.30pm). She is, we have to say it, an absolutely fabulous travelling partner, and now she’s about to charm everyone in Japan, from Hokkaido to Shikoku. The first episode has red-crowned cranes, a Sapporo
snow festival, a visit to the Fukushima exclusion zone and a bullet train from Nagano to Tokyo.
MONDAY OCTOBER 16
My Mother and Other Strangers (Vibe, Sky 006, 8.30pm). It took over the Poldark timeslot in the UK, but viewers were disappointed by its lack of shirtlessness – and originality. Nostalgic to a fault, this five-part series is set in a rural Irish village, which is disrupted by the arrival of American soldiers during World War II. Central to the story is Hattie Morahan’s
Rose Coyne, who is married to farm and shop owner Michael (Owen McDonnell). An Englishwoman and therefore forever an outsider, Rose becomes friends with US liaison officer and fellow Tennyson-quoter Captain Dreyfuss ( Mad Men’s Aaron Staton). It’s beautiful, but not one of those period dramas that is shedding light on the present.
In the Dark (UKTV, Sky 007, 9.30pm). A crime drama series that is not exactly reinventing the wheel: a tough, troubled detective excavates her own past during an investigation in her hometown. In the
Dark does boast Ripper Street’s MyAnna Buring in the lead role and its two two-part stories have been adapted by acclaimed writer Danny Brocklehurst ( Shameless, Ordinary Lies) from Mark Billingham’s books. “Pacy, thoughtful and skilfully constructed,” said the Guardian.
TUESDAY OCTOBER 17
Grand Designs New
Zealand (Three, 7.30pm). Futureproofing: it’s the new black. Black is also the new black for retired architect and triathlete Greg, who wants to paint his innovative Nelson home that colour inside and out. The tricky site is next to an estuary and a busyhighway, and Greg wants the house on poles, to keep it above sea level, and make it self-contained so it can be relocated. You say “grand”, we say …
Alan Carr: Yap, Yap, Yap! (TVNZ 2, 9.05pm). He’s at the top of his game and if you didn’t see him on his tour last year, here’s a live stand-up special that’s some consolation.
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 18
The Nineties (Prime, 8.30pm).
Is it time to be nostalgic about the 90s already? Clipshow television produced for CNN, which means it’s all about the American 90s, beginning with US TV: Cheers, Seinfeld, Freaks and Geeks,
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The X-Files and how the landscape changed when HBO came along with Sex and the City and The Sopranos.
Ipukarea (Maori TV, 9.30pm).
A series about a subject much under discussion right now: waterways. Members of marae that line the banks of rivers and lakes discuss their traditions and the cultural significance of these ipukarea. Tonight, changes to kai in Lake Taupo and the Waikato River.
Imposters (TVNZ 2, 9.40pm). A frothy, soapy series from the US network that is usually concerned with real housewives and flipping houses. Bravo, that is, which also commissioned the series Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce.
It may come as a surprise, then, that Imposters is 100% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s boosted by the inclusion of Academy Award nominee Uma Thurman in a recurring
role. Israeli actress Inbar Lavi leads the cast as a con artist who leaves behind a string of broken hearts and empty bank accounts. Three of her marks (Rob Heaps, Parker Young and Marianne Rendón) team up to find her and begin learning a few tricks of the trade themselves. Fun in a Suits/The Catch/Hustle sort of way.
THURSDAY OCTOBER 19
Modern Family (Three, 7.30pm). The series has been critically acclaimed in the US since it began, although the praise has become more muted after eight seasons. Three is diving into season nine close to its US broadcast and it begins with an episode in which various characters contemplate getting older. It starts with Jay (Ed O’Neill) gathering the whole family at a lake to watch an eclipse.
World’s Busiest Cities, Sunday.
My Mother and Other
Modern Family, Thursday.