The Best of the Week
SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 23
Comedy Pilot Week: Mean Mums (Three, 8.30pm).
Three’s development of New Zealand comedy as a key part of its brand has been a game changer for local funny people and, in general, a winner for the channel. Tonight sees the roll-out of a new experiment: a short season of sitcom pilots in prime time each night until Wednesday. Mean Mums alights on the hell that is other children’s mothers and on Monday night, there’s a double-header, with Sidelines continuing the parenting theme via the world of sports mums and dads, followed by Lonely Hearts Motel, a take on the failing family business trope. On Tuesday, Golden
Boy is a story of what it’s like living in the shadow of a sibling who becomes an All Black and, finally,
Mangere Vice is what it sounds like – a South Auckland police comedy. Although these are all trial runs, there are plenty of familiar faces, including Ginette McDonald, Rachel House, Anna Jullienne, Kimberley Crossman, Thomas Sainsbury and James Rolleston. Viewers get to join in, too, with the option to offer a virtual thumbs-up by using the #comedypilotweek hashtag on social media.
MONDAY SEPTEMBER 24
Kiddets (TVNZ 2, 6.30am). An expansion of Pukeko Pictures’ WotWots kids’ TV franchise, Kiddets introduces a new cast of space cadets who play and learn at a colourful space academy. And although it may not mean much to its target viewers, the deal between
Sir Richard Taylor’s Pukeko and Guangdong Huawen Century Animation Company makes it the first New Zealand-China TV coproduction. You can also find episodes on TVNZ OnDemand and TVNZ’s online space for young viewers, Heihei ( heihei.nz).
F*ck That’s Delicious (Viceland, Sky 013, 7.30pm). Hip-hop gourmand Action Bronson is back for another season – one that sees him put away the passport and stick close to home. In episode one, the big man tours Queens, New York, a “thug’s paradise” of food delights. There’s a treat for hard-core rap fans, with legendary producer
the night before. Emergency weed supplies are being rushed into affected areas as we speak.
The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco (Vibe, Sky 006, 8.40pm). It’s been four years since the former Bletchley Park lady codebreakers were last on our screens solving complex crimes on behalf of witless law enforcement officers.
This time, they’re in 1950s California, where a murder seems to have some troubling links to the death of one of their own years before. Along the way, the original cast has been misplaced, apart from Jean McBrian (played by Julie Graham) and Millie Harcourt (Rachael Stirling), and because it’s a British-Canadian co-production shot largely in Vancouver, most of their new American friends are played by Canadians. But there is mystery, and there is murder.
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 25
The Stuarts: A Bloody Reign (History, Sky 073, 7.30pm). We tend to think of our own times as dramatic, but things got fairly lively in the 1600s, too. The Great Plague of London, the Great Fire of London, and the Thirty Years’ War in Europe – and finally, as far as the English Stuarts were concerned, the civil war that culminated in the beheading of King Charles I. So there’s no shortage of plot for this two-part
story of the Stuarts’ rise and fall, as seen through the eyes of an aristocratic Welsh clan. Better still, it’s presented by historian, novelist and former Celebrity Mastermind winner Professor Kate Williams, yet another history academic who proves to be an absolute natural for television.
Rich House, Poor House (TVNZ 1, 8.35pm). The UK home-swap reality series is back this week and sees veterinary surgeons Lizzy and Colin Whiting and their brood move out of their five-bedroom house into the Timmins family’s twobedroom housing association place – and take a £1000 cut in their weekly household budget while they’re at it.
NCIS (Three, 9.00pm). The writers of NCIS might seem to have dropped their bombshell already with last week’s departure of Abby Sciuto (Pauley Perrette) after 15 seasons of crime solving, but there is more to come in the season finale, with Jack responding rashly to an unwelcome blast from the past and another of the team left in a dangerous predicament.
WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 26
Anika Moa Unleashed (TVNZ OnDemand). Not many TV hosts have been able to
bring their personal sense of humour to the screen the way Anika Moa has and no one, surely, has been able to work it up into an entire show the way she does in Unleashed. A new season of her encounters with high-profile New Zealanders begins streaming from today – and the first to enter the Moa zone is singer Stan Walker. You know how much giggling there’ll be. tvnz.co.nz/ shows.
THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 27
Gus Worland: Marathon Man (Choice TV, 8.30pm). Apart from being a breakfast radio host, television presenter and Hugh Jackman’s bff, Gus Worland is unfit to the point of being clinically obese. But he wants to change that. This six-part series follows his efforts to lose 40kg in six months so he can compete in the New York City Marathon. There are challenges along the way and a number of them involve chocolate and cheesecake.
South Park (Comedy Central, Sky 011, 10.30pm). It almost defies reason that Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s adult cartoon has been with us for 21 years. Had the kids aged as the series did, would Cartman be a thirtysomething millionaire or an angry opioid addict? But no, everyone’s still 10 years old and a small Colorado town is still a fairground mirror for America. To be fair, the last season did leave things in a bit of a mess, what with President Garrison nuking Toronto and the world falling into chaos. Can Garrison be reined in? We’ll find out when season 22 debuts, only hours after it screens in the US.
Golden Boy, Tuesday.
The Alchemist (Snoop Dogg, Cypress Hill and others) offering local guidance. But it looks like Bronson will be tasting Kiwi fare again soon – he’s headlining Wanaka’s Rhythm & Alps festival this New Year’s Eve, and plays in MangawhaiF*ck That’s Delicious, Monday.
The Bletchley Circle: SanFrancisco, Monday.
Rich House, Poor House, Tuesday.
Gus Worland: Marathon Man, Thursday.
South Park, Thursday.