The Best of the Week

New Zealand Listener - - THAT’SENTERTAINMENT -


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.


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 ( hei­

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.


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.


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. shows.


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.

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