Brian Edwards Media

Not sure what to watch on the box? Check out ‘Brian’s Guide’. Categories include: Not to be missed; Good; Curate’s Egg; and Downright Awful!

 

Not To Be Missed

Top Gear – Prime: Great fun, even if you aren’t interested in cars.

Q and A – TV1: Intelligent examination of social and political issues.

Sunday – TV1: Quality investigative journalism.

House – TV3: The man’s awful and the plots silly beyond belief. Wonderful!

QI – Prime: Quirky intellectual panel show with Stephen Fry

Native Affairs – MTS: Public service broadcasting not just for Maori

Media7 – TVNZ7:  High quality debate on the New Zealand and international media with Russell Brown.

Campbell Live – TV3: Crusading local current affairs with a conscience.

HARDtalk – BBC World News: Stephen Sackur demonstrates the art of the interview.

Monroe – Prime: Medical drama possibly better than House

Big Fat Gypsy Weddings – TV1: Breathtaking. You will be amazed.

The Graham Norton Show – TV3: The ultimate talk show. Norton leaves Parkinson for dead.

7 Days – TV3: Crass. Vulgar. Obscene. Foul-mouthed. Cruel. Brilliant!

The Gruen Transfer – Comedy Central: Informative and highly entertaining Australian programme on advertising.

The Daily Show (Global Edition) – Comedy Central: The only version you can see in New Zealand of the fabulous Jon Stewart satire show.

The Colbert Report – See The Daily Show.

The Chaser’s War on Everything – Comedy Central: Brilliant Aussie comedy/satire show.

Entourage – Comedy Central: I’ve never seen it, but friends assure me it’s great viewing.   

Good

Antiques Roadshow – Living: A gentle and soothing meander through the world of antiques.

Scrubs – TV2: Charming sitcom.

60 Minutes – TV3: Current affairs with a leaning towards human interest stories.

The Nation – TV3: Worthwhile examination of local politics, marred by overly aggressive interviewing.

The Simpsons – Four: Still the greatest sitcom ever made.

Border Security – Prime: For anyone who’s sweated coming through customs.

3News – TV3: Its regular newsreaders leave the others for dead.

One News – TV1: Solid news programme, lacking the character of its competitor on TV3.

Shortland Street – TV2: Enduring local soap. Now part of our TV history.

The Weakest Link – UKTV: Enjoyable torture game show with “The Queen of Mean”.

Missing Pieces – TV3: Beautifully made and moving “lost and found” people show.

Animal Rescue – TV1: Irresistible life and death programme. Tissues essential.

Nothing Trivial – TV1: From the makers of Outrageous Fortune and Shortland Street with most of the same actors. This can lead to identity confusion.

Police 10 – TV2: No-nonsense former cop Graham Bell enlists your help to get the bad guys.

20/20 – TV2: Downmarket current affairs.

Comedy Inc – Comedy Central: OK Aussie sketch show.

Curate’s Egg

The Arts Channel: Some great stuff along with some really heavy going.

The History Channel: Should be renamed The War Channel

Sky Movies: Expensive exercise in trying to find a decent movie.

Close Up – TV1: Its host is good in soft interview situations, but out of his depth with tough interviews, panels and punch-ups.

The Late Show with David Letterman – Prime: Occasional gems buried in dross.

Undercover Boss – TV1: I just don’t believe that the programmers don’t select the best and most deserving employees to meet the boss. Looks fake to me.

Target – You either love or hate Brooke Howard-Smith (I think he’s brilliant) but what Family X think of product Y tells us nothing. And not another kid trying to buy something illegal from a dairy – please!

Fair Go – TV1: Best reason for watching – the gorgeous Alison Mau. But the programme has lost its common touch and, Alison notwithstanding, Judy and I no longer watch.

Comedy Central – Endless repetition of ancient sitcoms; Endless repetition of the same maddening promos. But some real comedy gems.

Downright Awful

Deal or No Deal – Prime: Argghhh! The host deserves death.

Millionaire Hot Seat – Prime: Host Eddie McGuire was useless on Millionaire, now even more useless on this dog of a quiz show.

New Zealand’s Next Top Model – TV3: Embodying all the superficial values of the catwalk. The real winners are the young women who get eliminated and are hopefully spared a career in this destructive industry. (But then I hate cooking shows as well!) (JC: The man doesn’t know what he’s talking about! This is my weekly vacuous-telly treat. Alas, I watch it alone!)

Saturday Night Live – Comedy Central: Ancient re-runs of a once great show. Avoid it.

33 Comments:

  1. What? No Coro??

    BE: No. But you may be interested to know that I once had a long face-to-face interview with Patricia Phoenix, the voluptuous and scandalous Elsie Tanner of Coro Street. That was in 1974 when I was a morning talk-back host on the fledgling Radio Windy in Wellington. Lovely lady who cried a lot during the interview. Sadly no longer with us.

  2. Justified, TV One 9.30 Thursday Best. Thing. On. TV.
    I’m sure Judy would be partial to the charms of the leading man…

    BE: Well, we certainly won’t be watching that then!

    JC: Loved it, Ana. And you’re right – shades of Denis Quaid in The Big Easy. Mmmmmmm…..

  3. The Big Bang Theory is the funniest comedy on TV by some margin. Has been for two or three years now. Two and a Half Men is also comedy gold, although recycling it so much in prime time is a little cynical and may tarnish my long term memory of it.

  4. Good to see House, Q&A and Monroe in your Not-to-be-missed category. They’re on series record in MySky. And I catch Graham Norton and 7 Days whenever possible.

    I suspect Nothing Trivial will grow into a must watch too.

  5. @Ana Samways: I cannot agree with you more.

  6. It’s just a matter of time until Target sends a 12 year old into a brothel/ strip club to see if they’ll give her a job…

  7. Well, I certainly agree with many of your obs, though the accusal of QI as being “intellectual” is wholly unfair. I’ve also got Graham Boreton down as unwatchable too. But I take issue over the matter of Eddie Maguire – in my view he’s the best quiz show host, ever. Admittedly Hot Seat’s hardly a gripping programme but the original (Aussie) Millionaire programme he was simply superb. But I’m a mere consumer – you’re the media guru Brian; please expand on how he’s useless.

    BE: Don’t agree about Graham Norton obviously. Extraordinary ability to put guests at their ease, very quick witted. Generally a highly entertaining hour. Maguire was useless because he was more interested in chatting to the competitors than getting on with the show. Millionaire needs to be fast moving, as it is in the UK and the US. I sometimes suspected that Maguire was trying to limit the prize money the show handed out.

  8. How on earth do you find time to watch all that?

    While we are at it, it may be appropriate to rename some of the War Channel’s stablemates. I’m thinking the ‘Shark Channel’ and the ‘Aircrash Channel’?

    BE: By not mowing the lawn.

  9. Noted that there are no entries for TVNZ7. We have recently discovered this gem with some fascinating programmes. It is just begging for someone to pick it up and run with now that the Government/TVNZ seem to have taken the axe to any real semblance of Public Broadcasting in this country

    BE: Yes that was an oversight. I used the Listener and the Sky magazine to remind me of the programmes and TVNZ7 doesn’t feature in either. I will add Russell Brown’s Media7 to my list of not to be missed programmes, but not Backbenchers which I find an abomination.

  10. Nothing Trivial is nice light fun. I am a little worried that it doesn’t quite keep up the standards of local professionalism and polish established by Outrageous Fortune.

    This week I noticed a weird parallel between Nothing Trivial and medical dramas like House and Grey’s Anatomy. The doctors routinely take their eyes off their work at critical points in MRI scans and operations to establish unnecessary eye contact for the obligatory who’s bonking whom background chit-chat. The Nothing Trivial team ignoring quiz questions for the same reason is annoying in exactly the same way.

    Justified is indeed excellent, you should watch it BE, getting in touch with one’s gay side is an essential part of being a modern metrosexual. Gritty Aussie crime drama City Homicide is a hidden gem, buried in an unfriendly timeslot. I think have some memory of BE previously complimenting the work of Shane Bourne as host of “Thank God You’re Here”. In City Homicide he does excellent work of an entirely different nature.

    BE: Thanks for the suggestions, Bill. Not sure whether I have a ‘gay side’, but my feminine side is fairly well developed.

  11. Q and A – TV1: Intelligent examination of social and political issues.

    What? I guess you must be watching it as a TV professional, but from a viewer’s standpoint, it’s the Paul and Guyon Show, primarily aimed at engorging their respective giant egos. And taking flicks at any lefties within range.

    BE: Hmmm. Espiner is an annoyingly interruptive interviewer, but Paul now has a much gentler style which results in his interviews being far more productive. I don’t know about “any lefties within range”, but kicking Phil seems to have become a sport among the political interviewers.

  12. Justified is indeed excellent. I cannot recall an American series with better use of language. Myself, I watch it with subtitles so not to miss any of it. I’ll say no more for fear of “spoilers”, but I am pleased to report that a third series has been confirmed.
    OK – one spoiler – lots of folks do get shot.

  13. I have found The Gruen Transfer to be pretty entertaining and illuminating too. For something politically incorrect, it’s hard to go past The Unauthorised History of New Zealand.

    BE: I’m afraid I regard Jeremy Wells as the most over-rated person on our screens.

  14. I am absolutely staggered that you have overlooked Bill O’reilly and his ‘no spin zone’ from your number one position. Are you simply foxing as I thought you were a fully paid up member of the Tea Potty Party.

    BE: Thanks for the reminder, Rick. No idea how I missed it. Then again it might be because I regard O’Reilly, Beck and the rest as Satan’s spawn. And that’s when I’m in a charitable mood.

  15. Brian you can get your dose of the daily show legally at http://www.dailyshow.com and click on the full episodes tab.

    Since Sky stopped showing the proper show regularly they have allowed Comedy Central to stream it online for free in New Zealand.

    BE: Wow! Wonderful news. Thanks very much. I’ll get on to it.

  16. Thanks for the tip on the Big Fat Gypsy Weddings. Watched it for the first time last night, and as you suggested we were amazed. It was also heart wrenching to see the treatment of the travellers by the authorities. I don’t know enough of the politics of the situation, but surely something can be done to find them a permanent home.

  17. Well, Brian, one out of 18 ain’t bad :)

  18. Oops, just realised there was more than 18, sorry – but my comment re the first 18 still stands :)

  19. The Colbert Report can be viewed here

    http://www.colbertnation.com/

  20. “Deal or No Deal – Prime: Argghhh! The host deserves death.”

    I don’t mind the host, I have to say. Yes he might be somewhat of a motor-mouth, but you’ve got to give him credit for at least having a very good general knowledge (unless it’s all scripted). It certainly beats the dire NZ version of the show, which thankfully didn’t last long.

  21. SNL is worth watching just to see the excellent Kristen Wiig. Episodes do vary in quality, but it’s still worth checking out.

    Crime and Investigation channel can make for riveting viewing at times, as long as you like that sort of thing. Why watch pretend television shows such as CSI or Cold Case or Criminal Minds when you can see the real thing? The show Cheaters with Joey Greco can also be entertaining at times.

    Not a fan of Graham Norton Show, there’s something fake about it. I reckon a lot of it is a set up. For example the episodes with hidden cameras in public toilets. Cringeworthy.

  22. I am very concerned we enjoy so many of the same programmes.

    My big fat Gypsy wedding is so compelling!

    BE: I share your concern, as I did discovering on the Jim Mora programme that you had vestiges of intelligence and common sense. This cannot go on!

  23. For me 3 News is quite some way better than One. Some great reporting, great anchors. The tech reporting and the work from the euro desk great. Campbell Live again better than the opposition too – Close Up seems to pitch it’s content to a pretty low denominator.

    Hamish Mackay is the weakest link – putting it kindly he comes across as a slightly drunk uncle who can’t stop shouting his favourite blokey cliches from the 12th Man. Maybe someone in the box dial could consider easing his mike down a few notches?

    Oh – and a shout out to the good work on TVNZ7 – always impressed at their bulletins. If only One cared about news as much…

  24. Interesting pick, Brian…

    For must see/hear, I would add;

    * Bomber’s Blog and Citizen A on Stratos TV

    * Afternoons with Jim Mora on Radio NZ

    * Practically anything on TVNZ7 (enjoy while you can – the barbarians are at the gate and ready to pillage and ruin this channel)

  25. David Farrar – regarding Brian’s comments “as I did discovering on the Jim Mora programme that you had vestiges of intelligence and common sense”.

    If Brian is referring to what I think he is, then David, you are becoming a social democrat as you mature.

    Welcome to the fold… *winks*

  26. A couple of your “Not Bo Be Missed” choices cast serious doubts on your credibility, your judgment and your perspicacity…

    1.) “Q and A – TV1: Intelligent examination of social and political issues.”

    Are you joking, Brian? Or have you simply not been watching when Holmes snarls, swears and tries to browbeat and intimidate the likes of Helen Kelly? And which of Holmes’s “high-powered panel” strikes you as having something intelligent or insightful to say? Certainly not Michele Boag or Fran O’Sullivan, both of whom are partisan right wingers and staunch supporters of the Key government, and neither of whom is interested even slightly in seriously examining social or political issues.

    On the “liberal side”, Therese Arseneau has nothing to offer other than an ingratiating nervous grin to underline her anodyne comments, and Jon Johansson is simply inept and virtually incoherent—except when launching into fulsome oratorical assertions of his admiration for Barack Obama. Which in itself is a reason to doubt his judgment.

    Which leaves only Matt McCarten. He

    2.) “HARDtalk – BBC World News: Stephen Sackur demonstrates the art of the interview.”

    Sackur disgraced himself last year when he tried (obviously under instruction) to browbeat and shut down Noam Chomsky. Apart from his accent and the (unearned) cachet due to the fact he works for the BBC, Sackur is little different to the infamous Fox News thug Bill O’Reilly. Or perhaps you can see something “artful” in this, Brian. All I can see is an aggressive fool, way out of his depth, grossly abusing one of the world’s leading intellectuals…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B00qgKnz-uU

  27. Colbert only just holds it together!!

    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/393971/august-04-2011/colbert-super-pac—the-heroes-respond

  28. AMENDED VERSION OF MY FIRST POST MADE AT 1.53 A.M. THIS MORNING….

    A couple of your “Not To Be Missed” choices cast serious doubts on your credibility, and your judgment…

    1.) “Q and A – TV1: Intelligent examination of social and political issues.”

    Are you joking, Brian? Or were you simply not watching when Holmes snarled, swore and tried to browbeat and intimidate the likes of Sue Bradford and Helen Kelly? And which of Holmes’s “high-powered panel” strikes you as having something intelligent or insightful to say? Certainly it cannot be either Michele Boag or Fran O’Sullivan, both of whom are partisan right wingers and staunch supporters of the Key government, and neither of whom is interested in seriously examining social or political issues.

    On the “liberal” side, Therese Arseneau has nothing to offer other than an ingratiating nervous grin to underline her anodyne comments, and Jon Johansson is simply inept and virtually incoherent—except when launching into fulsome oratorical assertions of his admiration for Barack Obama. Which in itself is a reason to doubt his judgment.

    Which leaves only Matt McCarten. He at least is a breath of sanity and clear thinking on that programme. But his excellence has nothing to do with anything that Holmes says or does.

    2.) “HARDtalk – BBC World News: Stephen Sackur demonstrates the art of the interview.”

    Sackur disgraced himself last year when he tried (obviously under instruction) to browbeat and shut down Noam Chomsky. Apart from his accent and the (unearned) cachet due to the fact he works for the BBC, Sackur is little different to the infamous Fox News thug Bill O’Reilly. Or perhaps you can see something “artful” in this, Brian. All I can see is an aggressive fool, way out of his depth, abusing one of the world’s leading intellectuals and, even worse, grossly abusing the trust of his audience.

    Here, see for yourself…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B00qgKnz-uU

    BE: Wow, great to see you bring such a disinterested eye to the topic.

  29. Aha – thanks for the explanation BE – but I recall Chris Tarrant on the UK show waffling on more than necessary too. And I agree that it should be a faster-moving programme. But watching Tarrant (and Maguire, to a lesser extent) encouraging answer-guessers to deliberate forever upon their correct answers to the most basic of questions, then wasting another 40 seconds trying to talk them out of it….dear o’dear, it’s painful to watch.

  30. “BE: Wow, great to see you bring such a disinterested eye to the topic.”

    I look at things as they are. You are the one who called Paul Holmes’s lame Sunday morning vehicle “intelligent”. I merely reminded you that Holmes is an intolerant and bullying interviewer and his panelists are substandard.

    And you haven’t told us yet what is it exactly about Sackur’s attempt to shut down Noam Chomsky that impressed you so much.

    BE: Are you really unaware of the intolerable conceit of saying, “I look at things as they are.”? For my part, I’m content to say that something is my opinion and to agree or disagree with yours. What you’re claiming is the absolute ability to distinguish the real from the false. Pride, mon ami, comes before a fall.

  31. 1.) Are you really unaware of the intolerable conceit of saying, “I look at things as they are.”?

    Hang on a minute! Don’t we ALL try to do that? How does trying to understand something and to see it clearly amount to an “intolerable conceit”?

    2.) For my part, I’m content to say that something is my opinion and to agree or disagree with yours.

    I would have thought you’d at least try to back up your opinion. You asserted that Paul Holmes’s Q+A programme is “intelligent”, without providing any justification for that assertion. I challenged your comment, and asserted that Holmes is not at all interested in the “intelligent examination of social and political issues”, and in fact, tries to shut down debate, as shown by his swearing and his bumptious attempts to intimidate both Sue Bradford and Helen Kelly.

    I note that elsewhere in this thread, you disparage Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck, yet you praise Paul Holmes’s show as “intelligent”. That makes no sense at all.

    3.) What you’re claiming is the absolute ability to distinguish the real from the false.

    No I’m not. Anybody who watches Q+A—and there are not very many people who do—can see that it is shoddy and substandard, and that Holmes, who is invariably sycophantic to powerful politicians and brusque and foul-mouthed with “leftists”, especially female “leftists”—makes a mockery of his position as an interviewer. Just like O’Reilly and Beck, actually.

    4.) Pride, mon ami, comes before a fall.

    Indeed it does. Someone should tell John Key that.

    BE: You’re out of you depth here, Morrissey. When you say, ‘I look at things as they are.’ you imply an appreciation of reality that you think others who disagree with you lack. ‘Anybody who watches Q and A can see that it is and that Holmes who is invariably … You need to study a bit of philosophy before you lay claim to the ability to distinguish reality from unreality. Perhaps you could start with Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. I strongly recommend it.

  32. 1.) You’re out of you depth here, Morrissey. When you say, ‘I look at things as they are.’ you imply an appreciation of reality that you think others who disagree with you lack.

    I imply no such thing. There’s nothing metaphysical about this; you stated that Q+A is “intelligent” television. I disputed that statement, and pointed out that Holmes is uninterested in robust or challenging debate, and in fact goes out of his way to sabotage any guest whose “liberal” or “leftist” views he does not share.

    In other words, his show should be criticized—fairly, of course, unlike his treatment of many of his “guests”.

    2.) ‘Anybody who watches Q and A can see that it is and that Holmes who is invariably …

    Actually it is quite clear to anyone who watches Q+A, and who has watched his interviews over many years, that Holmes is precisely as I described him. He fell over himself in his eagerness to lead the pack of “reporters” paying awed homage to Bill Clinton, and he has grovelled shamelessly in the august presence of (to mention just a couple) Alistair Campbell and Gordon Ramsay. Compare that behaviour with his treatment of New Zealand women like Sue Bradford and Helen Kelly: a non-stop display of impatience, scowling, snarling and even swearing. You have still not told us how this makes “intelligent” television.

    3.) You need to study a bit of philosophy before you lay claim to the ability to distinguish reality from unreality.

    There’s nothing complex or difficult about it. Any fair-minded person who watches Holmes in either diligently sycophantic mode or sniffy superior mode can see that he is a bully and that his panel, half of them visibly nervous in his presence, continually fails to deliver.

    4.) Perhaps you could start with Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. I strongly recommend it.

    So the real Paul Holmes is a thoughtful and fair-minded person who doesn’t swear at women and grovel at the feet of liars and scoundrels? How deceiving are those shadows on our television screens.

    BE: All right, Morrissey, have it your way. I’m not going to continue with this pointless debate. Everything you write boils down to: ‘this is the incontrovertible fact’, when in reality it is no more than opinion. If you can’t see that the sentence ‘I look at things as they are’ is predicated on the belief that you know how things are (while, it is implied, others don’t or may not). Of course, maybe I’m not explaining this very well. Plato does it much better. I really do suggest you give his Allegory of the Cave a go.

  33. “Justified” fans will note that TVNZ, as is their custom, noticed that they’d mistakenly scheduled a superb program in primetime and quickly corrected the error by shifting it to a graveyard slot. Where it will go up against the similarly superb “Entourage”.

    Meanwhile the primetime slot is now filled with real life motorway cop weddings or somesuch. Sigh.