Posted by BE on April 20th, 2014
My name is Brian and I’m a TV addict (not in recovery). I thought it was time to let you in on some of the better flat screen drugs currently available on the market. You’ll note that there are NO cooking programmes on the list. I still have some pride. You’ll also note that there are no movies. This is because movies are unwatchable with commercials and Sky’s movie policy seems to be to recycle the same movies for as long as humanly possible. This at least has the advantage that you don’t need to worry if you miss one. It’ll be back!
So here we go.
Game of Thrones (9.30 Sunday Soho)
I suspect I’m a typical viewer in that I haven’t the slightest idea what’s really going on. Judy has read the book and does understand what’s going on, but has given up trying to explain it to me. Can you enjoy a TV drama whose plot-lines defeat you? Well yes, if it’s essentially a morality play in which the forces of good and evil wage war – big time wrestling against a massive canvas. The baddies are so bad and the goodies so beautiful. What more could you want? Well sex, violence and lots of nudity to name but three. Plenty of that too. From the stunning title-sequence to the cliff-hanger conclusion of each episode it really is unmissable stuff.
The Paul Henry Show (10.30 weeknights TV3)
Yes, I know, the guy you loved to hate on Breakfast, got the push here, bombed out in Oz, came crawling back and now has his own late-night show on TV3. Who would watch it? Well, in spite of him saying I’ve been around longer than the Pope, I would. And I do. Henry is all the things he was before – outrageous, disrespectful, rude, iconoclastic, vain, egotistical, potty-mouthed, chauvinistic, a right-wing prick and very, very funny. So what’s made the difference? The time slot. At 10.30 Henry can be all of those things and it’s really enjoyable. His side-kick, the gorgeous Janika Ter Ellen, has grown on me and the duo seem to be working well. Not so entertaining is the uncomfortable ‘9 in 10’ segment where pub patrons are asked to name nine items in a category in 10 seconds in order to win the sponsor’s product, a Kia car. And Paul’s bottom obsession is showing. If he doesn’t like something it’s ‘not a something’ s bottom ‘ or ‘not a something’s bum’ or ‘not a something’s arse’ or ‘not a something’s backside’. Potty training I suspect. But The Paul Henry Show is a pleasant surprise and a good watch.
The Graham Norton Show (8.30 Friday TV3)
Norton is television’s most accomplished ringmaster – a brilliant chat show host with an extraordinary capacity to put even the most difficult, reluctant or uppity guests at ease with him and each other. The entertainment world’s top stars and personalities flock to his couch. Most comment at the end of the show how much they enjoyed it. And for those looking for a bit of Schadenfreude, there’s always ‘the red chair’ at the end of the show. (Note to guests: There’s not much point in pulling the lever before the contestant has even had the chance to tell their story. What are you – infants?)
7 Days (9.25 Friday TV3)
Hilarious home-grown stand-up sit-down topical game-show – or something. Hard to describe really. For adults only. Bad language may offend. Not for the faint hearted. Very naughty. Bloody funny. Moves so quickly that it’s easy to miss some of the jokes. Suggest you record on MySky. (The number of offended viewers may have increased this week. Being sacrilegious on Good Friday is asking for trouble.)
Campbell Live (7.00pm weeknights TV3)
Nightly magazine and current affairs show for grown-ups and thinking people. Campbell is this country’s top television journalist. His very practical advocacy on behalf of the dispossessed and disadvantaged in New Zealand society is sometimes mistaken for left-wing political bias. It isn’t. The two should not be confused.
Mr Selfridge (8.30 Tuesday TV1) TV drama series based on the real life story of the flamboyant and visionary American founder of Selfridge’s, the London department story. Devised by the brilliant Andrew Davies. Say no more!
Antiques Road Show (7.30 Sunday Prime)
Frazzled nerves? Sit down in a comfy chair with the cat in your lap and be soothed by the old world charm of this gentle journey into the past with just a chance of discovering that you’re sitting on a fortune (perhaps literally). Love it!
Good Stuff for Thinking People
The Nation (9.30am Saturday and 10am Sunday TV3)
Solid current affairs programme. Pity about the timeslot.
Q & A (9am Sunday TV1)
Solid current affairs programme. Pity about the timeslot.
3rd Degree (8.30 Wednesday TV3)
Superb investigative journalism that gets real results. (Think Teina Pora, but there are many more examples.)
Native Affairs (8.30 Monday, 10.30 Wednesday Maori Television)
High quality investigative current affairs programme, unafraid to turn the spotlight on contentious Maori issues.
Eggheads (6.30 weeknights UKTV)
English pub quiz teams compete with the country’s top brains for cash. The visitors rarely win and the cash can accumulate to a considerable sum. I can usually answer 9% of the questions and consider myself bloody brilliant on that score. The pleasure lies in one’s amazement at how much the Eggheads know – and seeing who can beat them.
QI (follows Eggheads at 7.00 weeknights on UKTV)
Erudite and highly entertaining quiz game, hosted by the erudite and highly entertaining polymath Stephen Fry. Informative, fun and frequently very rude, descending into potty humour occasionally.
Just for Fun
The Simpsons, The Big Bang Theory, ‘Allo ‘Allo (still holding up remarkably well)
A Special Mention
Judge Judy (4.30 weekdays Vibe)
American small claims court show presided over by retired Manhattan Family Court Judge Judith Sheindlin. The programme has been running since 1996 and, I’m told, still rates through the roof.
I can’t stop watching Judge Judy which is strange because I’m not normally a fan of horror shows. And Judge Judy (note no italics) really is a horror – a power-crazed egomaniac who delights in reminding witnesses that they’re not and never will be as clever as her, displays the most extraordinary verbal cruelty in dealing with plaintiffs and defendants, including repeatedly telling women whose kids, through no fault of theirs, have gone off the rails that they’re ‘bad mothers’, throwing out cases because someone dared to interrupt her stream of invective or had the effrontery to say, ‘That’s not fair!’, refusing without reason to listen to witnesses at all and generally acting like some crazed avenging angel. Judge Judy would not survive for five minutes in a New Zealand family court or Disputes Tribunal hearing before she was struck off.
Maybe that’s why I can’t stop watching Judge Judy.
Did I mention that my name is Brian and I’m a TV addict (not in recovery)?
Time to go and buy a Pono.
Just learnt a new word. Thanks Kat.
Brian doesn’t need to buy pono. He already possesses it in bucketloads.
Oh Brian – a tv addict you say? Talks cheap buddy. Well I mean to say a true TV addict in this high speed internet age has the world’s tv to choose from – not just the chosen few that make it to air in NZ. Frak the mediocre middle men of NZTV for their mediocre programming – download utorrent and and a VPN like hola! and set yourself free Brian.
Try the latest series of Veep, or Alpha House (John Goodman and others as Republican Senators sharing a house in Washington – hysterical) or just surf the tv on demand of the BBC or ITV or the Sci Fi Channel or any of the hundreds of others you could watch from around the world – Free of charge and in your own time without commercial interruption.
TV addict! huh!
A 21st Century TV addict Brian does not complain about scheduling. Scheduling is something you do, not something that is done to you.
Oh and as to Paul Henry – Methinks you have gotten too used to mediocrity. Hardly surprising really – this is NZ after all, where most of the real talent fucked off from long ago.
Well I’m a New Zealander, mate, with a particular interest in New Zealand television. And I’m not going to make any apology for that. And just at the moment JC and I are filling in the local spaces by watching the entire box set of The West Wing. No doubt that would meet with your approval, except that we didn’t download it off the Net a year or so back, which is clearly a capital crime. And as for, ‘This is NZ after all, where most of the real talent fucked off from long ago.’ How come you’re still here?
Lol – just got back! Family and home trumps contempt for Neo Liberalism.
As to The West Wing I “got that off the Net about a year ago” (?) hmmm. I had a friend in the States record The West Wing off Free to Air TV and share it with me and a few thousand other friends via peer to peer networks about 7 years back. Try as I might I cannot find any difference between the legality of that friend in the States sending me a video tape of the recording via the post and him sending it to me via a peer to peer network. Capital crime indeed!
You tube used to be illegal you know – and indeed still hosts a phenomenal amount of “illegal” material.
The Piracy issue is a furphy, nothing more than monopolists fighting to the end to maintain “super profits” against a disruptive technology. Ignore it and watch what you like, when you like. Defeat the tyranny of distance!
As to a particular interest in NZ TV – fair go Mate – that seems reasonable. I did agree with your appraisal (friendly competitiveness re a claim to TV junkie status aside) of NZ shows. Tho I would still use Paul Henry for shark bait.
Fair enough. Actually a friend lent us his box set of The West Wing. Bloody long. We sometimes watch a couple of eps a night and are still with boring Bartlett.
Season 6 and 7 covering the election of Bartlett’s replacement are gold. Enjoy.
Re the piracy issue – I wonder if you have ever given a thought about the poor bloody writers, actors and musicians who actually create the stuff and who used to get royalties and residuals for the use of their creative endeavours but who don’t when people steal their copyright by downloading it but not paying for it? I’m sure you’d be the first to complain if I came into your house or place of work and starting stealing the fruits of your labour and told you your complaints were ‘a furphy’. But somehow or other creative endeavour doesn’t count as ‘work’ so people help themselves without a qualm. And before you say it – I don’t have a problem about people reading my books. Funnily enough that’s why I wrote them and I want them to do so. But I also want to be paid for my efforts and not have thieves helping themselves to it
With all due respect, you are blaming the wrong people, Tony.
Before you start, I am personally happy to pay for media and do so on a regular basis. I have a pretty extensive library (even after having moved countries a few times) and a couple of thousand CDs, have bought a lot of software, etc.
After all, copyright holders treat their customers with such respect. If I buy a DVD, it is usually the case that there are non-skippable previews and other junk material that I have no interest in, yet have to spend time clicking through to get to the media I actually paid for. Yet were I to download a movie from the net, I would be able to watch it immediately, on any device I owned with ease. Ask yourself what kind of business treats its customers that way.
Ask yourself why New Zealanders should have to wait for their favourite shows to reach these shores, or pay SKY to watch them. I’ve had much better cable service overseas for much less than SKY, so I’m not enough of a sucker to pay their monopoly rent.
If media companies want people to pay for their products, then they need to do better at providing people with the opportunity to pay for them in the format they want them, when they want them. For example, anyone who wants to watch a live sports event should be able to pay per view on their computer and stream to their TV, especially in New Zealand, where foreign sports are on at weird hours. Yet many providers want all viewers to spend hundreds of dollars on a season pass that most people don’t need. It’s just not good enough. Microtransactions have been around for ages, and are proven to work.
It’s one thing to complain about piracy when you’re offering the product that people want in the way they want, and another thing to complain about it when paying customers are actually getting a worse product than what is offered for free.
If Rod Stewart, the Beatles or David Bowie want a shit-fight over money, bring it on! Yes – I respect their creativity and don’t deny them a cent, but I paid for HUGE quantities of their output on vinyl 40 years ago, and again when I bought CD copies of the same stuff. Where’s the justice in that?
So if a mate wants a free rip of the latest Stones or U2 cd I happen to have, he’ll get it. And let Paul McCartney (on $200,000,000 pa in royalties) sue me (on nothing, retired).
A certain amount of copying and swapping has always been tacitly tolerated. I personally don’t mind buying new copies of my favourite records if the quality has been improved (my favourite Living Stereo discs I now have in SACD, for example).
However, if everyone copies, people won’t make new music, unless some alternative funding mechanism is found (such as a broadband tax).
What’s really happening is that we’re slowly approaching the Star Trek replicator economy. It’s already like that for digital goods and with 3D printing will be the same for all sorts of small manufactured goods. The truth that people are trying to avoid is that when you cannot rely on or enforce scarcity, you can’t have capitalism (you also can’t have cultural status, which is why our society has started to abandon digitalised status goods such as music and replaced them with things like food).
Nevertheless, the powers that be could surely soften the transition by treating their customers better.
I feel much better now Brian. I watch almost all of the programmes you list, and enjoy them all, to varying degrees. But I do like Rialto films – I know they repeat, but there is always something there worth watching, and no adverts! Don’t you just love recording programmes on Mysky, which allows you to fast forward all the bits you don’t want to watch i.e. Anything that features Pussyface Judith Collins, or Kim Dotcom et al. Satisfaction.
Glad I am not alone in loving ‘Allo, ‘Allo.
Now that you have been – tragically – removed from our screens and we get only a fortnightly snippet of your comment on Natrad, it’s great to have found a source of your comment outside those media. However, judging by the above, I have to say that you display much better taste in television you produce than that which you consume.
Well, I’ll take the first bit as a compliment. As for the second, taste is a pretty subjective thing. It’s extremely rare to meet someone who thinks they haven’t go it. I tend to be a believer in different tastes, rather than good or bad taste. But you have a point. I’m really a pleb at heart. Don’t read books and look to television for entertainment rather than enlightenment. I could quite readily sit in an armchair and watch comedy programmes all day. I have a sort of excuse for my anti-intellectualism – the only book in my mother’s home when I was a child was the Bible.
Don’t you have a doctorate in English Literature?
No. I have a Ph.D. In German Literature. I’m surprised and disappointed that you aren’t familiar with my thesis: “The extent and development of autobiographical material in the works of Franz Kafka”. (University of Edinburgh 1964)
At least your thesis title doesn’t have the colon that seems to be obligatory for every thesis or academic paper these days (mine didn’t either as a form of mild protest).
But still, that you have a PhD in literature and don’t read does seem odd.
And Blake did OK with the Bible as reading material.
I’d recommend keeping an eye out for the Fargo TV series, supposed to on Sky next Month, well worth a look. Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton are excellent.
Yeah Fargo started really nicely. Also True Detective was a great little epic.
Agree with most the above but not liking fantasy rules out Game of Thrones (and makes avoiding LOTR/Hobbits a fulltime activity in this country).
I’d add Cuckoo (recently shown on UK) and This is Jinsy.
Unless he’s switched to mountain parrots Mr Henry is giving away Kia.
“Unless he’s switched to mountain parrots Mr Henry is giving away Kia.” Whoops! And I’m with you on fantasy. Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit et al bore me senseless. A treacherous position in New Zealand, but there it is. And there is at least some logical sequence of events in Game of Thrones.
Thank goodness a man of such esteem has admitted a fondness for Judge Judy. I can now come out of the closet!
I, Big Mark, am a Judge Judy fan. :: hangs head in shame ::
“Hangs head in shame.” And so you should.
You don’t watch Mad Men?
I love “The Good Wife” – a huge ensemble cast dealing with the law that brings in issues around the internet and social media. It’s a drama but the court room issues are sometimes incredibly funny because of their absurdity.
(I get it on DVD from Amazon because the networks here are miles behind and play it at unreasonable hours.)
I always watch QI and 7 days but the rest is a grab bag of occasional viewing with the exception of Game of Thrones, which doesn’t appeal. Breaking Bad and True Detectives are two which I have enjoyed recently. I quite often watch reruns of the Bill which dependant on the era can be great entertainment. I use Sky but the reality for me is its poor value for the amount of money it costs. I have a limited internet so watching TV chews up most of my allocation. Im assuming that the internet will eventually become our major source of TV programmes.
I don’t watch Judge Judy as I feel it gives Credence to her ridiculous rants
Yes, Judge Judy can be bloody awful. The reasons why she is able to get away with her strange antics would be that participants do sign a waiver, get free travel and accommodation. However, most important is that the show pays for damages that the injured party asks for from the defendant.
“Judge Judy” used to be OK until the fame went to her head.
“Doc Martin” is good, a modern incarnation of “Dr.Finlay’s Casebook”, albeit not so kindly.
Fraser Dick was like some of the funniest shit ever, dude.
Yes, Stuart Devenie’s impersonation of me as ‘Fraser Dick’ in the 70s was really brilliant.
If you don’t mind sounding like Janet from Dr Findlay’s Casebook.
Reading this reminded me of the engaging NZ-made drama ‘This is not my life’ from a few years back.
Wondering what ever happened to the planned series 2, I put the title into the search bar, and up comes your blog on the NBR website (though no mention of the programme anywhere, not even in the four comments!)
Though series 1 is still available on demand, would love to see more of this stuff. The Rhys Darby show ‘Short Poppies’ is enjoyable right now.