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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.)
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)?
Media trainer and commentator Dr Brian Edwards posts at Brian Edwards Media.