Discovering the roots of Tuesday night TV

01:18, Jun 29 2012

I'm still not completely sure whether it was a reality show or a travel show, or some combination of the two (traveality?) crossed with one of those genealogy programmes you find on the Living Channel, but it doesn't really matter: Funny Roots might be hard to classify, but it wasn't hard to enjoy - in fact, it was one of the most fun shows this year.

Each episode of Funny Roots followed a local comedian travelling to the place where their ancestors came from, learning about their own family history and figuring out how the local sense of humour works along the way. It might sound a familiar idea, but it managed to feel fresh and unique.

Some episodes were riotously funny (like Ben Hurley's set in Northern Ireland) whereas some were more interesting from a cultural perspective (like Ewan Gilmour travelling through the Czech Republic and Germany). Some episodes, such as those focusing on Steve Wrigley and Jeremy Elwood, managed to be both (Elwood's episode was also interesting from a "how does one become a comedian" perspective) - but whether the funny or serious side took over, it was always entertaining and interesting. We know about travelling in The Netherlands from all the other travel shows in existence; seeing how this or that particular person responds to facing that culture is new.

I would absolutely keep watching this show every week ... and therein lies the problem: Funny Roots was only eight episodes long. After just two short months, the series has finished and TV3 is back to episodes of Kings Cross ER. Sure, watching Australians hurt themselves is entertaining, but it's just not as entertaining as Funny Roots.

The solution is more episodes - but who could we follow to the other side of the world? I mean, I'd be happy to take a camera crew to my childhood home in Ramelton, Republic of Ireland, to do an episode, but I don't think it would make for brilliant television, and I'm hardly famous enough to warrant that kind of thing.

Anyway, here's hoping we get more episodes before too long - say it with me: "Bring it back! Bring it back!"


Elsewhere, remember we talked about how busy Thursday nights are? Well, Tuesdays are nearly as bad: aside from Funny Roots on TV3, the block of comedy shows - How I Met Your Mother, New Girl, that terrible one whose name shall not be uttered here, and Parks & Recreation - is a must-watch (I mean, aside from that terrible one whose name shall not be uttered here). The lineup only gets better next week with the return of 30 Rock.

Meanwhile, The Mentalist returned last night on TV2. When we last saw Patrick Jane, the insanely clever consultant with the fictional CBI played by Simon Baker, he'd just shot apparent arch-nemesis Red John. Last night's fourth season premiere picked up soon after, with Jane arrested and charged with the murder of an innocent man after police failed to find any evidence that the man he'd shot was actually Red John. By the end of the episode Jane had been found not guilty of the murder after finding that, though the man wasn't Red John, he was a kidnapper. Convenient? Oh, absolutely. But fun, too.

Last, the second season of Hawaii Five-0 has got off to a great start: it's been great having Alex O'Laughlin and Scott Caan bickering in the car (or on horseback, like last week) and guest stars such as Terry "Locke" O'Quinn and Bruce Davison have kept things interesting on the story front. It's one of my favourite procedurals right now.

So that was my Tuesday night - over to you: did you enjoy the first season of Funny Roots? What did you think of the return of The Mentalist? And what else are you watching on Tuesday nights?

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