It happened quietly over the past few weeks, but Thursday has become the busiest night on television, with a solid lineup of shows on nearly every channel. Good news for viewers needing a wide range to choose from ... but it's hell for a TV reviewer like myself. What are you watching on television's busiest night?
One started their new Thursday lineup last night, with Big Fat Gypsy Weddings at 8.30pm, followed by comedies Mrs Brown's Boys at 9.35pm and Episodes at 10.05pm. Over on TV2 at 8.30pm, Once Upon a Time is heating up as it gets closer to its season final in two weeks, followed by Fringe at 10.30pm. I haven't caught up on One's shows yet, but I did enjoy last night's OUAT: I haven't been watching closely enough for August's fairy-tale identity to be a shocking revelation, but I did enjoy how the show revealed his back story.
Over on TV3 at 8.30pm there's Bones, one of the quirkier procedurals around - though, until last night, I hadn't realised how much Temperance "Bones" Brennan annoys me in some episodes, her amusing lack of social skills sometimes leaning more toward off-putting. Lucky for us the show still has the charming David Boreanaz to lean on in those moments.
Four gets in on the action with a lineup of animated comedies followed by Breaking Bad at 10.30pm. I'll say it again: Breaking Bad is probably the best show being made anywhere in the world. We're almost at the end of Season 3 here and (I hope I'm allowed to say this) Season 4 will be playing on Four immediately after, in the same timeslot - and as good as S3 is, S4 is another step up in quality.
True Blood is on Prime at 9.35pm, after the refried version of Upstairs Downstairs. All I can think to say about True Blood is: wow, what a mess. After a confusing "previously on" segment, which seemed to run for nearly 10 minutes, we picked up right where we left off, with those final few moments in Sookie's kitchen, from last year's season finale, being played out from the perspectives of several other characters (the funniest being super-speedy cleaner Eric, who was tidying up Bill's office while Bill talked on the phone). A few minutes here and there to almost every other character on the show, and we're back into the swing of things on a show that has too many characters engaged in too many storylines. At least it's fun, though - unlike the new Upstairs Downstairs.
Maori TV has Boil Up and Code, two of the best sports shows this country produces, from 8pm. TVNZ7 gets in on the act with Media 7 (soon to become Media 3) at 9.05pm, a must-watch if you're interested in how the media works.
Last, SoHo has comedies Girls and Veep from 8.30pm. The awkward brand of comedy on Girls is good to watch but, if you're after belly laughs, you can't go past Veep: the show from Armando Iannucci (creator/writer of The Thick of It and movie In he Loop) is hilarious, combining solid political satire with moments of sheer slapstick, and benefiting from he perfecly cast Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The former Seinfeld star is fantastic. And a bit of a cougar.
Whew! If you're counting at home, that's 14 shows - and those are only the ones I'm interested in: I didn't even mention dross like Tabitha's Salon Takeover or Coronation Street.
So what are you watching on Thursdays? What are your must-see shows on TV's busiest night?
NOTE: After the comments thread in yesterday's blog, I wrote a little more about my position on whether race played a part in the negative response to The GC. It's available at my personal blog, here.
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