Thumbs up, thumbs down

Last updated 09:02 31/08/2012

It's been another big week in the world of television. Who was naughty? Who was nice? Let's hand out some love and hate to the big stories of the week - I call it Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down.

Thumbs Up to Four/Mediaworks, who introduced Fast Four yesterday. Fast Four is an attempt to bring US-made shows to our screens in a timely fashion, starting with the fourth season of Glee, which will air around five days behind the USA (starting September 19, 7.30pm). New Girl, How I Met Your Mother, The Simpsons, Family Guy and Survivor are all confirmed to be starting on Four within a week of their USA premieres, and the intention is to have all their US-made shows airing as quickly. I think this is a great step in the right direction, and I hope it works a treat in the ratings. Nice work, Four!

20120831Thumbs Down to Mr H (#1), who read last Friday's writeup about The Ridges (coming soon to TV3!) and made a comment - "More wasted TVNZ money.. Not fast learners after the GC are they!?" - which was so full of errors that I just had to laugh. TVNZ is not involved in The Ridges in any way, NZ On Air (not TVNZ) allocate funding, and - as they make clear here and here - they didn't give money to The Ridges anyway. Besides, TV3/Mediaworks actually did learn from The GC: they learned that viewers will watch home-made reality TV, meaning more advertising dollars. To be clear: I'm not defending The Ridges at all, just TV3's right to spend their money however they want.

Thumbs Up to TV One, who finished the second season of Southland last week, started the third season this week without taking a break. Southland is one of those great late-night shows:

Thumbs Down to TV One, too. I'm still angry that they yanked Episodes off the air and replaced it with year-old episodes of Auckland Daze which, while entertaining enough, have been floating around the internet for the past year and aren't a patch on the show they've replaced.

Thumbs Up to ABC and Marvel Studios. Industry news website Deadline confirmed this week that ABC has ordered a pilot for a new, Marvel-based television series that will be written by Joss Whedon and tie in to the current Marvel universe being realised through movies such as The Avengers and Iron Man. The series will apparently be called S.H.I.E.L.D, and will revolve around the super-secret agency headed by Nick Fury (Samuel L Jackson).

Thumbs Down to FX, who green-lit Charlie Sheen's new show Anger Management for an additional 90 episodes. Yes, you read that right: 90 episodes, bringing the total to 100, to ensure that Anger Management gets picked up for syndication (essentially repeats on other channels) and hangs around like a bad smell for the next 30 years.

Thumbs Up to Bryan Singer, whose latest production H+: The Digital Series is, much like last year's Mortal Kombat: Legacy, helping to bring the idea of a web series to a larger audience through much larger scope than you generally imagine when you think of shows being made for the web. Each episode is between 5 and 7 minutes long, and tells part of a larger story set in a not-too-distant future where the internet is available in our brains. Recommended viewing, if you have a spare 5-7 minutes, two to three times a week.

Thumbs Down to Aaron Sorkin. In the name of fairness, if I'm going to complain about adults behaving like teenagers on Castle then I have to be fair and mention The Newsroom. I actually enjoyed the third episode, which aired on Monday night on SoHo and followed ACN's election coverage in late 2010 - but the childish bickering between Will (who also paraded a string of floozies through the office) and Mac, as well as the silly love triangle between Maggie, Don and Jim, is throw-your-remote-at-the-telly frustrating. Through three episodes, some of my complaints about the pilot (the recent history setting, the preachiness) have died down, but they've been replaced by a series of all-new complaints about Sorkin's handling of office romance. And by "handling", I mean violent bludgeoning.

Lastly, Thumbs Up to YOU, the readers.
You rock. Have a great weekend.

What do you want to give - love, or hate, to this week? Anything on your mind, TV-wise?

- - - - -

Here is what is coming up next week ...

Boss, Season 2 - SoHo, Saturdays at 8.30pm
Offspring, Season 3 - One, Sundays at 9.30pm
Tricky Business - TV3, Tuesdays at 8.30pm
Stella - UKTV, Wednesdays at 7.30pm
The Killing, Season 1 - TV3, Wednesdays at 9.30pm
Game of Thrones, Season 1 - Prime, Wednesdays at 9.30pm
Smash - TV3, Thursdays at 9.30pm

For a more exhaustive list, click here.

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This is a spoiler-free blog - please comment responsibly.

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29 comments
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Pamela   #1   09:49 am Aug 31 2012

Agree with your thumbs up for Four's Fast Four approach - may the other broadcasters take note. If they can do it for American Idol, surely they can do it for drama/comedy.

Also agree re The Newsroom. I had high hopes for this. I love Sorkin's brand of "walking and talking" television but this is, as you say, remote-throwing stuff. Not only the relationships, but the sermon-on-the-mount speechifying. Yes, I share many of Sorkin's political views, but he's laying it on like a trowel here. The only time it comes alive is when they get down to brass tacks and work on a news story (like the original Deepwater Horizon piece in ep 1). One can only hope that Sorkin dials it back, takes a good look at the clunky, old hat, relationship material and serves us up a better show (and there is one here to be made, for sure) in season 2.

As for your thumbs down for TVNZ re Episodes, I'd add in that they simply have lost focus over there at TV1. They don't seem to know how to programme anymore. Another example: They aren't buying any more seasons of Justified because "there's no audience" (and there might well have been if they had brought it in a more timely fashion). One can only hope that SoHo picks up some of these US cable shows - might be a better fit.

AJ   #2   09:51 am Aug 31 2012

Well done for calling out an internet troll.....it's about time some of the armchair internet experts were called out for their hogwash.

Anti-GoGirls   #3   10:09 am Aug 31 2012

Thumbs down to you.

For constantly supporting that ghastly show, Go Girls. I thought you had taste.

Michael   #4   10:11 am Aug 31 2012

Liked Episodes, but hadn't seen Auckland Daze before and am finding it really funny.

Ben   #5   10:39 am Aug 31 2012

It's easy to give thumbs up to Four, who may have had this planned for a while. But I would note that, right through the olympics, prime advertised shows as 'coming soon' that have not begun airing in the States either, so I think the thumbs up should also be to them. Perhaps the thumbs up is that NZ TV programmers are beginning to realise that this is the only way to combat their loss of viewers through downloads long before they air shows.

hastley   #6   10:43 am Aug 31 2012

Awesome blog today. I'm liking The Killing and GoT are starting :) Thumbs up to Channel 4 too.

Trevor   #7   10:58 am Aug 31 2012

Hi Chris.......I love H+ SO full of intrigue, have you also watched Daybreak as well? I loved that as well but only 5 episodes, I want more :)

J Smith   #8   11:04 am Aug 31 2012

I seriously doubt that the tv networks are reading these comments, but you have made clear in one article what they should be doing if they really want to decrease piracy and increase their viewership.

I hadn't seen Episodes before it aired here, and really enjoyed it. When they went straight into season 2 I thought 'good on yay'. Then they pulled it, so I got it another way, meaning I have no need to watch it when they eventually do get around to screening it.

Four is going the other way, getting us shows quickly, meaning that HIMYM, The Simpsons and Family Guy will all be watched on TV. These are all shows that I have previously obtained before broadcast here because of the delay.

Jo   #9   11:04 am Aug 31 2012

Big thumbs down to Sky and Prime for not showing live coverage of the Paralympics (except one hour of highlights on Sky each day and small pieces on Prime News and CGW).

Naomi   #10   11:15 am Aug 31 2012

Great to read about fast four - finally catching up with the 21st century. I'm glad we only have to wait a little over two weeks for new Episodes of Doctor Who but if they can play the new episodes at 7.30 Saturday US time why can't we have it on Sunday night?


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