Nothing Trivial proves NZ's got talent

LINDA BURGESS
Last updated 12:44 17/09/2012
nothing trivial

TRIVIAL PURSUITS: Kiwi drama Nothing Trivial hooks you in.

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OPINION: I'm a late starter when it comes to Nothing Trivial and, now that I've committed to it, I'm going to have to track down the first series.

It's part of TV One's Sunday night lineup, which – finally – gives the viewer the opportunity to settle down for a comfortable night's viewing.

New Zealand's Got Talent may well be a bit like hanging out at the local school hall watching your friend's cousin's unique ability to juggle oranges but it's, well, cosy.

And, while not quite up to speed with its current main storyline, Offspring is still first-rate viewing.

An ongoing theme in Nothing Trivial is parenthood. We've had the sudden death of Emma's mother.

Momentarily I thought the after-effects of this were going to be skated over, but the writing of this series is far too good to let that happen.

Emma faltering as she read a story to her class was perfect. The crass Courtney – brilliant in her casual racism – is about to have a baby to the man she describes as "Not a real Maori".

And Mac and his ex-wife are deep in a custody battle.

Last week we saw some exceptional writing and acting when we got the chance to see the children of two of the core characters: Mac's boys Noah and Frank, and Catherine's daughter Celeste.

Fiona Samuels came in to write the episode and she's a class act when it comes to nailing character. The "troubled teenager" line is hard to do freshly and, in some ways, Noah (Simon Mead) and Celeste (Manon Blackman) in particular were typical – duplicitous yet open, worldly wise and heart-breakingly naive.

Yet both Samuels' writing and the quality of the acting meant the storylines felt fresh.

Mac's relationship with his sons is terrific, and I love the way that the younger son, Frank (Dylan Holmes), feels a burdening responsibility for the happiness of his parents.

Catherine may be a successful, smart doctor but, when it comes to reading her daughter, she's just like anybody else. Poor Celeste, almost grownup, realising her big crush has feet of clay. Fabulous stuff.

And talking about talented kids, last week's New Zealand's Got Talent showed that not everyone who wants to go on stage sees the need to be blinged up to the eyeballs.

Quite apart from her pure little voice, I loved the fact that (Wellingtonian!) Jessie Hillel strode on to the stage in jeans, T-shirt and sneakers, looking (to this viewer) exactly what a girl her age should look like.

Yep, it is school hall stuff on one level, but watching Jessie, the epitome of sweet and generous confidence, made it seem like the programme was worth making.

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- The Dominion Post

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