On The Box
There are two new offerings coming up on our screens this week, one you won't want to miss, and another you won't want to watch.
There's a few assumptions in that bold prediction, but hey, what's a good television reviewer for, if not to warn you about the bad stuff and tip you off about the good?
With that in mind, let's start with the good stuff. Tomorrow at 7.30pm is New Zealand's Got Talent. That was a statement that wasn't really backed up four years ago when Prime tried its hand at running what is essentially a talent show, but with the extra resources and exposure TV One can give it, this could be one of the hits of the year.
It has three top judges (so they say) in supermodel Rachel Hunter, who's OK as long as she doesn't have to pronounce those really hard Maori names like Apiata, as in Willie, as she did when she somehow ended up co-hosting a segment of the Halberg Sports awards earlier this year. Anyway, we mustn't be bitchy, Rachel seems to be a good westie girl who's done well for herself.
The other judges on this Simon Cowell-created show are Opshop's Jason Kerrison and former UB40 frontman Al Campbell.
They will all be nicely complemented by the inoffensive, affable Tamati Coffey, but the real stars will be the contestants themselves. Anything goes and more than 5000 acts auditioned, which was then whittled down to 200 that will be reduced to 30 or so during the 13-week series.
There's a first prize of $100,000 which means all the loonies, plus the truly gifted. We look forward to the next three months, and remember to keep in the back of your mind that the British winner this year was Ashleigh Butler and her dancing dog Pudsey.
It's also worth remembering that former stars to emerge from it were Susan Boyle and Paul Potts. Expect anything. NZ On Air fronted up $1.6 million to help make the show.
If that was the show you're supposed to like, and a certain number of you will, then wait for the one you're supposed to hate! The Ridges (Wednesdays, 7.30pm, TV3) is described as a new reality show. The stars of the show are 19-year-old Jaime Ridge and her 20-year-old mother Sally, who's famous for being the ex-wife of former rugby and league star Matthew Ridge.
Observant readers will by now have worked out that when Sally had Jamie she was older than two, it's just a case of her thinking she's Jaime's sister as the two are seen everywhere together.
Youth is the one quality no-one can get back but that doesn't stop dear old Sal partying away with the worst of them.
We are set to get a wee look at the girls in action. A bit like the Kardashians, or Girls of the Playboy Mansion with their tops on and younger men, who knows?
It promises to be fun, especially if your idea of that is to watch a series that involves a camera crew following the Ridges around for three months. We'll get to see the, um, best of them. So do tune in, even if it is to rubbish it, you'll be glad you did - once. This could be another entry for When TV Programmes Go Bad, a series of the future.
Last week there was one good thing on the telly - the return of Beyond the Darklands (Mondays, 8.30pm, TV One). It is an excellent series with some disarming honesty by psychologist Nigel Latta, who tells it like it is.
This week he was delving into the background of murderer and double rapist Liam Reid.
It was a classic story. Mum took off to Oz when he was born, Dad was a career criminal who wanted nothing to do with him, and the world is better off without him after he was jailed for 26 years.
He took the dock and told a cock and bull story, or as Latta put it, "He loved the spotlight. The world could see what a big man he is."
It was well done, and riveting viewing. Let's see more of Latta please.
One series that continues to generate much comment is the hilarious Mrs Brown's Boys. (Thursdays, 9.30pm, TV One). Never have I had so much feedback on a comedy, and it seems to have already carved a place in our national viewing consciousness - and yes there is such a thing.
It's rude, crude, full of bad language, but in this instance the sheer humour and fun of the programme dwarfs it, especially with the lead character Brendan O'Carroll ad-libbing whenever he can.
- The Timaru Herald