What takes place next could be amazing

What Next presenters Nigel Latta and John Campbell.

What Next presenters Nigel Latta and John Campbell.

TUNNEL VISION: The world of the future is exciting and scary.

That's one of many messages presented by What Next (TV One, Sunday/Thursday). I'm full of admiration for the series that addresses what civilisation will look like in 2037 and where we fit in.

I'm also amazed that this interactive series could actually take place. I get very annoyed by the number of repeats on television, especially the sneaky ones that don't have "R" next to them. Imagine the city library restricting us next month to books we've already read.

However, What Next is so important that it should be repeated or made available to the library as a video series. How to action the issues raised should be an episode by itself.

We're much better at chat than carrying out the decisions made.

Over four episodes, the series, led by Nigel Latta and John Campbell, addressed what technology, the environment, our economy and lifestyles would look like in 20 years' time. A team of futurists confronted many issues, however, in the end, they were long on ideas and short on outcomes.

There has to be a greater vision for 2037 than sharing the toolshed with Wally over the back fence. The young team, with one exception, hasn't reached the age where they need bionic parts. I had the feeling that, if you weren't likely to live for another 20 years, you weren't considered.

Neither did they relate the world of 2037 effectively enough to the viewer. It'd be helpful to explain how the world in 20 years' time impacted on the nuclear family. It was too easy to be overwhelmed by and walk away saying "I don't want to know about it".

Yet, for its flaws, it was a conversation worth having. Well done TV One.

The first series of Home Fires was splendid, so when it appeared on Vibe's line up this week, I anticipated the second series, which was completed in the UK last year. But whoops, in the first episode (Vibe, Mondays), we were back in 1939, squabbling over whether to disband the Women's Institute again.

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The dreaded "R" for repeat had been missed out. By the way we're going, I can imagine the Almighty saying "let's repeat AD33, it was rather a good year for me". If we must have repetition let's keep it to All Black tries, with one or two exceptions.

Instead, I tried Blue Bloods (Vibe, Wednesdays). There's been seven series and this episode was tucked away in about series four. The format varies little. It chronicles the lives of four serving members of the New York Police Force. Nepotism seems to be their middle name as they solve the city's crimes together.

When Raul Delgardo shoots an innocent dockworker, Detective Danny Reagan pursues, captures and brings him to justice. But at the trial Delgardo grabs a gun, shoots prosecutor Erin Reagan and then takes her hostage.

Evergreen dad, Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck), has taught them to say "please don't hurt my family" in an emergency. When Danny repeats it – sometimes repeats are essential – Erin drops to the ground and Danny uses Delgardo for target practice.

Frank looks so pleased he could be persuaded to have his moustache tinted the colours of autumn to match his age. The family unity and strong stories that underline the generations keep this series absorbing and enjoyable.

Just don't believe that Frank Reagan could have a father, Henry Reagan (Len Cariou), who's only five years older than him. But anything is possible in the year 2037, when the series is into its 27th year.

As the royals get older, we're being deluged with Liz and Phil series. This week we've had When The Queen Came To Town (Sky 73, Monday), an account of the 1953/54 royal visit to Australasia, experienced by 250 million sheep and anyone who could wave a red, white and blue flag, and Inside Windsor Castle (Prime Monday), the Queen's weekend retreat where Phil will retire to in August.

The first doco was nostalgic, but Inside Windsor Castle was far more interesting. The castle and its grounds are where Liz has hidden Princes Andrew and Edward, who've turned failure and botched diplomacy into an art form.

That's why she's lasting so long. She has to work out a way for the next King to jump a generation. Just don't ask Frank Reagan.

 - Stuff


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