Bringing together the TV moments on the week, including Story‘s meaty first week, Brown Eye‘s finale and the hors-d’oeuvres of Gloriavale.
Story Starts Strong
The real replacement for Campbell Live arrived this week, finally giving us a chance to see whether all the pre-maligning was justified. Story came out of the gate with a rare fury: guitar feedback, aggro door-stepping and doomy whistleblowers. The rest of the week was more muted, with Story unable to keep up the energy, and succumbing to odd Seven Sharpisms – meatpacks were exchanged at one point. Still Garner and Du Plessis-Allen seem well matched, and their blunt, confrontational style makes me excited for the next big newsmaker who gets in trouble and has the misfortune to wind up on their show. / DG
Gloriavale is Resurrected
On Sunday night we were welcomed back into the sunny, surreal Christian community of Gloriavale for TV2’s Life and Death special. From the eerily calm birthing pool scene to the borderline joyful funeral for one of Gloriavale’s elders, the documentary shed more light on this bizarre corner of our little country. The laundry, for example, is it a logistical nightmare. As is the food preparation, leading me to the ultimate ungodly question – what the H-E-double-hockey-sticks do they call devilled eggs in Gloriavale? (Click here to read more terrible thoughts from the special) / AC
Are We Humans? Or Are We Dancers?
Say what you like, but TV3 isn’t all dancing and the masterchef-ing. As well as launching Story this week, TV3 also premiered one of the most intriguing international dramas of the year in Humans. Focussing on a not-so-distant future where artificial intelligence meets mass production, the British domestic drama is given a sci-fi twist. When humans and machines begin to co-exist within the confines of the home – where do we draw emotional lines? It will make you look twice at your Roomba, that’s for sure. (Click here to read Calum Henderson’s review) / AC
The Crowd Goes Wilder
The Crowd Goes Wild’s Hayley Holt and James McOnie team up to make a grungier, talk-driven spinoff of their 7pm sports news show, The Crowd Goes Wild. The Late Night Crowd plays at the frankly insane time of 11.30pm on a Thursday, and is recorded live in front of the smallest studio audience I’ve ever seen – “It looks like a jury”, McOnie correctly notes. So what’s the verdict? It’s a good time. The CGW isn’t known for being particularly profesh, but this is that much more ramshackle again. Skype calls drop out, a mannekin with a TV on its head is a key guest and Josh Kronfeld is dressed like he robbed an op shop. Still, it comes off like a no-budget version of The Footy Show (or an overdue sequel to Sports Café), something very necessary to counter the earnestness of much of our sporting discourse. / DG
Child Poverty Given the Brown Eye
The first season of Brown Eye, Maori TV’s fantastic Friday night news parody show, ended last week with the entire episode dedicated to child poverty. Pax Assadi’s consistently excellent ‘Facts With Pax’ presented powerful infographics alongside a deluge of movie references, “Rich people like to think child poverty doesn’t exist – like the Tooth Fairy, or a good Spiderman movie”. A quick cartoon told from the point of view of aliens reinstated the absurd and perpetual cycle of poverty in New Zealand, concluding that “humans are weird”. Coco Solid did a fantastic Twitter take-down on keyboard activists, and even bloody John Campbell showed up on the panel with Jamaine Ross. A fantastic and thought-provoking end to a criminally under-watched local show that consistently provided the cultural conversations this country needs (click here to read more on Maori TV’s Friday night triumphs). / AC
Watch: I Can Do That USA, TV2 Sunday at 7.30pm – Marlon Wayans hosts this celebs-learn-new-things show, this week tackling a hip hop routines with ‘The Jabbawockeez’.
Binge: The Killing on Lightbox (click here to watch) – Season four has just arrived, centring around a single, shocking mass murder adjacent to a brutal military academy in Seattle’s rural hinterland.
Movie: The Social Network, TV2 Saturday at 11.15pm – The Facebook origin story, with Eisenberg as our steely Silicon Valley anti-hero. And Justin Timberlake.