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Television: The Spinoff’s TV Week – Celebrating Heroic New Zealanders (Even Those on The Block)

Bringing together the best, worst and weirdest TV moments of the week, including tributes to Jonah Lomu, inside Parris Goebel’s empire and VNZMA madness. 

Open Mic Madness on The Block NZ

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Funny to think there once was a time we all thought Dinner Wars was a highlight of The Block NZ season, that the show simply couldn’t get any better than the Plank Challenge. This week’s ‘Block Stars’ open mic challenge redefined just how much of a hysterical shambles the show can be when it really puts its mind to it. From Brooke and Mitch’s diabolical clown routine to Hayden and Jamie’s Dancing With the Stars audition, Cat and Jeremy’s Shakespearean comedy act with its instant classic catchphrase – “Minanne!” – to Sarah and Minanne’s so-bad-it’s-surely-some-rare-form-of-genius musical performance, it was quite possibly the worst open mic night in the world, and the best week of The Block NZ by some magnitude. (Click here to read this week’s Block NZ Power Rankings) / CH

Spotlight on Kiwi Women

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On Tuesday night this week, two local documentaries aired that explored two very different facets of life as a New Zealand woman. The first was NZ Women In Rock, a Prime special telling the stories of Kiwi musicians from Shona Laing to Brooke Fraser. Exorcising all of the pressures put on them as women in a male-dominated industry, it was made clear that we still have a while to go yet. Over on TV2, the haunting Women of Pike River gave a voice to those struggling in the wake of tragedy, still campaigning to have their loved ones brought home. Both were moving, important, and couldn’t have come at a better time. (Click here for a full review) / AC

A Brooding Good TIme at the VNZMAs / AC

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The Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards were held at Vector Arena last night, and televised live on TV3. Highlights of the broadcast include Dom Bowden and Sharyn Casey awkwardly talking over a poignant haka (after the ad break cut the Best Maori Album award out completely), Dom Harvey talking about how his Lomu-eyebrow has impacted his sex life and host Taika Waititi calling Six60 ‘Dicksticky’. All the Maybelline and mentos in the world can’t disguise our funny, fumbling and largely inappropriate country. / AC

Inside Parris’ Wonder Workshop / AC

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Whilst the rich and famous popped mentos and accepted Tuis for alarmingly old albums, Maori TV launched an excellent new reality series online (click here to watch). The Palace goes behind the curtain of renowned choreographer Parris Goebel’s dance studio in the heart of South Auckland. Nestled between office buildings and the type of cafes emblazoned with garish ‘Hot Pies’ signwriting, one young woman orchestrates the world’s best dance crew. Beginning on audition day, new pledges nervously flick, contract and gyrate in hallways as they prepare for their big moment. All the while, Parris sits centre stage, a calm leader and probably New Zealand biggest breakthrough star of the year. It’s great. / AC

Remembering Jonah

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With the very sad news of the sudden death of Jonah Lomu on Wednesday, the nation’s TV programmers were quick to respond and reshuffle their prime time schedules. It was a nice touch, and we were spoiled for choice – there remains a Sky Sport channel (058) dedicated to All Blacks games Lomu starred in, while One screened his This Is Your Life special, Maori TV had the documentary Anger Within, and Prime played Back to South Africa. Filmed earlier this year, the documentary followed Jonah as he travelled through the republic reconnecting with his old foes – now great mates – from the Springboks 1995 World Cup squad. The gentle, poignant film left no doubt as to the regard Jonah was held in South Africa, and one scene in particular – where he says goodbye to close friend Joost van der Westhuizen, would have left very few dry eyes among those watching on Wednesday night. / CH

Watch: Bear Grylls Wild Weekends, Sunday on Prime at 2.30 – This week Bear explores the Swiss Alps with Miranda Hart, and there are bound to be many, many pratfalls.

Binge: Billy and Billie on Lightbox (click here to watch) – Seth from The OC is back in this offbeat comedy, and this time he has entered a frowned-upon relationship… with his stepsister.

Movie: Vertigo, Saturday on Maori TV at 9.20pm – Jimmy Stewart has never been more purple and a dolly shot has never been more nauseating in this Hitchcock classic.


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