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Pop CultureSeptember 18, 2015

Television: The Spinoff’s TV Week – Hackers, Hairpieces and Hefty New Drama

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Bringing together the TV moments on the week, including 3 News’ SCOUT leader, Mr Robot’s arrival and TVNZ’s new season launch. Contributions by Alex Casey and Calum Henderson.

Mr Robot Hacks Into New Zealand


Mr Robot is one of the buzzed-about shows of 2015, a cinematic cyber thriller that grips the viewer right in the codes and will get a lot of people rethinking their Facebook pages. This week, the series arrived in New Zealand exclusively on Lightbox in its entirety (click here to watch all 10 episodes). With a creeping Clockwork Orange score, the anarchic nihilism of Fight Club and the Orwellian paranoia of Brazil, it’s one of the most original shows to come to television this year. We interviewed a man who used to run the internet in New Zealand, and he confirmed that the internet security issues represented are chillingly real (click here for the full interview). Watch it, but know that everybody’s watching you. / AC

The News: Brought to You By Scout

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TV3 got a new lead-in to the 6 o’clock news bulletin this week with the arrival of SCOUT TV’s SCOUT in Sixty at 5:59pm. The spiritual successor to Allyson Gofton’s popular ‘Food in a Minute’ segment will deliver viewers a breathless dose of gossip and entertainment news over a throbbing EDM soundtrack every night. It’s snackable content, kind of like eating a whole box of Nerds right before dinner. (Click here for power rankings of the stories from Scout’s launch). / CH

Garner Catches a Big One on Story


Garner has been chopping security bracelets on Story like some sort of crazed Mayor at a mall opening. On Wednesday, the story became more real than ever before. The headline of the press release shrieked like a banshee “DUNCAN GARNER CONVINCES VIOLENT OFFENDER TO RETURN TO POLICE CUSTODY”. There would be more, of course, on Story that night. The Spinoff’s Don Rowe tuned in:

“‘They broke their agreement,’ he said, ‘so I’m breaking mine.’ You don’t exactly make an agreement to wear a monitoring anklet, it’s a legal sanction imposed by a judge, but it’s clear Cowan felt slighted. The tone of the thing was weird. There was real distress on Cowan’s face. A sad fire in his eyes.” (click here to read his full response) / AC

TVNZ’s New Season Launch


TVNZ launched their 2016 season on Wednesday, offering a tantalising glimpse into their programming department’s HD crystal ball. The big draws for the coming year include the multi-night, 20-episode local drama extravaganza Filthy Rich, which ambitiously promises a cliffhanger in every episode, and a beautifully-shot six-part miniseries about the life and times of Sir Edmund Hillary called, in classic no-nonsense Sir Ed fashion, Hillary. Perhaps most exciting is the return of intensely nerdy quiz show Mastermind, which will be hosted by one of the only TVNZ presenters who was kicking around the last time it screened here, Peter Williams. (Click here for Alex Casey’s extensive run-down of the season launch). / CH

Trump Interviews Himself on Fallon

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You know how sometimes the whole world feels like a huge, never ending joke? Watching Donald Trump on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon was one of those moments. The Republican frontrunner for the presidential race graced the late night talk show, and subsequently gave them the highest ratings in 18 months. I tuned in on Prime, and was bizarrely entranced by Trump’s aggressive improvisation and grumpy mouth like something that has only ever lived deep under the sea. He appeared in a sketch with Jimmy Fallon playing his reflection, and then did a straight interview where he talked about The Apprentice at any given opportunity. It ended with Trump nodding along to the song ‘All I Do Is Win’, which was a scary slice of a future that I do not want to be a part of.  (Click here for a full recap of Trump’s appearance) / AC

Watch: Bones, Friday 8.30pm on Prime – It’s the 206th episode this week, so the team at Bones are celebrating by naming every one of the 206 bones in the human body during the episode.

Movie: Jaws 2, 8.30pm on FOUR – Following Free Willy 2, this feels like either some sensational scheduling, or some real ocean-shaming. Either way, get an EVEN BIGGER boat this weekend.

Binge: Mr Robot on Lightbox (click here to watch) – Turn of your phone, put some tape over your webcam and settle into this perfectly paranoid and incredibly stylish thriller.

Keep going!