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The Spinoff’s TV Week: Brave Blockheads, Kitchen Quitters and Sunkissed Sheeran

Bringing together the TV moments on the week, including Masterchef shockers, Sunday night monsters and Ed Sheeran at the beach. Contributions by Alex Casey and Calum Henderson.

New Kids on The Block

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The Mad Max-inspired promotional material for The Block NZ: Villa Wars has been doing the rounds this week, introducing us to the teams that we will gleefully watch clash over cushion covers, whinge over whiteware and battle over bespoke bookshelves. There’s Jamie and Hayden, the bantering team with a brash competitive streak (Jamie once made Hayden play cards with her 30 times in a row); Brooke and Mitch, the Christchurch battlers with a love of both “black” and “concrete”; Sarah and Minnane, the pint-sized sisters with secret strengths; and Cat and Jeremy, the staple waiting-on-a-marriage-proposal couple of the season. We don’t much else about them so far, apart from the fact that they have a penchant for dangerously tassled work gear and a deep hate for pie. (Click here to read the rest of The Block NZ promo analysis) / AC

Ben Waves a (Marco Pierre) White Flag

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Masterchef battler Ben sent shockwaves through the kitchen on Monday night when he eliminated himself from the competition before the episode had even begun, saying he had come to realise the stressful cheffing lifestyle just wasn’t for him.

The shock exit cast a long shadow over the episode, which was won by Gemma and her perfectly-cooked pork belly. Her recipe will be immortalised on the menu of special guest and former Masterchef winner Nadia Lim’s My Food Bag.
Ben’s revelation came after the eight remaining contestants had been put through their paces on Sunday night by celebrity chef Marco Pierre White – “a complex and regrettable phenomenon produced entirely by food television,” writes our own Masterchef NZ correspondent Eleanor Robertson. (Click here to read the full Masterchef NZ week seven recap) / CH

Sheeran Comes to Summer Bay

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It has to be an unfortunate coincidence that the most famous person to visit Summer Bay is also the most pale creature to ever crawl the sandy shores. Ed Sheeran showed up the weeknight soap, as he so often does, last night. Teaching the tanned locals a thing or two about how to cover up in dark clothing in the piping hot sun, and how to whip out a guitar from nowhere a la David Brent, Sheeran shook the Bay to its very core. “I can’t believe it”, someone says as Sheeran takes a seat at the kiosk. Nor can I. How has this very niche form of promotion become Ed Sheeran’s calling card? Next thing he’ll be giving hot takes on Paul Henry and replacing Step Dave in TV2’s latest local blockbuster Step Ed. “I hope this song helps you forget about your troubles,” Ed coos, “and thank you Marilyn for teaching me about Vegemite.” Sensational world we live in. / AC

Ending a Monstrous Sunday Theatre Season

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Sunday night marked the last instalment in this season of TV One’s Sunday Theatre, wrapping up with The Monster of Mangatiti. Recreating the harrowing real life tale of Heather Walsh, who was held captive and repeatedly assaulted after taking a job on a remote farm, the heartstopping drama reinstilled my faith in ye olde ancient telefeature. Blending documentary and drama, The Monster had a gravitas to it that I haven’t seen in local television for a while. Perhaps this could signal a return to the appointment viewing of yesteryear, where the family (maybe not the kids) gather around to be regaled, horrified and moved by jaw-dropping New Zealand stories. From murderous husbands, to shipwrecks, to mystery house fires, TV One breathed some dramatic substance into our Sunday nights – a slot usually dominated by all-singing, all-dancing and all-cooking genres. (Click here to read my full review of The Monster of Mangatiti) / AC

The Edge Wedding

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The Edge’s big survey push culminated on Thursday morning with the wedding of two strangers live on air. What better way for The Edge to flex their multi-platform muscles than to also broadcast it live on their own television channel The Edge TV (Sky channel 114). The extremely lo-fi (it looked and sounded like it was coming through Skype) coverage was hosted by Edge weekdays host Megan and nights co-host Stephanie and was an absolute shambles, in a strangely thrilling, almost punk kind of way.

We missed half the ceremony thanks to the cheerfully inept cameraman and very poor sound quality but eventually got what we came for – to see the pair put a ring on it and seal the deal with an intense pash under the watchful gaze of official wedding celebrant Dominic Bowden. Beautiful. (Click here to read the full recap of the shambolic proceedings). / CH

Watch: Antonia Prebble and Rebecca Gibney star in chilly new crime series Winter, based on the telemovie The Killing Field, premiering 8:30pm Sunday night on TV One.

Binge: Dead Like Me on Lightbox. As Aaron Yap wrote in his Throwback Thursday on the show this week, “The dialogue is full of quotable, darkly hilarious bon mots (“I didn’t know what was more disturbing: being dead or the fact that the first man to touch my naked body was a coroner”) and the deaths absurd and cheerfully grisly in a Looney Tunes kind of way.” (Click here to read the full post)

Movie: Only Lovers Left Alive, the very cool indie vampire movie directed by Jim Jarmusch, is on Maori TV, Sunday night at 8:30pm.

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