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TelevisionJanuary 17, 2018

What’s new to Lightbox in January?

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Now that you’ve settled back into work and failed to keep up any of your resolutions, it’s time to turn back to trusty old television. Alex Casey and Sam Brooks introduce some new shows on Lightbox that might take your fancy.

Available now:

Brooklyn Nine-Nine S4

There’s a conversation to be had about whether a sitcom is the best place for a show about cops – but there’s enough good heart and self-commentary running throughout Brooklyn Nine-Nine to put that conversation off for a bit. In the vein of Parks and Recreation, this is a true ensemble comedy where half the joy of each episode is seeing what characters can pair together, and the other half is the kind-hearted comedy that comes from each of these pairings. Come for the light cop comedy, stay for Andre Braugher’s masterful deadpan performance as Captain Ray Holt. / Sam Brooks

Loudermilk S1

A dramedy about a recovering alcoholic trying to keep himself and his AA group off the sauce, Loudermilk takes the everyday curmudgeon out of Curb Your Enthusiasm and blends it over ice with a more complex study of addiction, friendship and survival. From the makers of There’s Something About Mary and Dumb and Dumber, there’s no shortage of laughs (even if there is a distinct shortage of booze). Click here to read the full review. / Alex Casey

Watching Ellie S1&2

“The concept for Watching Ellie is strange and fascinating, even 15 years later. Firstly, it’s told in real time, with a clock ticking down in the corner of the screen. Secondly, it’s a single-camera comedy, which is not particularly strange now, but in 2002 the closest thing to it was Monk. Remember Monk? Man, remember Tony Shalhoub? What a time 2002 was. Thirdly, it’s a show where nothing much happens – Ellie just meanders along for literally twenty-two minutes, being quite mean to people around her (not dissimilar from Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ other work, really).” Click here to read the full review. / SB

800 Words S2

I don’t know a single writer who doesn’t consider moving out to the sticks at least several times a day. Somewhere where there are lots of trees, or a spritz of sea air, or at least the odd kooky character. Somewhere like Weld, the fictional NZ town in 800 Words where hotshot Sydney columnist George Turner relocates after his wife dies. In season two George has lost his job, but has his writing actually become any more legible? You’ll have to watch to find out. / AC

Homeland S6

You might remember Homeland as the show that won a lot of Emmys in its early seasons and featured a truly tremendous full-noise performance from Claire Danes as the questionably-employed Carrie Matheson. It’s had a lower profile since then, but it’s absolutely worth returning to; what started as a terrorist-driven political thriller has now turned into the le Carré espionage show that it always wanted to be. If you’re hooked, you’re already watching it. If you’re not, it’s not the worst time to jump right on in. / SB

Westside S3

The most entertaining New Zealand history lesson you are likely to get from any TV show, Westside season 3 rolls on the leg warmers and struts right into the dayglo of the early 1980s. The West family is now split between two headquarters; one in Henderson and one in Ponsonby (as you’ve never seen it before). Hang out till episode four and you might just get to see the exact moment when Wolf met Cheryl. Iconic. / AC

Up All Night S1-2

This curio of a show only lasted two seasons but is a genuine delight, with Christina Applegate and Maya Rudolph in rare regular roles. Will Arnett is also in it, but he appears to be in a billion shows at the same time. Applegate is a master of television comedy (Married with Children, Samantha Who?, a killer guest arc on Friends) and Maya Rudolph is a flat-out genius. Even though it’s not the main point of the show, they’ve got a killer chemistry with each other, Applegate playing the highly-strung newly-mothered executive and Rudolph playing a loosely-veiled version of Oprah. This show also agrees with me that ‘Lightning Crashes’ is the funniest song in the entire world. / SB

Coming soon:

The Office S1-9 (Jan 23)

I am literally drooling to re-devour The Office US in all its ridiculous entirety like a delicious plate of baby back ribs. Inspired by the UK mockumentary series that basically changed comedy, television and the world forever, the US iteration staples on a good seven more seasons, countless more incredible characters and a hell of a lot more crazy, dumb heart. I think I even like it more than the original, but don’t tell my teenage crush Stephen Merchant that. / AC

Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams (last four eps arrive from Jan 23)

Just like the rest of us, Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams has taken a hiatus over the past few months to go to the bach, take up knitting and play Settlers of Catan with friends and family. The second half of the extremely buzzy anthology series will begin arriving late January, just in time for the holiday glow to wear off and the same old dread about the future, technology and the general state of humankind to set in. You’ll have polished off Black Mirror by then, too. / AC

Gunpowder (Jan 25)

Are you looking for your Game of Thrones Jon Snow fix to be filled? Then look no further than Gunpowder, the three-part mini-series starring Kit Harrington as the man behind the man that was Guy Fawkes. I’m a sucker for an espionage thriller, and even more so when that espionage involves people dressing up in fancy costumes and putting wigs on. Throw in some Catholic vs. Protestant intrigue, which you don’t get enough of these days, and you’ve sold me. Also, Liv Tyler is in this and we need more Liv Tyler in our lives. / SB

Step Dave S1&2 (Jan 29)

He was a 24 year-old lad, she was a 30-something single mum, can I make it any more obvious? A light local comedy to fill the Go Girls-sized hole in your heart, Step Dave tackles the perils of modern dating, blending families and living happily ever after. Can one millennial bloke step up and take on fatherhood? “I always thought having a relationship was about having a regular shag” says the titular Dave, “but it’s so much more than that.” Wise words. / AC

The Night Shift (S1-3 arrives Jan 30, S4 TBC)

What’s the best way to add intrigue, drama and high stakes to the already intriguing, dramatic and very high stakes world of the medical drama? Set it at night. Also, make the hospital be struggling to make ends meet. That helps too. Despite the countless catastrophes, medical dramas also make for the best kind of sit down in front of the TV comfort food. Do yourself a favour, treat yourself to a night shift where you don’t have to work. / SB

Click below to dive into the bevvy of new shows on Lightbox, including The Office US, Homeland, Watching Ellie and Loudermilk:

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Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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