Paul Casserly: It's a good time to be a couch potato (+trailers)

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Blogger Paul Casserly checks out some of the shows that are destined to keep you on your couch this week, including Mad Men, Breaking Bad and Portlandia.

Mad Men returns for a highly anticipated season five. Photo / Supplied
Mad Men returns for a highly anticipated season five. Photo / Supplied

Wednesday, April 11

I have friends who are looking forward to Castle (TV One, 8.30pm) which returns this week for season four.

So far I have been unable to watch for more than a few minutes and have largely been put off by the promos which sell the show's star as one of the smuggest men on TV.

There's no shortage of TV personalities who are happily simmering in their own sauce. It's an important ingredient for talk show hosts for instance.

Jonathan Ross and David Lettermen balance it with self depreciation, Ellen DeGeneres less so.

When it comes to self saucing us Kiwis punch above our weight. How else to explain Paul Henry?

As for this Castle chap, well he's a fictional character, so there's that, but he's well cast, that's for sure.

In the interests of being open-minded I will watch and report back.

It may turn out that it's not an unsatisfying cliché-fest after all.

Watch the trailer for season four of Castle:

Thursday, April 12

Top Boy (8.30pm, Soho) is a gritty British council-estate gang-banger thingy, innit. Having already seen tonight's episode I can attest to it being a solidly engrossing opening gambit, and I'm hanging out for next week already.

It also feels authentic in the way that The Wire felt authentic, of course having no experience of either location - the mean streets of Hackney, or Baltimore - I have no real idea of how real it actually is, just as I have no real sense of Tom Cruise' sexuality or David Bain's innocence.

But Top Boy sure feels authentic, and it's fair to say that no one does grim as well as the British, and these council estates certainly are that.

But don't take my word for it - Franklyn Addo lives in Hackney and confirms the show's cred in this comment piece in The Guardian.

Watch the trailer for Top Boy:



Season three of Breaking Bad is back on free to air (Four, 10.30pm) as well. If you haven't seen this show you need to get the box set of season one and two and start now.

It's the best show about cooking P and selling P that's ever existed as well as being one of the most entertaining programmes of all time and you'd have to say that Walt and Jesse are among the best oddball buddy pairings since Tom and Jerry.

Watch the trailer for season three of Breaking Bad:

Friday, April 13

Enough with the Titantic (TV One, 8.30pm) already, it was 100 years ago, let it go!

This is the beginning of a four-parter made by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellows so the cast and production will be top notch. Kind of like Piha Rescue without better costumes.

Portlandia (TV3 10pm) is proving to be a bloody good watch too, making fun as it does of modern day characters like fixed-wheel bike riding hipsters and organic/animal-rights obsessive types.

Carrie Brownstein was in the alternative band Sleater-Kinney while co-star Fred Armisen is a former contributor to Saturday Night Live, together they are quite brilliant, in a slacker-American Little Britain sort of way. The Femminist Book Store skits are freaking hilarious.

Watch a clip from Portlandia:

Saturday, April 14

I've been waiting for this, like a panting Labrador slobbering on the butcher's window. This, being season five of Mad Men, (Soho, 8.30pm) the best dressed show with the worst behaved charters.

It's tough when your friends have already seen it already via streaming, which is the new downloading, but I'm holding out for the full-screen experience and to get my money's worth for my Sky tithe.

Season four ended with bombshells: Don dumped the tobacco companies and got engaged to his secretary and 'big red' got Roger-ed and now has his bun in her oven.

The people at ipoopdaily.com have made an amusing mash-up illustrating the sexiest themes dealt with in the show. Tonight's episode is a two hour special.

Watch the trailer for season five of Mad Men:


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