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A blog about television and radio with Paul Casserly

Paul Casserly: TV questions of the week

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How will we cope when Mad Men and Game of Thrones finish, asks TV blogger Paul Casserly.

Mick Innes as trainer Marty in a scene from Hounds. Photo / Supplied
Mick Innes as trainer Marty in a scene from Hounds. Photo / Supplied

There are plenty of questions that need to be asked about the state of television at the moment. Let's start with the obvious ones.

How will we cope when Mad Men and Game of Thrones finish? Well that's simple, we won't. Like Roger Sterling after taking acid, we'll never be the same again, despite being the better for it.

How many times will the 'C' word be use on the next episode of Game of Thrones? About three.

How many of the Masterchef competitors will get sweet deals promoting supermarkets and cookbooks after the show? About three.

And how many times will Kim Dotcom appear on Campbell Live this week? About three.

You're probably not wondering what would happen if someone used the structure of a nature documentary to look at student life in Dunedin, but there's an answer anyway on Wednesday night in Flock Of Students (6am, Heartland). If you went to Otago University about 10 years ago you may even see yourself.

How often are there good shows on Vibe? About as often as the transit of Venus. One such occurrence is this Wednesday at 10.30pm in the form a documentary about the conjoined twins Abby and Brittany Hensel as they turn 16.

Joined for Life: Sweet 16 is kind of a freakshow but the girls are charming enough to assuage your guilt and clearly enjoy the limelight. Of course, the other thing about Vibe is that shows are often past their best by date. The girls are now 22.

What will happen to Sherlock Holmes now that everyone thinks he's dead and evil?

The frequently brilliant Sherlock season continues on TV One, but if you're expecting satisfaction following the Moriarty-brain-splattering-fake-suicide-cliff-hanger last week then prepare yourself for disappointment - this week's episode is a repeat, taking us back to series one.

The next new episodes aren't due till next year. Still, Benedict Cumberbatch is always remarkably watchable with his autisticly flavoured take on the master of deduction. If you haven't tried it yet, you should do yourself the favour.

Everyone has their favourite Sherlock, like they have their favourite Dr Who. In fact the current Sherlock and Dr Who even share the same show-runner, Steven Moffitt, seen here with Cumberpatch and producer Sue Virtue during an American Q&A about season 2.

Even House is essentially a version of Sherlock Holmes; the cases being medical rather than criminal, a piano sitting in for the violin, Vicodin for cocaine, etc. Robert Downey Jr makes a perfectly elementary 'Hollywood Holmes' but no one is a patch on the Cumberpatch. TMZ has even anointed him with having the "coolest name in Hollywood", beating out Rip Torn and Scatman Crothers.

The other big question of the week is what will they call the dog on Hounds, the new TV3 comedy which starts on Friday at 10pm.

As I banged on about recently, the dog, a greyhound, was called "Lundybainwatson," obviously a blackly humoured nod to three kiwis associated with some grisly murders.

But taking the Bain as a reference to his client David Bain, lawyer Joe Karam took offence via some pre-publicity that mentioned the gag. He had the management at TV3 step in and demand a name change.

Presumably deciding it wasn't a fight worth fighting the producers acquiesced but among the comments posted here was one possible way out - what if the Bain in the title was a reference to Robin? After all, as Mr Karam would be well aware, you can't defame the dead.

The name is a clue to a penchant for bad-taste gags that The Downlow Concept - the producers of the show - are particularly skilled at.

So what will they call the dog now? No pressure guys. It's not quite 'Who Killed JR?' but it's a handy spice to add to the PR curry needed to launch a new show.

Hounds itself is actually a bit of a mongrel, an edgy comedy set in the working class grime of the Greyhound racing scene - far from the glamour of The GC although most of the characters share the borderline narcissist disorder that seems so rife among the mozzies.

But this is white-trash central. The scenario is familiar enough: Family members forced together in unlikely circumstances under one roof - kind of like Packed to Rafters on drugs with dogs and the world's most unpleasant Tongan lawyer.

In other words, it's perfect for the Friday-night, post-pub timeslot.

One final question: Is there anything Craig Parker can't do?

From Doctors (Shortland Street) to Elves (Lord of the Rings) and now he's Shackleton's Captain (Sunday, TV One, 9.30pm) - he even weathered making this notorious list a few years back, although being annoying on an ad probably means you're doing your job perfectly.

Shackleton's Captain was directed and co-written by Leanne Pooley - best known for her doco Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls.

She was also responsible for the remarkable Springbok Tour film Try Revolution which looked at the 1981 tour through the eyes of South Africans.

And like the excellent Strongman Mine story (Strongman the Tragedy) that played recently on TV3 this film deftly mixes re-creations with interviews.

Compelling New Zealand history in primetime. Who said TV had gone to the hounds?

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