Top five TV picks of the week

Kate and her mates and family are embroiled in a multitude of problems. Photo / Supplied
Kate and her mates and family are embroiled in a multitude of problems. Photo / Supplied

Pick of the week: Tricky Business

Australia has been producing some engaging family based dramas of late. Packed to the Rafters and Offspring embraced the cross-generation multi-story model with great success. Now Tricky Business is giving it a whirl - with an interesting twist.

Set in Wollongong, the show centres on Kate, played by Gigi Edgley, and her family and colleagues. The difference is that Kate runs a small business as a mercantile agent - which is a fancy word for a debt collector - who also investigates client financial reliability, with some occasional bounty hunting, plus making an effort to help people in debt get back on track.

As Kate's business partner (and potential fiancee) Rick says, their targets are often good people who have simply made bad decisions. This means that you get a bit of investigative procedure thrown in with the family drama.

One minute Kate is out chasing a crooked businessman with a $25,000 price on his head, next she's trying to find what Rick is being so secretive about, and forgetting to pick up her father from a doctor's appointment.

It turns out Rick has been rather secretive about borrowing money and sinking cash into what seemed like a fail-safe investment - he wanted to stack up a bit of money for a wedding and honeymoon - but when that investment flops and Rick has to pay back the borrowed cash quickly, he is forced to empty the business bank account - without telling Kate first.

"Tricky business, debt" intones the dodgy loan character. "We all owe someone something. But how we acknowledge that and how we pay for that, that shows character."

This behaviour from the usually loveable Rick starts to make mysterious, charismatic freelance mercantile agent Matt (played by a shining Anthony Starr) look quite appealing - plus Matt may be able to help her put some cash back into the business.

Kate has the rest of her family and colleagues to think about after all. Younger sister Lily (Sophie Hensser) and surfer dude Chad (Lincoln Lewis), who is something of a hopeless apprentice, rely on the agency for employment, and there's Emma, Kate's daughter, to think about.

Her parents, Jim and Claire (played with aplomb by veteran Aussie actors Shane Bourne and Debra Byrne), have given up their retirement holiday plans to help out - and let their daughter and granddaughter move back into the family home.

With her parents giving well-meaning personal and business advice, and her sister impatiently pushing her forward, Kate finds her whole life has turned into something of a tricky business.

When: Tuesday, 8.30pm
Where: TV3
What: Mixing business and family in new Aussie drama

Crime pick: Beyond the Darklands

TV psychologist Nigel Latta is back with another series in which he attempts to build a more complete picture of some of New Zealand's most infamous criminals. This season, each episode explores a different type of offending.

Latta investigates their lives with the hope that if we know why these things happen, perhaps they can then be stopped. In episode one, Latta delves into the life of Liam Reid - convicted of the rape and murder of deaf Christchurch woman Emma Agnew, and the rape and attempted murder of a 21-year-old Dunedin student only nine days later in 2008.

After the Agnew trial, it was revealed that Reid had been previously involved in a number of brutal and sexually depraved incidents. What prompted these ever increasing violent outbursts?

When: Monday, 8.30pm
Where: TV ONE
What: Inside the criminal mind

Comedy pick: Betty White's Off Their Rockers

Just like her character Elka in Hot In Cleveland, that naughty Betty White is getting up to mischief in her new show, which scorns the stereotypes about getting old. The screen veteran is the leader of a devilish and sexy gang of geriatrics who go around playing pranks on those from the younger generation.

"People have been telling me for years that that I'm off my rocker for years - now I can prove it," says White of the show.

They do things like whisper tales of steamy sex into the ears of subway passengers. Also on the subway, watch the jaws of the yoof drop when an old fella breaks into a rap.

Then there's Betty herself, who rides off on a Hog - as in a motorbike - and propositions some nice young men for a tilt at the Mile High Club.

When: Sunday, 7pm
Where: TV2
What: Punked geriatrics

Nature pick: Natural World: Humpbacks From Fire to Ice

This documentary follows a humpback whale calf over the course of it's first year as it goes about learning to survive the perils of its underwater world.

Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, it starts with the birth of the baby in the warm waters around Hawaii. It's not long before the mother and her calf must make the 11,000km journey to the summer feeding grounds off the coast of Alaska.

However, along the way the calf gets separated from her mum and is alone and having to fend for herself and avoid ruthless predators.

Using state-of-the-art technology, From Fire To Ice delves into the lives of these often secretive animals and gets up close and personal as it documents the incredible interaction between the whales as well as with their enemies.

When: Tuesday, 8.30pm
Where: TV One
What: A perilous first year

Drama pick: Boss

Chicago mayor Tom Kane (Kelsey Grammar in a Golden Globe winning role) started losing his grip on his power and sanity slowly over the course of the first season.

His legacy of corruption and lies surfaced, his family ended up in tatters (he didn't help that by betraying his daughter and putting her in jail) and his health deteriorated. When the 10-part second season picks up the power stakes are upped and Kane's problems intensify on all fronts.

His battle with brain disease - which he has kept secret - is especially prominent this season. "You know," said Grammar in an interview with TimeOut last week, "people with disease talk about how you end up embracing or resisting it or fighting it and this is what is going on with him this year."

When: Saturday, 8.30pm (encores Tuesday, 7.30pm)
Where: Soho
What: The big bad boss is back

-TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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