TV picks: It's hammer time on The Block

The houses are about to go under the hammer. Photo / Supplied
The houses are about to go under the hammer. Photo / Supplied

Pick of the week: The Block NZ

In the words of Rhys, the cheeky and likeable 'Naki boy of The Block NZ, it took "a big couple of days on the shovel" to complete their backyards and put the finishing touches on their homes during last night's episode of the hit reality show.

But now, everything is in place ahead of tonight's final when the homes will be auctioned.

The two-hour special starts with the couples preparing for the auction and takes in the open-home weekends when thousands of people traipsed through their front doors for a nosey.

The winners of the final challenge, whose house was judged the best by a panel including style guru and clothes horse Colin Mathura-Jeffree, comedian Urzila Carlson, and radio host Marcus Lush, will be revealed and they get to choose what spot they take in the all-important auction order. This will be followed by the auction, screened live.

Rewind to last night's backyard and clean-up session: the teams showed a mix of frenzied panic and joyous relief to have finally finished their homes.

After winning an earlier challenge, Tyson and Rachel had the luxury of getting a hand from a team of helpers, including TV3 comedians and class clowns Jono Pryor and Ben Boyce. Not that Tyson was very impressed.

"I've got the seven dwarfs out there and they have no idea ... no clue."

Meanwhile, over at house two, Richard and Sarah won best backyard but their victory came at an emotional cost with tempers frayed and cracks showing in their usually lovey-dovey relationship.

"I'm questioning if you're going to have any friends after this," said Sarah to her grumpy man.

Still, they made up with each other and won with a record-breaking score of 18.5 out of 20 and a first prize of $3000 to help market their home before the auction.

And there was also a tear-jerker reunion when Tyson and Rachel's son turned up to see his mum and dad for the first time since the show started.

But now it's time for the auctions and the couples - and producers of the show - will be hoping the homes fetch top dollar. But nothing's guaranteed as last year's series of The Block Australia proved, with three of the four houses being passed in.

As for who will win, you have to put your money on Ben and Libby because they are slick, stylish and have a sound design aesthetic.

Then again, that hot tub of Tyson and Rachel's looks pretty enticing.

* Check nzherald.co.nz tonight for a full review of The Block's two-hour finale.

Drama pick: Strike Back

As the action-packed, shoot 'em up second series begins, the members of top-secret anti-terrorist organisation Section 20 head into volatile areas to deal with terrorists and ruthless warlords.

But there have been big changes for special forces agents and partners Damien Scott (Sullivan Stapleton) and Michael Stonebridge (Philip Winchester). Stonebridge is training recruits but is itching to get back in the field. Meanwhile, Scott is going it alone in the field. In the opening episode he is on a mission in Kenya. But he gets caught by a Somali warlord known as Waabri, who is in possession of a nuclear trigger device, so Stonebridge heads to the rescue.

The series is based on the novels by real-life former British Special Forces operative Chris Ryan. As in the first season, there will be five separate adventures in different areas of the world played out over two episodes.

When: Tuesday, 8.30pm
Where: Soho
What: Under fire in Africa

Crime pick: Underbelly: Badness

Underbelly is back for a fifth series, and this time it will be returning to the gritty present-day nature of the first season as it brings to life the story of Anthony Perish, one of Australia's most elusive and most wanted criminals with links to drugs, guns and gangs.

Perish (Jonathan LaPaglia, recently seen on TV3 in The Slap) was well known in the underworld as a charismatic yet ruthless character.

Yet despite his reputation and five-star lifestyle the law knew little about him. But then he made a big mistake in 2001 when seeking retribution for the murder of his grandparents.

Piece by piece, determined cop Gary Jublelin (Matt Nable) - a Buddhist with boundless energy - started to put together details and over the course of 10 years made Anthony Perish and his brother Andrew (Josh Quong Tart) the suspects in one of the biggest murder investigations in New South Wales history.

When: Wednesday, 8.30pm
Where: TV3
What: Tracking an invisible criminal

Musical pick: Smash

The world of Broadway, with all its mega-hits, and risky flops, is the inspiration for this new all-singing, all-dancing drama. It's a show about dreams, and the process that takes shows from inception to glitzy reality.

Hit-writing lyricist duo Julia (Debra Messing) and Tom (Christian Borle, pictured) dream of writing a musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. Stage veteran Ivy Bell (Megan Hilty), is determined to leave the chorus line and make her break starring as Monroe, but inexperienced Midwestern beauty Karen (Katharine McPhee) is desperate to prove she could make Monroe her own.

Producer Eileen (Anjelica Huston) dreams of another hit show, and although egocentric director Derek (Jack Davenport) is initially sceptical, he soon has everyone (including himself) entranced with his choreography.

With three original songs in every episode, it's like a mini-musical in your living room every week.

When: Thursday, 9.30pm
Where: TV3
What: The dramas of Broadway

Doco Pick: The First World War From Above

This BBC programme brings a new sense of scale to the French and Belgian battlegrounds of the World War 1.

It shows how the networks of trenches stretched from the English Channel to Switzerland - as seen from a film shot from above by a French airship in 1919, soon after the Armistice and while the land was still scarred by the devastation of the previous four years' fighting and shelling.

The programme also looks at how the advent of aerial photography changed tactics on the ground and pays a visit to the the Imperial War Museum to take a close look at the huge archive of pictures taken by the Royal Flying Corps.

The documentary also replicates an airship flight and employs computer imaging to compare the contemporary landscape with that of the 1914-18 Western Front where so many - including New Zealanders and Australians - sacrificed their lives.

When: Sunday, 9.35pm
Where: Prime
What: A bird's-eye view of the Western Front

-TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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