1. Mr Selfridge
The department store Selfridges may seem as English as Toad in the Hole, but its founder Mr Selfridge was way more apple pie. Yes Mr Selfridge was an American, which means that casting Jeremy Piven (Entourage's caustic Ari Gold) as the titular shopkeeper, in the costume drama Mr Selfridge, isn't as insane as it sounds. Best of all this gave PBS, who are currently screening it in the US, the chance to come up with this lovely Ari themed promo. Coronation Street fans will spot another famous face amongst the cast - it's 'er what plays common as muck Becky MacDonald, innit. The series will screen on TV1 sometime this year.
2. Native Affairs
Autumn is proving to be a good month for the local crop of current affairs, which is now in full swing with the likes of Sunday, 3rd Degree, 20/20, 60 Minutes, The Nation, Marae Investigates, Q&A, Think Tank, Media 3, Back Benches and Native Affairs.
Now hosted by Mihingarangi Forbes, (most famous for her take-down of Employment Federation boss Alasdair Thompson) Native Affairs hit the headlines last week with their story "Illegal Tender", which took a sober look at Maori growing pot for a living, kind of like the mum on Weeds. Metiria Turei said "It has become an income supplement for whanau, particularly in rural areas, who have very little income and very few job prospects." But rather than letting Maori cash in on this cash crop, increasingly the state throws them in jail. Of the 30 thousand people convinced of cannabis related offences in last five years, 40 per cent were Maori. Naturally the notion of changing the status quo caused the usual drunken media shit-storm. On this follow-up story on TV1, former pot smoker, now Cabinet Minister, Peter Dunne, reckoned the idea to be tantamount to "anarchy." And, in a bit of a coup, the reluctant Race Relations Commissioner, Dame Susan Devoy, has agreed to appear on the show this week. It should be interesting viewing given her views on Waitangi Day and Muslim fashion.
Recently Campbell Live's Rebecca Wright spent a fruitless afternoon stalking Devoy in her hometown of Tauranga.
(Native Affairs, Maori TV, Monday 8.30pm, Wednesday 10.30pm)
3. Tourettes: Let Me Entertain You
Tourettes: Let Me Entertain You is from the makers of last year's surprisingly touching and often hilarious, Autistic Superstar. Ringmaster, and BBC DJ, Reggie Yates has a great touch, managing to make it seem more than a mere freak show. Think X Factor with people who bark and say cock a lot. One girl can't help yelling out "Chlamydia". You've missed part one but it still has two parts to run and is well worth a look. (Vibe, Wednesday, 9.30pm) Tourettes is so hot right now, the follow up, Tourettes Superstar, has just begun its run in the UK.
4. Nathan For You
Nathan For You is a brilliant new show making waves in the states that takes is cue from shows like the influential British satire Brasseye. In other words it will make you laugh and wince at the same time and you'll never be quite sure what is real and what is staged. It's fronted by the deadpan 29 year old Canadian Nathan Fielder, formerly of The Hour Has 22 Minutes, a north of the border version of The Daily Show. (Comedy Central will be screening it here in November)
5. Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, starts this week. You know Bourdain, he's the gruff, ex junkie, New York food guru, or as the PR blurb describes him; "the world-renowned chef, bestselling author and Emmy award-winning television personality." It's the mix of travelogue and food porn and it's very, very good.
Last year I consumed an entire series of his previous effort The Layover, while on a plane, like a greedy pig. In this clip, from Parts Unknown, he takes a crazy train ride in Myanmar.
(Parts Unknown, CNN Mondays from Monday 15 April at 1:00pm, replays Sundays from 21 April at 1:00pm.)
6. The Project
I know it's old news but John Lydon's (nee Johnny Rotten) hilarious appearance on Australian show The Project made me laugh.
"Misogynist Pig!" "Rude Pommy Punk!" "Crusty Old Bastard!" raged the headlines. He is a grisly old dog to be sure, but Australians do sound, as John said, "like one of them dreadful loud birds I don't like." To get the famously offensive Lydon to appear on your show and then to actually take offense over what he says, as your studio audience chuckles away, is just a little bit hypocritical. It also seemed obvious that Lydon was reacting to a bad sound mix, which made the panellists really sound like those "loud dreadful birds." Good to see that our Australian cousins are just as sensitive as us though. I always thought they were made of tougher stuff. Their hardy criminal forbears would be appalled.