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Chris Philpott is nzherald.co.nz's resident TV expert.

Chris Philpott: What to watch for the next two weeks

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Chris Philpott knows his TV. Here are his picks for what to watch over the next two weeks.
James Spader as 'Red' Raymond Reddington in 'The Blacklist'. Photo / AP
James Spader as 'Red' Raymond Reddington in 'The Blacklist'. Photo / AP

We ran through a week's worth of television last Friday - and things are only getting more intense! But allow me to be your guide: here is your day-by-day snapshot of what is new and/or returning to television for the next fortnight ...

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1

The Catalina (TV2, 11am)
Words Of Everest (History, 8.30pm)

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 2

The Great Food Race: Season 1 (TV3, 7pm) - brand new!
Masterchef NZ: Season 5 (One, 7.30pm)
TV3's brand new series The Great Food Race looks like it might be the more entertaining of the two - like some kind of unholy mashup of Food TV and The Amazing Race, with a touch more zaniness. But don't count out brand loyalty when it comes to Masterchef NZ. This is one ratings battle that will be a joy to behold; I'd love for TV2 to schedule My Kitchen Rules on Sundays too, just to see what happens.

Offspring: Season 4 (One, 8.30pm)
Is Offspring the best show being made in Australia right now? You know, I reckon it might be - the premise is strong, it's funny as hell, and you can't ask for a better lead than Asher Keddie.

The Blacklist: Season 1 (TV3, 8.30pm) - brand new!
James Spader returns to prime time as Ray Reddington, a career criminal on the FBI's most wanted list, who turns himself into the feds and offers to assist them in tracking down every major criminal in the world. It's okay, TV3. You had me at "James Spader".

Also premiering: Sunday (One, 7pm), Blandings: Season 1 (UKTV, 7pm), Under Siege: America's Northern Border (Discovery, 7.30pm), Time Scanners: Season 1 (National Geographic, 7.30pm), Hawaii Five-0: Season 3 (TV3, 9.30pm), Betrayal: Season 1 (One, 9.30pm)

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 3

Person Of Interest: Season 3 (One, 8.30pm)
The Following: Season 2 (One, 9.30pm)
Monday nights get a revamp on One, with Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson returning for another season of Person Of Interest, and Kevin Bacon back for more serial killer silliness on a show that killed off nearly its entire cast last year. When shows like Hannibal and True Detective, and upcoming British drama Broadchurch, are proving how good the serial killer sub-genre can be, it's hard to take something like The Following too seriously.

Ja'mie: Private School Girl: Season 1 (Comedy Central, 9.05pm)
Australian comedian Chris Lilley returns as Ja'mie King, one of his most popular characters in We Can Be Heroes and Summer Heights High. Can Ja'mie carry her own show? Judging from the episodes I've seen, the answer is yes. This is Lilley returning to some of his better work, and it makes for an enjoyable watch.

Also premiering: Jessie: Season 3 (Disney, 5pm), Home And Away (TV2, 5.30pm), Secrets Of The Irish Landscape (History, 8.30pm), Farm Kings (Country TV, 9.00pm), 60 Minutes (Prime, 9.30pm), Doomsday Preppers: Season 3 (NatGeo, 9.30pm)

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 5

Rake: Season 1 (One, 8.30pm)
While I like the idea of showing Rake - an Australian-made drama about a troublesome lawyer - to a Kiwi audience, I have to wonder why TVNZ would bother. The show first aired in Australia in late 2010, Rialto Channel have already played every episode to date, and TV3 has picked up a much more highly anticipated US remake starring Greg Kinnear. The original, starring Richard Roxburgh in the lead role, is great. But I feel like it might be bad timing for poor One.

Homeland: Season 3 (SoHo, 8.30pm)
Claire Danes returns as CIA analyst Carrie Matheson, picking up after the bombing of CIA headquarters in the Season 2 finale: Brody (Damien Lewis) is on the run in central America, Carrie is under fire for her involvement with the suspected terrorist, and Saul (Mandy Patinkin) is struggling to keep hold of the agency. Reviews have been down for this season, but it still seems like a show that is worth tuning in for.

Also premiering: The Biggest Loser: Season 14 (Four, 8.30pm), #Rich Kids: Beverly Hills (E!,9pm), Snookie&Jwoww: Season 3 (MTV, 9.30pm), Nazi Number 1: Hermann Goering (History, 9.30pm), Big Tips Texas (MTV, 10pm), Burn Notice: Season 5 (Four, 10.20pm)

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 6

Family Guy: Season 12 (Four, 7.30pm)
American Dad!: Season 10 (Four, 8pm)
Bob's Burgers: Season 4 (Four, 8.30pm)

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 7

White Collar: Season 2 (Four, 10.35pm)

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 8

Last Man Standing: Season 2 (TV3, 3pm)
The Paradise: Season 1 (Prime, 8.30pm)
Friends With Benefits: Season 1 (TV3, 10.10pm)

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 9

Glee: Season 5 (Four, 6.30pm)
The fifth season of the famed singing show finds most of the cast away from home and includes a stirring tribute to the late Cory Monteith. Producers have already talked about how the action will move mostly to New York by seasons end so it shou- ... is anybody reading this paragraph? Is anybody even still watching this show?!

Also premiering: The League: Season 3 (Four, 11.05pm)

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 10

Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Season 1 (TV2, 9pm)
Parks & Recreation: Season 6 (Four, 10pm)
The best comedic minds in the business - Mike Schur and Dan Goor - are behind these two, arguably the best comedies on television right now: Parks & Rec is a perennial favourite of mine, while Brooklyn Nine-Nine is hilarious, picking up two Golden Globes (including Best Comedy Series) at the recent award gala. If you like good comedy, you can't go past these two. Also, how loaded is TV2's Monday night line-up as of February 10: The Middle, Trophy Wife, Super Fun Night, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Walking Dead. That's three straight hours of hyped comedy and critical acclaim right there.

Also premiering: Storage Wars: New York (Prime, 8pm), The Walking Dead: Season 4 continues (TV2, 9.30pm), Raising Hope: Season 4 (Four, 9.30pm)

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 11

Step Dave: Season 1 (TV2, 8.30pm)
Hurrah, a brand new Kiwi show finally makes it to air! The (not really a) replacement for Go Girls finds 23 year-old Dave moving in with his new girlfriend, who is 16 years his senior and has three kids. It probably won't mine any dramatic depths for deep and meaningful statements on life and love, but it looks like a helluva good time nonetheless.

Also premiering: Nabbed (TV2, 7.30pm), Neighbours At War (TV2, 8pm), Hidden Kingdoms (One, 8.30pm), Revenge: Season 3 (TV2, 9.30pm)

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 12

Mom: Season 1 (TV2, 7.30pm)
This might be Chuck Lorre's best comedy so far. Anna Faris is a natural comedic actress and she contrasts nicely with Alison Janney, who can play funny but brings a dramatic gravitas to the show. The first episode isn't great, or even really good, but you can see potential in it. However - and this is a big HOWEVER - there is no way this show should be on at 7.30pm: the first episode is full of sexual content, jokes about drug and alcohol use, teens sneaking boys out of the house, adulterous behaviour ... when did AO start this early? Or am I just getting old?!

Also premiering: The Force (One, 8pm), Two & A Half Men: Season 11 (TV2, 8pm), The Big Bang Theory: Season 7 (TV2, 8.30pm), 2 Broke Girls: Season 3 (TV2, 9pm), Once Upon A Time: Season 3 (TV2, 9.30pm)

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 13

Arrow: Season 2 (TV2, 8.30pm)
Finally, somebody got the superhero serial drama right! The first season of Arrow improved considerably over the course of 20-odd episodes, and reviews suggest season two jumps in quality again. Plus, this season contains a backdoor pilot for a drama series based on The Flash, to be played by Grant Gustin. Count me in!

Also premiering: Police Ten 7 (TV2, 7.30pm), The Kapa (Maori TV, 7.30pm), Motorway Patrol (TV2, 8pm), The Originals: Season 1 (TV2, 10.30pm; previously aired on TVNZ On-Demand)

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 14

The Vampire Diaries: Season 5 (TV2, 10.45pm; previously aired on TVNZ On-Demand)

* What shows are you looking forward to in the next couple of weeks?

Chris Philpott

Chris Philpott is nzherald.co.nz's resident TV expert.

In a strange way, Chris Philpott has grown up with television: his first big addiction was The X Files, which he watched as a teenager, enthralled by what was possible with the form. Chris’ love of TV grew over the years, parallel to the popularity and quality of serial dramas like The Sopranos, Lost, Mad Men and Breaking Bad. He began writing about TV professionally in 2010, before joining the NZ Herald in late 2013, and considers writing about TV more than a passing interest or hobby: he genuinely loves sharing new series and discussing the big shows with readers. Chris is based in Whangarei, and lives with his wife and daughter. When he isn’t watching television … just kidding, he’s always watching television.

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