TV picks of the week: Prepare your ingredients

Five shows that should keep couch potatoes glued to their screens over the coming week.
Zoe Marshall teams up with restaurateurs Lorenzo, left, and Leonardo Bresolin.
Zoe Marshall teams up with restaurateurs Lorenzo, left, and Leonardo Bresolin.

Picks of the Week: The Great Food Race and Masterchef NZ

New season competition between the free-to-air networks isn't just the 7pm weekday battle between Seven Sharp and Campbell Live. It's about to go head-to-head and stove-to-stove on Sunday nights with the clash of the cooking shows. One of them's new, one is in its fifth year but with major changes to its competition.

New season competition between the free-to-air networks isn't just the 7pm weekday battle between Seven Sharp and Campbell Live. It's about to go head-to-head and stove-to-stove on Sunday nights with the clash of the cooking shows. One of them's new, one is in its fifth year but with major changes to its competition.

TV3's The Great Food Race is the new format, which has eight teams of two competing in 13 90-minute episodes while whizzing about the place - our national carrier is a sponsor. It's hosted by Zoe Marshall (wife of Benji) in her first television job on this side of the Tasman and the judges are the Wellington restaurateur brothers Lorenzo (the one with the moustache) and Leonardo (the one without) Bresolin.

The eight pairs of competitors include folks from all over the country, a 20- and 30-something mix of married couples, mates and one pair of brothers-in-law. They'll go through four stages - "Home Hosting," "Pop Up Kitchens", "Overseas" and "The Finals" - all designed to test their culinary abilities in unfamiliar and trying circumstances.

Says Lorenzo: "Lots of people are confident cooks when they are in their own kitchen cooking with ingredients that they like to use ... it can be quite a different story when they have their kitchen and their kitchen removed from the equation."

They're not being given the dream of becoming celebrity chefs, just a chance to win a $20,000 cash grand prize along with another $20,000 worth of sponsor's prizes.

Starting half an hour later on Sunday is the fifth series of MasterChef NZ, which has tweaked its format - the competitors now come in teams of two which could bring it closer to the likes of Australian hit My Kitchen Rules, which has screened here on TV2.

The new MasterChef is screening twice a week on Sundays and Mondays at 7.30pm as the 15 teams get eliminated two by two.

The resident judging panel of Ray McVinnie, Josh Emett and Simon Gault have returned, their first task on Sunday night's premiere to select the duos from those who got through the initial stage.

On Monday's second episode they are joined by that one-woman Aussie cookbook industry, Donna Hay, who will be judging the little Black Forest cakes baked by the competing pairs.

The show is promising a "colourful cross-section of Kiwi couples" including fathers and sons, flatmates, friends and fiancees and even some exes who will be putting their relationships to the test under the combined pressure of hot stove, TV studio lights, and Simon Gault the shouting clock. You can also expect those voice-overs which will make a meal of the show's new doubled-up approach.

Drama pick: Homeland

Calm down, Homeland fans. After much delay, it's finally here -and it's worth the wait.

Season three of the award-winning CIA drama kicks off with the aftermath of the explosion that rocked the end of the show's second season. The CIA's forces have been decimated by the deadly terrorist attack, Brody (Damian Lewis) has gone to ground, Saul (Mandy Patinkin) is battling to take control of the CIA and Carrie (Claire Danes) is nearing another bipolar breakdown.

So far, so Homeland. Despite negative reviews that greeted this season in America, and a complete shut out during awards season, fans can take solace in the fact that Homeland hasn't lost any of its supercharged pace, handwringing tension, or knack for delivering a nailbiting cliffhanger when it counts.

When: Wednesday 8.30pm
Where: SoHo
What: That much delayed third season

Drama pick: Rake

After years of various Underbelly villains, it sure is nice to have an Aussie show which puts the Lucky Country's justice system in a good light. Just kidding.

Rake is a legal drama starring Richard Roxburgh as the colourful self-destructive Sydney barrister Cleaver Greene - the "Rake" of the title.

The ABC hit has been screening across the ditch since 2010 turned up here on Sky's Rialto Channel too.

It's also getting an American remake with Greg Kinnear in the starring role.

This first series has a who's-who of Australasian screen talent among Greene's mates (Danielle Cormack and Robyn Malcolm feature in recurring roles) and clients.

In the first show, Hugo Weaving plays a professor charged with murder - but is only willing to admit he's a cannibal.

When: Wednesday, 8.30pm
Where: One
What: Sydney legal shenanigans

Comedy pick: This Is Jinsy

Folks who like their comedy on the sketch-based, surreal and silly side are directed to this second series of the show that's had favourable comparisons to British comedy predecessors like The Mighty Boosh, Monty Python and The Goodies.

Series two has Stephen Fry, Rob Brydon, Sir Derek Jacobi and Dame Eileen Atkins as guest stars joining the show's creators Chris Bran and Justin Chubb on the fictitious Channel Island of the title where life seems to have taken a turn for the weird sometime in the 1960s.

The place is ruled over by Arbiter Maven (Chubb) and his assistant Sporall (Bran) and it's fertile ground for many a Spike Milligan-esque sketch and equally nutty song.

When: Thursday 10pm
Where: UKTV
What: More silliness from the Channel Islands

Crime pick: The Blacklist

It's a big couple of weeks for new and returning crime shows - Person of Interest and The Following are back on One on Monday nights too.

But the show which seems to be making the biggest noise is this stateside hit which marks the return of Boston Legal star James Spader to television.

He plays master criminal "Red" Reddington who hands himself into the FBI to help catch the villains he has been in cahoots with.

If it's not clear why he's surrendered, even more puzzling, is that he insists he only deals with rookie FBI profiler Liz Keen (Megan Boone), who has some mysteries to her own life that she needs to solve too.

When: Sunday 8.30pm
Where: TV3
What: Takes one to catch one

- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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