Paul Little at large
Paul Little is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Paul Little: Dude, you can't take the Wi-Fi

The night's other big reinvented show was  Top Gear , about which much has already been written. Photo / Supplied
The night's other big reinvented show was Top Gear , about which much has already been written. Photo / Supplied

The Wi-Fi went out the other night and I didn't know where to look. Literally. It was horrible.

For a long time time we have exclusively watched streaming/online/downloaded/whatever you call it television.

This can be expensive but I offset it against what this household saves on tobacco and DVDs and Sky TV, which used to be quite a large amount, and has never been spent on Lotto, because you'd have to be mad to fall for that.

It is motivating that at present, the best television in the history of the medium is being made. But this night would be an adventure.

I'd heard people even older than me muttering about Freeview and Lightbox and how Sky has lost it. Now I could see a bit of that for myself - specifically, how much you get for nothing.

They could double the combined charges for all available pay services and I would willingly hand over the money - and throw in my dogs - rather than endure another night of viewing like that I suffered last Sunday.

Sunday. It used to be the premium night for viewing. Any producer who snaffled a prime-time Sabbath slot knew his or her show had a head start in the ratings.

Never mind the bandwidth - feel the quality, even if Montana Sunday Theatre was never quite the same after it became Lexus Sunday Theatre.

But look, it's Mastermind, exactly the sort of programme people complain they don't make like they used to.

And they're not making it like they used to.

Certainly, the format is the same, complete with that erotically charged catchphrase: "I've started so I'll finish", but it has been dumbed down to the point that a single-cell organism would probably have a fair chance of cracking it.

I'm no mastermind, but things are pretty dire if I can answer half the specialist questions as well as most of the general knowledge ones.

The whole point of Mastermind is to allow the audience to ooh and aah at the ever-so-clever people and the peculiar things they know.

And the set looks as though it was bought second-hand from someone who was renovating his harem.

Soon, I was manically changing channels looking for something to watch. It didn't help that not very far up the dial - if you'll pardon the anachronism - two networks have the same show on another channel an hour later. Why ?

Well, good question.

Perhaps for people who couldn't believe what they just saw and needed to check.

At least in the old days when people complained about the number of repeats being shown there was a bit more than an hour between screenings.

The night's other big reinvented show was Top Gear, about which much has already been written. I'll confine myself to confirming that it is all correct and noting there is, however, always a little pleasure to be had in watching two people who do not like or respect each other - in this case Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc - trying to appear as though they do.

There was one standout show: Westside . Compared to its surroundings, it was not just a thing of quality. It was The Wire plus The Forsyte Saga plus Breaking Bad rolled into one.

But I hadn't seen the first series - having put that on hold fur a future binge watch - and didn't want to spoil any surprises by starting with the second.

Finally, my rambling remote came to rest at Maori TV, as I believe it does for many people of an evening.

As luck would have it, Sunday's movie was The Big Lebowski. My heart rate evened out and I breathed a small sigh of relief as I settled in to watch this timeless classic and promptly fell asleep.

- Herald on Sunday

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