Top five TV picks of the week (+trailers)

Check out five TV shows that should keep couch potatoes glued to their seats over the coming days.

Host Mark Richardson (centre) and the intrepid DIYers. Photo / Supplied
Host Mark Richardson (centre) and the intrepid DIYers. Photo / Supplied

Pick of the week: The Block NZ

Think of that Dream Home show from a few years back, but on a much larger scale. Then throw in the challenge-style format of Masterchef, and perhaps a little bit of those DIY disaster shows. That's what TV3's new reality series The Block NZ is all about.

There's even a touch of The G.C. to it too, what with the fleeting shots of bikini babes at the beginning of the first episode, to perhaps get across the fact that these four houses the contestants will be renovating are in a prime location just five minutes walk from Takapuna beach.

The four pairs of DIYers are: sweet-natured Hamilton lovebirds Sarah and Richard; New Plymouth high-school sweethearts Ginny and Rhys; competitive, athletic and creative brother and sister team Libby and Ben; and entertaining and fun Wellington couple Tyson and Rachel.

On the show, based on the most popular TV show in Australia, the contestants each have a starting budget of $100,000 and compete to do up the four rundown houses from scratch.

They live in the houses as they are renovating, which means they don't have a bathroom or kitchen much of the time.

Each week, as well as planning, designing and rebuilding their homes, they also take part in challenges to win prizes and money to pay for their houses.

At the end of the 10-week competition the houses are sold at auction, with each couple getting to keep the profits.

The team whose house sells for the most over the reserve wins $80,000 extra. The Block, produced by reality TV guru Julie Christie's Eyeworks Television and hosted by former cricketer and sports broadcaster Mark Richardson (The Crowd Goes Wild) and telly babe Shannon Ryan, is the most expensive non-drama series ever produced in New Zealand.

TV3 is not putting a figure on it but says the show has a multi-million budget, which included buying the four houses at about $630,000 each. In the first episode, as well as meeting the couples and getting to know their backgrounds, they race each other around various Auckland retail stores (aka the show's sponsors) to collect four "red blocks", each valued at $5000.

Their final stop is "The Block", where they see their houses for the first time - and the buildings are not a pretty sight. It's Tyson and Rachel who could provide much of the entertainment on the series because they are an odd couple but so very much in love.

As Tyson says: "We can yell and scream at one another, but then cuddle each other half an hour later."

When: Wednesdays and Thursdays,7.30pm
Where: TV3
What: New big budget reality DIY show.

Drama pick: Missing

This action drama begins with a two-hour episode on Monday, starring Ashley Judd as desperate mother Becca Winstone, whose 18-year-old son, Michael, has disappeared just a few weeks after arriving in Rome to study.

Fortunately, Becca is a former CIA agent with lethal skills, who can use a coat-hanger as a weapon and fire a gun while riding a Vespa. Each of the 10 episodes is shot in a different European city, offering some great visual treats along with a high-paced storyline with more twists than a DNA strand.

When Becca kills a foreign agent within minutes of arriving in Rome, various international authorities (New Zealander Cliff Curtis plays the CIA bureau chief) are quickly alerted to her activities and it becomes clear there is much more going on than a simple case of kidnap and ransom.

When: Monday, 8.30pm
Where: TV One
What: Imagine James Bond as a mother with a missing son.

Comedy pick: 30 Rock

Returns for a sixth season this week, with the lives of those working at 30 Rockerfeller Plaza as muddled as they were six years ago. Tina Fey's Liz Lemon returns refreshed after a holiday break only to find that Tracy, Jenna, Kenneth and Jack are just as difficult and frustrating as ever.

Jenna has found new fame as a judge on America's Kidz Got Singing and is more interested in her popularity than her friends. Tracy is particularly unimpressed with Jenna's fame, and continues to say offensive things about all sorts of people. And Liz continues to keep her new boyfriend a secret from Jack, doubting that Jack will approve.

The series even manages to wind the event of Kim Jong II's December 2011 death into the story about Jack's wife being kidnapped while on assignment in North Korea.

When: Tuesday, 9.25pm
Where: Four
What: Still funny after all of these years.

Reality picks: Rescue 1, Kings Crosser

Two gritty reality series' start this week, one about rescuing people from all kinds of trouble with the Auckland Westpac rescue helicopter and getting them to hospital, and the other about what goes on behind hospital doors at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney.

In this episode of Rescue 1, the viewer gets the front seat in the chopper as they set off on a variety of rescue missions.

Across the Tasman, St Vincent's is one of the busiest hospitals in Australia with a diverse patient population. Through its doors come rock stars, celebrities, billionaire moguls, captains of industry and the homeless.

Rescue 1
When: Thursday, 8pm
Where: TV2
What: Westpac helicopter comes to the rescue

Kings Crosser
When: Tuesday, 8pm
Where: TV3
What: The chaos and order of Sydney's busiest hospital

Celebrity pick: Glee

Lindsay Lohan has stood in front of a judge a few times in her life, but this is probably the first time she's played one - albeit the judge of the National Show Choir Competitions.

It's the second-to-last episode of season three, and the New Directions squad are once again desperate to win the ultimate Glee Club competition, with their long-time rivals Vocal Adrenaline as their main competition. Lohan appears as a guest judge for the competition, with Perez Hilton, and manages to poke fun at her bad girl reputation.

With eight of the Glee Club members to graduate in next week's final episode, the future of the New Directions squad is pretty uncertain and this will probably be the last time they all compete together.

Can they make it their best yet? Or will their preoccupations with the adult life hurtling towards them leave them distracted?

When: Friday, 7.30pm
Where: TV3
What: Lindsay Lohan plays a judge.

-TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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