Hounds (TV3, Fridays, 10pm) got off to a start as slow as a greyhound that doesn't want to race.
So I missed the first episode, but it really didn't matter. The storyline's easy to follow: A greyhound trainer dies and leaves his house, the dog, and its trainer, a good-hearted alkie eccentric called Marty, to his daughter Lily and her older half-brother Will, a fairly hopeless and completely selfish lawyer who doesn't want a dog, an alkie trainer or a half-sister (he's now her guardian), but does want the house.
Will has a slapper girlfriend called Amber, who is as thick as two short planks. She drinks spirits: "The holy trinity: Bacardi, Midori, Malibu. One day I'm going to visit all of those places."
Will forgets Lily's 13th birthday and, despite himself, feels bad and so gets Marty to organise a surprise party at the racetrack. Marty tells Lily so it's not much of a surprise.
It's not much of a party. There's the world's crappest magician. A lone balloon. But as a great honour and a rare treat, Lily is allowed to sit in the commentator's box.
Those who have can be counted on one hand: "Home Straight Harry Marshall, Sam Lightning Allen ... Miss New Zealand 1982 ..."
It is very sweet, completely silly, and amazingly rude (it has been made by the downlowconcept who are behind 7 Days, so no surprise there.)
I don't know whether the characters at the track are the real characters at a track somewhere or whether they raided central castings stock of stereotypical Kiwi characters.
At Lily's party, Lance the fat drunk lawyer who can't get a girl is snooty about the punters.
"This guy's missing a bunch of teeth." Amber: "And that guy's got no arm!"
I've been to the track; it rings true to me.
I'd hoped to see the royal corgis' bedrooms on The Queen's Palaces (Prime, Thursdays, 7.30pm) but no luck thus far. But who could resist having a peek behind Her Majesty's front door, or doors, in her Diamond Jubilee year? In our house we watched all of the coverage, except for the silly concert. Her Majesty put her ear plugs in, and who could blame her?
Everyone else I know yawned, the lousy republicans. Oh, all right, the BBC coverage was a little bit boring. But what can one say to fill all of those hours of watching a little old lady stand on a royal barge (or, as somebody on the BBC didn't say but somebody else did: A floating Chinese restaurant), in the rain, while not going to the loo, for all of those hours? The Queen's Palaces will fill the gap.
Last week was Buckingham Palace, and a very good little history lesson it provided (although of course it's really about having a good old nosy.) It was George the Fourth who turned Buck House into a palace, and he liked a good old spend, did George. He was also enormously fat. "He even gave gluttony a bad name," said one historian.
He once threw a dinner party for 3000 (at Clarence House where he lived before he was king and pulled down because it wasn't swish enough, alas) with a stream, with live goldfish, running down the middle of the tables. I'd have liked to have seen that almost as much as I'd liked to have seen where the corgis sleep. I'd like to hope - but doubt, given that the Queen is reputed to keep her cereal in Tupperware - little golden beds with ermine doggy blankets.
At least there are now loos near the state rooms at Buck House. In Queen Victoria's day you just had to hang on. Still, good training for a future Queen who is going to have to stand on a floating Chinese restaurant in the rain ...
No tips on corgi training yet. But I now, by the way, know what not to do with a greyhound that doesn't want to race: Do not rig up a motor to a washing line, tie the dog to the line, then go away. This is what happened to the dog in Hounds. The dog didn't race that week.
"He's having the day off. Came down with a bit of a sore neck." We last saw the dog lying on the couch wearing a neck brace.
I'd call that a very good week's worth of telly viewing and jolly educational too.
- TimeOutBy Michele Hewitson Email Michele