Watch, listen and be inspired by Calum Henderson's definitive list of what's hot right now and from the vault.
Saved By the Bell (TVNZ OnDemand)
Time has not been kind to many things we enjoyed in the early 2000s, especially not the characters and storylines of 90s teen sitcom Saved By the Bell. Once a vital piece in our free-to-air, after-school TV line-up, bridging the gap between cartoons and grown-up sitcoms on a run that delivered us all the way to Shortland Street at 7pm, the original series now feels like a relic of a time long before concepts like "privilege", "consent" and "toxic masculinity" were widely understood.
The 2020 version of Saved By the Bell is a reality check, set not only in the current day but in something much more closely resembling the real world and its current social, political and economic climate. The ties are still strong to the original series – the show's original prankster Zach Morris is now the governor of California, and he's married to Kelly Kapowski, the original object of his high-school obsessions. He's just cut $10 billion from the education budget to pay for tax cuts, and as a result poorer schools are being forced to close, sending students to schools in more well-funded districts – schools like Bayside, where Zach's son, Mac, has taken over as the resident pest.
Bringing these new post-Glee teen characters into the 90s throwback world of Bayside and The Max highlights how weird and problematic everything about the original was when you really thought about it. It's an obvious observation to make but an effective way of entertaining nostalgic millennials. Our tastes may have changed, but our appetite for unchallenging comfort TV hasn't.
With reappearances from almost all the original's living cast members (RIP Screech), 2020 Saved By the Bell does a better job of reviving a show probably better left in the past than any of us could have hoped for.
My Life is Murder (TVNZ 1, 8:30pm Monday)
Lucy Lawless is back as private investigator Alexa Crowe in a New Zealand-set and produced second season of Australian comedy murder mystery My Life is Murder. Crowe's investigating murders in Auckland this time, and she's surrounded by a cast of familiar local faces – everyone pops up, from Martin Henderson (playing her brother) to Anika Moa, Ben Barrington to Black Books' Bill Bailey, Robyn Malcolm to Drag Race Down Under winner Kita Mean. It's good murder-solving fun, and quite possibly the most star-studded New Zealand TV event since the last Telethon.
Cruel Summer (Amazon Prime Video)
This year's big new teen drama has a lot going on structurally – each episode is split across three years (1993-1995) and episodes alternate between the viewpoints of its two main characters – but it'll all make sense once you start watching. Basically, there are two girls, then one of them disappears and the other seemingly takes over her life. The mystery of what's really happened is revealed over the course of a series of shocking and extremely dark twists and turns as we jump back and forth through the years. Surprisingly it's not adapted from a best-selling novel, which should make a lot of authors mad they didn't think of it first.
Untold: Malice at the Palace (Netflix, from Tuesday)
We could do with a good juicy sports documentary this week, and we've got one about the infamous brawl that broke out during an NBA game in 2004 after a fan threw a drink at one of the players, who then went up into the stands for revenge. The Malice at the Palace, as the ugly incident became known, is the first of a new 30 For 30-style sports documentary series from Netflix – other episodes coming this month include one about boxer Christy Martin, one about Caitlyn Jenner and another about an ice hockey team that were like a real-life Mighty Ducks.
Movie of the Week: Tig Notaro: Drawn (Neon)
Comedians have had to get innovative with their stand-up specials during lockdown, as we've already seen the extreme end of with Bo Burnham's Inside, which chronicled his isolation-induced breakdown. Legendary comedian Tig Notaro, meanwhile, has taken a more whimsical approach to the challenge by releasing the world's first fully animated stand-up special. See her characteristically dry, deadpan jokes being brought to life in a variety of different styles, and wonder why no one ever thought to try this before.
From the Vault: The Bridges of Madison County (1995) (Netflix)
Growing up in the 90s it felt like The Bridges of Madison County was on TV every other week, though thinking about it that couldn't possibly have been the case. Either way, now might be the time to see what it was all about. It's produced and directed by Clint Eastwood, who stars as a National Geographic photographer on assignment in Madison County to take photos of its bridges – makes sense – and meets farmer Meryl Streep, with whom he shares a brief, passionate affair. Not as boring as it sounded in the 90s.
Podcast of the Week: Blind Landing
Just like that, the Olympics are over, leaving a gaping void in all of our lives once again. What did we use to do in the time before wall-to-wall coverage of sports we'd never ordinarily watch and constant medal alerts on our phones?
To help transition back to non-Olympiad life, try Blind Landing, a five-part podcast all about the women's all-around gymnastics final at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. More specifically, it's about the vault, and the chaos that was caused when it was accidentally set two inches too low.
As we can no doubt all imagine after becoming gymnastics experts over the past two weeks, having the vault set two inches too low is enough to seriously muck up a routine and put the gymnasts in a fair bit of danger. That's what happened in Sydney as competitor after competitor fell on their jumps, until one of the youngest and most inexperienced in the field finally figured it out – but that was just the beginning of what turned out to be a whole palaver.
Hosted by This American Life producer Ari Saperstein, whose interviews really capture the personalities of the athletes involved, it's a rivetingly told story about how a small mistake can have big consequences.