A couch potato's guide to the next seven days on TV.


Ken Follet's novel The Pillars of the Earth (Soho, 8.30pm) get's the HBO treatment (well it's the Starz treatment actually, the network behind Boss, which isn't far off) with Ian McShane (Deadwood) starring. Could be methadone for Game of Thrones fans suffering withdrawal.

Grimm (Four, 8.30pm) could please Buffy or True Blood fans. It's a spooky twist on police procedural, and yes the Grimm is a reference to the fairytales. It's followed by Skins (Four, 9.30pm), the decadent, poetic and angst ridden teen masterpiece kicking off a sixth season.



You'll probably be sick by Tuesday but if you're not you should pull a sickie and watch Tristan Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story (Rialto,1.50pm) which features Steve Coogan and welsh comic genius Rob Brydon.

Then tune into the UEFA Cup highlights on Sky Sport 3 at 3.30pm if you're a football fan, or settle into Spongebob (TV2, 3.30pm) which will make much more sense if you're rotten with the flu.

You'll probably be too buggered to hang around to relive the good times as Jan Molenar goes postal in Napier in Seige: The Real Story (TV One, 9.30pm) but you'll probably be awake enough for Radar Across The Pacific, (TV One, 7.30pm) in which New Zealand's third favourite red head, Te Radar, goes troppo in the islands.

Meanwhile, our second favourite Samoan, Oscar Kightley, goes to Burma in Intrepid Journeys (TV One, 8.30pm) where he rides a train, hikes for hours, bare-knuckle boxes Aung San Suu Kyi, that sort of thing.


A night for guilty pleasures. Lock up the Aunties, cover your tats in baby oil, talk like an outpatient - it's the final of The GC (TV3, 8pm). But if the sight of all that well-toned flesh disgusts you it's also the final of The Biggest Loser (Four, 8.30pm)

And Spock (yes, the Spock!) turns up on The Big Bang Theory, (TV2, 8.30pm), the show that was big-upped by a physicist interviewed on Kim Hill's RNZ radio show of all places. Naturally Kim had never seen the show as it's not a book, but the scientist she interviewed reckoned the portrayal of geek-power on the show is spot on.


This is a big night for TV One, especially for fans of Celts, Anglo Saxons and Joey from Friends. There's a death on Coronation Street (TV One, 7.30pm), the best show "that has ever been or ever will be". There's also a new season of Big Fat Gypsy Weddings (TV One, 8.30pm).

Then there are two new comedy shows. The first is the Bafta-winning smut-com Mrs Brown's Boys at 9.30pm, which features a man dressed as a foul-mouthed elderly Irish woman - a bit like a non-ironic version of Ricky Gervais' When the Whistle Blows. Naturally it's a huge hit in Ireland and in the UK. The Guardian's Bruce Dessau called it "mainstream comedy for the middle-aged," writing that he was torn between wanting to hate the show and laughing like a drain.

It's followed by the much anticipated Episodes (TV1,10.10pm) which stars Matt (Joey) LeBlanc along with Tamsin Greig (Black Books) and Stephen Mangan (Greenwing). You know how the Yanks import UK shows and then stuff them up? Like Fawlty Towers, Life on Mars and Cracker?

Well this is a show about all that kind of carry-on, from one of the guys behind Friends. LeBlanc sort of plays himself, while Greig and Mangan play the British writers of a hit show that an American network wants to re-make. Reviews have been very positive. "Essential viewing" says the Hollywood Reporter. "Best new sitcom of the season," raved USA Today.

Meanwhile the fun and hunger games continue in Bon Temps as season five of True Blood (Prime, 9.35pm) gets underway.


Like singing shows? Well, the blind auditions (and the Delta Goodrem hating) continue on The Voice (8.30pm, TV2) while small town 'Maori-oki' heroes are made on Homi Te Pakipaki (Maori, 8.30pm)

Like dog-related comedy? Marty crashes his van on Hounds (TV3, 10pm). Like rally driving? Day one of The Rally of NZ is summarised at 11.30pm on Prime. Aucks to Raglan hard out.


All Blacks vs Ireland, 7.30pm Sky Sport 1, Prime 8.40pm (delayed). After Saturday night's thrilling encounter will the Irish finally have their satisfaction? Will Sonny Bill Williams be referred to as New Zealand's heavyweight champion? Will Steve Hansen get his top off?

Probably not, but this has been a brilliant post-World Cup rugby fix so far.


I recently suggested that good shows turn up on Vibe about as often as Venus transits the sun, but I stand corrected because next weekend (Sunday, 7.30pm) One Born Every Minute US begins, and if it's anything like the British version it will be very good indeed.

Multiple cameras in a birthing unit at a big city hospital may not sound like a good time, but this is next generation reality TV rather than The GC.

And do tune in for my new favourite, Hoiho (Maori TV, 8pm). It's a bit like the The GC but with horses.