Pick of the week: 2014 Election - where to watch it
You may have noticed our general election is taking place this Saturday. If you want to bury your head in the sand and ignore it, stop reading now, and don't plan to turn on the TV on Saturday evening. If you're quite keen to watch it all unfold however, here are your options.
TV3 is starting their political fun on Friday night, with two comedy specials: 7 Days (9.30pm) is filming an election special at the Wellington Opera House in front of 1300 people, and Jeremy Corbett, Dai Henwood, Paul Ego, Urzila Carlson, Jeremy Elwood, and Tom Gleeson will be primed to put guest politicians through the wringer and generally poke some fun at the whole process. Colin Craig, David Cunliffe, Russell Norman, Paula Bennett, Tariana Turia, Winston Peters, Te Ururoa Flavell and David Shearer have agreed to be poked and prodded by the team.
And to continue the shenanigans, Jono and Ben at Ten is hosting a "Live Election Results Show", made only more mysterious by the fact there won't be any election results, and it won't be live.
Moving on to the more serious coverage, TV One, TV3, and Maori TV will all be broadcasting live for five hours on Saturday evening (7pm to midnight) as the votes are counted, and election results come in from round the country.
On TV One, Mike Hosking, Toni Street, Corin Dann, Simon Dallow, Heather du Plessis-Allan and guest commentators will be in the studio, while presenters and reporters including Rawdon Christie, Melissa Stokes, Peter Williams, Katie Bradford and Michael Parkin are out on location with all the political party bases; talking to voters as well as candidates.
On TV3, John Campbell and Duncan Garner are hosting, asking commentators like Linda Clark, Paul Henry, Bryce Edwards, Josie Pagani and Te Anga Nathan to analyse the results as they come in, with other TV3 journalists out and about gauging reaction from the public.
They're also promising the "fastest" results, "cutting-edge technology", and some new "hi-tech graphics" that have never been used to cover elections in New Zealand before.
And on Maori TV, Mihingarangi Forbes will be presenting coverage, aided by her Native Affairs reporter team, with a special focus on the Maori electorates.
Let's just hope they time their ad breaks so they're not simultaneous, and we can enjoy a little channel flicking to see if TV3 really is getting the fastest results.
When: Friday and Saturday
Where: TV One, TV3, Maori TV
What: The votes are (nearly) in.
Drama pick: Gang Related
He might have wowed NZ film-goers in The Dark Horse but in Gang Related Cliff Curtis is back doing what established his career stateside - playing criminals of various ethnicities. It's something he had thought he had turned his back on. "I spent a considerable amount of years turning down anything to do with negative stereotypes for people of colour because I was looking for roles which showed more diversity and range. That has been the rule with my agent: 'Don't even show it to me'."
But auditioning for Gang Related, Curtis thought he had bagged the role of a police captain played in the show by Lost star Terry O'Quinn. That was until he was signing the contract and he realised, he was in the key role of gang leader Javier Acosta.
He said yes - because it was a job and the producers allowed him to give his character a back story - a guy who had no choice in becoming a criminal but now he's risen to the top wants to get out.
When: Wednesday, 9.30pm
What: Cliff's Mexican wave
Mystery pick Weekend Murders: Poirot
With the episode Curtain: Poirot's Last Case, English actor David Suchet ends his 25-year run as Agatha Christie's Belgian sleuth in what will be the final episode of the long-running drama.
Crippled with arthritis, Poirot is now wheelchair-bound, with a life-threatening heart condition. Calling on old friend Captain Arthur Hastings (Hugh Fraser) for assistance, he returns to the scene of the crime of The Mysterious Affair at Styles, where the pair first met 30 years earlier.
As guests fall victim to a mysterious attacker, the detective is convinced the home is once again harbouring a killer, and he must summon the last of his strength to battle his ultimate nemesis.
Suchet told the Washington Post the character that has been part of his identity for more than a third of his life. "I think I'll miss him. He became much more than just a character. He became my best friend."
When: Sunday 8.30pm
What: Poirot sleuths his last
Magic pick: Houdini
There have been many attempts at bringing the daring escape antics of Harry Houdini to life on the small screen. Despite being more than 100 years old, the master illusionist pioneered many magic tricks still being used today.
So Adrien Brody, who dons the chains for tonight's movie-length first instalment of Houdini, knows he has big shoes to fill. "I definitely can relate to Houdini's perseverance and his ambition to do the best that he can do," Brody recently told the Herald. This promises to follow the man behind the magic as he finds fame, engages in espionage, battles spiritualists and encounters the greatest names of the era, from US presidents to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Grigori Rasputin.
Reviews have been mixed, with The Hollywood Reporter calling Houdini "fun and fantastical" but let down by its "goofy sensibilities". But Houdini also promises to explain some of the secrets behind his tricks, so this could spark budding magicians into action.
When: Thursday, 8.30pm
Where: Sky Movies Extra
What: Brody dons the chains
Drama pick: The Blacklist
At the end of the first season, James Spader's dastardly character Raymond "Red" Reddington had pretty well managed to blow up every aspect of FBI Agent Elizabeth Keen's life, and start some sort of international criminal war.
But with Tom dead, and alliances confused, Liz still needs answers, and Red still needs the FBI's help, so things are bound to get tense as season two begins (just hours after it screens in the US).
Is Red possibly Liz's dad, or does he know more than he's letting on about her father?
How does newcomer, Weeds star Mary-Louise Parker, fit in to the picture? Is she related to the criminal mastermind?
While Liz and Red become more affected by each other's world, and find themselves balancing each other out, the audience will slowly start to learn more about Red's own history.
When: Tuesday, 8.30pm
What: Red is the new Black