1. Broadchurch - TV One, Sunday, 8.35pm
was a ratings phenomenon when it screened in New Zealand last year, becoming that rarest of birds - a critical and commercial smash for TV One. The show followed a formula familiar from the Nordic crime television factory, which is directly responsible for the Danish and US versions of
The Bridge, Forbrydelson
and its US counterpart
, as well as numerous derivatives like our own
The Blue Rose
. All start from a central murder, before blowing out to reveal a large, unctuous conspiracy flowing throughout a sector of society.
What made Broadchurch different was that the crime stayed the crime - a young boy found dead on a beach in mysterious and tragic circumstances - and instead of leveraging drama from ever-increasing scale, they found it in the grief and suspicion of a small town.
Season two premiered last week and remains grounded in the same bucolic English town, as it prepares to try one of its sons for the murder of another. All the key cast and writers have returned, and the sequel looks like maintaining the impossibly high standards that made Broadchurch's debut such original and affecting television. / DG
2. Vertigo - Maori TV, Sunday, 8.30pm
Everyone needs to sit up and take note, Maori TV has the best free-to-air movie programming in the country. What more evidence do you need than Vertigo, which knocked Citizen Kane off the coveted Empire perch of Best Movie In The World...Ever!
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak, Vertigo is a psychological thriller about lust, paranoia, and the colour green. Hired to follow a woman (Kim Novak as Madeleine Elster) around as a private detective, Scottie becomes obsessed with her image after witnessing a shocking event. No spoilers here.
Determined to recreate her likeness any which way, he sets about grooming Judy (also played to Novak) to embody her. It's a slow descent into madness, a exploration of trappings, both physical and emotional. Judy wants nothing more than to make Scottie happy, Scottie wants nothing more than for Judy to be someone else.
Worth it alone to see the first ever disorienting 'dolly shot' put to use in cinema, it's a stunning visual trip through some of Hitchcock's favourite themes. And you won't believe just how purple Jimmy Stewart's face can go (aubergine). / AC
3. Leigh Hart's Mysterious Planet - Heartland, Sunday, 8.30pm
Last year we crowned Leigh Hart's Late Night Big Breakfast the NZ show of the year. If you are on our wavelength - and also going through serious Leigh Hart withdrawals - be sure to check out Leigh Hart's Mysterious Planet on Heartland. The perfect antidote to the astounding yet slightly tiresome Attenborough series on TV One almost every other night, join a khaki-drenched Leigh Hart as he poorly attempts to solve some of the world's most confounding mysteries.
If you are genuinely interested in aliens, Bigfoot, Nessie and general mysterious Egypt - this might not be the fact-filled show for you. Filmed in a mockumentary style with experts and witnesses that are all too real, Mysterious Planet enlists the same aura of absurdity that filled the dusty Target furniture store last year.
Leigh rambles endlessly in front of baffled UFO aficionados, tour guides and researchers, not letting them get a word in as he revels in his confused theories. The Egypt Special in particular sticks out as I learned for the first time that the pyramids were built to look like "vajine" or "vaginas".
Traveling from Loch Ness to El Dorado to Area 51, it's a showcase of surrealist New Zealand humour on a global stage. And part of me truly believes, if there was someone to uncover the aliens, Leigh Hart would probably be it.
4. Mozart in the Jungle - Full season streaming on Lightbox
Until a few years ago Amazon was chiefly known as a good place to get cheap books on the internet. Now it's a sprawling monolith, selling everything from uranium ore to infant circumcision training dummies, while also being by far the biggest supplier of cloud computing in the world.
It's also branched into television production, chiefly to convince people to join its Amazon Prime service, which combines cheap shipping with great television. A strange company sure, but who cares? Its shows are amongst the best being made for any platform.
Their first hit was Transparent (also exclusive to Lightbox), a brutal yet sensitive dramedy about a 70-year-old transgender woman coming out to her family. It just won a pair of Golden Globes, and Amazon followed the show up with Mozart in the Jungle, a goofy, engaging show set amongst the jaded young of the New York classical scene.
It's almost over-laden with famous names: developed by Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman; starring Gabriel Garcia Bernal, Malcolm McDowell and Lola Kirke (Gone Girl) and mostly directed by Paul Weitz (About a Boy, American Pie).
The show starts a little unevenly - the characters veer into caricature too often, and it can feel a little too safe at times - but it grows into something extremely engaging, with excellent performances and an easygoing approachability, which feels rare and refreshing in an era where so much comedy is embracing darkness a little too enthusiastically. / DG
5. The Bachelor Australia Premiere - TV2, Friday, 7.30pm
"When 24 beautiful women, chase one gorgeous man - it's going to get ugly!" It's 2015, and this thing is still going on, whether you like it or not. With New Zealand's very first version of The Bachelor coming to TV3 later this year, TV2 is shakily holding out this Australian rose in the hope that we will accept.
I accept, begrudgingly. We can all agree that The Bachelor format is a terrible model for real life, endlessly encouraging female competition, ridiculous standards of beauty and framing male affection as the be all and end all of a woman's existence (if you want to see the roles reversed, check out the totally appropriately timed and clearly more popular The Bachelorette at 10.30am Sunday on TV2).
But, let's be honest - it's not real life, and I'm probably still going to watch it. It took last year's exceptionally trashy US series Bachelor in Paradise for me to stop being offended by these sorts of shows and start being endlessly entertained by the ridiculous characters, candle-laden grottos and jaw-dropping drama. It's skeezy and it's good TV.
If anything, consider this the the first and last time in the history of the world that you will see 24 women fight tooth and nail for the heart of a property auctioneer. Actually, that's terribly fitting isn't it?