Two weeks ago I watched the first episode of the new look Seven Sharp. I liked it better than the old look Seven Sharp but found the tone confused and concluded that it needed to work out what kind of show it wanted to be.

But that was episode one. I figured it would take time for the real Seven Sharp to show up and to suss it out you'd need to tune in on a random night once all the hype had died down. So that's what I did.

Watching on Wednesday night the show opened with a serious investigation.
"Tonight Hilary you've been investigating outfit options for the Queen," Jeremy Wells said.
"Yes, indeed," Hilary Barry smiled.

Indeed, indeed... This jokey segment had serious potential to be lame as all hell. And it kind of was, as Barry adopted a charmingly terrible posh accent while photoshopped pictures of Her Maj' sporting the latest Fashion Week fashions popped up onscreen. But I won't lie. I was amused. Albeit slightly.


From high fashion to high drama on the high seas as record-seeking seaman Scott Donaldson spoke us through his second shot at "taming the tempestuous" Tasman by paddling from NZ to Oz in a kayak.

He claimed he had no fear but then detailed his one gruesome fear.

"Managing your skin is the hardest thing in this whole operation," he said, showing off the deep round gouges that surrounded his wrists and palms. "If you poke your fingernails you can go right through them because they're wet, they're paper almost."

It sounded horrible and the upcoming journey in what is essentially a sea-faring coffin looked absolutely miserable. But, you know, go Kiwi and all that. The story was great. Interesting, horrifying, short.

"Oohhh," Wells shuddered.

"I feel sea sick just seeing that thing roll around," Barry said.

"I actually can't think of anything worse," Wells agreed. "And you can't stand up for 80 days! You can't stand up so your bum gets sore."

"And other things," Barry said looking perturbed. Picturing what she'd just said she almost - almost - collapsed into a bundle of giggles. Instead, a gulped laugh, a smirking side-eye and the abrupt proclamation; "Sam Neil takes a stand against plastic bags!".

The next story wasn't about Sam Neil taking a stand against plastic bags. It was about a Kiwi who makes a natural perfume. It was short but could have been shorter.

"Jeremy," Barry said back in the studio, "I know we've only been working together for a couple of weeks, and I don't want to be too forward, but can I say you have a very, good after shave game."

"That's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me," Wells replied as Barry sniffed at him.
"I might have been crossing a line there," she said. "But anyway..."

She then put his "professional nose" to the test.

Spraying the fragrance in his direction she asked him to describe the fragrance as he theatrically waved it towards his nostrils.

"Sandalwood.... hyacinth... finely chopped coriander... faeces."

Juvenile? Very. Funny? You betcha. Wells' stonyfaced delivery allowing his childish punchline to catch you by surprise.

After the ad-break was a sponsored, feel good tear-jerker of a human interest story that I won't be cynical about because I don't want to go straight to hell. I am, however, glad it was short.

Then, finally, Sam Neill took his stand against plastic bags by eating them. This was a Greenpeace campaign that could have been preachy but was instead fairly humorous thanks to Neill's wild-eyed commitment.

Funnier still was the first off-script bants of the evening. After reading a stat that claimed one-in-three turtles died on our beaches because of digesting plastic, confusion erupted.

"We've got turtles in New Zealand waters don't we?" Barry asked, before whispering, "I've never seen one."

"No," Wells answered.

"We don't have turtles at all?" Barry repeated in disbelief.

"No," Wells smirked, before offering, "Penguins."

"Is it too cold? I love penguins," Barry said.

"It's too cold. It's too cold," Wells said confidently, shuffling some papers before muttering a sly aside, "Not enough plastic bags..."

It was properly, genuinely, funny. As was the spray-happy reappearance of the "faeces" fragrance before the pair signed off; Wells with his repurposed Paul Holmes homage and Barry with a cherry, "cheerio".

So this random episode, two weeks after relaunch, showed Seven Sharp has quickly found its groove. Yes, you still find yourself sitting through the stories itching to get back to Barry and Wells but now those stories are a lot shorter, therefore a lot better.

And because they're not trying to cram a gazillion different segments into the show the hosts are now afforded the space and time to goof around. Which is the best part of the show.

But the big question has to be, how does Seven Sharp stack up against its rival, The Project over on Three?

Dunno. I really must get round to watching that...