1. The Mother of the Nation Rises Again
This week on Paul Henry, Hilary Barry's regular spot was filled with another beloved member of TV news royalty. Judy Bailey showed up to keep her seat warm whilst Hilz holidayed, presumably on a similar TV star retreat with Mike Hosking. From one Mother of the Nation to another, it was made very clear that one of the key sources of M.O.N power is held within the subtle bouffant:
Paul was accommodating of Judy, despite being intensely jealous of her star on the rise all week. From her social media den, Perlina broke the sad news to Paul that "Judy Bailey" was now the number one trending topic in New Zealand.
Nothing like a popularity competition to throw off the PH balance. / AC
2. Save the Last Dance For Dom (and Sharyn)
Dancing With the Stars is one heel lead away from finishing, which means one lucky star is desperately close to securing that outrageously bad mirror ball trophy on Sunday night. We've been there every quick-step of the way, podcasting and power ranking till our toplines bleed. What is a topline? Who plays the bull in the pasodoble? How does the voting work? We still have many, many unanswered questions. And heaven knows the text machine doesn't help.
Finalists Simon Barnett, Chrystal Chenery and Siobhan Marshall will duel it out on Sunday night for their charities, but there are two new stars taking the stage. After her successful hashtag-based campaign #domfordancing, Chrystal has finally got her wish, with both hosts Dom and Sharyn rumoured to be kneesliding their way onto the D-Floor. Speaking of D-Floor, why not do yourself a favour and listen to the penultimate episode of The D-Floor, our own Dancing With the Stars NZ featuring three people who know nothing about dancing? / AC
3. Not a Lot of Life in Kiwi Living
TV One's new lifestyle show began last Friday night, bringing us everything from cruise ship advertorials, to advice about eating chicken for breakfast, to Erin Simpson glueing a giant tiki inside a shadow box. Splicing up these segments with awkward banter from the world's biggest fake lounge, my father best described it as "Good Morning at night". Assaulting you with sponsors and branding from the get go, I found Kiwi Living less inspirational and more deeply depressing. "We're all friends here," host Miriama Kamo insisted. Sorry Miri, my friends don't make me feel terrible because I live in a cold damp house, don't eat goji berries, and don't wear heels to work. These are all essential parts of Kiwi Living apparently, but a tirade of these middle-class buzzwords feels incredibly out of touch with a lot of Kiwis to me:
Seems telling that the only thing I was able to put into action post-Kiwi Living was drinking a glass of water first thing every morning. Everything else involved mood boards, Masterbuilders and money. Lots of money. But, who knows? I'm not the target audience, I won't be gardening and worrying about lichen for at least another five years. Thankfully, according to Kiwi Living, I've still got a lot of things to keep me busy till then. Anyone know where I can get some goji berries from? / AC
4. Bad Blood Spilled on True Detective (spoilers)
Monday night's episode featured an action sequence that shook me out of my True Detective coma. Director Jerry Podeswa, also responsible for the controversial Game of Thrones Sansa episode, orchestrated a harrowing shoot-out scene that, in true True Detective style, came out of absolutely nowhere. Spanning nine minutes and involving all three leads, the violent massacre included an absurd amount of casualties from civilians and police officers alike.
Taking over five days to shoot, the taut realism of the sequence expanded so far as to Rachel McAdams actually throwing up during the filming. Whatever your take on the action, it was a blindsiding scene that nailed apathetic viewers like myself right between the eyes. / AC
5. Game of Thrones Slays Emmy Nominations
The Emmy nominations for 2015 were announced this morning, with Game of Thrones up for 24 awards. Other big hitters include HBO's bleak portrait of a woman on the edge Olive Kitteridge, and the grisly 1950s pulp of American Horror Story: Freak Show. The competition in the acting categories could be particularly interesting to watch - with the curtain falling on Mad Men, will Jon Hamm and Elizabeth Moss get their last hurrah? Or will bold new performance from Taraji P Henson (Empire), Frances McDormand (Olive Kitteridge) and Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul) sweep up? We've placed our tentative bets, feel free to peruse the full line-up and see where your television loyalties lie. / AC
Watch this weekend:
Watch: Pete and Pio, Maori TV Friday at 8.30 - Comedian Pio Terei and foodie Pete Peeti pair up to travel New Zealand in a journey of hunting, gathering, eating and telling massive jokes.
Binge: American Horror Story on Lightbox - With the latest in the anthology sweeping 19 Emmy nominations, spook yourself senseless in a Murder House, an Asylum and a Coven.
Movie: Captain Phillips, TV2 Sunday 8.30 - Based on a true story, the gripping tale of a boat captured by Somalian pirates. Tom Hanks' most disastrous holiday since Castaway.