The X Factor NZ at 7pm Sunday on TV3
When the show finally returns on Sunday it will have been 574 long and barren days since we crowned Jackie Thomas the inaugural winner of X Factor New Zealand, and sent her off on her path to stardom, via singles like her #1 smash 'It's Worth It' and ... Actually that's it. Just the one single for Jackie Thomas - Sony apparently didn't deem her worthy of a follow up. Ok, so the rock bores who complain that X Factor isn't about music might have a point - but it's a crap point that everyone who's watched the show already knew from the start. Instead it's music-as-sport - picking a few favourites and rooting for them and against everyone else. That goes for both judges and contestants - already I'm nurturing an irrational and likely baseless loathing for new arrival Willy Moon, imagining him as some elitist snob who'll sneer at all the fun, frivolous pop music I like.
That's precisely the fun of the show - less the product itself than all it inspires in you and the hundreds of thousands who tune in. / DG
Better Call Saul on Lightbox
Everyone, it's finally here. Breaking Bad fans rejoice, normal people get amongst it - one of the most highly anticipated shows of 2015 has arrived. Better Call Saul is not just a spinoff, but a Breaking Bad prequel. Following the origin story of the wired-up wisecracking criminal lawyer Saul Goodman, it takes us back to 2002 when he was known (or, as it turns out, not known) to the world as Jimmy McGill.
Better Call Saul is as stylistically slick as its evil older brother, but it also isn't afraid to distance itself from Breaking Bad. Fans of the show will recognise welcome familiar faces and cheeky nods to the series, but those coming in with fresh eyes will be equally as delighted with the first two episodes. It's a superhero origin story of sorts, a look at how one desperate lawyer reinvented himself and rose above (or beneath) the confines of the law. With traditionally comic actors Bob Odenkirk and Michael McKean at the helm, it's a dark comedy made all the more dark by knowing Saul's ultimate fate. It'd be criminal to miss it. / AC
Valentine's Day at 8.30pm Saturday on TV2
I'm going to be honest - I am all about Garry Marshall's terrible stunt cast films. It's exhausting trying to pretend like I don't want to watch a whole lot of famous people delivering absurd dialogue, with the only sign of life being the small twinkle of benjamins in their eyeballs. I do. I love it. And I'm not alone, because he keeps churning them out for every important celebratory holiday. I'm particularly looking forward to Garry Marshall's Arbor Day, blooming fall 2018.
Anyway, this movie. This movie takes one chunk of once-funny television stars (Ashton Kutcher and Topher Grace from That 70s Show and George Lopez from George Lopez), one chunk of lovable teens called Taylor (Lautner and Swift) and one chunk of Oscar-nominated actors with some free time (Bradley Cooper and Anne Hathaway) and absolutely lets fly. Set within the one titular day - they are all looking for love (and a big fat pay cheque). The plot intertwines delightedly all over the place, the Taylors kiss each other and there's an excellent gay reveal for the ages. What more could you want out of Valentine's Day? / AC
NBA All Star Celebrity Game 2pm Sunday on ESPN
Do you like watching famous people do things they're mediocre at? Then the NBA's annual celebrity game is the television programme for you! It features a mixture of former NBA and WNBA players and borderline celebrities playing basketball.
It goes out of its way to be terrible, played in a dimly lit gym with the minimum production values you can use and still get on US TV. And yet, I love it. Along with staples like Kevin Hart, Common and Michael Rapaport, this year's version features Win Butler from the Arcade Fire, who is probably the first certifiable 'indie dude' to turn out. But I'm most excited about a 14-year-old multi-sport sensation named Mo'ne Davis, who last year graced the cover of Sports Illustrated after becoming the first female to pitch a shutout in the Little League world champs. She has become a bonafide phenomenon in the US, and is reportedly better at basketball than baseball. There's a good chance that she'll be the best player on the court, make all those sorta famous actors look foolish and generally be the most electrifying thing you'll see on screen all year. / DG
World's Worst... Holiday Horrors at 9.30pm Sunday on FOUR
Alright, lovebirds. Sunday is the honeymoon after Valentine's Day, and there's no better time to see you hurtling back into a cold, loveless reality than World's Worst... Holiday Horrors. With the tagline "think twice before booking your next trip," it's packed full of real-life video footage of holidays that have turned to absolute Swiss Made ready-to-pour custard. If you are a fan of impressive large-scale disasters filtered through the lens of a crappy camera phone, then this show is your jamboree. It captures "those dreaded moments when mother nature, technical errors, or darker forces turn holidays into nightmares," implying a weird supernatural element that is most definitely not a real thing.
A gentle snowboarding trip turns into a hellish few hours trapped in an icy tomb, a lovely cruise down the Thames turns into an inferno of terror, and there are just bloody sharks everywhere all the time. If you are in a relationship, snuggle up with your beloved and plan your next exciting romantic getaway. If you are a singleton, do a little celebratory dance that you don't have to honeymoon in these hellholes with anyone ever. / AC
• Get amongst the premiere episode of The After Factor, our own X Factor NZ analysis podcast hosted by Joseph Moore and Nic Sampson
• Alex Casey road tested the Law & Order: SVU drinking game and recorded the entire harrowing experience
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