Moone Boy on Lightbox
We've had exposure to a lot of bad Moon recently, so it's time to get behind this good Moone. Anyone who has seen Bridesmaids or The IT Crowd will know Chris O'Dowd, the dashingly sweet Irish comedy giant. He has created his own brand new show, and the first season has arrived on Lightbox this week. Much like his friend from The IT Crowd days Richard Ayoade's debut film Submarine, Moone Boy is a semi-autobiographical recount of fantastically mundane small town childhood. The protagonist of the show is a 12-year-old boy named Martin Moone, whose imagination simply cannot be contained by his woolen beanie collection. As an escape from rural boredom, squabbling parents and school bullies, Martin seeks solace in his imaginary friend (played sublimely by O'Dowd). They do everything together, from disastrous sleepovers to schoolyard disputes and even kissing dead birds. It's a sweet, nuanced look at life in the late '80s for kids with imaginations far more expansive than their small town borders. / AC
The Jinx, SoHo Sunday at 8.30pm
As I wrote in my review this week, The Jinx is the hottest new show of the year, which is not normally the fate of documentary series covering relatively well-known crimes. The show tells the story of Robert Durst, scion of a wealthy real estate family, whose wife went missing in mysterious circumstances in the early '80s. Bad things kept happening around him, and his life became one of seclusion studded with inexplicable criminality. The show came out of All Good Things, a middling true crime movie which bombed a few years back. In its aftermath, though, its director Andrew Jarecki was contacted by Durst, who agreed to be interviewed on camera about his murky criminal past for the first time.
What was initially meant to be an unnerving DVD extra blew out into a meticulously researched six-part HBO documentary about the life, crimes and loose ends of Durst. The Jinx is something else again. It's one of the most perfect pieces of television I've seen in a while: atmospheric, thoroughly researched and, despite its location in the recent past, incredibly tense. / DG
Jono and Ben, TV3 Friday at 7.30pm
The comedy larrikins of TV3 are back in a new fancy studio, with a new timeslot and a truly dramatic naming rebrand. When announced that the show was extending to one whole hour and moving to an earlier time, fans took to the internet to voice their passionate opinions. "Does this mean your content will be shit?" asked Joe, "it will crash and burn" said Shannon. I have it on pretty good authority that the writing team have been working exceptionally hard to push the edgiest boat they can into the 7.30pm shore, and won't be skimping on the beloved swears that the public craves so much. Like Guy says, there'll just be more beeps this time.
Tonight's premiere episode promises more hilarious sketches than a drunk life drawing class, a Vin Diesel interview and some luxury studio chairs from Freedom Furniture. Rose and Guy will hit the stage in their very own X Factor NZ audition, and Mike Puru gets behind the counter at Dick Smith Electronics for Next Actor. Through all that self-deprecation, they've really got to be doing something right. /AC
Desperately Seeking Susan, FOUR Saturday at 8.30pm
If you've seen the bondagey billboards around town - you'll know that Madonna has a new album out. The nation's nemesis Natalia Kills collaborated on some of the songs that feature on Rebel Heart, which brings us a beautifully tenuous link to this week's movie pick. Long before the Queen of Pop paired up with the Queen of Chop (bob haircut), Madonna had a semi-lively and very fun penchant for starring in feature films.
Desperately Seeking Susan is one of these early efforts, a 1985 classic comedy-drama starring Madonna alongside Aidan Quinn, Rosanna Arquette and Aidan Quinn. Living vicariously through the cryptic communication in the classified section between Susan (Madonna) and her lover, Roberta (Arquette) slowly becomes obsessed with this mysterious Susan enigma. Choosing to follow her movements one day, Roberta sets about a chain of events that lead to a doppelganger situation far worse than anything Joe Irvine could ever manage. It's outrageously fun, filled with bangin' Madonna tunes, and a neat little reminder to keep your eyes on the classifieds. If anyone even uses those things anymore. /AC
Cyber Bully, CI Saturday at 10.30pm
Saturdays is becoming a tech-centric slot for CI. Last week was Sexters, a lighthearted look at "mucky messages", and before that came Webcam Girls, which told the story of women who make their money by performing on their laptop cameras for paying customers. The show was better than it had any right to be, given the channel and timeslot. It was a little sleazy, and I've no doubt the thoughts of the men on the other end of the cable weren't exactly pure. But Webcam Girls was less about pure smut than the modern economy, and how the internet can bring people with niche kinks into contact with those willing to play along with them.
We saw women pouring condiments over their clothed bodies, bathing in baked beans and pretending to have accidents in the forest. The performers seemed to quite like their audience, rather than finding them predatory, and would earn enough in a few hours to pay the rent and keep their kids fed and clad. It was surprisingly sweet.
Cyber Bully is an altogether more unpleasant subject, covering the brutal attacks, often anonymous, which are being perpetrated by schoolkids on one another in this vaguely terrifying era. It makes a change from the endless murders and cop videos which surround it on the CI schedule, focussing on crime that is at once more mundane and depressingly common. / DG
More from The Spinoff:
• This week we launched our very own in-house podcast called The Spinoff's TV Week, wherein Duncan and Alex talk about the all shows they've been loving and loathing.
• Alex Casey had ten minutes with Jonathan Banks, also known as the stony faced badass Mike Ehrmentraut in Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad.
• Steve Braunias argues a very strong case as to why the Cricket World Cup is best enjoyed from the comforts of the couch (as long as there's biscuits)