Find Me a Maori Bride, Friday Maori TV at 8pm
Hats off to the publicity team at FMAMB, you did a seriously good job of fooling me into believing that we were getting a much-needed native spin on the whitewash world of The Bachelor. In reality, it's not reality - but mockumentary. From the team that brought you TVNZ's webseries Auckland Daze, Find Me a Maori Bride is a hilarious comedy series based around the panicked pursuit of love by a pair of metrosexual Maori Men. Starring Cohen Holloway, Matariki Whatarau, Amanda Billing and Siobhan Marshall, Maori Bride puts the pressure on finding a partner, and then dials it up to 11 by throwing in a fake reality crew.
The plot? A dying grandmother promises to sell their $50 million inheritance unless cousins Tama Bradley and George Alpert find themselves the perfect Maori wife. To make matters worse, a local film crew catches wind of the scoop, and covers every moment. With two Pakeha Shortland Street darlings involved, the show pokes fun at any and all cultures. It's very exciting that in the search for a Maori Bride, we have also found an excellent and refreshing marriage of genre, culture and comedy. Essential local viewing. / AC
Westside, Sunday TV3 at 8.30pm
The Wests are back and older than ever in this much-anticipated prequel to Outrageous Fortune, debuting 10 years after the first episode of the wild westie drama captured the nation. Their story travels even further back in time, to the previous generation of wily crims working in the 1970s. Episode one picks up in 1974, with Ted West (played in the original series by the late Frank Whitten - now played by David de Lautour) being released from prison. What will ensue is sure to be reminiscent of the Outrageous Fortune shenanigans we know and love. There's still the fiery matriarch at the centre of the story (Rita West, played by Antonia Prebble) and a fair share of associates and nemeses.
With a supporting cast of the likes of Esther Stephens, Dan Musgrove and Will Hall - Westside is sure to deliver some retro realism. I was lucky enough to take a trip out to the set, and it was a remarkable time warp. The design team have done an incredible job, and I don't think there is any stock left in any op shops in the wider Auckland region. With the same writing team behind the show and original creator James Griffin at the helm, Westside is sure to live up to the high standard that its younger generation has set. / AC
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Campbell Live, Friday TV3 at 7pm
Tonight's the night. No more driving dogs. No more Christchurch revisited. No more feeding the kids. No more inexplicably sudden red vest. No more marvellous. The contributions to our site's JC tribute page have started pouring in from all walks of life - from Patrick Gower and JC's first boss to fan-drawn art and Campbell selfies. His departure, although seemingly imminent in recent weeks, still feels too soon. If Campbell and the team have proved anything this week - it's that there is still much to be done. Their commitment to soldiering on is damn inspirational, Wednesday night in particular was riveting viewing. Allowed to film inside prison parole boards for the first time in history, it speaks volumes to their passion for investigative journalism, their unwavering responsibility to tell unseen stories and give voice to the silenced. The fact that they have stayed true to that to the bitter end could not be a more fitting farewell message. The only certainty going forward is that the end of Campbell Live will leave an enormous gap in TV3 - and New Zealand in general - that not even the gnarliest episode of Road Cops can fill. AC
Moon TV on Lightbox
As I said, next week Road Cops will take Campbell Live's place on TV3. It's a replacement so outrageous, so bordering on parody, that it might as well be Moon TV's Speedo Cops. There's no denying that we're in a very weird, very tumultuous time in New Zealand television, so why not revisit the crowning crazy of kiwi comedy? I'm talking about Moon TV. The lo-fi series ran for six seasons, the final three of which are available for your binge-watching pleasure on Lightbox.
Fronted by Leigh Hart of Radio Hauraki, Sportscafé and Late Night Big Breakfast Fame, Moon TV is a particular type of humour that might not be everyone's handful of hamsters. In early seasons it was an assemblage of absurd skits, puppets, and characters, shot seemingly on a cameraphone and dubbed onto VHS. As the seasons progressed, Moon started to eclipse all other New Zealand comedy, evolving into a meta-narrative about shows within shows and fake TV networks. The classic recurring sketches Speed Cooking, Speedo Cops and Book Corner with Jo Bennett will go down in television history, but it's the most obtuse ones like Bonsai and Hamster Man that really demonstrate the show's surreal strengths. If you've seen Leigh Hart's recent creation Late Night Big Breakfast and not Moon - it's time to meet the terrifyingly funny forefather.
Dancing With the Stars, Sunday TV3 7pm
Who knows what is going to happen with this one. The debut of Dancing With the Stars following the demise of Campbell Live could be seen as a sequinned doomsday symbol. Others might choose to just accept Pam Corkery doing the Flamenco like everything is completely normal. Whatever your take on the show - it's definitely happening. Last seen on TVNZ in 2009, Dancing With the Stars NZ is returning to our screens.
What can we expect? A lot of scene-stealing, Dom-Bowden-rivalling tans. Shane Cameron lifting up the entire set and throwing it across Henderson. Jay Jay Feeney doing a twerk. It's undoubtedly going to be popular, and we will undoubtedly cover every moment. Highlights from previous seasons include Rodney Hide dropping his partner on his head, the late Sir Paul Holmes butchering the 'Thriller' dance, and John Rowles dropping out due to heart problems. Come join us at the bottom of the barrel, it's lovely and warm down here. / AC
• As Campbell Live draws to a close, we have done our best to give it the coverage it deserves - including a week-long journal by Josh Drummond, and wider mediascape analysis by Duncan Greive and Finlay Macdonald.
• TVNZ's Heartland channel too finishes this weekend, Calum Henderson held a vigil and watched a 24-hour block of New Zealand nostalgia.
• We are running our own competition to 'Watch Lightbox Somewhere Weird' and win a fancy phone, just if you are looking for a creative project on this long weekend.