The President of the United States is a goneburger, his vainglorious plans to employ terrorism for the greater good of the country foiled, at 7am, by Jack Bauer in Saturday's finale of 24 on TV3. That Jack would win the day was never in doubt - it never is - but the series' 24 hours provided a reliable buzz for weekend viewing if you stuck through the schedule changes and graveyard slot.
What a nasty president this was, a weak-chinned little man with slithery eyes and a moue mouth. The best line of the night was when Jack was on the Russian submarine, from which the mad terrorists were going to fire warheads. A young engineer, the only surviving crew member, was being instructed by Jack to kill one of the bad guys by sneaking up behind him, and cutting his throat. "Cut him deep and cut him fast," urged Jack, to the quaking youth. A good motto for TV producers.
So that's it, all over until the next season, with Jack kidnapped himself at the very last moment by the Chinese, being shipped back to the People's Republic. TV3, please give the series a better slot next time.
Excellent Adventures has a good slot, 7.30pm Monday on TV One. The debut show, featuring dry-as-a-bone British comedian Dom Joly and one of his best mates, had the pair travelling through Lebanon and Syria, accompanied in Syria by a spy posing as a minder.
In Lebanon, the guys visited a vineyard for a wine-tasting which was basically just a swill-session which had the young lady serving them frowning in deep disapproval. Somehow, it worked.
The following week continued the Middle Eastern theme with Neil Morrissey and his girlfriend trekking through the desert in the tracks of Lawrence of Arabia. Morrissey fell in love with his camel, bruised his bollocks, chainsmoked, and behaved badly with a flask of vodka. His girlfriend had to abandon her camel because of pressure sores and the director's camel bolted, leaving him with a dislocated shoulder.
The charm of both programmes has been the wit of the narrative, and the fact that both lived up to the title: Excellent Adventures.
Unfortunately, Minnie Driver's adventure this week, was not particularly interesting, nor was the narrative deep or fast. She and a flatmate from Los Angeles flew into Tonga, just in time for the annual fa'afafine festival. Driver's goal, nay, her lifetime dream, was to swim with humpback whales. Off they went in a boat, landed on a volcanic island, walked to the top, slept in a tent, and went back down again. Utterly pointless, which she did, to her credit, point out.
Then another boat ride, looking for the whales, spotted a few, out again the next day, swam with the whales. That must have been awesome but it was also the end of the story, accompanied by Driver's banal discourse.
Speaking of which, the Paul Holmes-Jeffrey Lord Archer interview on Prime a couple of weeks ago. I didn't watch it all, but there was Archer at one early point attempting to get Holmes to move on from his questioning about what it was like in prison, from which Archer was ejected a good six years ago. Archer wanted to discuss his new book; he wanted to control the interview.
But no. When I flicked back about 15 minutes later, Holmes was still on about the prison and Archer's mean little mouth was pursing as he declared that this was a very long interview and as for some questions, no comment. Not deep, or fast, more like fast and loose.