By FIONA RAE



The original short film Willy Nilly seems a distant, surreal cousin to the TV series, which started its second series last week on TV One (screens tomorrow 7pm).



It's said to be a rural comedy and it's true you can't get much more rural than being squirted in the face with cow poo, which was Harry's (Mark Hadlow) fate last week.



It's an obvious joke, as is the sex-mad Lubyanka (Ellie Smith), who is the evil Mr Bott's Russian mailorder bride. Thankfully the jokes aren't all scatological.

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The comedy is at its best when it is gently absurd - like Joy's (Tandi Wright) beau, Steve, having his sheepdog round up the two brothers, complete with music, a la A Dog's Show, or Eric (Sean Duffy) doing Mastermind-like questioning of Steve.



Mind you, my young sons thought the cow poo joke was pretty funny, right before they went off to play Fart Wars in the bedroom.



Top of the Pops (TV2 6 tonight) is a funny load of old nonsense, but is a poptastic way of avoiding the news. We're detecting a shift away from dance music in Britain, so you may even catch someone actually playing a guitar.



The Panel ... Live is promising musically inclined guests and kicks off tomorrow night (TV3, 9.35 ) with band goodshirt, who will perform live and talk about their recent New Zealand tour. The panel, which features four wits opining on matters topical plus Robert Rakete, is also joined by David Tua.



Perhaps if you knew your apostles you might be able to work out what happens next in Messiah (TV One, Sunday, 8.35pm), where a serial killer is doing some pretty nasty stuff unto others that mirrors what happened to the 12 apostles - Philip was hanged, James the Less was beaten to death, Matthew was slain with a machete, etc.



Edward Woodward plays a vicar, while Ken Stott is the copper on the trail.



Serial killers abound this weekend, with Sky Movies screening a double of The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal tomorrow night, but the real drama will be at the Bookvale Oval in Sydney on Sunday (Sky 1, 4.50pm), where the Warriors meet the Northern Eagles.



After last week's drubbing at the hands of the Roosters, the Warriors will be keen to set the NRL table straight.



Just to round out Sunday night, TV One is screening a lengthy documentary about The Maze, Northern Ireland's notorious prison that was supposed to help contain the troubles, but instead became a focus.



Ten men starved themselves to death within its walls and 29 prison officers were killed. As part of the peace process, it now stands empty and this award-winning documentary talks to those on the inside.



For something completely insubstantial, but Irish, is Madigan Men (TV3, Sunday 2pm), a sitcom that lasted about two months in the US, but does star the lovely Gabriel Byrne.