SATURDAY JULY 3
Football (Sky Sport 1, 1.45am and 6.15am). The first two quarter-finals at the FIFA World Cup are this morning, and as the All Whites are apparently going all the way, they should be in one of them. Definitely. No question. The other two quarter-finals are on Sunday morning, and the first semi-final is on Wednesday morning. And in the sport with the pedals and wheels and no drugs whatsoever, the Tour de France begins on Sunday at 11.45pm (Sky Sport 1).
Colin McCahon – I Am (TVNZ Heartland, Sky D017, 6.00pm). Our most illustrious painter is treated reverentially and respectfully in this excellent documentary from 2005. It follows the evolution of his painting and its relationship with his faith and the land. Cinematography is by Leon Narbey, and Sam Neill reads McCahon’s letters; no wonder it won a Qantas award that year.
Extraordinary Kiwis (Prime, 7.00pm). The series that is a kind of ride-along for Clarke Gayford. Last week, he was training with Dan Carter; this week, he is coached by Ben Hurley, the stand-up comedian who made it on the British circuit and who is now back home and working on TV3’s 7 Days. Hurley teaches his young apprentice how to get through six minutes of stand-up at the Classic Comedy Club in Auckland.
SUNDAY JULY 4
Doctor Who (Prime, 7.30pm). An episode of emotional closure for … Vincent van Gogh. Yes. But that’s what you get when Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral, etc) is your screenwriter. In a beautifully art-directed episode, Amy and the Doctor visit van Gogh in Provence, where they fight his demon … er, an alien. Bill Nighy has a lovely cameo as an art expert and Tony Curran is the spitting image of van Gogh.
TUESDAY JULY 6
Undercover Boss USA (TV1, 8.30pm). It’s difficult not to be a mite cynical about a show in which bosses pretend to be new entry-level workers at their own firms and are then shocked by what they find. You really didn’t know what those rules you imposed actually meant for workers? Apparently not, in the case of Larry O’Donnell, the president and COO of Waste Management, Inc, who goes out picking up rubbish, emptying portable loos and sorting recyclables. O’Donnell is subsequently shocked to discover that workers in a recycling plant have to scurry to finish their lunch in time or face having their wages docked and that a woman driving a rubbish truck has to “pee in a can” in order to keep going and meet her daily collection quota. The series, which was a summer hit in the US, includes the presidents of Hooters, 7-Eleven and racetrack operator Churchill Downs, who is, ahem, afraid of horses.
The Good Wife (TV3, 9.30pm). One of several season finales this week; we’ll be sad not to have our dose of superb acting and underplayed emotions. The Good Wife has been the rare network drama that doesn’t spell out everything, and Julianna Margulies was suitably rewarded for her excellence with a Golden Globe in January. All the critical acclaim would mean nothing without good ratings and, thankfully, The Good Wife has been renewed for a second season. In the finale, Alicia has to decide if she’s willing to stand by her man – again. In other season-finale news, the producers of Bones (TV3, Sunday, 8.30pm) promise there’ll be no dreams-while-in-a-coma in the fifth season ender. Thank goodness. Instead, all the characters have major decisions to make, especially Brennan, who is thinking about going back to her old job. And the 10th season of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (TV3, Monday, 8.30pm) comes to an end this week, with the team getting closer to the serial killer Dr Jekyll. However, using another serial killer to track him may not have been the best idea.
WEDNESDAY JULY 7
SVU: Special Victims Unit (TV3, 9.30pm). Sharon Stone takes note of what Glenn Close has been doing and joins the cast of SVU for a four-episode stint. Stone plays ADA Jo Marlowe, who has a history with Stabler (Christopher Meloni). Stone looks great even in firefighter boots, said Entertainment Weekly, but the script is a clunker. In other guest-star news, Skeet Ulrich (Jericho) joins CSI: New York (TV3, Tuesday, 8.30pm) for three episodes as the Compass Killer, a murderer who leaves antique compasses with his victims as a hint to his next crime. Ulrich reportedly spent up to three-and-a-half hours in makeup for his character’s facial disfigurement. But wait, there’s more – all of the American Idol judges plus host Ryan Seacrest appear in the final of the current season of All New Simpsons (TV3, Sunday, 7.30pm). In the episode, Moe discovers a hidden talent for judging talent contests and is offered a job on Idol.
THURSDAY JULY 8
Parenthood (TV3, 8.30pm). A family drama that is funnier and less mawkish than Brothers & Sisters, but is not playing it for laughs. Gilmore Girls’ Lauren Graham plays a solo mum who has to move back home with her two kids; her brothers are Peter Krause and Dax Shepard. There’s a real feeling of modern family tension, and Krause and his wife discover their son, Max, may have Asperger’s syndrome.
FRIDAY JULY 9
24 (C4, 8.30pm). The final of the series and end of an era, although the whole Jack-going-rogue thing in this final eighth season has seemed a little bit tired, especially when they brought back his old foe, former President Charles Logan. As always, the moral conundrum is “what price democracy?”. Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) comes up against another president, Allison Taylor (Cherry Jones), who has crossed the line in order to preserve a peace agreement that could bring stability to the Middle East. At last, Jack can retire that ticking clock and attempt to live a normal life … or not. A feature film is on the way.