SATURDAY OCTOBER 6
Antiques Roadshow (Prime, 7.30pm). It seems it’s Jacobean week, beginning with Antiques Roadshow, which visits Hatfield House in Hertfordshire, built in 1611 by Robert Cecil, King James I’s Chief Minister. Then Lewis at 8.40pm abounds with Jacobean-revenge-tragedy references, including the episode’s title, Wild Justice, from a Francis Bacon quote. Lewis and Hathaway are investigating murders in the religious community, the first being of a female bishop, that are inspired by obscure literary texts. Hathaway, who trained as a priest, is totally in his element. To round off our Jacobean odyssey, there’s Shakespeare: The King’s Man on the Arts Channel (see Monday).
CSI: New York (TV3, 8.30pm). We know what you’re thinking: whatever happened to that kid who was in Terminator 2? Well, here he is in CSI: New York’s season-six finale. He (Edward Furlong) plays a killer who targets detective Danny (Carmine Giovinazzo).
SUNDAY OCTOBER 7
Motorsport: Bathurst 1000 (TV3, 10.00am). Time for Dad to have some special alone time. The annual Ford-Holden face-off runs all day, with a brief break at 6.00pm for the news. Kiwi hopes rest with young gun Shane Van Gisbergen, who is fifth on the V8 Supercars Championship table and has had two wins this year, in Hamilton and Darwin. Three drivers are contenders for the top spot – Aussies Jamie Whincup (the current leader), Mark Winterbottom and Craig Lowndes.
Gossip Girl (TV2, 2.00pm). Finally, the torture is over, and by torture, we mean watching Blair and Dan’s sorry attempts at a relationship. A potato has more electricity. Blair has a choice in the final implausible -episode of season five and please, God of the Upper East Side, let her choose Chuck once and for all.
New Zealand’s Got Talent (TV1, 7.30pm). Good Lord, it seems that we do. Who knew there were so many belly dancers, magicians and nine-year-old yodellers out there just waiting for their 15 minutes? Tonight, the fifth and final round of auditions.
The Simpsons (Four, 7.30pm). Season 24, which means there are fully grown men and women who have never lived in a world devoid of The Simpsons. The golden run nearly came to a screaming halt last year over contract negotiations with the voice cast (they were asked to take a pay cut), but here we are, with a season opener based on High Fidelity, in which Bart goes on a pilgrimage to girlfriends past to try to figure out where he went wrong. “I don’t want to give away too much, but he realises that maybe there’s something wrong with him after all,” says writer and producer Tim Long. Good grief, that doesn’t sound at all like the Bart we know and love. New Girl’s Zooey Deschanel guest stars, and other guest stars confirmed for the season are Portlandia’s Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock Holmes), Tina Fey, Ed Norton and – gasp! – Justin Bieber. The “All New” animated fun doesn’t stop there: after The Simpsons, Four has new episodes of Family Guy (8.00pm), Futurama (8.30pm) and South Park (9.00pm).
Rocket Man: The Story of William H Pickering (TVNZ Heartland, Sky 017, 7.30pm). An oldie but a goodie. The 2004 documentary directed by Gillian Ashurst about the New Zealand rocket scientist who headed California’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for 22 years. Pickering headed the team that put the US’s first satellite into orbit and sent out the unmanned Explorer spacecraft to explore the galaxy. Pickering is interviewed here, as are astronaut Buzz Aldrin, physicist James Van Allen (who discovered the radiation fields around the Earth after Explorer missions) and other friends and family.
MONDAY OCTOBER 8
Michael Wood’s Story of England (Prime, 7.30pm). Wood reaches the 14th century, when Kibworth is battered by the worst famine in European history and then the Black Death. However, by the late 1320s, life began to pick up again, and Wood is able to view documents in the National Archive of the 1327 Poll Tax, which give an image of the community and its class and wealth divisions.
Shakespeare: The King’s Man (The Arts Channel, Sky 079, 7.30pm). Historians are wont to turn the prism of the past around to look from another angle, and in Shakespeare: The King’s Man (The Arts Channel, Sky 079, Monday, 7.30pm), American scholar James Shapiro daringly suggests that William Shakespeare was not an Elizabethan playwright at all. Rather, he was Jacobean, producing a lot of work during the reign of James I, Elizabeth I’s successor. Shakespeare died in 1616 and a number of his plays were written after 1603 when James took the English throne, including Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra and Coriolanus. Historians have realised that Elizabeth’s “Golden Age” continued under James – Shapiro points out that in Jacobean London, there were eight theatres. Bear in mind that London’s population was around 200,000. One UK critic reckoned that to achieve the same ratio in modern London, there would have to be 300 theatres. Shapiro does slightly contradict his earlier investigations into Shakespeare’s life under Elizabeth, which were elucidated in his 2005 book, 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare. However, it’s fair to say Shakespeare saw a great deal of change in his lifetime as one century gave way to the next and the monarchy changed. The Jacobean era was marked by the unification of England and Scotland under one rule, the establishment of the first British colonies in Virginia, Newfoundland and Massachusetts, and the era’s most notorious event, the Gunpowder Plot. Shapiro’s thesis is that the late plays mirror the politics and obsessions of the era. The theatre was, after all, where the populace went for news and commentary, heavily encoded, of course, lest a playwright be chucked in prison with his nostrils slashed. Shapiro begins with Measure for Measure, a play concerned with governance, justice, truth and mercy – issues with which James was wrestling. It’s the Indecent Proposal of its day and is also, as the director of a Royal Shakespeare Company production of the play suggests, “not a million miles away from Undercover Boss”. In the second episode, Shapiro covers the Gunpowder Plot and the crackdown on Catholics. Shakespeare’s Macbeth captures the anxiety of the time, he says, and James I’s obsession with witches. Food riots in the Midlands provide the background for the tragedy Coriolanus. In the third and final episode, Shapiro looks at the late plays The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest.
TUESDAY OCTOBER 9
Darts (Sky Sport 2, Sky 031, 7.00am). The World Grand Prix of Darts is, like, totally on. The tournament is live from the City West Hotel in Dublin, and the question is can Phil Taylor, the sport’s most successful player ever, win for an -incredible 11th time?
No Woolies in Maleny (Maori, 8.30pm). A community protest against big retail in Maleny, 100km north of Brisbane. It’s a small town of around 3500, and protests arose in 2005 when a Woolworths supermarket was proposed on land that was a significant platypus habitat.
Bedlam (UKTV, Sky 006, 9.20pm). In the US, TV shows will hang onto their stars for dear life, but not so the UK. Bedlam is the latest series to replace nearly all its cast, after Misfits and Being Human did the same (perhaps it’s the Doctor Who effect? Discuss). In season two, former –EastEnders star Lacey Turner heads to Bedlam Heights, where she meets Jack Roth (son of Tim) and a couple of other good-looking British actors, and frights ensue. Hugo Speer remains from season one as the owner of the asylum/apartments – but for how long?
THURSDAY OCTOBER 11
Wonderstuff (Living, Sky 008, 10.30pm). A series that may be confirmation of our worst fears about household chemicals. Or not. It’s kind of a BBC version of What’s Really in Our …? in which journalist Jane Moore looks at the chemistry of everything from toothpaste to mobile phone batteries. The first episode is, indeed, toothpaste, as well as soap, shampoo and conditioner, plus Moore tries her homemade versions (we predict a prevalence of baking soda).
Chuck (TV2, 10.35pm). The spy-fi series hasn’t been essential viewing for a while now, but it still holds a special place in our nerd heart. The many, many pop culture references are at least entertaining when the plot starts meandering like a woolly mammoth across the grasslands of Rohan. It’s only through sheer determination – and a sponsorship from Subway – that Chuck made it to five seasons, and here are the last 13 episodes. Cute twist: Chuck’s goofy mate Morgan (Joshua Gomez) now has the “intersect” in his head, and Chuck (Zachary Levi) is the new Sarah – he has to protect Morgan just as Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) did him back in the day. As is its habit, Chuck features geek guest stars during the season, including Mark Hamill, -Carrie-Anne Moss (The Matrix), and Rebecca Romijn (X-Men).
FRIDAY OCTOBER 12
Homai te Pakipaki (Maori, 8.30pm). New Zealand’s got more talent! The grand final, live from the Logan Campbell Centre in Auckland.
Clinton (The Arts Channel, Sky 079, 8.30pm). Bill Clinton’s old-fashioned stump speech at the Democratic National Convention last month highlighted his skill as a politician and orator – and perhaps what is wrong with American politics. As this documentary reveals, it’s alarming how history repeats itself. “So many elements of today’s politics are here,” wrote Time’s James Poniewozik. “A deeply polarised Washington, a new president criticised by his own party for caving too quickly on the issues, hyperbolic debate over healthcare – that once we get to the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress and a new-old face appears, that of Newt Gingrich, it seems only natural.” The four-hour PBS documentary chronicles Clinton’s life from his small beginnings in Arkansas to the most powerful office in America. But it also chronicles his ability to self-sabotage, particularly in his private life. Clinton returns to the affair with Monica Lewinsky, although it does not interview Lewinsky. Former White House staffers shed new light, including Clinton’s former re-election campaign manager, Dick Morris, who reveals that Clinton told him: “I screwed up with this girl. I didn’t do what they said I did, but I may have done so much that I can’t prove my innocence.”