SATURDAY JULY 28
EXTRAORDINARY KIWIS: HEART OF THE NORTH (TV1, 5.30PM). A profile of a man who is surely a candidate for a garden makeover on Mucking In if nothing else. Ricky Houghton is helping to alleviate poverty among Maori in the Far North one family at a time through the organisation he has set up in Kaitaia. He helps people avoid mortgagee sales, getting families back on the land, setting up small businesses, and making the dysfunctional independent again.
THE DAME EDNA TREATMENT (TV1, 9.30PM). Australia’s most erudite man (we challenge you to read his autobiographies without a dictionary) has kept his alter-egos Dame Edna Everage and Sir Les Patterson going since – well, a lady doesn’t like to say, and although the housewife from Moonee Ponds is not so much these days a satire on Australian suburban life as a national institution, Humphries can still ad-lib, throw around the double entendres and gently insult her guests with the best of them. For The Dame Edna Treatment, think “kitsch” and then double it. Guests in the season include Ivana Trump, Robin Gibb, Sigourney Weaver, kd lang, Susan Sarandon, Ian McShane and even artist Tracy Emin.
THE TRUE STORY OF THE WAR OF THE WORLDS (HISTORY, 10.30PM). Director James Cameron narrates this documentary about the now-infamous broadcast made by Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre Company in 1938 that panicked the entire US nation. Included is footage of Welles and residents of New Jersey who heard the broadcast on October 30.
SUNDAY JULY 29
SUNDAY THEATRE: THE BEST MAN (TV1, 8.30PM). Another Sunday Theatre, another love-triangle thriller. Perhaps the name should be changed to Variations on a Theme. Ah well, as ever, this ITV drama is saved by the top cast, particularly the lovely Keeley Hawes, known for the first series of Spooks and also the recent modern interpretation of Macbeth set in a restaurant. She stars with Richard Coyle and Toby Stephens, who play best friends. When one of them marries Keeley, things start getting weird.
CSI: MIAMI (TV3, 8.30PM). Probably the only thing you need to know about CSI: Miami and its pompous ass lead character is the YouTube clip that is a compilation of Horatio Caine’s greatest sunglasses moments. Sunglasses off, sunglasses on; sunglasses off … you get the picture. There’s also seven minutes of “endless corny one-liners” if you can handle it. The fifth season of CSI: Miami opens with Horatio and Delko in Rio de Janeiro – and as fun as that sounds, they’re hunting down … oh, some guy.
ARTSVILLE (TV1, 11.00PM). Residents of the garden city have the pleasure, until October, of being able to see two decades of Bill Hammond’s work on display at the Christchurch Art Gallery. The rest of us will have to make do with the opening episode of a new series of Artsville, although it is slightly worrying that it is a docu-drama in which, according to publicity, a man (Ian Hughes) goes on a journey of artistic and personal discovery through the works and worlds of the artist. We’re willing to give it a chance, however, and we’re also looking forward to seeing and hearing archive footage of Janet Frame reading “O Lung Flowering Like a Tree”.
MONDAY JULY 30
CHARLIE’S ANGELS (PRIME, 2.30PM). Back to the days when hair was big, girls took orders from a speaker-phone and Aaron Spelling totally ruled television. The plotlines now just seem like excuses to get the angels into bikinis or cheerleading outfits, but back then, Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith were practically feminists. Prime is playing an episode every weekday – check out guest star Jamie Lee Curtis on Tuesday.
DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (TV2, 8.30PM). Season three, it seems, has been waaaay more successful than season two (which was “stale” in most assessments). But still, it’s been a tortuous route to tonight’s finale in which there are two weddings – or are there? (Sorry, little joke there.) It features the return of post-babies Marcia Cross and her post-babies cleavage and we get to see just where having all those feelings and emotions gets Edie Britt.
GHOST WHISPERER (TV2, 9.30PM). Oh, the horror, the saccharine, “crossing over”, I-see-dead-people horror. And Jay Mohr, what are you doing in the same show as Jennifer Love Hewitt? You should be ashamed.
WEDNESDAY AUGUST 1
PRIMEVAL (TV2, 8.30PM). Tonight: dodos! Who said anomalies in space and time weren’t fun?
THURSDAY AUGUST 2
MCLEOD’S DAUGHTERS (TV2, 7.30PM). Seven seasons is a long time in anyone’s TV lexicon and it’s forced McLeod‘s writers to stretch plausibility while conjuring up characters apparently out of thin air. Watch out for new faces and departing ones – including Aaron Jeffrey, who leaves at the end of the season (and can now be seen in Outrageous Fortune) and newbie Abi Tucker, another estranged sister.
FRIDAY AUGUST 3
SHORTLAND STREET (TV2, 7.00PM). Nothing like a murder to inject some, er, life into the Street. Tonight: Kieran confesses! To what, exactly, we don’t know.
Casts are available online at www.listener.co.nz.