I AM TV (TV2, 10.00am). While we grown-ups despair at local telly’s prime-time devolution into game shows and the return of Sportscafé, our tradition of great youth TV continues apace. The styley, smart and bilingual Saturday morning show I AM TV celebrates Maori Language Week today with characteristic flair. A spin on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air called The Flash Prince of Pt Chev; a lucky punter gets “an extreme Te Reo makeover home edition – Maori styles”; and – very meta, this – presenter Candice Davis’ alter-ego C Dice fronts a segment called “Yoof TV”.
Rugby (Sky Sport 1, 9.55pm). This is what we’ve been waiting for: not only the first Bledisloe Cup match of the Tri Nations, but also the first time the ABs meet the Wallabies under Robbie Deans’ watch. Some sports writers are already wondering whether this will tug at the heartstrings of the Crusaders in the local side; we say: unlikely. Of course, the two most taciturn coaches in world sport will be giving nothing away.
Shaving Ryan’s Privates (The Box, 10.30pm). No, TV Week hasn’t stooped to highlighting soft-core porn (yet!): this is actually a documentary – honest – about a thriving little sub-industry in parody pornography. With the director and star of such genre standards as Missionary Position: Impossible II and Swinging in the Rain, this will teach you more than you ever thought possible about the difficulties of bringing an erotic spoof to the screen. Viewers of a certain temperament may enjoy coming up with their own bawdy title puns.
SUNDAY JULY 27
Fanny Hill (TV1, 8.30pm). And, speaking of: Andrew Davies, who adapted Pride and Prejudice for the BBC and Bridget Jones’s Diary for singletons everywhere, brings John Cleland’s 18th-century happy hooker tale to life. Bonny Lancashire lass Fanny (newcomer Rebecca Night) is orphaned, so merrily takes up the offer of a job at Mrs Brown’s London establishment of ill-repute, which she wholeheartedly enjoys, as fictional prostitutes created by men are wont to do. The novel was the Lady Chatterley’s Lover of its day – read in secret and denounced in public – and Cleland predated DH Lawrence with his taste for turgid prose without actually getting explicit: “What floods of bliss! What melting transports! What agonies of delight!” Under Davies’ guidance, Fanny’s transports are somewhat less melting, as he comes over all coy on us and actually cuts back on the sex scenes. A good thing, in the opinion of the Guardian reviewer, who found it “unexpectedly fresh and charming”.
Tangaroa with Pio (Maori Television, 9.00pm). A new series of Pio Terei’s -continued mission to explore every nook and cranny of the Kiwi coastline, having a yarn and a feed as he goes.
Stolen Gold (Documentary, 9.00pm). Before the Olympics machine cranks up next week, a little reminder of the athletes who’ve seen the gold slip though their fingers for thoroughly unjust reasons – from a hapless 1908 marathoner who went the wrong way towards the finish line after it had been moved to suit the royal family, to Mary Decker’s infamous collision with Zola Budd at the 1984 Games.
Tour de France (Sky Sport 1, 11.30pm). The 95th Tour de France has, at the time of writing, been a fairly clean race, with only a little doping scandal and just a handful of collisions with trees and spectators. Tonight, the final stage, as the riders and their bicyclettes head for the Champs Elysée finishing line and the ultimate Maillot Jaune.
MONDAY JULY 28
Nip/Tuck (TV2, 10.30pm). Seems like the move to LA has been a winner for the scalpel jocks of McNamara/Troy, despite whiny old Julia’s continued ill health and some (fictional) bad reviews of their show-within-a-show, Hearts and Scalpels. Still, series five ends in typical outlandish fashion as Sean is stalked by an escaped psych patient, and his son Matt must come to terms with falling in love with his sister. Situation normal, then.
THURSDAY JULY 31
Inside New Zealand: A Little Love Story (TV3, 9.30pm). Record-breaking bodybuilder and cactus-nursery staffer Matthew is four-foot-five tall, one of about 150 little people in New Zealand, which has made it hard to meet other little people his age who share his interests. So he takes himself off to the United States in search of the world’s largest gathering of little people, with the hopes of finding a special someone to settle down with amid the weights and cacti. We’re hoping the title is a happy clue to the outcome.
FRIDAY AUGUST 1
Gavin and Stacey (TV1, 8.30pm). The season final of our favourite new show this year finds Essex lad Gav and Welsh lass Stacey tying the knot – maybe. Season two is already underway in the UK. Our other (secret) favourite show, America’s Next Top Model (TV3, 7.30pm), also ends tonight with a classic stompy runway showdown.
Cast lists are available online at www.listener.co.nz