Radiation by Fiona Rae


August 1 Views: Artefacts, art and Grand Designs


Artefact (Prime, 7.30pm). The series presented by Dame Anne Salmond screened on Māori Television, but is totally worth revisiting if you saw it the first time. Dame Anne tells the stories of taonga that highlight the history of Aotearoa. Further reading: this 2013 interview with Dame Anne by the lovely Diana Wichtel.


Liar (TVNZ 1, 8.30pm). Season two, now on linear telly, if you fancy a Sunday-night thriller. The second season has lost its he said-she said theme and is now a straight-out who killed the nasty rapist. Joanne Froggatt's Laura is revictimised, so there's that.


Grand Designs UK (Three, 7.30pm). I always love how Kevin McCloud is so sceptical and then, magically, the houses happen anyway despite all his frowning. This week, a topic close to our hearts – a couple want to clear 27 protected trees from their Gloucestershire section in order to build their dream, ah, tree-house home. Huh?


Grayson's Art Club (Sky Arts, Sky 020, 8.30pm). Brilliant British national treasure Grayson Perry presents a series about the process of creation that includes talking with artists and others. It is filmed mostly in his studio and seems to have been essential lockdown viewing in the UK.


The Koi Boys (TVNZ OnDemand, Sunday). Also a crossover from Māori Television – a series following the Kiwi crooners after their success on The Voice Australia. It's been quite a road to success, as this Stuff profile revealed last year.

Drug Squad: Costa Del Sol (Netflix). Slightly mad Spanish series about cops on the Costa Del Sol in the 1970s, apparently inspired by Spain's first anti-narcotics drug squad. The series also seems to have been inspired by Quentin Tarantino and Starsky and Hutch.


July 25 Views: Punk, People and Stars


Country Calendar (TVNZ 1, 7.00pm). Tonight, kiwifruit growing in the King Country. Crazy!

Normal People (TVNZ 1, 10.30pm). Holy cow, if you thought it was slow on a binge-watch, imagine what it's like in weekly doses. Nevertheless, it's like Richard Linklater's Boyhood – you don't really see the scope of the thing until the very end and I guess I hadn't realised until the last episode how much Normal People is about Marianne and Connell's mental health (duh). Great performances by Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal, too.


Ordeal by Innocence (Prime, 8.30pm). The third of the Sarah Phelps' Agatha Christie adaptations and boy, is it a toxic brew. Wealthy heiress Rachel Argyll (Anna "imperious" Chancellor) is found bludgeoned to death, her son Jack (one of five adopted children) is arrested and dies in prison before the trial. Eighteen months later, here's a stranger (Harry Treadaway, so good) claiming an alibi for Jack. In addition, dad (Bill Nighey) is about to marry his secretary (Alice Eve) and wheelchair-using Philip, married to daughter Mary (Eleanor Tomlinson, what a cast), might be the most vicious role that Matthew Goode has ever had. 


Punk (Prime, 8.30pm). Iggy Pop and fashion designer John Varvatos are executive producers and it screened on the US cable channel Epix last year, so for those of you who thought the Brits could lay claim to Punk, I dare say this four-part series (screening in double episodes from today) will have a different angle. It features, according to publicity, "interviews with America’s punk pioneers and the UK’s most notorious bands", including Johnny Rotten, Marky Ramone, Debbie Harry and Chris Stein, Duff McKagan, Wayne Kramer, Jello Biafra, Flea, Dave Grohl, Elektra Records' Danny Fields and filmmaker Penelope Spheeris. Related: Rialto is screening the doco Ronnie Wood: Somebody Up There Likes Me on Friday (8.30pm)

Wentworth (TVNZ 2, 9.00pm). It's like a soap with a cast of psychopaths. The Aussie prison drama returns for season eight; I have no idea what's going on at this point.


Stand Up Aotearoa (TVNZ 2, 8.00pm). For risking their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic, essential workers get a stand-up show hosted by Urzila Carlson and featuring Rhys Darby, Mel Bracewell, Paul Ego and others.

Beyond Matariki (Maori TV, 8.00pm). Professor Rangi Matamua, from the University of Waikato, explores Maori astronomy in this new series, catch-up on the first two episodes here.


The Humble Yum Yum (TVNZ OnDemand, Sunday). Ganesh Raj from Eat Well for Less NZ gets his own show in which he cooks low-cost meals (under $20). What's up with the title though?

Wasted (TVNZ OnDemand, Wednesday). Not that new – 2016 – but a thoroughly enjoyable Britcom in the style of Spaced and it features Sean Bean having a royal old time taking the mickey out of Ned Stark. A group of nerds in a West Country village have various pathetic adventures; it's funny because it's true.

NZ Hip Hop Stand Up (RNZ National). As has been noted elsewhere, this new podcast series about New Zealand hip-hop is awesome, I just wish the episodes were longer. Someone should interview director Chris Graham about all those amazing videos he's done over the years too. Also cool on RNZ National: Stacey Morrison's Healthy or Hoax and new podcast Only Human.


July 18 Views: Pasifika comedy, London drama, Aussie kids


ANZ Premiership Netball (Sky Sport 3, 5.00pm). Top of the table Central Pulse meet next-on-the-ladder Mystics today; tomorrow, the Pulse meet the Tactix, also at 5pm, followed by Steel v Magic at 7pm. On Monday, it's Steel v Tactix at 7pm. 

Super Rugby Aotearoa (Sky Sport 1, 6.30pm). The Hurricanes meet the Blues at their home ground tonight; can the Blues rise above the crushing Crusaders loss from last week? Tomorrow, it's Chiefs v Highlanders at Stadium Waikato (Sky Sport 1, 3pm).

Cricket (Spark Sport, 9.58pm). The 2nd England v West Indies test goes into its third day; England were 469-9 declared at the end of day two after a lovely 176 from Ben Stokes and a 120 knock Dom Sibley. In reply, the Windies were 32 for 1.


NRL (Sky Sport 4, 3.30pm). The Warriors meet the Cronulla Sharks at Central Coast Stadium – the Sharks are not having a stellar season either; they're currently at No 9 on the ladder, although the Warriors languish at No 13. 


Gangs of London (SoHo, Sky 010, 9.30pm and Neon). Gareth Evans, that unlikely champion of Indonesian martial arts, returns to the UK for a big, bad gangster saga. The words "epic" and "Shakespearean" are bandied about in the promo, but let's face it, we're really here for the action scenes. This is the guy who brought us The Raid, after all. Joe Cole plays a crime boss's son who goes on the warpath after his father is killed. Colm Meaney is his dad and Michelle Fairley (Game of Thrones) is his mum and the cast also features the veteran Lucian Msamati (most recently John Faa in His Dark Materials), Paapa Essiedu (I May Destroy You) and, presumably in a nod to his native Wales, Mark Lewis Jones and Richard Harrington as Welsh travellers.


Portrait Artist of the Year (Sky Arts, Sky 020, 8.30pm). Season six, and portraitees include John Cooper Clarke, Tinie Tempah, Russell Tovey, Wunmi Mosaku and Harriet Walter. The winner gets a commission to paint Nile Rodgers.

Ackley Bridge (UKTV, Sky 007, 9.30pm). Another good one for the school hols (are they still on?); the multicultural drama about two merged schools returns for a second season. It's a raucous show that was a surprise hit with teens, said the Guardian.


Sis (Comedy Central, Sky 011, 8.30pm). The new comedy from Baby Mama’s Club creator Hanelle Harris is about a group of Pasifika writers tasked with creating a new comedy show, except their head writer is an idiot. Hm, they say write what you know ...


Save Me Too (SoHo, Sky 010, 8.30pm). The brilliant Lennie James created, wrote and starred – and was Bafta-nominated – in Save Me, the drama series about a flawed South-east Londoner whose daughter goes missing. In the second season, Nelly's search continues and he is focused on Grace, the girl he inadvertently saved last season, who may know something about Jody's whereabouts. It's going to be tense and James will, indubitably, be excellent. Adrian Edmonson plays a drug dealer (!), Suranne Jones is Nelly's ex-wife, and Stephen Graham, who was in the last series of Line of Duty, is Nelly's friend and convicted sex offender who swears he's been rehabilitated.


First Day (TVNZ OnDemand). An Australian mini-series that is based on a short film that won an award at the inaugural MIPCOM Diversify TV Excellence Awards in 2018. Filmed in Adelaide, the series follows Hannah, a transgender girl, as she begins high school. Hannah is played by Evie Macdonald, who famously called out Aussie PM Scott Morrison on a crappy anti-trans tweet. A good one for the school hols.

Auckland Writers Festival 2020 Winter Festival (Sunday, 9.00am). The writers festival winter festival is up to its penultimate episode, and this Sunday features English novelist Patrick Gale (Take Nothing With You), Austrian author Julia Ebner (Going Dark: The Secret Social Lives of Extremists) and NZ’s inaugural Poet Laureate Michele Leggott (Mezzaluna: Selected Poems). You can watch live on the Auckland Live Facebook or Writer's Festival YouTube, or watch later on the website. Next week's final episode features Ann Patchett and Maggie O'Farrell (Hamnet).

Love Life (TVNZ OnDemand, Thursday). I dunno, the relationship trials and tribulations of a young, white woman seem so 2018, amiright? Based solely on the trailer, it appears to be a more privileged High Fidelity (there's even a link: Kingsley Ben-Adir, who is Sexy English Guy in HF) and inhabits a New York that only exists in rom coms. However, if there's one actor who can rescue anything, it's Anna Kendrick, so if you're looking for something really lightweight, have at it.


July 12 Views: Tom Sainsbury's sex scandal


Bodyguard (TVNZ 1, 8.30pm). It's the final; if you haven't seen this already on Netflix, get ready, the ending is batshit.

Unforgotten (Vibe, Sky 006, 8.30pm). I wonder if Sanjeev Bhasksar's character has got rid of that damn backpack in the third season of this cold case drama? Although, come to think of it, it was probably the only amusing thing about the whole show. Why did he have a backpack? What was in it? A quite depressing series, really, but the acting ... I thought Mark Bonnar was a comedy actor until I saw season two. The great Nicola Walker is a DCI investigating the hardest cases of all; in season three, the remains of a 16-year-old from 1991 lead to four suspects. The show screened in 2018 in the UK and beat Poldark in the ratings - it's a "wintry meditation on loss, ageing and the lies we tell ourselves – all bound up in a whodunit that unfolded like a game of Cluedo scripted by Ingmar Bergman" according to the Independent, although don't read the review, as it reveals the killer.

London Kills (UKTV, Sky 007, 9.30pm). Another British crime drama that is way more glossy and murder of the week-y: an "elite murder squad" solves crimes in London; the overarching mystery is the disappearance of Hugo Speer's wife.


Yorkshire Airport (Prime, 7.30pm). Bloomin’ ’eck, behind the scenes at Leeds Bradford Airport. Apparently, there is plenty of “northern charm”, although reaction in the UK ranged from “brilliant” to “patronising”. It is narrated by Hugh Dennis, whose middle name might be “Arch”.


The Durrells (Vibe, Sky 006, 7.30pm). The fourth and final season featuring the charmingly chaotic adventures of the Durrell family on the beautiful island of Corfu. It's 1939, so perhaps not as comforting as you might think, although the Guardian found it a soothing respite from all the Brexit crap. As the season begins, the family are preparing to turn their home into a guest house. What could go wrong?

Queen: Live at Wembley (Prime, 8.30pm). None of your tatty modern Queen; the real deal recorded at Wembley Stadium in 1986.


Sextortion (TVNZ OnDemand, Monday). As we’ve recently seen, it doesn’t take a sex tape to bring down a politician, just the inappropriate use of the email system, but in this new comedy, Tom Sainsbury channels Colin Craig as a Christian politician called Darren Bellows who is caught out when his bondage session is leaked. So to speak. Sainsbury told the Herald he also turned to David Seymour and his “unnerving, but also kind-of vacant” smile. Bellows' political rival, Shayne Bubbler, is played by Cohen Holloway. Sainsbury is a popular guy – he's about to also star in Sis, the new series from Baby Mama's Club creator Hanelle Harris, which screens on Comedy Central from July 22.

High Fidelity (Neon, Monday). So-so reviews for this TV show based on the movie that was based on the book by Nick Hornby. Writers Sarah Kucserka and Veronica West, who worked on Brothers & Sisters and Hart of Dixie together, swap out John Cusack for Zoë Kravitz as the owner of a record shop who excavates her top five most memorable heartbreaks. Even if the vibe is too cool for school, the music should be be awesome; Questlove is the musical consultant.

The Deep Blue Sea (YouTube). The UK's National Theatre has uploaded a number of productions online; this is the 2016 production of Terence Rattigan's 1952 play starring Helen McCrory and Tom Burke. It's a shining performance by McCrory, said the Guardian's Michael Billington, who enjoyed everything except the intrusive sound effects.


July 5 Views: Murders, Devils and Kinks


Washington (History, Sky 073, 7.30pm). The brilliant Doris Kearns Goodwin is the executive producer of this six-part series about America's first president. It combines interviews with live action and is narrated by Jeff Daniels. It's engaging, said Salon.


The ABC Murders (Prime, 8.30pm). Sarah Phelps has done incredible things with Agatha Christie since the BBC commissioned And Then There Were None in 2015 to mark the 125th anniversary of the author's birth. It was such a hit in the UK, that six more were commissioned, although five were enough for Phelps (she is planning a second season of Dublin Murders as well as working on a second season of A Very English Scandal, about another, er, very English scandal). The ABC Murders is amazing; so bleak and weird. There's Shirley Henderson's creepy landlady; Eamon Farren as the tortured travelling salesman Alexander Cust; and not least, John Malkovich as an ageing Hercule Poirot, trying to persuade Rupert Grint (!) that a series of murders are connected.

Devils (SoHo, Sky 010, 9.30pm). Shady dealings in the houses of finance: Patrick Dempsey plays the CEO of the London branch of an American bank who mentors Italian trader Alessandro Borghi (Suburra and Suburra: Blood on Rome). It's a French-Italian co-pro with a suitably international cast, including Danish actor Lars Mikkelson; Spanish actress Laia Costa; Polish actress Kasia Smutniak; and Brit Paul Chowdhry. (The TV series Suburra: Blood on Rome is available on Netflix.) Dempsey, formerly of Grey's Anatomy, told Deadline that he fancied a challenge. (On Neon from July 15).


The Kinks: Echoes of a World (Prime, 8.30pm). A documentary film that looks at the band's 1968 album The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society. It features the three surviving original members of the band, brothers Ray and Dave Davies and Mick Avory, as well as Paul Weller, Noel Gallagher, Blur’s Graham Coxon, XTC’s Andy Partridge, Natalie Merchant and producer Greg Kurstin.


Bulletproof (SoHo, Sky 010, 9.30pm). Shows featuring cops running around with guns seem pretty tone deaf right now – to be fair, this one was first broadcast in 2018 on the UK's Sky One channel and is said to be in the style of Bad Boys and Lethal Weapon, if that's any recommendation. Noel Clarke out of Doctor Who and Ashley Walters are detectives at the National Crime Agency (a real thing in the UK) working on organised crime. British gun culture has come a long way. (On Neon from July 21.)


The Mallorca Files (TVNZ 1, 8.30pm). The light-hearted crime drama timeslot welcomes this Death in Paradise-style series that was daytime viewing in the UK. Elen Rhys is an "uptight British cop" and Julian Looman is a "laid-back German policeman" and together they solve crimes on the sunny Spanish island of Mallorca! Creator Dan Sefton says it's all in good fun and told the Radio Times and that everybody's in on the gag.


Guilt (TVNZ OnDemand, Thursday). So much crime, so little time. Is this BBC Scotland four-parter worth our while? It certainly got the big tick from UK critics – the Telegraph described it as “like Fargo relocated to Leith” – and it holds a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Mark Bonnar and Jamie Sives play brothers who try to cover up their hit-and-run. Author Neil Forsyth says he wanted to write about siblings, “the most dramatically interesting familial relationship” and he wanted the brothers’ story “to feel like quicksand. The more they struggle, the worse it gets”.

Vida (Neon). The cool and clever comedy drama is in its third and final season on SoHo2 – the story of two Mexican-American sisters who move home to Boyle Heights in LA has many themes, including second-generation struggles, gentrification and identity politics. You may find yourself fast-forwarding through the eye-popping sex scenes in case your family thinks you are watching porn, however. Just the second and third seasons are available on Neon. Gentefied, on Netflix, has a similar theme of the struggle to hold onto tradition, in this case via a family-run taco shop.