SATURDAY MAY 30
Six60: Live at Western Springs 2020 (TVNZ 1, 8.45pm). Remember live concerts? The day will come again, friends, when we will be able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in an uncomfortable sweaty venue with people we don’t know. It will happen. Sometimes the sound of concerts drifts over to the Chev, but we never heard a peep of this one, unlike that AC/DC concert that was so loud they were rockin’ it up in Devonport. Six60 may be the most anodyne reggae act since UB40, but their sell-out shows at Western Springs were genuinely a moment in New Zealand pop history; a local act so popular they could fill that stadium. Twice. And such is their broad appeal the filmed show is on TVNZ 1.
SUNDAY MAY 31
Tosca (TVNZ 1, 10.00am). More local arts on the telly? Goodness. New Zealand Opera’s 2015 production of Tosca, featuring superstars Simon O’Neill and Orla Boylan in the lead roles.
MONDAY JUNE 1
Dolly & Friends: 50 Years at the Opry (TVNZ 1, 7.00pm). These specials tend to be a bit too variety for my taste – there’s a medley of her hits – but you know, it’s Dolly. Emmylou Harris, Lady Antebellum and Hank Williams Jr also appear. Recommended: the podcast Dolly Parton’s America, in which WNYC’s Jad Abumrad gets to the heart of Dolly’s appeal across all sectors of America. The episode where Jad and producer Shima Oliaee visit the ersatz one-room “Tennessee Mountain Home” at Dollywood, then actually visit the real cabin in the woods where Dolly grew up is especially good.
The A Word (UKTV, Sky 007, 9.30pm). British drama The A Word was always about how the adults were coping, not autistic Joe, who was usually fine in his own world. In the third series, Joe is 10 and his parents (Lee Ingleby and Morven Christie) are living miles apart, which is too disrupting for Joe. The wee chap who plays Joe, Max Vento, is not on the spectrum, but Travis Smith, who plays teenager Mark, is. Christopher Eccleston is especially good as grandad Maurice.
WEDNESDAY JUNE 3
Earth from Space (BBC Earth, Sky 074, 8.30pm). I’m imagining Buzz Lightyear: it’s Earth … from spaaace! Cameras in space – none of your tatty drones here – capture the beauty and colours of our Goldilocks planet. Here’s the BBC website if you want to check out the episodes.
THURSDAY JUNE 4
Rhys Darby: Big in Japan (TVNZ 1, 8.45pm). Rhys Darby follows in the footsteps of … well, loads of other comedians and travel presenters. Sue Perkins managed to find female sumo wrestlers, weird girlfriend cafés and shouty camps for businessmen. Joanna Lumley went a more traditional route with white cranes, sake and a robot hotel. Perkins’ trip was pre-publicity for the Tokyo Olympics; hopefully Rhys’s researchers have found similarly interesting stuff for him to look at. After all, Japan isn’t exactly the mysterious East anymore.
FRIDAY JUNE 5
Women’s Day (Sky Arts, Sky 020, 8.00pm). A documentary featuring an incredible breadth of women in Russia, from a 94-year-old who marched with the Red Army from Stalingrad to Prague to an internet make-up artist. Deets here.
From the Vault: 60 Years of Television (TVNZ OnDemand). I seem to recall writing about 50 years of New Zealand television in the Listener. Tempus fugit. This NZ On Screen collection includes footage of the Wahine disaster; the start of colour television; Lotto’s first broadcast; and the launch of Māori Television. It seems ironic that it’s on TVNZ OnDemand.
Killing Eve (Monday, TVNZ OnDemand). It’s the season finale of Killing Eve, although the show has been meandering a bit in season three, punctuated by Villanelle’s assassinations. A show about her alone would have worked a treat, as much as we love Sandra Oh. Eve seems to be turning towards the dark side – pressing her foot down on Dasha’s chest was a dead giveaway – so perhaps she, Villanelle and Konstantin will go on the run in season four and work their way through assassinating the Twelve. Big ups to the great Harriet Walter, who plays Dasha. As newly-introduced assassin Rhian, Welsh actress Alexandra Roach goes from Sanditon’s Regency bodices to black leather, proving she is awesome.
Space Force (Netflix). The Greg Daniels-Steve Carell workplace comedy arrives on Netflix. The cast includes John Malkovich reportedly parodying Dr Strangelove; Jane Lynch; Noah Emmerich; and Lisa Kudrow, although despite these riches, reviews have been brutal.
The Guilty Feminist Podcast. Remember live events? The day will come again, friends, when we will be able to sit shoulder-to-shoulder in a relatively comfortable venue with people we don’t know. It will happen. The episode of the Guilty Feminist that was recorded at Auckland’s Q Theatre in February has arrived online. The special guest is the clever and brave Ali Mau, who talks about her #metoo work. Awesome singer-songwriter Grace Petrie performs at the end, although the podcast doesn’t include her version of I Will Always Love You, which was amazing. I should know, I was there.