New to View: August 1 – 7

A weekly guide to what’s new of note on air and online


Smother TVNZ OnDemand

A widow (Dervla Kirwan) investigates her husband’s murder in this six-part Irish thriller. “A new County Clare-set thriller by novelist and television writer Kate O’Riordan, reminds me – and I have few higher compliments – of the work of Maeve Binchy, if she had ever turned her hand to whodunnits. It has a seemingly effortless mastery of a large cast of characters, warm intelligence pervading everything, and promotes the gorgeous general sense of being held for the duration in a very safe pair of hands indeed. Like Binchy, it is also entirely addictive.” — The Guardian.


 The Undateables TVNZ 2, 8.35

“Channel 4’s disabled dating show has been beaming meetcutes into living rooms since 2012 … It is a tried, tested and — here come the claws — slightly tired format, albeit perfectly polished to deliver a metronomic microhit of that feelgood factor we’re all craving.” — Evening Standard.

➢ The Last Cruise Neon

“Using footage mostly from the cameras of various passengers and crew, the documentary takes us inside the experience of being stuck inside a floating prison, unwanted by any port, as COVID cases and fears mount. It’s an experience you would not want to have directly, but it’s fascinating to watch.” — San Francisco Chronicle.

➢ Lost Letter Mysteries Acorn TV

Post-dated Hallmark series about the US Postal Service’s “dead letter” detectives. “Purposefully old-fashioned, shamelessly sentimental and proudly faith-based, the show plucks heartstrings with such unreserved conviction it will likely connect with a target audience prone to dismissing most of pop culture as one big cesspool.” — Variety.


➢ Top Secret UFO Projects: Declassified Netflix

“Could aliens be living among us? That’s the question posed by new Netflix documentary series Top Secret UFO Projects: Declassified. Using imagery that attempts to prove that something is really out there, the series explores the idea that aliens have been visiting us for decades – and that the governments of the world know about them and have been covering up their existence. Yes, it seems The X-Files may have been more factual than we thought.” — Radio Times.


Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union Neon

“Shows us the complications of the man and his moment … This documentary doesn’t let Obama off the hook, exactly, for accomplishing less than he might have in a more congenial environment, but it sees things about him that are more interesting than policy achievements. What matters most, in Obama, is the man’s bearing and his presence.” — Variety.


➢ Cruel Summer Amazon Prime Video

Unconventional drama set over three summers in the 1990s, involving the disappearance of a popular teen and the transformation of an outlier into a small-town sweetheart. “Though it may have a bit too much going on, Cruel Summer‘s delicious twists and delightful turns from its young stars are never less than entertaining.” — Rotten Tomatoes.

Mr Corman Apple TV+

Joseph Gordon-Levitt wrote and directed this fixed-in-NZ series in which he plays a frustrated musician-cum-teacher tormented by self-loathing and anxiety. “A slice-of-life dramedy marked by bursts of surrealism (including musical numbers), darkly comic moments, and stark emotionality, Mr. Corman is propelled less by plot than by delving ever deeper into its title character.” — Entertainment Weekly.

Hit & Run Netflix

When an Israeli tour guide’s America wife is killed in a hit-and-run, he suspects it wasn’t an accident and with the help of his ex-lover, discovers secrets about the victim that force him to confront his own past as a special forcers soldier. “From the makers of acclaimed political thriller Fauda comes another suspenseful series.” — TV & Satellite Week.

Hysterical Disney+

“With her hour-and-a-half long FX documentary Hysterical, director Andrea Nevins attempts the impossible: To craft a single shared experience of womanhood from the perspectives of more than a dozen contemporary female stand-up comedians. Through talking heads and archival footage, Nevins (Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie) surveys an ambitious range of topics, including sexism, racism, cancer, depression, insecurity, sexual harassment and more. The film is sleek and colourful, but not overly probing.” — The Hollywood Reporter.

➢ Hip Hop Uncovered Disney+

Part one of six. “Hip Hop Uncovered has found a great angle to make the history of hip hop fresh again. It doesn’t hurt that the filmmakers get perspectives from so many big names about the history of the genre and the power brokers who made it work behind the scenes.” — Decider.

➢ A Wilderness of Error Disney+

“A deep dive into the oft-revisited Jeffrey MacDonald murder case, this five-part FX series will have viewers rapt, partly because they’re hoping for something solid, rather than the blood-spattered Jell-O mold that the MacDonald story has always been. Based on the 2012 book by Oscar-winning documentarian Errol Morris (The Fog of War), the series takes a less confrontational approach than Mr. Morris did when he challenged the investigations into the 1970 murders of MacDonald’s wife and two young daughters, crimes for which the former doctor and Green Beret has been imprisoned since 1982. ” — Wall Street Journal.

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2 Responses to “New to View: August 1 – 7”

  1. I see that Peacock is doing an interesting international launch in the UK – not surprising given its parent but a different route to market in a non-US market.

  2. Yes, Mike, it seems a sensible strategy that maximises synergy ands minimises risk in a crowded streaming market. Here, NBCUniversal seems to be spreading the love among Sky and TVNZ, getting their platforms to do the heavy lifting as Peacock-lite services.

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