New to View: November 29 – December 5

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


Primates TVNZ 1, 7.30

Primates is at the playful end of the natural history spectrum, with Chris Packham arching one eyebrow during the narration, and the music regularly journeying towards jaunty. Nature-watchers raised on David Attenborough shows with Planet in the title don’t get the familiar hushed barrage of unbelievably epic sequences, followed by a horrific but necessary message about the climate crisis. Instead, we’re watching a five-year-old Brazilian bearded capuchin make a right mess of smashing into a cashew with a rock.” — The Guardian.


 The Apprentice UK TVNZ 1, 8.30

Ahead of its own NZ version next year, TVNZ is bringing back the UK hit, starting with the 2018 intake. “It’s nice to have The Apprentice back. Series 14, now, yet I had almost forgotten how imbecilic the candidates usually are. My query now, however, is whether they are actually so genuinely freakishly stupid and insanely arrogant that they can say things that sound like satire crafted by the finest writers in the trade.” — Independent.

Taranaki Hard Three, 8.40

Or, Keeping Up With the Kiwis in Small Town NZ — in this case, a Taranaki community of about 7000. “Everyone is going to have a different opinion about it, but I just want people to realise it’s just explaining what our lives are like in this town,” one of the participants told Stuff. Part one of four.


➢ Little Birds TVNZ OnDemand

“Tangier in the mid-1950s. Fresh off the boat is American heiress Lucy Savage (Juno Temple), who’s come to marry English aristocrat Hugo Cavendish-Smythe (W1A’s Hugh Skinner). Freed from her stifling upbringing, Lucy’s expecting dancing and adventure, but instead encounters a decadent world that’s full of surprises, not least Hugo’s lack of marital enthusiasm. At the same time we’re entering the muddied world of mid-century Moroccan politics, filtered through the experiences of sex worker Cherifa (Yumna Marwan) and the unpopular French protectorate. It’s sultry and seductive, and a feast for the eyes.” — Radio Times.

➢ On Becoming a God in Central Florida TVNZ OnDemand

“A water park employee infiltrates a multi-billion dollar pyramid scheme based company … where she exercises revenge after they scammed her family. Though it loses a bit of narrative steam, On Becoming a God in Central Florida proves a clever and absurd satire that will make you want to buy whatever Kirsten Dunst is selling.” — Rotten Tomatoes.


Building the Ultimate Duke, 9.30

Reads the blurb: “Reveals the engineering secrets built into six modern wonders – from Europe’s fastest passenger train and largest luxury cruise ship, to North America’s toughest bridge and the world’s mightiest heavy-lift aircraft. Immersive actuality and CGI animations combine to reveal the jaw-dropping scale, mega-machinery and historical innovations behind each ultimate build.”

Alien Worlds Netflix

“British sci-fi nature docuseries narrated by Sophie Okonedo. The 4-part miniseries, depicted by using CGI techniques, blends fact with science fiction and conceptualises what alien life might be like on other planets by applying the laws of life on Earth to the rest of the galaxy.” — Wikipedia.


➢ Earth at Night in Colour Apple TV+

New natural history series that uses cameras 100 times more sensitive than the human eye to reveal nocturnal wildlife. “Makes the nght-time world look almost like daytime to show what behaviour goes on … Episode one focuses on those bankable stars of the Serengeti, the lions — snooping, playing, and, of course, hunting.  The footage has an almost hyperreal quality, with further episodes on tarsiers, Jaguars and bears proving just as mesmeric.” — The Times.

➢ Selena: The Series Netflix

“The brief but dazzling life of Mexican-American singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez is the subject of this biopic starring The Walking Dead’s Christian Serratos in the title role. The nine-part series follows Selena — dubbed the ‘Mexican Madonna’ — from her childhood dreams of pop stardom to her tragic death in 1995, when she was murdered in Texas, aged just 23.” — TV & Satellite Week.

➢ Kings of Jo’burg Netflix

Six-part action series stars Shona Ferguson as Simon “Vader” Masire, a member of the Kings of Jo’burg (KOJ) brotherhood and the eldest of his siblings who has … surprise-surprise …. ‘a dark secret’.  Zolisa Xaluva (The Queen, Generations) co-stars as Simon’s younger brother Mogomotsi “Mo”, a conflicted ex-convict, torn between his loyalty to his crime family, brother and the life he wants to live.” — SATV.


➢ Detention Netflix

This horror-drama based on the Taiwanese video game of the same name is the first Mandarin series that Netflix has collaborated on. It is separate from last year’s movie adaptation, with a new cast and eight hour-long episodes.

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