New to View: October 31 – November 6

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


➢ Bradley Walsh’s The Larkins TVNZ 1, 8.30

“I’m not sure that we needed a remake of The Darling Buds of May but we got one and, amazingly, it’s rather good. The Larkins is written by Simon Nye (The Durrells), who is a light-touch master of evoking simpler, possibly illusory, times when scoundrels got their comeuppance and ten-year-old children drove tractors in bucolic fields. As Pop and Ma Larkin, Bradley Walsh (in the David Jason role) and Joanna Scanlan (in the Pam Ferris role) are inspired casting, making the parts their own. Walsh and Scanlan have an old-fashioned quality (that’s a compliment), not overplaying it and slipping with ease into old grooves.” — The Times.

➢ Chapelwaite TVNZ OnDemand

Chapelwaite is based on Jerusalem’s Lot, a 1978 short story by Stephen King … a virtual anthology of Gothic clichés set in the 1850s [that] turned out to be far more engaging than I’d anticipated. A good deal of the credit must lie with the music, cinematography and set design which have created an atmosphere of foreboding.” — Australian Financial Review.


Doctor Who TVNZ 2, 5.20/TVNZ OnDemand

After bombing in primetime on both TVNZ 1 and TVNZ 2, the BBC icon lands a fringe peak-hour slot that at least should please fans given it will air within 24 hours of the UK. Jodie Whittaker’s last season as the Time Lord will comprise six episodes and three specials. “A six-part adventure subtitled Flux sends the Doctor and her companions to the edge of the universe, taking on monsters new and old. It all begins on Halloween, naturally, with the stirrings of ancient evil from the Arctic circle to deep space.” — TV Insider.

➢ Dalgliesh Acorn TV

“No stranger to the impenetrable when it comes to criminal plots, Inspector Adam Dalgliesh (Bertie Carvel) investigates the case of a fatal poisoning at an institution for training nurses in the latest TV saga derived from the novels of P.D. James … Never less than gripping in its picture of medical procedures gone wrong, evidently by design.” — Wall Street Journal.

➢ Australian Gangster TVNZ OnDemand

Four-hour trashy violent dramatisation of what led to a flashy loudmouth gangster being gunned down in a Sydney street five years ago. “Like Underbelly, the generic title of Australian Gangster leaves open the possibility for more instalments focusing on other criminals from other states to come.” — Daily Mail.

➢ Lie With Me TVNZ OnDemand

Hysterical psychodrama featuring a female lead character who is either going bonkers or is actually – plot twist! – completely sane while everyone around her tries to convince her that she’s going bonker … Subtle as a brick but it will still have you hooked.” — The Telegraph.

Will Neon

2017 series about Shakespeare as a young radical. “The TNT drama about a younger, sexier Bard is composed of nonsensical creative decisions and jarring anachronisms — but at least it’s having a good time … with tonnes of flair, albeit flair that is neither original nor meaningful.” — Variety.


Designing Dreams Prime, 8.30

Matthew Ridge returns to primetime after 11 years to front this Grand Designs variation from different architects’ perspective. He told The TV Guide: “This experience showed me that no matter what sort of budget you’ve got, you can get something unique and really liveable and really quite magnificent and it doesn’t have to cost you squillions.”

Big Brother VIP TVNZ 2, 9.20/TVNZ OnDemand

Premieres a day after its Channel Seven broadcast across the Tasman and will continue Wednesday and Thursday nights. “Big Brother’s game just got bigger with his invitation to 12 VIPs to take a vacation from their celebrity lives and check into an experience like no other. Never one to do things modestly, Big Brother has invited the VIPs to his first-ever luxury hotel, where they will receive rock star treatment with a Big Brother twist.” — MediaWeek.

Sharp Objects Prime, 9.30

Belated free-to-air run of HBO’s 2018 misfire starring Amy Adams in a slog of a Gothic murder mystery. It earned mixed reviews, from “mesmerising” to (most apt) “lazy, dreary”.


➢ The Big Leap Disney+

Funny, occasionally touching and pretty savvy about how the reality-TV sausage gets made, the series also bears a modest resemblance to Smash, which looked at the hopes and dreams of those trying to make it on Broadway.” — CNN.


The Long Call TVNZ OnDemand

Based on Vera author Ann Cleeves’s novel of the same name, this fast-tracked whodunit stars Our Girl’s Ben Aldridge as a detective who moves back to his North Devon hometown with his husband ahead of his father’s funeral. “Initially appears to be a typical paint-by-numbers murder mystery, it sets up a grippingly complex four-part drama.” — Radio Times.

 Dr. Brain Apple TV+

The streaming service’s first South Korean commission stars Parasite’s Lee Sun-kyun in a sci-fi drama based on the webtoon of the same name, about a neurosurgeon who dissects the brains of his family after they die in a mysterious accident to find out what happened.


➢ Narcos: Mexico Netflix

The third and final season in the drug cartel saga that’s spawned six seasons. Former showrunner Eric Newman told The Hollywood Reporter: “You can look at season one of Mexico as consolidation of power, and season two as the erosion of it — and then what comes in its place is chaos. If you view the Mexican chapter of Narcos as an acceleration into chaos, the end of season two is very much where we become untethered. We’re hurtling out of control, and where it leads is our incredibly bloody present.”


➢ The Voice TVNZ 2, 4.10

If you can’t get enough of the Australian primetime version, TVNZ 2 is running the US original on weekend afternoons two months behind NBC. Ed Sheeran will join the S21 fold for the knockout rounds, which started just this week.

Midsomer Murders Prime, 8.30

Mark Williams (Father Brown) guest stars in the season premiere. “Now on its 22nd series, this oddly comforting depiction of death in a chocolate-box county offers picturesque locations, early outings by acting royalty – and creative murder methods.” — The Guardian.

Expecting Amy SoHo, 9.30

HBO Max series about the impact of comedian Amy Schumer’s pregnancy on her career and marriage. “Framed as a document of Schumer’s growing family, Expecting Amy is most intriguing as a Truth or Dare-style examination of fame, a look at the act and life of a comedian coming into conflict.” — Variety.

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4 Responses to “New to View: October 31 – November 6”

  1. Warning: preg_replace(): Unknown modifier '/' in /home/customer/www/ on line 66
    October 31, 2021 at 6:07 pm

    I see Prime is reducing their children’s programming to one hour each morning on weekdays with the highly watchable “infomercials” taking the 6am til 8am slot. Is Prime readying itself for breakfast television next year Philip or is this a revenue-driving move to recoup Covid costs?

  2. Definitely the latter, Leo. Prime’s ratings continue to be sub-par and it will be exploring all ways to increase revenue. There’s scarcely enough money in breakfast TV for TVNZ and Discovery to squabble over, let alone a third player when it’s a ratings minnow such as Prime.

  3. Quite disappointed they are ditching the Prime Kids strand when there is little else left of FTA kids content but understand with the current economic uncertainty. Interestingly I see in the latest Sky report they are again looking at refocusing Prime and looking at more local productions, which I presume means it’s ditching its sports and programming mix they were pushing recently. Maybe they could bring back its Sports breakfast show and carve out a niche audience to generate revenue.

  4. I wonder when Discovery will be bringing in Discovery+ to New Zealand? They were supposed to be bringing it in this year but with it now being November it doesn’t look promising. I wonder if they will wait until Warner Bros. Discovery becomes official first ?

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