New to View: September 20 – 26

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


The Trouble With Maggie Cole TVNZ 1, 8.30

Dawn French stars as a village gossip in part one of five. “You can snipe all you like about how The Trouble with Maggie Cole ticks the boxes (cosy feel; local setting; secrets and lies) marked by Doc Martin, Midsomer Murders or McDonald and Dodds, but what’s the point? We crave them like cheap soave because they are made with enough deceptive skill to seem pleasurably comfortable in their skin. So who’s to argue with The Trouble with Maggie Cole, a light, fun drama set on the Devon coast to cheer us up as we hunker down to avoid plague.” — The Times.


Emmy Awards Vibe, 12.00

Expect more insufferable soapbox sermonising from callow celebrities than actual awards in TV’s version of the Oscars. At least the ‘virtual’ Covid-19 production will add more suspense than usual. Executive producer Reginald Hudlin told Deadline Hollywood: “As experienced as this entire production team is — we have all done the biggest awards shows — no one has  done anything like this. And given how the show is live we won’t have seen it until it is all done. There are segments that are pre-taped but 90% is a live show. We are relying on talking to people all over the world. We have 130 cameras in Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, London, Berlin, Tel Aviv. I presume that is all gonna work just great.”

Patrick Gower on Weed Three, 8.30

Sequel to last year’s top-rating documentary ponders the implications of Kiwis voting for the legalisation of marijuana in the general election referendum. “Gower takes an unbiased approach, prepared to consider the views of everyone from university researchers to gang leaders to politicians to addicts, but he’s not dispassionate.” — Stuff.


News Vote 2020 TVNZ 1, 7.00

The first of this year’s general election leaders’ debates has John Campbell and Jessica Mutch McKay grilling the usual suspects. As well as being broadcast live, it will stream online and will be the first leaders’ debate to be interpreted in sign language.


Between Two Worlds TVNZ OnDemand

Glossy new soap opera from A Place Called Home’s Bevan Lee. “Billed as his ‘most compelling and powerful work yet’, Between Two Worlds, featuring Australian theatre star Philip Quast and Cold Feet’s Hermione Norris, is also arguably his most ambitious. Lavishly produced, it’s a complex tale of sex and lies, manipulation, grand betrayal and revenge, with, at its heart, the suggestion of an unlikely redemption.” — Sydney Morning Herald.


 Australian Survivor: All Stars  TVNZ 2, 8.00

The latest variation premieres six months after it ended on a ratings high for Aussie broadcaster Ten. “We took a big swing introducing Australian Survivor in the first quarter when audiences were so used to watching it over the winter months,” ViacomCBS Australia and New Zealand’s chief content officer and EVP, Beverley McGarvey, said. “It was a risk that paid off. We have seen year-on-year audience share growth every single week in 2020 driven, in large part, by Australian Survivor: All Stars.”

INSiDE Prime, 8.30

After repeated rescheduling, the Kiwi Covid-19 drama about a reclusive tormented by a bully from her youth at last premieres. Conceived as eight 15-minute instalments to be stripped nightly, it’s now screening as a two-hour feature. Asked the NZ Herald of its original air date: “Is it too soon for Prime’s local Covid horror series?”

Dino Hunters Discovery, 8.30

Cowboys and fossil hunters saddle up for a new Wild West gold rush: the hunt for prehistoric treasure. “Uses a combination of 3D modelling and computer-generated imagery to create X-ray visualisations of both the fossils and the dinosaurs. The images reveal what the dinosaur looked like, how they moved, and other important characteristics of these prehistoric giants.” — Deadline Hollywood.

I Hate Suzie SoHo2, 9.30

Secret Diary of a Call Girl star Billie Piper and writer Lucy Prebble reunite for a comedy about  a celebrity whose star is dimming until compromising photographs of her are leaked online. “Uniformly well-acted, sharply written and, above all, is ruthlessly accurate about fame in all its anxiety, mundanity and insincerity.” — The Daily Telegraph.


The Masked Singer Three, 7.30

Season four premieres here just a day after its US broadcast. As well as being the first season to screen in NZ, it was the first to be recorded under Covid-19 restrictions. Among the 16 guess-the-disguised-celebrity singers who will be unmasked is Baby Alien, a puppet character sitting in a rocket. “Not only will the celebrity behind ‘Baby Alien’ have to sing as usual, but the person inside the costume will have to operate the puppet as well,” reports Variety.

Utopia Amazon Prime Video

Inspired by the British series of the same name, this eight-part conspiracy thriller was penned by Gillian Flynn (Gone Girl, Sharp Objects) and concerns a group of comic fans obsessed with a seemingly fictional comic that reveals sinister truths about humanity’s future. “Will likely prove to be strangely timely post-lockdown viewing, given that it centres around a cult comic book that correctly predicts a pandemic.” — Radio Times.

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