New to View: September 5 – 11
A weekly guide to what’s new of note on air and online
➢ American Horror Story: Double Feature SoHo, 9.30
“By putting two ideas together in one short season, Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, and the rest of the AHS: Double Feature team is taking their anthology idea to a logical extent. There’s a bit about vampires, and a bit about aliens … It’s an interesting way to make the most of ideas that don’t lend themselves to an eight or 10 episode season arc.” — Den of Geek.
➢ Celebrity Treasure Island/The Block NZ TVNZ 2/Three, 7.30
Three’s strategic rescheduling of The Block NZ means the 90-minute finale, which will no longer be a live auction because of the lockdown, will square off against the return of TVNZ’s desert island dust-up (which will continue Tuesday and Wednesday).
➢ Girls5eva TVNZ 2, 9.10/TVNZ OnDemand
A ’90s girl band reunites 28 years later in this musical comedy from Tina Fey. “Nearly every element of this series is funny, sweet, and fresh … A fantastic critique of the girl group craze of the millennium.” — IndieWire.
➢ Billions SoHo, 9.30
S5 of the high-stakes drama returns for its final five episodes more than a year after COVID shut it down — but the good news for fans is S6 will premiere in January. S5B and S6 were shot at the same time. “We felt guilty for the audience to have to wait as long as they did to see the rest of Season 5 so we and the rest of the producers just put our heads down and said just plow ahead,” Showtime boss Gary Levine says.
➢ Mr. Pickles Duke, 11.30/TVNZ OnDemand
Belated debut of another grotesquely animated [adult swim] series. “Mr. Pickles received mixed reviews from critics and audiences alike, but it was popular during the show’s run and had a cult-following.” — TerribleTVShows.
➢ 9/11: Phone Calls From the Towers Duke, 8.30
The first of three 911 documentaries Duke is stripping Tuesday-Thursday was made for TV in 2009. Wednesday’s The Last Secrets of 9/11 is said to “bring a fresh angle … and does it without sensationalising, without conspiracy theories and with plenty of heart.” And Thursday’s 9/11 Control the Skies is an air traffic controllers’ take on how they landed 167 planes in three hours that nightmare day without incident.
➢ Impeachment: American Crime Story SoHo, 9.30
“The latest season of Ryan Murphy’s acclaimed anthology series revisits the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal of the late 1990s, focusing on the women at its centre … Looks good but lacks momentum … Even as the season zeroes in on the finer details of the story, it struggles to locate a larger point worthy of the time it takes to convey it.” — The Hollywood Reporter.
➢ Doogie Kamealoha M.D. Disney+
Reboot of the 1990s Neil Patrick Harris hit about a teenage doctor but set in Hawaii from a 16-year-old girl’s perspective. “A fresh and fun remake.” — TV & Satellite Week.
➢ The Invaders Disney+
S1 of the ’60s sci-fi series starring Roy Thinnes as an architect convinced that sinister ETs lurk among us. Hopefully it’s been remastered in HD with the same care and quality as M*A*S*H the series on Disney+.
➢ What Just Happened??! with Fred Savage Disney+
2019 obscurity that spoofs the “after show” genre (like The Talking Dead and Thronecast). “Fred Savage, playing a slightly sadder version of himself, talks about the fictional sci-fi series The Flare with celebrity guests and ‘stars’ of the fake series all while staging weird bits … It requires a lot of insider knowledge to fully enjoy, which makes you wonder how it got on the air, but it’s a wild ride nonetheless.” — USA Today.
➢ Jono & Ben: Good Sports TVNZ 2, 8.00
Jono Pryor and Ben Boyce meet Kiwi characters who compete in sports and contests as bizarre as bathtub racing.
➢ The Syndicate Vibe, 8.30
S4 of this Kay (Fat Friends) Mellor series about workplace syndicates that hit the jackpot is set in a Yorkshire kennels. “A new wrinkle in the formula of The Syndicate should make for some fresh drama, and the ensemble is really fun to watch chase down the money their characters won.” — Decider.
➢ Finding Escobar’s Millions Three, 9.10
Dated Discovery series from 2017. “If you’ve been happily bingeing on Narcos and El Chapo, love CIA capers, and/or are fascinated by the specific case of Pablo Escobar and the fact that he probably successfully hid an amount of money that is more than the GDP of a significant percentage of sovereign nations, give this show a try. It will test your patience, but if you don’t mind being patronised and have a high tolerance for agonising pacing, you might enjoy it.” — Paste.
➢ Medici: The Magnificent Vibe, 9.30
S1 of three. “A rumbustious romp through high Renaissance culture in the company of the Medici, the de facto rulers of 15th-century Florence … Don’t trust the details. Just enjoy the general atmosphere … fill your goblet of wine and dig in for a doublet-ripping romp through the dramas of the high Renaissance.” — The Times.
➢ I Can See Your Voice TVNZ 2, 7.30
“A game show featuring contestants and celebrity panelists trying to pick out bad singers without hearing them sing. It’s lively and overall family-friendly fun.” — Common Sense Media.
➢ Halifax: Retribution TVNZ OnDemand
Rebecca Gibney reprises her forensic psychiatrist role 20 years on, in an eight-part series about a sniper terrorising Melbourne. “Gibney a force of nature in occasionally patchy return.” — The Guardian.
➢ LulaRich Amazon Prime Video
“LuLaRich is a four-part docuseries — from Fyre Fraud documentarians Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason — examining the pyramid scheme that was (and shockingly still is) LuLaRoe. The explosive growth of the clothing company, which began as a multi-level marketing scam in which people (mostly women) sold leggings to one another, while also signing up new retailers to be beneath them in the pyramid, has played out, as so many evil things do, mostly on Facebook. The doc series features former retailers and LulaRoe staffers as talking heads, who’ve tried to dig themselves out from their ruined lives.” — Variety.
➢ 9/11: Life Under Attack TVNZ 1, 8.35
“Despite following a number of 9/11 films, this feature-length offering is still well worth your time. It forgoes contemporary interviews to rely on audio and footage from the day (amateur footage, air traffic control communications and recordings from military command centres) to piece together the day’s events and evoke, with grim clarity, the chaos and fear of the moment.” — The Telegraph.
➢ 9/11: One Day in America Disney+
“May be the most emotionally taxing examination of the events surrounding those attacks that you’ll see this year. Hopefully the weight of that statement lands as it should, considering the slew of 20th anniversary commemorations debuting over the next couple of weeks … As you experience these hours – not just watch, but feel them – what may immediately strike you is how antiseptic most of the documentary reports or news coverage have been.” — Salon.