The good shows are back in town…

americansAlthough we seem to be moving further away from the peak of summer, and the fun times of festivities and public holidays, there is one thing to look forward to about shorter days and cooler temperatures – good TV! Over summer we have to suffer through a dirth of quality shows – with the networks making do with repeated reality TV shows and replayed movies. But now they are finally hitting their stride, with a swathe of new shows hitting the various channels. So what am I excited about and tuning into? Well, since you asked…

1. The Americans: This TV3 show, about Russian spies living as Americans during the 1980s, started last Monday on TV3 and had me hooked from the get go. It stars the excellent Keri Russell (famous as one of JJ ‘Star Wars’ Abrams first creations – Felicity) and Matthew Rhys (Brothers & Sisters) as a married suburban couple who just happen to be, well, killer spies. From the first episode it was clear that this was going to be an interesting combination of high adventure mixed with the complexity of living an ‘arranged’ marriage and having kids. I will be tuning in regularly, of that I am sure.

2. The Blue Rose: anything from the stable of James Griffin and Rachel Lang (seriously, these guys have created so many quality kiwi shows in recent years I am starting to lose count) is worth a look, and after two episodes of this drama I can see they are onto another hit. Although not as immediately addictive as Outrageous Fortune or The Almighty Johnsons, the premise, characters and cast of this show have a lot of potential – and the writing is excellent as usual. Outrageous alumnae Antonia Prebble and Siobhan Marshall star, as a legal secretary and courier driver respectively, in this mystery/drama which is fundamentally about finding out what happened to Marshall’s friend Rose, who died mysteriously after working for the law firm Rose is now temping for. Add in some dodgy dealings with an insolvent finance company and you have a very topical, very relatable, very well-paced drama. A slow burner, but I think the pay off will be a good one.

3. Go On: I saw the first ep of this sit-com starring Matt Perry (Chandler from Friends, but also the star of the most underrated TV show ever – Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) last week and after the first break was a bit ‘meh’ about it. However, by the end, I was hooked. The plot doesn’t sound overly novel – a sports radio host is recovering from the death of his wife, and is forced to join a grief counselling group in order to keep his job. But, Perry has great comedic timing and screen presence, and they have surrounded him here with both weird and wonderful characters to keep the comedy going. It is early days, but it is possible that this could be one of those rare things – a comedy with real heart – but let’s wait and see.

4. Sunny Skies: Kiwi comedy can always be a bit hit and miss – and this was no more obvious than last Friday. Sunny Skies – starring Oliver Driver (as a twatty city type which I am sure wasn’t much of a stretch) and Tammy Davis (as a single Dad) – debuted at 8pm and I was immediately a fan. The two play half-brothers who find out that their father (who neither had met) has died and has left them both half shares in the camp ground he owns. The first episode set this up – as they decided what to do with the place and its inhabitants – most notably manager (Morgana O’Reilly) and pants-averse fix it man (Errol Shand). There were some great lines, a lovely sundrenched vibe, and good chemistry between the leads. A solid and entertaining watch. However, The Radio – the 10pm show about former radio show hosts Paul Ego and Jeremy Corbett playing, you guessed it, radio show hosts, was a cringe-worthy watch that did nothing to further the cause of kiwi comedy. So bad that I probably won’t even bother watching to see if it gets better…

5. Revenge: I have been excited about the return of this guilty pleasure since the first season wrapped up last year. I have blogged about it before – and it remains one of my favourite shows. I have the first ep from last night all lined up to watch tonight and am SO EXCITED. I have to say too – I appreciated the ‘recap’ that TV2 showed on Saturday night – pulling together all the plot lines from last season into a half hour package – and giving a bit of an insight into what will happen this season. A marketing tool maybe – but given all the nutso things that happened in Season 1 it was a VERY useful primer. Bring on some more Hamptons carnage and Nolan Ross excellentness, I say…

And with that I am off to watch just that! Have I missed any great new shows that you are watching? If so, tell me about them in the comments – I would hate to think that I am missing out on anything!

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