November 10-16: Including Nurse Jackie and The Suspects

by Fiona Rae / 10 November, 2012


Gloss (TVNZ Heartland, Sky 017, 8.30pm). You’d think that being able to see the local answer to Dynasty and Dallas would be every Kiwi’s birthright, but it’s the Sky-only Heartland channel that gets to screen the first episode of the 1985 drama. Gloss has come to represent the pre-crash profligate 80s, when wealthy Aucklanders really began to flaunt it. “Wealth had changed and become very obvious,” says Gloss producer Janice Finn on the NZ On Screen website. The show included some of our most illustrious actors: Ilona Rodgers, Lisa Chappell, Peter Elliott, Miranda Harcourt, Danielle Cormack, Temuera Morrison, Kevin Smith and Craig Parker featured, and it’s where writer James Griffin (Outrageous Fortune and The Almighty Johnsons) began his screenwriting career.


Smash (TV3, 11.00pm). Glee had Gwyny and Kate Hudson, now Smash has Uma. That’s right, Uma Thurman pays the bills with a guest-star appearance as the Hollywood-diva leading lady of the Marilyn Monroe musical. It’s a fleeting appearance this week, however; she is stuck in Cuba and Karen (played by American Idol discovery Katharine McPhee), her understudy, has to cover. Next week she starts in earnest, and she’s a total … well, we couldn’t possibly say in a family magazine.

Rugby (Sky Sport 1, Sky 030, 3.20am Mon). The All Blacks’ European Tour begins at Murrayfield in Scotland and it looks likely that coach Steve Hansen will use this game and next week’s match against Italy to give emerging players a run in the park. Relative newbies Sam Cane, Beauden Barrett, Dane Coles and Tawera Kerr-Barlow could all get time off the bench as Hansen looks to a future without senior players such as Keven Mealamu, Andrew Hore and Ma‘a Nonu. The final two games of the tour against Wales and England may present tougher challenges and will likely see the old guard back in action.


2012 MTV Europe Music Awards (MTV, Sky 014, 9.00am). The MTV Video Music Awards’ unkempt cousin is this year hosted by Heidi Klum in Frankfurt. As for the Europe part – well, music is worldwide now, isn’t it? The list of nominees includes Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Jay-Z and Taylor Swift. The Gotye song that features our own pop princess Kimbra, Somebody That I Used to Know, is up for Best Song, and K-Pop newcomer Psy is in the Best Video category for his insanely cheesy and catchy Gangnam Style.

The Suspects (TV1, 8.30pm). The title of this factual series has been shortened from The Suspects: True Australian Thrillers, which would have at least saved us guessing its providence. Australian crimes, then, even if it’s presented by Kiwi Roy Billing, known for playing “Aussie” Bob Trimbole in the Underbelly series. Every week, three cases play out in a whodunit style. “A lot of crime shows and dramas focus on the criminals, but this one highlights the cops and how they bring people to justice,” Billing told Sydney’s Telegraph. “You realise how dedicated, clever and hard-working they are.”

Prime Rocks: Michael Hutchence (Prime, 9.35pm). His music wasn’t up to much, with the exception of the INXS hit Need You Tonight, but the rock-star template of Michael Hutchence’s life has a certain fascination. His death in a Sydney hotel room in 1997 followed years of addiction and a turbulent relationship with Bob Geldof’s ex-wife Paula Yates. Behind the Music tells the story of Hutchence’s musical career and features interviews with family and friends as well as unreleased recordings.

Nurse Jackie (TV3, Monday, 9.40pm). The addict’s journey continues in the fourth season of Nurse Jackie, and it seems that at last the pill-popping nurse played so brilliantly by Edie Falco is going to see some consequences. Jackie has been getting out of jail for a while – at the end of season three, her boss binned a urine test that would have revealed her drug use, and her husband admitted to an affair, obscuring her own tryst with hospital pharmacist Eddie. But “season four is the truth of an addict”, showrunner Liz Brixius told the Hollywood Reporter. “You go for as long as you can and then it’s like a house on fire and it all hits the fan.” In the first episode, Jackie finally decides to go into rehab after a night of hard partying with a stranger (Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, who coincidentally has just gone into rehab himself). It’s a move that puts paid to the uneasy idea that the show is making drug use look okay. “The last thing I wanted was to do a show where I’m playing an addict and it’s all just fun and games,” Falco told the Reporter. “It was very important to me that there be ramifications. It had to go this way. This way, or she had to die.” But don’t worry, this is a comedy series, not Private Practice. Rehab doesn’t take that long, and recovery is a long, slow process. Jackie is now vulnerable in a whole different way. “You know that slippery world of having feelings now that you’re sober? That’s going to inject a lot more comedy this year,” co-creator Linda Wallem told the Futon Critic. “It’s just naturally what happens when you start to recover; things are going to lighten up a little bit.” “She’s still her, but she’s on a shakier footing now,” says Brixius. “She doesn’t quite know how to get through the days in a way that’s familiar. There will be some adjustments.” There are also adjustments for hospital administrator Gloria Akalitus (dramatist and stage legend Anna Deavere Smith), who is busted down to head nurse. Her replacement is played by Bobby Canna­vale (currently in Boardwalk Empire), who is installed when a company takes over the hospital. Cannavale’s son, Jake, plays a teenage addict who becomes Jackie’s rehab buddy. Both Falco and Cannavale were nominated for Emmys for the season, and a fifth has been ordered by Showtime.


Coronation Street (TV1, 7.30pm). New character alert! Well, sort of. Tommy Duckworth first appeared as a baby in 1992 and was later sold to his maternal grandparents by his good-for-nothing father Terry. He returns from travelling overseas with no knowledge of his grandad Jack’s death, but soon settles into flirting with every available girl in the Street. This version of Tommy is played by Bradford-born Chris Fountain, who came from the teen soap Hollyoaks.

Britain’s Biggest Hoarders (Living, Sky 008, 9.30pm). A Place in the Sun presenter Jasmine Harman has already opened up about her background in last year’s My Hoarder Mum & Me and in Britain’s Biggest Hoarders she returns to try to help her mum, Vasoulla, again. In the first programme, Jasmine and her family were only able to tidy a few rooms of Vasoulla’s house. Jasmine revealed how Vasoulla’s hoarding had affected her and her four siblings growing up – how they couldn’t bring friends home and how they would try to tidy up and clean, but when Vasoulla came home, she would be angry and scream at them. “It dominated our lives,” Harman told the Guardian. “It was the only topic of conversation between me and my siblings. Meanwhile, the house was piled higher and higher with stuff because, as well as never throwing anything away, my mum was always at the shops buying more.” Harman has been looking for professional help and recognition for the condition, but in the UK, hoarding is not classified as a mental illness, so there has been very little research into its causes. In Britain’s Biggest Hoarders, Harman is looking for answers to her mother’s compulsive behaviour, and also meets two men whose hoarding has taken over their lives. One, Alan, has been given two weeks to sort out the clutter or the council will prosecute. His house is stacked so high with books, videos, clothes and boxes that the only place left for his wife, Marion, to eat is on the toilet. Meanwhile, Richard’s house is full of rubbish and rotting food and is a health hazard. This is a personal crusade for Harman. “I hope the programme has gone some way to removing the stigma attached to hoarding,” she says on the BBC website. “I hope now many hoarders will find the courage to come forward and ask for help, and hopefully the medical profession will soon give full recognition to Hoarding Disorder.”


The Garden Pantry (Living, Sky 008, 8.00pm). A gardening series that’s not out of season for New Zealand. Kiri -Danielle, formerly of TV Rotorua, presents a show about establishing a year-round garden in an average Kiwi backyard, from composting to companion planting. -Danielle taps into the knowledge of the older generation and hopes to pass on skills to the younger set. “We like to see it as bridging the gap,” executive producer Heather Carston told the Daily Post, “by bringing back some of the skills that used to get passed down from mother to daughter and that many of us have lost.”

The Graham Norton Show (TV3, 8.30pm). The Skyfall publicity juggernaut makes a stop at Graham Norton’s couch, which is at least more fun than those five-minute one-on-ones with every media outlet in the world in one day. Daniel Craig, Judi Dench and Javier Bardem, who is the film’s villain, sit down with G-Nor.

Angels in America (SoHo, Sky 010, 8.30pm). HBO has made some quality television in its time and this 2003 mini-series would be one of the best. This is an extraordinary adaptation of Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, directed by Mike Nichols and starring Al Pacino, Meryl Streep, Patrick Wilson, Mary-Louise Parker and Emma Thompson. Set during the worst of the Aids epidemic (Reagan is in the White House), Angels is theatrical and at times hallucinatory. Some of the actors play multiple roles – Streep is a rabbi, Ethel Rosenberg and the Angel Australia; Thompson is a nurse, a homeless woman and the Angel America. The story focuses on two couples, including a closeted Mormon played by Wilson, and his Valium-soaked wife Parker. The New York Times described the miniseries as a work of art; it won five Golden Globes and 11 Emmys.
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