TV & Radio Friday March 23

by Fiona Rae / 23 March, 2012
New conspiracy thriller Rubicon references the 70s, and Game Change depicts the 2008 McCain-Palin campaign.


The Graham Norton Show (TV3, 8.30pm). Tonight on Graham’s couch, Mark Wahlberg, Minnie Driver and Mark Watson, and Christina Perri performs.

Kanikani Mai (Maori, 8.30pm). We love the Maori spin on what, in other networks’ hands, are overblown formats: the singing competition Homai te Pakipaki, for example, and now this new series, which is a marae-based version of Strictly Come Dancing. Each week, couples compete for $500 and a major prize for their nominated marae. It’s an all-ages show, too; all they have to do is impress judges Christina Asher and Mika. In tonight’s episode, presenters Brent Mio and Lanita Ririnui-Ryan are at Manurewa marae to see contemporary, jazz, line dancing, salsa and hip-hop. The guest judge is Frankie Stevens.

Game Change (SoHo, Sky 010, 8.30pm). The HBO telemovie about Sarah Palin that was already controversial in the US before it screened. A cast that includes Ed Harris, Woody Harrelson and Julianne Moore tell the story of Palin’s ascent to the political stratosphere when John McCain’s campaign team asked her to be his running mate in the 2008 presidential campaign. It is “one of the great political stories of our time”, according to screenwriter Danny Strong, who based his script on interviews with members of the McCain-Palin campaign and on Mark Halperin and John Heilemann’s book of the same name. Moore doesn’t quite get Palin’s accent – not like Tina Fey did, anyway – or her physical presence, but the whole thing is fascinating.

Rubicon (TV2, 12.35am). The slightly lamented Rubicon begins its one-season run really late at night: that’s because not enough people stuck with its slow, dense story arc and AMC (which has been getting far greater ratings with the zombie thrills of The Walking Dead) cancelled it. It references the conspiracy thrillers of the 70s in style, and stars James Badge Dale (who was Robert Leckie in The Pacific) as an intelligence analyst whose wife and daughter were killed in the World Trade Center on September 11. He is distant and seems depressed, and then he chances upon a pattern in crosswords in different newspapers published on the same day. Time and the LA Times named Rubicon in their 10 best shows of 2010, and Entertainment Weekly’s Ken Tucker said it creates “an eerily quiet world in which small moments can generate great suspense”. Be warned though: there are no car chases. Miranda Richardson also stars.


Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Four, 8.30pm). It’s funny how Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator character seems so much more real than he is. Even the cyborgs have more of an inner life. This is sci-fi action at its peak: director James Cameron also wrote the screenplay and knows that a far-fetched plot won’t do if there’s no depth to the people – and machines – in it. A classic of its kind. (1991) 9 – Diana Balham


Nine to Noon with Kathryn Ryan (Radio New Zealand National, 9.06am). Today: director of the longitudinal study Growing Up in New Zealand Dr Susan Morton – it’s latest findings aren’t good; opposition to the Milford Dart Tunnel; artist Dame Robin White; children’s books with John McIntyre; new music with Jeremy Taylor; sports with Joseph Romanos; The Week That Was with Radar and Urzila Carson. Info and audio here.
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