TV & Radio Sunday March 11by Fiona Rae
Nerds, Neil Gaiman is on The Simpsons. Also, Nigel Latta explains the crazy crap.
The Politically Incorrect Guide to Grown-ups (TV1, 7.00pm). Okay, you got us: why do apparently clever people believe in crazy crap like UFOs, ghosts and aliens? Explain, Nigel!
History Under the Hammer (Prime, 7.00pm). Tonight, plenty of folk art, including a scrimshaw whale tooth (right) that was carved by the captain of a whaling vessel that foundered near Stewart Island. There’s also carving by Norsewood midwife Jane Brenkley, who somehow found the time despite having 11 children, and an 1870s settler’s dress that has been immaculately preserved.
Sunday (TV1, 7.30pm). Phil Vine reports on the New Zealand grandmother who has been busted by the FBI in California for alleged baby trafficking; and an ABC report about fracking.
60 Minutes (TV3, 7.30pm). Tonight, Paula Penfold investigates the shark fin business in New Zealand; Australian reporter Michael Usher visits a clinic in the US that is treating Alzheimer's; and an interview with country-pop princess Taylor Swift, who is coming to New Zealand soon.
Top Gear (Prime, 7.30pm). Clarkey and May are on the set of the new version of The Sweeney, a 2012 reboot starring Ray Winstone (who else?) and Damian Lewis (Homeland). They think they can put together a car chase for the movie, but results, as they say, are mixed. And, ladies, Ryan Reynolds is the Star in a Reasonably Priced Car.
All New Simpsons (Four, 7.30pm). Attention nerds! It’s the Neil Gaiman Simpsons, which you’ve probably downloaded at Twitter or somewhere anyway.
The Dark Knight (Sky Movies, 8.30pm). At two-and-a-half hours, Christopher Nolan’s second Batman movie is too long for the kids. Then again, it’s not really a kids’ movie. Despite the action sequences and explosions, it’s a drama; an actors’ movie. There might be a truck overturning in the background, but you’re still looking at Heath Ledger’s Joker as he walks away. It’s Ledger’s movie (he was posthumously nominated for more than 20 awards, winning nearly all of them, including the best supporting actor Oscar). With reptilian glee, he pushes Batman (Christian Bale) and district attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) further into the moral quagmire. He’s the only one providing any laughs in what is an otherwise gloomy affair. Perhaps we could ask the director the same question the Joker asks: Why so serious? (2008) 8
Jurassic Park III (Four, 8.30pm). The one where the velociraptors really come into their own. Spielberg had jumped ship but Sam Neill and Laura Dern hung in there, with fab William H Macy playing the requisite mad scientist. Spectacular stuff, even if it treads the same ground with enormous feet. (2001) 5 – Diana Balham
The Wind That Shakes the Barley (Maori, 8.30pm). Following on from The Stone of Destiny, those scheduling terriers at Maori TV present yet another drama about the perils of colonial invasion. Ken Loach’s beautiful, brutal story about the Irish uprising early last century shows the slow, painful struggle for autonomy from Britain almost from its modern beginnings. (An Irishman once told me Ireland had been invaded 17 times in 1000 years.) The story of brothers Damien (Cillian Murphy) and Teddy is effective in every way except that Murphy looks like a girl. Won the Golden Palm for best picture at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival nonetheless. (2006) 8 – Diana Balham
Composer of the Week (Radio New Zealand Concert, 9.00am today and weekdays and 7.00pm Monday). RNZ Concert presents the second in a two-part series to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of Claude Debussy (1862-1918), one of the most important of all French composers. On Wednesday, there will be excerpts from Pelléas and Mélisande, his only completed opera. Debussy had struggled with several other operas previously, including Rodrigue et Chimène, which had a libretto by Wagner aficionado Catulle Mendès. Debussy still considered himself a Wagner fan, but he soon realised the traditional “heavy” Germanic style wasn’t for him. In 1892, he wrote: “My life is hardship and misery thanks to this opera. Everything about it is wrong for me.” But the Symbolist plays of Maurice Maeterlinck – which largely did away with external drama, favouring a symbolic expression of the inner life of the characters – offered the form of drama for which he had been searching. Pelléas and Mélisande was adapted from Maeterlinck’s play of the same name, and premièred in Paris on April 30, 1902. – Diana Balham
Spectrum (Radio New Zealand National, 12.15pm). Aucklander Colleen Moore keeps her lungs in a shopping bag. You might wonder how she breathes: these days the answer is very well. That’s because the lungs in the bag are not the ones in her chest: 58-year-old Moore, who suffered from interstitial lung disease, has a new set of donated lungs. In How Do Your Lungs Feel Today?, David Steemson tramps the Kepler Track with the reborn tramper and her family. – Diana Balham
Young New Zealand (Radio New Zealand Concert, 8.00pm). Each November, our easternmost city comes alive to the sounds of some hot classical music. The Gisborne International Music Competition is a world-class event that welcomes all orchestral instruments. Today, it’s part one of four, recorded in Gisborne’s War Memorial Theatre, with Stephanie Vici (flute), Karol Kowalik (cello), Josh Rogan (trumpet), Andrey Lebedev (guitar) and James Dong (violin). – Diana Balham
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