TV & Radio Wednesday February 29by Fiona Rae
The search for Frigg continues in season two of The Almighty Johnsons. Not a metaphor. Plus, programming for blokes.
Cricket (Sky Sport 1, Sky 030, and Prime, 1.30pm). South Africa have been proving too skilful for the Black Caps on their tour of New Zealand; let’s see if our guys can salvage something in the second one-day international at Napier. If they don’t, the series is toast.
World’s Deadliest Roads and Road Madness (TV3, 7.30pm and 8.00pm). Programming for blokes – and why not? Between the housewives who are desperate, the girls who want revenge and the fairy tales, there’s not that much left over for the boys. In World’s Deadliest Roads Lisa, Alex and Rick from Ice Road Truckers are sent to India to haul stuff into the Himalayas. Guess who turns out to be the toughest of all? Yep, Lisa. Sorry, guys. Road Madness is closer to home – comedian and petrolhead Ewen Gilmour presents footage from traffic cameras here and abroad that shows what terrible driving is going on out there as we speak. We shouldn’t be surprised, really.
I Am an Animal: The Story of Ingrid Newkirk and Peta (SoHo, Sky 010, 7.30pm). Film-maker Matthew Galkin is unflinching in his portrayal of a zealot in this doco about the co-founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta). It is the most recognised animal-rights organisation in the world, probably because Newkirk is known for her high-vis stunts, such as chucking red paint on catwalks and pie-throwing. Celebrity endorsement of Peta’s slogan – “I’d rather go naked than wear fur” – has also given the organisation huge amounts of publicity. However, Newkirk is radical and prepared to do almost anything, and she runs Peta as a cult of personality. Galkin (who made the documentary Kevorkian) follows Newkirk in strategy meetings, press conferences and galas and watches as she rubs fake blood over a Jean Paul Gaultier storefront. Interviewees include Pamela Anderson, Bill Maher and the singer Pink.
The Almighty Johnsons (TV3, 8.30pm). After vampires, werewolves, witches, faeries and ghosts, a zombie apocalypse and ordinary people becoming heroes, nothing is unreasonable on television these days – not even Norse gods in Aotearoa. So, welcome back The Almighty Johnsons, our own supernatural – within a budget – series about gods on Earth searching for their bliss. As a metaphor for the common bloke, it’s a good one: the four brothers Johnson are living emasculated lives as ordinary mortals, their powers watered-down and their inner gods kept, well, inner. There’s Mike (Tim Balme), the god of skill and the hunt; Anders (Dean O’Gorman), the god of poetry; Axl (Emmett Skilton), potentially Odin, the god of everything; and Ty (Jared Turner), the god of winter and darkness. The first season was taken up with Axl coming to terms with the whole god thing and then searching for Frigg (not a metaphor), in mythology his wife. This somehow culminated in Ty marrying Eva (Brooke Williams), the goddess of the Underworld. As season two begins, Ty and Eva are locked in a love-and-hate and rough-sex relationship to rival Buffy and Spike’s doomed season six liaison. It’s not going to end well. Meanwhile, the other brothers continue the search, but Axl receives some sage advice, from Michael Hurst no less, that he will first have to become a man. Then Frigg (possibly not a metaphor in this context) will come to him. If there’s one criticism that can be made of this cheerful series, it’s that there’s often a lot of splainin’ to do. The quest, the gods and goddesses, their factotums, the various bits of paper that turn up written in ancient Nordic (or something). But when lines like “I’m Odin, don’t call me an egg” count as exegesis, it hardly seems to matter.
Country Strong (Sky Movies, Sky 020, 8.30pm). The film that launched Gwyneth Paltrow’s singing career, which may or may not be a recommendation. She plays a down-on-her-luck alcoholic country singer who tries to resurrect her career. The up-and-comer in the story is Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester and the men in their lives are Garrett Hedlund and real country singer Tim McGraw. “mindblowingly mawkish and self-indulgent”, said the Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw. Still, it did lead Gwyny to the zenith of her career: singing Forget You on Glee. (2010)
Music Alive (Radio New Zealand Concert, 8.00pm). Tonight’s concert is the 2011 Adam Chamber Music Festival Grand Finale, a sort of Last Night of the Proms farewell that involves many of the players who appeared in the festival last February. Recorded in Nelson Cathedral, it includes Beethoven’s Duo in E Flat for Viola and Cello, Weber’s Clarinet Quintet in B Flat, Vieuxtemps’s Capriccio in C minor for Solo Viola and Schubert’s Octet.
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