April 27-May 4: Including Go Girls and Galapagos with David Attenborough

by Fiona Rae / 18 April, 2013
There's a new set of North Shore twentysomethings in the new series of Go Girls, and Sir David returns the birthplace of Darwin's theory of evolution.


Go Girls, Tuesday

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (TV3, 8.30pm). Even CSI isn’t above trying to boost the ratings with guest stars, and tonight, possibly for the first time, the spotlight shines on tennis. Former champs Chris Evert and Lindsay Davenport appear during an investigation into a murdered player. This may be because Elisabeth Shue (CSI Julie Finlay) plays in Evert’s pro-celebrity event every year; Shue and Evert even have a hit-out during the episode. Shue is “one of the best celebrity players I know,” says Evert.


The Carrie Diaries (TV2, 3.00pm). It’s been available on TVNZ’s Ondemand service for a while now, because that’s how all the kids are watching television these days, but for the old-fashioned among us, here’s the prequel to Sex and the City about a teenage Carrie, coming-of-age in the 80s. It would be easy to think that writer Candace Bushnell, and the CW network are reverse-engineering Carrie just to squeeze a few extra dollars from their creation, except that the LA Times said that Bushnell’s book was “an addictive, ingenious origin story”. Nevertheless, the TV series is an anodyne confection: AnnaSophia Robb plays Carrie, a high-school senior who wants to be a journalist. She and her younger sister, Dorrit (New Zealand-raised Stefania Owen), are coping with the death of their mother, plus there’s all that having to deal with boys, mean girls and parents.

2013 Comedy Gala (TV3, 8.35pm). If it’s late-April early-May, it must be International Comedy Festival time, and the “taster” gala that goes with it. The line-up includes Dai Henwood, Urzila Carlson, Ben Hurley, Guy Williams, The Boy with the Tape on His Face, Tom Gleeson, Chris Martin, Fiona O’Loughlin and Stephen K Amos. Jeremy Corbett locks in the hosting duties.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Four, 9.30pm). A Philadelphia Enquirer journalist coined the term “Seinfeld on crack”, and it seems to have stuck. The comedy featuring a group of narcissistic, back-stabbing underachievers (hence the Seinfeld reference) returns for a seventh season, although it probably wouldn’t have got this far without Danny DeVito, whose psychotic, drug-addled character Frank Reynolds is a highlight. In the opening episode, Frank decides he wants to marry his favourite crack-smoking hooker. It’s that kind of show. Fans will also notice a change to star and -co-creator Rob -McElhenney, who gained 23kg for the season because he thought it would be funny.


Galapagos with David Attenborough, Tuesday

Galapagos with David Attenborough (TV1, 8.30pm). We have clearly made a mistake in thinking that retrospective documentaries such as Attenborough – 60 Years in the Wild are code for “Attenborough finally retires”, because here is the remarkable naturalist again. As with the recent Kingdom of Plants, this series was filmed in 3D for Sky1 in the UK, which is something to think about as we watch turtles swimming towards us or a Galapagos hawk swooping down on a baby iguana. It’s the third time Attenborough has visited the Galapagos Islands and “each time the excitement has been undiminished”, he wrote in the Telegraph. The islands still fascinate as the place where Darwin conceived the theory of evolution, and despite the immense amount of research that has been done, discoveries are still being made: Attenborough and his team captured the first footage of the newly discovered Galapagos pink land iguana. It lives only on Isabela Island and was identified in 2009 as a separate species. Attenborough also encounters the last Pinta Island giant tortoise, nicknamed Lonesome George, two weeks before it died.

Blackout (SoHo, Sky 010, 8.30pm). Tuesdays are British drama day on SoHo, and here’s Christopher Eccleston doing his usual intense thing in a three-parter about a corrupt council official. An alcoholic, he wakes from a blackout to find he is possibly responsible for a murder – and then becomes a no-nonsense candidate for mayor. Dervla Kirwan has the thankless role of Eccleston’s wife; Ewen Bremner plays the political consultant and veteran of many a campaign who urges him into the mayoral race; and Andrew Scott – Sherlock’s Moriarty – is the cop investigating the killing.

Go Girls (TV2, 8.45pm). Necessity, so the saying goes, is the mother of reinvention. Or something like that. It’s certainly the case with the new season of Go Girls, which features an entirely new core cast. Goodbye to the North Shore’s finest: Kev, Amy, Cody, Olivia, Britta and Brad; hello Ted, Candy, Bennie, Levi and Alice.
“A 25-year-old sitting on a beach making a vow is cute, a 30-year-old doing it starts to look rather sad,” says showrunner Rachel Lang. Not only were the original actors moving on, but the characters were out of their twenties and finding their place in the world. “It’s really sad saying goodbye to those guys, but for the characters, I felt they were all grown up. I wasn’t worried about them,” says Lang.
The link between the old series and the new is Candy McMann (Shara Connolly), Britta’s younger sister, a party girl and former school bully who is trying to make good. Stylistically, the show looks the same, with its trademark flashbacks and cutaway scenes. There are new sets, of course, although the classic Taka pub is a constant.
“We obviously wanted to refresh the look,” says Lang. “But it stays consistent in things like they still have interesting clothes, because that’s always really important, and there’s lots of New Zealand music.” The series still has a narrator, too, just like the old days when Jay Ryan’s Kev would make wry comments on the action, usually with a “yeah, nah” thrown in. But the crucial change is that the narrator, Ted (George Mason), is its lead character and he’s a lot more expressive than Kev.
“Kevin was always the observer of the girls’ lives and Amy was the motivator of the group,” says Lang, “whereas Ted is quite central to this group of people and the reason they’re all friends is because of him. Kev was quite locked down and uptight really, actually quite a dark character when you think about it, whereas Ted is more optimistic and outgoing.”
Lang and co-creator and writer Gavin Strawhan saw a lot of young actors before they settled on Mason, Connolly, Leon Wadham (who plays Levi), Tai Berdinner-Blades (Bennie) and JJ Fong (Alice). It’s given them the chance to explore issues relevant to twenty­somethings in a recessionary world. Bennie, Ted’s sister, is terminally unemployed, for example. “We’re also quite proud to have a central character who’s gay and he’s not just the sort-of screaming friend of a girl,” says Lang.

The Good Wife (TV3, 11.10pm). Dallas Roberts, whom you may know as Milton in The Walking Dead, is equally memorable in his recurring role in The Good Wife as Alicia’s gay brother Owen. In his first appearance in tonight’s season two episode he is secretly filmed saying something that makes Peter and Alicia laugh, but that sends Eli Gold (Alan Cumming), Peter’s campaign manager, into a flap. As enjoyable as this is, the mystery is why TV3 is repeating season two of one of the best US network shows ever when season four is nearly at an end in the US. We could say the same for Hawaii Five-O, which is repeating on Wednesday nights.


Sons of Anarchy, Wednesday

999: What’s Your Emergency? (TV1, 9.30pm). Just for a change, Britain’s emergency services.

Sons of Anarchy (TV3, 9.30pm). Holy cow, it’s been a violent season, as Jax (Charlie Hunnam) has pulled off a series of epically intricate manoeuvres to rid himself of his “father”, Clay (Ron Perlman), and ensure the safety of his club and his family. All the pieces Jax has been putting in place are about to click together in the season finale, including how he deals with bad guy Pope (a not-entirely-effective Harold Perrineau). The episode is directed by showrunner and writer Kurt Sutter who, as Otto the incarcerated gang member, has a fairly dramatic scene of his own that will leave you speechless. It did him.


Who Do You think You Are? Australia (BBC Knowledge, Sky 074, 7.30pm). A new series of the Australian version of the genealogy show will feature former Aussie Rules player Michael O’Loughlin, who is from the Kaurna tribe; journ-alist Kerry O’Brien; comedian Shaun Micallef; and actors Vince Colosimo and Melissa George.

Head 2 Head and CODE (Maori, 8.00pm and 8.30pm). Winter sport is upon us and so are Maori Television’s sports shows. Head 2 Head is a comedy panel show with teams led by Mike King and Te Arahi Maipi, and CODE is a light-hearted discussion show hosted by Jenny May Coffin and Glen Osbourne. A new series of Hunting Aotearoa follows at 9.30pm.

Doctor Who (Prime, 8.30pm). Crime writer Neil Cross – the one who lives in Wellington and created Luther – pens his second Doctor Who episode (the first was The Rings of Akhaten). Clara and the Doctor are in a spooky haunted house on a desolate moor where they are called to help a professor (ladies, it’s Dougray Scott) and a psychic (Jessica Raine – Call the Midwife’s Jenny Lee) with a ghost problem. We’re thinking probably not really a ghost.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Sunday

Da Vinci: The Lost Treasure (BBC Knowledge, Sky 074, 8.30pm). Apparently, as with Pippa Middleton at her sister’s wedding, a certain part of Fiona Bruce’s anatomy steals the show in this BBC doco. You’d think that would be difficult to do when your subject is one of the greatest artists in history and you’re walking around Florence, Milan, Paris and Warsaw, but there you go. Or, rather, there she goes. The documentary was made in support of the National Gallery’s exhibition of Da Vinci’s work in 2011, and Bruce also travelled to New York to see the Salvator Mundi, a painting that was only authenticated in 2011 as Da Vinci’s lost masterpiece.


Ben & Steve: World Famous in … (TV3, 9.30pm). The equivalent of putting the band in a car for the music video. There’s movement, usually something new to look at and it’s cheap as chips. Ben Hurley and Steve Wrigley travel around meeting locals and putting on comedy shows for deprived regions. This week: New Plymouth.

NB: Sky is renumbering many of its channels from May 1 – our listings have been changed to reflect this.
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