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TV Week (51)

Good on the eye.


The Slave and Otis New Year's Eve Special (C4, 9.00pm). They know how to throw a party at C4 (so we've heard anyway), so they should know how to do a New Year's. DJs Slave and Otis have a studio-based show of clips and guests, while other C4 presenters are out amongst it at various gigs around the country - including the Datsuns at Mt Maunganui, Shihad in Christchurch and Rhythm and Vines in Gisborne. What's on TV3 to see out the New Year? The 2005 MTV Movie Awards.

Twenty-0-Six: Back of the New Year (TV2, 10.30pm). Producer Phil Smith is quietly becoming the Mr Satire of New Zealand TV. His Great Southern Television has been producing Eating Media Lunch and was also respons-ible for The Pretender, which was tucked away on Sunday nights on TV3, but was one of the best comedies on screen last year - in an excruciating Office kind of way. (Rumour has it that there might be another series, as The Pretender's election candidate, Bob Plant, somehow won the seat of Wakatipu South and has made it into Parliament. We can only pray to the gods of television funding that it will be greenlit.) Meantime, TV Week is slightly dizzy with disbelief that someone, somewhere in TV2 has allowed through the brilliant idea of having the Back of the Y guys see out the New Year. This almost makes up for So You Wannabe a Pop Star? Almost. Apparently, Matt Heath and Chris Stapp are more mature now. After all, they have been making comedy in the UK for Channel 4, but alter-egos Dick Johansonson and Randy Campbell are still alive and crazy after all these years. Guests include Tim Finn, Jeremy Wells, Scribe, Elemeno P, the D4 and Foamy Ed. Naturally, Chris and Matt couldn't let an opportunity for shameless promotion of their band Deja Voodoo go by, either. What's on TV1 to see out the New Year? A Nat King Cole documentary.

Tau Rourou, Taku Rourou: A Maori Television New Year's Eve Special (Maori, 10.30pm). "Your food basket and my food basket will satisfy the guests," says the proverb and Maori Television is metaphorically putting on the kai for all of Aotearoa's diverse cultures. The show features insights into customs and traditions from around the globe and an appearance by comedian Raybon Kan. What's on Prime to see out the New Year? An Aussie cop show.


The Poseidon Adventure (TV2, 8.30pm). Ah, the holidays. Sun, sand, barbies in the back yard and crappy mini-series. What's not to like? Er, well, this remake of the movie. It stars Adam Baldwin. 'Nuff said.

MONDAY January 2

Fungus the Bogeyman (TV2, 3.45pm). Someone finally gets around to adapting the Raymond Briggs story about a wonderfully disgusting bogeyman who lives below ground and who enjoys scaring humans "up top". It's the Beeb, of course, in a mini-series that mixes CGI with real people, including Martin Clunes as head of "Drycleaner" family, the Whites. Even more wonderfully, the series is written by Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. Given that Briggs's book was published in 1977, Haddon says Fungus is like the first punk of children's books: "Every time I think about Fungus's little red Mohican hairstyle and his less-than-perfect personal hygiene, I can't help seeing him as Johnny Rotten's underground alter-ego," he says.

The Time Machine (TV1, 7.30pm). Oo, goody, the BBC uses fancy special effects to deliver a brief history of time and show all the changes that have shaped the Earth. Fun.

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy: UK Edition (Sky 1, 7.30pm). It would be pretty difficult to out-gay Carson, but this is how the Brits did the straight-guy makeover show. Their first victim is Kiwi stand-up comedian Terry Frisby.

Destination Music (BBC World, 10.30pm). A round-the-world music trip that profiles major music festivals, including the Sacred Music Festival in Morocco, the International Jazz Festival in Cuba and Mariachi Festivals in Spain.

TUESDAY January 3

Without a Trace (TV2, 8.30pm). The show with an Aussie lead that is big in the US - to the tune of nearly 21 million viewers per week. So it's nice to see that one of our Kiwis in Hollywood, Charles Mesure, turns up in the season three finale (and will be in the season four opener as well), playing a mercenary who may or may not kill one of the lead characters. Also, Vivian undergoes open-heart surgery. Is that a metaphor?

BlackJack (TV1, 8.30pm). It's a mini-avalanche of Aussie dramas: first Small Claims, now BlackJack, a cop series that has screened sporadically over the ditch since 2003. Water Rats fans will remember Colin Friels, who is ageing gracefully into a salt-and-pepper middle-years gruff Aussie bloke. Which is kind of like his character here - an unreconstructed but honest copper who blew the whistle on corrupt colleagues and (stop me if you've heard this one before) has been relegated to cold cases. Tonight's episode also stars Craig McLachlan.

FRIDAY January 6

24 (TV3, 8.30pm). Mary Lynn Rajskub isn't a name that trips lightly off the tongue, but Chloe from 24 has been quietly carving out a niche as a comedian and actor. Plus, with her monotone delivery, computer nerd skills and inappropriate bluntness, Chloe is possibly the only regular character on television on the autistic spectrum. In tonight's episode, Chloe is thrust into "the field" and gets a gun.

Sport Highlights

Cricket, New Zealand v Sri Lanka, Sky Sport 1, Saturday, 11.30am. The pain, the pain - we were this close to winning the Chappell-Hadlee series. If the Black Caps can break a world record against the Aussies, surely we'll have a decent chance against the Sri Lankans, whom the Black Caps meet in four one-dayers before their hefty series in February and March against the West Indies. The first one-day match will be played in the charming surrounds of Queenstown, which sounds like a jolly nice way to spend your New Year's Eve.

Soccer, Hyundai A-League, Sky Sport 1, Sunday, 9.00am. New Zealand Knights: watch and learn. Current A-League leaders Adelaide United will play the unlucky Queensland Roar this week - unlucky because they have the best defence in the league, but are seventh on the table. At time of writing, the Knights languish in eighth place, having won one, drawn one and lost 13. Ouch. There's a second chance to learn from the leaders on Thursday, when Adelaide play Melbourne Victory at home (Sky Sport 1, Thursday, 10.30pm).

One Sport: ASB Classic Tennis, TV1, Mon-Fri, 11.00am. The women's event is now in its 10th year and is becoming a useful warm-up tournament for players going on to the Australian Open. The Russians are heavily represented with five of the top 10 seeds, including rising stars Maria Kirilenko and Vera Dushevina. Top seed is Nadia Petrova, while defending champ, Katerina Srebotnik returns, as does Shinobu Asogoe, whom Petrova beat last year. Jelena Dokic will be looking to revitalise her career after a period in the wilderness - she has parted with her father, Damir, who is banned from WTA events. Dokic, currently ranked 349th in the world, has a wildcard. Unfortunately, it looks as if there'll be no Kiwis in the line-up, as Marina Erakovic is in doubt because of injury. TV1 covers the singles and doubles action all this week. The men's Heineken Open starts January 9.