Category Archives: Television

Heavy Water

The Heavy Water War

The Heavy Water War is a 2015 six-episode war drama TV miniseries produced by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. It is a Norwegian/Danish/British co-production, directed by Per-Olav Sørensen that tells about the German nuclear weapon project and the heavy water sabotage in Norway to disrupt it during the Second World War, with a particular emphasis on the role of Leif Tronstad.


An excellent war drama involving physics and the birth of the atomic  ge.

 

 

Midsomer 18.4

Midsomer Murders
Series 18 Episode 4 “A Dying Art”
Originally broadcast 3 February 2016

Art comes to the picturesque Midsomer village of Angel’s Rise with the opening of a new Sculpture Park. But when its launch is marred by murder, DCI Barnaby and DS Nelson have to get creative to crack a case where art imitates death, and everything has a deeper meaning.


Things really get silly here. Apparently a few sculptures in a field is enough to sustain the man. The characters are cardboard cutout caricatures of the British class system. And it all comes down in the end to a woman with a grudge. Rather forgettable.

 

 

 

Midsomer 18.3

Midsomer Murders
Series 18 Episode 3 “Breaking the Chain”
Originally broadcast 27 January 2016

An international cycling competition comes to the Midsomer village of Burwood Mantle. When the race leader is murdered, DCI Barnaby and DS Nelson find themselves drawn into a ruthlessly competitive world of blackmail, bribery and bloodshed where winning comes at any cost.


I’m starting to see a pattern. It starts with an interesting setup. This time during a cycle race. People die, corruption, intimidation and rather inert policing. Then it all descends into the usual sex triangle, all revealed in the last 15 minutes. Far too predictable.

 

Midsomer 18.2

Midsomer Murders
Series 18 Episode 2 “The Incident at Cooper Hill”
Originally broadcast 13 January 2016

Mysterious lights are seen in the sky over famous UFO hot-spot Cooper Hill. When a local forest-ranger suffers a strange death, the visiting UFO spotters are convinced aliens are responsible. DCI Barnaby and DS Nelson unearth suspicions, betrayals and long-buried secrets in their search for the truth.


Here is their attempt at Science Fiction/Horror with Military involvement. It starts off interestingly, people get drowned in slime with a hint of conspiracy. Unfortunately it all ends in the usual sex and love triangle. There was potential here to inject some REAL science fiction, but the writers took the easy way out.

Midsomer 18.1

Midsomer Murders
Series 18 Episode 1 “Habeas Corpus”
Originally broadcast 6 January 2016

When wealthy landowner Gregory Lancaster’s body goes missing on the night of his death, a sinister web of secrets and lies is exposed in the village of Little Malton. DCI Barnaby, DS Nelson and new Forensic Pathologist Kam Karimore are drawn into a macabre world of body-snatching as they seek to identify the villain.
First appearance of Dr. Kam Karimore.


Missing bodies and murder. This suffers from the inactivity of the main police protagonists. Most of the story happens not because of Barnaby and Nelson’s sleuthing, but through the interactions of the characters.

Brokenwood S3E4

Case 12 – A Merry Bloody Christmas

With December approaching Brokenwood is alive and well with Christmas spirit. That is until a gruesome sight confronts Mike and his team; Santa Claus with his throat slit. Or as Mike insists – ‘not Santa, but a man dressed in a Santa suit’.


Director: Murray Keane
Producer: Sally Campbell

Cast:
Mike NEILL REA
Kristin FERN SUTHERLAND
D.C Breen NIC SAMPSON
Jared PANA HEMA-TAYLOR
Hayley SHARA CONNOLLY
Evan ROSS MCKELLAR
Gina CRISTINA IONDA
Hughes COLIN MOY
Mrs Marlowe ELIZABETH MCRAE
Jed ROB KIPA WILLIAMS
Pete PETER HAYDEN
Maureen DENISE SNOAD
Wally EDWARD NEWBORN
Victoria MADELEINE LYNCH
Ray JASON HOYTE
Neil Bloom PHIL PELETON
Tina Morehu NICOLA KAWANA
Dennis SHANE CORTESE
Dr Carlton ASCIA MAYBURY
First aired: Sunday 20th of November 2016

Brokenwood S3E3

Case 11 – The Killing Machine

The annual Riverstone Beach Hop is a colorful festival that brings classic car enthusiasts together from far and wide to celebrate everything petrol powered and chrome plated. But on the morning of the event Charlie Baxter, the Chairman of the Classic Car Restoration Society, is found dead next to his beloved El Dorado with a lungful of gasoline. Was this a petrol siphoning accident or something more deliberate? And does it have anything to do with the unidentified dead body found in Charlie’s garage the day before?


It’s car culture gone mad. Ford vs GM. Jared vs the old girlfriend and the local PC being flat footed by an up-start with attitude. But we know he didn’t do it (too obvious).

What was obvious that some illegal importing was going on. This was one of the main drawbacks of this story. The police should have guessed the primary cause before the audience.

Still, a good episode and you have to wonder where they found all those classic cars for a TV show at the top-end of New Zealand.


Director: Mike Smith
Producer: Sally Campbell

Cast:
Mike NEILL REA
Kristin FERN SUTHERLAND
D.C Breen NIC SAMPSON
Jared PANA HEMA-TAYLOR
Greg McQueen IDO DRENT
Charlie Baxter CHRIS HOBBS
Keith Balance JOHN LANDRETH
Olson Siola DAVID FANE
Gina CRISTINA IONDA
Mrs Marlowe ELIZABETH MCRAE
Edward Alderston KEN BLACKBURN
Frankie (Frodo) Oades KARL WILLETS
Carly McQueen AMBER-ROSE HENSHALL
Val Baxter JANINE BURCHETT
Tai Smith LUCIANE BUCHANAN
Miranda Temple LAURA HILL
Kimberley ZARA CORMACK
Dr Carlton ASCIA MAYBURY
First aired: Sunday 13th of November 2016

Brokenwood S3E2

Case 10 – Over Her Dead Body

Brokenwood is in mourning as beloved local poet Declan O’Grady is being farewelled at St Judas Church after being struck down by cancer. But things go from bad to worse when his coffin accidentally falls from the hearse revealing that the corpse inside is not Declan but a young woman identifiable only by a notable scarlet tattoo.

Mike, Kristin and Breen set about unraveling a strange set of circumstances. The last to see Declan’s body was the hapless funeral director Warren Bugle who leads them back to Wadsworth Manor where a mysterious role playing game was conducted the night before Declan’s death. It turns out the tattooed woman may have been a player in what was to ultimately be her final game.


This episode was almost a satire of the traditional closed-room murder/mystery. The contestants for murderer were laid out early and motivations explained. As the bodies fall, it’s all a question of which well known kiwi actor did it. The tone is more fun than fear and probably the best episode yet.


Director: Murray Keane
Producer: Sally Campbell

Cast:
Mike NEILL REA
Kristin FERN SUTHERLAND
D.C Breen NIC SAMPSON
Jared PANA HEMA-TAYLOR
Gina CRISTINA IONDA
Janelle THERESA HEALEY
Dr Plummer CAMERON RHODES
Declan O’Grady MARK MITCHISON
Brenda AMANDA BILLING
Rev Greene ROY WARD
Scarlett JJ FONG
Warren KIP CHAPMAN
Tina NICOLA KAWANA
Hughes COLIN MOY
Evan Whitestone ROSS MCKELLAR
Mrs Marlowe ELIZABETH MCRAE
Cushla LUCI HARE
Melody RENEE SHERIDAN
Dr Carlton ASCIA MAYBURY
Miranda LAURA HILL
Yanni AJAY VAISISHT
First aired: Sunday 6th of November 2016

Brokenwood S3E1

The Brokenwood Mysteries
Case 9 – The Black Widower

The Frog and Cheetah’s publican, Ray Neilson, has branched into tourism with his ‘Lord of the Ringz Tours’ tailored to non-English speaking tourists. But when Ray’s wife Debbie is discovered dead under a giant foam spider in a supposed film location of Mirklewood things get ‘mirky’. Especially when Debbie’s cause of death is revealed to be from New Zealand’s only native venomous spider – the Katipo. But if it was, how did one spider administer ten times the lethal dose?

Things don’t look good for Ray or the nearby arachnologist, Chandra Singh. But then as DSS Mike Shepherd and his team investigate other local tourism operators, they find none of them are particularly sad about Debbie’s demise. Her back room deals with the council have seen them banned from the coveted Brokenwood forest. Was her death karma or revenge? Regardless of motive it was definitely murder.


This feels like a very traditional murder mystery. The crime is committed at the beginning and the story quickly establishes a number of characters, all who have motivation and means to commit the murder. Then the detectives get on the case, and slowly reveal more clues and motives. Each time the potential suspect changes, until finally at the end the culprit is revealed.


Director: Mark Beesley
Producer: Sally Campbell

Cast: Mike NEILL REA
Kristin FERN SUTHERLAND
D.C Breen NIC SAMPSON
Jared PANA HEMA-TAYLOR
Gina CRISTINA IONDA
Ray Neilson JASON HOYTE
Debbie Neilson LARA MACGREGOR
Chandra Singh KALYANI NAGARAJAN
Dr Byron Cotter EMMETT SKILTON
Nigel GEOFF HOUTMAN
Billy DAN VEINT
Nicole KATIE WOLFE
Lance PHIL BROWN
Dennis SHANE CORTESE
Trudy TRACY LEE GRAY
Hans JULIAN WILSON
Chen CHARLES CHEN
Hughes COLIN MOY
Mrs Marlowe ELIZABETH MCRAE
Rev Greene ROY WARD
First aired: Sunday 30th of October 2016

Lewis 9.33

Lewis Series 9
33 “What Lies Tangled”

(Originally Aired in UK 3 November 2015)

A summer’s day in Oxford is screwed apart, when a parcel bomb explodes. The team are called in to investigate, but the victim is a womanizer, having been known to have had numerous affairs with younger women. With his six-month trip to New Zealand with Hobson on the horizon, Lewis is in a race against time to save his career and relationship.


Another rather ordinary story, with a number of characters that could be the killer. It’s just a matter of eliminating the unlikely to end with right man. Unfortunately, a rather forgettable final episode of the series.