Australia’s weakest link: Magda Szubanski isn’t queen of villains on quiz makeover


The weak link Australia

Hosted by the most beautiful lady in Australian comedy, Magda Szubanski, it’s not worthy of the grin Weakest link of his English ancestors.

Sometimes – the oddly posed commercials, for example – you can almost hear the producers in Szubanski’s earpiece telling him to be mean, and those attempts aren’t great. It just isn’t. She is, however, quick-witted and an excellent imitator. And it’s his knockoffs of the contestants that are the show’s funniest moments.

Slowly mocking, they are never really bad, and the candidates are in heaven to be “made” by Magda Szubanski. In fact, if I had to point out one weakness in the show, it’s the contestants who seem to be in awe of the host. By the end of episode two, I felt like she was holding back the occasional comments about the least likeable candidate and some of the most insanely stupid responses. It will be interesting to see if this self-censorship continues.

Having seen her perform in less restricted environments, I know she can be both extremely sharp and excruciatingly funny. Still, there’s a big difference between doing it with paid comics and having a pineapple-obsessed loser on a game show.

The design and format are crisp and clear, and the questions are a good mix of anecdotes (especially if you’re an Aussie). There is no wicked queen, but The weak link Australia is a fun watch despite everything.

Magda Szubanski hosts The Weakest Link Australia.


Magda Szubanski hosts The Weakest Link Australia.

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David Ready is the subject of the first episode of the third season of I Am.


David Ready is the subject of the first episode of the third season of I Am.

I am … a cult survivor

I am… is a series of documentaries about people who live as a result of important events.

Season three opens with I am … a survivor of the cult. David Ready is the 12th of 13 children born to Clem and Sharon Ready at Gloriavale in the Haupiri Valley on the west coast of the South Island.

Gloriavale sees itself as a closed religious community and is managed by the Gloriavale Trust. In 2014, David’s younger sister, Prayer, choked on a piece of meat while locked in an isolation room in Gloriavale. David was one of the first on the scene to try to save his little sister, but he couldn’t. Following his death, his anger at the leadership of the Trust for the way they run the seclusion rooms, obscuring the truth about what happened in the police investigation and hiding the questionable sexual practices of leader Hopeful Christian led him to be expelled.

For the first time, David met the Ngāti Porou side of his family, discovered the strength of the whanau, and explored what it means to be Maori – people he had heard described as “sub-human.”

What makes this particular I am… truly captivating is his desire to face the trauma of his past. Today the father of a child with his longtime companion Belle, he relies heavily on the discipline of Muay Thai and the solitude of nature. He also worked hard to help the family still inside Gloriavale, proud that more than half of them are now out.

TVNZ on demand

Rutherford Falls is now available to stream on TVNZ OnDemand.

Rutherford Falls

If you have a Parks and recreation hole in your life, this just might be the balm to soothe your soul with his wry, often ridiculous and very sharp sense of humor.

The show is about Nathan (Ed Helms) and Reagan (Jana Schmieding, Lakota), best friends who grew up together in the town named after the descendant of Ed, founder of the town “Big Larry” Rutherford.

Regan is a Minishonka woman, the local (fictitious) tribe who “helped” build the town all those years ago. Ed is the epitome of white privilege: arrogant, empowered, oblivious to the fact that so many people – including Regan – grew up struggling. While Regan, along with his two masters (one of whom is in museum curation), struggles to secure funds to open a Minishonka Cultural Center and get out of the Minishonka Hall of the Tribal Casino, Ed is the curator of the Rutherford Falls Heritage Museum: a homage to his family, and the great opossum infestation of 1747. Tellingly, the Minishonka are hardly mentioned.

Created by Ed Helms, Michael Schur and Sierra Teller Ornelas (Navajo, Mexican-American), Rutherford Falls works on the differences between Nathan and Regan’s experiences, the disparity that drives comedy and highlights the real issues at play.

It’s not often that you see Indigenous characters written by Indigenous writers on screen. The show rings true in Regan’s awkward conversations with her boss, played by Michael Greyeyes (Plains Cree First Nation), and in his attempt to tell Nathan he’s racist without actually using the R word. New Zealanders will recognize more than a small Aotearoa in Rutherford Falls.

Battlestar Galactica fans should definitely check out Caprica.


Battlestar Galactica fans should definitely check out Caprica.


I recently wrote about how much I enjoyed Battlestar Galactica, and how it took a 1970s Mormon-inspired TV and movie series to make it one of the best TV writing of the past 30 years. This week I was delighted to discover Caprica – the prequel to Galactic on TVNZ OnDemand. And then I looked at it.

A lot of people didn’t like the final season of Galactic because of the scenario of the Cylon religion. If it was you, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that Caprica will explain this with the Cylon origin story explaining their religious tendencies. The bad news is that Caprica will explain this with the Cylon origin story explaining their religious inclinations. In detail.

I won’t lie. The origin story is NOTHING like I expected, and hats off to the ambitious soul who decided to start with an anguished teenage genius and his AI project, then tried to tie it all together. beginning of Galactic. Try to be the key word.

It’s not bad; it’s just complicated. It took me half a season to get started and I was not entirely satisfied with the result. Still, there is a formidable cast of Galactic the parents of the characters, many questions answered and the digital concepts offered are quite impressive. Battlestar Galactica fans should definitely take a look at Caprica.


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