Radiation by Fiona Rae

Thank heavens

Small mercy no 1: Idol Rosita’s song going to number one and finally kicking off “Crazy Frog”, although “All I Ask” is a shitter isn’t it? Just when you thought nothing could be worse than the wrist-slashingly bad “Can’t Take That Away”, along something comes. I predict a rise in song-rage incidents: Rosita, on your head be it.

Small mercy no 2: instead of the usual “What the hell was that?” feeling when you’re watching Carnivàle, something is finally happening. The final, inevitable meeting between the devil in disguise, Brother Justin, and weirdo healer Ben Hawkins is just three episodes away. What does it all mean? Fuck knows. Good versus evil, or some such, but now that Ben (Nick Stahl) has stopped standing around gawping and barely speaking (for a lead character, quite crap really) Carnivàle is a big ol’ barrel of fun. Especially the evil hitman who has kidnapped Ben’s father and Iris, Justin’s murdering sister – I mean, who are the real freaks? Here’s the Television Without Pity recap, if it helps you catch up.

So I survived the Vortex of Geekery that is the Armageddon expo. Twice. I went to see the King Kong panel although I forget much of what they said, except that there seem to be more digital shots in Kong that there were in Lord of the Rings, because nearly everything was computer generated, or if it wasn’t, it was half computer-generated, like adding extra stories onto the buildings in the model of 1930s New York. There’s some really great stuff on kongisking.net, especially about the miniatures.

John Rhys-Davies also did a panel, although he seems happy enough to just open his mouth and see what falls out. He’s still in love with Peter Jackson, saying he’s done more to put us on the map than anyone since Cook. Hell, Peter’s probably responsible for the birth of three endangered stitchbirds too.

Tickets to a second advance screening of Serenity were on sale at Armageddon (I did wonder if I could lift one of the posters, but given they were in full view of the door security, it seemed unlikely), but I’d rather not have to endure the megascreen again. The box office in the US isn’t huge and the fans have been angsting, but I would guess DVD sales will help. Here’s a really great LA Times story about shooting Serenity in LA and the way to keep costs down – who knew doing it the old-fashioned way was actually cheaper? Someone tell Peter!

Here’s a quote of the week that didn’t quite make it into the Listener: “I thought you were autistic until you used the word ‘cunt’ in suspiciously appropriate circumstances!” That was Frank’s father in Shameless in an episode which went quite a way to explaining why he’s such a useless prick. It’s the best drama on TV right now. Desperate Housewives might be the most fun you can have with your pants on, but for sheer emotional impact, it’s Shameless all the way. In fact, Monday’s episode was like being punched in the stomach, with the wrenching exit of James McAvoy’s character, Steve. I guess he had to get down to New Zealand to play Mr Tumnus and then back to Britain to play Robin Hood. Yes.

Good news everybody, our state broadcaster, the one with all the money, is finally showing a drama, or at least one that isn’t on at 10.30 at night like The Market. The Insiders Guide to Love starts November 7, with the best possible lead-in, Desperate Housewives. According to Onfilm, TV1 is counting on its new local drama next year, as the British ones haven’t been up to much this year. There’s the new Screenworks show Orange Roughies to come and the urban drama Rude Awankenings. Meanwhile, TV3 is said to be considering another series of The Pretender, as Dennis Plant (played by Bob McLaren), the National candidate for Wakatipu South, actually won the seat and has been delivered to parliament. Brilliant. Also, one of the local comedies that played so late at night recently is going to be spun off into a series; we’ll know which one early next year.