Review: TV3’s The Nation

I watched the premiere of The Nation this morning. It has been held out as TV3’s answer to TVNZ’s Q+A, but the style is different, and it presents a distinct alternative to the traditional current affairs interview show.

I had wondered about the choice of Jason Gunn as presenter, but his relaxed manner seems to put the contestants at ease. Some of his dance moves aren’t as sharp as they could be, but when you’re up against someone as nimble-footed as Transport Minister Stephen Joyce, you’re always going to look second rate.

But the star of the show was his co-host Nicky Watson. Her encyclopedic knowledge of taxation law had Revenue Minister Peter Dunne on the back foot right from the beginning. Thankfully he saved his best until last, finishing strongly with a triple somersault backflip, a move that saw him awarded a 9.8 by the judges.

If I had to identify one major flaw with the show, it would be the overabundance of ponies. Sure, we all like the cute little things, but there were so many of them on set jostling and nudging each other that it made it almost impossible to see the finale. And what a finale! Rodney Hide won the pie-eating contest, but was pipped by his caucus colleague Heather Roy in the triathlon.

I may watch the show again, provided next time Jason Gunn puts some pants on.