What to Watch: November 8 - 14

TV.com's pick of the best TV shows on Aussie screens this week.

The National IQ Test
Special. When it aired back in 2003 and 2004 the audience participation was huge, so like The Block, Nine has opted to revive it. Eddie McGuire is once again the host, this time with Livinia Nixon instead of Catriona Rowntree. Battling with their wits are six groups: WAGs, tradies, entrepreneurs, sports fanatics, Generation Y and impersonators.

Airs: 7:30pm Tuesday on Nine

Packed to the Rafters
Still reeling from last week's dramatic death of Melissa Rafter (Zoe Ventoura)? We sure are. But while we were denied scenes with Ben (Hugh Sheridan) actually hearing the shock or falling apart, we may not be so lucky this week. The family tries to comprehend the tragedy and it's bound to be a tear-jerker. The Rafters always pull together in times of need. Now more than ever.

Airs: 8:30pm Tuesday on Seven

Premiere. Here's Conan O'Brien in a late-night show for the first time on free-to-air TV in Australia. Produced for TBS in the USA, this is O'Brien's new show following his fallout with NBC. The good news is it will air hot off the satellite, Tuesday to Fridays, this week with guests Seth Rogen and Jack White (Tuesday); Tom Hanks, Jack McBrayer and Soundgarden (Wednesday); Jon Hamm, Charlyne Yi and Fistful of Mercy (Thursday); and Michael Cera, Julie Bowen and comedian Jon Dore (Friday).

Airs: 11:30pm Tuesday on GEM

New series. It's been a while but we return to J.J. Abrams' sci-fi series to find Olivia (Anna Torv) is held by the Fringe Department and undergoes an experimental treatment headed up by the alternate Brandon (Ryan McDonald), intended to replace her memories with alter-Olivia's. Fringe may not hit you with the flashy impact of some sci-fi shows but it's one for a thinking audience.

Airs: 9:30pm Wednesday on GO!

If you've been a long-term viewer of this show then don't miss this week's episode. We can't say too much without giving it all away, but it starts off with a bomb found underneath the city and a hostage crisis. Stella (Nicole da Silva) does her best to defuse the situation but you know nothing ever goes to plan. It's seeing how they deal with the impossible that best shows strength of character.

Airs: 8:30pm Thursday on TEN

Powderfinger: The Final Odyssey
Special. The rather messy ARIAs was their final live TV gig, but Myf Warhurst (Spicks & Specks) hosts this special with one of Australia's favourite rock bands, now disbanding. Warhurst has been a long-time fan of Powderfinger, dating back to her days as a radio presenter on Triple J. Catch footage from their farewell "Sunsets" tour plus behind-the-scenes material and an exclusive intimate interview with the band.

Airs: 9:30pm Thursday on ABC1.

The Graham Norton Show
New series. If there's one guy who can make a Tonight show look effortless it is the oh-so-likeable Graham Norton. We love this show so much it deserves to be on ABC1. Tonight's guests include Maggie Gyllenhaal, Russell Howard and Charlotte Church. Coming up this series you'll see Pet Shop Boys, Joan Rivers, Daniel Radcliffe, Colin Farrell, James Blunt and more.

Airs: 9:30pm Thursday on ABC2

30 Rock
Hold the phone. Here is the episode that was performed in front of a live audience (well, one of them anyway). That means you can catch the occasional line of dialogue dropped, or see the actors trying not to laugh. Julia Louis-Dreyfuss doubles as an earlier version of Liz Lemon (Tina Fey), while a younger clone of Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) amazingly looks like a catalogue model. Just like the live episodes of Will & Grace, ER and even Blue Heelers this is a TV treat.

Airs: 10:30pm Thursday on Seven

Modern Family
More fun this week as Gloria (Sofia Vergara) has a war with a neighbour and a barking dog. She's bound to invoke Colombian racism into the argument somewhere. Phil (Ty Burrell) makes a wager with his kids that they can't survive as long as he without the internet, games and electronics. Bad move, Phil. The funniest plot is reserved for Cameron (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) who are trying to get Lily into a school with reputation. Being gay and having a Vietnamese child instantly should make them a minority shoe-in...

Airs: 7pm Sunday on TEN

The X Factor
Live. Getting down to the business end of things now. At the time of writing it's looking a lot like Altiyan Childs is the one to beat. Not bad for a guy everybody said didn't deserve to be in the contest in the first place. But who will be his biggest rival? Our tip is Sally Chatfield. She's got a big voice and has never hit a dodgy note yet. Hope Kyle can keep up the enthusiasm until the finale.

Airs: 7:30pm Sunday on Seven

Comments (1)
Fringe was pretty awesome

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