Yesterday saw the launch of TVNZ’s 2010 New Season.
We’ll skip past the hype, of which there was plenty, and the hoopla (ditto), and get down to the business of talking programming.
Here’s the representative schedule for Television One for 2010:
You can probably recognize the returning series. Here’s a peek at what’s new:
NEW ON MONDAYS: THE PACIFIC (drama)
From the creative team that brought us Band Of Brothers, comes the epic HBO television ten-part mini-series The Pacific (reportedly the highest-budget television drama series ever made, at a cost of over $15m per episode). The series has yet to screen in the US so we can’t share any ratings.
Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg and Gary Goetzman are the force behind this epic drama that will follow the intertwined odysseys of three US Marines during America’s battle with the Japanese in the Pacific during World War II. The story will focus on the personal experiences of the Marines from their first action at Guadalcanal, through Iwo Jima and Okinawa and the war’s end in the late summer of 1945.
Check out the trailer:
The Pacific will kick off the Monday night mini-series lineup on Television One, to be followed in the same timezone later in the year by a repeat of Band of Brothers; and then by another seven-part combat-torn mini-series, this time tracing the invasion of Iraq in 2003: GENERATION KILL. This new show is the latest offering from The Wire’s creators David Simon and Ed Burns.
GENERATION KILL (another HBO production) is based on the work of Rolling Stone journalist Evan Wright who was embedded with the marines of the first reconnaissance battalion as they journeyed from Kuwait to Baghdad.
America may not yet be ready for dramatisations of the War in Iraq — GENERATION KILL could only manage 1.3 million viewers when it premiered in the states in July last year, about half the audience that watched another HBO series, “Thomas Jefferson”. We expect the mini-series to do rather better in NZ.
NEW ON TUESDAYS: ARE YOU MY TRIBE? (doco)
Mikey Havoc is a proud North Shore boy who loves his country. But something’s been bugging him. He’s not happy with the fact that while he lives alongside Maori his actual knowledge of Maori is pretty limited.
Mikey sets out to put that right, getting up close and personal with three iwi – the wealthy, business astute South island tribe Ngai Tahu, the first language speaking Ngai Tuhoe from the central North Island and the largest tribe, the former ferocious war mongers from Northland, Nga Puhi.
Mikey wants to find out what makes each one unique but also find his place in the country and learn where he fits in as a white New Zealander in New Zealand.
NEW ON WEDNESDAYS: MASTERCHEF NEW ZEALAND (reality)
A select few of New Zealand’s amateur chefs are about to feel the heat of the professional kitchen. They all want to have their own restaurant. They all dream of being the next Jamie Oliver or even the next Marco Pierre-White. But can they stand the inferno of MasterChef New Zealand? Initial rounds will see a large number of hopeful contestants from across New Zealand audition to gain a place as a semi-finalist before judges, Ray McVinnie, Ross Burden and Simon Gault.
NEW ON THURSDAYS: MY HOLIDAY HOSTAGE HELL (docu-drama)
Travelling on holiday is meant to be the best time of your life, but what happens when that all goes drastically wrong? This series tells the dramatic stories of the innocent Brits who were violently snatched and taken hostage whilst abroad. Each episode of My Holiday Hostage Hell hears one absorbing story from those people who managed to escape their captors alive. The person who was held captive retells the story of their nightmare.
NEW ON FRIDAYS: MAKING OVER AMERICA
Trinny and Susannah take on the land of hope and glory.
NEW ON FRIDAYS: LEIGH HART’S MYSTERIOUS PLANET (comedy)
Explorer, archaeologist and crypto zoologist Leigh Hart leaves NZ and embarks on an epic journey in a bid to finally solve the world’s greatest mysteries. Armed only with his questionable expertise, a healthy dose of scepticism and a credit card, That Guy undertakes a quest that takes him far from home, to some of the most intriguing, remote, and physically challenging locations in the world.
Leigh brings a fresh, unorthodox approach to his travels and searches for the truth, whether that means trekking through South America in search of El Dorado:The Lost City of Gold, or joining expeditions to fi Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster.
With a healthy dose of scepticism and ignorance he will meet and challenge many of the ‘acclaimed experts’ on matters as diverse as the pyramids, the Bermuda triangle and UFOs. Leigh dares to dig deeper than previous documentaries, and brings a ‘Lets wrap this up once and for all’ sort of approach to all his investigations.
NEW ON SATURDAYS: BILLY CONNOLLY: JOURNEY TO THE EDGE OF THE WORLD (doco)
Comedian Billy Connolly takes the adventurous journey of a lifetime, travelling from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.
Starting in Nova Scotia, heading north above the Arctic Circle, then working east to west by way of the legendary North-West Passage, then overland across the Canadian North West, before finally ending up at Vancouver on the Pacific seaboard, he’ll make his way from ocean to ocean by one of the world’s most spectacular yet little seen routes.
Saturday also sees the 007 Movie Season, with 22 titles stretching through nearly half the year. Plenty of opportunities to choose your favourite James Bond and follow him through the series.
NEW SEASON TV2
Monday looks pretty familiar.
Tuesday sees the launch of the first New Zealand edition of The Apprentice. We probably don’t have to tell you too much about that.
Wednesday sees the final season of LOST. TVNZ say they hope to present the final episode on the same day as it airs in the US.
NEW TO WEDNESDAY: FLASH FORWARD (drama)
An unexplained, cataclysmic event knocks out the entire population of the world at the exact same moment – and as they black out, everyone gets a glimpse into their own future. After two minutes and 17 seconds, the population reawakens to the chaos around them.
In his flash forward, LA FBI Agent Mark Benford glimpses a terrifying future that he has to stop at all costs. As Mark and his team struggle to work out what caused this bizarre event, the only thing they have to go on is a huge mosaic of humanity’s flash forwards, as people start to ask each other, ‘what did you see?’
Flash Forward started strongly in the US (12.45 million viewers for the premiere episode); and although it’s since slipped (see graph below), the network has extended the first season order from 13 to 25 episodes.
Our own view: the series concept is extremely strong. However each episode so far (up to #8 in the US) progresses the storyline at a very gradual pace. Richer episodic content would greatly improve the show’s ongoing appeal.
You’ve seen this stuff before.
NEW TO FRIDAY: THE MIDDLE (comedy)
Frankie is middle aged, middle class and living in the middle of the country, drawing on all her skills to keep the dysfunctional family running smoothly. This harried wife and working mother of three uses her wry wit and sense of humour to try to get her family through each day intact. Ratings performance? 8.6 million viewers on its debut in the US, a reasonable showing for a middle-of-the-road comedy.
Saturdays, again deja vu.
NEW TO SUNDAYS: MATTHEW & MARC’S ROCKY ROAD TO BOLLYWOOD (reality)
Following the success of previous Matthew & Marc’s Rocky Road adventures, the boys are back with a brand new series, this time visiting India.
Each episode will follow Matthew & Marc as they learn the intricacies of the culture including cultural dancing and dress.
PROMOTED BUT NOT YET SCHEDULED:
THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (Drama)
Inevitably. Although the book on which this series is based actually predates the Twilight fever.
It’s Elena’s first day back at Mystic Falls High School since the tragic death of her parents. Along with her Aunt Jenna, Elena tries her best to look after her troubled younger brother and salvage what family they have left. The first day is already shaping up to be a struggle for Elena until she meets the mysterious new kid at school, Stefan. Elena is touched that he can relate to what she’s going through. What Elena doesn’t know is that Stefan is a vampire, constantly resisting the urge to taste her blood.
The show pulled in 4.8 million viewers on its September debut in the US, making it the CW network’s most-watched series premiere ever.
THIS IS NOT MY LIFE (NZ Drama)
A brand new local mystery drama, set in the near future. In the idyllic, eco-friendly town of Waimoana, a man wakes to find he has a wonderful life – but he can’t remember any of it.
His family tell him that his name is ‘Alec Ross’, and that he has amnesia. After being taken to an institution called Wellness, he is told he needs urgent surgery. Suspicious, he tries to escape but is forcibly subdued, and awakens peacefully the next day. Everything seems perfect – his house, his family, his life; except that he finds a message from himself that makes his blood run cold.
“If you’re watching this – whatever people are saying, don’t trust them. Your family is not your family. You are not Alec Ross.”
With an ugly divorce behind her and a 40th birthday lurking just round the corner, Jules Cobb (Courtney Cox) longs for a little more action in her life. The available men her age are seemingly only interested in dating barely-legal hotties.
The US broadcast of the COUGARTOWN pilot episode achieved 11.28 million viewers and the series was quickly picked up for the full season.
DROP DEAD DIVA (comedy)
When the beautiful, but vapid, wannabe model Deb has a fatal car accident, she suddenly finds herself in front of Heaven’s gatekeeper, Fred. Fred measures up her life but can’t allocate her a spot in the afterlife, as she’s lived a life devoid of good or bad deeds. Outraged, she attempts to persuade him to return her to her shallow existence – but she is accidentally relegated to the body of the recently deceased Jane Bingum, who is a brilliant, thoughtful and plus-size attorney.
DROP DEAD DIVA has been screening on The Lifetime Channel in the US, attracting 2.8 million viewers — enough to get the series renewed for a second season. The show also aired on the Nine Network in Australia but failed to achieve high ratings for the channel and was subsequently dropped in early September.
HUMAN TARGET (drama)
Christopher Chance is a mysterious security agent for hire who assumes different identities according to his client’s needs – at times literally becoming a human target.
HUMAN TARGET is due to launch on the Fox network in the US early in 2o1o.