NZ On Air announced a whole slew of true blue kiwi documentary projects today, so I decided to break down the lucky winners and see what televisual bang we are getting for our hard-earned buck.
Our Big Blue Backyard 2, 6 x 1hr on TV One
Bang: A whale of a series, and an unsurprising choice for funding. The highly-acclaimed, prime time slotter Our Big Blue Backyard will be flooding back on to our screens sooner than you can say “close up shot of a sleepy seal’s face on a rock”. This time, instead of just sludging around Pt Chev or dirty old Piha, audiences will be transported to our ocean’s farthest reaches. For a cool $2 mill get ready to go up the Kermadecs and down to the world’s chill-zone, Antarctica. You can’t put a price on a swimming polar bear cub money shot, in full HD.
Decades in Colour, 3 x 1 hr on Prime
Bang: Bit of an archival one here. The three-part documentary series will show never-before-broadcast footage from around New Zealand in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Bringing together colour footage and interviews from social change movements, it will be an cool new look at some cool old stuff. Here’s hoping for some Fail Army style mishaps along the way, just for a bit of fun.
Smokefree Rockquest 2015, 4 x ½ hr plus 1 x 1hr on FOUR
Bang: It’s just like the Groups section in The X Factor NZ – but more!
Til Death Do Us Part, 1 x 1hr on TV3
Bang: This one-off documentary follows the plight of Wanganui man Antony de Malmanche. The 52 year-old was arrested and accused of smuggling 1.7kgs of methamphetamine into Thailand. Facing either five years in prison or the death penalty, Malmanche has maintained that he was manipulated by a Thai woman that he met in an online dating scam. Basically like a real twisted and sad version of Bridget Jones 2: The Edge of Reason.
With over $12,000 raised for Malmanche’s case through crowdfunding alone, it’s safe to say that more than a few New Zealanders will be tuning in to see this one.
Chopper’s Line Up, 6 x ½ hr for TV3
Bang: To give New Zealand comedy another television platform is wonderful, but to put Heath ‘Chopper’ Franklin in the hosting seat sure is a weird move. With our fully peaking local stand-ups doing spots alongside international guests, it’s a great opportunity for emerging New Zealand talent to flex their finest comedy muscles (probably bum muscles) for all the nation to see.
NZ On Air Chief Executive said in the media release that “one thing remains the same – the need for New Zealand’s stories to be told in our own authentic voice”. I suppose nothing says New Zealand like an Australian comedian masquerading as an Australian character. But then, as the Sharpie-d moustachio might say, “harden the fuck up New Zealand”.