Another Outrageous Fortune spinoff? Maybe. The return of Face the Music? No thank you.
We stare at screens all day and all night. Is this good for us? We’re going to talk about that. Read more Screen Week content here.
If there’s been a common thread across The Spinoff over the past seven days, it’s that making television in New Zealand is hard. Even seemingly successful shows struggle to go the distance. Just look at Step Dave, canned after two seasons five years ago, and Head High, canned after two seasons just last week.
Maybe this whole model needs a rethink. Andrew Szusterman, the South Pacific Pictures boss in charge of those shows, argued that international streaming services should be forced to make local content when they enter a new market. Seeing Netflix’s domination continue to rise when it has just four Kiwi titles on the platform makes it hard to disagree.
But there’s also another option. Maybe we just do what America does and plunder the depths of New Zealand’s televisual history for content. Our TV landscape is littered with the carcasses of short-lived series canned well before their time. Just last weekend, the Vaxathon, based on those Telethons of old, proved that model can work wonderfully when fixed to a cause.
Here, after an entire week dedicated to screens, we’ve been discussing many of our favourite shows that deserve the remake and reboot treatment, from the sizzling comedy of The Jaquie Brown Diaries, to the huge shoulder pads of Gloss, and the short-lived craziness of Come Dine With Me NZ.
But we wanted to hear from others about their favourite ageing New Zealand TV shows. We put the call out and received so many replies, we decided to rank them, in order of likelihood that they’ll ever see another season.
Sorry, all you Finding J Smith fans. You may want to stop reading now…
17. Face the Music
No one needs Simon Barnett, his blond highlights and his “dad bod” hosting a bonus round of this jingle jangle wrangle ever again. RIP, frosted tips.
16. Finding J Smith
Also no. Leave Jenny Smith alone.
15. Neighbours at War
What the world needs less of is people fighting about driveways, fencelines and puppy poo. These days, we have community Facebook pages for that.
14. Spot On
One of my earliest childhood memories is watching Phil Keoghan host a Spot On segment about UFOs. It terrified me and still gives me chills. I do not support the return of Spot On in any way, shape or form. Stick to The Amazing Race and organising your Emmy collection, buddy.
13. Ice TV
Jon Bridges has his hands full running The Project, Nathan Rarere is the first voice anyone hears on Radio NZ every morning, and Petra Bagust hosts a bunch of podcasts. The former Ice TV hosts are too busy to do this. Besides, three middle-aged presenters fronting an edgy ‘youf’ music show will never be a good idea.
12. Clash of the Codes
In my mind, Clash of the Codes features fire fighters, police officers and ambulance staff duking it out in brutal physical and mental endeavours, finding the toughest emergency staffer once and for all. In reality, it’s bloody Simon Barnett again, this time in a blue Wiggles jumper yelling at sheep shearers. No thanks.
11. Nothing Trivial
Three seasons! Step Dave only got two. Stop being greedy!
10. Go Girls
Five seasons! Head High only got two! Stop being greedy!
9. Jackson’s Wharf
I am into a show that promises “sordid affairs, violent emotions and a good old fashioned lynch mob”. I am also into a show that keeps Nicole Whippy permanently on our screens. Yes please.
8. Get it to Te Papa
This suggestion, it turns out, comes from someone who worked on the excellent one-season Spinoff show. I won’t say who. But I wholeheartedly support this request with absolutely no bias whatsoever.
7. Being Eve
This seems cool.
6. Back of the Y
Look, if the louts from Jackass can still make daredevil stunt movies in their 50s, why can’t Matt Heath and his team of shambolic Kiwi prankster wannabes?
5. TVNZ U
Yes. It should never have been cancelled in the first place. Sniff.
4. The Strip
If someone can coax Taika Waititi to take his shirt off again for a reboot of this early 2000s fave, it’s bound to get commissioned. He does seem to have his hands pretty full with Ewoks and vampires these days though.
3. Tux Wonder Dogs
What the world needs right now, more than anything, is Mark Leishman whistling at puppies doing tricks. Make this brain balm happen, please, immediately.
2. Xena: Warrior Princess
Sadly, you’re not going to get Lucy Lawless to put her battle armour back on anytime soon. She’s made that clear in multiple interviews over the years. But, according to the star herself, a reboot could already be underway. There’s a Xena quote for every moment, so it seems the appropriate time to say: “Believe in yourself and you will be unstoppable.”
1. Outrageous Fortune
We’ve already had six seasons of Outrageous Fortune, and another six of the prequel Westside. Yet apparently you want more. Lots more. Everyone’s favourite Westie family received the most votes, including one fan demanding, “A spinoff of the Outrageous Fortune spinoff”. An Outrageous Fortune Cinematic Universe? Out of everything on this list, it seems the most likely to have legs.
Last year, the show’s creator, James Griffin, said this: “I would never say never ever again for the Wests.” He’s been imagining a show about Van, Jethro, Loretta and Pascalle at high school in the 90s. “That would be quite fun, to cast teen versions of them and see what Shadbolt High was like.” Cross your fingers and neck a can of Lion Red, because this could end up being a thing.