Alex Casey breaks down some of the key changes, newbies and returning old faves to local television in 2018.
Take one more look at your crappy holiday viewing habits, because the last of the delicious summer TV wine has nearly run dry. Soon we are back to regimented programming, which means no more corny Lord of the Rings-inspired raps on TVNZ, no more Germaine Greer embarrassing herself on The Chase in primetime and no more pretending you have time to catch up on The Sopranos before work starts.
Come Monday 15 January, Shortland Street will be back to mop up the dramatic vomit of the Christmas cliffhanger. The Project is back, too, alongside The Crowd Goes Wild (but did it ever leave?). Alumni Mark Richardson will be up early in The AM to stoically drag us from 2018 back into the dark ages.
Could be grim, but it’s 2K18 and time get positive. With the dawning of a new television year also comes sparkly new show announcements, wild presenter swaps, and the return of some old favourites. Here’s what we know so far, with surely a lot more to come.
Taika & Jemaine & Ghosts
One of the most exciting new scripted series coming this year is sure to be Wellington Paranormal, created by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi. The faux Police 10-7 show follows constables Karen and Mike from 2014’s What We Do In The Shadows as they work to protect New Zealand from a myriad of local supernatural spooks. Described by Taika as “mockumentary X-Files,” this is sure to be one to crack open a big bag of ghost chips for.
But wait, there’s more!
Scripted Three faves Westside and Funny Girls will both be returning this year, with Westside entering its fourth season and defying all of our well-informed plot predictions. The Funny Girls team will be back for a third season after a 2017 hiatus and I’m bloody excited. Forget the man drought, this has been a much longer and more harrowing wait.
Presenter musical chairs
We asked 100 (1) people why Dai Henwood is hosting Dancing With the Stars this year, and all of them (me) responded with “because Dom Bowden is chilling in his cave in case the Bachelor NZ bat signal goes off.” Over on TVNZ, the nation waits with bated breath for the reveal of the new Seven Sharp hosting duo in 2018. Will it be Hilary and Jack? Thingee and Kim Hill? Read 100 possible combinations right here on The Spinoff website.
Three just wants to dance
This year, Mediaworks is leaning harder into dancing competitions than Smooth Criminal-era Michael Jackson. Dancing With the Stars NZ is slated to return along with The Great NZ Dance Masala, hosted by Colin Mathura-Jeffree. One will pit local dance groups against each other in a battle of Bollywood, classical and traditional Indian dance styles. The other will probably be Andrew from Married at First Sight NZ doing a Dirty Dancing lift with Mr Pigglesworth. I will be watching and enjoying both.
What would you, beloved reader, like to see more of in our local TV coverage this year? Let me know firstname.lastname@example.org
TVNZ gets real about REality
Survivor NZ will be back this year with a boosted cash prize of $250,000 and hopefully no more devastating instances of beachfront pick n’ mix. Interestingly, they will also be launching new local reality ventures in Project Runway NZ, something called Design Junkies and Heartbreak Island, which is definitely not like Love Island at all in the slightest why would you even think that. It’s not strictly reality, but I am also really looking forward to seeing a lot more Re: in the old Facebook feed.
Pour one out…
2018 marks the end of Filthy Rich’s Truebridge family flaunting their dirty, dirty wealth on our television screens. Commenting on the official announcement made on the Filthy Rich Facebook page last year, creator Gavin Strawhan said they were “gutted” and “had developed some great stories for series 3 and were totally pumped to write and produce it.”
You won’t even be able to drown your sorrows in a delectable Old El Paso taco kit prize, because Three also announced in December that Family Feud was getting the boot in 2018. Prefer boozy politics chat and rarked-up legalise cannabis folk anyway? Sorry, no Back Benches this year either.
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