Alex Casey and Calum Henderson count down the top 10 local TV shows of the year, as voted by esteemed readers of The Spinoff.
10) Find Me a Māori Bride
There is no better antidote to our extremely contrived, extremely white romance reality TV offerings than Find Me a Māori Bride. A faux-documentary which rips the absolute piss out of franchises like The Bachelor NZ, FMAMB is also packed to the gills with a slew of hilarious and distinctly local characters. George (Matariki Whatarau) and Tama (Cohen Holloway) return in season 2 to Mana Manor for another shot at finding love and it’s some of the funniest TV of the year. Watch it. / Alex Casey
9) All Talk With Anika Moa
For so long our fair nation has been screaming out for a shambolic late night talk show where Jennifer Ward-Lealand plays the ukulele and Ali Mau sings the national anthem. That show is All Talk With Anika Moa, Māori TV’s riotous variety show anchored by one of New Zealand’s funniest humans. Combining interviews, skits, musical guests and a raunchy night with TK Samuels in the broom cupboard, it made for one electric local pop culture feast. / AC
8) 7 Days
You could probably count on both hands the number of New Zealand TV shows to have made it to 250 episodes. Country Calendar, What Now, Shortland Street, Praise Be: all classics in one way or another. We can now add 7 Days to that list – Three’s enduringly popular Friday night comedy mainstay celebrated episode 250 earlier this year in the city which has provided a punchline to approximately 250 thousand jokes since the show started in 2009: Hamilton. / Calum Henderson
7) 800 Words
Australia-New Zealand co-production 800 Words is the best of both TV worlds: Australia’s knack for broad and likeable modern family dramas (Packed to the Rafters et al) meets New Zealand’s small-town quirkiness. The result is a show that’s easy to watch – a bit like an upmarket well-made soap opera, full of colourful characters and the messy relationships they enter into – and it gets better with every series. / CH
6) The Hui
It took out the Best Māori Programme at the New Zealand TV awards, which is just a sliver of the recognition The Hui deserves for its tireless work tucked away on a Sunday morning. Whether it’s the focus on Ngā Mōrehu and the case for a government inquiry, or humanising a woman that the internet reduced to a drug zombie, The Hui continues to provide crucial Māori perspectives and current affairs for all New Zealanders every week. / AC
5) The Brokenwood Mysteries
A popular misconception that arises any time a New Zealand TV drama gets panned is that the critics (aka the out-of-touch Grey Lynn snob society) just want to see local versions of fancy cerebral Scandinavian noir. Really, the main thing anyone wants to see in a New Zealand drama is… New Zealand. That’s what makes Brokenwood so popular – every episode is full of eccentric New Zealand characters, uniquely New Zealand murders and funny, sometimes daggy, New Zealand dialogue. / CH
4) The Project
A year can be a long time in television. This time last year Three was still called TV3 and if you tuned in at 7 o’clock on a weeknight you’d find yourself watching the Duncan Garner and Heather Du Plessis-Allan hosted Story. Even the most ardent early critics of The Project would now have to concede it is miles ahead of its predecessor. Sure, it’s not and never will be Campbell Live – but if Three took it off the air now, the gap it would leave would feel just as big. / CH
3) Married at First Sight NZ
It began with a Luke dropping Lacey in the mud and it ended with almost everyone apart from Brett and Angel getting dropped in the shit. Despite the terrible pairings and incomprehensible fights, Married at First Sight NZ provided a rich vein of electric and meme-able moments, and was undoubtedly the most talked-about show of the year. Who can forget Mr Pigglesworth? Neil forgetting to flush the loo? The bad Tinder messages? And that’s just Andrew. Man, what a show. / AC
2017 was a big year for the nostalgia-tinged Outrageous Fortune prequel. The show’s third season saw the highly anticipated introduction of Cheryl Miller, soon to be the notorious Cheryl West – one of many satisfying connections Westside draws between the two series set roughly two decades apart. Meanwhile, the official Westside Twitter account generously offered to send the band Smashmouth some DVDs. Did they ever get around to watching them and what did they think? / CH
1) Barefoot Bandits
Considering that you can count the number of locally-produced, not-just-for-kids animated TV shows on roughly one foot, the second season of Barefoot Bandits has been a revelation for many in 2017. Made by production house Mukpuddy and using the vocal stylings of every A-list celeb from The Topp Twins to Richard O’Brien, Barefoot Bandits is a cartoon caper for adults and children alike.
Featuring characters such as a Māori space MacGyver and a badass brace-face named Riley, we called Barefoot Bandits “New Zealand’s answer to The Goonies” earlier this year. Kick off your shoes and get stuck in here on TVNZ Ondemand, you wouldn’t want to miss the best local show of 2017 now, would you? / AC
This content, like all television coverage we do at The Spinoff, is brought to you thanks to the excellent folk at Lightbox. Do us and yourself a favour by clicking here to start a FREE 30 day trial of this truly wonderful service.
The Spinoff Weekly compiles the best stories of the week – an essential guide to modern life in New Zealand, emailed out on Monday evenings.