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The most exciting new local shows coming to TVNZ next year

TVNZ just announced their new season line-up for 2018. Here’s what TV editor Alex Casey is looking forward to the most.

Tonight, TVNZ launched their big new season programme on Auckland’s waterfront, including the likes of Big Bang prequel Young Sheldon, UK nudist horror show Naked Attraction and – gird your loins – an untitled Grey’s Anatomy firefighter spinoff series. What’s even more exciting than that is the new local lineup, which reflects a shocking olive branch to genres beyond drama (whaaaat??) and even more legacy international reality franchises coming to little old New Zealand.

Here are the five of the most intriguing new offerings.

PROJECT RUNWAY NEW ZEALAND

As Mediaworks continues to clock the reality TV market here, it looks like TVNZ is also trying to – in the infamous words of Tim Gunn – make it work. And why shouldn’t Project Runway work here? We have tonnes of fashion legends who could lend a hand like Karen Walker and Caroline Eve, and heaps of aspiring designers who’d gladly throw their feathered hat in the ring.

Here’s hoping: Colin Mathura-Jeffree is involved in any way, shape, or form.

PARANORMAL UNIT

It’s been two years since Jemaine Clement slammed the sluggish commissioning at TVNZ, so what better way to celebrate than with a brand new TVNZ comedy created by the Conchord himself and Wilderpeople‘s Taika Waititi? Paranormal Unit follows constables Karen and Mike from What We Do In The Shadows fame as they battle spooks and demons in their own Motorway Patrol-style police reality series.

Here’s hoping: This rocks as hard it sounds.

HEARTBREAK ISLAND

Undoubtedly following the runaway success of the UK’s horrible and excellent Love Island, TVNZ will be putting 20 Kiwi singles together in a tropical island resort. There’s $100,000 on the line which is not to be sniffed at. Bet Avi from Survivor NZ is kicking himself right now – at least on Heartbreak Island they’ll probably get fed.

Here’s hoping: We get some friendly old Bachelorettes washing up on the Heartbreak Island shores. Or even that weird milk guy from First Dates? I’m easy.

THE LEGEND OF MONKEY

A co-production between Australia and New Zealand, The Legend of Monkey is “a high concept reimagining” of a 16th century Chinese fable filled with martial arts, magic, gods and demons. There are some familiar faces too, starring Josh Thomson (Terry Teo, The Project) and directed by Gerard Johnstone (Housebound, Terry Teo). This is the kind of bold genre-based TV that New Zealand needs more of, but the glaring lack of Chinese actors in early cast photos has not gone unnoticed by anyone.

Here’s hoping: A) they’ve somehow wisened up re: their casting choices and B) that the suits at TVNZ get their heads around Netflix being a “fad” before this show launches on the service.

MILLENNIUM TEENS

Very psyched about the return of our own 7Up-inspired series that everyone seems to have forgotten about in the brain fart that has been the past decade or so. Revisiting the babies who were the first to be born in New Zealand in the first moments if the new millennium, Millennium Teens catches up with them and their families 18 years later. We’ve got “a rep water polo player, a keen mountain biker, an environmentalist, a foodie, a fundamental Christian, a cancer survivor and a popular It-girl who loves to party” and I can’t wait.

Here’s hoping: we survive the rest of 2017 to see it through, just like they survived Y2k

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Where’s Filthy Rich?

A conspicuous absence at this stage.

Stakeout S3
Comedian Tom Sainsbury, easily the best thing about the 2017 election, has been making this webseries with fellow wunderkind Chris Parker (of Jono and Ben and Funny Girls) for the past few years now, and it’s genuinely one of the funniest things I have ever seen. 

Design Junkies
A new reality series that tasks amateur designers with turning old junk into beautiful handcrafted artworks. Remember when Sally Ridge made this thing? Hoping for more of that gorgeous inspiration.

Wilde Ride
New young adult series following an aspiring show jumping champ forced to live with her dirt bike-riding family in West Auckland after her parents are killed in a car accident. Created by Justin Harwood (High Road).


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