Well, that was the year in television, that was. The good, the bad, the ugly; we had it all, and especially the latter two categories. Time to look back and hand out the gongs.
Always difficult, this one. Reggie Perrin reminded us that remakes weren’t necessarily inferior; The Big Bang Theory proved there was still room for academic, geek-like humour, and Radiradirah had moments, if not sustained periods, of excellence.
But as worthy as the challengers were, nothing came close to the consistency of laughs provided by the 7 Days’ team as they trawled through our news on a weekly basis.
Throughout the year Campbell Live was repeatedly earmarked for the knackers’ yard yet consistently out-pointed TV One’s Close Up; the highlight arriving in September when it exposed the criminal past of Act MP and law and order spokesman David Garrett.
Host John Campbell might not have enjoyed much of his 2009 experience, but this year’s performance, in tandem with new executive producer Pip Keane, has seen his stocks return to their usual, buoyant levels.
Most Underserved Demise:
TVNZ axed long-time Good Morning co-host Steve Gray on the strength of supposed budget cuts and then wasted no time in replacing him with Hayden Jones at the start of the year.
Gray, who handled tough interviews with far more authority and professionalism than his co-presenters, had earlier been told by TVNZ to tone down his “gayness”. Presumably, at the same time, they were telling Breakfast’s Paul Henry to let rip.
Best News/Current Affairs:
Campbell Live was resurgent, Close Up was well-funded and Mark Sainsbury (right) inoffensive, and TVNZ’s Sunday enjoyed the occasional exposure, without setting the world on fire.
Head and shoulders above the pack, however, was TV3’s Nightline, and particularly its remarkable outing of high-ranking New Zealand Defence Force scientist Stephen Wilce as a conman and fraud.
Biggest scheduling cock-up:
Take one of New Zealand’s most popular, locally-produced sports shows, “temporarily” move it from its 7pm timeslot to accommodate the Commonwealth Games, and then lose most of its viewership by leaving it with a 10.30pm start.
Unlikely, you say? Well, that’s exactly what Prime did with its excellent show The Crowd Goes Wild, featuring irreverence in the form of Mark Richardson, Andrew Mulligan and James McOnie.
Another tough category. For a while it seemed that Rivers would carry away the “silverware”, given the quality of Craig Potton’s riveting account of the health, or otherwise, of our main waterways.
However, when it came to providing information while conveying a genuine sense of place and time, all wrapped up in some scintillating cinematography, the recent screening of Queenstown director/producer Peta Carey’s The Waterfall had no peer.
Worst Reality Show:
A ‘take your pick’ category, I know, but there could only be one winner. The Apprentice NZ, hosted by Terry Serepisos, was billed as a “highly instructional” Kiwi edition, “an excellent vehicle for budding entrepreneurs and emerging business types”, and above all, a reality show “with a conscience”.
Enough said, really.