First off, an apology. Last week we glanced at TV3 and 4’s new lineup for 2011 and rather rashly suggested that, with TVNZ about to release details of their own new season, viewers had much to look forward to.
Turns out that’s only correct if you’re the type of viewer who exists on a wall-to-wall diet of lame reality shows and excruciating talent contests, with an occasional soap opera thrown in for variation.
At a time when Mediaworks has realigned TV3 and 4 to compete directly against TV One and 2, the government broadcaster has responded by releasing a 2011 schedule that appears about as exciting as a series of dental appointments.
Reality shows hilariously referred to by TVNZ public relation boffins as “factual” programmes will dominate the landscape on both One and 2, often under the guise of bringing us a public service.
Nigel Latta will be back, this time with The Politically Incorrect Guide to Teenagers, no doubt bemoaning the confusion caused by the conflicting advice offered by so many parenting “experts”.
There will be something called Do or Die, allegedly aimed at encouraging Kiwis to confront an “obesity epidemic”, and another entitled Politicians At Work in which MPs tackle tasks within their area of expertise.
Whether that means there’ll be an episode on identity theft from disgraced Act MP David Garrett, or a lecture on the usefulness of stereotyping from Melissa Lee has yet to be advised, but sources have warned Remote against raising hopes.
Add to that the less-than-compelling lives of The World’s Strictest Parents and other staples such as Animal Rescue, Coastwatch, Piha Rescue and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and you begin to get a feel for TVNZ’s 2011 focus.
There’ll be no relief over at TV2 either, with the schedule to be littered with low-grade affairs such as Neighbours At War, Police Ten 7, Motorway Patrol, Rescue One, Hell’s Kitchen, American Idol and The Amazing Race.
Even TVNZ’s own press release made clear its love for the reality genre, choosing to highlight before anything else a second season of MasterChef New Zealand and a new series called MasterChef Masterclasses.
Not until the PR release had covered most of the banal and the trivial did it reveal what looms as a likely high-light for the year, a Marcus Lush-hosted travelogue called North, a successor to his highly-regarded trek through Southland.
There’s also room for hope over Episodes, created by the makers of Friends, the Aussie series Offspring, by the makers of McLeod’s Daughters, and Body of Proof starring Dana Delaney of Desperate Housewives fame.
TV2 will get No Ordinary Family, a story about an American family that gain superpowers after a plane crash, Off The Map starring Kiwi Martin Henderson and Shit My Dad Says – the tale of the man whose Twitter comments were so funny they were turned into a best-selling book and TV series.
For all that, it’s hard to get excited over a diet containing so much reality TV pap. Sorry for getting carried away last week.