TV highs and lows for 2009

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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.

Best Comedy

A tough one, this. The Flight of the Conchords helped us laugh at ourselves, The Jaqui Brown Diaries continued to surprise, and Diplomatic Immunity was so naff it receives a mention for all the wrong reasons.

Yet there can only be one winner and, when it came to producing belly laughs week-in, week-out, nothing seriously challenged TV2’s so-called investigative reality show, Target. Congratulations chaps.

Best News/Current Affairs

Another packed field. TV One’s Breakfast was streets ahead of TV3’s Sunrise in terms of morning news, but was eventually disqualified on the grounds of Paul Henry. Close Up shaded Campbell Live in current affairs, and One News easily outpointed 3 News, despite an obsession with weather stories.

But the hands-down winner? TV3’s 7 Days can take a bow, for finally offering us news with a twist.

Most Deserved Demise

For a good part of the year it seemed Wheel of Fortune would win this category at a canter. Seldom has news of a television show’s axing has been so keenly celebrated. Then out of the blue TV viewers were given an even sweeter tonic when it was announced we’d no longer be tortured by an annual series of Dancing With The Stars.
Despite Suzanne Paul saying it was like losing a close friend, this was one grave on which we could all dance together.

Best Travelogue

New Zealand seems to be good at this sort of thing. Jeremy Wells initially brought us the third season of The Unauthorised History of NZ, a well-received romp through the TVNZ archives to remind us all where we came from. Then he returned with the fascinating Birdland; if anything deserving of even greater acclaim.

For all that, nothing could beat TV One’s inspiring series, South, presented by Marcus Lush. We just hope no Aucklanders were watching.

Best Reality TV Show

An oxymoron if ever there was one. There would’ve been support for TV One’s The Politically Incorrect Parenting Show, in which presenter Nigel Latta (offered as an expert on parenting) bemoaned the confusion caused by the advice of so many experts on parenting.

But the least offensive of this genre was surely TV3’s Telethon. Boring perhaps, but at least it raised $2m for needy Kiwi kids.

Best Repeat

There will be those who couldn’t get another of animated favourites such as The Simpsons, South Park and The Family Guy, and those who could recite the entire dialogue of each and every Friends episode. That 70s Show, Dharma and Greg, Frasier and Seinfeld all presented worthy opportunities to rest the brain, and the Comedy Company’s bracketing of The Goodies, The Young Ones and Harry Enfield provided some welcome relief on Sunday evenings.

Having said that, nothing could beat the repeat screening of Fawlty Towers on UKTV. Thirty years, and it’s still the funniest show in town.