What is happening to NZ drama?

July 10th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

A reader writes in:

Basically, what’s happened to NZ tv drama?

This week The Almighty Johnsons returned and produced a dismal +5 rating of 3 . In its target audience of males 18-49 it rated just a 4, about half of the previous series.

Go Girls has ratings of 5 in +5. Blue Rose on TV2 was a fizzer, rating 3s and 4s in 5+. TV3s Harry did a dismal 3.

It’s a good question. NZ drama has rated well in the past, but at the moment it is all rating pretty badly.

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35 Responses to “What is happening to NZ drama?”

  1. TheContrarian (1,043 comments) says:

    NZ drama died with Outrageous Fortune.

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  2. Pete George (21,804 comments) says:

    There was plenty of drama on Twitter last night following the Labour coup:

    Christine Ammunson ‏@2TAPU
    Political vs Media drama on Twitter better than Shortland Street, acting is better too

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  3. Mobile Michael (364 comments) says:

    This is not my life was good, although the twist at the end was not surprising.

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  4. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    Access to foreign series online is the answer. NZ drama used to be protected by the networks.

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  5. big bruv (12,348 comments) says:

    “NZ drama died with Outrageous Fortune.”

    Lol….Outrageous fortune was crap, as a rule all NZ drama is rubbish.

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  6. Ashley Schaeffer (336 comments) says:

    NZ TV is crap and getting worse. Give me Syfy or HBO any day.

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  7. liarbors a joke (1,069 comments) says:

    Agree. NZ TV is shite…has been for 10 years plus …sky for me

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  8. kowtow (6,690 comments) says:

    All funded by the long suffering and broke taxpayer,why?

    We are drowning in debt and subsidising utter crap, it’s lunacy.

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  9. Manolo (12,622 comments) says:

    NZ drama? Comedy and farce are more appropriate terms for the crap.

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  10. Judith (5,660 comments) says:

    To little money being targeted into development of the arts.

    and, the industry being dominated by certain personalities who seem stuck on the same genre.

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  11. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    NZ drama died with Outrageous Fortune.

    To this day, I still cannot believe that anyone ever watched that.

    The Almighty Johnsons – Title makes it sound like something produced by some idiot american with a camera and a death wish, watched by the sort of people who think midnight C4 programming is great TV.
    Go Girls – Because NZ TV doesn’t have enough unbelievable female characters, let’s make a whole show of them!
    Blue Rose – I assume this dates past the point I stopped watching live TV
    Harry – Ditto.

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  12. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    This is not my life was good, although the twist at the end was not surprising.

    It was very good actually.

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  13. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    Judith#

    you got the second bit right.

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  14. Ed Snack (1,535 comments) says:

    If the question is what’s happening to NZ TV drama, the answer is simple; it’s pure unadulterated crap. Poorly conceived, badly written, badly acted, directed, and produced. And the major reason for that is that it is publicly funded with no penalties for producing the rubbish that they do.

    Public funding has been the death of the arts wherever it is used because the process gets captured by the producers to enrich themselves and their own small coterie. The public, who as taxpayers fund the stuff, don’t get a say.

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  15. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    Scrubone#

    “…NZ drama died with Outrageous Fortune…..To this day, I still cannot believe that anyone ever watched that….”

    Agreed. I kept hearing and reading about how great it was in NZ. Then it came on TV here in Aust. Crap.

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  16. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    Ed Snack#

    You got that in one.

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  17. Bob R (1,250 comments) says:

    More options these days?

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  18. Ed Snack (1,535 comments) says:

    Added, to (sic) little directed at the arts, that’s entirely the wrong approach. To imagine that shovelling even more taxpayers funds down the throats of the darlings that currently control programming will somehow magically improve the shite quality is pure Lala land fantasy, Judith.

    The real answer is exactly the opposite, no public money, let them earn it by making something that people actually want to watch ! Not some half arsed socially progressive “teaching moment” kind of drivel.

    And a little milestone, 1,000 comments, how an earth do some manage 14,000 plus, must be retired or unemployed !

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  19. torro (14 comments) says:

    There is no real competition. In the US TV drama is extremely competitive and they produce the best – Mad Men, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, The Wire, West Wing etc etc. Here it is funded by NZ On Air whose remit is hours of local content produced. Sure they aim to succeed, but there’s nothing like having your shirt on the line. And South Pacific Pictures makes most of the TV drama, and their model is early evening soap, followed by mid evening soap. Given different titles of course, but from the same cookie cutter.

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  20. UrbanNeocolonialist (133 comments) says:

    Needs decent writing and good production values to get ratings these days. But NZ does good shows, just not for the local market. Spartacus was pretty good and Legend of the Seeker was ok but a bit low on production values.

    Can’t understand how anyone can watch ‘reality’ TV as it is absolutely dire bottom of the barrel stuff unless you are a total moron. And internationally soap operas seem to have (thankfully) had their day – the herd is being thinned out greatly.

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  21. Albert_Ross (172 comments) says:

    I thought “Harry” was pretty good. Particularly the villain.

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  22. ChardonnayGuy (1,023 comments) says:

    Yeah, I agree. Oscar did an excellent job in “Harry” and I hope that it’s renewed for a further season. We need a gritty crime drama. I liked the characterisation and the plot, but then I’m always partial to a little film (or television) noir. And while “Go Girls” and the “Almighty Johnsons” carry ample guy candy for those of us so disposed, at least they’re an evolutionary jump upward from the indistinguishable NeighboursHomeAndAway ghastly Aussie soaps on offer at tea time while one’s awaiting the evening news.

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  23. BeaB (1,946 comments) says:

    I thought Harry and the lead actor were wooden, predictable and amateurish. Sadly like any NZ drama I have been able to watch.
    Perhaps we just cannot compete with the huge amounts of talent and money available in the US (and even they have their failures) and should not even try.
    I hate taxpayer money being shovelled into these sad attempts.

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  24. KiwiGreg (3,129 comments) says:

    Stupid taxpayers don’t know what’s good for them. Need quotas for NZ productions, more subsidies and higher pay for hard working NZ actors, it’s the only way they will learn.

    Imagine thinking you can watch what you like and are prepared to pay for!

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  25. infused (615 comments) says:

    Same NZ actors in very similar roles.

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  26. bc (1,251 comments) says:

    Wow, what a depressing bunch of whiners and moaners people are on here! Talk about cultural cringe to the max.

    Outrageous Fortune has been sold internationally and the rights to produce a local version have been sold to countries like the UK and USA. It’s a great programme which puts NZ culture (or a subset of it at least) front and centre.

    Harry is as good if not better than similar overseas shows, eg Underbelly, although Oscar Knightly struggled with a demanding lead role at times.

    Celebrate being a New Zealander!

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  27. marcw (206 comments) says:

    Looking back, when we paid an annual TV licensing fee of $90 odd, we all thought that was too much, and after protests and threatened mutiniy the polititians bribed us with a cancellation. (I think this was in the 80′s, but could have been 90′s). Now, we get crap on TVNZ, and pay $80 odd a MONTH to get a choice on Sky (with sport) – some would say it’s still crap, but better crap. Imagine if we had continued the annual fee for broadcasting, and had polititians with the intelligence and balls to have administered the funding impartially. Would our standards be higher now, and with better quality and choice? Would our $90 pa be seen as a good investment now?

    It seems to me we have the worst of both worlds at present – poor ratings on TVNZ, and borderline financial viability on MediaWorks and still poorer ratings.

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  28. kowtow (6,690 comments) says:

    Celebrate being a New Zealander.

    Come on we folk are ashamed of the shit that NZ TV is producing,that makes us proud New Zealanders.

    NZ is not a rugby team ,a yacht or some crap on tv……you’re the cringer or morely like a fly,consuming shit.

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  29. wikiriwhis business (3,286 comments) says:

    Some very good NZ film coming out

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  30. Fletch (5,719 comments) says:

    This is not my life was good, although the twist at the end was not surprising.

    I really enjoyed it, apart from Tandi Wright’s acting (or lack thereof). She was really bad.
    Outrageous Fortune was rubbishy to me. I can’t bring to mind any NZ dramas that I have liked.

    Bring back comedy Letter To Blanchy though!

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  31. ByterNZ (24 comments) says:

    I was interested in the reboot of Go Girls…until I found out that the “series goal” for one of the characters was to get a married woman (with children!) to divorce her husband and be with him instead, at which point I decided I would never watch that show out of protest. I guess I could live with that plot if the character “stumbled into it” with bad decisions. But to make a concerted effort and make it the series goal (which means that the audience is supposed to accept it) is beyond the pale.

    I tried watching The Blue Rose, but the characters were just too annoying, and I just couldn’t keep watching it. Winners and Losers also lost its way after a good first series.

    If I had to sum it up: POOR writing (especially the dialog).

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  32. RandySavage (195 comments) says:

    its crap
    and it always has been

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  33. Blair36 (3 comments) says:

    Pretty sure it is not so much what is happening to NZ drama but more what is happening to NZ TV viewers. The NZ TV public have been rendered so brain dead by exposure to Reality TV, Cooking Shows, Property Shows, and Home Renovation Shows that we can’t appreciate the rare occasions that we get to see quality drama shows.

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  34. Left Right and Centre (2,390 comments) says:

    Small country.

    Nzders… myself included… watch endless endless endless American spew. Isn’t that weird? We’re not Americans. Why watch programmes from a foreign country? Same with UK programmes. Any programme not from NZ.

    What do you think Americans do? Do you think they watch 90%+ foreign content? Nope- they can watch nothing but their own TV. How nice for them.

    Imagine if Americans spoke Japanese instead. Then you’d be rooted.

    I hate Outrageous Fortune. Go Girls is bubblegum bollocks for young women aged 17 called Janalenette. What’s that programme on One with the stupid fat bitch with is it red hair? Yeah.. I hate that shit too. Hated Shortland St all 25 years of it. Instant non-negotiable deal-breaker with another human being.

    TV mostly sucks shit. I’m watching something about hoarders on One. Now that’s entertainment.

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  35. ngawaka19 (1 comment) says:

    To little money being targeted into development of the arts.

    and, the industry being dominated by certain personalities who seem stuck on the same genre.

    Thoroughly agree with you about “the industry being dominated by certain personalities”, its been like this for 20 years the same people keep getting the same funding. And no one else gets a look in.

    But I have to disagree with the “little money being targeted”, there is too much concentration going into training and development, NZ doesn’t have the capacity to host newly trained people. The old technicians in the field can’t even get work, or funded, so why have huge resources in the training arena if we don’t have the industry to harbour old talent, let alone newbies.

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