Wednesday, November 10, 2010

And then there was Prime

The final season launch today was Prime. Celebrating 5 years since it was bought by Sky, it has done well over the last few years. I find Prime a very brave channel when it comes to their programming and each year they have backed shows which have been renewed for more seasons creating a nice little stable.

Now, these shows are by no means the general population, mind-numbing crap that you get on the other channels. Instead, I always think of Prime as programming for the thinking viewer.

Shite, that's a big call. I guess one of the reasons I think this is because when I talk about TV shows with my father, more often than not the shows are on Prime so I suppose I associate it with that level of intelligence. Granted, my father also likes Skins, but hey, he's allowed to have good taste in shows as well as being a thinker.

At any rate, they will have True Blood back again next year for Season Four. That's enough to keep me happy, but also Doctor Who, QI, Top Gear, Weeds and everyone's favourite Antique's Roadshow.

The shows that are missing for me are Secret Diary of a Call Girl, which in theory has been commissioned for a fourth and final season and Mad Men whose fifth season will commence in 2011 in the States. I do, so so much love both of these shows and do hope that they will return o Prime as well.

Onto the new shows...

Obviously the relationship with HBO is paying off (FOTC, True Blood) as surely the flagship show for 2011 is Boardwalk Empire. First episode directed by Scorsese and starring Steve Buscemi and Michael Pitt, I am loving this show, all about the time of Prohibition:

Three Hungry Boys looks interesting
Junior Masterchef Australia looks ADORABLE
I have high hopes for Running Wilde simply because it is from the creators of Arrested Development, and we all know how amazing that show is:

And then they have some lovely looking mini-series including The Kennedy's and David Attenborough's Life series.

I do enjoy Prime new season launches because they don't ever try to be a channel they're not. They know that they bulk out the schedule with re-runs of crazy old shows, but that is what allows them to take a punt of some of the riskier programmes. Good on them I say. Nice looking 2011.

Groove Guide, Groove Guide

So, I kid you not, I just smeared black newsprint all over my face this evening.

So much so I had to bust into a friends house and get it all off my face before we went for a drink.

Why you may ask? This:
I may regret this later - but at present I've had a few drinks, so, you know - I'm not wearing anything under this Groove Guide. The new, improved, A4 sized Groove Guide which is so big, and beautiful and ON NEWSPRINT which I picked up on the street just tonight while walking home I had to inhale as much of it as possible. Hence the newsprint black on my face.

For those of you who don't know me well, the Groove Guide has played a large part of my life for the last few years. It's a great publication. I do think that it is sad that Real Groove has gone, but Groove Guide has always been in the hearts of those on the streets, and taking it out of the glossy high street arena and putting it back on the streets as a newsprint publication, is where it should be.

Been drinking. That is all. Go forth and read Groove Guide. Seriously.

Monday, November 8, 2010

2011 New Season Line Up

Couple of weeks ago was the Mediaworks' new season launch which saw the network unabashedly declare that they were going to take on TVNZ with all they have. Good on them too. Mediaworks has always kinda been the poor cousin (they didn't have a rich father/mother bank rolling them) but with Jason Paris taking the lead, and Linda stepping up, the network really does look like it is going full steam in the right direction.

With the announcement that they are changing their channel target audience to AP25-54 for TV3 and turning C4 into FOUR (a more entertainment focused channel) with an AP18-39 audience, they are directly competing with TVNZ's channels. And they weren't apologising for the direct nature of their announcement. They meant business. Anyone who was following my tweets that particular morning know how incredibly impressed by this presentation I was. It is the first time (I think I have been going to new season launches for about 4 years - so still a youngin) I have walked away from a new season launch from either network so excited about what they were doing. Not only the enthusiasm of the presenters, the network direction, but also the programming that they are pulling in.

My highlights for Mediaworks next year include:

Community - I can't say enough good things about this show, and the fact they have picked it up just shows how onto it the programmers are. This is brilliance:

Outsourced - This is kinda my pick of the new season from the US. Love it. Smart humour:

Other shows to keep an eye out for:
Almighty Johnsons (click here for a peak)
Bigger Better Faster Stronger (whoever had the idea to put Greg Page in FRONT of the camera is a genius)
Graham Norton Show
Gruen Transfer

Plus all the usuals - Californication, the CSI/NCIS', The Good Wife, Glee, Top Model etc.

Then, today we had the TVNZ launch.

Now, I'm the first to put my hand up and say I am not TVNZ's biggest fan at present. They cause the the most headaches in my day to day working life and when you couple that with the arrogance of the 10% commission bullshit, well, they doesn't help them climb any higher in my opinion, that's for sure.

So, first things first. The kapa haka group who performed were awesome. Very very talented. The fact that they performed Te Rauparaha's haka, well, the irony wasn't lost on me, let's just put it that way.

TVNZ did what TVNZ does. They put on a show. Paul Maher made reference to revenue being up and how tight avails are in Oct/Nov. but "we still want your money, we'll find a way to spend it". I think he needs to talk to the people on the ground, as I have found it very hard to spend money on TVNZ in the last couple of months. The fact that they have shite programming in Q4 is kinda besides the point, there was just nothing there, and apparently I'm not allowed to build a national spot with regional spots anymore. Since when?

Onto the programming, gotta say it, not that impressed. First up on the One list was North - the follow up to Marcus Lush's South. Now, that was actually in the schedule to run this October, but got pulled. Hopefully we actually get it next year and it's not the flagship for 2012. There are a couple which look good including Enlightened and Body of Work, but they were the only 2 that did anything for me in the new line up. Trying to push Shit My Dad Says when it's already bombing pretty hard in the US potentially isn't the best idea and raving about securing one of the potentially most hideous concepts for a TV show I've ever seen, The Walking Dead. Ah, not for me:

But, TVNZ will have all the returning big names to TV2 - Greys, Desperate, Brothers & Sisters. The bankable big hitters which the general public love, gets them the ratings and therefore the $.

So, that is a very quick rundown. I think what Mediaworks are doing is ballsy and awesome, but they have a huge job ahead of them to rebuild C4 into the mainstream commercial channel that they want FOUR to be.

One thing I hope both Mediaworks and TVNZ do better next year, is give their new shows a chance and let the audience actually know that they are on. A number of shows which I really do think could have been freaking amazing raters this year, were just not promo-ed enough. Very lightly promo-ed on air and practically nothing off television. Human Target, Hawthorn, Sons of Anarchy, Castle - all have the potential to be great shows, I just don't think the audience know/knew they exist, so haven't found them. Anarchy isn't doing too badly, but I think this is by default as there simply isn't anything else on, on a Wednesday night.

Right - that's it from me. Any comments anyone? Did I get anything seriously wrong? Do you need to me to explain why I think performing that particular haka was ironic?