Deliciously twisted black comedy, a psychological thriller, murder mysteries, and a story starring a transgender lead are all in the pipeline for New Zealand television and online audiences.
NZ On Air’s last funding round of the year has seen four new drama projects and three returning projects commissioned, all reflecting diverse ideas, serving diverse audiences and, importantly, having diverse writers and directors at the helm.
Fresh Eggs, a black comedy for prime time on TVNZ 2 is penned by Nick Ward (Stickmen) and Kim Harrop (Go Girls). This rollicking series takes super nice city folk Wade and Penny to a new life, the so-called “good life” in the country. But instead of peace and tranquillity, small town intrigue and mayhem ensues.
New on TVNZ 1 will be The Bad Seed, a psychological thriller. When a high-flying man is the main suspect for murder he must fight the country’s most powerful politician to clear his name and keep his daughter. Based on two critically-acclaimed novels by notable New Zealand author Charlotte Grimshaw, the screenplay is by Sarah Kate-Lynch, and will be produced and directed by women.
Meanwhile the body count continues to rise in season 5 of the highly successful The Brokenwood Mysteries (pictured, top) on Prime. New Zealand’s own unique murder-mystery series grew its audience with season 4 and is also a big hit in France.
These three drama projects alone represent 760 jobs in the television and support sector.
New for an online audience will be Alibi, an interactive drama series that uses multiple platforms for storytelling including TVNZ On Demand, YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram. Each of the six episodes of Alibi is told from the perspective of a different suspect in a murder case and they are designed to be watched in any order.
At My Most Beautiful, is a drama webseries to feature on WatchME. Transgender activist Tommy Davis returns to his rural hometown after the sudden death of his partner, where he’s swept up in a vicious political fight about sustainable dairy farming.
In comedy, Millen Baird is back as the hapless Darryl in Darryl, A Coast To Coast Story; and there’ll be a new series of clever sketches from a Māori perspective in Only In Aotearoa 2.
“These projects each serve different audiences, cover a range of genre, will be found on a variety of platforms, and in many cases bring through new creative talents. We are excited by their potential and also delighted to support the return of three successful projects,” said NZ On Air CEO Jane Wrightson.
“We will continue to invest in the best quality ideas to reach diverse audiences. We, and the sector, are working hard to bring forward new ideas NZ audiences will enjoy. And importantly, with these projects, we are encouraging women in lead creative roles,” Ms Wrightson continued.
The Bad Seed, 5 x 44 mins, Jump Film & Television with South Pacific Pictures for TVNZ 1, up to $5,586,890
Fresh Eggs, 6 x 45 mins, Warner Bros NZ for TVNZ 2, up to $4,385,309
The Brokenwood Mysteries 5, 4 x 90 mins, South Pacific Pictures for Prime, up to $3,636,000
Darryl, A Coast To Coast Story, 9 x 8 mins, Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions for TVNZ On Demand, up to $472,500
Only In Aotearoa 2, 8 x 30mins, Kura Productions for Māori Television, up to $400,000
At My Most Beautiful, 6 x 10 mins, NZME for WatchME, up to $295,523
Alibi, 6 x 10 mins, PLUS6FOUR Entertainment for TVNZ On Demand, up to $143,460