This year’s new TV shows are nearly upon us – Lost is coming, as is Commander in Chief, Grey’s Anatomy, Casanova and a slew of new US shows which mostly look pretty dodgy. Although it’s fair to say the New Zealand programmers get the pick of the bunch of US and UK fare, there’s an awful lot of stuff out there that completely passes them by. Why? They think New Zealand television audiences are a bunch of dumb asses, that’s why.
So here’s a little list of programmes we’ll never see on New Zealand television. Probably. Feel free to add some of your own.
1. A Century of the Self. PR spin and consumerism are all Freud's fault. Or rather his nephew, Edward Bernays, who took his uncle's ideas of the self and used them to manipulate the masses, linking their (our) unconscious desires to consumer goods.
2. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Jon Stewart, we love you. You and your copious writing staff shine the searchlight of satire and comedy on the US political system. Plus, you are funny and kind of hot. You have good guests too, usually authors, but sometimes it’s Dolly Parton or Ricky Gervais. Looking forward to the Oscars, dude.
3. The Colbert Report. Grippy! Although not as zingy as The Daily Show, which it follows on Comedy Central, more a riff on dumb right-wing thinking.
4. The Staircase aka Death on the Staircase. It screened on the Sundance Channel, but here’s a BBC4 interview with filmmaker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, who also made an Oscar-winning documentary about a black kid accused of killing a white woman. De Lestrade was granted unusual access to murder-mystery writer Michael Peterson, who was accused of killing his wealthy wife. He says that once the police discovered that Peterson was bisexual, they assumed he was guilty.
5. The Root of All Evil? Russell’s blogged about this, Richard Dawkins’ documentary about the tyranny of blind faith.
6. Ethiopian Idols. You’d think that Fremantle, the owner of the Idol format, could have let Ethiopia off for this one – but according to this story, Fremantle is going to charge the show’s producers a fee. However, we’d really like to hear the singing, and the costumes look quite nice too.
7. The Office. The US version that is, with Steve Carrell. The first episode is weird, because it’s almost the same as the British one, only with Americanisms. But it gets better. And just as excruciating. According to EW (which named Carrell as one of its entertainers of the year), the scripts “spew American corporate absurdist vernacular with perfect pitch”. Plus it does the near impossible, honors Ricky Gervais’ original and works on its own terms.
8. The Wire. Will we ever see the third season of the finest cop show ever made?