Reasons to be cheerful... one, two three

22:22, Feb 06 2014

In amongst all the poor imports (Super Fun Night, The Carrie Diaries, Big Brother Australia), cooking reality shows and stuff that you couldn't pay me to watch there's finally a glimmer of hope.

Last year we lost one of our best New Zealand shows of all time - The Almighty Johnsons - a show that became our first to ever be sold to screen in the USA without being remade.

Despite a passionate audience around the world the numbers watching at home just didn't stack up and the third series was the last.

We also lost other good Kiwi shows, like Go Girls, Nothing Trivial and Sunny Skies, leaving us short on homemade drama and comedy.

This Tuesday (TV2, 8.30pm) sees the debut of a show I've been looking forward to for a long time.

'Step Dave' has a good chance of being great, and successful, as it comes from the pen of Kate McDermott who has worked on the aforementioned Go Girls and Nothing Trivial as well as The Blue Rose, Shortland Street and Outrageous Fortune.


And with South Pacific Pictures producing there's plenty to get excited about.

'Step Dave' tells the story of a kiwi slacker named... wait for it... Dave (Jono Kenyon), who meets the woman of his dreams.

Unfortunately she's 15 years his senior and already has three kids - which is sure to raise plenty of issues in the household.

Sia Tronkenheim, who plays Cara in the show, says, in the best tradition of great Kiwi shows, it's much more than a comedy.

"It has really serious undertones and is dealing with some heavy issues. It will be interesting to see how people respond.

"This show is hopefully going to tap into people's lives at home and hopefully spark discussion," she says.

If Step Dave is as good as it could be then we potentially have another route for Kiwi actors to showcase their undoubted skills in the long term - and what could be better than that?

I truly believe that New Zealand actors are woefully under-rated in their own country.

Shane Cortese played two wildly differing roles - as Colin/Loki in Johnsons and as Mac in Trivial - in a way which totally smashes the old 'same old actors' rubbish I constantly hear in this country.

Cortese constantly brought nuance and intensity to his roles that people who may not be familiar with him may not have been able to tell it was the same actor.

Throw in the likes of the wonderful Michelle Langstone, Tandi Wright and Nicole Whippy and we really should be getting more and more local shows on air in order to give them work.

At the very least we television fans in New Zealand need to tune in and give Step Dave the very best chance of success.

Hopefully that will give both TVNZ and TV3 the kick needed to get our wonderful talent working again.

One of the better shows from the new season in the United States also premieres this week.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (TV2, 9pm) stars Saturday Night Live alum Andy Samberg in a cop comedy that's actually worth checking out - it gets better as the season goes further along.

I find Saturday Night Live to be more hype than quality (and has been for many years) but Samberg also starred in BBC show Cuckoo as a new age hippy who gets married to Greg Davies' (Mr Gilbert in The Intbetweeners) daughter and has some comedy chops.

And finally a third piece of good news (to match the headline, mostly!).

AMC (the US channel which airs Mad Men, The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad) have announced that Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are writing and executive producing  Preacher, which is based on a great series of graphic novels by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon.

Done the right way, this could be a great show to rival AMC's best.

Of course, this news will get even better if Rogen decides not to star in it as well.

So what are you most looking forward to watching this coming week? The Winter Olympics? Step Dave? Or Brooklyn Nine-Nine?