Step Dave takes a step towards big success

23:29, Feb 11 2014

Thank the gods of New Zealand television - we have a new Kiwi born and bred show and it's a winner.

I wrote last week of the importance of giving Step Dave (Tuesday, 8.30pm on TV2) a chance given the dearth of new local programming and the cancellation of past favourites.

Fans of local shows need it to succeed if we're to see more homegrown talent given a chance to shine rather than cheap imports.

That's a lot of pressure for any new show to have placed upon it, even if it's helmed by Kate McDermott (Go Girls, Nothing Trivial, The Blue Rose) and produced by South Pacific Pictures.

It's fair to say I was nervous as I sat down to watch episode one last night - I wanted it to be a hit so much that I would have taken it personally if it had been bad.

I shouldn't have worried. 


Was it perfect? Or course not - but then I don't think it's possible for any first episode of a show to be faultless.

With so much to cover - particularly getting to know the characters and setting up the main premise - it's always going to suffer from information overload.

But the main characters - Jono Kenyon as the eponymous Dave and Sia Trokenheim as Cara - did a superb job in making us empathise with them and therefore want them to get together.

And the supporting cast was equally impressive. 

Rawiri Jobe as Dave's best friend Azza is cheeky and likeable, while Tania Nolan as Cara's stuck-up sister Julia may be my favourite secondary character.

That's presuming Mike, the suitor who cries over rocket leaves, doesn't make regular appearances.

Let's not get bogged down in the intimate details of the plot - we can save that for the following episodes.

Suffice to say there were laughs, there were tender moments and there was enough drama to make me eager to watch next week.

How are Cara's kids going to react to Dave? How is her mother going to react? Can Dave be faithful to one woman after his years of sleeping around? And can I have a boss who's happy with me running out regularly?

All, apart from that last one, are sure to be dealt with over the coming few weeks and I can't wait.

The cast has chemistry, the writing is sharp and it's better than the vast majority of the stuff shown in prime time.

I also want to acknowledge a side of the show we often forget about when we critique - and that's the supporting materials.

Step Dave is active on Twitter and engaging with fans who tweeted about the show.

And TV2 have a wonderful website giving backgrounds on characters, more information and extra video content to help and encourage us to bond with them.

They even have an interactive fridge, including a video from Dave and Azza's 'ex' Stacey - played by a brilliantly over-the-top Kimberley Crossman.

Interaction is the future - you just need to see how many people use social media when watching television shows to see how important it is.

To see us do that in New Zealand, and do it well, is impressive and everyone should be very proud of what's been accomplished so quickly.

Some of our greatest television shows endure because they managed to create an engaged fan base who were vocal and supportive.

Step Dave is well on the way to doing exactly that and I couldn't be more happy.

If this is what we can make and show on New Zealand television, we should demand more of it.

We have the talent. It just needs our television channels to believe too.