One and TV2 in 2013: the year ahead
Hot on the heels of their main competitor, TVNZ held their annual season launch on Wednesday afternoon, giving us a look at what they have coming up on TV One and TV2 in 2013 - and while I was unable to attend the event itself, I have seen the new slate of shows and have a few thoughts on what is mostly a "more of the same" lineup.
It seems the motto for TV One is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", with their programmers cashing in on the success of returning dramas Offspring, Winners & Losers and Packed to the Rafters by grabbing a couple of other Aussie shows - A Place to Call Home is a romantic drama set in rural Australia during the 1950s, while Puberty Blues tells the story of two girls dealing with (I'm assuming) puberty and growth in the 1970s, complete with Dragon's Are You Old Enough as a theme song.
They're also cashing in on those ever-popular gypsies with spinoff Thelma's Gypsy Girls, set in the dressmaking shop the gypsies all seem to love, and wedding show Meet the Frockers, which doesn't seem to have too many gypsies in it but at least has the wedding part in common.
There is at least one new local scripted show on the schedule, with Agent Anna, a comedy-drama starring Robyn Malcolm as Anna, a single mum forced to work for a real estate agency. There's no footage available yet, but there is some talent on board (producer Rachel Gardner worked on The Cult, a good-looking albeit narratively flawed show, and writer Maxine Fleming was behind the underrated Burying Brian), as well as the always-great Malcolm, to make me think this one could turn out well.
TV One also has a handful of international shows: UK period drama Mr Selfridge, written by Andrew Davies and starring Jeremy Piven as an American retailer in London in the early 1900s; Red Widow, the interesting-looking American remake of Dutch show Penoza, starring Radha Mitchell as a widow forced to take over her deceased husband's criminal work to protect her family; and Kevin Bacon's spooky serial killer show The Following, which looks intriguing despite a silly name and a fairly generic trailer (warning: NSFW).
Then there is House Husbands, an Aussie comedy about four men raising children; Shonda Rhimes' well-received Scandal, starring Kerry Washington as a political fixer who starts her own crisis management firm; and Nashville, a country music-based soap opera about the conflict between a middle-aged country legend (played by Connie Britton) and the rising star looking to take her place (Hayden Panettiere).
These shows join returning hits like Auckland Daze, Mrs Brown's Boys, Call the Midwife, Masterchef NZ, Castle, Person of Interest, Fair Go, Criminal Minds, Global Radar, Miranda, NZ's Got Talent, Unforgettable, and plenty more.
Meanwhile, TV2 are continuing their quest to find a comedy that's even worse than Two & A Half Men: the latest round of potentials include Baby Daddy (a twentysomething man is forced to raise a child on his own after his ex-girlfriend drops their baby on his doorstep; reviews make it sound like Raising Hope-light without any jokes), Family Tools (a perennial loser finally gets a chance to do right after taking over his dad's handyman company, and at least half the humour comes from the fact that the title is a play on a slang word for testicles), Malibu Country (Reba McEntire does something and we're meant to care because, hey, it's Reba McEntire and blah blah blah), Partners (follows the "bromance" between a gay man and his straight best friend, based on the real experiences of Will & Grace creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan) and The Neighbours (a family unwittingly move into a neighbourhood populated by aliens hiding in plain sight ... which actually sounds like it could be hilarious).
Nice try, TV2, but Two & A Half Men is still worse than all of those.
The search also begins for a long-term Desperate Housewives replacement and a good Monday night partner for returning drama Revenge. An obvious pick is Devious Maids, which has a connection to Housewives through creator Marc Cherry, and one of its characters - Carmen, played by Roselyn Sanchez - appeared in the Housewives finale. The show follows four Mexican maids who work in Beverly Hills while trying to fulfil their own ambitions. It could be fun.
TV2 also has 666 Park Avenue, a supernatural drama starring Vanessa Williams and Terry O'Quinn as the owners of a demonically possessed building in upper-class Manhattan - a show that looks as though it could be a bit forgettable; Mistresses, an American remake of the hit British show about four friends who get involved in more than a few illicit relationships, which stars Yunjin Kim and Alyssa Milano; and The Carrie Diaries, a prequel to Sex and the City that made me sit up and say "whywhywhywhyWHY" when I heard about it earlier this year. Any of those could probably fill the old Desperate Housewives slot nicely.
Though most of TV2's fare isn't really aimed at thirtysomething, sci-fi-loving dorks like me, there are a couple of shows I'm excited about. The first is Arrow, The CW's attempt at bringing the underrated DC Comics hero to the small screen, which stars Stephen Amell as Oliver Queen, modern-day Robin Hood. I've seen a couple of episodes and I've enjoyed them - Arrow has some casting problems, but the action and the mystery around Queen's time away (and the involvement of John "Captain Jack" Barrowman) more than make up for any performance issues in the ensemble.
I'm also looking forward to Zero Hour, a conspiracy thriller by producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura (Red, Salt, the Transformers franchise) and Prison Break creator Paul Scheuring, which sounds like a cross between National Treasure and Edge of Darkness, with a big dollop of Revolution thrown in. Count me in!
Anger Management, Fringe, The Walking Dead, Go Girls, Suburgatory, My Kitchen Rules, Once Upon a Time, Grey's Anatomy, Supernatural, Two Broke Girls and The Vampire Diaries are among the shows coming back to TV2 next year.
What do you think of One & TV2's new lineup? What are you looking forward to?
Wondering what is coming up this week? Click here for a look at the next seven days.