Hope and Wire delivers solid drama
When a character in Shortland Street went to Christchurch to meet his father, the film-makers created a Christchurch park by getting several skinheads to stand around in an Auckland park.
Much the same thing happened in Hope and Wire.
It was Canterbury but viewed through a northern lens.
Christchurch nightlife, in the opening scenes, was all booze, sex and vomit, with a skinhead attack on a kebab bar as a highlight.
Most Cantabrians were actually asleep in their beds at the time of the first quake but I appreciate that events have to be translated into a dramatic context.
I was also alarmed by the amount of swearing, both pre- and post-quake.
Then I read an interview with film-maker Gaylene Preston and was amazed at the amount of swearing she did in it.
Her level of bad language has clearly become what one of her characters calls ''the new normal'' for her scripts.
Swearing and skinheads aside, Hope and Wire is a really good drama.
Gaylene Preston and her crew appear to have the aim of helping viewers who have never been in a disaster grasp its effect.
So, they've used drama to convey the impact of the earthquakes on a range of people.
That's why we saw (and heard) the first earthquake several times.
The various folk portrayed had different experiences of it, and we shared them all.
With the documentary clips and re-enacted scenes well grafted together, the result is a solid, developing drama.
The cast is very good, both in mid-crisis and in tranquil recollection.
Joycie (Rachel House) is particularly impressive in her moment of shocked collapse after the first quake.
It was a shame that so few Canterbury actors were used.
It reminded me of those big safari movies where the main roles went to Hollywood actors, while the locals had minor parts [like Eilish Moran in the choir], handled authentic equipment [Bernie Shapiro's jeep] and provided evocative local music for the soundtrack [Adam McGrath and the Eastern].
REACTION ON TWITTER
The programme generated a mixed response from viewers on Twitter, using #hopeandwire. Some people felt it was too close to home, others that their city was unrecognisable in the drama, and others simply cringed. Here's a selection: