Beginning as an actor, writer and director in local theatre during the 70s, John Banas increasingly focused on dramatic writing for television from the 80s on. After relocating to Australia, he established himself as a prolific TV screenwriter with a string of iconic shows, including Blue Heelers and City Homicide. His New Zealand scripts include award-winning telemovies Siege and How to Murder Your Wife.

Scriptwriter John Banas did a great job … A terrific piece of television production and a part of this community and country's history which had to be told respectfully and honestly. And it has been. Roger Moroney reviewing tele movie Siege in newspaper Hawke’s Bay Today, 18 June 2012

In a Flash

2018, Writer - Television

Kiwi

2018, Writer - Television

Straight Forward

2018, Writer - Television

Dear Murderer

2017, Writer - Television

Resolve

2017, Writer - Television

Bombshell

2016, Writer - Television

Pike River

2016, Writer - Television

The Monster of Mangatiti

2015, Writer - Television

Venus and Mars

2015, Writer - Television

How to Murder Your Wife

2014, Writer - Television

Safe House

2012, Writer - Television

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries

2013, Writer - Television

Siege

2012, Writer - Television

On 7 May 2009, police executing a search warrant in a Napier suburb were shot at by Jan Molenaar. Senior Constable Len Snee was killed, two officers and a neighbour injured; a 50 hour siege ensued. This adaptation of the events into a telefeature dominated the 2012 New Zealand Television Awards, winning Best One-off Drama, Script (John Banas), Performance (Mark Mitchinson as Molenaar), Supporting Actress (Miriama Smith), and Best Sound Design (Chris Burt). Hawke's Bay Today reviewer Roger Moroney said of the Mike Smith-directed drama: "They got it right".

Underbelly NZ - Land of the Long Green Cloud

2011, Writer - Television

City Homicide

2007 - 2011, Creator , Writer - Television

The Angel Files

2002, Writer - Television

All Saints

1998 - 2009, Writer - Television

Queenie and Pete

1998, Director - Short Film

Stingers

2001 - 2002, Writer - Television

Murder Call

1997 - 2000, Supervising Producer, Writer - Television

Water Rats

1999 - 2001, Story Producer , Writer - Television

Mirror Mirror

1995 - 1997, Director - Television

Two 14-year-old girls discover that they have a lot in common in this two-part 1995 children's fantasy drama. They live in the same street, same house, same bedroom, but 76 years apart. An antique mirror/portal leads them on a time travel adventure involving nerve gas, a Russian Tsar and an English soldier. Created by Australian Posie Graeme-Evans (who devised TV hits Hi-5 and McLeod's Daughters) this award-winning trans-Tasman co-production between the Gibson Group and Millennium Pictures was sold to more than 60 countries. A second series followed in 1997.

Mirror Mirror - First Episode

1995, Director - Television

In this children's fantasy drama, the everyday trials of teenager Jo Tiegan — school, an archaeological dig — are soon forgotten as a mysterious antique mirror sends her back in time to her house in 1919. There, Jo (Australian actor Petra Yared) encounters 14 year-old Louisa Airdale (Michala Banas). In the time honoured tradition of time travel tales, Jo's excursion threatens alarming present day consequences. The award-winning trans-Tasman co-production was created by Australian Posie Graeme-Evans (who devised TV shows Hi-5 and McLeod's Daughters).

Blue Heelers

1996 - 2006, Writer - Television

E Street

1989 - 1993, Director, Writer, Executive Producer - Television

Nearly No Christmas

1983, As: Patch, Writer, Stunts - Television

The Amazing Story of How the Corner Grocery Became the A-OK Even Faster Fast Fast Futuremart

1983, Original Concept - Television

Strata

1983, As: Steve - Film

In Geoff Steven's Kiwi riff on the European art film, a vulcanologist (Brit character actor Nigel Davenport) roams the Volcanic Plateau accompanied by a journalist, a photographer and escapees from a cholera quarantine. Steamy philosophical musings and symbolic intent made for a marked departure from the realism of the NZ feature film renaissance (e.g. Steven’s own Skin Deep). The second feature produced by John Maynard (The Navigator), this moody allegorical tale was co-scripted by Czech writer/designer Ester Krumbachova and Czech-based Kiwi Michael Havas.

Battletruck

1982, As: Reuben - Film

In a lawless fuel wars future, marauders roam the wasteland looking for oil. Their malevolent leader Straker threatens his daughter Corlie; she’s rescued by loner Hunter and they harbour with eco-sensitive folk in the Clearwater Commune ... but not for long: there will be blood on the Central Otago plains! Following in the exhaust of Mad Max, the cult film was made during the 80s tax-break feature surge, with US director (Harley Cokliss) and leads flocking south during a Hollywood writers’ strike, and Kiwis as crew (“artists with chainsaws”) and supporting cast.

Loose Enz - Press for Service

1982, As: Eade - Television

Written by Tom Scott, Press for Service is a humorous take on the shenanigans of the parliamentary press as they battle with the prime minister over their journalistic freedom. With the idealism, sleaze and alcoholism, that traditionally go hand and hand with the job, we follow David Miller; striving to be a respected journalist. Miller writes a damning piece but forgets to check his sources. Opening and closing with John Toon's elegant aerial shots of Wellington and a buoyant score, the episode features prominent Wellington thespians Ray Henwood and Ross Jolly.

Little Big Man Takes a Shot at the Moon

1980, Writer - Television

Mortimer's Patch

1980 - 1984, Writer - Television

Mortimer’s Patch was a popular drama series following Detective Sergeant Doug Mortimer (Terence Cooper) at work in the town of Cobham. Mortimer plays a city cop returning to his rural roots; Don Selwyn is Sergeant Bob Storey. The series was NZ’s first police drama, and a rare local drama to top ratings. Mortimer's Patch was made when the archetype of the ‘community cop’ everyone knew was still a powerful one, and it was a counterweight to the faceless riot policing of the Springbok Tour. Three series were made.

The Ante-Natal Show

1978, Writer, As: Expectant Dad / Caveman - Short Film

The Post-Natal Show

1978, Writer, As: Father - Television

Buck House

1974 - 1975, As: Hugh - Television

Famous as New Zealand television's first ever sitcom, Buck House was a rollicking and relatively risqué series that centred on the comings and goings of university students in a dilapidated Wellington flat — the eponymous 'Buck House'. Stars of the show included John Clarke, Paul Holmes, and Tony Barry (Goodbye Pork Pie). Despite (or more likely because of) its bawdy humour, occasional coarse language and alcohol abuse, the pioneering comedy sated the needs of many Kiwi viewers desperate for TV with identifiable local content and flavour.

Country Calendar - Fred Dagg Special

1974, Writer, As: Trevor - Television

Phone

1974, As: Trench - Short Film

This 1974 primer on proper phone manner marks one of the earliest films directed by Sam Neill. Actor turned scriptwriter John Banas plays a polite eccentric calling a company about his telepathic machine, only to face rude behaviour at every turn. Among those failing to bring the nice are two future Gliding On actors: a mullet-haired Ross Jolly, and Grant Tilly, who would rather be eating his sponge finger. Also known as Telephone Etiquette, the film was made by the National Film Unit for the Post Office, back when telephone services were still under its command.