From 2013 to 2015, newbie actor KJ Apa played Kane Jenkins on Shortland Street. The character was created to explore New Zealand's high rates of youth suicide. After a season on teen sci fi drama Cul de Sac, Apa got his American break, playing a teen quarterback alongside Dennis Quaid in family feature A Dog's Purpose, directed by Lasse Hallstrom (What's Eating Gilbert Grape). In the same period, Apa scored a lead role as archetypal American teen Archie in the high profile Riverdale — a television take on the classic Archie comics. In 2018 he signed on for romantic comedy The Last Summer.
Coming from New Zealand and playing just an iconic American character, I was nervous ... The fans are so aggressive. I was thinking, ‘Man I hope I don’t get too much stick from these guys.’ The feedback has been really well, really good. So, I’m really pleased with it. Apa talking about playing Archie, at San Diego Comic-Con 2016, Entertainment Monthly
The Cul de Sac is set in a world where the adults have disappeared, and waves of energy destroy anyone caught outdoors. Feisty teen Rose (Greta Gregory) leads a small group of family and friends. Echoing the storytelling style of Lost, the series teases viewers with its gradual reveal of what in hell is going on. Created by Stephen J Campbell (Amazing Extraordinary Friends), the half-hour sci fi adventure ran for three seasons, each with six episodes. The cast included Molly Leishman (Wilde Ride), Peter Feeney as the scientist dad, and (in season one) KJ Apa and Beulah Koale.
The Cul de Sac presents an apocalyptic world where the adults have disappeared. In the opening of the first episode, Rose (Greta Gregory) realises something is wrong while leaving home. Meanwhile at the local high school, dictator in the making Doni (Simon Mead) refuses to let anyone inside. Also in this excerpt: Rose's sister (Molly Leishman) is in danger of having a medical emergency, Jack (Riverdale's KJ Apa) proves he isn't completely useless, and a dog goes rabid. Created by Stephen J Campbell (Amazing Extraordinary Friends), the sci-fi adventure spanned three seasons.
This daily after school show for young audiences covered celebrities, music, movies, sport, fashion and interviews. Content for the YouTube generation included cross-media segments like ‘Snackchat’ (make a meal in the Snapchat time limit), and ‘Hundy on a Mundy’ (viewers complete unpleasant tasks for prizes). It was made by Kiwi kids television powerhouse Whitebait TV for TV2. The show's presenters included Eve Palmer, Michael Lee, musician Massad Barakat-Devine and Adam Percival (What Now?). In 2016 it became The Adam and Eve Show, then shifted to ZM radio.
Shortland Street is a fast-paced serial drama set in an inner city Auckland hospital. The long-running South Pacific Pictures production is based around the births, deaths and marriages of the hospital's staff and patients. It screens on TVNZ’s TV2 network five days a week. In 2017 the show was set to celebrate its 25th anniversary, making it New Zealand’s longest running drama by far. Characters and lines from the show have entered the culture — starting with “you’re not in Guatemala now, Dr Ropata!” in the very first episode. Mihi Murray writes about Shortland Street here.