TV series The Deep End saw reporter Bill Manson trying his hand at a variety of tasks, from female impersonator to Robinson Crusoe to captaining a navy frigate. In this episode, Manson is given six weeks to get in shape for a pro wrestling bout. To prepare himself for the dangerous job, 12 stone Manson hits the weights, grapples with wrestling legend Steve Rickard (On the Mat) and works with an acting tutor, barber and promoters on his onstage persona: ‘Doctor Mindbender’. “The thing that scares me," he says, "is just breaking my neck…”
Fashion designer Trelise Cooper battles the clock in this Extraordinary Kiwis episode following a day in her life. With a major Australian show pending, make-up, music and more than 500 garments need to be ready (as well as her own wardrobe). Other areas of her business also need attention with local buyers and a sponsor to meet, and a school uniform design to present. Cooper is a whirl of activity, and a taskmaster to herself and her staff. But she also needs to make time to be a wife and a mother — and those trademark curls don’t look after themselves.
In this reality show Phil Keoghan (The Amazing Race), ambushes contestants and bids them to overcome a challenge with limited time (three days) and resources. This episode ditches the self-help aspect and ups the machismo by having a freezing worker, southern shepherd, champion rower, trans-Atlantic race winner, Kiwi league legend, and ex-Mr New Zealand compete in old school elimination challenges for NZ's 'toughest man' title. Future Olympic champ Eric Murray is the young buck wrestling for the hardman mantle with wily Mark 'Horse' Bourneville.
Lee Tamahori's searing drama Once Were Warriors made Rena Owen a household name in New Zealand. The 1994 film's depiction of domestic violence within a Māori family left cinema goers shaken, and Owen's performance as the resolute Beth Heke made her career. In this documentary, Owen visits Māori women and men whose lives have been marred by family violence. Men who, with the help of organisations like Homai Te Rongopai Trust, are facing their abusive past, and women rape and abuse survivors who are finding new strength in their Māoritanga.
This first series of The Watercooler features stories about sauna etiquette, nurse-patient relations, Trans-Tasman cricket rivalry and urination. The web series is based mostly on yarns provided by the show’s Facebook audience, supplemented by creator and star Mike Minogue’s own sauna story. The allegedly true stories are reenacted by a cast that includes Jonathan Brugh, Cohen Holloway and Abby Damen (The Māori Sidesteps). Each story is introduced as a chat over the office watercooler, with the storyteller and their audience also playing the main characters.
TV personality Jaquie Brown plays (and plays up) herself for delightful comic effect in this hit TV3 satire. Brown plays an egomaniacal reporter looking to climb the media ladder any which way she can. Auckland's aspirational set: a cast of Metro social page alumni and wannabes, are skewered with self-referential glee. The show won Best Comedy at the 2009 Qantas Film and TV Awards. This episode sees Jaquie striving to exit Woman's Day's 'Plump it Hottie' section, appropriating a tampon, and performing in a celeb singalong.
Grieving the death of his father, 19-year-old Haami (Michael Koloi from detective series Harry) starts hanging around with a local underground boxing promoter. In order to pay off Haami’s drug debt and keep him safe, his uncle Moko (played by ta moko artist Gordon Toi Hatfield), an ex-street fighter, must make one last sacrifice and step up to fight for his family. Written and directed by Joseph Lee, this gritty short film also features a cameo acting performance by Scotty Morrison, better known as long-time newsreader for Te Karere.
Pete is 27, but according to his exasperated father, he still acts 'like a 17-year-old'. Brown Boys covers similar comic territory to breakthrough 2006 PI big screen comedy Sione's Wedding. It's a born and bred Auckland story exploring themes like male friendship, PI-Kiwi cultural expectations and tough life decisions. Actor Hans Masoe (Aroha) stars as Pete, the smooth, romantic 'player'; the film also marks his first outing as writer and director. Pete's dad is played by Eteuati Ete, one half of legendary PI-Kiwi comic duo Laughing Samoans.
The Strip centres around 30-something Melissa (Luanne Gordon), who sheds a legal career to set up a male strip revue. Created by Alan Brash, The Strip played to a certain demographic's desire for ogling naked men (warmed up by 1987 play Ladies Night and 1997 film The Full Monty), but with a focus on female characters, as Melissa juggles business with raising a teenage daughter. Taking cues from Ally McBeal (with fantasy sequences to match) the Gibson Group tale of g-strings, feminism and red light romance screened for two series on TV3 and sold internationally.
Actor and law student Georgia Rippin mined her own experience to create this web series, a tragicomic portrait of a young woman at Auckland University. Rippen plays Audrey, whose misadventures span exam stress, boyfriend angst, anxiety, and sexism in the legal world. In 2017 The NZ Herald rated Dislawderly among the best new local web series; Karl Puschmann praised the amount of satire squeezed into the short running time, saying that each of season one's seven episodes "features a couple of genuine lols and offers a new spin on the classic style of cringe comedy."