With an array of animated whizzbangery, a smoke machine, a sultry female robot voice from the future, some impressive ratings data and a fair degree of warranted braggadocio, TVNZ announced their new season line-up tonight.
The theme was 'A message from the future', but the underlying tone was 'we're the best at everything'. And fair enough, really: CEO Rick Ellis (the opposite of flashy and animated) trumpeted the results of soon-to-be released Colmar Brunton research on the nation's media consumption that showed 18-54 year olds spent more time watching free-to-air TV (on average, three hours 14 minutes per day, a 10 per cent increase) than anything else.
TVNZ dominated TV3 in news and current affairs in 2009 (over 5000 hours of news and current affairs was produced and their award mantelpiece is struggling under the weight). But, as head of news and current affairs, Anthony Flannery says, today's rooster can become tomorrow's feather duster, so they're not letting up.
Some old favourites return to the fray: Lost (a simulcast is planned for the final), Desperate Housewives, Cold Case, Grey's Anatomy, Fringe, American Idol, Gordon Ramsay, South and Packed to the Rafters. And there are also plenty of new additions to the programming schedule for TVNZ to crow about.
There's the usual mix of war, drama, hospitals, sci-fi, political thrillers, World Cup soccer/football (Kiwi coach Ricki Herbert = Will Ferrell's George Bush), cringey American sitcom humour and cheap Kiwi reality programming.
Pacific, a Spielberg/Hanks war epic with a budget of $15 million per episode (not far off the budget for the New Zealand versions of The Apprentice and Masterchef, one would imagine) looks set to be 2010's Band of Brothers. And HBO's Generation Kill offers even more explosions, severed limbs and shouting men.
Hung, a show about a man with a large member – it's all he's got, apparently – is meant to show One's new, "edgy" approach and create "talkability". It's also destined to be sponsored by a sausage company.
There's a new medical drama called Hawthorne (the hunt for a replacement ER is on) and the sexy, cheeky adventures of crime novelist Rick Castle are almost too risque to believe.
Courtney Cox engages in sexual pratfalls in Cougartown, the Vampire Diaries tap into the weird blood-drinking fetish of the moment, The Middle leaves out 'Malcolm in the', Human Target combines machismo and guns - with hilarious results - Flashforward delves into the reasons behind a world-wide two minute black out (plenty of 'smell the fart' acting as they try to figure that one out) and there's also Drop Dead Diva.
New Zealand-made sci-fi brain fiddling drama This is Not my life (which has been picked up by a US studio for a rehash) from the Outrageous Fortune crew looks interesting. And Leigh Hart's Mysterious Planet, a mockumentary about an intrepid explorer in khakis sifting through the sands of time to solve all the mysteries of the Earth, looks suitably ridiculous.
2010, if you believe TVNZ's sultry female robot voice from the future, was amazing.