Radiation by Fiona Rae

Relatively Normal

Did you discover how normal you were on, er, How Normal Are You?. I was glad of the presence of Dr Brian Edwards, Cynic for Hire. He was hoping they’d find that the New Zealand norm was “kinky, eccentric and wild”, but I don’t think we should be holding our breath. Despite the expert psychologist saying we can trust the figures, you’d still have to say that the results of the test are based on people who a) had access to the Internet and b) could be bothered to do a quiz.

It seems strange that a television show is searching for what is normal when in general television constantly searches for what is not normal. The people in the studio audience who didn’t fit the norm were the ones who got on the screen and it was as if they were assembling our own cast from Twin Peaks – Laughing Woman and Goth Guy.

Is Last Man Standing Charter money, or just ordinary money? It’s definitely tax-payer money. I don’t mind Aussie/Kiwi television co-productions per se, but Last Man Standing is about 99 percent Australian and 1 percent Miriama Smith. At least TVNZ isn’t claiming it’s “local” anymore.

So far, it’s a more male-centred Secret Life of Us, down to the guys having a kick-around in the park, except that they kick a footy ball rather than a soccer ball. I guess girls play soccer. It’s also carrying on the grand tradition started by The Secret Life of Us of having characters drinking a lot on screen. TSLoU is the proud winner of two Boozies in this regard. The Aussies do make competent drama and they don’t have the weight of the industry riding on their shoulders when they do, although if LMS is a drama aimed at men, perhaps Friday night at 9.30pm wasn’t such a great time to schedule it, not when there’s sport on elsewhere and real drinking to do.

Folks, there is drama of our very own coming, thank goodness. It’s been a long time between drinks. OnFilm has a story called “Dramatic Turnaround for TVNZ” which outlines green-lit productions and of course TV3 has Outrageous Fortune in production. I’m particularly looking forward to seeing Antony Starr playing twins. Also, Seven Periods with Mr Gormsby is starting on May 6.

Firefly ended on a fairly duff episode, but I suspect that the episodes were played out of order. Two weren’t even screened in the US, presumably the two weakest ones. Yay for the fifth season opener of Angel, which looked quite expensive and had Matrix-style martial arts. There’s a loooong episode recap here. By all accounts, it’s going to be a season of conflicted characters and difficult choices. Business as usual then.

Here’s something scary to think about and a friend visiting the US says that this show is a scream.

And is Ricky Gervais laughing with them or at them?