TVNZ announce 2014 TV line-up

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Robyn Malcolm in Upper Middle Bogan, Sia Trokenheim and Jono Kenyon in Step Dave and Martin Henderson in TV One's Secrets and Lies.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Robyn Malcolm in Upper Middle Bogan, Sia Trokenheim and Jono Kenyon in Step Dave and Martin Henderson in TV One's Secrets and Lies.

Last month Mediaworks announced their new season line-up and this week it is the turn of TVNZ.

There are a few interesting trends - a rise in sci-fi series, more quality local programming aside from reality shows, and Kiwi actors turning up in an array of international shows - but to get down to the details, let's examine the shows each channel will be introducing.

TV One have announced they have acquired internationally acclaimed British whodunnit series Broadchurch, which earned rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic when it screened earlier this year. Starring David Tennant and Olivia Coleman, it promises to be darkly heartbreaking. Also from Britain comes Breathless, which centres around the staff of a gynaecology unit in London in the 1960s.

There are two new Australian shows coming to TV One, both featuring Kiwi talent. Martin Henderson stars in Secrets and Lies, which revolves around the death of a 4-year-old boy and the splintering of a quiet community as police struggle to solve the crime.

And Upper Middle Bogan sees Robyn Malcolm join a bunch of Aussies as the long-lost birth mother of an upper-class doctor who discovers she was adopted. It seems like a perfect opportunity for Malcolm to put on the leopard print and lace she so ably modelled as Cheryl West, except this time she's adding motor racing to her passions.

She will also be returning as real estate agent Anna Kingston in Agent Anna, but there are also several new local comedies and dramas in the mix for next year.

Coverband is a new comedy from the Downlow Concept (who brought us Hounds and 7Days), written by actor and musician Johnny Barker, who also stars, alongside Matt Whelan, Laughton Kora and Wesley Dowdell. Unsurprisingly, it's about a covers band. Meanwhile, Short Poppies, sees Rhys Darby and David Farrier team up in a current affairs spoof about Kiwi identity.

Also worth mentioning are five new Sunday Theatre programmes, all New Zealand-made, covering an array of historical events and characters: Field Punishment No.1, Operation Overdue, Pirates of the Airwaves, Project L, and The Nancy Wake Story.

Karl Urban and Michael Ealy (centre) star as a future cop and his android sidekick in Almost Human.
Karl Urban and Michael Ealy (centre) star as a future cop and his android sidekick in Almost Human.

Moving over to TV2, there seem to be two trends appearing in the new shows. Firstly there's the sci-fi-action camp, with Kiwi actor Karl Urban taking the lead role in futuristic cop drama Almost Human. Set in 2048, it follows Urban's Detective John Kennex as he returns to the force after recovering from a horrific attack, and is partnered with a highly evolved android called Dorian (played by Michael Ealy).

Add to that Resurrection, in which people who have long since died rise again and return to their home town of Arcadia; Intelligence, which stars Josh Holloway (Lost) as an intelligence agent who's brain has been wired up to the entire worldwide information grid as a lethal weapon super-computer; and a new version of The Tomorrow People, which centres around a bunch of young adults who are part of a new genetically advanced race, and you have quite a variety of choice for sci-fi fans.

Of course there's also the much anticipated Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, which, while not strictly sci-fi, is certainly an action-packed futuristic fantasy, featuring an array of Marvel comic characters as a spin-off from The Avengers.

There's also some noteworthy additions to the TV2 sitcom line-up. Alison Janney and Anna Faris star in Mom, Rebel Wilson leads a trio of shy girls in Super Fun Night and Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) and Malin Ackerman star in Trophy Wife. Our pick of the bunch is new local comedy-drama Step Dave. Written by Kate McDermott (Outrageous Fortune, Go Girls, Shortland Street), it follows the trevails of Dave, a 24-year-old Kiwi slacker whose life is turned upside down when he meets the woman of his dreams, Cara, who just happens to be 15 years his senior with three kids in tow.

Of course, both channels also have many favourite series returning and you can see the full line-up at 2014tvnz.co.nz

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- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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