Russell Baillie writes about movies for the Herald

Coast New Zealand and other TV shows not to be missed

The show's best special effect is Oliver's enthusiastic, mellifluous, lyrical commentary about this "wild, improbable corner of the world". Photo / Supplied
The show's best special effect is Oliver's enthusiastic, mellifluous, lyrical commentary about this "wild, improbable corner of the world". Photo / Supplied

Coast New Zealand

When: Tuesday 8.30pm
Where: One
What: Home, land and sea

With his flowing locks and permanent neckerchief making him look like a 19th century sailor, Neil Oliver sure does look the part when it comes to the first episode of Coast New Zealand.

And, as he tells stories of Captain Cook's arrival in Fiordland's Dusky Sound, or of the first European settlement of sealers there, the Scottish television presenter-historian sure has some wind in his sails. Though, his seasoned sea legs are tested by the Tasman swells off New Zealand's remote south-west.

Diving maritime archaeologist Matt Carter who was involved in filming Coast New Zealand. Photo / Supplied
Diving maritime archaeologist Matt Carter who was involved in filming Coast New Zealand. Photo / Supplied

"On a scale of one to 10, how rough is this?" he asks a local crayfisherman in the cabin of his madly bobbing boat. "About a two," comes the reply.

Keen watchers of past local natural and social history television may feel a slight sense of deja vu with Coast New Zealand. After all, we've had plenty of shows that have been down this way before.

And it is the opening of an imported franchise being Aotearoa's answer to Oliver's BBC nine-season wander around the UK's highwater mark and two seasons of Oliver's Coast Australia. The latter was made for Australia's Foxtel by New Zealand's Great Southern Television, which is behind this local incarnation.

Coast NZ certainly outdoes any other local productions for bells and whistles.

The first episode has plenty of aerial shots set to Sweeping Music for Breathtaking Scenery Volumes I-VI; underwater photography of bottle-nose dolphins and rare Fiordland coral; digital inserts of whaling ships off the beach of Cuttle Cove.

The first episode has plenty of aerial shots set to Sweeping Music for Breathtaking Scenery Volumes I-VI. Photo / Supplied
The first episode has plenty of aerial shots set to Sweeping Music for Breathtaking Scenery Volumes I-VI. Photo / Supplied

But the show's best special effect is Oliver's enthusiastic, mellifluous, lyrical commentary about this "wild, improbable corner of the world".

His local cohorts, mostly television newbies, aren't bad either. Among them are Te Papa geologist-palaeontologist Dr Hamish Campbell, doing his best to make rocks and fossils interesting, marine biologist and action woman Jacky Geurts doing the jobs requiring a wetsuit, and actor-presenter Riria Hotere bringing a Maori perspective.

The first episode has plenty of aerial shots set to Sweeping Music for Breathtaking Scenery Volumes I-VI. Photo / Supplied
The first episode has plenty of aerial shots set to Sweeping Music for Breathtaking Scenery Volumes I-VI. Photo / Supplied

The Fiordland episode will be followed by five more instalments - The East Cape, Top of the South, Auckland, The Deep South and The Far North. And there's plenty that will be familiar to many viewers.

But, judging by a preview of the first episode, watching Oliver - and his show's swooping cameras - take in all that coastal geography is likely to be one of the greater, great outdoors series about this place we're likely to see in quite a while.

Also don't miss...

Bear Grylls: Mission Survive

Bear Grylls is putting British celebrities through their paces in his new series Bear Grylls: Mission Survive (Tuesday, TV One, 9.30pm), with enduring a series of survival challenges in the Costa Rica rainforest over 12 days.

Bear Grylls' Mission Survive:  Jamelia, Laurence Fox, Emilia Fox, Tom Rosenthal, Bear Grylls, Vogue Williams, Mike Tindall, Dame Kelly Holmes and Max George. Photo / Mark Johnson
Bear Grylls' Mission Survive: Jamelia, Laurence Fox, Emilia Fox, Tom Rosenthal, Bear Grylls, Vogue Williams, Mike Tindall, Dame Kelly Holmes and Max George. Photo / Mark Johnson

They have to navigate difficult terrain, learn how to create shelter, build fire, and find food, while impressing Grylls enough to stay on the show.

The celebs include acting cousins Emilia and Laurence Fox, singer-actor Max George, Olympic middle-distance champion Dame Kelly Holmes, TV presenter-singer Jamelia, comedy actor Tom Rosenthal, Model- presenter Vogue Williams and former England International rugby player Mike Tindall.

Containment

Instead of focusing on an outbreak of zombies, a new show called Containment (Wednesday, TV2, 9.30pm) dwells on a more realistic possibility - the outbreak of a highly infectious disease.

Containment.
Containment.

Based on a Belgian TV series called Cordon, Containment is set around a hospital in Atlanta where a mysterious and deadly disease breaks out, leading officials to create a vast urban quarantine, with many people not yet infected still trapped inside.

Bates Motel

The fourth season of Bates Motel begins this Tuesday (Soho, 9.30pm), and things aren't looking good. Norma becomes increasingly fearful and desperate, going to great lengths to find Norman the professional help he needs.

Freddie Highmore as Norman Bates in The Bates Motel.
Freddie Highmore as Norman Bates in The Bates Motel.

This further complicates their once unbreakable trust, as Norman struggles to maintain his grip on reality, and Sheriff Romero finds himself drawn back into their lives once more.

- TimeOut

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