Here's the thing about made-for-TV musical biopics: even the bad ones are kind of good. The Olivia Newton-John one on Three this week did its best to prove this theory wrong: if Sunday night's first part was merely corny, Monday's really plumbed the bad Lifetime movie depths. The stalker, the cancer, the fake death, Robyn Malcolm's German accent - it just kept going and going, deep into the night. It felt like watching a five-setter at the Australian Open.
It was a punishing watch, an absolute ordeal. But when it finally ended, some time just before midnight, I still thought: I could do this again next week. Who's next?
Last year's hugely entertaining Why Does Love?, on the Dance Exponents, opened the door for New Zealand rock biopics, following in the footsteps of Never Tear Us Apart, the Australian biopic about INXS a few years earlier. Neither were what you might call prestige television, but the fact we even remember them at all has to mean something. It means we need to make more. Write it into the charter.
From a TV production point of view it's a no-brainer. As long as you get the rights to all the songs and cast actors who vaguely resemble the band members, you really can't lose. The plot is already written, in fact it's right there on the band's Wikipedia page. The script has only to get you from song to song, and if you can incorporate a few references or inside jokes, even better.
So who is next? There are a few obvious candidates. Crowded House could be an Australia-New Zealand co-production. Lorde (opening scene: an aerial shot of the North Shore, slow zoom in on a tennis court) seems inevitable, if a bit premature - at least wait until she's 25.
OMC, Scribe - both would be fun for the first half-hour or so, then quickly get bloody depressing. A Zed biopic - they were like the Beatles of Christchurch in their day - could finally lift the lid on who or what Glorifilia was. Are there any actors tall and skinny enough to play young Jon Toogood in a biopic of Shihad?
The really big fish, though, is Dave Dobbyn. The Dobbo Story would probably need to be a two or three-parter. There's the early years, the Queen St riot, Th' Dudes and DD Smash tearing through New Zealand's pubs, Dobbyn with his peroxide white afro. The early solo years, the Footrot Flats soundtrack (Herbs deserve their own biopic too), the one-shot Loyal video - the costume department would have a field day recreating that jersey pattern.
Then there's the 90s and beyond, from the monumentally under-rated Twist - I always imagined him living in the bush when he made that album - to those eight sad mornings in 2013 when he turned up at the Viaduct with his guitar and waited to sing when Team New Zealand won the America's Cup. Dave Dobbyn: Call Me Loyal. It has to happen.