Almost exactly a year ago today TVNZ's deputy director of content Andrew Shaw earned well deserved ridicule and derision for spluttering, "there aren't that many great shows on Netflix".

He was wrong then and he's even wronger now. The streaming giant squeezes out great shows and movies with more regularity than an individual with a high fibre diet.

TVNZ, on the other hand, felt adrift and rudderless in this modern age. Out of the conversation. Unloved and unwanted. Unwatched? It sure did feel that way.

But - and this is a but so big it would leave Sir Mix-A-Lot drooling - over the past year TVNZ has undergone something of a course correction. If before they were up a creek without a paddle, now it feels like they're powering through the ocean in a V8 jetboat.


What happened? How did it happen? Who cares? Let's just thank gawd it happened... We should all want TVNZ to succeed. Not just because we pay for it but because we should want to see our stories and our faces on our screens. A state broadcaster is the best bet for that reasonable goal to be met.

There's definitely been a change in the air. For the first time in a long time the TV part of TVNZ is being talked about. This, I reckon, is down to a few key moves.

First they shook all the stuffiness out of Seven Sharp. Then they shook Radio NZ by poaching their prized presenter John Campbell. Then they shook rival Three by coming from behind with Love Island, their sleazy new reality show, to win the race to the bottom of the barrel.

And this Wednesday night New Zealand will shake with laughter when Wellington Paranormal, the new comedy from Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi, screens on TVNZ2. It's hands down the funniest local show in years. You'd be a damn fool to miss it.

They've done some other stuff too, but these are the pivotal moves that saw TVNZ capturing the high, middle and low brows of New Zealand. I s'pose you could argue that they've shifted slightly left. But after nine long years reflecting the other side it's a pleasant change of view.

The thing is, these days telly is only one side of the viewing coin. And for a lot of folk it's not even a side of the coin. The inconvenient and restrictive nature of scheduled programming is unappealing to those with a decent internet connection.

When was the last time you logged in to TVNZOnDemand? Hopefully recently. No longer a dumping ground for episodes you missed it's now a viable and, dare I say it, desirable addition to the streaming landscape.

OnDemand is now stuffed with exclusive shows. And not just good shows, great shows. For example, it's the only place you can watch the thrilling Killing Eve, one of this year's best. It's got local comedian Tim Batt's very funny talk show Banter, British comedian Greg Davies' very funny game show Taskmaster and the terrific family show Terry Teo.

There's also a range of decent-ish, but old, movies and, unlike other platforms, a little bit of sport as well, if that's your thing.

Their brand new kids platform Heihei, which focuses strongly on local programming, is also a haven for parents worried about what their kids are watching - especially on YouTube where alt-right messaging and pornographic and horrifying scenes are being spliced into innocent sounding (and copyright infringing) compilations of things like Peppa Pig and Frozen. As far as I'm concerned Heihei can't get Chromecast functionality soon enough. That's not far off I've been told.

Oh, how we laughed two years ago when TVNZ announced their 'New Blood' strategy because it sounds vampiric and awful and, truth be told, we're still laughing now.

But that's because their plan, which involved funding a bunch of web series, has come up Milhouse in making fun, strange little shows that are filled with LOLs. Anika Moa: Unleashed, The Male Gayz, The Han Chronicles and Interns are all very funny in very distinct ways and just a sampling of what's available.

It's vibrant viewing. It's diverse. It's TVNZ joining the conversation and reflecting ourselves back at ourselves. What it is pretty bloody good.

Not only is TVNZ now something to talk about, it's finally something to watch.