A former top TV boss is behind a social media campaign urging Television New Zealand to bring back local drama series Nothing Trivial.
The final episode screened on Wednesday, two weeks after TVNZ announced it would not commission another series, and viewers were left angry at the abrupt ending.
The plot diverted from a fairytale wedding to a brutal cliffhanger when leading lady Catherine (Tandi Wright) was hit by a van, just as it appeared her troubled relationship with Mac (Shane Cortese) was back on track. The show ended without viewers knowing if she was dead.
TVNZ said it had dropped the show because of a slump in ratings. The average 5+ audience had dropped from 412,000 to 258,000 over the past two seasons.
But loyal viewers have taken to social media to vent their outrage and demand the show, which focused on the lives and loves of five friends and their pub quiz team Sex on a Stick, be reinstated. An online petition has gathered 2000 signatures and the Bring Back Nothing Trivial Facebook page has 6000 likes.
Loyal Christchurch viewer and pub quiz aficionado Jude Elliot wrote: "Sack the programmers at TV One. They have no brains. Best show on TV and they can it. Bring Back Nothing Trivial."
Petition organiser Geoff Lawson, a former TVNZ director of operations, hoped the broadcaster would note the viewer groundswell and commission another series.
"Frankly, it's not just about ratings. It's about who we are as New Zealanders and telling our story."
Lawson pointed out Shortland Street had been a ratings disaster when it launched.
The stars of Nothing Trivial said they felt sorry for their fans.
Nicole Whippy, who played Michelle, said the show struck a chord because "it was real".
"It had heart. We came to know these five people sitting around that table at the Beagle. They became our friends. And judging by the many tweets I received, people feel cheated. They want more."
Tandi Wright understood why fans were frustrated.
"There needs to be closure. It's really hard on the fans who have come to invest in the characters."
But she said the bigger issue was the loss of a New Zealand story from our screens. "If we stop making New Zealand drama it will be a terrible travesty. It is so important that New Zealanders get to see our stories on TV. It's more than entertainment, it's important for our national confidence and psyche."
A disappointed Blair Strang, who played plumber Brian, said TVNZ should commission a one-off special to give frustrated viewers finality.
TVNZ spokeswoman Megan Richards said Nothing Trivial was a fantastic show but the network would be sticking with its decision.
"We're actually sympathetic to the people who are clearly passionate supporters because we thought it was a terrific show too. But the fact remains we lost 150,000 viewers this season and you have to ask the campaigners, 'Guys, where were you when we needed you?"'
What happens next?
Nothing Trivial actors predict possible storylines for their characters:
Catherine could be dead, she could be in rehab in a wheelchair, or she could come back as a ghost. And Mac and Catherine could go off to Paris. An accident like that is life changing so she would be making the most of what's really important. So that could be going with the person you love to the city you love.
Is Catherine alive? I would love to see her come back, in a way that she wasn't really Catherine. Maybe with some injury that meant she didn't remember anything. Of all the couples, Mac and Catherine are the ones who are really meant to be together. As for Emma and Brian, can you ever have a happy-ever-after with Brian? He's such a red-blooded alpha male so relationships will be an issue.
I would like to think season four would have been kinder on Michelle. But these writers know how to turn these characters' lives upside-down. I think we would have touched on her being the other side of 35 and childless. Maybe she is pregnant ... and the baby is actually half evil psychiatrist. The possibilities are endless.
I think Cory loves himself too much to ever find love. But he's happy playing the field. Things were looking pretty promising at the wedding. Obviously all the bridesmaids at this wedding were too high maintenance so he's gone for the lesbian work colleague of the bride! I like his chances. Cory loves a challenge, and I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't at least sneak a kiss or an arm wrestle in before the end of that reception. Oh, hang on . . . his beloved Cat just got hit by a car ...