WatchMe: Kiwi comedy goes online

Taken from NZ Herald.

A new video-on-demand platform will launch today, showcasing original Kiwi comedy, including Leigh Hart's cult comedy series Late Night Big Breakfast.

Commissioned by Matt Heath and Jeremy Wells, WatchMe will feature several short-form comedy series, available to view on demand, free of charge.

Each series is made up of between six to eight short-form episodes, specifically designed to cater for a digital audience.

"It's all about removing the padding," explains Heath. "When you make a commercial half hour for TV, it's 22 minutes cut roughly into three seven-minute bits, divided by ad breaks. We don't have ad breaks, so we are just making the seven-minute bits. If people want to watch 22 minutes they can watch three shows in a row."

Read the full article here.

Auckward Love: The Web Series

When Alice is left broken hearted by her long term boy friend, her 3 best friends step in to get her back into the dating scene... whether she wants them to or not...

Auckward Love is a funny, sexy and almost romantic web series created by actress Holly Shervey, and written by actress/writer Jess Sayer and actor/director Emmett Skilton.

The episodes follow Alice (Holly Shervey) and her three unlikely best friends Vicky (Luci Hare), Grace (Jess Holly Bates), and Zoe (Jess Sayer), as they force her back on the road to find love… whether she wants them to or not.

Auckward Love shines a light on what it’s like to be a single 20-something female in today’s dating game, complete with the trials and tribulations, the fun times and hard, and of course the highs, and the ridiculously ridiculous lows.

Watch the series online here.

TV Pick: 800 Words

Taken from NZ Herald, TimeOut.

Australia's Channel Seven has a pretty good track record when it comes to creating well-balanced, heartfelt family drama that strikes a chord with audiences: Always Greener, Packed to the Rafters, Winners and Losers, and A Place To Call Home have grabbed attention on both sides of the Tasman.

Where 800 Words is different, is that it's actually created and written by James Griffin (Outrageous Fortune, The Almighty Johnsons), and filmed in New Zealand, with a lot of Kiwis in the cast. And in that indefinable sort of way, it has a different edge - a sense of humour, idiosyncratic characters, and scenery that can only be found on the west coast of Auckland.

New Zealand-raised Aussie actor Erik Thomson stars as George Turner, a Sydney columnist whose world is turned on its head when his wife dies suddenly, leaving him and their two teenage children Shay and Arlo (newcomers Melina Vidler and Benson Jack Anthony), heartbroken and adrift.

Read the full article here.

Ash Vs. Evil Dead grabs early Season 2 renewal from Starz

Taken from Variety, by Cynthia Littleton.

Starz has given The Evil Dead fans an early Halloween treat by confirming that Ash Vs. Evil Dead has been renewed for a second season, four days prior to its premiere.

The series has generated strong buzz among horror fans as Starz has stoked anticipation for its return for months with well-placed screenings and online ballyhoo. The drama, exec produced by Evil Dead masterminds Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert, bows Saturday, Halloween night, on the premium cabler. Craig DiGregorio is showrunner.

Bruce Campbell reprises his role from the 1981 movie, playing an aging lothario who wields a chainsaw hand in his hunt for evil-minded monsters. Lucy Lawless also stars. The movie spawned a 1987 sequel and numerous videogame spinoffs.

Read the full article here.

Away From Keyboard: Survival of the fittest

Taken from

It's not surprising to hear that AFK director Peter Haynes was once addicted to gaming.

"I used to be pretty hardcore into a game called World of Warcraft," Haynes relates. "I was pretty addicted to it, it was pretty addictive as a game, so I can relate to one of the characters who's going through that as well, and I think a lot of the viewers will also be able to relate to it."

AFK, an abbreviation of Away From Keyboard, is a webseries sparked by Haynes' own obsession with online gaming and delves into the rarely-explored world of the gamer.

Haynes realised the disconnect between the fantastic online world and reality and wondered how a gamer would actually survive if thrown into the artificially-created world which consumed so much of their time.

"What always struck me as odd, was how you can be involved in this world for so much of your day and so much of your life, doing all of these skills, like leather crafting and blacksmithing and sword fighting and archery, all of these things, yet if you were actually dropped into this environment for real, you'd probably flounder, possibly even die," he says. "You don't have any of those skills practically, only virtually. It struck me as an interesting sort of parallel between that and the real world, the 'how would you survive in your favourite game' kind of question."

Read the full article here.

Ash vs. Evil Dead to Get First-Ever Starz Same-Day Premieres Abroad

Taken from THR, by Georg Szalai.

TV networks and digital platforms in more than 100 countries and territories have licensed the Starz original series.

Starz has struck that licensing deals with TV networks and digital platforms around the world representing more than 100 countries and territories for new original series Ash vs. Evil Dead.

Starz will have its first-ever same-day premiere of the first episode of the series, based on the classic Evil Dead horror films, on Halloween, citing strong demand by fans and distributors.

That means that distributors in some international markets can debut the show before Starz airs it in the U.S. at 9 p.m. on Oct. 31.

Among the international networks and digital providers that have taken the show and will premiere it on Oct. 31 are Amedia in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, C More in Scandinavia, Fox Action on the Fox+ Premium service / Fox Latin America Channels in Latin America / Brazil, Sky TV in New Zealand, Stan in Australia, Starz Play Arabia in the Middle East and North Africa and Super Channel in Canada.

Read the full article here.

Deadline review: Ash vs Evil Dead

Taken from Deadline, by Dominic Patten.

It has become a constant complaint in some circles that reliance on big-screen and small-screen reboots and revivals is strangling originality. Well, trick and treat — Ash vs. Evil Dead is going to partially kill that idea.

Debuting on Halloween, the Starz series based on the Evil Dead movie franchise is, as my video review above says, a blood-drenched relentless romp of horror that makes for a very fun ride on a Saturday night. With his trademark chainsaw, the jaw that will never die known as Bruce Campbell is back in the Ash Williams role he birthed in the first Evil Dead pic back in 1981, and Spider-Man director Sam Raimi is back as an EP here and helming the pilot of the 10-episode series.

With a behind-the-camera team of ED alum Robert Tapert as EP, Ivan Raimi as co-EP and new addition Craig DiGregorio as showrunner, plus Ray Santiago and Dana DeLorenzo as Campbell’s onscreen sidekicks, Ash vs. Evil Dead is a bloodier and funnier than the movies – and I’m a big fan of the movies.

Read the full article here.

Funny Girls: It’s no joke

Taken from NZ Herald, by Duncan Greive.

It's Wednesday, late afternoon. Outside, commuter traffic crawls along Khyber Pass; one side flowing north to the Southern Motorway, the other south toward Remuera and the Eastern Suburbs. A few metres away, the club is pumping.

Rose Matafeo and Chelsea Millar are in the middle of Lucha Lounge, a cramped, dingy respite from Newmarket's vapid commercial heart.

Normally it's covered in Mexican memorabilia but today its walls are bare while it stands in for a generic city nightclub.

"Here's to 10 years since high school," says Millar, yelling over a fake rap song. "And still best friends.""Selfie!" yells Matafeo, and they lean in to capture the moment.

Read the full article here.

Too funny: Laura Daniel, comedian

Taken from Metro, by Alice Harbourne.

Laura Daniel is drunk. It’s 10pm on a Thursday, and she’s celebrating her nomination for the 2016 Billy T Award. Glass of $12 bubbles in one hand, microphone in the other, the 24-year-old is too happy to take seriously performing a six-minute set to a crowd of mostly peers at Golden Dawn. She does a joke about how Listerine makes a great hair-of-the-dog for an in-denial alcoholic, drops and grinds a few times and exits with a “nailed it” flip of her Lorde-length hair.

It’s the first year since 2003 that more than one woman has been nominated for the comedy award (launched in 1997), and Daniel is rightfully jubilant. This is a chance to compete with four of New Zealand’s best emerging comedians without tiring talk of tokenism.

It’s a topic she’s bracing herself for ahead of the first season of TV3’s new sketch show, Funny Girls, and one I’m loath to bring up. Can we just get on with cheering Funny Girls and Jono and Ben producer Bronwynn Bakker for breaking the monotony of men otherwise dominating our screens?

Read the full article here.

New show DNA Detectives coming to NZ screens

Taken from NZ Herald, TimeOut.

The man who created a hit musical about a guy having way too much fun meddling with people's minds in his lab is hosting TVNZ's new celebrity genealogy show DNA Detectives.

Richard O'Brien, the English-born New Zealand-raised creator of the Rocky Horror Picture Show - and who played Riff-Raff in the classic 1975 movie - is presenting the programme, made by the team behind Intrepid Journeys.

Among those giving samples before heading off around the world in the first season are Jack Tame, Ray McVinnie, Dave Fane, Michael Van De Elzen, Sam Wallace, Amanda Billing, Shavaughn Ruakere, Willie Jackson, Nicole Whippy, Kirk Torrance, Leigh Hart and Sonia Gray.

Read the full article here.
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