In New Zealand: Mondays, 8.30pm, TV3
New Zealand is a small country - okay, it's quite big, but in turns of population, it's quite small - but it does still have a surprisingly large effect on world media. The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were filmed there, mainly thanks to New Zealand film director Peter Jackson. The Oscar-winning Whale Rider launched the US career of actor Cliff Curtis (Trauma and Missing). A multitude of shows from the late 90s, including Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess, introduced the likes of Lucy Lawless and Karl Urban to the world, and Spartacus is doing so with a new generation of actors all over again, with that show's Manu Bennett leading the charge into the US.
However, New Zealand does have its own home-grown film and TV industry, and in modern times, three of the biggest forces in New Zealand TV have been broadcaster TV3, and James Griffin and Rachel Lang of South Pacific Pictures, the originators of the long-lasting Shortland Street. This combo first gave us the comedy crime series Outrageous Fortune (remade in the US as Scoundrels), which nurtured the career of many a New Zealand actor, including Anthony Starr, currently doing sterling work as the star of Cinemax's Banshee.
Then came The Almighty Johnsons, which delved more into fantasy, with a tale of reincarnated Norse gods living in New Zealand. That's currently filming its third season and a US remake is currently being piloted by SyFy.
But it's all systems go at South Pacific because now we have another Lang and Griffin project (actually, so far, it's most Lang) - The Blue Rose, a comedy crime drama that reunites two of Outrageous Fortune's female stars, Antonia Prebble and Siobhan Marshall, in a tale of vigilantism and office temp work. When office temp Jane (Prebble) discovers that Rose, the PA she is replacing, died under mysterious circumstances, she joins forces with Rose’s best friend Linda (Marshall) to get justice for Rose. Along the way, they find others who need their help - victims of fraud, theft and injustice - and soon Jane, Linda and a team of unlikely co-workers are taking on the corporate bullies, fighting for justice and using their unique powers for good. They're not afraid to break the law in order to stand up for the little people, and every step takes them a little closer to uncovering what really happened to Rose.
It's an odd combination of office politics and murder mystery with a very odd couple at its heart, but it just about works. Here's a trailer: