TVNZ 1 Prioritises Drama Post-Olympics

TVNZ 1 will beef up its primetime drama slate after the Tokyo Olympics with two NZ series and a controversial new period drama that depicts Anne Boleyn as a black queen.

An Auckland-based spin-off of My Life is Murder will screen 8.30 Mondays from August 9 and S2 of One Lane Bridge 8.30 Sundays from August 15 while spicing up Saturday nights from August 14 will be Anne Boleyn.

Said Empire of the revisionist three-part Channel 5 drama that stars Jodie Turner-Smith as Henry VIII’s second wife: “The blank pages of Boleyn’s history book are filled with a modern, empowered interpretation of the queen.”

“Even before the first episode was shown, some complained that Turner-Smith’s casting was historically inaccurate because Anne was white,” The Conversation observed.

“But these complaints ignore several existing versions of the doomed queen’s story that have portrayed her deliberately and creatively beyond the agreed-upon facts.

“The series itself acknowledges its place in this tradition. One of its taglines declares that it is ‘Inspired by truth … and lies’. Turner-Smith’s wonderfully intense, enigmatic performance is the latest addition to a long line of TV and movie depictions of Anne.”

“We wanted to find someone who could really inhabit her but also be surprising to an audience,” Faye Ward, one of the show’s executive producers, told the New York Times.

Since there were already so many depictions of Anne Boleyn, the show’s creators “wanted to reset people’s expectations of her,” Ward said.

Reviews were mixed. “This is not The Tudors, this is Proper History and it delivers on all the basics,” The Guardian said while The Times was similarly effusive.

Anne Boleyn’s already much-discussed aspect — having a black actress play Anne — is its ace card, bringing an instant distinctiveness.

“OK, this is likely to appeal more through emotional resonance than intellectual, but so far it’s a pacey, ambitious spin on such familiar ground.”

But The Daily Telegraph said “the whole production is really quite bad“, the Daily Mail argued “half the dialogue is lumpen, and the rest is ludicrous” and the Independent thought it “very silly“, “salacious” and “little more than a soapy romp”.

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3 Responses to “TVNZ 1 Prioritises Drama Post-Olympics”

  1. Will TVNZ 1 invest in comedies, which are currently lacking at the moment?

  2. The genre seems to have become the preserve of TVNZ 2 with its suite of panel shows and OnDemand experiments that transition to the network’s late-night schedule. TVNZ 1’s had less success with more traditional TV comedy and seems more focussed on dramas and documentaries.

  3. But TVNZ 1 has a larger audience share where can still get back into comedies at any moment with equal programming across 1 and 2.

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