A little bit of unnecessary fuss over Anna

agent-annaAfter seeing yesterday’s glowing press release from TVNZ about the ratings for Agent Anna I thought I would pose the question is Agent Anna worth watching to those who, unlike myself, had seen more than the first episode.  I had given the show a poor review so, wanting to be fair, I thought I’d see what response you, our readers, had towards the show.

The results of that poll ended up being a little skewed and biased after Robyn Malcolm, posted on Facebook and Twitter:

Fancy voting on this? V cynical poll re Agent Anna I reckon, with comments based on only first episode. If you feel like having a say go for it!! x

and

And from our director/writer Vanessa “Despite our super successful ratings this website <throng.co.nz> is polling people to vote against my little show. Support it please. Support me, Floyd Alexander-Hunt, Robyn Malcolm, Maxine Flemming, Rachel Gardner, Peter Salmon, Theresa Healey , Kayleigh Haworth, and everyone else who got some funny women on screen with kiwi accents in prime time. It’s the first time ever! And we are super proud of our ratings.

even got accused (By someone called Whakapuaki) of being sexist over making comparisons to other types of characters show producers tend to create (besides, it was actually Rachel, my wife and co-founder of Throng, who came up with that particular description comparison)

‘She hasn’t been set up to be the flustered housewife turned glamorous career woman’

So? How is that relevant other than revealing your insidious sexism? Maybe I love the fact she is a flustered housewife, maybe I anticipate that those very characteristics will make her heroic. I love that we have female driven comedy that allows a fresh, under represented, brave and long overdue voice on nz television. I challenge your sexism Regan, I call you on it. I’m f###ing sick of it.

Great Southern Television’s Philip Smith also decided to engage in the conversation in the small hours of this morning:

as the maker of agent anna i can only thank throngs people for giving it such an enormous thumbs up. we are stoked! wow! episode five has been described as an nz comedy classic by pre screeners so … standby. thanks to regan and his team for supporting a show outside the safety zone! it must have been a really really scary experience. cheers again to the 69% of throngers who love it. ep 5 – for you all. phil smith

Despite not liking Agent Anna, and not expecting to want to watch anything further, I genuinely thought it would be worthwhile crowd sourcing some thoughts on whether or not I should give it another go.  We’re generally pretty pro local content here and I generally get lashings for liking content that others hate (even if it, too, rates well) so it’s a little disappointing to see Vanessa Alexander suggesting we’re polling people to vote against her show.

Philip’s sarcastic response is also disappointing considering he’s very good at what he does and we’ve given high praise to a number of their other projects, some of which earned us a few of the lashings I mentioned before.

I don’t expect that I will like every piece of television that is produced in New Zealand by New Zealanders but I reserve the right to have my own opinion.  In some cases I will side with general consensus.  In others, I won’t.  But for the record, can I suggest, if you want to engage with Throng and respond to any criticism, you are more than welcome to do so.  Whether you choose to believe it or not, we’re actually on your side.

As Vanessa mentioned, having a bunch of kiwi women on our screens in primetime is certainly a great thing.  Robyn Malcolm, and Theresa Healey are both stars.  I didn’t like the pilot of Agent Anna and despite a bit of a sour taste left in my mouth from yesterday’s response, I’m still prepared to give it another go…

I will let you know what I think.

About the author

Regan is one of the co-founders of Throng Media.
If they're on, I'm usually watching Game of Thrones, The Killing, 24, Battlestar Galactica, The X Factor, Survivor, Go Girls, and the NRL.
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  • Rachel

    Hi there, this is the first time I’ve ever commented on Throng. You incorrectly implying that a swearing rant defending Agent Anna can be attributed to me is pretty disappointing. I didn’t even know your name until 5 minutes ago.
    Rachel Gardner

    • http://www.facebook.com/reganjcunliffe Regan Cunliffe

      Sorry for the confusion but I was referring to my wife and co-founder who also shares your name. The rant was from someone else. I have updated the post to reflect that.

  • Ryan

    I did think the big volume of random comments on a single throng thread was a little bit suspect. That explains it. I haven’t watched the show and chose not to purely because it starred Robyn Malcolm – aka “The Hobbit Hater”. It may be a somewhat satisfying kiwi comedy, but the mere presence of Malcolm as the star of this show means I will never let it darken my tv.

  • Aardvark

    I think the shows great and that it’s great to see New Zealand Comedy doing so well. It’s better than watching those terrible soap operas from Australia and The United States. Hope they make a season 2 and that pages like this stop ruining great television.

  • Christine

    I actually “unliked” Robyn Malcolm’s Facebook page after this latest whine. They made it sound like you had skewed the poll to make people say they didn’t like the show which is totally wrong. Anyway I have watched a couple of episodes of Agent Anna and really wanted to like it but found it very boring. I like to support local shows and do enjoy a lot of the dramas we produce but the only comedy show I have enjoyed in a very long time is Auckland Daze. Just because it is a Kiwi show with Kiwi actresses doesn’t mean we HAVE to like it. I almost feel like Robyn and co are trying to guilt us in to liking it. Sorry – it’s boring. Stop being so precious and put your time and effort in to making a better show.

  • Sophie

    This show received over $1,300,000 in taxpayer funding from New Zealand On Air. I’m pretty sure that gives people the right to say whether it’s utter tripe or not. There’s no point in having blogs where you discuss TV shows if you’re just going to suck up and say they’re awesome all the time. It’s good to have NZ content on our screens, but only if it’s quality and tells an interesting story.

  • TVMonkey

    The initial review you gave it kind of implied that you didn’t like it because Robyn Malcolm was ‘different’ to how she was in Outrageous Fortune. It’s hardly surprising people might find that argument a bit irritating. Also, I suspect people might have been annoyed with the wording of the different options in the poll (ie 2 very negative options, 2 neutral, 1 positive) which probably got up people’s nose’s too.

  • philip

    Hi Regan,

    Just a note, I was being enthusiastic, not sarcastic, genuinely. And it wasn’t the late hours. I am based in Oz, EP’ing Coast Australia – so give me a break on the time zone! I only get my NZ news after a days shooting. Maybe that Ozzie positiveness is rubbing off. The attention is good for AA – and appreciated from Throng – and if you are uncertain about the show, do give episode 5 a shot. I reckon it’s really seriously funny. I haven’t read the thread fully – but when you do get 400,000 viewers some weeks – opinions do follow – so I doubt there is any social media conspiracy – and it’s never been our style at GSTV.

    Kind Regards

    Philip Smith

    • http://www.facebook.com/reganjcunliffe Regan Cunliffe

      Thanks for taking the time to call. Always good to talk! :)