Leigh Hart’s Mysterious Planet

The promos promised much, the hype was that it was awesome but this viewer has been left disappointed.

Leigh Hart is a master at the piss take.  He’s actually quite good at it and has plenty of fans who like his work but the problem with Leigh Hart’s Mysterious Planet is that there isn’t actually a piss take.

So many scenes were obviously reshot and then edited in to give an appearance of something entirely different from reality.  Had things happened the way the editors had tried to portray them to have happened then perhaps they would have induced a chuckle here or there but the obviousness was painful.  At least when Borat came back from the dinner party with his bag of faeces, the response was real.

I’d laugh at Leigh if he actually had sat there and smeared ink across his face in front of the person he was interviewing.  Or at the weird chick at the end who appeared shocked when Leigh turned off the light and stormed off.  But when you’re thinking “Borat”, you just can’t.

But perhaps the humor is in the obviousness of it all.  Perhaps it’s like those Hitler videos on YouTube about the iPad announcement.  Some random footage that is used to tell a different story from what actually happened.  If this is the case, then perhaps there is some merit in it.  I’m not entirely sure.

What ever the case, the cryptomundo world are onto him.  That in itself is pretty funny.

9:30pm Friday, February 12 on TV One

Explorer, archaeologist and crypto zoologist Leigh Hart leaves New Zealand on a journey to solve the world’s greatest mysteries in this new local series, Leigh Hart’s Mysterious Planet (tonight on TV ONE at 9.30pm). Armed only with his questionable expertise, a healthy dose of scepticism and a credit card, ‘That Guy’, heads on a quest to some of the most intriguing, remote, and physically challenging locations in the world.

For Hart, the unsolved mysteries of the world, and the plethora of documentaries surrounding them, have always held a real fascination. Part of the series was inspired by this interest but its creation can also be attributed to one of his family members.

“While cleaning out my garage I found a book that my grandfather gave me in about 1979 for Christmas. It was called Mysterious Planet. I added the words ‘Leigh Hart’s’ to the cover with a white marker pen and then turned into my ‘own’ TV show. It was really that simple,” he says.

Hart brings a fresh, unorthodox approach to his travels, and searches for the truth, whether that means trekking through South America in search of El Dorado: The Lost City of Gold, or joining expeditions to find Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. Meeting many ‘acclaimed experts’ on matters as diverse as the pyramids, the Bermuda triangle and UFOs, Hart dares to dig deeper and attempts to explain the mysteries of the world, once and for all.

Uncovering the world’s greatest mysteries was no easy feat for Hart and his team, and the series is home to a number of dangerous, life-threatening incidents: “The amount of snake related dramas we had during the series was an issue. There was one snake bite in the jungles of Peru and then a mix up, when I gave a crew member snake anti-venom as opposed to antihistamine for his sinuses while we were filming on Roswell. A low-light was perhaps getting lost in the Egyptian desert during our Egyptian Mysteries special.”

The first episode sees Hart tackle two totally unrelated mysteries – Stone Henge and Big Foot. The bulk of the episode is spent at a Bigfoot conference in the United States where Hart meets Bigfoot enthusiasts, experts, and mounts his own high tech in-depth investigation into the mystery.

It would be fair to say Hart gets off on the wrong foot with the Bigfoot community. “After speaking at the [Bigfoot] conference, enlightening them about our own beast, the Waitakeri Yeti, and making an appeal for a standardisation of the ‘shoe size’ when doing international Bigfoot research, I am close to being public enemy number one internationally in the world of Bigfoot. The hate mail is on-going and this is before the show has even gone to air,” says Hart.

Watch Leigh Hart’s Mysterious Planet tonight at 9.30pm on TV ONE.

It was TVNZ’s turn to show off which series they’ll be screening in 2010 at their new season launch today in Auckland.  As you’d expect, there’s a fairly solid line-up.

TV One has a new goal:  to be a little edgier.  One might assume: a little less safe.  It will be interesting to see how this transcribes into ratings.

TV One should dominate Mondays with The Pacific, an HBO series from the makers of Band of Brothers.  This will be followed by the multi-Emmy award-winning series Generation Kill. However, as it aired in the US in 2008, it can be bought on DVD here for about $40.

On TV2 Monday night kicks off with Supernanny followed by Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters.

Before Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice screen, Tuesday nights on TV2 will have New Zealand’s version of The Apprentice.  No doubt Terry Serepisos should do quite well now that some of the boys from his club are heading to the World Cup.

Speaking of which, unlike other major sporting events, TVNZ has chosen not to relinquish the free-to-air rights for the football World Cup in South Africa which will screen on TV One.

Wednesday will see the local version of Masterchef New Zealand on TV One, confirming that the format won’t follow the highly successful Australian version.  This will be followed by the second season of Packed to the Rafters that is about to finish in Australia.

The final season of Lost has been promised to be aired as close to its US release as possible. The word simulcast was used but no one expects the show to air at 2pm.  TV2 has it listed in a Wednesday timeslot which means the best we can hope for is that ABC in the US move the show to a Tuesday so that it will air here within hours. If not, one can only assume that New Zealand internet traffic will be incredibly low for the six days post the season finale in the US as kiwi fans avoid websites spoiling the mystery.

The lead in to Lost is the new sci-fi thriller Flash Forward.

Coming to TV One on Friday nights is Leigh Hart’s Mysterious Planet which will be up against a tough comedy line up on TV3.  TV2 will screen the ninth season of American Idol after Two and a Half Men and The Middle, a show that is scarily reminiscent of Malcom in the Middle.

TV One is bringing the Bond-a-thon to Saturday nights with all 22 Bond movies.

Marcus Lush will be back with South, as will Matthew and Marc’s Rocky Road and the Amazing Race for Sunday evenings.  Sports fans will also be introduced to a new show on TV One for Sunday’s lineup.

The spaceships were shown but the cult remake of V wasn’t mentioned specifically.

The show of the preview though had to be This is Not My Life from the makers of Go Girls and Outrageous Fortune.  It looks hot.  The brief snippet made me think of Minority Report and the cult series Nowhere Man from the nineties.  It stars Charles Mesure (Gerard from Outrageous Fortune – does this mean he’s dead and not in Season 6?) and Tania Nolan (Angelina from Go Girls).  Of everything I saw, this was the one I’m most looking forward to.  Hopefully we’ll get a copy of the trailer soon.

New Shows
Flash Forward

The Middle

The Forgotten

The Vampire Diaries

Human Target

Drop dead Diva

Cougar Town




Generation Kill

The Pacific

Past Life


The Apprentice New Zealand
Masterchef New Zealand
Leigh Hart’s Mysterious Planet

Real Life: Are You My Tribe

Shortland Street
Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares
Packed to the Rafters
Beyond the Darklands
Gangs of Oz
Criminal Minds
Sunday Theatre
Medical Emergency
Piha Rescue
Border Patrol
Animal House
The Politically Incorrect Parenting Show
Cold Case
The Zoo
Desperate Housewives
Brothers & Sisters
American Idol
Go Girls
The Big Bang Theory
The Mentalist
Rescue 1
Two and a Half Men
Gary Unmarried
Grey’s Anatomy
Private Practice
Police Ten 7
Neighbours at War
America’s Funniest Home Videos
The Amazing Race
Matthew and Marc’s Rocky Road
One News
Fair Go
Close Up