Off The Radar

Te Radar’s new series Global Radar looks to be on way to kiwi screens in the next couple of months.

The comic posted this message on his Facebook page:

“For those who have kindly asked, it looks like the new series will be hitting your screens in August. There is some travel involved in this one, so they didn’t let me have as many chickens.”

In our first post reviewing the world of TV in 2008, we reveal our favourite new kiwi shows on TV this year:

  1. The Jaquie Brown Diaries
  2. Off the Radar
  3. Burying Brian

Read on to find out why…

The Jaquie Brown Diaries
Kiwis love comedy but to pull off a successful home-grown comedy is incredibly rare. Jaquie Brown had just the right mix of cringe-factor, self-mocking, celebrity cameos and real world references along with quirky yet likeable characters. We just wish there were more than six episodes and we’ll be hanging out for the next six episodes to screen on TV3 in 2009.

Off the Radar
In a world where sustainable and green permeated our news, politics and conversations daily in 2009, this show could have simply been another TV show to jump on the bandwagon. Instead, Te Radar provided a fascinating and humorous insight into what living off the land really means. If you missed the series, check out the book.

Burying Brian
We watch a lot of pilots of shows and never follow them through to the end. Not so with Burying Brian – we really wanted to see if and how the women would get away with the Brian’s death.

Other notable mentions:

New Zealand’s Got Talent
Stars in their Eyes
Who wants to be a Millionaire NZ?

What was your favourite new NZ TV show in 2008? Let us know in the comments.

As is always the case with television, there were plenty of highs and lows to choose from in 2008.  Here are some of the highlights for me.  Feel free to add your own in the comments.

The launch of TVNZ7 on the 30th of March saw the arrival of hourly news updates and an indepth news hour at 8pm along with two new shows, Back Benches and Media7.

Temepara George and Stefano Olivieri won Dancing with the Stars and raised $90,516.51 for Autism New Zealand and another five figures each for both Vodafone and Telecom.

The Ferndale Strangler finally ended his run on Shortland Street and made way for new villains.

The Beijing Olympics were a spectacle while the commentary provided by TVNZ was not.  Our athletes gave us moments of pride for New Zealanders while Toni Street did not.

Mike Hoskings hosted a local version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire while Simon Barnett bought us more imitators on a local version of Stars in their Eyes.

Eyeworks Touchdown produced a reasonably good drama in Burying Brian and managed to sell the concept internationally before a second season was denied by the state broadcaster.

Jacqui Brown proved that New Zealand actually can produce a comedy series while the Flight of the Conchords proved that it’s easier to sell yourself to a major American network than a local one if you actually are funny.

The saga of Toni Veitch was unveiled unforgivingly by the tabloids mainstream print media before he quit.

TV One’s Breakfast continued to dominate while Oliver Driver bought some new life to Sunrise on TV3.  Sainsbury vs Campbell was fairly much the same except Close Up didn’t get done for pimping an actor as an informant.

Prime dived head first into producing local content with New Zealand’s Got Talent and proved that it is serious about being a player in the FTA market.

Outrageous Fortune had another great season, not to mention the success in having the series being produced for the American networks.

Election coverage was all that seemed to matter in the lead up to the US and NZ polls towards the end of the year but TVNZ’s decision to cut to the six o’clock news and talk about the news that had already happened over one of history’s moments astounded many.

After much discussion of the new TV One and TV3 news sets, TVNZ’s set design for the New Zealand election had many wondering why the same effort hadn’t been employed for the daily bulletin.

Great Southern Television’s The Pretender was another jewel in the crown of NZ comedy in 2008.

One of the big highlights of the year though had to be Te Radar going bush in Off the Radar.

What were your high and low points for 2008?


I’m sure we have all been enjoying Te Radar’s efforts at being self sufficient on TV One’s Off the Radar. The programme has been rating well too.

Now TVNZ has decided to put top rating show The Zoo on at the same time on TV2. Have TVNZ’s programme schedulers had a brain fart??

Why go to the expense of making Off the Radar and then put a programme opposite that it, can’t hope to outrate???

Te Radar must be gutted!

Sustainability is a hot topic in New Zealand. People in politics like to talk in big money terms about saving the planet but perhaps what they need to do is follow Te Radar and head bush for ten months armed with no more than $5000 and the desire to live off the land.

I really enjoyed the first episode in this series which is definitely a weekly must see now. Having raised vege gardens, chickens and even rain water collection in a semi suburban environment Te Radar’s challenge was of interest to me personally. What was he going to do with that 5 acres of land to keep himself self sufficient for ten months?

The area Te Radar is in appears to be relatively close to here. Somewhere north of Kaukapakapa. If this is the case, then I can’t wait to see how he fares living in a tent with some of the wind and rain we have around here. Growing food might end up being the least of his problems.

Despite it being a TV show, living rurally tends to mean people are more neighbourly. That and it would be difficult to find a neighbor who would allow you onto their property to shoot turkeys. Having people showing you how to compost, give you livestock and allow you to hunt on their land is probably another form of sustainability that suburbanites miss out on.

Unfortunately, TVNZ haven’t put the show on online for those who missed it. TV One at 7:00pm on Sundays for those who are interested.

Sunday 31 August, 7pm

The concept of escaping the rat-race to live a self-sustainable lifestyle is a romantic notion – and surely Aotearoa is the best place on earth to make this back-to-basics dream come true. Kiwi comedian Te Radar is going to find out on TV ONE’s new local series Off The Radar, at 7pm tonight.

Exploring the delights, and difficulties, of trying to sustain himself off what one man can hunt, grow and fish, Te Radar is discovering there is much to keep him occupied on long, cold nights in the tent; do saucers of beer really keep snails off cabbages? Does goat make tasty salami? And what happens when the time comes for Willie the pet pig to hit the dinner platter?
Arriving at the field on the first day, Te Radar says it was more like the feeling you get when you go on holiday than a shock. “The first few nights in the tent, in the paddock, I was thinking ‘oh yay, I’m here’, it was all really exciting and it didn’t really sink in that I was going to be there for 10 months. It’s a little bit like the night before Christmas, and by the time that wears off it’s more like an accepted routine. It was all an exciting adventure.”

He says growing up on a farm proved very beneficial: “It meant I knew how to build; I knew kind of how to look after stock; and I could milk a cow. I knew about those basic kinds of things like water pipes and water troughs and fixing all of that sort of stuff. I think if I hadn’t had that knowledge and I went into it totally unprepared, then it would have been a lot more difficult. I guess all of those misspent years on a farm in the Waikato came in handy.”

But it didn’t prepare him for growing vegetables. “That was much more difficult than I could ever have imagined it was going to be. I thought you put stuff in the ground and it grew, and that is clearly not the case. There is skill and knowledge involved and I was really dumbfounded by the entire experience.”

Off The Radar also looks at topical green issues facing New Zealand such as the viability of solar power and how simple steps like composting and starting a worm bin can reduce landfill.

In his quest to become more self-sustainable, Te Radar calls on the help of many fascinating folk – like ‘Project Pete’, the man with at least 100 projects half-finished in his shed; neighbour Shawn, a local with a degree in fixing things with #8 wire; Pru and Trish the growing gurus; and Wolfgang, the self-proclaimed king of scything and mud oven maker. Then there are the animal characters – Sainsbury and Campbell the calves; Willie and JT the pet porkers; and a bevy of tasty birds (chickens, that is).

Te Radar says the experience as a whole was fantastic. “Living in a field, going hunting, shooting and fishing, then coming back at the end of the day and having a fire-bath under the stars, while my dinner cooked in the mud oven – it can’t get much better than that.”

From breaking in the veggie patch to selling off the homemade pickle and home-grown spuds, life ‘off the radar’ is filled with the ups and downs of living in rural New Zealand, relying on the neighbours for a hand and battling the elements.