The Almighty Johnsons

After experiencing a resurrection for the third season and seemingly wrapping up the storylines, it was expected that that was it and The Almighty Johnsons had become another local drama being sacrificed to the reality tv gods.  It’s now been confirmed officially.

What I find interesting about this decision is that the show had distribution around the world and seemed to have a relatively reasonable fan base.  If our stories can find audiences around the globe, at what point does public funding become less of an issue for producers?  Sponsorship and product placement by global brands may very well enable producers to reach wider audiences without having to go cap in hand to the government purse and enable our voices to be heard in many places other than our own shores.

Nothing TrivialThis year, The Blue Rose, Go Girls, Nothing Trivial, Harry and The Almighty Johnsons have all been axed by their respective networks, putting and end to jobs for countless cast and crew.  Granted, the ratings haven’t exactly been stellar but 2014 is going to be very scant when it comes to local drama and we, the viewers, will be worse off for it.

At the TVNZ launch, they lauded themselves as being champions of local content.  While Sunday Theatre will provide some expected good viewing on Sunday’s and Step Dave and Cover Band are looking promising (albeit more comedy than drama?), the TVNZ schedules are going to be pretty lacking of local drama compared to what we’ve been used to.  TV3 isn’t any better.

Instead, networks are choosing low cost, and relatively higher rating, “unscripted” reality formats.  When it comes to choice, the options are becoming increasingly less. Continue reading »

It really has been a bad year for local drama ratings.  First, Go Girls had their worst rating season in five years.  Nothing Trivial launched their 3rd season with their lowest rating episode ever and the next two episodes producing even lower viewership figures again.

And then we come to TV3’s The Almighty Johnsons which ended it’s third season last night.  Despite being picked up for broadcast in Australia, the UK, Canada and even the US, its ratings have been rather disheartening here.

Season one had an average audience of 251,485 viewers.  Season two was down 23% to 193,669 viewers.  The third season, however, has ended with an average audience of 122,191 – that is 37% fewer viewers than season two and less than half of the audience who saw the first season.

the-almighty-johnsons-s3-ratings Continue reading »

the-almighty-johnsons-2013After already screening in Canada and the UK, The Almighty Johnsons will now screen to US audiences in 2014 on SyFy.  This will make it the first wholly New Zealand originated and produced drama series to be broadcast in the United States.

Chris Regina, senior vp of programming at Syfy, has described the series as “a compelling blend of fantasy and comedy, this quirky series should resonate strongly with our viewers,”

the-almighty-johnsons-beyond-the-storyHere’s a novel idea.  Take a fantasy TV series and turn it into an iPad app.

New Zealand company BeyondTheStory® won the rights to produce the official digital edition of The Almighty Johnsons on App, and to transform the 13 episodes of the television series into a novel.

UK-based BeyondTheStory® teamed up with South Pacific Pictures, producer of the hit New Zealand comedy-drama, to create a complete guide, episode by episode, giving fans a whole new dimension to the shows.

The Almighty Johnsons is about four ordinary Kiwi brothers who have inherited the powers of Norse Gods. The show follows the Johnson brothers’ exploits as they tackle the challenges of being gods amongst men.

BeyondTheStory® CEO Jen Porter says: “With this app we’ve taken our work into new dimensions by novelising each show and creating all the supporting content, with images, audio, behind-the-scenes video, 3D content, and real-time updates. We even have a Kiwi lingo guide for those who want to get the Antipodean accent on-form.”

“In the App fans can enter the god-o-sphere of the Johnson family and learn more about them and their friends; Norse gods, goddesses and lore and key locations. There’s lots of behind the scenes chatter and interviews with cast members, and heaps of extra content,” Porter says.

The series stars Dean O’Gorman (Fili the Dwarf in ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy), Ben Barrington (Top of the Lake, The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) Tim Balme (Peter Jacksons’s ‘Braindead’, Outrageous Fortune), Jared Turner (Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Underworld: Rise of the Lycans), and newcomer Emmett Skilton as Axl Johnson.

Kelly Martin, Chief Executive of South Pacific Pictures says: “This immersive App is a new innovation for a New Zealand television series and we‘re delighted to be working with BeyondTheStory®.”

The App goes live in regional rollouts that will coincide with TV transmissions in Canada (where the series is up to Episode 6) on the SPACE channel, and in the UK when it launches at the end of the month on SYFY. Further rollouts are scheduled for Australia and the US later in the year.

The Almighty Johnsons App is a first for BeyondTheStory® working with a TV studio. This follows its partnership with US-based Sony Pictures Entertainment/Overbrook to make the official App for movie After Earth with After Earth: Kitai’s Journal.

Other Apps on enhanced digital books, have been developed in partnership with publishers including Hachette, Harper Collins and Penguin, plus independent authors. Award-winning titles include the unabridged classic Wind in the Willows narrated by Stephen Fry; an updated app of Kings and Queens by British historian Dr David Starkey, bringing to life 2000 years of Britain’s monarchy, and in the education sector it has produced Anne Frank – The Diary of a Young Girl.


You’ve got to love a good publicity campaign that crosses between the fantasy world of a TV show and reality.  With local body elections on the way, the tie in between them and Almighty Johnsons’ Colin Gunderson/Loki (Shane Cortese) running for mayor is brilliant timing.

They’ve set up a facebook page for their “campaign”

I am rich. I am very very rich. And I am not ashamed of how unbelievably rich I am.

Why am I telling you this?

Because what I am actually saying here is that I want to be the next Mayor of Auckland because I really do want to be Mayor. Continue reading »


1. If you could have any other job in the TV industry, what would it be?
I’d like to be continuity. I’m quite obsessed with continuity, and always pick up when it’s out in films. It’s very satisfying as an actor to get complicated continuity right. This season of Johnsons, the continuity artist shook my hand at the end of a very hard scene involving unwrapping boxing straps. I was delighted.  Continue reading »

millen-bairdMillen Baird plays Lance on TV3’s The Almighty Johnsons which airs Thursdays at 8:30pm

What does your job entail?
Finding like-minded people to play dress up with.

Share your favourite work story
I used to work at cobb n co. People used to come in and ask that I not be their waiter. Continue reading »

emmett-skiltonEmmett Skilton is the lead actor on TV3’s The Almighty Johnsons and plays Axl who is also the living incarnation of the Norse god Odin.

What does your job entail?
Pretending to be a different person in a world other than my own. Continue reading »

Season 3 of The Almighty Johnsons on TV3 hasn’t gotten off to the best of starts.  The debut last week was the lowest rating episode the series has ever had but last night appears to have unfortunately beaten that record as well.

The average audience for last nights episode was only 114,830 viewers, considerably down on the 194,000 which was the season average per episode in 2012.

The move to a new night coupled with an aggressive move by TVNZ to put superhero drama Arrow up against it just hasn’t helped.  In the new timeslot, Arrow drew an average audience of 290,610 which was well up on the 211,850 that the finale of Once Upon a Time had last week.