The Amazing Extraordinary Friends

4:30pm Tuesday, November 9 on TV2

Captain Extraordinary (Carl Dixon) and his group of superhero sidekicks return for a third series of The Amazing Extraordinary Friends this week on TV2.

When Ben Wilson (Dixon), an average kiwi kid, discovered a super insignia at the bottom of a river he had no idea that his life would be changed forever. Through the power of the insignia Ben transformed into Captain Extraordinary, a superhero with super powers.

Now Ben finds himself thrust into an extraordinary world of superheroes and villains, he must quickly learn to master his powers as the fate of the entire planet hangs in the balance.

In the third season of The Amazing Extraordinary Friends Captain Extraordinary is at the top of his game. He has defeated an android army and brought peace to a troubled galaxy, reunited the world’s remaining superheroes, and single handedly started the new age of heroes. But unbeknown to Ben, a new evil has come to City Central – a villain with powers equal to his own who has the ability to destroy them all.

Saturday 13 September, 4pm

This week, the legendary Wolf, from the cult 90s British TV show, Gladiators, guest stars on The Amazing Extraordinary Friends.

Wolf (real name Michael Van Wijk) was known as the meanest gladiator on the show, bending the rules, pushing contestants over and regularly arguing with referee, John Anderson.
On The Amazing Extraordinary Friends his character is no friendlier! He plays an evil alien android hell bent on finding the insignia and destroying earth. In a radical departure from the attire Van Wijk wore as Wolf, his android character spends much of the episode in a dress!

Saturday 6 September, 4pm

It’s election time in City Central this Saturday on The Amazing Extraordinary Friends, and there is a new candidate in town.

When Ben Wilson, an average kiwi kid, discovered a super insignia at the bottom of a river he had no idea that his life would be changed forever. Through the power of the insignia Ben transformed into Captain Extraordinary, a superhero with super powers.
This week, the Evil Jester (Mikey Havoc) returns as the new candidate who challenges the Mayor for his position. The Jester is planning to win by offering the people of City Central free big screen TVs and cash in exchange for their votes.
Much to Captain X’s surprise the plan seems to work. The Amazing Extraordinary Friends set out to expose the Jester but find themselves in serious trouble when Captain X takes the law into his own hands.

Saturday 26 July, 4pm

Have you ever dreamed of being a super hero? Now thanks to The Amazing Extraordinary Friends that fantasy could be a reality. The Amazing Extraordinary Friends are giving aspiring movie-makers and super heroes the opportunity to create a 30-second movie clip of themselves as an incredible crime fighter. The person with the winning entry will appear on screen as their creation in the tumultuous final episode of series three.

The competition called ‘Hero In 30 Seconds’ is just one of the many cool features available when viewers head to tvnz.co.nz and enter the keyword AEF. Fans can take advantage of the brand new, multi-platform experience that has been designed to allow the young, savvy audience to interact with the show, the cast, and even the programme-makers, to help shape stories and ideas for the future.
Once the mini movies for ‘Hero In 30 Seconds’ have been uploaded to the website, the best will be selected and then the public can vote for the winner either online or via texting. The entries can be completely individual or a joint project from whanau, school classes or youth groups.

The website also allows viewers to catch up on episodes they may have missed. Producer Peter Clews explains: “Increasingly television is going to be made to reach audiences at a time and place of their choosing, either online or in podcasts, or other forms of technology yet to be developed.”

There are also video clips that profile each of the core cast. The actors talk about their characters and give insight into their personality. As well as behind-the-scenes footage of what it is like making the show, the site includes free downloads of desktops, wallpapers and screensavers; the only known map of City Central; and forums that give fans an opportunity to connect with each other and swap superhero gossip. Moderated by AEF uber-nerd Poindexter, viewers can ask questions directly to cast and crew.

The site has received funding from New Zealand On Air as part of its new Digital Content Partnership Fund, which aims to encourage the creation of multi-format audio/visual New Zealand content.

Don’t forget to be watching The Amazing Extraordinary Friends this week as Captain X and friends are confronted by a new group of superheroes – The Tremendous Trio. Hailing from Megatropolis, they claim to want to help City Central, but all is not as it seems. Captain X uncovers a villainous plot and must save the city from a giant tidal wave.

TVNZ has launched a digital extension of hit local series The Amazing Extraordinary Friends (AEF) in a landmark partnership with NZ On Air and Greenstone Pictures.

Housed on tvnz.co.nz, the AEF website enables fans to interact with the show through exclusive video content, behind the scenes information, games and competitions.

The site has received funding from NZ On Air as part of its new Digital Content Partnership Fund and is produced by TVNZ’s online team with content supplied by Greenstone.

TVNZ’s Head of Marketing and Emerging Business Jason Paris says that the AEF site is a great example of TVNZ’s guiding strategy: “Inspiring New Zealanders on every screen”.

“Our strategy is to offer viewers content on multiple platforms and online is obviously an important part of this. Fans of AEF are always online, that’s where they get their information and how they communicate with their friends. So online is where we wanted to take the show.”

Paris says that partnering with NZ On Air and Greenstone in this venture is a significant step for TVNZ’s digital strategy.

“It’s great to have NZ On Air’s support, recognising that taking content online is an important extension for local production.”

NZ On Air’s CEO Jane Wrightson says that the AEF partnership is one of the first projects to be confirmed by the agency after the opportunity to fund online content was created by the recent Broadcasting Act amendment.

“The AEF project provided a wonderful opportunity for NZ On Air to move into the digital space in association with an already successful broadcast series. It is also appropriate that as one of our first online projects the target audience is one that easily embraces the opportunities presented by interactive web content”.

AEF producer Peter Clews believes that the AEF site is leading the way, reflecting the fact that in the future, television content will be delivered on a range of media.

“Having material online is changing the way that people are viewing and seeking their entertainment material, but the AEF site is not just another viewing platform, it’s a creative tool and fans will be part of the process.

“A lot of the material on the site will actually be generated by viewers. We want people to create their own superheroes who may actually end up being in Amazing Extraordinary Friends.”

The second series of The Amazing Extraordinary Friends starts on TV2 at 4pm from tomorrow, Saturday 5 July. The production is funded by NZ On Air and TVNZ, and is created by Stephen Campbell and produced by Matt McPhail for Greenstone Pictures.

Nickelodeon Australia has scooped up the rights for Greenstone Pictures’ drama series THE AMAZING EXTRAORDINARY FRIENDS.

Deirdre Brennan, Nickelodeon’s Programming Director said,

“I am thrilled that Amazing Extraordinary Friends will be part of our 2008 programming line-up for Nickelodeon and Nick Jr.” Referring to “charming and funny children’s content full of relevant characters for our Australian audience,” she commented: “Doesn’t everyone secretly want to be a superhero?”

AEF was created by Stephen Campbell, Greenstone’s executive producer of drama. Greenstone MD John Harris comments:

“This sale to Nickelodeon is international recognition of Stephen’s talents. It’s also a tribute to the creative and financial support of TVNZ and NZ On Air. Between us we have created a world class series.”

The deal was announced by Beyond Distribution at MIPCOM, the TV market in Cannes.

The Amazing Extraordinary Friends Saturday July 7, 5.00pm

Forget big-screen heroes Batman and Superman, on Saturday July 7, TV2 launches a brand-new, homegrown superhero – Captain Extraordinary!

The Amazing Extraordinary Friends begins when Ben Wilson, an ‘ordinary’ Kiwi teenager, goes on a school outing and finds a mysterious metal insignia. The insignia turns him into Captain Extraordinary, who has super powers – which sounds like something most boys would relish. But being Captain X brings Ben no end of grief. He is chased by the evil Renfield and his cronies, he’s taunted by street thugs because he hasn’t mastered the art of flying… and suddenly he’s expected to save the city from all kinds of villainous plots.

The Amazing Extraordinary Friends is a ‘live action’ series; filmed all over Auckland, on farms, in churches, on rooftops and in alleys. Captain X and his best friend Roy Bottle are played by newcomers Carl Dixon and Patrick Morrison. Their superhero allies include The Green Termite, aka Ben’s grandfather Harry – played by veteran actor David McPhail, and young actress Robyn Maclean as Wired. Many well-known faces appear throughout the series, including; Peter Feeney, Mikey Havoc, Stuart Devenie, Mark Wright, John Leigh, Otis Frizzell and Madeline Lynch.

The producers of The Amazing Extraordinary Friends, Greenstone Pictures, describe the series as an adventure-comedy. There are moments of madness, and plenty of action. But like all great superheroes, Ben is also confronted by personal problems – like a stepfather who wants to give him advice (Leigh), a mother who wants to mollycoddle him (Lynch), and a pretty girl called Vicki (Hannah Marshall) who doesn’t seem to know he exists.

The show was created by Stephen Campbell (creator of Secret Agent Men, winner of the Qantas Media Award for Best Children’s/Youth Programme in 2005). Stephen was also the key writer on AEF, and directed several episodes.

“Amazing Extraordinary Friends is the story of an ordinary boy who discovers the power to be extraordinary,” says Campbell. “It is set in a modern city inhabited by larger-than-life villains and superheroes, plus the occasional 50ft woman.”

Campbell’s collaborator, Matt McPhail, found himself in the position of directing his father, David McPhail, for the first time. He felt that despite it being nerve-racking, it was a privilege to be directing someone he considers a true professional, and one of this country’s best comedic talents. However, he also says “relished the chance to get back at dad by making him run around with his underpants on the outside.”

McPhail senior was also slightly nervous going into the project, but he says, “The scripts are brilliant, and I was attracted to the series because it didn’t take itself too seriously, the dialogue was very tongue in cheek. I enjoyed playing the part enormously.” And as series one goes to air, he’s also back on board along with the rest of The Amazing Extraordinary Friends cast and crew for the production of series two.

Episode one of the series will begin on TV2 at 5pm, Saturday July 7. But for all those viewers keen to get in early, it will also be streaming – free – on www.tvnzondemand.co.nz from Saturday June 30 – only the second series in TVNZ’s history to do so. Just visit the TVNZ ondemand homepage, follow the links, and get ready to New Zealand’s first superhero in action!

The Amazing Extraordinary Friends, Saturdays on TV at 5pm.

The Amazing Extraordinary Friends debuts on 7 July 5pm TV2, and its star is a youthful Captain Extraordinary.

The Amazing Extraordinary Friends begins when Ben Wilson, an ‘ordinary’ Kiwi teenager, goes on a school outing and finds a mysterious metal insignia. The insignia turns him into Captain Extraordinary, who has super powers – which sounds like something most boys would relish. But being Captain X brings Ben no end of grief. He is chased by the evil Renfield and his cronies, he’s taunted by street thugs because he hasn’t mastered the art of flying … and suddenly he’s expected to save the city from all kinds of villainous plots.

The Amazing Extraordinary Friends is a ‘live action’ series (that is, the actors are real, not animated.) Captain X’s sidekick The Green Termite is played by veteran actor David McPhail, and several other wellknown faces like Mikey Havoc, Mark Wright and John Leigh pop up in guest roles.

The producers of The Amazing Extraordinary Friends, Greenstone Pictures, describe the series as an adventure-comedy. There are moments of madness, and plenty of action. But Ben is also confronted by personal problems – like a stepfather who wants to give him advice, a mother who wants to mollycoddle him, and a pretty girl called Vicki who doesn’t seem to know he exists.

The show was created by Stephen Campbell (the man behind Secret Agent Men, which won the Qantas Media Award for Best Children’s/Youth Programme in 2005.) Stephen was also the key writer on AEF, and directed several episodes.

“Amazing Extraordinary Friends is the story of an ordinary boy who discovers the power to be extraordinary,” says Campbell. Friends is set in a modern city inhabited by larger-than-life villains and superheroes, and the occasional 50ft woman.

The 13-part half hour series was funded by New Zealand On Air and TVNZ, and filmed on rooftops and in alleys around Auckland during the first half of 2006.

Greenstone Pictures is best known for factual series (Emergency, Motorway Patrol, Serious Crash Unit, The Zoo) and documentaries (Baby Charlotte, Private Lives, Rose Noelle). Two years ago it broke into drama with the 26-episode Secret Agent Men.

THE CAST
Ben Wilson / Captain X: Carl Dixon
Roy Bottle / Nightlite: Patrick Morrison
The Green Termite: David McPhail
Vicki Van Horton: Hannah Marshall
Renfield: Stuart Devenie
Ice: Tyler Jane Mitchell
Wired: Robyn MacLean

THE CREW
Executive producers John Harris, Stephen Campbell
Writers Stephen Campbell, Matt McPhail, Geoff Houtman, Jon Bridges
Producer John Harris
Associate Producer Matt McPhail
Line Producers Tina Archibald, Nikki Baigent
Directors Stephen Campbell, Matt McPhail, Josh Frizzell, Simon Raby, Popo Lilo
DoP Dave Cameron
Production Designer Emily Harris
Visual effects supervisor Andrew Shanks
Music composer Tom McLeod

The second season of The Amazing Extraordinary Friends has been given the green light for thirteen more episodes and the first season has been sold to ABC in Australia.

If you’re keen to find out more about the show, follow their blog (you may need to log into MySpace to view it).

Here’s a snippet from their latest entry:

“Our two other writers have come on board and we have now got five first draft scripts completed, eight to go. We’re getting regular ‘notes’ from the network, which I have mixed feelings about. It’s always hard to take criticism but you have to remind yourself that it’s all for the greater good – the people we deal with at TVNZ are both writers and understand the process, so that helps hugely. Generally I feel the second season is shaping up to be way ahead of the first. So far it’s funnier and I think we’re starting to nail the drama. Six weeks to go before we move into the pre-production period (crikey!) better get writing!!!”

Soon to start on TV2, this new 13 episode kids’ drama series gives the traditional superhero genre a Kiwi spin. Amazing Extraordinary Friends is the story of an average kiwi kid whose life changes dramatically when he discovers a mysterious insignia that endows him with amazing powers as Captain X.

Set in modern day NZ but with larger-than-life villains and superheroes and the occasional gigantic mutant lizard.

With the help of a retired superhero sidekick “The Green Termite”, and best friend NightLite, Ben sets out to unite the world’s few remaining superheroes under one common banner: The Amazing Extraordinary Friends.

Cast: Carl Dixon, Patrick Morrison, David McPhail, Hannah Marshall, Stuart Devenie, Tyler Jane Mitchell, Robyn MacLean, Madeleine Lynch, John Leigh, Mark Mitchinson, Greg Smith, Kaleb Mearns, Joshua Ramsay, Jim McLarty, Mark Wright, Ajay Vashisht and Phoebe Falconer.