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.