Welcome to Paradise

Anyone unfortunate enough to pick up the Sunday Star Times this week would have seen Tim Hume’s assault on Prime’s homegrown comedy series Welcome to Paradise. While the author could easily have written a paragraph about how bad the show was, they were somehow given a full page to spout their whiny discourse.

Those who have seen the comedy series will no doubt vouch for it as not being one of New Zealand’s proudest moments in television but berating the show further does nothing to change the situation. The fact remains: those involved know what the general consensus was towards the show and repeatedly telling them isn’t going to change history. In fact, stand-up Josh Thomson is even quoted as acknowledging the flaws in Paradise but that he doesn’t need to be reminded of them.

Out of the entire piece, something that is more interesting is NZ On Air’s decision not to fund a second series. The numbers had a respectable average of 60,000 viewers (compared to the Flight of the Conchords which aired immediately after with an average of 83,000) and yet Jane Wrightson, Chief Executive of NZ On Air says “The show was panned, by critics and by the public and on the internet. There was a groundswell of dissatisfaction about it. We want shows that attract a positive response.”

On the other side of the equation, Prime’s channel manager Karen Bieleski admits that the show, while not perfect, was a success. And even more importantly, they wanted a second season – something they don’t have to do, but wanted to do.

Certainly, Paradise had been a success in pulling such viewers to Prime, drawing an 11% audience share of its target demographic of males aged 18-39 and outrating some of the network’s foreign sitcoms.

It seems to me that while NZ On Air is happy to throw money at shows that will air in obscure hours, it isn’t happy to put money into a second season of a series that had a reasonable timeslot and “respectable” audiences.

I am growing incredibly tired of the complaining in this country. It seems that anyone who steps up to try and be successful has to put up with the rest of the country trying to put them back in their place.

Sure, Paradise wasn’t the world’s best comedy but at least someone had the courage to put their balls on the line and have a go. Even though they probably knew no matter what they did, someone would be there trying to make themselves feel better by ripping it to shreds.

It is unfortunate that despite a network actually wanting to commission a second season, the funding body won’t come to the party even though the numbers were in the frame. And here I was thinking it was all about being commercial.

I’m sure there have been less worthy projects that NZ On Air have thrown money at. Perhaps second time around, lessons would have been learned, changes made, storylines improved and audiences increased. I guess we’ll never know.



This locally-made sitcom finishes tonight with Alex getting his groove back.

The hostel is facing financial ruin due to intrusive renovations at Little Bo Peepshow next door so Alex must take the lead to save the day. The staff throw a party they’ll never forget.

WELCOME TO PARADISE, Monday 10th December at 9.30pm



It’s St Patrick’s Day – an event Lucy loathes – and she finds sympathetic company in travelling Irish charmer, Brac. Sasha is made to look after a flirtatious skateboard champ and Barry is victim of an unfortunate food colouring experiment.

WELCOME TO PARADISE, Monday 3rd December at 9.30pm



John and Sasha’s feuding at the front desk continues, while a mate of Barry’s moves to the big smoke to pursue his dream.

John’s nightshift is a weird and wonderful world, although Sasha thinks it’s the easiest shift of them all. John falls out with Chloe and starts a wager with Sasha, while Barry’s mate Gazza comes to the city to chase his dream of a professional rugby career.

WELCOME TO PARADISE, Monday 26th November at 9.30pm



In episode 10, a good-looking cop catches Sasha’s attention.

Lucy helps Sasha puts the moves on the spunky new local cop. Zac is confronted with horrific news about an ex-girlfriend and Barry gets under everyone’s feet.

WELCOME TO PARADISE, Monday 19th November at 9.30pm

It’s time for the backpackers to undergo improvements, making the staff nervous

Alex gets a rare chance to impress his high school crush – as long as his employees don’t stuff up his chances. Lucy gets a gift of pounamu and Zac faces the axe.

WELCOME TO PARADISE, Monday 12th November at 9.30pm

There’s trouble in Paradise as Barry takes a stand.

Barry takes a vow of silence over a scandalous incident in the bar.

And as more and more guests arrive at reception, they refuse to check into Paradise until the full story is out.

WELCOME TO PARADISE, Monday 5th November at 9.30pm on PRIME

Sasha’s (Sally Martin) head is on the block thanks to her big mouth.

John is preoccupied with his mission to save an iconic brand of sweets while Lucy and Barry embark on a popularity contest in the bar.

WELCOME TO PARADISE, Monday 29th October at 9.30pm on PRIME

They’ve added a laugh-track to this sitcom. The only thing this show needs is better writing and acting. Then it might actually be (intentionally) funny.


In tonight’s episode of this locally-made sitcom, Sasha decides she wants to experiment with a sexy new form of yoga.

The staff set up Alex on a date with a sexy racing car driver, Barry makes friends with a guest from Iraq, and John’s scary stepmother comes to town.

WELCOME TO PARADISE, Monday 22nd October at 9.30pm on PRIME