Curl up on the couch and get settled into one of these new shows that our expert says are a must-watch.
Scratched: Aotearoa’s Lost Sporting Legends
Streaming on The Spinoff
Episode one of the newly released second season follows Meda McKenzie, an endurance swimmer who, in 1978 – aged just 15 – swam the Cook Strait, becoming the first New Zealander to achieve the feat. A natural born ultra-athlete, Meda subsequently swam the Bristol Channel, the English Channel, Foveaux Strait and Lake Erie. A few years later, when fellow ultra-swimmer Phillip Rush swam the “double” Cook Strait and claimed it couldn’t be done by a woman, Meda seized the challenge and nailed the Cook Strait return journey as well.
The fact that she’s even featured in Scratched has a classically Kiwi origin – in a recent interview with RNZ Afternoon’s host Jesse Mulligan, series director Madeleine Chapman explained that her aunt worked at a bank with Meda, which is how the connection was made. Meda herself is a humble yet inspirational subject whose interview anchors the episode. We also hear from her brother Alex who, along with their father, was a core part of Meda’s swimming support crew.
Other episodes this season include the story of somersaulting long jumper Tuariki Delamere (yes, the same guy who later became a politician), pioneering skateboarder Lee Ralph and world champion weightlifter Precious McKenzie.
Whether or not you’re an athlete or a sports fan, Scratched is well worth a watch. This is a top class doco series that shines a light on noteworthy New Zealanders whose achievements might otherwise be relegated to the record books.
Mondays, 9pm, Three (Streaming on ThreeNow)
Season two of this Kiwi show is here with more murder mysteries to solve. The Gulf stars Kate Elliott and Ido Drent as Detectives Jess Savage and Justin Harding, two chalk-and-cheese cops working the beat on Waiheke Island. Adding to the intrigue, both characters have more than murder on their mind as personal problems come to the fore: Jess is desperate to identify the blackmailer threatening to expose her secrets, while Justin reconnects with his criminal father.
Woman at War
March 8, 8.30pm, Rialto Channel
Celebrate International Women’s Day for the entire month on Rialto Channel, with movies that focus on women’s stories, female film-makers, and women who inspire and influence. Among the many titles worth checking out is terrific Icelandic black comedy Woman at War. The protagonist, Halla, is a happily single “woman of a certain age”, fighting to save the planet while also trying to adopt a child. Breathtaking landscapes, enviable knitwear and a feisty heroine – what’s not to love?