A pair of Far North featherless-chook fanciers offer respite from the usual Christmas fare.
Christmas is generally the time of year that the networks clean house, chucking on cheap series, repeats and Christmas specials they've hoarded in the cupboard since last year. Bah. Let's not go down that route. Let us turn to something new and local. Something that is a worthy successor to Wayne Anderson: Singer of Songs and The Jaquie Brown Diaries. Something that is part of a trend that is making us look like mockumentary geniuses.
Rural Drift (TV2, Wednesday, 10.30pm) is a divine comedy about a fool and his friend who head into the country with little more than the dream of raising featherless chickens and breeding tiny pigs. It stars Orlando Stewart, who played Orlando Stewart in the media satire Feedback, and was Wayne Anderson's manager, er, Orlando Stewart. The fact that he is able to use his real name in all these series is a measure of the meta nature of television these days. "It's kind of fun blurring the lines between yourself and a character," he says.
In Rural Drift's iteration of Orlando Stewart, he is a no-hoper handing out flyers for Hell Pizza in Pakuranga. When he inherits his auntie's house in deepest Hokianga, he decides to strike out for a better life for himself and his family. He and his friend Nathan Rea (played by - who else? - Nathan Rea) forge ahead to get the place ready. Naturally, it is not what they expected, and the locals in the small town of Horeke are not welcoming. "The notion of a rural lifestyle holds a certain attraction," says Stewart. "I was also interested in how even though the notion of the good, keen man pervades our culture, we're basically a fairly useless bunch." Yes, indeed - and all the better to make a classic Kiwi comedy.