Operation Overkill
New Zealand Listener|September 22-28 2018
Operation Overkill

An extra night of Shortland Street won’t change the psycho storylines.

My relationship with the national soap, chugging along on our screens for an impressive, if startling, 26 years, is like my relationship with religion: I turn up for weddings, funerals and bar mitzvahs and mostly give it a swerve the rest of the time.

Actually, I’m not sure there’s been a bar mitzvah in Ferndale. It can only be a matter of time. The gods of television have decreed that the universe is not nearly absurd enough, so Shortland Street will screen six nights a week until the end of the year. It’s some sort of soap world record, apparently, and the inaugural Shorty Sunday was a celebratory hour long.

I can’t keep up as it is. The last time I watched, the show’s 25th anniversary was being marked by the eruption of that hitherto harmless landmark, Mt Ferndale. The denizens of Ferndale coughed a lot, got dirty and stoically carried on trying to murder each other. Pregnant oncologist Eve Reston wandered off into the eruption and returned like a wild-eyed prophet: “This is a purge. It’s a cleansing fire! Only the strong will survive.”

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September 22-28 2018