Battle of the Kiwi prime-time dramas
Westside is well worth the watch, but Filthy Rich . . .
Iread an article last year that referred to studies suggesting the rich are meaner and more miserable than the less well-off. It’s an idea they clearly decided to run with in Filthy Rich (Tuesdays, 8.30pm, TVNZ2), the Kiwi drama returning for its second series.
The story revolves around the three illegitimate children of deceased multi-millionaire John Truebridge, who have been thrown into the unfamiliar world of the uber-rich. Unsurprisingly, nobody was happy to see these unexpected claimants to the fortune turn up in series one and it’s been downhill all the way since then.
Clearly that was faster for some than others, as series two kicked off with chiselled corporate villain, Fisher (Mike Edward), dumping one of them off the top of a tower block.
Meanwhile, Brady Truebridge (Miriama Smith), who was swindled out of her empire in series one by Fisher, her then deputy, is set on her revenge. We know this because she has a permanent look of grim determination on her face and is constantly exercising – either rowing furiously in her home gym, or swimming angrily in her private pool.
It’s as if these corporate shenanigans might end up in a Rockystyle encounter with Fisher and she needs to be in peak physical condition. You wouldn’t need to be a psychiatrist to figure out this is an angry woman. But just in case we can’t pick up that nuance, she spelled it out for us: ‘‘I’m going to tear down those bastards that took my company…’’.
It’s hackneyed lines like that that draw comparisons with the dastardly dealings of 1980s American soaps like Dallas.
So, do expect plenty of glamorously dressed rich people, lounging about in their interior-designed homes and fuming about boardroom issues. And some good down-to-earth folks who are poor, but nice. Don’t expect a nuanced study of the cashed-up elite.
And I’ll be honest, if your attention wandered from this in series one there’s nothing new to entice you back. It’s more of the same soapy high melodrama, but with enough villains, ulterior motives and downright bitchiness to keep it marginally interesting.
Another local drama, Westside (Mondays, 8.30pm, Three) – the Outrageous Fortune prequel – is kicking into its third season.
It’s 1982 and Ted (David de Lautour) and Rita West (Antonia Prebble) have returned from a holiday in California funded by their ill-gotten gains. Their house has been trashed by partying teens and Rita is soon in a feud with the new owner of the dairy who has had the audacity to put up a ‘‘no smoking’’ sign in her shop.
Meanwhile, Ted’s gang are spending up big. They’re having their meetings in a recently purchased spa pool and Phineas (Xavier Horan) has even taken up golf. ‘‘He’s always buying new golf sticks,’’ his wife says. They’ll be getting their own boardroom next.
Tough-talking Rita is a lot of fun to watch. Throw in some great 1980s decor, some really engaging characters and genuinely funny lines and Westside is well worth the time.
Antonia Prebble’s tough-talking Rita West is a lot of fun to watch.
Westside might be the show set in the 1980s, but Filthy Rich is the one haunted by the ghosts of melodramas past.