Bat­tle of the Kiwi prime-time dra­mas

West­side is well worth the watch, but Filthy Rich . . .

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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.

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