Why I will never give up The Good Fight to get the best TV shows to air in NZ

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James Croot is the editor of Stuff to Watch. Listen to the Stuff To Watch podcast by hitting the Play button below, or find it on podcast apps such as Apple or Spotify.

OPINION: Peaky Blinders fans, I feel your pain. Derry Girl lovers, I too am frustrated by a seemingly interminable wait.

Both are shows with an army Kiwi admirers desperately waiting for news of when the final episodes of their beloved shows will finally be available on our shores. They were unleashed overseas months ago.

While we know that the Irish period comedy is slated to turn up here, like many other territories outside of Great Britain and the Emerald Isle, on Netflix “later this year”, the situation around Peaky is murkier.

The concluding sixth season had a blink-and-you’ve-missed-it run on Sky TV’s BBC UKTV channel and Sky Go back in March and April, but failed to show up on Netflix (where the other five seasons are homed) here as expected on June 10. So while countries everywhere from Nauru to Nigeria know the final fate of Tommy Shelby and company, most New Zealand followers have been left in a strange state of limbo.

Even Netflix themselves weren’t initially aware of the local licencing snafu, Australian-based officials insisting it should be there. However, despite repeated requests by Stuff to Watch, the exact problem – and who actually holds the rights to screen it (and for how long) – remains shrouded in mystery.

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The sixth and final season of The Good Fight is set to debut in many countries around the globe next month – but not in New Zealand.

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The somewhat shadowy world of VPNs aside, the only way to currently legitimately watch the last six episodes of Peaky is to order the DVD or Blu-Ray. Which is precisely how I’ve tried to keep up to date with one of my favourite American dramas – The Good Fight.

Like Peaky, its sixth-and-final season will debut in 2022. But while viewers across America and on the other side of Tasman (as well as those in many other countries) will be able to follow the trials and tribulations of the indomitable Diane Lockhart (Christine Baranski) and her fellow Chicago lawyers from September 9 (New Zealand time), there’s no sign of it debuting here anytime soon.

Much of the problem lies in who it is made by. Although touted by some as arriving here at the same time as Australia this time last year, Paramount+ failed to materialise, its content being picked up here by combination of Sky and TVNZ.

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Mandy Patinkin joined The Good Fight for its fifth season last year.

You’d think that such a critically acclaimed, crowd-pleasing, ahead-of-the-zeitgeist political and legal drama (it has a reputation for tackling hot-button issues before they become part of the regular US news cycle), a spin-off of the equally brilliant The Good Wife, would be top of both network’s shopping lists.

Sadly, the only service that airs it here is Prime Video – and they only have the first three seasons. A New Zealand-based spokesperson said they have no plans “at this stage” to add more episodes, while TVNZ say the title was not available to them.

It’s a similar situation to This is Us. Up until late last year, Kiwis had fallen further and further behind the American schedule, as the rights seemingly passed slowly from TVNZ to Prime Video. Then, magically, just ahead of the concluding season this past January, all the previous episodes appeared on not one, but two, streaming services – Prime Video and Disney+. It was confusing – and bizarre – to say the least.

Sarah Steele, Christine Baranski and Nyambi Nyambi have been a part of The Good Fight from the very beginning.

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Sarah Steele, Christine Baranski and Nyambi Nyambi have been a part of The Good Fight from the very beginning.

I’d love for that happen to happen in The Good Fight’s case – and I’d urge Prime Video to do whatever they can to make all the episodes of the best contemporary US drama on television today available to us (or hand the rights to someone else).

While I feel somewhat resigned to having to wait for it to appear in a physical format sometime next year, that won’t stop me advocating for fans of shows like it to keep up the pressure on streamers, networks and broadcasters to seek out and deliver those series we Kiwis really want to see.

STARZ

Released in the US in April, Gaslit is still without a New Zealand streaming home.

Other hot shows not currently coming to an NZ streaming service

Dark Winds

Released in the US in June, this six-part crime-drama currently has a rare 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Set in 1971, on a remote outpost of the Navajo Nation near Monument Valley, it follows Tribal Police lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, as he struggles to cope with a series of seemingly unrelated crimes.

“Gripping, gorgeously shot and propelled by superb performances, Dark Winds is a very good show that also happens to be very important,” wrote Time magazine’s Judy Berman.

Gaslit

Julia Roberts plays Martha Mitchell in this eight-part dramatisation of some of the lesser-known stories surrounding the early 1970s Watergate Scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon’s administration.

Inspired by the first season of Slate’s podcast Slow Burn, in particular it details how Mitchell, a celebrated socialite and the wife of Attorney General John N. Mitchell, was one of the first people to sound the alarm about the President’s involvement in the infamous cover-up. Sean Penn, Dan Stevens and Betty Gilpin also star.

“Roberts is magnetic as the gossipmonger turned voice of dissent,” wrote Financial Times’ Dan Einav.

Ophelia Lovibond stars opposite Jake Johnson in Minx.

The Girl From Plainville

Elle Fanning, Chloe Sevigny and Colton Ryan star in this eight-part true-crime series. As the tagline suggests, it is inspired by “the case that shocked the nation”, when Michelle Carter was charged with “involuntary manslaughter” as part of an inquiry into the death of fellow teenager Conrad Roy III.

“The series is formidably well done and a seriously deep-dive into the adolescent culture of cultivating tragic love,” wrote The Globe and Mail’s John Doyle.

Minx

Ten-part, 1970s Los Angeles-set comedy that focuses on an earnest young feminist who joins forces with a low-rent publisher to create the first erotic magazine for women. Elementary and W1A’s Ophelia Lovibond stars opposite New Girl’s Jake Johnson.

“Minx made me think of Glow and Boogie Nights, but it’s very much its own blend of period comedy and social commentary. It’s original – and addictive,” wrote The Boston Globe’s Matthew Gilbert.

Elle Fanning headlines The Girl From Plainville.

We Need to Talk About Cosby

Debuting at January’s Sundance Film Festival, this quadruple Emmy-nominated series is this year’s Allen v. Farrow.

W. Kamau Bell’s four-part documentary contrasts Bill Cosby’s incredibly successful 50-year showbiz career (which included educational programming, stand-up and one of the world’s most beloved sitcoms), with the private hell so many women say he put them through as he abused his power.

“A multi-episode conversation that’s thoughtfully and sensitively handled, and rightly places emphasis on how Cosby’s downfall has affected the Black community,” wrote Vulture’s Jen Chaney.

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