Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

When I put my mind to it, like the band above, I can be quite two-faced.

For example, if there's one type of fictional series that I never like, then it's the reboot.

For so many reasons:

1. A reboot kills off any possibility of the well-loved original version ever returning.

2. A reboot carries the implication that the original is somehow inferior to this new version.

3. A reboot sets up a competition - and uncertainty - between tellings as to which account of events is the true one.

4. A reboot is always a waste of time getting into, because the precedent is now set for this new version to presently itself get thrown away and rebooted, so why bother? (anyone remember Sam Raimi's world-popular, but nevertheless short-lived, reboot film series Spider-Man - itself rebooted against his wishes after a mere decade?)

Reboots. Hate 'em. Such a betrayal of the audience's loyalty, trust and, dang it, love.

Imagine my dismay then at learning that HBO's well-received American TV sitcom The Flight Of The Conchords - which I enjoyed so much that I watched both seasons twice - was in fact just such a beast.

For this morning I completed listening to the series' trial run from two years earlier - a six-part BBC series, made, set and broadcast in the United Kingdom, on the radio.

Featuring the same cast, characterisations, style, songs and jumbled-up plots, this preboot (barring Rob Brydon's narration and Neil Finn) is just like listening to a mixture of several episodes of the TV series again, in fact, too much like it.

And once more I found myself going through the same mindset as I described above. Why bother getting into this, when the later TV series makes it impossible for me to root for the outcome of events that can have no lasting consequences? Where plots are duplicated, did the guys have the actual adventure in the UK, or NY? Maybe they can still get together and record some more episodes of this… oh no, that's right, now they never will.

I don't have many bad things to say about the fourth most popular folk parody band from Wellington, but I do think it a great shame that their later TV series simply reworked this material (therefore being dependent upon the TV public not being aware of these editions), instead of building upon them. How much more fascinating and sought after would these radio episodes be if they told of Bret, Jemaine and their manager's backstory and exploits from before their move across to the United States?

It's tempting to try to find a way of reading that backstory in here, or even retropositioning this earlier series as a sequel. Maybe, after their deportation to NZ at the end of the second TV series, they had to try going to the UK because the US wouldn't let them back in again. Maybe Murray (still played identically by Rhys Darby) therefore changed his name to Brian Nesbitt for legal reasons. And maybe they make so many of the same mistakes all over again, compose the same songs again, and encounter another fast-talking shark who sounds like Greg Proops again, because… because… because it's all Bret's trip while taking drugs in the TV episode New Fans... aw, no, then he'd know the future...

No, I really am going to have to choose between the two.

Well, I'm opting for the TV reboot. It gets them out of Josh du Chez's crippling rights contract from episode four.

There. Now I feel dirty.

(available here)(think about it, think, think about it)

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