1492490520612 - TV review: Screaming Reels

TV review: Screaming Reels

Yes I laughed out loud. I wasn’t expecting to. It’s a budget New Zealand show with actors mostly winging it, so should be a disaster.

But when Leigh Hart went scrambling around the boat carrying his bent puny rod yelling for a fighting harness because a big one was on, then the camera cut away to a shot of a cormorant-type bird pecking at his bait in the water … yes that was good.

New Zealand’s fishing shows with their heavy metal soundtracks and jerky camera shots, designed to make sitting on an aluminium boat hauling in fish look exciting, have had it coming for a long time.

All that half-hearted whooping and high fives, plus product placement with the subtlety of a sledgehammer purchased from your friendly hardware store made them a farce ages ago.

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Hart and fellow Radio hauraki presenter Jason Hoyte make a good fist of the spoofing. 

The six-part Screaming Reels series (TVNZ Duke, Tuesdays) launched last night and they set themselves up as New Zealand’s top fishing talent presenting “New Zealand’s premier high octane fishing show”. 

Like all fishing shows, they have secret, never-fail spots, Hart and Hoyte take the boat to places they “know very well” such as Andy’s Hole, Nicky’s Shaft, Aaron’s Ring – but all these intimate fishing spots have much the same Auckland city backdrop, almost as if they filmed everything a few minutes away from the jetty. 

“If you can’t catch fish there (Andy’s Hole), you can’t catch them anywhere,” Hoyte says prophetically.

Some non-anglers might enjoy Hart’s set-it-up, then deadpan-deflate-it style. But I love fishing and you get way more out of it when you know what they are laughing at. The jumbled fish names. The jumbled jargon. The useless gear. Wanting the boat turned so they can fish from the other side.

“There are a couple of stripeys jumping over there,” says Hoyte. “Fish?” checks Hart, who doesn’t know one of the ultimate sports fishes, a marlin like the one they have on their racy logo. Later Hart admits he caught some ‘kingies” and also some “kingfishers”, yes both on the same day, in that dig-the-hole deeper way you do when you never admit you are wrong. 

You realise no fish is ever going to get caught. Oh, except the huge fish they hook and lose while we are away at ad breaks.

Screaming Reels falls a bit flat a few times when Hart and Hoyte slip into a bit of Rob Brydon-Steve Coogan style riffing on non-fishing subjects. It goes on a bit long and they are nowhere near the Brits’ league.

But then fishing shows are all about lots of padding. You bring in the big one in the last five minutes. Or in Screaming Reels case, you don’t bring in the big one in the last five minutes. 

Can they keep the joke going for five more episodes? I’m going to stick around to find out, especially if, as tipped, they get a pioneer fishing show host like Matt Watson on board.