Flight of the Conchords (TV series)


Flight of the Conchords (TV series)
Flight of the Conchords
Conchords Intro.png
Genre Musical
Comedy
Created by James Bobin
Jemaine Clement
Bret McKenzie
Starring Jemaine Clement
Bret McKenzie
Rhys Darby
Kristen Schaal
Arj Barker
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 22 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) James Bobin
Stu Smiley
Troy Miller
Producer(s) Anna Dokoza
Location(s) New York City
Camera setup Single camera
Running time 26 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel HBO
Picture format 480p (2007)
1080p (2009)
Original run June 17, 2007 (2007-06-17) – March 22, 2009 (2009-03-22)
External links
Website

Flight of the Conchords is an American television comedy series that debuted on HBO on June 17, 2007. The show follows the adventures of Flight of the Conchords, a two-man band from New Zealand, as its members seek fame and success in New York City. The show stars the real-life duo, Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, who play fictionalized versions of themselves. A second season was announced on August 17, 2007, and premiered on January 18 2009. On December 11, 2009, the duo confirmed that the series would not return for a third season.[1]

Throughout its run, Flight of the Conchords received very positive critical reception, with its second season scoring a score of 80/100 on Metacritic. The show has received 10 Emmy Award nominations, including "Outstanding Comedy Series" and "Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series" for Jemaine Clement, both in 2009.

Contents

Plot

The series centers on the day-to-day lives and loves of two shepherds-turned-musicians, Jemaine and Bret (Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, playing fictionalized versions of themselves), who have uprooted themselves from their native New Zealand to try to make it big as a folk duo in New York City. The two have frequent appointments with their officious and ineffectual band manager, Murray Hewitt (Rhys Darby), a Deputy Cultural Attaché at the New Zealand Consulate. Jemaine and Bret constantly fend off the amorous attentions of Mel (Kristen Schaal), a married woman who is their sole fan and stalker. Their friend Dave Mohumbhai (Arj Barker) works at a pawn shop and gives them advice on dealing with American women and culture. Other recurring characters include their landlord, Eugene (Eugene Mirman), Bret's short-term girlfriend Coco (Sutton Foster), Jemaine and Bret's ex-girlfriend Sally (Rachel Blanchard), and Murray's put-upon assistant Greg (Frank Wood).

Most episodes center on the five main cast members. The antagonists outside of this small group are usually either their girlfriends or Australians (see "Bret Gives Up the Dream", "Sally Returns").

Jemaine or Bret break into song in each episode. The songs are built into the narrative structure of the show in several different ways. Some songs form part of the plot of the show. In these instances, Bret or Jemaine sing to another character. Other songs serve as the internal monologue of one of the two. Typically, at least once per show, a song is shot in the form of a music video. Some songs use a combination of the styles. For example, in the first episode, "Sally", the song "Most Beautiful Girl in the Room" is a mix of Jemaine's thoughts and his spoken invitations to Sally to get a kebab and to go back to his place. The music video for "Business Time" (from "Sally Returns") depicts a daydream that Jemaine is having. As the series has evolved, other main characters have also had their own musical interludes, depicted in a similar manner to Jemaine and Bret's own songs.

The enthusiastic manner in which the characters express themselves through song contrasts with the otherwise low-key tone of the show. Thus, when the characters cannot speak about their feelings, the songs serve as inner monologues.[2]

History

The show was created by Clement, McKenzie and James Bobin, and was based on the successful improvised 2005 BBC Radio 2 radio series of the same name.[3] Bobin serves as the show's main writer and director. The first episode of the series aired on HBO on June 17, 2007. The series received 100,000 views for the first season premiere scored on MySpace.[4]

On August 17, 2007, HBO announced a second season for Flight of the Conchords, originally set to premiere in 2008,[5] but which was postponed to January 2009. Prior to the announcement, Jemaine Clement stated in an interview with The New Zealand Herald, "[HBO] is interested in doing another series but we have to think about it. It's not a definite offer but they have talked about us starting writing but we've got other things we want to do as well".[6] McKenzie stated that the second season took longer to produce because the band had used most of their material in the first season. In an interview with The Star Ledger, he said "We'd need some time to develop new material. It's like the second album syndrome. It might take a lot longer".[7] Shortly after the renewal announcement, Clement stated in an interview that the second season would likely consist of fewer than twelve episodes "so they could concentrate on 'quality not quantity'".

McKenzie and Clement returned to their home town of Wellington to write for the second season,[8] although the writing process was delayed by the 2007–2008 Writers Strike. Filming for the 10 episode second series began in September 2008.

The second season of the show premiered on January 18, 2009 on HBO. It gathered 250,000 streams in its first 10 days on FunnyOrDie.com. Unlike the first season, the second season was filmed and broadcast in High Definition. The first episode of the season has been made available for streaming at http://www.hbo.com/conchords.

In Australia, the second season of the show first aired on June 8, 2009 on SBS. SBS also made the episodes available for streaming (from within Australia only).[9] The DVD of the second season was released in Australia on July 29, 2009.[10]

On December 11, 2009, McKenzie and Clement announced that the show would not return for a third season. Clement had previously stated that writing the show took up a great deal of time.[1]

The program is currently seen as an interstitial program on HBO.

Cast

Main cast

Name Played by Description
Jemaine Clemaine[11] Jemaine Clement Band member; plays bass among other things. Bret's roommate. He rarely smiles or laughs and typically overthinks even the most mundane situations.
Bret McClegnie[11] Bret McKenzie Band member; plays guitar and piano. Jemaine's roommate, always wearing "animal" has-been t-shirt.
Murray Hewitt Rhys Darby Murray is the band's manager. His day job is Deputy Cultural Attaché at the New Zealand consulate. He has few friends and an on-and-off relationship with his never-seen wife, Shelley. While he is passionate about the band and aspires to be a successful manager, he is largely incompetent in his well-meaning attempts at promoting the Conchords.
Mel Kristen Schaal Mel is the Conchords' lone fan and stalks them obsessively in pursuit of a romantic liaison despite the fact that she is married to Doug, her former college professor. In the episode "Bowie" she claims that she is a Junior Professor of Psychology. In "New Fans" it is implied that she has been through legal trouble for stalking.
Devjeet "Dave" Mohumbhai[12] Arj Barker A friend of Bret and Jemaine who works at his family's pawn shop "Mohumbhai & Son" and dispenses off-kilter advice about women and life in America. He still lives with his parents, though tries to cover it up by pretending they are his crazy roommates who just think they are his parents. Bret and Jemaine overestimate Dave's pseudo-womanizing personality and often go to him for relationship advice.

Recurring characters

A number of characters have appeared in more than one episode.

Name Played by Description Episodes
Greg Frank Wood Murray's assistant at the consulate. In the episode "The Actor", it was suggested that he is Murray's only friend besides Bret and Jemaine, though Murray has stated otherwise. 101, 102, 105, 106, 107, 111, 112, 201, 203, 207, 209, 210
Eugene Eugene Mirman Bret and Jemaine's landlord, who often interjects into conversations in which he is not welcome. He has appeared in several musical sequences, and appears to be proficient in several instruments including saxophone & steel drums. He is often seen involved in fixing the plumbing in the building and in Bret and Jemaine's apartment. 101, 102, 103, 105, 108, 111, 112, 202, 206, 209, 210
Doug David Costabile Mel's husband. When Doug appears in an episode it is usually because he is driving Mel to a band gig or stalking mission. In the episode "Bowie" it is revealed that he was previously the Senior Professor of Psychology at the university which Mel attended, but was fired and is now unemployed. It's implied in the episode "New Fans" that he and his family had a restraining order against Mel at one point before he married her, and he also had a problem with addiction at some point in the past. It is also implied in the same episode that Doug lost his job for starting a relationship with Mel, who at the time was one of his students. 101, 102, 106, 109, 110, 201, 202, 203, 207, 209, 210
Coco Sutton Foster Bret's girlfriend for several episodes. Bret and Coco meet while working as part-time sign holders. They break up in the "Sally Returns" episode because it's clear that Bret still has feelings for Sally. 102, 104, 105
Sally Rachel Blanchard Bret's former girlfriend. She dates Jemaine briefly on two separate occasions, but eventually accepts a marriage proposal from a rich Australian in the episode "Sally Returns". 101, 105
John Lenny Venito A mugger who once mugged Bret and Jemaine but befriends Jemaine while they share a jail cell. It was later revealed that he once killed a monkey. He returned in the episode "Wingmen" when he and Jemaine mugged Bret in an attempt to make Bret look cool in front of a girl. 103, 209
Bryan Brian Sergent[13] The laid back, uncouth Prime Minister of New Zealand. He appears somewhat aloof and disengaged regarding the affairs of his country, preferring to occupy his time with pointless capers in the United States. He often introduces himself by saying "Hi, I'm Bryan, The Prime Minister of New Zealand". He appears to be fond of drinking. He is easily influenced by recently watched films, such as Cars or The Matrix. 207, 208

Other guest stars

Name Played by Description Episode
David Armstrong John Hodgman Manager of a greeting card company with which the Conchords sign a recording contract. 106
Sinjay Aziz Ansari A fruit vendor who discriminates against Bret and Jemaine because he believes that they are Australians. 107
Ben Will Forte A semi-professional actor the band hires to speak with Murray about a record deal rejection. 111
Todd Todd Barry A bongo player who joins Bret and Jemaine as "The Third Conchord". Later he forms The Crazy Dogggz with Demetri. 112
Demetri Demetri Martin A keytar player who forms a new band with Bret. Later he forms The Crazy Dogggz with Todd. 112
Martin Clark Greg Proops President/CEO of an agency which hires Bret and Jemaine to write a jingle for a new, "women-only" toothpaste. 201
Jim Jim Gaffigan Murray's best friend. 204
Keitha Sarah Wynter An Australian with whom Jemaine falls in love and plans to elope, but tricks him and robs their apartment while he's waiting for her. 205
Brahbrah Kristen Wiig A woman with whom Jemaine and Bret both fall in love, she has a lazy eye and a missing epileptic dog called Charlie. 206
Karen Mary Lynn Rajskub An Art Garfunkel fanatic, she has a brief affair with Jemaine. 207
Elton John impersonator Patton Oswalt An Elton John impersonator who Bret and Jemaine meet while impersonating Simon & Garfunkel. 207
Paula Lucy Lawless A New Zealand tourism official and old friend of Bryan, the Prime Minister. 208

Cameo appearances

Fleeting cameo appearances by famous people, especially singers and musicians, have been a feature of the show.

Name Played by Description Episode
Pawn Shop Patron Judah Friedlander A man that tries to pawn a cake to Dave. 101
Fruit Stand Patron Kevin Allison A man who is serviced before Jemaine and Bret, although he was behind them in line, at a fruit stand run by an anti-Australian man who mistakes the duo for Aussies. 107
Club Owner Kate Pierson A club owner that turns the band away from a scheduled gig due to their reputation for causing damage. 109
Club MC Daryl Hall The MC of the Tuesday World Music Jam at which the Conchords play. He introduces them as "Flute of the Commodores" and ushers them quickly off stage several bars into "Rock the Party". 110
Himself John Turturro In a scene that runs during the closing credits, Turturro plays himself playing a cop in a fictional Martin Scorsese movie, entitled “The Drycleaner”. 111
Australian Ambassador Alan Dale The Australian ambassador who makes fun of Murray and Jemaine. 203
Obnoxious Australian Adam Garcia An assistant to the Australian ambassador to the United States who makes fun of Murray and Jemaine. 203
Bouncer Randy Jones A nightclub bouncer who leads an all-male conga line. 205
Himself Art Garfunkel Saves Jemaine from a woman (Mary Lynn Rajskub) who makes him dress up like Art Garfunkel and have sex with her (aka "Garfunkeling" by Jemaine). 207

Reception

Critical reception

The show has received a generally positive reaction from critics. Season 1 has a 68/100 rating based on 15 reviews on metacritic.com,[14] while season 2 has an 80/100 rating, based on 10 reviews.[15] The best reviews were from the Detroit Free Press, whose critic described it as "TV's most original and irresistible new comic concoction"[16] and the San Francisco Chronicle, whose reviewer stated that it "may well be the funniest thing you've seen in ages."[17] At the opposite end, the Miami Herald reviewer wrote that it "feels less like a sitcom than a Saturday Night Live sketch stretched out to about six times its shelf-life."[18] On IMDb Flight of the Conchords receives a rating of 8.9/10.

Awards

In the 2007 Satellite Awards the show was nominated for "Best Television Series, Comedy or Musical".

The pair were awarded with the status of "2007 Wellingtonians of the Year" in their home town after their international success blossomed that year.

The show received four Emmy Award nominations in 2008. "Sally Returns" was nominated for "Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series", "Yoko" was nominated for "Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series" and two songs, "Most Beautiful Girl in the Room" and "Inner City Pressure", were nominated for "Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics".

Also in 2008, the Writers Guild of America nominated the show for three awards: "Comedy Series", "Episodic Comedy" (for "Sally Returns") and for "New Series". The Television Critics Association nominated them for "Outstanding Achievement in Comedy" and "Outstanding New Program of the Year".

In 2009, the show was nominated for six Emmy Awards. It was nominated in the categories of Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series (for the episode 'The Tough Brets'), Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series (Jemaine Clement), Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics (for the song 'Carol Brown'), Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (Half Hour) and Animation, and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series (for the episode 'Prime Minister').

Filming locations

Filming for the series took place at a variety of locations and landmarks around New York City. Flight of the Conchords has, however, been consistent with its geography with respect to their neighbourhood. Some of the primary locations are listed below. Information on locations specific to particular episodes may be found on the page for that episode. Transition shots and out-of-studio location shoots have been in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan. Most street scenes were filmed in Lower Manhattan or the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn.

Name Location
Bret and Jemaine's apartment 28 Henry Street, Chinatown
New Zealand consulate 232 East Broadway
Dave's pawn shop Around the corner from the 'Consulate'. 10 Montgomery Street
Steiner Studios[19] 15 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn. Indoor stages for season one filming.
Broadway Stages Indoor stages for season two filming.

For a more detailed map of filming locations for both seasons see External links

References

  1. ^ a b "Bret and Jemaine farewell 'Flight of the Conchords' TV show". New Zealand Herald. 2009-12-11. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/entertainment/news/article.cfm?c_id=1501119&objectid=10614879. Retrieved 11 December 2009. 
  2. ^ Behind the scenes preview video from HBO (YouTube)
  3. ^ http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/organgrinder/2007/jul/13/conchords
  4. ^ http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3ifa55677495b300154613543ae05a6ce3
  5. ^ "HBO Orders 2008 Editions Of CONCHORDS & ENTOURAGE!!". Ain't It Cool News. 2007-08-17. http://www.aintitcool.com/node/33704. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  6. ^ Baillie, Russell (2007-08-16). "Doubles Champ". The New Zealand Herald. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/category/story.cfm?c_id=200&objectid=10457951. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  7. ^ Sepinwall, Alan (2007-08-16). "Funny 'Conchords' is ready for takeoff". The Star Ledger. http://www.nj.com/living/ledger/index.ssf?/base/living-1/118724077415270.xml&coll=1. Retrieved 2007-08-17. 
  8. ^ Cardy, Tom (2007-08-20). "Conchords get second TV series". The Dominion Post. http://www.stuff.co.nz/4171060a1869.html. Retrieved 2007-08-19. 
  9. ^ "Flight of the Conchords". SBS. http://www.sbs.com.au/shows/flightoftheconchords/episodes/page/i/1/h/Episodes/. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  10. ^ "Flight Of The Conchords Season 2 (DVD)". dStore.com.au. http://dstore.com.au/dvd/Flight-of-the-Conchords---Season-2/10665609.html. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  11. ^ a b Vernon, Polly (2008-02-10). "The accidental sex gods". The Observer. http://observer.guardian.co.uk/woman/story/0,,2253281,00.html. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  12. ^ Arj Barker (2009). Flight Of The Conchords: Dave's Pawn Shop Commercial #1 (HBO). http://www.hbo.com/conchords/video/?maven_playerId=conchords&maven_referralPlaylistId=7dafbf00208f96246509fd761d92215529683b62&maven_referralObject=3423100: HBO. 
  13. ^ Sergent, Brian (2008-02-10). "Brian Sergent's Television Page". http://www.briansergent.com/Brian.htm. Retrieved 2009-03-13. 
  14. ^ "Flight Of The Conchords (HBO) - Reviews from Metacritic". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/tv/shows/flightoftheconchords. Retrieved 2009-06-28. 
  15. ^ "Flight of the Conchords (HBO) - Reviews from Metacritic". Metacritic. http://www.metacritic.com/tv/shows/flightoftheconchordsseason2. Retrieved 2009-06-28. 
  16. ^ Duffy, Mike (2007-06-15). "A GIGGLY FLIGHT OF FANCY: 'Conchords' mixes mirth and music". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. http://web.archive.org/web/20070929125124/http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070615/ENT03/706150332/1038. Retrieved 2007-07-14. 
  17. ^ Goodman, Tim (2007-06-15). "Musical misfits hoping for their big break". San Francisco Chronicle. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/06/15/DDGIPQF45J1.DTL&type=tvradio. 
  18. ^ Garvin, Glenn (2007-06-17). "Weird how Kiwis in the City doesn't work". Miami Herald. http://www.miamiherald.com/272/story/141184.html. Retrieved 2007-07-14. [dead link]
  19. ^ Filming locations for "Flight of the Conchords" (2007) IMDB.com

External links


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