The Almighty Johnsons

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The Almighty Johnsons
The Almighty Johnsons season 2.jpg
The Almighty Johnsons
(L–R) Olaf, Ty, Axl, Mike and Anders
Genre Fantasy, Drama, Comedy
Created by James Griffin & Rachel Lang
Developed by South Pacific Pictures
Starring
Opening theme "Oh My" by Gin
Country of origin New Zealand
Original language(s) English
No. of series 3
No. of episodes 36 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • James Griffin
  • Rachel Lang (series 1–2)
  • Chris Bailey
  • John Barnett
  • Kelly Martin (series 3)
Producer(s) Simon Bennett
Cinematography Marty Smith
Running time 43–45 minutes
Production company(s) South Pacific Pictures
Distributor All3Media International
Broadcast
Original channel TV3
Picture format PAL (576i)
Audio format Stereophonic
Original run 7 February 2011 (2011-02-07) – 26 September 2013 (2013-09-26)
External links
Website
Production website

The Almighty Johnsons is a New Zealand fantasy comedy/drama television series, which was created by James Griffin and Rachel Lang and is produced by South Pacific Pictures and aired from 7 February 2011 to 23 September 2013.

Production[edit]

Funding for the first series was approved by NZ On Air in December 2009,[1] a second series was approved in June 2011[1] and a third series was approved on 15 October 2012.[2]

In December 2012, it was announced series three was in pre-production.

Filming[edit]

Series two began filming in October 2011[3] and concluded in February 2012.[4]

Series three began filming on 14 January 2013[5] and concluded on 9 May 2013.[6][7][8]

Initial cancellation and fan campaign[edit]

On 6 September 2012, various members of the cast reported via Twitter that the show would not be renewed for a third series.[9] This was confirmed by co-creator, James Griffin.[10] Fan protests were launched immediately both in New Zealand and internationally, taking the form of an online petition, written complaints to TV3, and a 'send a twig to TV3' campaign (representing Yggdrasil, the mythical 'tree of life' from the show).[9]

Second cancellation[edit]

The show was cancelled in December 2013 by a radio announcement on Radio New Zealand by TV3 programming boss Mark Caulton.[11]

Plot[edit]

The show follows a student named Axl Johnson, who on his 21st birthday discovers his family members are reincarnated Norse gods. The problem is, they do not have full control of their powers and it is up to Axl (the reincarnation of Odin) to restore them and ensure the family's survival by finding the reincarnation of Odin's wife, Frigg. Matters are complicated by the presence of three Norse goddesses who are trying to find Frigg before the Johnsons do to prevent the restoration of the gods' powers (which would vault them above the goddesses), as well as an antagonistic reincarnation of Norse god Loki, and the appearance of a Māori deity pantheon toward the end of second series.

Cast and characters[edit]

Johnson Family[edit]

Character
(God/Goddess)
Actor Notes
Axl Johnson
(Odin)
Emmett Skilton,
Siobhan Marshall (Female form)
The main character of the show. Axl was raised by Mike after their father left and mother walked out. He has shown a few abilities, strength, resistance to drugs and an instinctive battle sense as befitting a war god. He sought his soul-mate, the Goddess Frigg, to restore the full powers of the Norse gods and goddesses. He is capable of taking on a female form.
Mike Johnson
(Ullr)
Tim Balme The oldest of the Johnson brothers and also the wisest. Mike raised Axl, and feels responsible for them all, willing to risk debt to make good on his word. He is the god of the hunt and of games. He can track anything and wins any game between himself and an opponent, though not the stock market. Right after he got his powers, opponents in a pool game put his friend into a coma. After this traumatic incident, he believed that his powers brought more bad luck than good, and struggled to make ends meet without using his powers. He only realized his mistake and started using his powers after his friend woke fifteen years later.
Anders Johnson
(Bragi)
Dean O'Gorman The cocky brother, Anders is selfish, arrogant, and sleeps around. He manipulates others with his voice. He called off a fling with Michele after she was willing to sacrifice Mike's life for Axl to find Frigg. In series 2 Agnetha (the boys' mother) sent him to Norway on a quest for the tree of life, Yggdrasil.
Ty Johnson
(Höðr)
Jared Turner Depressed over his isolation, Ty is shy and lonely. Initially the host of Höðr, he had the power of radiating cold. Ty could not feel warmth, and was unaffected by below-freezing temperatures, hence his job selling and repairing refrigerators, and hobby carving ice. At the end of Series 2, he achieves his goal of mortality by dying briefly and losing his god essence, revived by Michele. However, every mortal then forgets him, most importantly his beloved Dawn. However, in Season 3 Ty reveals that his powers of Höðr have returned, making him a god again (although he is able to control his powers, unlike when he first received them). Dawn seeing him use his powers causes her to remember all her time with him.
Olaf Johnson
(Baldr)
Ben Barrington The boys' grandfather is an oracle, but his diluted powers and years of drug use diminish his ability drastically. He is god of long life and rebirth, therefore looks more middle-aged than his true advanced age of 90s.
Agnetha
(Freyja; presumed deceased)
Alison Bruce The leader of a band of goddesses[12] who are intent on undermining the male gods' quest to regain their powers, believing goddesses are more capable of ruling. She is the goddess of fertility and prosperity.[13] Born as Elizabet (played by Josephine Davison), she is the mother of the Johnson brothers. After she helped Mike become a god, she turned herself into a tree to not deal with the rest of her sons undergoing the same transition. After a few years, she got bored with tree life and transferred her essence to a woman who was killed right under her tree, becoming Agnetha. Due to her goddess powers, it allowed her to become very wealthy. After killing Ty's wife Eva in series two, she is sentenced to revert to a tree. Vengeful Loki takes advantage of the transformation and burns her forest down, so she is currently missing, presumed dead.
Johan "Joe" Johnson
(Njörðr)
Stuart Devenie The Johnson's father who, due to his nature as Njörðr, always felt the call of the ocean and would often leave his family for extended periods of time. Eventually he stopped returning altogether and left his family to their own devices. Karen (Michele's mother) met Joe at a bar and the two returned to her daughter's home where they had sex. During a brief interlude in their intercourse, Joe went into the kitchen for a drink, where Mike happened to be with Michele, and the two were surprised to see each other.

Goddesses[edit]

Character
(Goddess)
Actor Notes
Hanna Larsen
(Frigg)
Siobhan Marshall Hanna is the human incarnation of Frigg, Axl's pre-destined soul mate that if his love is accepted, would cause all the gods and goddesses to regain their powers at full strength. Hanna is currently working at a bridal botique (as Frigg is the goddess of marriage). However, due to Mike's insistence that he can become Odin, he is able to meet Hanna a few minutes before Axl in an attempt to convince her to choose him (even though he is actually Ullr). Her father Fredrick and brother Martin are also gods Hoenir and Heimdallr, respectively.
Gaia
(Iðunn)
Keisha Castle-Hughes Axl's flatmate, a nurse. She and Axl love each other but do not realize their feelings at first. After a one-night stand with him, Gaia believed Axl had just used her, so she left. Her adoptive father and former boyfriend imprisoned her inexplicably, so she returned. Series 2 reveals that her real parents were gods, so she will become a goddess at age 21. In the series 2 finale, Gaia's goddess ceremony is botched because god-slayer Natalie killed Helen [the original Iðunn]. Instead of becoming either Frigg or Maori Papatuanuku, she becomes Iðunn, as Iðunn has to exist for any of the gods to exist.
Ingrid
(Snotra)
Rachel Nash Goddess of prudence and wisdom[12] and oracle of Agnetha's band of goddesses has an analogous role to that of Olaf amongst the Johnsons. Ingrid researches genealogy of potential Norse gods and goddesses in their quest to reach Frigg before Odin does, and translates. She sleeps, drinks, and takes drugs with Olaf, consequently revealing more than the other goddesses would like.
Michele
(Sjöfn)
Michelle Langstone One of Agnetha's band of goddesses, Sjöfn is the goddess of love, bisexual, lusty, and mischievous. Michele is a family physician in the local hospital, able to heal with a branch from the tree of life, Yggdrasil. She flirted with Anders, lived with Colin, but ended up with Mike. During Season 3, her relationship with Mike begins to unravel, in part because he disapproves of her using Yggdrasil to heal mortals (and earn money) and in part because she disapproves of him believing himself to be Odin. When she stumbles upon him and Hanna together, she later attempts to kill Hanna in order to prevent the gods from using the goddesses as "playthings" if everyone's powers return. However, Martin sensed the danger and struck Michele over the head with a hammer, and seemingly killed her. She was resurrected in part by Hanna, with the circumstance that when Sjofn returned to Asgard with the rest of the Aesynjur, Michele would die. After the ascension of the Gods to Asgard, Odin remembered Axl's promise to Michele and resurrected her fully.
Stacey
(Fulla)
Eve Gordon One of the band of goddesses and Frigg's handmaiden.[12] She is a bike courier and general dogsbody, sent on errands. She leaves Agnetha to serve Eva, because her nature demands she serve a goddess. She ended a few days fling with Zeb when Michele's spell wore off. Mike promised her money from Agnetha's inheritance to purchase the courier business she worked for, which she received and ran. (She was the only goddess to receive her inheritance; Loki bugged and monitored Mike's bar as he was investing the money, then took advantage of the Johnsons temporarily losing their powers to steal it. She was the only goddess to have presented a valid plan to Mike at that time and therefore was granted what little remained.)
Karen
(Lofn)
Jennifer Ward-Lealand Michele's mother who is also is a party planner, although loves throwing god parties. She and Michele have a strained relationship, in part due to Michele becoming a "minor goddess." She eventually begins a relationship with Joe Johnson, the Johnson boys' father.
Suzie
(Sága)
Colleen Davis Suzie is a barmaid from Whangamaungamoa, and unbeknownst to herself, she is the Goddess Sága. Both of Suzie's parents died in an accident when she was a child, so there was no one to inform or prepare her for her 21st birthday. When she turned 21 she saw what she thought were fireworks in the sky when Sága joined with her. Due to her nature as Sága, she always worries about Derrick (as Sága and Thor were best friends).
Eva Gundersen
(Hel; deceased)
Brooke Williams A goth musician who Stacey finds working in a butchery. Stacey and Michele, then Axl and Anders, see her perform at a dingy bar, sense her divinity, and believe her to be Frigg. However, she is Hel, the goddess of the underworld, and Colin Gundersen's daughter. She marries Ty in the series 1 finale. When she endangers Ty, Agnetha makes her deliberate death look like an accident.
Helen Larvig
(Iðunn; deceased)
Sara Wiseman Helen was the initial incarnation of Iðunn, and met Ty in her bar. Ty ended their affair when Olaf said Iðunn is forever doomed to have a relationship with Bragi (Anders) that never ends well. Unfortunately, she still meets Anders and demands more sex than he can fulfill. Because god-slayer Natalie kills her when coming for Anders, Gaia is possessed at her 21st birthday ceremony by Idunn instead of Frigg or Papatuanuku as expected.

Gods[edit]

Character
(God)
Actor Notes
Colin Gundersen
(Loki)
Shane Cortese Colin is an eccentric and prosperous lawyer, and the estranged father of Eva. As the god Loki, he is a trickster and the God of Fire. He secretly allied with Agnetha in series 1. He contracts that a Johnson will marry his daughter, or Mike will die, so Ty takes on Eva to save Axl. He believed Ty killed Eva, but when Agnetha is sentenced to live as a tree for the deed, burns down her forest, hoping to kill her.
Derrick
(Thor)
Geoff Dolan Derrick is a goat farmer, but not a very good one. He loves beer, his trusty hammer, Mjollnir, and his daughter Delphine. He becomes depressed when his farm begins to fail and his daughter gets married and moves out, but a visit from Axl rejuvenates him.
Kvasir Michael Hurst Kvasir is the wisest of all the Gods, and has the annoying compulsion to answer any question another God asks him. He is homeless (and has never given his mortal name) but eventually ends up living under Mike's bar.
Frederick Larsen
(Hoenir)
unknown actor Fredrick Larson is the human incarnation of Hoenir, and also the father of Frigg. However due to a head injury, he is rendered unable to speak and subsequently placed in an assisted living home. By the time Ingrid, Axl, and Zeb find him (with the help of Yggdrasil), he is a very old man.
Martin Larsen
(Heimdallr)
Matthew Saville Martin is the son of Fredrick (Hoenir) and the brother of Hanna (Frigg). His powers include teleportation between realms and locations and wisdom. These come into play when Mike (in an attempt to claim Frigg for his own) finds the Larsen house and tried to meet Frigg before Axl can. Martin uses his powers to continually send him back to the bar and lay traps to keep Mike from finding Frigg, as he knows that Mike is not meant for her.

Other Mythicals[edit]

Character Actor Notes
Eggthér Oliver Driver Eggthér is a giant (jötunn) who comes looking for Gaia during the second season.

Mortals[edit]

Character Actor Notes
Valerie Johnson Roz Turnbull Married to Mike, she endured hormone treatment for in vitro fertilisation to have a child. She was the fiancée of Mike's best friend Rob, until Rob went into a coma after a bar fight. When Rob woke fifteen years later, he impregnated her in an affair. Realizing Valerie and Rob were still in love, Mike decides on divorce.
Zeb Hayden Frost Axl's other flatmate, and best friend. Loyal but impulsive, he is reckless and does not consider consequences. After discovering the truth about the Johnsons and their lives as Gods, he assigns himself the role of Freki and risks the wrath of destiny, and Mike, by his mortal involvement in 'God business'. Mortals are forbidden to be present at god ceremonies.
Dawn Fern Sutherland Dawn is Anders' secretary and runs his PR company. She does not realize Anders' persuasion keeps her working too hard. She dated Ty until he accidentally froze her, and gave her up. In his mortal form, she cannot remember him. Anders exploits her at work, but has not slept with her. When she sees Ty using his returned god powers, she regains her memories of Ty. Ty eventually tells her about the gods and goddesses, and which due to her knowledge makes Anders unable to use his powers on her.

Series overview[edit]

Series Episodes Originally aired
Series premiere Series finale
1 10 7 February 2011 (2011-02-07) 11 April 2011 (2011-04-11)
2 13 29 February 2012 (2012-02-29) 23 May 2012 (2012-05-23)
3 13 4 July 2013 (2013-07-04) 26 September 2013 (2013-09-26)

Ratings[edit]

Series Timeslot # Ep. Premiere Finale Aired Viewers
(in millions)
Date Premiere
Viewers
(in thousands)
Date Finale
Viewers
(in thousands)
Series 1
Mondays 9:30 pm
10
7 February 2011
334.48[14]
11 April 2011
242.57[15] 2011 1.63[16]
Series 2
Wednesdays 8:30 pm
13
29 February 2012
184.46[17]
23 May 2012
N/A 2012
Series 3
Thursdays 8:30 pm
13
4 July 2013
137.77[18]
26 September 2013
142.00[19] 2013

Awards and nominations[edit]

Aotearoa Film & Television Awards[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref
2011 General Television Award Best Performance by a Supporting Actress Fern Sutherland Nominated [20]
Images & Sound Best Editing Drama/Comedy Bryan Shaw Nominated
Best Original Music Sean Donnelly & Victoria Kelly Nominated

New York Festivals[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref
2012 Finalist Certificate Best Writing James Griffin (for "Every Good Quest Has a Sacrifice") Won [21]
2013 Drama Simon Bennett, James Griffin, Rachel Lang, Chris Bailey and John Barnett Won [22]

Rialto Channel New Zealand Film Awards[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref
2013 Television Award NZ on Air Best Television Feature or Drama Series The Almighty Johnsons Nominated [23]

Sir Julius Vogel Award[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref
2012 Professional Award Best Dramatic Presentation The Almighty Johnsons Won [24]
2013 Nominated [25]
2014 Nominated [26]

Home video releases[edit]

The first series of The Almighty Johnsons has been released in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Australia. The second series has been released in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The third series has only been released in New Zealand.

Broadcast[edit]

Series one premiered in Australia on Network Ten on 19 December 2011, airing at 10:30 p.m. on Mondays,[27] and on Sci Fi Channel on 26 February 2012, airing at 6:30 p.m. on Sundays,[28] in Canada on SPACE on 23 July 2012, airing at 9:00 p.m. on Mondays,[29] and in the United Kingdom on Syfy on 2 February 2012, airing at 10:00 p.m. on Thursdays.[30]

Series two premiered in Australia on Network Ten on 21 December 2012, airing at 9:30 p.m. on Fridays,[31] and on SF on 22 March 2013, airing at 9:30 p.m. on Fridays,[32] in Canada on SPACE on 14 January 2013, airing at 10:00 p.m. on Mondays,[33] and in the United Kingdom on Syfy on 17 September 2012, airing at 10:00 p.m. on Mondays.[30]

Series three premiered in Canada on SPACE on 4 July 2013, at 9:00 p.m., the same day as the New Zealand premiere,[34] and in the United Kingdom on Syfy on 28 August 2013, airing at 10:00 p.m. on Wednesdays.[35]

Series one began broadcasting in the United States on 11 July 2014 on Syfy, with series two set to follow.[36]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "NZ On Air Television Funding Decisions". NZ on Air. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "Almighty Johnsons to get third season". nzherald.co.nz. 15 October 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2012. 
  3. ^ "Day one of Series 2 shoot starts tomorrow!". The Almighty Johnsons (official). 8 October 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "Today is the final day of shooting on Almighty Johnsons, Series 2. What a ride it's been!". The Almighty Johnsons (official). 11 February 2012. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  5. ^ "Cover Photos". The Almighty Johnsons (official). 14 January 2013. Retrieved 20 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Good morning, folks.". Jared Turner. 9 May 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  7. ^ "And that's a wrap (well, for me).". Jared Turner. 9 May 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  8. ^ "Timeline Photos". The Almighty Johnsons (official). 9 May 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "The Almighty Johnsons – cancelled?". stuff.co.nz. 7 September 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2012. 
  10. ^ "Almighty Johnsons axed, says creator". nzherald.co.nz. 7 September 2012. Retrieved 9 September 2012. 
  11. ^ Glucina, Rachel (11 December 2013). "The Diary: Show's creators hear of drama's axing on radio". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c "The Goddesses". South Pacific Pictures. Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  13. ^ "The Inside Story Feb 24 – Godesses are amongst us". TV3. 24 February 2011. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  14. ^ Brad (8 February 2011). "TV Ratings 7 February 2011". Nielsen. Throng. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  15. ^ Brad (12 April 2011). "TV Ratings 11 April 2011". Nielsen. Throng. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  16. ^ "The Almighty Johnsons – Series 2 on the way". MediaWorks. 20 June 2011. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  17. ^ Regan (8 March 2012). "The not so mighty ratings". Throng. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  18. ^ Regan (5 July 2013). "TV Ratings: 4 July 2013". Nielsen. Throng. Retrieved 6 July 2013. 
  19. ^ Regan (27 September 2013). "TV Ratings: 26 September 2013". Nielsen. Throng. Retrieved 28 September 2013. 
  20. ^ "Winners Announced: Aotearoa Film & Television Awards" (PDF). Aotearoa Film & Television Awards. 12 November 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2013. 
  21. ^ "Browse by Winners". New York Festivals. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  22. ^ "Browse by Winners". New York Festivals. Retrieved 19 July 2013. 
  23. ^ "NZ film award contenders revealed". NZ Herald. 21 November 2013. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  24. ^ "Sir Julius Vogel Award Results – 2012". SFFANZ. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  25. ^ "Sir Julius Vogel Award Nominations – 2013". SFFANZ. Retrieved 9 May 2012. 
  26. ^ "Sir Julius Vogel Award Nominations – 2014". SFFANZ. Retrieved 26 April 2013. 
  27. ^ David Knox (2 December 2011). "Airdate: The Almighty Johnsons". TV Tonight. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  28. ^ "The Almighty Johnsons Premieres on Sci Fi Sunday Feb 26! : SCI FI PI // SCI FI Channel". Sci Fi Channel. Retrieved 1 March 2012. 
  29. ^ "Bell Media Specialty Networks Own the Summer With Over 45 Buzzed About Premieres". Bell Media Television. 9 May 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  30. ^ a b "The Almighty Johnsons". Syfy. Retrieved 24 May 2012. 
  31. ^ "The Almighty Johnsons | Channel TEN". Network Ten. Retrieved 20 December 2012. 
  32. ^ "The Almighty Johnsons Episode Guide – SF". SF. Retrieved 5 March 2013. 
  33. ^ "Cover Photos". SPACE. 9 January 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  34. ^ "The Almighty Johnsons (official)". The Almighty Johnsons (official). 22 June 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  35. ^ "Timeline Photos". The Almighty Johnsons (official). 4 August 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
  36. ^ Marechal, AJ (13 August 2013). "Syfy Acquires New Zealand Series ‘The Almighty Johnsons’ (Exclusive)". Variety. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 

External links[edit]