Flight of the Conchords (TV series)
|Flight of the Conchords|
Opening Title Screen
|Created by||James Bobin
|Country of origin||United States/New Zealand|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||22 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||James Bobin
|Location(s)||New York City|
|Camera setup||Single camera|
|Running time||26 minutes|
|Picture format||480i (2007)
|Original release||June 17, 2007– March 22, 2009|
Flight of the Conchords is an American/New Zealand television comedy series that was first shown 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 of Jemaine Clement and Academy Award winner Bret McKenzie, who play fictionalized versions of themselves. A second season was announced on August 17, 2007 and shown from January 18, 2009. On December 11, 2009, the duo confirmed that the series would not return for a third season.
Throughout its run, Flight of the Conchords received positive critical reception, with its second season scoring 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.
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).
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 evolved, other main characters 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.
Season 1 (2007)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||1||"Sally"||James Bobin||James Bobin & Jemaine Clement & Bret McKenzie||June 17, 2007|
Bret and Jemaine go to a party at Dave's place where Jemaine sees, and falls for, a beautiful girl named Sally (Rachel Blanchard), Bret's ex. Jemaine's growing relationship leaves Bret feeling neglected and Murray helps the band film a music video. Cameo: Judah Friedlander.Songs featured: "The Most Beautiful Girl (In the Room)," "Not Crying," "The Humans Are Dead/Robots"
|2||2||"Bret Gives Up the Dream"||James Bobin||James Bobin & Jemaine Clement & Bret McKenzie||June 24, 2007|
The band's poor financial state leads Bret to get a job as a human billboard to help make ends meet. However, it interferes with the band's gig at a travel expo, so Murray and Jemaine replace Bret with a cassette tape in hopes of outdoing the flashier Australian display. Bret is attracted to a girl, Coco (Sutton Foster), at his new job.Songs featured: "Inner City Pressure," "Boom," "Rock the Party"
|3||3||"Mugged"||James Bobin||James Bobin & Jemaine Clement & Bret McKenzie||July 1, 2007|
Bret loses Jemaine's trust after Bret abandons him when they get mugged. To regain it, Bret tries to retrieve Jemaine's stolen "camera phone" (a phone with a camera taped to it) from their muggers, who are experiencing their own trust issues.Songs featured: "Hiphopapotamus vs. Rhymenoceros," "Think About It"
|4||4||"Yoko"||Troy Miller||James Bobin & Jemaine Clement & Bret McKenzie||July 8, 2007|
Bret begins dating Coco, but Jemaine won't stop tagging along on the dates. When Bret asks him to stop, Jemaine concludes that Coco is trying to break up the band.Songs featured: "If You're Into It/Coco's Song," "Pencils in the Wind/Sellotape"
|5||5||"Sally Returns"||James Bobin||James Bobin & Jemaine Clement & Bret McKenzie||July 15, 2007|
After Jemaine reconnects with Sally, Bret decides that he wants to pursue her as well. However, when they both show up at her birthday party to woo her with their homemade presents, they are in for a shock.Songs featured: "Business Time," "Song for Sally"
|6||6||"Bowie"||Troy Miller||James Bobin & Jemaine Clement & Bret McKenzie||July 22, 2007|
After a photo session, Bret develops body image issues and gets some advice in a series of dreams featuring his idol, David Bowie (played by Jemaine). Jemaine plots to cheer him up and Murray tries to get one of the band's tunes used for a musical greeting card.Songs featured: "Bret, You've Got It Going On," "Bowie/Bowie's in Space"
|7||7||"Drive By"||Taika Waititi||Taika Waititi||July 29, 2007|
Bret and Jemaine are shocked by the prejudiced actions of Sanjay (Aziz Ansari), a fruit vendor who refuses to sell to them because they are New Zealanders. Dave recommends a strong response and teaches them how to "flip the bird". Murray is smitten with the new tech support lady at the consulate.Songs featured: "Albi the Racist Dragon," "Mutha'uckas," "Leggy Blonde"
|8||8||"Girlfriends"||James Bobin||Eric Kaplan||August 5, 2007|
|9||9||"What Goes on Tour"||Paul Simms||Paul Simms||August 12, 2007|
Murray organizes a warm-up tour in preparation for a big gig in Central Park. However, the boys' carelessness and an encounter with a women's water-polo team threatens to ruin the tour and strain their relationship with the well-intentioned Murray.Songs featured: "Mermaid," "Rock the Party"
|10||10||"New Fans"||Taika Waititi||Duncan Sarkies||August 19, 2007|
A performance at a local 'World Music Jam' results in the Conchords gaining two new fans, Summer and Rain, but Mel is suspicious of the newcomers and their motives. Murray encourages the band to adopt a more 'rock star' attitude to enhance their image.Songs featured: "Ladies of the World/Something Special for the Ladies," "The Prince of Parties," "Rock the Party"
|11||11||"The Actor"||Michael Patrick Jann||Damon Beesley & Iain Morris||August 26, 2007|
Bret and Jemaine ask Ben (Will Forte), a 'semi-professional' actor / dry cleaner, to cheer Murray up after a gig does not go well, but the actor gets caught up in the role and offers the band a record deal. Murray pays for the 'signing' party, while the actor stars in the movie Dry Cleaner with John Turturro.Songs featured: "Cheer Up, Murray," "Frodo (Don't Wear the Ring)"
|12||12||"The Third Conchord"||James Bobin||James Bobin & Jemaine Clement & Bret McKenzie||September 2, 2007|
Murray hires a bongo player for the band without consulting Bret and Jemaine. They are not happy about it and decide to fire him, but it's Bret who ends up out of the band. He responds by forming his own competing band. Eventually, the two new members of their bands, Todd and Demetri (Todd Barry and Demetri Martin), decide to form their own duo with Murray agreeing to manage them.Songs featured: "Bret's Angry Dance," "Doggy Bounce"
Season 2 (2009)
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|13||1||"A Good Opportunity"||James Bobin||James Bobin & Jemaine Clement & Bret McKenzie||January 18, 2009|
Bret and Jemaine fire Murray for neglecting them in favour of the Crazy Dogggz and almost immediately they receive an offer to write a jingle for a commercial. Meanwhile Murray's fortunes reverse after he discovers that the Crazy Dogggz big hit is a rip-off of a 1990s Polish song.Songs featured: "Rejected," "Femident Toothpaste," "Angels"
|14||2||"The New Cup"||James Bobin||Duncan Sarkies||January 25, 2009|
Bret and Jemaine's fortunes unravel after Bret buys a new tea cup. With emergency band funds unavailable, Jemaine takes desperate measures in hopes of supplementing their income.Songs featured: "Sugalumps," "You Don't Have to Be a Prostitute"
|15||3||"The Tough Brets"||James Bobin||James Bobin & Jemaine Clement & Bret McKenzie||February 1, 2009|
After disparaging rappers in a song, Bret starts a gang when he fears for his safety; Murray endures a series of degrading encounters with members of the Australian consulate.Songs featured: "Hurt Feelings," "Hurt Feelings (Reprise)," "Stay Cool"
|16||4||"Murray Takes It to the Next Level"||Troy Miller||James Bobin & Jemaine Clement & Bret McKenzie||February 8, 2009|
Murray tries to elevate Bret and Jemaine on his friendship graph, bringing his questioning pal Jim (Jim Gaffigan) in on the plan; Mel demands an apology from Bret for inappropriate dream behavior.Songs featured: "Dreams," "Friends"
|17||5||"Unnatural Love"||Michel Gondry||Iain Morris & Damon Beesley||February 15, 2009|
After a one-night stand, Jemaine is horrified to discover he has accidentally slept with an Australian. Bret and Murray are also dismayed, but Jemaine can't resist continuing to date her.Songs featured: "Too Many Dicks on the Dance Floor," "Carol Brown"
|18||6||"Love Is a Weapon of Choice"||James Bobin||Paul Simms||February 22, 2009|
Bret and Jemaine both fall for Brahbrah (Kristen Wiig), a lazy-eyed woman whose missing dog has epilepsy, leading to a duel, a canine benefit and a couple of new tunes.Songs featured: "We're Both in Love with a Sexy Lady," "Love Is a Weapon of Choice," "Epileptic Dogs"
|19||7||"Prime Minister"||James Bobin||James Bobin & Jemaine Clement & Bret McKenzie||March 1, 2009|
Foiled by the White House, Murray arranges a presidential meeting for the visiting Prime Minister of New Zealand; a tribute gig ends with Jemaine getting a date with Karen (Mary Lynn Rajskub), an Art Garfunkel fanatic.Songs featured: "Demon Woman," "Oh, Dance, Baby"
|20||8||"New Zealand Town"||Taika Waititi||Taika Waititi||March 8, 2009|
Trying to look cool for a gig at the Grand Opening of New York's one-block New Zealand enclave, the Conchords end up getting hooked on hair gel.Song featured: "Fashion Is Danger"
|21||9||"Wingmen"||James Bobin||James Bobin & Jemaine Clement & Bret McKenzie||March 15, 2009|
Bret enlists Jemaine and Dave to help him try to land a girlfriend; Murray regrets making Greg his scapegoat.Songs featured: "Rambling Through the Avenues of Time," "I Told You I Was Freaky"
|22||10||"Evicted"||Taika Waititi||James Bobin & Jemaine Clement & Bret McKenzie||March 22, 2009|
Unable to pay off their back rent, Bret and Jemaine move in with Mel and Doug; Murray looks to cash in on a stage play about the Conchords' travels.Songs featured: "Everyday Sounds Musical Montage," "Petrov, Yelyena, & Me," "Flight of the Conchords: The Broadway Musical"
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. 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.
On August 17, 2007, HBO announced a second season for Flight of the Conchords, originally set to premiere in 2008, 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". 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". 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, 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). The DVD of the second season was released in Australia on July 29, 2009.
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.
The programme is currently seen as an interstitial program on HBO.
- Jemaine (Jemaine Clement) is a band member of Conchords, who plays bass among other things, and Bret's roommate. He rarely smiles or laughs and typically overthinks even the most mundane situations.
- Bret (Bret McKenzie) is a band member of Conchords, who plays guitar and piano, and Jemaine's roommate. He always wears dated looking animal T-shirts.
- Murray Hewitt (Rhys Darby) 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 and is not helped by his naivety and general ignorance of the music industry, such as opining that 'you don't hear of professional musicians with long hair' and being unaware of the proper name for the bass guitar.
- Mel (Kristen Schaal) 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 (Arj Barker) is a friend of Bret and Jemaine. He 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.
- Greg (Frank Wood) is 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.
- Eugene (Eugene Mirman) is 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 as well as making questionable comments about his behavior such as admitting to breaking into the apartment in the night and kissing Jemaine while he sleeps.
- Doug (David Costabile) is Mel's husband, who usually puts Mel to a band gig or stalking mission. In an episode "Bowie", he turns out to be previously the Senior Professor of Psychology at the university, where Mel attended, but was fired and is now unemployed. In an episode "New Fans", implicitly, 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. Moreover, Doug lost his job for starting a relationship with Mel, who at the time was one of his students.
- Coco (Sutton Foster) is Bret's girlfriend for only the first season. Bret and Coco meet while working as part-time sign holders. She appears in "Bret Gives Up the Dream" and "Yoko". In her last episode "Sally Returns", Bret still has feelings for Sally, so Coco and Bret end a relationship.
- Sally (Rachel Blanchard) is Bret's ex-girlfriend. She dates Jemaine briefly in "Sally" and her last episode "Sally Returns". In her last episode, she eventually accepts a marriage proposal from a rich Australian.
- John (Lenny Venito) is a mugger, who first appears in "Mugged". He mugs Bret and Jemaine, but then befriends Jemaine while they share a jail cell. He once killed a monkey in the past. In "Wingmen", he and Jemaine "mug" Bret in an attempt to make Bret look cool in front of a girl.
- Bryan (Brian Sergent) is 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 is fond of beer and sleeping and is easily influenced by recently watched films, such as Cars or The Matrix. He appears in "Prime Minister" and "New Zealand Town". He claims that his government only owns one gun, which is mostly used by someone in the New Zealand Defence Force.
- Australian Ambassador (Alan Dale), the Australian ambassador who makes fun of Murray and Jemaine – "The Tough Brets" and "Bret Gives Up The Dream
- This section includes characters, including those portrayed by notable people. Ones that are already mentioned in episode list are not listed in this section.
- Pawn Shop Patron (Judah Friedlander), a man who tries to pawn a cake to Dave – "Sally"
- David Armstrong (John Hodgman), manager of a greeting card company with which the Conchords sign a recording contract – "Bowie"
- Fruit Stand Patron (Kevin Allison), a man who is served 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 – "Drive By"
- Club Owner (Kate Pierson), who turns the band away from a scheduled gig due to their reputation for causing damage – "What Goes on Tour"
- 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". – "New Fans"
- Martin Clark (Greg Proops), president/CEO of an agency, which hires Bret and Jemaine to write a jingle for a new, "women-only" toothpaste – "A Good Opportunity"
- Obnoxious Australian (Adam Garcia), an assistant to the Australian ambassador to the United States who makes fun of Murray and Jemaine – "The Tough Brets"
- 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 – "Unnatural Love"
- Bouncer (Randy Jones), who leads an all-male conga line in a nightclub – "Unnatural Love"
- Elton John impersonator (Patton Oswalt), whom Bret and Jemaine meet while impersonating Simon & Garfunkel – "Prime Minister"
- Art Garfunkel (himself), who 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) – "Prime Minister"
- Paula (Lucy Lawless), a New Zealand tourism official and old friend of Bryan, the Prime Minister – "New Zealand Town"
The show has received a generally positive reaction from critics. Season 1 has a 68/100 rating based on 15 reviews on metacritic.com, while season 2 has an 80/100 rating, based on 10 reviews. The best reviews were from the Detroit Free Press, whose critic described it as "TV's most original and irresistible new comic concoction" and the San Francisco Chronicle, whose reviewer stated that it "may well be the funniest thing you've seen in ages." On IMDb Flight of the Conchords has received a rating of 8.8/10.
In the 2007 Satellite Awards the show was nominated for "Best Television Series, Comedy or Musical".
The pair was 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 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.
|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||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
On November 28, 2011, Bret McKenzie has stated that efforts are being made to bring the comedy folk duo to the big screen. He said: "We're going to try and do a movie. We just need a story". However, HBO has stated that it does not have plans for such a film.
- "Bret and Jemaine farewell 'Flight of the Conchords' TV show". New Zealand Herald. 2009-12-11. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
- Behind the scenes preview video from HBO on YouTube
- "Flight of the Conchords: best new sitcom in years?". The Guardian (London). 2007-07-13.
- http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3ifa55677495b300154613543ae05a6ce3. Missing or empty
- "HBO Orders 2008 Editions Of CONCHORDS & ENTOURAGE!!". Ain't It Cool News. 2007-08-17. Retrieved 2007-08-17.
- Baillie, Russell (2007-08-16). "Doubles Champ". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 2007-08-17.
- Sepinwall, Alan (2007-08-16). "Funny 'Conchords' is ready for takeoff". The Star Ledger. Retrieved 2007-08-17.
- Cardy, Tom (2007-08-20). "Conchords get second TV series". The Dominion Post. Retrieved 2007-08-19.
- "Flight of the Conchords". SBS. Retrieved 2010-05-25.
- "Flight Of The Conchords Season 2 (DVD)". dStore.com.au. Retrieved 2010-05-25.
- Arj Barker (2009). Flight Of The Conchords: Dave's Pawn Shop Commercial #1 (HBO). HBO.
- Sergent, Brian (2008-02-10). "Brian Sergent's Television Page". Retrieved 2009-03-13.
- "Flight Of The Conchords (HBO) - Reviews from Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 2009-06-28.
- "Flight of the Conchords (HBO) - Reviews from Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 2009-06-28.
- 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. Retrieved 2007-07-14.
- Goodman, Tim (2007-06-15). "Musical misfits hoping for their big break". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Filming locations for "Flight of the Conchords" (2007) IMDB.com
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- Official HBO U.S. Website
- Flight of The Conchords on Myspace
- Flight of the Conchords at the Internet Movie Database
- Flight of the Conchords at TV.com
- Map of Filming Locations