Courtesy of TVNZ for the above clip
Death is a difficult thing to deal with it’s something we all must face at some point of our lives. The Casketeers is a beautiful celebration of life and a tasteful, lighthearted reality show gravitating around the day to day lives of Maori funeral Directors Francis and Kaiora Tipene. Across the 6 episodes, the show balances emotional, beautiful funerals with the comedic day-to-day running of the business, and if you were a fan of the first season, the second offers more of the same, much to the credit of the show.
From Francis’ fabulous weight loss and ongoing battle with food through to his ascent into big brother territory with security cameras, Francis acts as the eccentric glue that holds everything together. Between his humorous outbursts and various scenarios he, and the other Directors, find themselves involved in are the numerous funeral services themselves. Just like last season, the changing tone to sombre and respectful is handled well, paying tribute to the lives of the loved ones passing from this world whilst talking us through the various rituals undertaken to make the services so beautiful.
It’s always a tricky thing to balance, especially given the subject matter, but The Casketeers is unique with its approach, injecting just the right amount of heartwarming moments with light comedy to make the show such an easy watch. With 6 episodes at 20 minutes a piece, the second season is a regrettably short one but no less powerful in its delivery. Midway through the show there’s a very emotional service for two twins and I won’t lie, it definitely yanked at my heartstrings a bit watching this service.
With the show set against the breathtaking islands of New Zealand, the Maori flavour to the show is backed up with block text on screen that translates some of the language used, including ‘kai’ which means food. It’s a nice, subtle touch but one that really helps bring us into this world without taking away from what’s happening on screen.
Whilst the second season doesn’t reinvent the wheel or offer anything substantially different from what’s been shown before, if you’re looking for a heartwarming reality show, you can’t really go wrong with this one. The Casketeers is an easy to binge, respectful documentary series, one that continues to pay homage to a difficult industry to work in, in the best possible way.