HD Heads-Up: April 12

Billions ends its run tonight (SoHo, 8.30) with a finale that Variety says makes “a number of hairpin turns, before rather niftily laying the foundation for a second season”. It argues the high-stakes drama has “proved most enjoyable for an attribute that a lot of premium-cable dramas can tend to forget: Fun” — which is what working on another SoHo series, Vinyl, apparently hasn’t been for showrunner Terence Winter (Boardwalk Empire), who has quit because of “creative differences“. Said HBO in a statement: “As we head into the second season of Vinyl, we have decided it is an appropriate time to make a change in the creative direction of the show” …

Fun sums up another Showtime series for which there’s good news and bad: the fifth season of Episodes starts shooting next week in London but it will be the last and it won’t air until next year. The creators say the inside showbiz comedy has come to a natural end while the timing is convenient for star Matt LeBlanc, who has new gigs on Top Gear and a probable CBS sitcom …

Prime will screen live HD coverage of several UEFA EURO 2016 matches, including the opening ceremony and opening match, the final and the closing and trophy ceremonies. All 51 games will run live on Sky’s sports channels; a full coverage schedule will be posted on www.sky.co.nz/sport closer to the June 10-July 10 tournament start date …

Prime also has in HD for the first time the latest season of Grantchester. It premieres 8.35 Saturday only a few weeks after going to air in the UK, where there was much fanfare over its Poldark or Mr Darcy moment: “We were less than two minutes into a new series of Grantchester before James Norton’s dashing, conflicted vicar Sidney Chambers was stripped to his swimming trunks and plunging into the River Cam,” declared The Independent while praising the show for being “nowhere near as bucolic as it pretends to be” …

But The Telegraph wondered if the period whodunit was suffering a case of second series syndrome:”There’s a slight sense that, for all the parade of dead bodies, the show itself might just be the biggest stiff of them all. James Norton has now firmly established himself as the most ubiquitous thinking woman’s hottie on TV. But surely there is an upper limit to the tariff of rueful smiles that play on the Reverend Sidney’s concerned face before someone somewhere has to change the record” ..

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