HD Heads-Up: April 19-25

Tuesday is the networks’ new HD battleground while the PVR pick of the week starting April 19 is the late-night launch of an acclaimed cop drama from the creator of The Shield.

TV One is overhauling Tuesdays with a new 7.30 double-bill of HD half-hours – the premiere of Women in Blue and the return of Water Patrol – ahead of the debut of the Anzac drama, Field Punishment No. 1, while starting 7.30 on TV2 is the latest smoke-and-mirrors half-hour, Don’t Trust Andrew Mayne.

Field Punishment No. 1 dramatises what happened to 14 Kiwi conscientious objectors who were shipped off to World War I battlefields against their will and is from the producers of Tangiwai – A Love Story, Lippy Pictures.

“New Zealand’s most famous conscientious objector Archibald Baxter, father of James K. Baxter, was one of these men.

“We follow the conchies’ journey from their initial proud stance when first arrested, through their time spent in prisons, punishment camps, an asylum for the insane and at the frontline in France, until the end of the war heralds their return to New Zealand.

“But not all of the 14 returned home.”

Women in Blue explores a different frontline — that of NZ policewomen — while those in the sights of magician Andrew Mayne are ripe for justice of a different kind.

Reports Digital Spy: “Each of the 13 half-hour-long episodes will feature Mayne and a set of people seeking revenge, with methods ranging from explosions to disappearing cars, in a bid to teach those who have wronged them a lesson.

“Some illusions include cars that appear to melt and a motorcycle that is shot out of the sky.”

The New York Times thought the premiere “amusing and surprisingly credible … Mr Mayne spends much of the show punking unsuspecting bystanders with sweet, small tricks.”

“It will appeal to magic lovers, but occasional innuendo, strong language, and the frustrated reactions of victims make it an iffy choice for tweens,” Commonsense Media warns.

“The tricks played on people are often motivated by revenge, which doesn’t send a great message either.”

The Chicago Code (TV3, 12.25am Saturday) is a 2011 drama from Shawn Ryan (The Shield, TV3’s upcoming The Last Resort).

It stars Jennifer Beals as the Windy City’s first female police superintendent heading a task force investigation into a corrupt politician and while it lasted only one season, largely earned two thumbs up from critics.

People Weekly said the Flashdance star “gives a revelatory, no-nonsense performance that should make [Blue Bloods’] Tom Selleck’s moustache bristle with envy … This should be lots of fun.”

“Besides Beals, the show’s immediate strength is [Zero Dark Thirty’s Jason] Clarke’s dynamo performance as Wysocki, an embittered and egotistical veteran,” The Washington Post said, adding the drama’s “attention to feel and vibe helps us overlook [its] frenetically unrealistic pace”.

“Throw in Wysocki’s rookie niece, some intra-force rivalry, those great Chicago locations and a Polish sausage or two, and you have a show that breaks the network code, and that alone is worth watching,” the Los Angeles Times argued.

“Bribes, kickbacks, suspiciously well-compensated construction companies, organised-crime alliances — this is the stockpot in which the series stirs its wooden spoon,” the New York Times said.

“For the most part the flavours blend well.”

Quipped Time: “It has some voice and verve, but it’s definitely no Shield yet — either in content or innovation — and like a new rookie on patrol, I’m putting it on probationary status for now.”

The week’s other promising crime drama is the series premiere of the Inspector Morse prequel, Endeavour (TV One, 8.30 Saturday), which mercifully TVNZ has picked up in HD rather than Prime, the home of British whodunits, in SD.

“Old Morse was a touch tired, along with Lewis, who, let’s face it, increasingly approached a scene-of-crime blithely unbothered whether he was going for a shit or a haircut.

“But Endeavour – this one will, delightedly, run and run,” The Guardian predicted.

“And along the way we got such esoterica as postal orders, Routemasters, wet weekends in Rhyl, those splendid old green and cream buses, and the gloriously named ‘Spanish practices.’”

It’s also a big week for HD movies, including the network premieres of Battleship (TV3, 8.30 Monday) and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (TV2, 7.30 Friday), and re-runs of The Rebound (TV2, 10.50 Saturday), The Greatest (TV2, 12.40am Sunday), Boy A (TV One, 1.20am Sunday), The Shawshank Redemption (TV2, 8.35 Sunday, pre-empting Agents of SHIELD and The Tomorrow People), The Bodyguard (TV2, 11.00 Sunday) and Surrogates (TV2, 1.20am Monday).

In other HD programming news of note for the week starting April 19:

  • Bodyshockers (TV3, 9.30 Thursday) is a warts-and-all newcomer about what happens when body art — tattoos, piercings, big boobs — go wrong (The Daily Mail thought Katie Piper “the right presenter, and not only because her face has undergone dozens of skin grafts and surgical repairs following an acid attack in 2009; she also has a knack for persuading people to open up about their real feelings”);
  • Season finales include Hannibal (TV3, 10.30 Saturday), ahead of season one’s May 28 bow on Blu-ray); Betrayal (in a double-episode swansong (TV One, 10.05 Sunday); and Sons of Anarchy (TV3, 9.30 Wednesday);
  • Hawaii Five-O fans get a double-episode bonus on Easter Sunday (TV3, 9.15) and a resumption of season two re-runs from episode 10 late-night Friday (TV3, 11.05);
  • Arrow also gets a two-fer on Thursday, when episodes 10 and 11 of season two screen back-to-back (TV2, 8.30);
  • Machete’s Danny Trejo, fresh off Sons of Anarchy, guest stars as a retired Mexican assassin in Tuesday’s NCIS: LA (TV3, 9.30);
  • Ant and Dec, Naomi Campbell, Jamie Dornan (The Fall, Once Upon a Time) and Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul guest on Friday’s Graham Norton Show (TV3, 8.30).
Twitter Digg Delicious Stumbleupon Technorati Facebook Email

4 Responses to “HD Heads-Up: April 19-25”

  1. Hi Philip. Is there any news as to when TV3 will be screening The Crazy Ones? Looks like a fun show 🙂

  2. Bad news, I’m afraid, Trevor. It now will screen in SD on Four in the third or fourth quarter. Crazy, huh?

  3. Actually, Philip, I had a bad feeling that may happen, love to know who makes the stupid decisions 🙁

  4. Nice to see Hawaii Five-O get a double episode bill on Easter Sunday. My thought was that TV3 would have pre-empted Blacklist and Five-O episodes for Easter Sunday and put movies on, like TV2 are. I admire TV3 keeping Five-O on this long it’s been up and down in ratings, with last week’s only making the 70,000 mark. I just hope it stays on and that they dont move it to the late Friday slot they will have with season 2 repeats, as they have done it before in the past.

Leave a Reply