HD Heads-Up: December 28-January 3

TV3 will strip new HD comedy/drama series The Defenders 1.30 weekdays from New Year’s Eve.

It’s one of four series debuting in HD during the dismally programmed first week of the new year, the other being Malibu Country (TV2, 6.30 Sunday), The Block: All Stars (TV3, 7.30 weeknights) and Meet the Frockers (TV One, 8.00 Wednesday).

The Defenders sounds to be the most entertaining. About two Las Vegas attorneys, it lasted only one season in 2010 but was generally well reviewed.

“The show is an old-fashioned courtroom procedural, but the pilot has enough sharp writing and well-greased plot twists to suggest future promise,” was Newsday’s verdict while TV Guide dubbed it “a brash, enjoyable hour that doesn’t take itself very seriously”.

Less impressed were Entertainment Weekly (“there’s nothing particularly bad about this new legal drama starring Jerry O’Connell and Jim Belushi as a couple of skeevy Las Vegas lawyers — but then again there’s nothing particularly good about it, either”) and The Hollywood Reporter (“there is no mistaking this stubbornly and unaccountably bland legal show for the bold CBS series of the 1960s with the same name”).

And THR critic Tim Goodman, when he was writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, quipped: “Belushi and O’Connell are two jokers who love the law and practice in Las Vegas and … oh, forget it. The show is lousy.”

Reba McEntire’s Malibu Country fared worst, with most critics giving the comedy about a country singer relocating from Tennessee to California with her two kids and mother (Lily Tomlin) the thumbs down (“the basic setup is The Beverly Hillbillies without Jed,” cracked the New York Times).

Meet the Frockers is a reality half-hour that goes behind the Kiwi bridal shop counter during the countdown to eight weddings while The Block: All Stars pits four teams from the Aussie hit’s first, third, fourth and 10th seasons.

Otherwise, movies predominate for the first week of 2014, including HD re-runs of Gracie (TV2, midday Saturday), Valiant (TV2, 4.30 Sunday), Monsters vs Aliens (TV3, 7.00 Sunday), Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo (TV3, 8.00 Sunday), The Hopes and Dreams of Gazza Snell (TV3, 10.45 Sunday), High School Musical (TV2, 3.10 Tuesday), High School Musical 2 (TV2, 3.15 Wednesday), Mr Magoo (TV2, 5.10 Wednesday), Journey to the Centre of the Earth (TV2, 7.00 Wednesday), Ghost Town (TV3, 8.30 Wednesday) and National Treasure (TV2, 8.45 Wednesday)

In other HD programming news of note for the week starting December 28:

  • Replacing the Shortland Street omnibus over most of January is a Big Bang Theory compilation of season five re-runs (TV2, 10am Sunday)
  • Vera’s back on the beat for a third season of cases (TV One, 8.30 Sunday) – the second season was in SD but TVNZ is reverting to HD for the third
  • The cast of Monty Python and Anchorman 2 join Graham Norton for a New Year’s Special (TV3, 8.45 Tuesday)
  • George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces at Christmas (TV One, 7.30 Thursday) will precede a re-run of the first Amazing Spaces series a week later
  • Cosentino: The Grand Illusionist returns for another special (TV2, 7.30 Thursday).
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2 Responses to “HD Heads-Up: December 28-January 3”

  1. Hi Philip, just curious to know why Modern Family, Bones, Homeland and new shows Sleepy Hollow and Brooklyn Nine Nine were not on the list of announced shows MediaWorks had secured with their new Fox programming deal? Have they decided to pass on these shows and will these appear on free-to-air or on Sky? I just wish their press release would provide more detail. Despite this, I’m happy Glee and the Fast FOUR strategy return later in 2014.

  2. It’s safe to assume the shows you mention will screen on TVNZ. If MediaWorks had acquired them, they would have been trumpeted in the press release. A Sky/Prime deal is possible but unlikely given TVNZ has a more aggressive acquisitions strategy and a dual-channel free-to-air operation that would maximise its investment in these properties. TV3 has slowly been building Modern Family into a hit but there’s still vastly untapped potential for TV2 to exploit, both in re-runs and new seasons, and Sleepy Hollow is tailor-made for TV2 whereas Homeland (and perhaps Bones) would work on TV One. I’ve just posted an analysis here.

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