HD Heads-Up: February 1

Mad Dogs bounds on to SoHo tonight at 9.30 following last month’s Amazon streaming debut. If you can backdoor access the service, you can watch the 10 episodes in one hit — an advantage that Entertainment Weekly thought worked to the detriment of the dark, funny drama about the holiday from hell for four middle-aged pals: “The moments meant to shock gradually become expected beats along the way, and far from being a strength, they end up feeling like necessities to keep those binging strung along for at least one more episode.” Hitfix dubbed it “essentially Gilligan’s Island as serialised cable drama” and while Variety thought the first episode “relatively engrossing … things quickly become repetitive” …

It will be interesting to see if The X-Factor Australia can develop a 5.00 beachhead ahead of TV3’s new-look news bulletin, Newshub Live at 6pm, before TV2 reinstates Home and Away next week. But opting to screen the 2014 season rather than 2015’s signals the network doesn’t have a lot of faith in its pulling power, and expect to see the talent quest pushed back earlier into the afternoon when Family Feud takes on TV1’s Millionaire Hot Seat

Okay, it’s not in HD but good on Jones! for bringing back Lou Grant, a mostly conventional but occasionally groundbreaking MTM drama that helped to blaze the way for Hill Street Blues and, 20 years later, the explosion of golden age drama that The Wire and The Sopranos triggered (one of the stars, Nancy Marchand, went on to play Tony Soprano’s mother). It’s 6pm weekday stripping from today will be the newspaper drama’s first NZ broadcast in more than 30 years and hopefully will lead to equally memorable MTM productions from that era that you can’t buy here on DVD, including St Elsewhere and WKRP in Cincinnati, being dusted off …

Of course, just because TV shows were telecast in black and white doesn’t mean they can’t be re-released in HD. Witness the golden oldies you can buy on Blu-ray in the US: The Lucy Show, Columbo, Little House on the Prairie, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Monkees, The Twilight ZoneLonesome Dove, Twin Peaks and The Andy Griffith Show. There are even British series from the ’60s and ’70s you can import on Blu-ray, including The Professionals and The Avengers. The latter’s availability makes its SD re-runs on The Zone a missed opportunity, especially when you consider how well the likes of Buck Rogers in the 21st Century and the original Star Trek scrub up in HD …

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5 Responses to “HD Heads-Up: February 1”

  1. Actually, Philip, The X-Factor Australia is from 2015 and I love Newshub, the HD looks awesome, I just wish everything was in HD 🙂

  2. Thanks, Trevor. I agree — Newshub Live looked great, but as you said about Paul Henry, the HD studio segments make the SD field footage look even worse. Thanks for update re X-Factor: that surprises me, as TV3 lists it as season six which, according to Wikipedia, went to air in 2014.

  3. Surprising that X-Factor Australia isn’t airing over on FOUR where it can plug holes in its repeats-driven schedule.

  4. I guess they were confused as it’s season seven and Story looks great as well. HD certainly makes a big difference 🙂

  5. I most certainly vote yes to St Elsewhere on Jones! It’s quite simply one of the best TV shows of all time!

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