HD Heads-Up: February 25

❏ Sunday night viewers could be mistaken for thinking TV3 was the new TV One, with a line-up that includes a landmark David Attenborough series as the lead-in to the top BBC spy drama The Night Manager. The latter starts this weekend and The Hunt will screen 7.30 Sundays from March 6. The Telegraph called the series “breathtakingly exciting” and praised the restraint of the programme makers in depicting the predatory behaviour of wildlife. “Beautiful to look at, as you’d expect,” said The Guardian, “Incredibly thrilling, too.” Expect it to look sensational in HD, with The Independent declaring the “exceptional” footage couldn’t be “more intimate or detailed” …

❏ Watch for Doug Coutts’ preview of The Night Manager following celebratory UK reviews of the six-part series that had its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival. The Times thought it “a grand adventure story” while The Telegraph argued, “Television trumps cinema once again — two film versions of John le Carré’s 1993 novel fizzled out because of the density and complexity of plotting, although I was a little relieved to find this more straightforward, so far, than the obfuscation and double-cross of much of his Cold War material. A good, old-fashioned contemporary thriller, in other words, wisely updated by screenwriter David Farr from 1993’s Central American drug wars to the Arab Spring in 2011″ …

❏ Lest you think TV3 is entirely taking the higher ground over TV One’s Sunday night sell-out, it will precede The Hunt and The Night Manager with a local variation on America’s Funniest Home Videos. Si & Gary’s Now That’s Funny! teams More FM’s Simon Barnett and Gary McCormick in a compilation of what the publicity calls “the web’s funniest videos”. It will be in HD but given where the clips are being culled from, expect variable quality …

❏ The same week TV3 will pair the season premiere of The Bachelor NZ (7.30 Monday) with the network movie premiere of Mary: The Making of a Princess, which dramatises the romance between the former real estate agent from Tasmania and the Crown Prince of Denmark. The Sydney Morning Herald dubbed it “a biopic patchwork of necessary exchanges, cute moments, and romantic staple” while The Guardian lamented: “Any hope of criticism on issues of monarchy or celebrity quickly evaporates as this breezy telemovie steams towards its inevitable white satin-clad finale.” But the biggest critic was Princess Mary’s bridesmaid …

Survivor NZ may be coming to TV2 but Survivor US will continue to be a MediaWorks property, the broadcaster confirms. It has the rights to the original through its deal with CBS Television Studios whereas Warner Bros NZ is making Survivor NZ for TVNZ. Meanwhile, TV3 will screen a current Prime TV drama when it airs a two-hour NCIS crossover episode with NCIS: New Orleans on March 8, pre-empting SVU that night …

❏ Other HD highlights on TV3 that week include the movies Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (7.00 Saturday) and The Cyberbully (9.30 Saturday), and guest appearances by Sir Elton John, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Penelope Cruz and Jack Black on The Graham Norton Show (8.30 Friday) …

The X-Files ends its five-week run tonight (TV2, 8.30) with an “open-ended finale” that creator Chris Carter hopes will lead to more episodes. He told The Hollywood Reporter that Fox wants more “but nothing’s being negotiated yet … So there’s an appetite for more in the future; it’s just a matter of figuring out how to get it done. The last negotiations took about five months, so it could be a while before we figure out how to do this” …

❏ Variety’s review of the finale said it “caps an inexplicably sloppy season … The episode ended on a cliffhanger, but left little appetite to see what happens next — not without a serious attempt to address the ham-fisted, messy state of the series at the moment.” Concurred Entertainment Weekly:  “It certainly didn’t finish well. My Struggle II disappointed with a story that focused on the show’s underdeveloped and unappealing new formulation of the alien conspiracy, a story-telling structure that kept Mulder and Scully apart for the entire episode and a cliffhanger nobody wanted” …

Girls and Togetherness start new runs tonight on SoHo. “The start of the fifth season won’t launch an armada of think pieces, but if you still get pleasure from watching these flawed, often awful characters make flawed, often funny choices, Girls is still Girls,” THR said. The New York Times reckons “the friends’ travails are presented in a kinder and gentler manner than we’re used to, and the balance has shifted away from cringey awkwardness and toward something resembling warmth.” But Time argued: “Outside of [Hannah ‘s] home life, Girls now has the airlessness of a laugh-tracked sitcom” …

Togetherness also fared well with critics for its comeback, with Kiwi Melanie Lynskey being singled out by the NYT: “It’s sadder and funnier, welling over with feeling. It’s insightful not just about marriage but friendship … The cast is uniformly strong, but Ms. Lynskey is just staggering“…

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2 Responses to “HD Heads-Up: February 25”

  1. That Si and Gary Show sounds dismal. TV3 must have something better on the shelf.

  2. Hooray for the end of The X-Files. This was awful from episode 1, it followed every rule on how not to revive a cult series.

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