HD Heads-Up: February 28-March 6

Rainn Wilson (The Office, Six Feet Under) stars in TV3’s new offbeat crime drama, Backstrom.

The series, which only went to air a month ago in the US, has inherited CSI’s 8.30 Thursday slot on a double-bill with season two of Motive.

The latter is scarcely groundbreaking but improves on most procedurals with its lively lead and inventive storytelling.

Backstrom wasn’t hailed as breakthrough drama, either.

Based on Leif G W Persson’s series of comic novels about an eccentric Portland detective, it endured a gamut of criticism from “has the potential to be excellent” (Philadelphia Inquirer) to, “Not only is Backstrom hackneyed for giving us another TV misanthrope who’s forgiven for his sociopathic impulses, but it’s a bad example of that genre” (Boston Globe).

“There are some interesting ideas, like calling out Gen-Xers for romanticising pessimism, and several well-cast, offbeat supporting characters,” Entertainment Weekly said, “but Backstrom needs to find a more cohesive voice and stronger case-of-the-week plots if it wants to keep walking the prime-time beat.”

Variety described the hero as “a mildly defective detective (sorry, Monk) with a bad attitude, prone to offensive and outlandish utterances, while going about the business of deciphering quirky yet banal crimes in the tree-lined, rainy environs of Portland (actually Vancouver)”.

Backstrom will screen from March 5, four days after TV1’s Broadchurch ends its second season.

The night before, TV1 relaunches Our World in a 7.30 Saturday slot with the controversial The Great Bear Stakeout.

The BBC copped flak in the UK when it aired in late 2013 for “misleading” viewers.

According to The Independent, “The BBC One show, Great Bear Stakeout, showed footage of a grizzly bear cub drowning in the ocean and then included film of an expert guide ‘apparently watching and commenting on the scene as it unfolded in front of him’ even though it was actually filmed after the incident.”

The Beeb was similarly criticised for deceiving viewers over Frozen Planet footage two years earlier.

But don’t expect to see the same sequence here as the programme was quickly re-edited. Media critics also picked up on the “grisliness” of the documentary, which Billy Connolly narrates.

“The brutality of the bears’ behaviour, captured on video for the first time, had many uneasy echoes of human society at its lowest,” argued the Daily Mail.

“I think they’re really horrid, these bears,” quipped The Guardian.

“Bad parents; stupid, deceitful, callous murderers; killers for sex kicks; and cannibals. Then there’s all the scratching, and the swarms of flies, and the pissing.”

“The film couldn’t seem to decide if the stars of the show were the bears or the men trying to film them,” The Telegraph said. “Recent David Attenborough series seem to me to have got this one right – first you amaze people with the footage.

“Then you can explain afterwards the astonishing lengths you went to to get it. Too many times in Great Bear Stakeout we were watching the watchers, rather than the bears.”

Meanwhile, Attenborough guests on Friday’s The Graham Norton Show (TV3, 8.30), along with Harry Hill, Gary Lineker and Jessica Chastain.

Also new that week is On Thin Ice: Nigel Latta in the Antarctica (TV1, 8.30 Wednesday), in which the clinical psychologist travels to Scott Base, Antarctica to live among the scientists and investigate first hand what’s going on in the highest, coldest, windiest, driest landmass on the planet.

Coming attractions in HD for the week starting February 28 include the network premieres of Trouble With the Curve (TV2, 8.30 Saturday) and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (TV1, 10.30 Saturday), along with :

  • Alpha & Omega (TV2, 6.45 Saturday)
  • The Courier (TV2, 2am Sunday)
  • Jungle Book (TV2, 7.00 Sunday)
  • The A-Team (TV3, 8.35 Sunday)
  • Mindhunters (TV2, 10.30 Sunday)
  • Sex and the City (TV2, 9.00 Friday).
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2 Responses to “HD Heads-Up: February 28-March 6”

  1. Portland – the centre of the quirk universe. Need a reminder on Motive?

  2. Here y’go: http://www.screenscribe.net/channels/hd-heads-up-august-30-september-5/ Great lead, interesting cases, makes a change from the CSI/NCIS/L&O lookalikes …

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