HD Heads-Up: February 4

Most of Prime’s peak-hour content will be in native HD when the channel upgrades to 1080i transmission on February 13. The catch is you’ll need to have one of Sky’s new decoders, or a MySky HDi or MySky+ to watch it in HD as it will still be SD on Freeview. HD highlights in the first week include David Attenborough’s Natural Curiosities, University Challenge, Silent Witness, Life, ElementaryAntiques Roadshow, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Zoo, Best of Top GearAmerican Idol, Strike Back, Scorpion and NCIS: New Orleans. New to the channel that week are ITV crime drama Unforgotten (8.30 Sunday), the 2013 David Attenborough special, Animal Attraction (8.30 Monday), American drama Limitless (8.30 Wednesday), Big Spring Clean (7.30 Thursday) and chefs combo Simply Nigella and Scandimania (from 8.00 Thursday) …

The Guardian called Unforgotten a “magnificently cast” six-part thriller about a pair of bantering cops investigating a body in a cellar and four apparently unconnected couples. Despite the presence of Bernard Hill, Hannah Gordon, Tom Courtenay, Gemma Jones. Nicola Walker, Sanjeev Bhaskar and Trevor Eve, “I could not care less,” the paper’s critic wrote. The Telegraph acknowledged the “cold case drama teetered on the edge of cliché but well-balanced plots and a strong cast kept things interesting”.  The Independent warned viewers to be patient, as the numerous plot threads do slowly weave their way “to become the warp and weft of a gripping mystery … [resolving] itself by the close of its first episode into a promising whodunnit” …

Nigella Lawson found herself in hot water when her new series Simply Nigella sparked a social media backlash about how simple the recipes were. But The Telegraph called her return to primetime “sensual and self-parodying” with recipes as tried and trusted as the chef herself. “This latest series may not be a particularly surprising or challenging turn from Nigella, but after a charming half-hour in her company, you realise that doesn’t really matter” …

“The three-part series Scandimania sees TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall escape River Cottage and explore a different country per episode,” The Independent said. “An hour in Hugh’s company is an hour well spent, but it is a shame this show doesn’t seem to have worked out whether it’s an aspirational travel show or an in-depth cultural study. It’s not quite alluring enough for the former and not quite perceptive enough for the latter.” But Radio Times cautioned, “It’s not all fine food, happy families and hot tubs. Scandimania also touches on the uglier side of life probed in The Killing and The Bridge.” According to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall: “They’ve got this dark side to them. So you wonder about these nations that are supposedly the happiest countries on the planet – what is this dark side they can’t resist exploring in their drama?”…

Limitless was spun off the movie of the same name and, despite mixed reviews, had a solid ratings start in the US. It has “faded some“, hitting a season low last week, but is expected to be renewed. About yet another crime-solving hero with a super IQ, “something about this show just works,” reckons The Washington Post while the New York Times praised it for keeping the movie’s “flippant tone“. The Hollywood Reporter thought it a “mindless hoot” and The Atlantic said it was made with “aggressive confidence …  but a depressing lack of originality” …

It won’t dent Home and Away’s appeal on TV2 but TV3’s new 5.30 weekday game show, Family Feud, could lure away viewers from TV1’s Millionaire Hot Seat. The Dai Henwood-hosted series premieres February 15, ahead of the return of Lost & Found (8.30 Thursday) and Matthew Perry, Gemma Arterton and Miriam Gargoyles guesting on The Graham Norton Show (8.30 Friday). TV3’s HD movies for that week are Raiders of the Lost Ark (7.00 Saturday),  The Counsellor (9.20 Saturday), Rise of the Planet of the Apes  (8.30 Sunday) and Knight and Day (8.30 Monday) …

Entertainment Weekly says tonight’s episode of The X-Files (TV2, 8.30) marks a return to form: “In the presence of an inverted were-monster — a lizard creature bitten by a human and doomed to transform into a man in the daylight hours — Mulder grapples with regaining a confidence he’s lost that the wacky world around him really exists. Written by veteran executive producer Darin Morgan, the hour was packed with nostalgic nods and trademark moments of existentialist fun” …

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3 Responses to “HD Heads-Up: February 4”

  1. YAY, great to see Indiana Jones is back and in HD 🙂

  2. Will Sky screw the Freeview viewers again and leave Prime in SD having HD for it’s own encrypted platform? Remember how long it took them to put the EPG on the TiVo?

  3. Thanks, Sky. Great to be able to watch Prime in HD shortly. I can’t wait to see Doctor Who in HD at last this year.

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