HD Heads-Up: July 12-18

Top-flight NZ fare and a raft of HD newcomers and returning series signal a mid-season overhaul on TVNZ.

TV One will launch a three-week, NZ Sunday Theatre season on July 13 with award-winning documentary Erebus: Operation Overdue — the same week it airs new episodes of Vera, starting from Young Gods, in a new 9.30 Saturday Murder Mystery slot, and resumes Criminal Minds from season nine (8.30 Monday) and Dallas from season two (10.55 Wednesday).

TV2, meanwhile, is giving Resurrection a double-episode launch, with an 8.55 Wednesday premiere and another episode on Thursday at 8.30, where it presumably will air weekly.

It dramatises the impact the return of an eight-year-old boy, who was presumed to have drowned 30 years earlier, has on a small town.

Although the premise is eerily similar to French TV’s The Returned, which screened on the Rialto Channel, it’s not a US re-make (that’s under way at A&E).

The Wall Street Journal called it “a smartly ordered, sizzling drama, which establishes itself from the opening scene and builds from there” and while Newsday thought it inferior to The Returned, “there are still solid hints of an engaging series”.

Said TV Guide: “Resurrection subverts expectations by sidestepping the creepy and macabre — although there are layers of mysteries and secrets in the small town of Arcadia, Missouri — and dwelling in a more bucolic and even tear-jerking manner on the spiritual and societal ramifications of this apparent miracle.”

But the New York Times was less impressed — “Resurrection starts out well enough … All too soon, however, the mystery turns into soapy melodrama, and the supernatural is superseded by the clichés of network drama” — while the San Francisco Chroncile quipped: “Nothing could bring this show life.”

Episode two will air ahead of TV2’s own one-off Kiwi HD special, Gloriavale: A World Apart, a documentary about an isolated West Coast Christian community, and follow the midnight Tuesday premiere of police drama Golden Boy.

People magazine dismissed it as “a blandly generic precinct drama” but USA Today argued “the scripts offer a well-balanced mix of office politics, underlying mystery and weekly cop procedural.

“And the first-rate cast ties it all together with abundant skill.”

“To say this ground was covered better on The Wire is both an understatement and unnecessary,” Entertainment Weekly acknowledged, “although the setup has promise.”

TV2 also is reinstating Sunday night comedies The Big Bang Theory (SD repeats), The Middle (HD repeats) and The Neighbors (second and final season) ahead of double-episode season finales of Agents of SHIELD and The Tomorrow People.

The same week it will also air a double-ep season finale of Two and a Half Men (8.55 Tuesday) and conjure up new episodes of Don’t Trust Andrew Mayne (9.10 Monday) and, in a much later slot, Brooklyn Nine Nine (9.55 Wednesday).

Amid all these changes is a couple of re-runs to catch if you missed them originally: TV One’s A Mother’s Son (10.05 Sunday) and season four of TV3’s Sons of Anarchy (11.15 Monday).

TV3 also has an HD newcomer, The House That £100k Built (7.30 Tuesday), in which do-ityourselfers try to build their own house from scratch, starting with a young pizza van owner’s ambitious plans for a four-bedroom house and including a low impact roundhouse (left) sourced from local materials “rather than a boring box made from highly manufactured shiny stuff”.

Time Out dubbed it “Grand Designs: The Austerity Years,  in which journalist Kieran Long and architect Piers Taylor follow the progress of people trying to beat the cost of living squeeze and the property bubble by building a new house instead of buying one”.

In other HD programming news of note for the week starting July 12:

  • Samuel L Jackson, Keira Knightley and Kasabian guest on The Graham Norton Show (TV3, 8.30 Friday)
  • House Rules (TV3, 7.00 Sunday), Topp Country (TV One, 8.00 Sunday), Revolution (TV2, 10.40 Tuesday), Hope and Wire (TV3, 8.30 Thursday) and The Chicago Code (TV3, 1am Saturday) end their runs
  • Coming attractions include Hoodwinked (TV2, 7.00 Saturday), 127 Hours (TV3, 10.25 Saturday), Brothers (TV2, 11.35 Saturday), No Strings Attached (TV3, 9.00 Sunday), Witches: The Darkest Evil (TV2, 12.10am Monday), War of the Worlds (TV3, 8.30 Monday) and Muriel’s Wedding (TV2, 9.45 Friday).
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