HD Heads-Up: July 26-August 1

Talk about blockbusters unbound — the network HD premieres of The Avengers and Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol will go head-to-head on July 27.

The former will air as TV2’s 8.30 Sunday Premiere Movie in the slot that for most of the year was occupied by series spin-off Agents of SHIELD.

It will go up against TV3’s top agent, Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt, in the fourth Mission: Impossible movie the same night another superhero movie premieres in HD, the animated Superman Unbound (TV2, 1.15am Monday).

Other coming attractions in HD include Sister Act (TV2, 7.00 Saturday), Management (TV2, 9.00 Saturday), The Mechanic (TV2, 10.55 Saturday), The Tempest (TV One, 11.20 Saturday), Fighting (TV2, 12.45am Sunday), Legion (TV2, 11.20 Sunday), Predators (TV3, 8.30 Monday) and Here Comes the Boom (TV2, 8.55 Friday).


Here’s a head-spinner — The Mentalist is switching channels and will air 8.30 Tuesdays on TV One from July 29, following the return of SCU: Serious Crash Unit (another series that originally aired on TV2).

The ageing ex-TV2 property will screen on a double-bill with another heady hour, Nigel Latta: The New Haves and Have Nots, in which the clinical psychologist investigates major social issues facing the country.

With so many drama series coming out of the US, it’s not surprising TVNZ has consigned season six of The Mentalist to its older-skewing network, with the gloss having gone off its TV2 ratings.

This is likely to be the penultimate season as it was only reluctantly picked up for a seventh because of network-studio politics.

Creator Bruno Heller’s next series is the highly anticipated Batman spin-off, Gotham.


Southland returns for its fifth and final season on July 29 (TV One, 11.00).

As the San Francisco Chronicle observed in its review of the season premiere, “There isn’t a better cop show on TV right now than Southland.”

TV Guide dubbed it “uncommonly gritty … like graphic tour of duty on the streets of Los Angeles” while the Boston Herald told fans: “Rest easy: The premiere is good; next week’s episode is flat-out superb.”

Concurred Pop Matters: “As the fifth season begins, Southland appears to be stronger

“The ensemble is streamlined to the most compelling characters and the direction is crisp.”


TV2 is turning Sunday afternoons into a young adult HD bonanza with season five of Pretty Little Liars spearheading a 12.30pm-3.30pm line-up that includes the premieres of The 100 (following an on-demand run) and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.

The 100 is a sci-fi series about 100 juvenile delinquents charged with re-populating a post-apocaylptic Earth and earned largely positive reviews: “It gets better, digs deeper and reaches farther than anyone might have predicted” (USA Today); “refreshingly taut and well-executed” (The Washington Post); “well conceived, cleverly plotted, and quite exciting” (Philadelphia Inquirer).

While the New York Times dismissed it as “a predictable mix of violence, sex and sentimentalism”, The 100 was renewed whereas the Once Upon a Time spin-off lasted only 13 episodes.

Said Variety: “Wonderland is equally handsome, but behind those virtual sets lurk many potential flaws.”


Sunday Theatre – The Ford New Zealand Season continues with the Radio Hauraki dramatisation Pirates of the Airwaves (TV One, 8.30 Sunday) ahead of a re-run of Olympics drama The Golden Hour (TV One, 10.05 Sunday) while a re-run of the Oscar Kightley police drama series Harry gets the graveyard shift (TV3, 11.00 Friday).


A season of Stacey Dooley Investigates documentaries launches with Booze, Bar Crawls & Bulgaria (TV3, 9.30 Wednesday) — said The Independent of the BBC3 series: “Stacey Dooley is a bounding, big-eyed, golden retriever of a correspondent. ‘Bless you and your big heart,’ said one interviewee as their chat drew to a close. This, really, is what Stacey Dooley Investigates is all about: Dooley’s big heart.”


Grant Bowler fronts a trans-Tasman first on Tuesday, The Amazing Race – Australia v New Zealand (TV2, 8.45) …  2 Broke Girls ends its third season on Wednesday (TV2, 9.25) — barely 24 hours after the second starts a late-night re-run (TV2, 10.25 Tuesday) … Grey’s Anatomy fans get a double-ep catch-up on Monday (TV2, 9.40) after its pre-emption on July 21 by the live finale of The Voice Australia … Tom Cruise, Julie Walters, Matt Damon, Dame Julie Andrews and Bill Murray are among the guests on a Graham Norton Show compilation (TV3, 8.30 Friday).

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6 Responses to “HD Heads-Up: July 26-August 1”

  1. Anyone know when the Commonwealth opening ceremony is? I’m going away for about 10 days and the TiVo EPG has now gone from 14 days to 8 days so I may miss it and will need to set it up manually…

  2. I find it weird when TV3 and TVNZ screen similar type movies against other, I have a feeling The Avengers will win but Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol will give them a fight 🙂

  3. I agree, Trevor. Both movies are worth a watch.

  4. Re The Mentalist: the shows from overseas are coming thick ‘n’ fast. Will stay with The Mentalist to see the outcome. Am keeping an eye on Crisis [despite reservations] just to see where it goes next. Wasn’t grabbed by Sleepy Hollow. Following SVU and Blue Bloods.

  5. Hi Paul. Re the opening Commonwealth Games ceremony: Prime will broadcast it free-to-air from 7.55am on July 24. But, of course, it will be in SD …

  6. Thanks, Philip. SD — woohoo. Way better than their usual LD. 🙂

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