HD Heads-Up: June 6-13

TV One is going back to the future by scheduling a big-budget British period drama on Sunday nights.

Once a mainstay of costume dramas, in the last few years the network’s 8.30 Sunday slot has been dominated by contemporary dramas, whodunits and Kiwi commissions.

But Indian Summers is billed as “a vast and sweeping saga, set against the grandeur of the Himalayas and tea plantations of Northern India” in the last days of the British Empire.

The £14 million production is Channel Four’s most expensive drama series yet. The Guardian dubbed it a “gorgeous, ambitious epic … With no clear hero and lots of touristy establishing shots, Indian Summers may have started slowly, but it has built pace to become one of the most narratively satisfying dramas on British TV.”

And The Telegraph said of the June 7 premiere: “What made Indian Summers watchable – apart from the stunning backdrops – was the palpable sense that all these lives, all this bored privilege and casual repression, would soon be shattered by the oncoming storm.

“And while there’s no evidence yet that Indian Summers has the power to match its screen antecedents (it’s a little too leisurely, and not convincing enough in key scenes) the scale of the series, and its ambition over a planned further four series to relate the whole story of India’s struggle for independence, could well repay signing up for the long term.”

My word! Look who’s back …

Indian Summers spearheads a week of change on TV1, with a new season of Criminal Minds talking over Stalker’s 8.30 Monday slot, a new David Attenborough series, Rise of Animals: Triumph of the Vertebrates, screening 7.30 Saturday, season finales of Nigel Latta Blows Stuff Up and Person of Interest, and a Thursday night overhaul.

The network will sandwich a new local panel show, Word Up, with the 90-minute semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent at 7.30 and a results show at 9.30.

Unlike the ironically named Best Bits, the Jacquie Brown-hosted Word Up is an HD panel show with a roster of talent that includes Rhys Darby, Stacey Morrison and Steve Wrigley.

Also new on Thursdays, but in a later, 10.00 slot, is season two of the Robyn Malcolm vehicle, Upper Middle Bogan.

Another Kiwi joins an Aussie series, when Go Girls’ Zoe Crammond makes her Neighbours debut, while TV2 is bringing back Pretty Little Liars as part of its off-peak weekend line-up (2.05pm Saturday).

TV2’s Sunday Premiere Movie that weekend is the network premiere of Elysium.

Other coming attractions in HD include: Stormbreaker (TV2, 7.00 Saturday), Ocean’s Eleven (TV2, 8.50 Saturday), Vera: Death of a Family Man (TV1, 10.35 Saturday), Colombiana (TV2, 1.45am Sunday), The Smurfs (TV2, 6.30 Saturday), One Day (TV3, 10.30 Sunday), Straw Dogs (TV2, 10.40 Sunday), Jumper (TV3, 8.45 Wednesday) and Faster (TV2, 8.30 Friday).

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