HD Heads-Up: November 22-28

TV2 will launch late-night its version of SoHo’s The Americans the same week TV One’s MasterChef Australia goes head-to-head with TV3’s The Block: Glasshouse.

MasterChef Oz isn’t in HD but the Aussie Block spin-off is: the latter will air 7.30 weeknights from November 24 and the latter, 7.30 Tuesday-Friday, in 90-minute instalments that will push back start times of shows like The Mentalist, Unforgettable, Love Child and Coronation Street by half-an-hour.

The Assets, which will air midnight Thursdays, is an ’80s-set Cold War drama starring Broadchurch’s Jodie Whitaker and The Borgias’ Paul Rhys.

Unlike The Americans, the eight-part series dramatises a real-life spy case.

The Assets isn’t flashy, but boy, is it effective,” Newsday said. “It just grinds away, laying down intriguing details of ‘asset’ care and feeding, made vivid through determined performances and intense crescendos.”

The San Francisco Chronicle thought the “credibility of the story is nicely enhanced by muted cinematography and art direction, emphasising that catching spies is done by nondescript men and women who lead seemingly normal lives and work in under-decorated offices deciphering codes and other information.

“If this is so much the opposite of what we expect in a movie or TV show about spies, that’s the whole point.”

Variety likened The Assets to the tone of John Le Carre’s novels — “the emphasis on tradecraft is understated but engrossing” — but the Wall Street Journal thought it “unevenly written, frequently given to strange tonal lapses” while TV Guide dubbed it a “plodding docudrama”.

Also new the same week are the documentary, Stammer School (TV One, 9.05 Wednesday), which The Guardian praised for its “inspiring encounters with stammerers as they fight to overcome their disability”, and Diary of a Teenage Virgin (TV2, 9.30 Thursday), which pre-empts Arrow.

The Telegraph called the latter the latest in a long list of provocatively titled programmes about sex. “Thankfully, this one worked due to its sensitive handling.”

Ending their runs are CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (TV3, 8.40), which is being pulled mid-season, and stablemate Motive while having their network movie premieres are Inside Job (TV One, 11.40 Saturday), Frankenweenie (TV2, 6.50 Sunday) and House at the End of the Street (TV2, 10.30 Friday).

Other coming attractions in HD include The Other End of the Line (TV2, 9.00 Saturday), The Taking of Pelham 123 (TV2, 11.05 Saturday), Any Questions for Ben (TV2, 1.15am Sunday), Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (TV3, 7.00 Sunday) and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (TV3, 8.40 Monday).

TV2 is replacing its Wednesday sitcoms block with a comedy movie season, opening with 13 Going on 30, and those who resisted watching The Michael J Fox Show in SD on Four can catch it in HD on TV3 from 12.30pm Sunday.

TV3 also has delayed HD coverage of The Vodafone NZ Music Awards (10.30 Saturday) while guesting on Friday’s Graham Norton Show (TV3, 8.40) are Dame Shirley Bassey, David Walliams,  Catherine Tate,  IT Crowd star Richard Ayoade and Annie Lennox. 

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3 Responses to “HD Heads-Up: November 22-28”

  1. Disappointed to see that CSI is being pulled mid-season. Is it because it wasn’t rating very well?

  2. You would be forgiven for thinking that but in fact CSI has been rating well on Thursdays, ahead of Love Child and competitive with The Flash. TV3 has opted to break it mid-season because it coincides with the season finale of stablemate Motive and the network doesn’t want to waste new episodes over the holiday period. Expect it to run movies and specials pre-Christmas.

  3. Thanks, Philip. I think this series of CSI has been really good so far, so looking forward to its return in the new year.

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