HD Heads-Up: October 19-25

Survivor is the latest Four series to make a peak-hour HD comeback on TV3.

It joins The Simpsons and Family Guy in switching back to a network whose identity remains in a state of flux due to MediaWorks’ receivership woes and ongoing uncertainty about the future of its output deal with Twentieth Century Fox TV.

The latter could be why new episodes of series like The Simpsons, Family Guy and Homeland remain off-air when last year they were screening with hours, days and, at worst, weeks of the US.

Survivor’s 7.30 Saturday revival on 3 makes sense, as the successor to the network’s Ice Road Truckers.

But it muddles what constitutes a 3 show and one that belongs on Four.

Originally, Survivor swapped channels because its popularity had waned on 3, along with another of the network’s HD staples, Glee.

The Blood vs Water season starting October 19 is the 27th, and will air here a month behind the US, where, ironically, the premiere sunk to its “lowest fall debut ever”.

But Entertainment Weekly dubbed the 90-minute, 400th episode “rousing” and the season has since enjoyed week-to-week growth.

Another of the week’s programming quirks is the double-episode finale of Breakout Kings on either side of Wednesday’s Nightline.

This drama’s unexpected primetime return reeked of product holdover while MediaWorks tried to sort out its programme buying strategy and, along with Hawaii Five-O’s surprise peak-hour comeback, barely trod water in its midweek slot against fortuitously weak competition (Scandal and Devious Wives).

Another old favourite returning with new episodes is The Graham Norton Show, with guests on the October 25 season 14 premiere including Benedict Cumberbatch and Harrison Ford.

TV One will launch season two of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on Saturday, the same night it premieres in HD NZ Story, a 7.00 successor to Country Calendar about Kiwis with “inspiring tales”.

Unfortunately, two other newcomers — the premiere of Last Tango in Halifax (9.30 Sunday) and series two of Mad Dogs (11.05 Tuesday) — will be in SD.

New to TV2 in HD the same weekend is the spooky, short-lived The River.

About the search for a missing Amazonian explorer, it’s from the writers of the Paranormal Activity movies and was well reviewed.

People magazine said “the scares are not as over-the-top as American Horror Story but more chilling because they’re applied glancingly” while USA Today quipped that, intellectually speaking, it was “closer to Lost in Space than Lost.

“If, however, you’re in the mood for a weekly dose of first-rate and practically gore-free frights — the kind that may give you nightmares, but won’t turn your stomach or cause your children to ask you embarrassing American Horror-style questions about sexual perversions — this is the trip for you.

“As a bonus, it’s only an eight-episode commitment … So while the show may not give you many answers to its supernatural mysteries, it also won’t string you along for long.”

But the New York Times thought the opposite: “The mixture of Lost storytelling and Paranormal style is neither intriguing nor particularly scary, and it doesn’t help that there’s hardly a glimmer of humour.”

TV2 is running out the mini-series twice-weekly, on Sundays and Tuesdays at 10.30. will launch the series with a two-hour movie on Sunday at 10.30, then air it weekly on Tuesdays at 10.30.

The week’s wealth of network HD movie premieres include Time Machine (TV2, 8.30 Saturday), Drive Angry (TV2, 10.25 Saturday), Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (TV2, 2.55am Sunday), Lottery Ticket (TV2, midday Sunday), Marmaduke (TV3, 7.00 Sunday), Killers (TV2, 8.30 Sunday) and Rise of the Planet of the Apes (TV3, 8.35 Monday).

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5 Responses to “HD Heads-Up: October 19-25”

  1. With a number of shows now reappearing on TV3, does this mean that MediaWorks are considering closing Four down or selling it off?

  2. Absolutely stoked to see Survivor back on TV3 and in HD. The island locations are really stunning in HD and it was criminal that the past three seasons were shown in SD on Four.

  3. You could be forgiven for thinking so but I think it reflects a more pragmatic programming approach at MediaWorks based on what new content it has rights to, given the receivership complications, and the holes it needs to fill. I’d be surprised if they ever let Four go — it fulfills a useful entertainment youth channel function while maximising their programming spend as a platform for content that isn’t broad enough for 3 or for which the latter no longer has the slots in an increasingly even-driven (ie. The Block NZ, The X Factor USA) evening schedule.

  4. I couldn’t help but wonder about Four’s future but you are right they would be mad to let Four go and I hope the receivership issues are sorted in due course and that MediaWorks retains its Fox output deal, which is essential for Four’s schedule along with resuming its Fast Four strategy and an HD upgrade wouldn’t hurt as well.

  5. Watched Survivor on the weekend. Not surprisingly the HD picture quality was great and a million miles ahead of the quality when this series used to screen on Four. Hopefully more series can move from Four to TV3 and screen in HD. Probably unlikely though, unfortunately.

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