HD Heads-Up: September 20-26

TV3 will screen season two of The Blacklist within a day of its US broadcast.

It will launch September 23 and air 8.40 Tuesdays ahead of the final season of Sons of Anarchy in what should be a top-rating double-bill against vulnerable competition on TVNZ: ageing crime dramas The Mentalist and Unforgettable on TV One, and The Amazing Race: Australia v NZ and Embarrassing Bodies Down Under on TV2.

According to TV Line [spoiler alert], don’t expect an update on Liz’s “husband” when The Blacklist returns.

“When asked if we’ll get any clues about Tom’s whereabouts in the early part of Season 2, series creator Jon Bokenkamp would only say, ‘Nope!’

“Added the EP: ‘I do love that character, and it’s hard to imagine the show without him, but I don’t know what I could say to give any hope to Tom. There won’t be any big discoveries right away.’”

The Blacklist’s not the week’s the only HD drama premiere: TV3 also will debut Gang Related on Wednesday, at 9.40, while TV One is bringing back, and for the first time in HD, the geriatric lovebirds delight, Last Tango in Halifax.

The latter will air after Coronation Street on Friday nights, resuming with Alan (Derek Jacobi) recovering from a heart attack while contemplating nuptials with Celia (Anne Reid).

“There’s a lot of grey cardigans, tutting and talk of putting ‘t’kettle’ on,” The Independent said, “but while the drama is unapologetically domestic, it’s also never less than compelling.”

But some critics thought the bloom has gone off the rose.

“It’s just that as delightful and beautifully choreographed as the first season of Last Tango was, the encore feels as if it’s lost a step or two,” Variety cautioned.

“Or perhaps that’s just the inevitable reality of what follows first love — young, old or otherwise — after that first buoyant, exhilarating rush.”

Gang Related was belatedly axed last week after a summer run, not because it was a bad show but because the Fox network didn’t have room in its schedule for a serialised crime drama.

US reviews were mixed: “The writing is sharp, the atmosphere thick with tension” (Wall Street Journal); “it’s a fast-paced shoot-’em-up/blow-’em-up affair (with the usual ridiculous disregard for actual public safety), but beneath the noise and oozing machismo, it’s not half bad as a deeper emotional story about family and trust” (The Washington Post); “clunky dialogue, cliched relationships, and an escapist action-flick aesthetic combine to subvert the ambition for gritty realism” (Entertainment Weekly); “a dense serial about loyalty and betrayal, but without enough redeeming qualities to offset its high quotient of ugliness and mayhem” (Variety).

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It’s also a big week for Kiwi comedy in HD, with the Thursday premieres of Coverband (TV One, 9.45) and Short Poppies (TV One, 10.10), and the Friday special, Aotearoha: The Billy T Award 2014 (TV3, 9.40). 

Coverband is an ageing rockers-hit-rock bottom comedy while Jemaine Clement directed the premiere of Short Poppies, which stars Rhys Darby (left) as eight Kiwi characters, from a park ranger, to an alien enthusiast, to a man-eating cougar.

Promises the publicity: “Think Country Calendar with a Darby twist and a lot of laughs.”

But the laughs run out with a slew of TV2 comedies ending their runs the same week: The Big Bang Theory (7.00 Sunday), The Middle (7.30 Sunday), The Neighbors (8.00 Sunday), Brooklyn Nine Nine (9.30 Wednesday) and Surviving Jack (10.00 Wednesday).

TV2 also will screen the network HD premiere of The Dark Knight Rises as its Sunday Premiere Movie.

Other coming attractions in HD include Bridge to Terabithia (TV2, 7.00 Saturday), Going The Distance (TV2, 8.55 Saturday), Couples Retreat (TV3, 8.30 Sunday), and Clash of the Titans (TV2, 8.30 Thursday).

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5 Responses to “HD Heads-Up: September 20-26”

  1. YAY…wonderful to have The Blacklist back, wonder what surprises we have in store for season 2? 🙂

  2. Awesome news about The Blacklist. Really looking forward to watching season two.

  3. Mixed blessings; the show has always been the very definition of guilty pleasure so having it screen so soon is appreciated but it will most certainly be spoilt by the frequent ad breaks NZ TV inflicts on viewers.

  4. Great that the The Blacklist will be up to date.

  5. The Voice USA belatedly returns to NZ screens this week as well, wonder what season it will be and whether or not Voice fatigue will affect ratings.

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