HDTV Heads-Up: August 6-12

Underbelly NZ's Dan Musgrove

Two HD Kiwi dramas will go head-to-head when TV3 launches its own spin on Underbelly against TV One’s Nothing Trivial.

Underbelly NZ: Land of the Long Green Cloud will screen 8.30pm Wednesdays from August 10.

Over six episodes, it dramatises the ‘70s rise of the real Mr Asia, Marty Johnstone, and NZ’s first drug cartel, The Syndicate.

It was previewed to media in Auckland earlier this week and is true to the spirit and pace of the Australian Underbellys, complete with lashings of sex and violence, but with its own indelibly Kiwi humour and #8 wire ingenuity.

The cast includes Dan Musgrove (Tracker, Legend of the Seeker), Andy Maher (Shortland Street), Ben Charlton (The Strip), Holly Shanahan (Outrageous Fortune) and Joel Tobeck (This Is Not My Life).

Executive producer Philly de Lacey, of Screentime NZ, calls it a coming-of-age story about NZ.

“This story is about the changing the face of New Zealand. It’s our biggest crime story in recent history.

“A large part of what really appeals about this story is that everyone seems to have a connection to it – two degrees of separation in Kiwiland, as they say.

“Ask anyone and they’ll know someone who knows something, dated someone, met one of The Syndicate members.

“So although 30 years old, this story is really fresh in the minds of New Zealanders.”

A former detective who had investigated The Syndicate was a consultant on the series, which City Homicide’s John Banas scripted.

The same week, TV3 will add more HD movies to its schedule, with the free-to-air HD premiere of State of Play kicking off a Sunday night season on August 7, and there will be a one-off, HD screening of Family Guy at 9.30pm on August 12.

Although a Four staple, TV3 will use the 7 Days slot to air unedited episodes that had to be censored for evening screenings on its sister channel.

They will be drawn from a mix of seasons, but only the ‘premiere’ will be in HD.

Other FTA HD movies for that week include The Day the Earth Stood Still (TV3, 8.30pm Saturday), Appaloosa (TV2, 10.10pm Saturday), In the Mix (TV3, 10.40pm Saturday), Star Trek (TV3, 8.30pm Monday) and Couples Retreat (TV3, 8.30pm Thursday).

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One Response to “HDTV Heads-Up: August 6-12”

  1. My main problem with TV3’s HD movies is that they show most of them in “ZoomoVision” (fills the frame, HD P&S) rather than the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio.

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