Tonight in HD: February 22

Movie: When a City Falls (TV3, 7.30, 5.1) Gerard Smyth’s Christchurch earthquake documentary offers a new and grass roots understanding of what happened to 500,000 New Zealanders the year their lives changed forever. When a City Falls was the fifth highest-grossing NZ release of 2011, earning more than $280,000 at the box office (it’s still screening in some centres and is expected to top $400,000). Reviews ranged from “at once a celebration of endurance and a lament of loss, it will still be being watched 50 years from now” (NZ Listener) to “a moving testament to the people of the munted city” (NZ Herald). Incidentally, 
the DVD of When a City Falls goes on sale Thursday and Prime will re-run (in SD) its Christchurch documentary special, A Shocking Reminder, on Tuesday at 8.30pm. ✭✭✭✭

Harry’s Law (TV One, 9.30) “How do you bring a comedic genius like Seinfeld alum Jason Alexander into a series known for its satirical and offbeat humour and NOT let him be funny?” asked TV Fanatic of Alexander’s guest stint as a biology teacher who claims he was fired for failing a student who rejected Darwinism. “This was like getting the worst part of George Costanza. Alexander spent a good portion of his screen time either whining or shouting, usually both.” It didn’t help that Alexander’s appearance came off the back of what was regarded as one of the most lighthearted and enjoyable episodes of the season, said MaxUpdates. “There was nothing funny about the role he played and this came as a shock to many.” ✭✭

Friends (TV2, 6.30, R) The gang plans a surprise birthday celebration for Rachel, but when her recently separated parents show up, they have to throw two separate parties. ✭✭✭

Shortland Street (TV2, 7.00) Rachel makes an effort to trust; Daniel misses a date; Ula has to reveal a long held secret. ✭✭✭

Two and a Half Men (TV2, 7.30) Alan prepares Walden for a date with Bridget, while Jake decides to emulate Walden and drop out of school. ✭✭

SPCA Rescue (TV One, 8.00) Three stray lambs are found suffering a terrible disease; a family dog with an untreated injury is uplifted; a stray chicken proves difficult to rescue. ✭✭✭

2 Broke Girls (TV2, 8.00) Max’s lesson to Caroline on the art of thrift store shopping turns ugly; a sarcastic street artist flirts with Max. ✭✭

Winners & Losers (TV One, 8.30) Bec and Doug’s relationship turns some heads; Sophie thinks she’s being watched; a burglary at Frances’ office introduces her to a very unlikely suspect. ✭✭

The Big Bang Theory (TV2, 8.30) Attending a co-worker’s wedding, Leonard and Amy get to know each other better, while Howard and Bernadette spend the weekend with Mrs Wolowitz. ✭✭✭✭

Happy Endings (TV2, 9.00) Teen girls have made Alex’s store their new hangout, and Jane goes on the hunt for answers when she discovers she may have a daughter. ✭✭✭

The Walking Dead (TV2, 9.30) The group desperately await Shane’s return, and Shane finds himself trapped in a school, surrounded by the undead; Daryl and Andrea search for someone in the woods. ✭✭✭✭

Sons of Anarchy (TV3, 9.30, 5.1) Clay makes a deal with the Mayans that won’t be easy to sell to the club, and the Russians aren’t exactly in his corner, either. ✭✭✭✭

Nikita (TV2, 10.30) Nikita and Owen go to Chile to rescue Ryan from mercenaries, but they end up getting captured. ✭✭

CSI: New York (TV3, 11.15, 5.1, R) The case of a cyber killer, who appears to be targeting medical health care workers, turns personal when the suspect invokes the name of Mac’s father who had died nearly two decades earlier. ✭✭

Sky Movies Premiere: Secretariat (Sky 20, 8.30, 5.1) Dramatisation of how a rank outsider came to be one of the greatest racehorses of all time by being the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years. Diane Lane, James Cromwell, John Malkovich and Scott Glenn star; Randall Wallace (We Were Soldiers, The Man in the Iron Mask) directs. Variety summed up Secretariat as “conventional but rousingly effective” and Rolling Stone thought it “the ultimate in cornball cool”. But the Wall Street Journal scratched it as a favourite: “stumbles along beneath the weight of leaden life lessons”. (2010) ✭✭✭

Sky Movies Greats Premiere: The 13th Warrior (Sky 22, 8.30, 5.1) This Norse opera abounds with bloodletting and mystic tosh but forgets about a coherent script to make sense of the supernatural carnage. Antonio Banderas plays a 10th century Arab poet who infiltrates a band of Vikings and joins them in their fight against an enemy reputed to possess spiritual powers and an appetite for the flesh of their victims. And that’s about it – along with countless, vividly choreographed swordfighting scenes. But even action junkies will tire of these in the absence of character depth, purposeful storytelling and old-fashioned commonsense. (1999) ✭✭

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