HD Feed: October 3

The complete series collection of Friends is slated for release here on November 14 for a price still to be disclosed. The 21-disc set will include 17 hours of extras from the DVD releases, plus three hours of new bonus content (incuding a retrospective documentary with new interviews, never-before-released cast appearances, unaired footage, and a new gag reel). Meanwhile, the Blu-ray of Underbelly: Badness, which continues tonight (TV3, 8.35), will be released on November 7. It goes on sale this week in Australia and appears to have deleted scenes as the only extra. It’s one of an increasing number of HD TV shows coming out on Blu-ray, with others including Once Upon a Time, Touch and Bones (November 7), Luck, Mad Men and Doctor Who (November 14), a box set of the first two Walking Dead seasons, seasons 1-6 of Dexter, American Horror Story and The Kingdom of the Oceans (November 21). But just as many HD series continue to languish on DVD only: Suburgatory, Desperate Housewives, Criminal Minds, Body of Proof, Castle, GCB, Missing, Nothing Trivial and Revenge are due out before year’s end.

The latest season of Dexter has just opened to record viewership in the US and reviews that suggest the series is back on track after a dreadful season six. Said TV Guide:  “All sour memories of last season’s sup-par mystery evaporate immediately, as the seventh year kicks off immediately after the cliffhanger, with the long-awaited confrontation between Dexter and his sister Debra over his killing ways … Dexter‘s quality has ebbed and flowed over the years (peaking in the John Lithgow season), but so far, this season is looking like a riveting winner.” Concurred Variety: “Assuming this is ramping up toward the finale, the key players are engaged in ways that prove occasionally shocking and disarmingly funny.” Slant wasn’t quite as enthusiastic but thought “the first few episodes of the season contain glimpses of the morbid playfulness that animated the show’s initial seasons”. Season seven premieres on SoHo on October 17.

Rating a mention: HBO has renewed Boardwalk Empire for a fourth season only three weeks into its third-season run (it starts here on SoHo on October 22). The announcement precedes next week’s Blu-ray release of seasons one and two in a box set … Deadline reports Nielsen has unveiled a ratings service that includes web video views, which could lead to the networks putting more shows online ... The Hollywood Reporter has a slideshow preview of The Walking Dead’s third season, which, aptly enough, starts in the US on Halloween … An Idiot Abroad has been turned into a format that’s being pitched to international broadcasters at the Mipcom TV market.

Tuesday’s episode of The Mentalist rated lower then previous weeks’, averaging only 7.0% – 10.5% of key demos. It still won the 8.30 hour but was down sharply on its lead-in, My Kitchen Rules (14.3% – 17.3%). The 9.30 HD dramas, TV2’s Body of Proof (4.6% – 6.1%) and TV3’s Tricky Business (1.5% – 3.1%), both lost to TV One’s One Born Every Minute (6.8% – 11.6%). It’s hard to see how TV3 can continue Tricky Business in primetime given it’s rating as badly as its dumped predecessor, SVU. Then again, viewing was flat over the night generally, with even Shortland Street having to settle for only 13.7% – 16.1%.

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