HD Heads-Up: August 17-23

The first original Netflix series to air here in HD won’t be House of Cards, which TV3 has acquired, but Orange Is The New Black.

TV2 will screen the women’s prison drama late-night on Mondays, in the wake of Wentworth and with the premiere airing after the season finale of Shameless.

The scheduling is good news for free-to-air viewers who despair of all the top US drama winding up behind Sky’s double-pay wall channel, SoHo.

From the creator of Weeds, Orange stars Mercy’s Taylor Schilling (left) as the ex-girlfriend of a drug dealer who’s imprisoned for a 10-year-old crime.

Most critics were high on the series, which has been renewed, and whose directors include Jodie Foster.

Said The Washington Post: “In Jenji Kohan’s magnificent and thoroughly engrossing new series, prison is still the pits.

“But it is also filled with the entire range of human emotion and stories, all of which are brought vividly to life in a world where a stick of gum could ignite either a romance or a death threat.”

The Boston Globe dubbed it “a funny, dramatically sound, poignant, and thoroughly addictive adventure through a bleak looking glass” while The Hollywood Reporter said “it constantly offers more than you expect, and even when it delivers something either predictable or straight from the ‘women’s prison drama’ handbook, it then counters with something fresh or unexpected“.

But People Weekly condemned it for being “an irritating comedy-drama” and Newsday called it “a slog, where minutes seem to stretch into hours, hours into days … and the drip, drip, drip of prison time becomes its own reality”.

TV2’s second HD newcomer is the factual-ent series, Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners, which will air 9.30 Thursdays.

The Telegraph dismissed it as a “freak show, which trivialised an illness suffered by perhaps half a million people in Britain” but Time Out thought it “awkwardly captivating viewing.

“Watching single mum Michelle, for example – who washes her windows at least twice a day – baulk at the dirt in young bachelor Richard’s flat is fascinating.

“Whether this format will keep viewers hooked for the next six weeks is questionable. But it might get you keen to start your spring-clean.”

Also new of note in HD for the week starting August 17:

❑ The premiere of the final season of Private Practice (TV2, 9.30 Monday)

❑ The 100th episode of The Mentalist, which gives an insight into how Patrick Jane joined the CBI and the origins of serial killer Red John (TV2, 8.40 Tuesday)

❑ Brooke Shields revisits The Middle (TV2, 7.30 Monday)

❑ The forgettable Unforgettable switches nights (TV One, 11.05 Wednesday)

❑ Season finales of Storm City: Earthquakes (TV3, 7.30 Monday), Shameless (TV2, 10.30 Monday), Descent From Disaster (TV One, 9.30 Tuesday), Auckland Daze (TV One, 10.05 Thursday) and Episodes (TV One, 11.30 Friday)

❑ Overnight season-four double-episode re-runs of Fringe (TV2, 3.30am Friday) on the eve of season five’s Blu-ray release

❑ Re-runs of the movies Hereafter (TV2, 11.45 Saturday), Ice Age 3: Meltdown (TV3, 7.00 Sunday) and Twilight (TV2, 9.30 Friday).

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