HD Heads-Up: August 22 – 28

➢➢ TVNZ 1 switches from Sunday night dramas to real-life whodunits with the August 23 premiere of Murder In The Outback. It’s being promoted as “in-depth re-examination” of the mystery surrounding the 14 July 2001 attack on British hitchhikers Joanne Lees and Peter Falconio that sparked a 16-month manhunt and led to the conviction of Bradley John Murdoch for the latter’s murder. The Guardian thought it a “trope-laden true-crime series that answers few of the questions it asks” about the global news sensation. But The Telegraph recommended it as “a fresh look at the case, made by an Australian documentary team and featuring new testimony from some of the original witnesses, police officers and reporters involved” …

➢➢ More than two years after its BBC premiere, Sky Arts’ Civilisations at last wins a free-to-air showcase here (Prime, 6.00 Saturdays from August 22). A remake of Sir Kenneth Clark’s 1969 milestone, Civilisation, but with multiple presenters, it explores the global history of art as the driving force for civilisation. “Having feared the worst from the BBC’s Civilisations reboot, I was pleasantly surprised,”The New Statesman said. “What it lacks in chronology it makes up for in feeling, and perhaps this is all that matters in the end. Spark people’s interest; leave it to museums and libraries to fan the flames of their enthusiasm” …

➢➢ Prime also will premiere season three of the outstanding whodunit Unforgotten (9.40 Saturdays from August 22). If you didn’t see it on Sky’s Vibe, don’t miss the FTA run: few examples of the done-to-death genre are as gripping or intelligent …

➢➢ The first election debate, subject to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, 1 News Vote Leader’s Debate (TVNZ 1, 7.00 Tuesday), will be followed by Whakatau 2020 Election Coverage (Maori TV, 7.30 Thursday), in which leading candidates go head to head for the Māori seat of Te Tai Hauāuru …

➢➢ TVNZ 1’s 90-minute debate will lead into the 8.30 premiere of Meat the Family, in which four British families must choose whether their animals they bond with, from chickens to piglets, will be saved or become dinner. “Can a brutal reality show stop us from chomping on chorizo?” The Guardian asked before concluding: “This might have resulted in something heavy-handed and preachy, which MTF remarkably isn’t; it’s not scolding, it never tells you to stop eating meat, it just reminds you that a lot of animals have legs and heads before you eat them and can be quite cute” …

➢➢ Three will belatedly premiere season 39 of Survivor, Island of the Idols, on August 22 (S40 aired earlier this year on CBS). It will screen 2.25 Saturdays as the lead-in to the natural history slot, which that week will debut Hunt for the Russian Tiger (3.50), a groundbreaking documentary about the intimate and private lives of Siberian Tigers …

➢➢ Also returning for new seasons that week will be The Sex Clinic (TVNZ 2, 9.40 Fridays) and Project Blue Book (TVNZ 1, 11.00 Fridays) while ending their runs will be The Crystal Maze Celebrity, The CaptureReprisalWeather Gone ViralDHL: Delivering The WorldThe Pale Horse and NCIS: New Orleans

➢➢ A new Maori TV series, The Outliers (7.30 Wednesdays from August 26), is billed as “a look at inspirational youth from minority communities that are bucking the trends and standing out from their peers”. The premiere profiles Wellingtonian Eddie Osei-Nketia, the fastest person in Australasia; Wellington City Councillor Tamatha Paul; and Abid Rahman, a Bangladeshi musician …

➢➢ The networks will premiere two movies in the last week of August: Night School (Three, 8.30 Sunday) and The Spy Who Dumped Me  (TVNZ 2, 9.00 Sunday). Other HD coming attractions will include:

  • Ratatouille (TVNZ 2, 7.00 Saturday)
  • 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi (Three, 8.30, Saturday)
  • 28 Days Later (Duke, 8.30 Saturday)
  • Contagion (TVNZ 2, 8.55 Saturday)
  • Money Monster (TVNZ 2, 11.00 Saturday)
  • Morgan (Three, 11.15 Saturday)
  • The Town (TVNZ 2, 12.50am Sunday)
  • The Iron Lady (Maori TV, 8.30 Sunday)
  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Duke, 10.10 Sunday)
  • Pride & Prejudice & Zombies (TVNZ 2, 11.10 Sunday)
  • Betting on the Bride (TVNZ 2, 1.50am Monday)
  • First Kill (Prime, 8.30 Monday)
  • Turbulence (Duke, 8.30 Tuesday)
  • Transformers (Three, 7.30 Friday)
  • Borat (Duke, 8.30 Friday)
  • The Meddler (Maori TV, 8.30).
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