HD Heads-Up: August 9 UPDATED

● TVNZ have just announced Freaks and Geeks will no longer stream from August 15. “Unfortunately we had an unforeseen delay in getting the show ready for the date provided,” a spokeswoman says. “We’re aiming to get the series up as soon as possible.”

➢➢ TVNZ OnDemand’s newest streaming attraction is the 1999 cult hit, Freaks and Geeks, the Judd Apatow-produced comedy series that helped to launch the careers of Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jason Segel and Linda Cardellini. TVNZ’s acquired from Paramount a new 16:9 HD master of the single-season sensation for streaming from August 15. F&G, which is available in 1.33:1 HD on Netflix US but not Netflix NZ, was never shot in HD but was released on Region A-locked Blu-ray in the US two years ago. A booklet included with the nine-disc Shout Factory set revealed these details about its dual-ratio HD upgrade:

Freaks and Geeks was done in the heyday of standard def, shot on 35mm film and then transferred and finished on video. HD masters of the show never existed … (W)e had the chance to go back (to) the original camera negative, clean it up, and preserve it … The good people at Illuminate Hollywood went back to the film masters and made 4K scans of the entire series. And there was a ton of footage. They said some episodes shot as much as a feature length production.

To faithfully recreate the series from the 4K scans, Illuminate used a tool called iConform to perfectly match every shot, take and synch to the original and made that sure each one looks exactly as it did when it aired for the first time on TV. That means they painstakingly recreated all original artwork, fonts, titles, dissolves, transitions, speed changes, and visual effects to match the original NTSC masters.

We took nearly 1 petabyte worth of digital files, removed all the dirt and scratches, and colour graded the whole thing to take advantage of the original film quality. And all of this was done under the watchful eye of series cinematographer Russ T. Alsobrook.

And then series creator Paul Feig noticed something: even though the show was framed by 4×3 TVs, the full 1.78:1 image that was originally shot looked great … so in addition to the 4×3 transfers, we decided to give you 33% more Freaks and Geeks on screen—what the camera actually shot, rather than what was later framed for TV—all in crystal clear high def from a 4K scan.

➢➢ August 15 also is when TVNZ OnDemand will express-from-the-US the latest season offer a box set of The OC for streaming while new from August 23 will be A Year to Fall in Love. The latter is a dating show Channel 4 commissioned for its on-demand service. The channel broadcast the premiere live in June to heighten awareness of the series but Digital Spy reports it failed to connect with viewers …

➢➢ The Chase Australia has rated so poorly on Prime that the network is replacing it with 7.30 Friday re-runs of NCIS: New Orleans’ first season. Friday’s ep of TCA averaged 0.0% of Prime’s 25-54 demographic while its lead-out, the latest season of NCIS: NO, averaged 1.2%. The changeover will occur on August 24, to improve the sampling prospects of series two of superior UK whodunit Unforgotten, which will replace NCIS: NO at 8.30. S2 of Unforgotten screened in Britain a year-and-a-half ago and has been available for streaming in HD on Lightbox since May; S3 went to air last month in the UK …

➢➢ Two one-off documentaries to watch for in the week starting August 18 are: Wayne Smith: For the Love of the Game (Prime, 8.30 Saturday), which celebrates the rugby life of one of New Zealand’s greatest coaches; and Millionaire’s Ex-Wives Club (TVNZ 1, 8.30 Tuesday), which asks “whether the women pursuing ex-husbands for extraordinary amounts are greed personified or simply demanding what is rightfully theirs” …

➢➢ Also new that week will be Border Patrol (TVNZ 1, 8.00 Mondays), True Medical (Three, 9.30 Mondays) and Stand Up: Sean Lock (Duke, 9.30 Thursday) while ending their runs will be Life With Tourettes, Elizabeth, Cold Cases and Sensing Murder

➢➢ The free-to-air premieres of The Avengers: Age of Ultron and Arrival will square off on August 19. The former will air on TVNZ 2 from 7.00 and overlap Three’s 8.30 debut of the rather more cerebral Arrival. Also don’t overlook another FTA premiere that deserves a much earlier showcasing, TVNZ 2’s sophisticated horror Don’t Breathe (1.15am Monday). Other HD coming attractions that week will include:

  • Cool Runnings (TVNZ 2, 7.00 Saturday)
  • Chappie (TVNZ 2, 8.45 Saturday)
  • Prometheus (Three, 8.45 Saturday)
  • Zombieland (Duke, 9.00 Saturday)
  • The Last Days on Mars (Three, 11.05 Saturday)
  • Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo (TVNZ 2, 11.15 Saturday)
  • Stalked By My Neighbour (TVNZ 2, 12.55am Sunday)
  • Elysium (TVNZ 2, 9.35 Sunday)
  • Sabotage (Prime, 9.30 Monday)
  • Speed (Three, 8.30 Thursday)
  • Spanglish (Duke, 8.30 Friday).
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10 Responses to “HD Heads-Up: August 9 UPDATED”

  1. Hi Phil. Wonder if I could give some TVNZ OnDemand customer feedback, which, if your next in discussions with the TVNZ chiefs, you maybe able to pass on these comments. Can I just say (for me at least) how unhelpful and counter intuitive it is by the developers of the OnDemand app (I view using the ATV app) to have older episodes of shows at the bottom of the list of the season? To me (and other streaming TV services I have seen) older episodes are at the top, moving downwards to reach the latest episodes. However, for the TVNZ app, the newest episodes are at the top, making it all back to front. It even stumped my kids initially and they are usually all over this type of thing. I had to tell them, look at the bottom (when they were looking for Episode 1). 1st world problems I know, but if you could pass these comments back – I’m sure it’s not just me. Even give people a chance to chose which view they prefer – oldest to newest or newest to oldest …

  2. Hi Philip, I don’t suppose you happen to know when Doctor Who will be returning? It’s annoying not knowing, my guess is mid-September :)

  3. I thought The OC ended years ago, did they make a new season to make it express from the US?

  4. No surprises about The Chase Australia. I think I made the point a few weeks back when it was scheduled that it is the British host and interactions with the Chasers that make that show. However, if I was Prime I’d strip the Aussie version 4pm weekdays or 6pm weeknights either before/after the UK version on TVNZ 1 to try and capitalise on that audience.

  5. Hi Leo. I wish they had made a new season of The OC or at least a reboot – not because I like the show but to cover up my slip-up. It’s a box set of the 2003-2007 series — I can’t believe it’s that old — you’ll be able to binge on. Thanks for your vigilance.

  6. I’d say that was a good bet, Trevor. IMDb has it listed for October but here’s what Radio Times reported last month: “Despite what you may have read, all that has been confirmed by the BBC is that the ten-episode series will return in autumn, a season which officially runs between Sunday 23rd September and Friday 21st December.”

  7. Good point, Rosco. I can’t comment because my ATV is gen 3, so too old for the new platform, as is my faithful old Panasonic plasma. The TV I currently have to test, an LG C8 OLED, won’t have the latest Freeview OnDemand app until the end of the month. It operated very smoothly on the Samsung Q9F I had before the C8 but the issue you raise passed me by. I was more interested in testing the improved streaming quality of the new platform.

  8. Hi Phil. Thanks for coming back to me with your thoughts on the TVNZ OnDemand episode order. If your AVT is Gen 3 and your OLED doesn’t have the latest OnDemand app, you are able to see the exact issue described if you access TVNZ OnDemand from your PC browser. I use Safari and the episodes are shown oldest (bottom) and newest (top) exactly the same as the ATV viewing experience. Check it out and see what you think? It’s all a bit … upside down I think for a pleasant viewing experience.

  9. Take a closer look, Rosco. You can change the episode order on the website if you click on the sort drop-down option. It is located directly above the episode at the top of the web page.

  10. Hi Grant. Thanks for the suggestion, and yes – this does indeed alter the running episodes to a more sequential order. Cheers. Now – just need to play with my ATV to see if I can create the same changes. I would like to see if the changes I make on the PC browser (oldest to newest) translate to the ATV. I have a feeling it won’t be that straightforward! Ha-ha! :-)

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