HD Heads-Up: December 31-January 6

➢➢ TVNZ 1 will brighten up summer nights with a slew of new series, including: ITV talent quest Starstruck UK (7.00 Sundays); Country House Hunters: New Zealand (7.00 weeknights), a 20-episode local version of the Australian format; the Keeley Hawes thriller Crossfire (10.35 Monday-Thursday); Our Big Blue Backyard (7.30 Tuesdays), which explores life in the Southern Ocean; Your Body Uncovered (8.25 Tuesdays), which examines the human body from inside out; and Perfect House, Secret Location (8.40 Wednesdays), a Channel 4 series in which blindfolded families find their dream homes not knowing the location …

➢➢ Said The Guardian of the hi-tech Your Body Uncovered: “Once the novelty of a 3D tour inside a patient’s frozen shoulder has worn off, this is a tedious show that doesn’t even bother to ask key questions.” But The Times argued the BBC2 series “was smart enough not to lose sight of its public service impulse, demonstrating how properly visualising afflicted areas — facing your enemy, as it were — can be enormously helpful, even therapeutic” …

➢➢ The Guardian also blasted the “bombastic” Starstruck UK as “a bizarre twist on Stars in Their Eyes that will make your soul feel empty” while The Telegraph said this “cut-price Stars in Their Eyes made me wish I had my fingers in my ears” …

➢➢ TVNZ 2’s latest late-night obscurities are The Watch (12.30am Tuesday) and Eyewitness (12.05am Friday). The Watch is a BBC-AMC adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s dystopian Discworld novels that the Wall Street Journal said “makes fantasy fun” but which other critics were lukewarm about, despite the calibre of the cast and production design; USA Network series Eyewitness fared better with critics but the murder mystery lasted only one 10-ep season — and that was six years ago! …

➢➢ Also new is the Paramount+ reality series The Thomas John Experience (TVNZ 2, 9.25 Thursday), about a psychic medium who connects Americans with dead people. “If you like this sort of thing, The Thomas John Experience can be entertainingly dramatic and emotional,” Common Sense Media reckons …

➢➢ An HBO Max documentary series about a controversial dietician guru, The Way Down, will screen for the first time on free-to-air TV (Prime, 8.40 Sunday). Said Entertainment Weekly: “The story of Remnant Fellowship and its petite, high-haired leader is beyond bizarre and at times almost comical, but The Way Down stays grounded by focusing on the human cost of Gwen Shamblin’s hubris” …

➢➢ Saving Lives at Sea (Duke, 8.25 Thursday) follows the crews and lifeguards of Britain’s volunteer Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Despite being dubbed “repetitive and predictable“, it’s so far run for six seasons (this will be the first) …

➢➢ Great news for Taskmaster UK fans: TVNZ 2 is replacing a previously scheduled repeat of Taskmaster’s New Year Treat 2021 (10.50 Saturday) with the hot-off-the-satellite 2022 edition featuring broadcaster Adrian Chiles, presenter Claudia Winkleman, Paralympian Jonnie Peacock, TV personality Lady Leshurr and businesswoman Sayeeda Warsi …

➢➢ TVNZ 1 will follow a 10.05 Saturday re-run of The Royal Variety Performance 2021 with the premiere of this year’s concert (7.30 Monday), which will include music from George Ezra, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Ellie Goulding, and a celebration of Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber …

➢➢ The Graham Norton Show NYE Special (Three, 8.15 Sunday) will feature Olivia Colman, Hugh Laurie, Romesh Ranganathan, Leah Williamson and music from the stars of the West End revival of Cabaret

➢➢ S3 of Hunted UK will screen 7.30 Monday-Wednesday from January 2 on TVNZ 2, pushing back The Amazing Race Australia to 7.30 Thursday and Friday only …

➢➢ Also returning will be McDonald and Dodds (S3, TVNZ 1, 8.05 Sunday), Richard Hammond’s Workshop (S2, Eden, 8.30 Wednesday) and Space Invaders (S2, TVNZ 1, 8.30 Friday) while ending their runs will be Undercurrent: The Disappearance of Kim Wall and The Bridge UK

➢➢ The last Christmas special of 2022 will screen on New Year’s Eve: The Tiny Design Christmas Challenge (TVNZ 1, 7.00) …

➢➢ HD coming attractions in the first week of the new year will include:

  • Letters to Juliet (Whakaata Māori, 5.00 Saturday)
  • Jumanji (Three, 7.00 Saturday)
  • Street Dance 2 (Whakaata Māori, 7.00 Saturday)
  • Mamma Mia! (TVNZ 1, 8.05 Saturday)
  • New Year’s Eve (TVNZ 2, 8.30 Saturday)
  • Inherent Vice (Eden, 8.30 Saturday)
  • La Dolce Vita (Whakaata Māori, 8.30 Saturday)
  • Cast Away (Three, 8.55 Saturday) 
  • This is The End (Three, 11.45 Saturday) 
  • Rock of Ages (TVNZ 2, 12.05am Sunday)
  • Best In Show (TVNZ 1, 12.50am Sunday)
  • Poseidon (TVNZ 2, 2.10am Sunday)
  • Daddy Day Care (TVNZ 2, 4.15 Sunday)
  • Ready Player One (TVNZ 2, 7.00 Sunday)
  • The Courier (Eden, 8.30 Sunday)
  • Eight and a Half (Whakaata Māori, 8.30 Sunday)
  • Monster Hunter (TVNZ 2, 9.20 Sunday)
  • The Craft: Legacy (TVNZ 2, 11.35 Sunday)
  • A Star is Born (TVNZ 2, 8.30 Monday)
  • Jiro Dreams of Sushi (Whakaata Māori, 8.30 Monday)
  • The Legend of Zorro (Prime, 9.00 Monday)
  • Bohemian Rhapsody (TVNZ 2, 8.30 Tuesday)
  • The Big Lebowski (Duke, 8.30 Tuesday)
  • Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa (Whakaata Māori, 8.30 Wednesday)
  • Miss Congeniality (Three, 8.25 Thursday)
  • The Brighton Miracle (Prime, 7.30 Friday)
  • The Medallion (Three, 8.25 Friday)
  • Geostorm (TVNZ 2, 9.00 Friday)
  • Once Upon a Time in Venice (Duke, 10.00).
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One Response to “HD Heads-Up: December 31-January 6”

  1. I saw on the TV Guide that TVNZ got back the rights to Millionaire Hot Seat after Three dropped the series couple of years ago. New episodes of Hot Seat return to TVNZ 1 on January 3 next year, the same network when TVNZ previously had rights to when still a half hour show.

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