HD Heads-Up: February 22 – 28

➢➢ TVNZ 1’s Sunday night run of compelling British drama will continue with the February 23 premiere of Gold Digger. It stars Julia Ormond as a wealthy woman who falls in love with a younger man (Ben Barnes) whom her children suspect is only after her money. “It’s not subtle, but it’s effective,” said The Australian while The Times called it “infuriatingly watchable” and The Guardian “bold and hugely entertaining“. But The Spectator dismissed it as “patronising, clichéd and corny” and Radio Times “a bizarre age gap drama … hampered by an awkward script” …

➢➢ Also new to TVNZ 1 that week will be Cash Trapped (11am Mondays from February 24) and The Repair Shop (7.30 Fridays from February 28). The former is a weekday strip of the latest Bradley Walsh game show; the latter features furniture restorer Jay Blades as he tries to rejuvenate “broken and battered beloved artefacts, antiques, and curios”. Said The Guardian amid pre-Brexit turmoil: “The BBC show about fixing treasured heirlooms is the TV equivalent of sinking into a warm bath. It’s just what everyone needs right now” …

➢➢ Gold Digger will launch opposite the premiere of the NZ documentary Help is on the Way (Prime, 8.30). A sequel to 2019’s Finding Jeremy, it uses dramatic first-hand accounts to chronicle how 36 people were rescued from the upper floors of Christchurch’s 26-storey Hotel Grand Chancellor after the magnitude 6.3 earthquake …

➢➢ Prime is creating a two-hour comedy block on Tuesdays with two new sitcoms and the resumption of QI double-eps from February 25. Carol’s Second Act (8.35) stars Patricia Heaton as a retired teacher who becomes an internal medicine intern; The Unicorn (9.05) stars Walton Goggins as a widower who’s suddenly hot on the dating scene …

➢➢ The Los Angeles Times thought Carol a “completely conventional, entirely satisfying sitcom” but Time found it “especially disappointing“. Reviews also were mixed for The Unicorn, ranging from “a thoughtful and sophisticated sitcom” (Variety) to: “In three episodes, I had only one real laugh and it involved a phone dictation error, which is the lowest of low-hanging fruit” (The Hollywood Reporter) …

➢➢ Sunday will resume on February 23 (TVNZ 1, 7.30) with two new reporters: Rebecca Wright and Tamati Rimene-Sproat. Also returning for new episodes will be The Walking Dead (TVNZ 2, 9.35 Mondays from February 24), Madame Secretary (Prime, 9.30 Thursdays) and Call the Midwife (TVNZ 1, 8.30 Fridays from February 28) while ending their runs will be The Casketeers and Living With The Boss

➢➢ Mark Ruffalo, David Schwimmer, Nick Mohammed,Tamsin Greig and Alicia Keys will appear on the February 27 broadcast of The Graham Norton Show (Three, 8.30) …

➢➢ There will be only two network movie premieres in the week starting February 22: Lucky (Maori TV, 8.30 Sunday) and Pacific Rim: Uprising (Three, 8.40 Sunday). Other HD coming attractions will include:

  • Austin Powers 2: The Spy Who Shagged Me (TVNZ 2, 7.00 Saturday)
  • Transcendence (TVNZ 2, 8.55 Saturday)
  • The Boy Next Door (Three, 8.55 Saturday)
  • Ransom (Duke, 9.30 Saturday)
  • Resurrection Mary (Three, 10.50 Saturday)
  • Fury (TVNZ 2, 11.25 Saturday)
  • Gimme Shelter (TVNZ 2, 2am Sunday)
  • Stand By Me (TVNZ 2, midday Sunday)
  • Snatched (TVNZ 2, 8.30 Sunday)
  • The Gallows (TVNZ 2, 10.15 Sunday)
  • Jonah Hex (Prime, 8.30 Monday)
  • The Replacement Killers (Duke, 8.30 Tuesday)
  • Desperado (Duke, 10.10 Tuesday)
  • Star Trek (Three, 7.30 Friday)
  • Shallow Hal (Duke, 8.30 Friday).
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