HD Heads-Up: January 27-February 2

➢➢ TVNZ 1 continues to reserve some of its best content for Saturday nights. New from January 27 are History of the Sitcom (8.05), Fifteen-Love (10.35) and Undeclared War (11.35). Sitcom is a 2021 CNN series executive produced by veteran NY Times media reporter Bill Carter that covers “a broad swath of pop culture stretching from postwar prosperity to our scattered streaming present, tracing the national narrative through beloved, 22-minute time capsules”. He defined “sitcom” so broadly for the eight-part series that Eight is Enough and The Love Boat are covered as part of its I Love Lucy-to-Fleabag breadth. “Yet Ally McBeal, which won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy series in 1999, did not,” he acknowledges. “No documentary series could include references to every example of a sitcom in history – unless it ran 800 hours instead of eight – but this is also subjective” …

➢➢ Fifteen-Love centres on a teenage prodigy (Ella Lily Hyland) whose meteoric rise in Grand Slam tennis is cut short by a career-ending injury — only to hit the headlines five years later when she makes an explosive allegation against her former coach (Aidan Turner), with whom she had an intense rapport. “While it has its faults, Fifteen-Love is an undeniably strong drama that will pull you in for each episode,” Radio Times said of the series already streaming on TVNZ+. The Guardian thought “the acting in this impeccably tense drama is absolutely mesmerising” but The Telegraph felt it was “over-stylised and lacking depth” …

➢➢ Making its linear TV debut 18 months after its TVNZ+ debut is Undeclared War, a post-pandemic cyber attack thriller. The Rotten Tomatoes consensus was while the Peacock series “isn’t as convincingly brainy as it purports itself to be, it satisfies as a well-acted and visually dynamic cybercrime thriller”…

➢➢ Three  is using Black Coast Vanishings as a primetime event to start bedding in its 2024 season by stripping the promising true-crime docuseries across four nights, starting 8.05 Sunday (it also can be binged on ThreeNow from the same day). StudioCanal is marketing the series globally …

➢➢ The first of Three’s Famous Five movies will premiere 7.00 Saturday following its launch on ThreeNow. The Spinoff dubbed it “Indiana Jones for kids, minus the funny bits” but The Guardian argued “it feels oddly like The Da Vinci Code” while The Telegraph quipped it was “an awfully boring adventure” …

➢➢ TVNZ 1’s 7.30 Friday perennial The Repair Shop is about to face fresh competition from a new season of The Amazing Race (TVNZ 2, 8.00) and The 1% Club Australia (Three, 7.30). The former leads into the premiere of the app-driven Date My Mate (9.25), which apparently fuses elements of Gogglebox and First Dates, while the latter is a game show that tests contestants’ logic and common sense — and if that sounds familiar, it’s because the UK original, with host Lee Mack, already airs on Eden …

➢➢ Reel Life: Deepfake Porn: Could You Be Next? (TVNZ 2, 9.10 Thursday) is a BBC3 take on the rise of a new form of image-based sexual abuse where harmless images are turned into hardcore porn and used against victims — including a Florida state senator …

➢➢ Sky Open is pairing the S11 launch of Ambulance (8.30 Tuesday) with the premiere of cultural travel show Ravi Patel’s Pursuit of Happiness (9.45 Tuesday) …

➢➢ Also new are Back in Time for the Corner Shop Australia (Sky Open, 7.30 Wednesday), which explores one family’s shopkeeping experiences over 150 years of retail change, and A Bees Diary (Whakaata Māori, 8.00 Tuesday), which documents the trials and tribulations of two particular honeybees from birth to death …

➢➢ Returning are The Wall (TVNZ 1, 7.00 Saturday) and The Voice UK (TVNZ 2, 2.40 Sunday) while ending their runs are Restaurant: Impossible,The Claremont MurdersMayfliesTraffic CopsCommando – Britain’s Ocean WarriorsGrand Designs: House of the YearRoad Wars and The Amazing Race Australia: Celebrity Edition 

➢➢ Kevin Hart, Jodie Comer, Sofia Vergara and Alan Cumming guest on Thursday’s The Graham Norton Show (Three, 7.30) …

➢➢ HD coming attractions include:

  • Transformers: Age of Extinction (TVNZ 2, 7.00 Saturday)
  • Buckley’s Chance (Whakaata Māori, 7.00 Saturday)
  • Inherent Vice (Eden, 8.30 Saturday)
  • Transporter 3 (Whakaata Māori, 8.40 Saturday)
  • One for the Money (Three, 8.55 Saturday)
  • Blade (Duke, 9.40 Saturday)
  • Friends With Benefits (TVNZ 2, 10.00 Saturday)
  • The Island of Dr Moreau (Duke, 11.45 Sunday)
  • Dave (TVNZ 2, 12.05am Sunday)
  • Trumbo (TVNZ 2, 2.10am Sunday)
  • H is for Happiness (TVNZ 2, 4.05 Sunday)
  • Shrek Forever After (TVNZ 2, 7.00 Sunday)
  • City of Angels (Eden, 8.30 Sunday)
  • The White Ribbon (Whakaata Māori, 8.45 Sunday)
  • Interstellar (Three, 9.05 Sunday)
  • Jason X (TVNZ 2, 10.50 Sunday)
  • Ocean’s Eleven (Sky Open, 8.30 Monday)
  • The Australian Dream (Whakaata Māori, 8.30 Monday)
  • The Hangover (TVNZ 2, 9.15 Monday)
  • Bad Boys 2 (Duke, 8.30 Tuesday)
  • The Hangover Part II (TVNZ 2, 9.05 Tuesday)
  • Bernie (Whakaata Māori, 8.30 Wednesday)
  • The Hangover Part III (TVNZ 2, 9.05 Wednesday)
  • The Girl on the Train (Three, 8.35 Thursday)
  • Free Birds (Sky Open, 7.00 Friday)
  • 300 (Three, 8.30 Friday).
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