HD Heads-Up: July 19-25
TV3 will premiere a heavyweight cable drama series in HD just after lights out on July 25.
Lights Out is a short-run series that lost on ratings points in the US but was a contender to be the critical darling of its season.
About a boxing champ with early dementia, The Hollywood Reporter said the FX (Sons of Anarchy, Fargo) commission “forgoes boxing cliches to make for compelling drama” while the Wall Street Journal dubbed it a “skilfully sustained, sharply plotted series you’ll want to follow to the final bell”.
“It starts and finishes strong,” Time said, “and in between, it passed the most important test this non-boxing-fan could hold it to: when I finished one episode, I immediately wanted to put another in.”
But the Boston Herald warned: “You’ve been three rounds with this story before. Lights Out sets you up for a sucker punch.”
Lights Out ran for only 13 weeks in 2011 but as recently as this month was referred to in a Variety article about how challenging cable dramas are forcing the US networks to lift their game.
It stars Shortland Street’s Rachael Blampied as the Gestapo’s most wanted and follows the return of Radar Across The Pacific at 8.00.
The week’s also notable for the season finales of TV One’s Britain’s Got Talent, at the earlier time of 8.00 on July 22 — a day after TV2 airs live the season finale of The Voice Australia at 9.30 (pre-empting Grey’s Anatomy for the week).
But fans shouldn’t worry about TV2 losing its voice — beginning 7.30 Friday of that week is The Voice Kids Australia.
The same week TV3 launches The X Factor Australia on Sunday at 7.00 but not in HD — it will air twice a week in SD, the second night being 7.30 Thursday.
Also screening twice that week are original episodes of The Big Bang Theory: one will precede the finale of The Voice Australia on Monday while the normal Wednesday broadcast will be a must-see for Bob Newhart’s third guest stint as Professor Proton (right) — in which his deceased character returns as “a Jedi ghost ala Obi-Wan Kenobi, complete with light sabre”.
TV2 also reinstates two movie slots: the Sunday Premiere Movie, with the free-to-air premiere of Mirror Mirror; and the Tuesday Blockbuster, with a repeat of Killers.
The week’s other coming attractions in HD include: Up (TV2, 7.00 Saturday), Extract (TV2, 8.50 Saturday), Martha Marcy May Marlene (TV3, 10.25 Saturday), Lincoln Lawyer (TV2, 10.45 Saturday), The Artist (TV One, 11.35 Saturday), RocknRolla (TV2, 1.05am Sunday), Ted (TV3, 8.30 Sunday), 2 Fast 2 Furious (TV3, 8.30 Monday), Miss Congeniality (TV2, 9.00 Friday) and Project X (TV2, 11.15 Friday).
In other HD programming news of note for the week starting July 19:
- Major Crimes (TV One, 10.55 Tuesday) ends its season
- Army Wives (TV2, 10.40 Wednesday) returns for the first time in HD
- Men in Rubber Masks (TV2, 9.30 Thursday) is a documentary about family men with secret double lives … as dolls
- Cheryl Cole, Don Johnson, John Bishop, Brendan O’Carroll and Chrissie Hynde guest on The Graham Norton Show (TV3, 8.30 Friday).