HD Heads-Up: March 12 – 18

➢➢ Our Flag Means Death (Prime, 9.10 Thursday): Taika Waititi’s pirate parody will make its free-to-air debut two weeks after its HBO Max premiere. It streams here on Neon from March 4 but instead of showcasing its linear debut on SoHo, Sky is leap-frogging the series to Prime as part of its strategy to make the channel a premium drama destination. Early reviews have been mixed for the Rhys Darby romp. IndieWire reckons it’s as “silly and smart as we’ve come to expect from Waititi’s productions” but TV Guide thought “it should be funnier than it is”. Concurred SlashFilm: “This pirate comedy doesn’t walk the plank, but doesn’t find buried treasure, either”  …

➢➢ Informer 3838 (TVNZ 1, 10.40 Saturday) dramatises the story of the most notorious police informer in Australian history, gangland criminal barrister Nicola Gobbo. Said the Sydney Morning Herald: “Informer 3838 begins as these things always do: with the words ‘the following is based on actual events.’ This is the story of Nicola Gobbo, who is, in her own words, or at least in the words of the actress playing her, the most notorious police informer in Australian legal history … In purely television terms, she’s the character who didn’t make it into the original Underbelly … This is a fast-moving, punchy drama” …

➢➢ Around the World in 80 Days (TVNZ 1, 8.35 Saturday) is a woke take on the Jules Verne classic, starring David Tennant as explorer Phileas Fogg. “It’s a story with a ticking clock literally in the title and yet this adaptation is largely devoid of adventure or fun and doesn’t work nearly well enough as serious drama to compensate,” said The Hollywood Reporter. But Decider thought it “an action-filled, fast-moving delight” ..

➢➢ Brave New World (TVNZ 2, 12.20am Tuesday): Another classic suffers from modern storytelling. According to The Guardian, “Sky’s nine-part adaptation of Aldous Huxley’s dystopian classic hasn’t got much to say – but that’s easy to ignore with all the bare flesh on show … Not since Game of Thrones have I seen so many nude scenes so happily, lavishly and gratuitously staged for our viewing pleasure while something of practically no import goes on in between or in the foreground” …

➢➢ 60 Seconds (TVNZ 2, 7.30 Monday) is billed as a “brand new heart-stopping talent show” in which Kiwi performers have just one minute to grab the attention of three “celebrity scouts” to win big …

➢➢ Cooking With the Stars (TVNZ 1, 7.00 Saturday) pairs eight UK celebrities with an accomplished chef who try to turn them into restaurant-level protégées. The Times hailed the ITV format as a “winning recipe … Overall this was exciting, charming and fun with accomplished editing helping to strain every drop of tension” …

➢➢ Billy Connolly: My Absolute Pleasure (TVNZ 1, 8.30 Thursday) walks us through his Florida Keys retirement home and reveals the secret of The Big Yin’s comedy success: “Humour is a great gift,” he says. “Nobody knows where it’s from. You can say words in a certain order and people fall about holding their stomachs. I’ve never questioned what makes things funny. They’re funny and that’s it.” Said The Independent: “The Scottish comedian may speak a little slower than he once did, a little softer, but he’s still as droll and genial as ever in this heartening documentary” …

➢➢ Nurses Down Under (TVNZ 1, 8.30 Tuesday) is a Channel Seven-UKTV co-production that examines hospital life through the nurses’ eyes. One Aussie wag thought it sounded like a Carry On movie but ITV Studios promises “stories with heart, warmth and emotion” …

➢➢ Icons of Auto (Duke, 8.30 Thursday) traces the lineage of the most famous motoring marques, including Lamborghini, Chevrolet, Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, BMW, Porsche, Alfa Romeo, Audi, Bentley, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Bugatti, Volvo, Maserati, Jeep and Mazda, while stablemate Extreme Ice Railroad (Duke, 9.30 Thursday) shows how the Ontario Northland Railroad — dubbed the “Arctic Polar Express” — keeps rolling through the winter …

➢➢ Leonardo (TVNZ 1, 12.25am Thursday) stars Poldark’s Aidan Turner as the Italian artist reflecting on his life while waiting to stand trial for the murder of his best friend. “Worthy-but-dull – and stonkingly chaste,” said The Telegraph. “Feels like a quick sketch rather than the fuller portrait one of history’s greatest minds surely merits.” The Guardian dubbed it “a cringe-inducing, broad-brush portrait of the Renaissance icon” …

➢➢ Returning in the week starting March 12 will be Heathrow: Britain’s Busiest Airport (TVNZ 1, 8.05 Saturday) and 10 Years Younger in 10 Days (TVNZ 1, 7.30 Thursday) while ending their runs will be Rules of the GameAttenborough’s The Green PlanetBeat the Chasers and Undercover Girlfriends

➢➢ Screening for the first time on FTA TV will be A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (TVNZ 2, 7.00 Saturday) and A White White Day (Maori TV, 8.30 Sunday). Other HD coming attractions will include:

  • Grease (Three, 7.00 Saturday)
  • The Reef 2 – High Tide (Maori TV, 7.00 Saturday)
  • No (Maori TV, 8.30 Saturday)
  • Snatched (TVNZ 2, 8.35 Saturday)
  • Grease 2 (Three, 9.15 Saturday)
  • Rock of Ages (TVNZ 2, 10.20 Saturday)
  • The Big Sick (Three, 11.35 Saturday)
  • Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation (TVNZ 2, 4.05 Sunday)
  • Baby Driver (TVNZ 2, 8.00 Sunday)
  • The Gentlemen (Three, 8.30 Sunday)
  • 8 Mile (Duke, 8.30 Tuesday)
  • Roman J Israel Esq (Maori TV, 8.30 Wednesday)
  • Jupiter Ascending (Three, 7.30 Friday)
  • The Long Kiss Goodnight (Duke, 9.25 Friday)
  • Sniper – Special Ops (TVNZ 2, 2.40am Saturday).
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One Response to “HD Heads-Up: March 12 – 18”

  1. Our Flag … should have been buried on a desert island, it is truly awful TV.

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