HD Heads-Up: March 15-21

House of Cards and Scandal fans won’t want to miss another top political drama that TV2 will debut late-night in HD the same week TV One replaces struggling Australian drama Rake with another drama from across the Tasman.

Political Animals is a 2012 mini-series that tries to get inside the mind of Hillary Clinton and will air midnight Thursdays from March 20.

Created by Greg Berlanti (Brothers & Sisters, Dirty Sexy Money), it stars Sigourney Weaver as a divorced former First Lady who becomes Secretary of State.

Her entourage includes Carla Gugino (Californication), a pre-Mad Men James Wolk (who next will be seen in the Robin Williams comedy The Crazy Ones), Once Upon a Time’s Sebastian Stan and Oscar-winner Ellen Burstyn.

Even former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s daughter, Linda, appears in a couple of episodes.

Entertainment Weekly called it “a well-acted, entertainingly soapy drama that might not crack the Clinton code definitively but still offers a fun and credible look at the complicated intersection of love, gender, and politics.”

But the Los Angeles Times thought it less social commentary or political satire and more a family drama, “more Dallas than The West Wing, a high-class, relatively naturalistic, behind-closed-doors soap opera that plays in fairly obvious yet also fairly affecting ways with the space between public face and private pain and is made highly watchable by an excellent cast that finds the human among the hokum.”

“This half-comic, half-serious soap opera à clef could be awful,” the New York Times said, “but instead it is surprisingly fun.”

But detractors included Newsday (“a clanking, clattering collection of collagenous clinkers”) and The Hollywood Reporter (“it’s more soap than politics … where you expect gravitas, you get little bubbles”).

Also new for the week starting March 15 is season two of House Husbands, which will take over the low-rating Rake’s 8.30 Wednesday slot on TV One (Rake shifts to 9.30 Sunday, after Offspring, bumping Betrayal to 10.40).

While popular enough to be renewed for a third series that goes to air in Australia this year, The Guardian dismissed the dramedy as “an hour of absolute pain and could likely be the harbinger – if not the actual cause – of death for Australian drama”.

Not surprisingly, a blog dedicated to celebrating Australian drama thought the opposite: “Heart warming, funny and as relatable as ever, the dad-centric drama has returned for its second season, towing a few well deserved Logies along with it.”

Also new to TV One is The Art of the Architect, which will air 7.30 Thursdays.

Hosted by Peter Elliott, each episode focuses on a New Zealand architect trying to execute a family or community’s dream project.

In other HD programming news of note for the week starting March 15:

Disney classic The Jungle Book will premiere in HD on Sunday (TV2, 6.55) – TV2’s other HD movies include Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (7.00 Saturday), Inception (9.45 Saturday), Law Abiding Citizen (12.45am Sunday), The Final Destination (10.30 Sunday) and The Dark Knight (8.30 Friday)

Season two of Major Crimes will premiere on Tuesday (TV One, 11.05)

Wednesday’s The Town That Caught Tourette’s (TV3, 8.30) is a re-run of the HD doco about how a group of teenage girls in a small American town suddenly developed what appeared to be Tourette’s syndrome

Doc Martin’s season finale airs Thursday (TV One, 8.30)

Seth MacFarlane guest stars on Friday’s The Simpsons (TV3, 7.30)

Seasons four of The Middle and six of The Big Bang Theory re-run as a Friday double-bill (TV2, 7.30)

Keira Knightley and Kenneth Branagh appear on Friday’s Graham Norton Show (TV3, 8.30).

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