HD Heads-Up: March 29-April 4

The Blacklist's James Spader

The Blacklist’s James Spader

Put The Blacklist, The Walking Dead and The Simpsons at the top of your must-see list for the week starting March 29.

TV3 is pre-empting Hawaii Five-O for one week only on Sunday to screen a double-episode of The Blacklist that aired a week apart in the US.

“Scripted and directed, like the pilot, by Joe Carnahan (The Grey, Smokin’ Aces), this was the episode that took the series by the scruff of the neck and eschewed the madman of the week format for a full blooded flip where characters are expendable and Red is at his most vulnerable,” The Digital Fix said of part one.

As for its conclusion: “Well, we wanted answers and The Blacklist definitely (sort of) gave us some,” Entertainment Weekly acknowledged.

“I actually preferred the focused and speedy pacing of Anslo Garrick, Part One, but boy oh boy, did it build up to a content-filled Part Two.

“[It] gave us at least a few of the answers we’ve been waiting for, re: apple-eating spies and paternity implications. And then it added, like, 1,000 more questions. I guess this thing is a marathon, not a sprint; better stay hydrated.”

Wow!!” said the Wall Street Journal of part two. “So much packed into one exciting hour of TV! I can barely process all that happened.”

In the US, the two parts served as a mid-season finale but TV3 will continue the rest of the season from the following Sunday.

TV2, meanwhile, will conclude The Walking Dead’s fourth season (9.30 Monday) within 24 hours of its US broadcast.

In a tip sheet on who’s unlikely to make it to the fifth season, What Culture speculates: “The time has come for the good guys to start dying again, and even the fates of the most popular are beginning to feel awfully uncertain.

“After all, this show has a pretty long history of killing off main characters, and everybody is in danger at this point. A finale isn’t a finale unless somebody dies horribly.”

For more clues, see Entertainment Weekly’s interview with producer Gale Anne Hurd in which she acknowledges Rick (Andrew Lincoln, above) will be pushed to the “absolute limit”.

“The world of The Walking Dead is all about human choices, about what one has to do to survive, and how much each character is willing to sacrifice and compromise their humanity,” she says.

“And we will really see certain characters pushed to their limit … And it’s always a question of how much can you come back from those moments, and those choices.

“And that’s where season five will take us.”

Horror fans also will relish The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror XXIV on Friday (TV3, 7.30), in which Guillermo del Toro storyboards the opening sequence and which includes “a very violent world resembling Dr. Seuss’, and also the movie Freaks.”

The AV Club dubbed del Toro’s contribution “a pure celebration of Halloween-friendly genre fiction, marked by a ton of references to his own films.

“Nods to Pacific Rim, Pan’s Labyrinth, Cronos, Hellboy, Blade II, and a host of other films are littered throughout the nearly three-minute sequence, while giant monsters, hordes of zombies, Alfred Hitchcock (and his birds), Stephen King, insect people, phantoms, and various other shades of del Toro’s favourite authors all make appearances.

“It’s a feast for the eyes, blending horror, science fiction, and fantasy into an opening sequence that will in no way overshadow the rest of [the] episode.”

In other HD programming news of note for the week starting March 29:

  • Shortland Street’s Ido Drent and Wentworth’s Robbie Magasiva guest star in Sunday’s Offspring (TV One, 8.30)
  • Rake starts its second season (TV One, 9.30 Sunday)
  • The Inspectors’ season finale airs Wedndesday (TV One, 7.30)
  • Thursday’s Supersize: Got Thin – Got Fat Again! (TV3, 9.30) explores why diets do not always work and how quickly skinny success can turn into fat failure
  • Toni Collette, Gary Oldman and Nick Frost appear on Friday’s The Graham Norton Show (TV3, 8.30)
  • Happy Feet 2 has its network premiere on Sunday (TV2, 6.30), as do The Caller (TV2, 10.30) and Hostel: Part III (TV2, 12.20am), and Men in Black 3 on Friday (TV2, 8.30)
  • Re-running in-between are Saturday’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 (TV2, 7.00) and Monday’s Jumper (TV3, 8.30).
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