HD Heads-Up: October 17 – 23

Late night continues to be a haven for some of TV’s better dramas, including Steven Bochco’s latest, Murder in the First.

From the creator of such groundbreaking crime dramas as Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue and Murder One, it will screen 11.00 Mondays on TV1 from October 19 — the same night the network airs an episode of Criminal Minds that’s a backdoor pilot for spin-off series Beyond Borders (set in the international division of the FBI, it will launch next year and star Forever’s Alana De La Garza, CSI: New York’s Gary Sinise and The Walking Dead’s Tyler James Williams).

Murder in the First follows San Francisco detectives investigating two separate murders that may be linked and was popular enough to be renewed.

Reviews were largely favourable: “a masterfully paced balance of tricky whodunit and character development” (Los Angeles Times); “while this new show is not as innovative as its predecessor [Murder One], it is, in its own way, similarly well paced and compelling” (New York Times); “crisp and watchable” (Variety).

But there were brickbats: “no one acts in a manner remotely plausible” (Wall Street Journal); “extremely derivative” (Detroit News); “wheezy and cliched” (The AV Club).

Premiering opposite TV1’s American Crime is The Whispers (TV2, 11,00 Tuesday).

It stars American Horror Story’s Lily Rabe (who will play serial killer Aileen Wournos in the next season) as an FBI child specialist investigating a group of children who claim an imaginary friend made them unleash a dangerous event.

Reviews ranged from “seriously addictive” (Philadelphia Inquirer) and “has a polished feel, enough twists, and moves just well enough to steadily build on its central mystery” (Variety) to “an assortment of familiar genre cliches” (Hitfix).

Other HD newcomers for the week starting October 17 include season three of Last Tango In Halifax (TV1, 9.30 Saturday), transgender documentary Born in the Wrong Body: Girls to Men (TV3, 9.30 Thursday) and Kiwi sketch comedy, Funny Girls (TV3, 10.00), which will premiere the same night as Meryl Streep, Carey Mulligan and Nicole Kidman make it a threesome on Graham Norton’s couch (TV3, 8.30).

And for the first time The Goldbergs will screen here in HD — TV3 is picking up the comedy from TV4 and will air it 7.00 Fridays, starting from the season three premiere.

Season/series finals include Winter, Ordinary Lies, MomGeorge Clarke: Restoration Man and Hart of Dixie while having their network movie premieres are Don Jon (TV2, 9.40 Saturday), The Guilty Trip (TV2, 8.30 Sunday) and Carrie (TV2, 11.20 Sunday)

Friday’s Shortland Street and Best Time Ever With Neil Patrick Harris will be pre-empted for Toy Story 3 (TV2, 7.00) ahead of the long weekend, which will include re-runs of Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides (TV2, 7.00 Saturday), Coraline (TV3, 7.00 Saturday), Hellboy (TV3, 9.00 Saturday), Brothers (TV2, 11.30 Saturday) and Brave (TV2, 6.35 Sunday).

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