HD Heads-Up: October 26 – November 1

TV3 will use heightened interest in its two-hour season finale of The Block NZ to launch the latest Underbelly series.

The network’s faith in the once great franchise is surprising given how poorly more recent instalments have rated.

The news isn’t good for Underbelly: Squizzy, either, an eight-hour dramatisation of a Melbourne gangster’s exploits that will air 9.30 Wednesdays (the titular hero, Squizzy Taylor, appeared in Underbelly: Razor but was played by a different actor).

Most Aussie critics castigated the series and viewership plummeted from more than a million for the premiere to 380,000 for the finale.

News.com.au listed “six reasons why Underbelly: Squizzy Sucked”, including the way it was filmed (“film school jerkiness”) and lack of atmosphere (“looked more theatrical than realistic”).

Concurred the Sydney Morning Herald: “It was just unfortunate that for a drama based on a real world villain with a generous surplus of villainy, the producers of Squizzy gave their Squizzy such a light touch and more than one line that could only have been delivered by someone born after the advent of PowerPoint.”

But The Australian thought it terrific: “Like its predecessor, Razor, the latest in the Underbelly saga is a mordant fable of avarice, ambition, violence and death, this time a colourfully realised anthropology not of Sydney’s inner mean streets but Melbourne’s post-World War I gaming houses, knocking shops and opium dens.

“Beginning with the world still at war in Europe and the Middle East, the word Gallipoli already a synonym for British betrayal, the series charts another battle …

“Aside from a few misgivings about casting here and there, and an occasional diversity of acting styles, this is still slick, astutely engineered commercial drama with the consistently ambiguous Underbelly mix of horror and fascination, attraction and repulsion.

“As always, it’s easy to admire the overall craft, be seduced by the cinematic glamour, and fall in with the excitement.”

TV3 will re-run another Melbourne drama series the same week, The Slap (12.40am Sunday).

Also of note in HD for the week starting October 26:

❑ Season premieres of Piha Rescue and Crash Investigation Unit on Monday (TV One, 7.30/8.30)

❑ The network movie premieres of The Fighter (TV2, 10.45 Saturday), Elephant White (TV2, 1.05am Sunday), Horrible Bosses (TV2, 8.30 Sunday), Hot Tub Time Machine (TV3, 9.35 Sunday) and Dream House (TV2, 10.25 Sunday), and re-runs of The Mummy (TV3, 7.00 Sunday) and X-Men: The Last Stand (TV3, 8.40 Monday)

❑ The addition of The Queen Latifah Show to TV3’s weekday line-up, with the premiere’s guests including John Travolta and Alicia Keys (3.55 Monday)

❑ Hilary Duff guest stars on Wednesday’s Two and a Half Men (TV2, 7.30), and Sir Paul McCartney, Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Katy Perry and James Corden on Friday’s Graham Norton Show.

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2 Responses to “HD Heads-Up: October 26 – November 1”

  1. Warning: preg_replace(): Unknown modifier '/' in /home/customer/www/screenscribe.net/public_html/wp-content/themes/headlines/includes/theme-comments.php on line 66
    October 17, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Oh dear, thought we had seen enough of this overblown series.

  2. Agreed, this franchise needs to be put out of its misery.

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