HD Heads-Up: September 18 – 24

➢➢ Having failed with risky UK and NZ dramas in prime weekend slots, TVNZ 1 is reverting to the safety of reality and light entertainment programming in the third week of September. The pick of the premieres will be The Highland Vet (8.35 Saturday), which was filmed in the most northern mainland vets’ practices in Britain. The first two series were commissioned for Channel 5’s digital service and proved so popular they earned a linear run while news of the TVNZ sale even made the news pages of The Yorkshire Post …

➢➢ TVNZ 1 also hopes to regain lost ground with the return of The Weakest Link Australia (8.35 Sunday), this time hosted by Kath & Kim’s Magda Szubanski. The reboot’s debut earned mixed social media reviews and the show plummeted in the ratings in subsequent weeks, with critics questioning the choice of Szubanski to replace the late Cornelia Frances. However, Link did again crack the top 20 metro shows a month after its premiere …

➢➢ Another new game show, The Wheel With Michael McIntyre, will screen in TVNZ 1’s 7.30 Wednesday slot for the genre. Said The Guardian of the BBC1 series that McIntyre’s remaking for US TV: “McIntyre brings his brand of effusive enthusiasm to a new, motion sickness-inducing take on the Wheel of Fortune. Celebrity guests such as presenters Alison Hammond, Stacey Dooley and Gok Wan take their seats on an enormous spinning wheel, aiming to help members of the public win big by answering questions as they rotate” …

➢➢ Alex Polizzi: My Hotel Nightmare (TVNZ 1, 8.45 Thursday from September 23) has TV’s Hotel Inspector renovating a 37-bedroom medieval coaching inn East Sussex in partnership with her mother Olga. Reads the blurb: “What should have been a six-month project soon becomes an 18-month struggle. Olga and Alex are forced to deal with spiralling costs, building challenges and a global pandemic” …

➢➢ TVNZ 2 will pre-empt primetime staples with sport in the week starting September 18: 2’s Silver Ferns Action – NZ vs. England (8.30 Monday, Wednesday & Friday) …

➢➢ New for documentary buffs will be the features Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen (TVNZ 1, 10.35 Sunday), which examines filmmaker Merata Mita’s life and work through the eye of her son, and Gimme Danger (Maori TV, 8.30 Monday), which profiles legendary punk band The Stooges …

➢➢ Ending their runs will be The PanthersEat Well for Less?Celebrity Bake Off  and Hawaii Five-O (series final) while starting new seasons will be Kids Say the Darndest Things (Prime, 7.30 Saturday), Batwoman S2 (TVNZ 2, 11.30 Thursday) and Coroner S3 (TVNZ 1, 11.15 Friday) …

➢➢ The week’s only free-to-air movie premiere will be Us (TVNZ 2, 10.25 Sunday). Other HD coming attractions will include:

  • Hop (TVNZ 2, 7.00 Saturday)
  • Turbo (Maori TV, 7.00 Saturday)
  • The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (TVNZ 2, 8.40 Saturday)
  • Suffragette (Maori TV, 8.40 Saturday)
  • Zombieland (Three, 9.10 Saturday)
  • Disclosure  (Duke, 9.20 Saturday)
  • I Am Patrick Swayze (Three, 11.05 Saturday)
  • London Has Fallen (TVNZ 2, 8.30 Sunday)
  • The Madness of King George (Maori TV, 8.30 Sunday)
  • Spider-Man 2 (Three, 8.40 Sunday)
  • Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (Prime, 9.35 Monday)
  • Planet of the Apes (Duke, 8.30 Tuesday)
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Three, 7.30 Friday)
  • Valkyrie (Maori TV, 8.30 Friday)
  • Revenge of the Nerds II (Duke, 9.30 Friday)
  • Royal Hearts (TVNZ 2, 3.10am Saturday).
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