HD Heads-Up: TV3 at Last Wages War on Rivals

The last of the HD networks to go wall-to-wall with new season shows, TV3, will make up for lost time with a week-six slate of premieres, including the first NZ HD broadcast of Top Gear and the Australian drama Gallipoli.

It’s also making Saturday night’s a crime time showcase with three first-run series airing back-to-back, including the return of Hawaii Five-O, and is bringing back reality hits Road Cops, Gold Coast Cops and the latest Hamish and Andy adventure.

There’s even good news for fans of The Good Wife: the season five finale on February 10 will be followed a week later by the season six premiere, which means the network will be only months behind US broadcasts rather than years.

And from February 4, TV3 will try to improve its pre-3News ratings with a new weekday Aussie reality content strip in HD, The Big Adventure.

The highest-profile premiere will be Gallipoli’s, with a double episode on February 11 after season debuts of Road Cops and Gold Coast Cops.

One online critic has called the seven-part WWI drama, which will screen here within days of Australia, “a commanding and respectful execution, handsomely-produced by a team with great passion. It deserves to stand tall as Event television”.

Agreed The Guardian: “Based on a viewing of the first, double episode of Gallipoli, Nine’s show promises more than the mythologising of its Anzac centenary marketing line: ‘Australia was born on the shores of Gallipoli‘.

“Viewers are plunged straight into the bloody first day of fighting. Underage enlistee Thomas ‘Tolly’ Johnson, 17, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee, bayonets a Turkish soldier, who dies an ugly, prolonged death.

“Slaughter takes place not on the beach, as is widely misunderstood of the campaign, but in the hills beyond.

“Uncomfortable detail is fleshed out, as Tolly’s soldier brother, Bevan, played by Harry Greenwood, notes: ‘I didn’t think I’d be killing blokes trying to surrender.’”

And news.com.au dubs it “the first must-see TV event of 2015 — a stirring Aussie drama that doesn’t pull any punches about the courage, and human cost, of the battle that helped define our nation.”

From February 7, TV3 will spruce up Saturday nights with the HD series premiere of Storage Hunters at 7.00, the season eight premiere of Ice Road Truckers at 7.30, the mid-season premiere of CSI at 8.30, the series launch of Chicago PD at 9.25, the return of H5O at 10.25 and a re-run of The Blue Rose at 11.25.

Chicago PD is an old school police procedural spun-off the fire station drama that tanked on TV3, Chicago Fire.

“The Dick Wolf-produced drama is darker than its sister show, but it packs potential for fun with the city’s cops and firefighters crossing paths both on and off the job,” said hometown rag the Chicago Sun-Times.

Entertainment Weekly called it “as straightforward and meat-and-potatoes as police dramas get” and the New York Times said while “a throwback to an earlier, male-dominated era of crime shows, it carves out room for strong female characters who are good at their jobs and taken seriously by their colleagues–and the writers”.

But TV Guide dismissed it as “the most arrogantly conceived display of bare-knuckled hooey since the mercifully short-lived Ironside reboot”.

TV3’s other HD highlights in the week starting February 7 include the network movie premieres of The Life of Pi (7.00 Sunday) and The Sitter (9.40 Sunday), a repeat of Tower Heist (8.35 Monday), the 7.30 Thursday launch of Top Gear, and following Friday’s 7.30 premiere of Hamish and Andy’s Gap Year: South America, a Graham Norton Show with guests Ben Stiller, Rebel Wilson, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz and Usher.

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5 Responses to “HD Heads-Up: TV3 at Last Wages War on Rivals”

  1. Any word on House of Cards season 3?

  2. Don’t hold your breath for it on TV3 — the first two seasons rated abysmally and Netflix will want to tout S3 as an exclusive when it launches in NZ in March.

  3. Interesting that The X Factor NZ isn’t launching and giving Our First Home a head start. The Good Wife deserves a decent slot considering its quality but at least we are catching up and H50 fans looks like 3 has given up, despite a turnaround last year. Just out of curiosity, Philip, has any NZ network picked up Fox’s highly acclaimed musical drama Empire considering MediaWorks no longer has a full scale output deal with 20th Century Fox, or have they acquired it?

  4. MW has just confirmed it’s not picking up Empire. I don’t see it as a TVNZ property, which leaves Prime and Lightbox as the most likely buyers.

  5. Thanks, Philip, for finding out. Empire would of been a great leadout for The X Factor NZ and an asset to the 3 schedule if launched successfully. I think TVNZ might be swayed to purchase if its overseas success continues. I can’t see it fitting on the Prime schedule and considering the network is still quiet on whether it will air Jane the Virgin, a CBS output deal show, along with the cost cutting at the network (out sourcing PrimeNews & non renewal of Top Gear) they may not be convinced to purchase. Looks like this maybe heading to the streamers and probably as you said Lightbox or Netflix might snap it up before launch. Whatever platform I hope its sooner rather than later so we catch up.

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