HD Highlights: September 6

Series Premiere: Smash (TV3, 9.30, 5.1) Glee may be exiting stage right to Four but this musical drama is no mere consolation prize. About a writing duo who conceive a Broadway show based on Marilyn Monroe’s life, it was one of the most acclaimed new dramas of the 2011/12 US TV season. Raved the Los Angeles Times: “The wonder of Smash is not that it’s a grown-up Glee (it isn’t) or that it stars American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee (bringing the modern evolution of musical television full circle) or that the show-within-the-show — Marilyn: The Musical — seems prepped and ready for a real Broadway run. It’s that creator Theresa Rebeck and her team have managed to capture the grand and sweeping gesture that is musical theater and inject it with the immediate intimacy of television.” It also offers encores for Will & Grace’s Debra Messing and FlashForward’s Jack Davenport (who many will remember from This Life) and obviously sounded so promising not even Oscar-winner Anjelica Huston could resist the producers’ overtures. ✭✭✭✭

❑ The Block NZ (TV3, 7.30, F) Who will win? The four houses go to auction in a live grand final. Of course, the ultimate winner has been TV3, which has shrewdly used The Block NZ’s popularity to regain audience share and rebuild its schedule in time to launch bold new fare like last night’s The Killing and tonight’s Smash✭✭✭

❑ Motorway Patrol (TV2, 8.00) Season premiere: High speed chases involve both man and dog; a hallucinogenic Honda has windscreen issues; and an angry man has an about-face. ✭✭✭

❑ Fringe (TV2, 10.35, 5.1) While David Robert Jones goes after his next target, Walter visits the Other Side to help the team’s counterparts with an investigation into a Fringe case that touches on both worlds. ✭✭✭✭

❑ The Unit (TV3, 11.45, 5.1) Jonas plays a high-stakes game of poker to win back the services of a CIA spy who has gone over to the other side, and to get the court-martial charges against team member Sullivan dismissed. ✭✭✭✭

❑ Rizolli & Isles (TV2, 12.05, 5.1) Jane and Maura delve into the modern world of witches and witch hunting; Frankie gets a surprise visit from his ex-girlfriend. ✭✭✭

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