HDTV Heads-Up: December 1-7

Nearly a year after it went to air on US TV, TV One at last will launch the HD conspiracy drama, Alcatraz.

It will screen 8.30pm Wednesdays from December 5, on a double-bill with re-runs of Criminal Minds in its new 9.30 slot.

Criminal Minds has been underperforming at 8.30, as have repeats of Person of Interest on Thursdays, which will be replaced from December 6 with SD documentaries.

Alcatraz was promoted this time last year as one of TV One’s 2013 new-season drawcards but was quickly shuffled to the back of the deck following its cancellation in the US, where it ran for 13 weeks.

Sam Neill and Sons of Anarchy’s Sarah Jones, who next will be seen in Prime’s Vegas, investigate why some of the prison’s most notorious prisoners start commiting crimes again 50 years after they vanished.

US reviewers largely liked the show, with the Los Angeles Times dubbing the premise “strong enough to not only sire a great pilot but to sustain a solid series”.

The New York Times praised it for being “a spunky upgrade over the collection of interchangeable police procedurals clogging the television schedule”.

But TV Guide said “the mysteries of the mythology — where were they for the last half-century? Who’s pulling their violent strings? — are more compelling than the plodding mechanics of the weekly manhunt”.

And the Boston Herald said like producer executive producer JJ Abrams’ Lost, “the show is burdened with flashbacks and divides its time between the present and the prison 50 years earlier”.

TV One also will run an 8.30pm Sunday Murder Mystery season over summer, opening with the return of the Brenda Blethyn whodunit, Vera, on December 2.

DCI Stanhope’s first case, The Crow Trap, guest stars Elizabeth Carling (Casualty, Goodnight Sweetheart), John Flynn (The Bill), John Lynch (The Jury) and Daniela Nardini (The Fades, This Life).

While the first two episodes rated abysmally here on Friday nights, in the UK Vera has been popular enough to be renewed for a third season of four mysteries.

Also of note in HD for the week starting December 1:

Monty Python’s Eric Idle and Michael Palin have chat show dates: the former on Thursday’s Rove LA (TV3, 9.30), along with Kate Walsh and Maggie Grace; the latter on Friday’s Graham Norton Show (TV3, 8.30), along with Helena Bonham Carter and Jack Whitehall

❑ Season finales of NZ’s Got Talent on Sunday (TV One, 7.30), Unforgettable on Monday (TV One, 9.30) and Episodes on Friday (TV One, 11.15)

❑ The season-six premiere of Numb3rs on Wednesday (TV3, 11.45).

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One Response to “HDTV Heads-Up: December 1-7”

  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
    November 24, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Alcatraz – another over-hyped series TV One that got canned after only one season. It started off quite good, like Lost, then got bogged down with too many mysteries, not enough answers. Still, good to see Sam Neill back on the small screen.

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