HDTV Heads-Up: November 5-11

The same month Sky launches its cutting-edge HD drama channel, SoHo, TV2 will premiere in HD one of the most acclaimed US drama series of the past year.

The Americanised Shameless will screen 11pm Mondays from November 7, which is a surprisingly accessible slot given the polarising nature of the British original.

I’m a huge fan of Paul Abbott (Clocking Off, State of Play, Cracker) but his UK Shameless alienated me from the outset.

However, it won’t just be the HD factor that has me tuning into TV2’s version.

John Wells (ER), Andrew Stearn (The West Wing) and Abbott adapted it for US TV and William H Macy heads the cast, as the wastrel father of an anarchic family.

Moreover, the premiere earned sterling reviews from heavyweights like The Hollywood Reporter (“excellent, compelling television from the first moment”) and the New York Times (“deftly adapted and surprisingly appealing, crude, funny and also touching”).

However, Time thought it “an unconvincing portrait of poverty” while the Boston Herald said the show “lives up to its title”.

Variety took the middle road: “There’s nothing here to be ashamed of. It’s just that at a time when TV drama is so flush with riches, Shameless plays like a poor relative.”

The same week, TV3 will launch the latest series of The Graham Norton Show, with the November 10 premiere featuring Kate Winslet, The Trip’s Rob Brydon and Tintin star Jamie Bell.

TV3 also will re-run Bigger Better Faster Stronger from November 8 while that week’s free-to-air HD movies include New in Town (TV3, November 5), The Exorcist (TV2, November 6) and Mercury Rising (TV3, November 7).

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