HDTV Heads-Up: The Event, The Detectives, Spies and Lies, Amazing Extraordinary Friends

LA Law's Blair Underwood (centre, left) and ER's Laura Innes (centre, right)

The next couple of weeks will see a slew of local shows debut in HD as well as an epic conspiracy serial that’s likely to be summer’s most compulsive drama.

TV3 is replacing Outrageous Fortune, from November 16, with The Event, a riveting thriller that’s like 24 meets FlashForward, only more coherent than the latter and just exciting as the former.

As the Los Angeles Times observed, “The Event seems prepared to make its characters as complex as its storyline,” and that’s certainly true of the suspenseful, intriguing premiere that overcomes time-fractured storytelling to deliver what Entertainment Weekly dubbed “a doozey of a climax”.

Ratings have faltered in the US but NBC nonetheless has given the show a full-season order.

TV3’s scheduling over summer can be read as either a lack of faith in the serial, as summer’s traditionally when Kiwis desert their TVs, or long overdue recognition that appointment TV will pull an audience regardless of the time of year — and needs to screen as close to the US broadcasts as possible.

A raft of NZ shows also will premiere in HD over the next couple of weeks, starting with TV One’s reality newcomer, The Detectives, on Monday; continuing with the first HD episode of TV2’s weekday afternoon children’s drama, Amazing Extraordinary Friends, on Tuesday; and culminating in TV One’s Sunday Theatre drawcard, the World War II drama, Spies and Lies, starring Outrageous Fortune’s Antony Starr, on November 13.

Starr plays a real-life con man who convinces Prime Minister Peter Fraser of a Nazi plot to take over NZ.

Based on the book, The Plot to Subvert Wartime New Zealand, by Hugh Price, it was adapted for the screen by playwright Dave Armstrong for South Pacific Pictures.

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