Mondays Turn Up the HD Heat

Clear the My Sky + and TiVo decks if you want to keep up with Monday night must-sees in HD.

The networks and Sky’s SoHo channel are loading up their HD arsenals from this week with key seasons of returning staples and sensational new series.

CSI's Ted Danson

The only bizarre omission is TV2 continuing to screen in SD The Amazing Race, which resumes at 7.30, when it’s switched to HD in the US.

Otherwise, HD buffs can choose from nine hours’ worth of 1080i comedies, dramas and reality fare across the networks in primetime while at 8.30pm SoHo saddles up the season premiere of its latest HBO prize-winning contender, the horse-racing drama, Luck.

It goes up against the return of Desperate Housewives on TV2 and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation on TV3.

Both are aging nags ready to be put out to pasture. While Housewives was particularly desperate last year, the Hollywood Reporter thought the season-eight premiere wasn’t without promise while the Los Angeles Times welcomed the addition of Ted Danson as CSI’s new chief.

“Whether he can lift the aging franchise back to its former ratings glory is another question entirely.

CSI remains CSI, the weary queen ant of the forensics procedural; Danson is new blood, but the star of the show remains the investigation narrative.”

Off the back of these staples the networks will launch two of the year’s most well-received dramas that couldn’t be more different.


Homeland is the kind of cable-TV drama that’s become the preserve of SoHo.

Hopefully, TV3 can turn it into as big a free-to-air hit as it’s done with Sons of Anarchy (which also resumes this week).

Critics hailed this homeland security drama with Manchurian Candidate aspirations as easily the best of US TV’s fall slate: “It’s no lie to say you don’t get this sort of stylish and challenging stuff very frequently on TV, adult subject matter treated maturely in a series that makes you squirm and think” (Philadelphia Inquirer); “an absolutely riveting immersion in the paranoia and burnout of America after a decade of the war on terrorism” (Miami Herald); “shows like Homeland have a way of keeping us deliciously off balance. Can’t think of a show I’d more highly recommend” (TV Guide).

But if you hanker for the campy, nostalgic glamour of Dynasty’s heyday, opt for TV2’s HD rival, Revenge.

Even highbrow critics gave it the thumbs-up, from The Wall Street Journal (“spellbinding in its satisfyingly gaudy way”) to the New Yorker (“too juicy to write off as junk”).

Monday also is the new home of Modern Family. TV3 is hammocking it at 8pm, between the new Tim Allen comedy, Last Man Standing, and CSI.

The former essentially is a new-millennium Home Improvement, but with Allen the macho middle-aged dad of three daughters.

Critics largely pilloried it – Slate dubbed it “probably the worst sitcom on network television” – but most, like Entertainment Weekly, thought Allen not without merit: “Allen has the chops to make a studio audience laugh just through intonation and timing.”

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