Procedural Overkill for Universal TV

If you can’t get enough of the Law & Order style of procedurals on free-to-air TV and pay channels like Sky 5, then Sky’s newest service will make your day (punk).

Sky will issue a media release this week about Universal TV’s line-up but the listings for May show it will be heavy on the Dick Wolf tradition of crime dramas that previously screened on Sky 5, with the Law & Order spin-offs (Criminal Intent, Special Victims Unit) and Chicago franchise (PD, Med, Fire) dominating daytime and primetime.

The channel will showcase non-Wolf series, such as modern classics Monk and House (which seems to be pushing the definition of crime drama), but these will be limited to overnight slots.

It’s not clear yet if Universal classics, such as its Colombo and McCloud telemovies from the ’70s, will join the crime-busting roster.

But given Colombo was remastered for Blu-ray release (albeit not in this market), it would be great to see it for the first time in HD rather than relegated in SD to the Jones! channels.

In the UK, Sky’s Universal TV channel is broader in scope, with series like McLeod’s Daughters, Royal PainsSea Patrol and Sleepy Hollow part of an eclectic line-up that includes the cutting-edge Mr Robot.

In other territories, the mix is similar whereas NZ’s service will be more hardcore crime — although Sky’s original media release about its new NBCUniversal pact said the channel would be “dedicated to the best in crime and drama procedurals” (italics mine), so there may be room for more series like House.

Universal TV will launch in HD on April 30.

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