Tonight in HD: June 17

Series Premiere: Planet Dinosaur (TV One, 7.00) “This six-part series, narrated by John Hurt, is the most expensive and ambitious monsterfest since Walking with Dinosaurs, and it showcases these newly discovered beasts in all their snarling, thumping, flesh-tearing CGI glory,” said The Times. “Before the latest bone fragments were found, the biggest beast on the block was Tyrannosaurus rex, at least as far as the popular imagination is concerned. But the two monsters featured tonight are so huge and ferocious that they make T. rex look like a pampered Persian kitten.” The Independent described the visuals as “every boy’s fantasy – I’m only glad nobody thought to make it in 3D. You do get some science thrown in – fossils discovered in 2008 suggest the spinosaurus had underwater sensors in its mouth for catching prey, a bit like a crocodile. But really, Planet Dinosaur is just an expensive excuse to show a few big monsters savage some smaller ones.” ✭✭✭✭

Sky Movies Premiere: Priest (Sky 20, 8.30, 5.1) Cam Gigandet (Tresspass), Maggie Q (Die Hard 4) and Paul Bettany star in a post-apocalyptic thriller that owes more to the past than the future. “It appears that turning the John Ford/John Wayne classic The Searchers into the church-vs-vampire adventure Priest was not an altogether god-awful idea,” said the New York Post. “As long as we don’t get The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance as an elegiac zombie drama, this adaptation of a graphic novel has some bite.” But The Hollywood Reporter thought it “a short, dour and stodgy creature feature with average 3D effects that draws on so many film influences from westerns, action adventures and sci-fi tales that what fun there is comes from spotting the many sources”. (2011) ✭✭

Pretty Little Liars (TV2, 5.30, 5.1) As Aria, Emily, Hanna and Spencer participate in Rosewood High’s ‘Truth-Up Day’, the girls discover some shocking truths of their own. ✭✭

The War at Home (TV2, 6.30, R) Dave takes the wrap for Hillary’s bad driving, and Vicky is mortified to realise that she forgot to send Larry’s application to Shakespeare Camp. ✭✭✭

The Big Bang Theory (TV2, 7.00, 5.1, R) Leonard is the last to realise Stephanie has moved in with him – when he finds out, he worries they are moving too fast. ✭✭✭✭

Golden (TV3, 7.00, 5.1) Series premiere: A NZ gold medal-winning rower decides to make a comeback after gaining 65 kilograms because of a freak accident. “I’m not Shelly Bowman,” she despairs. “I look like I ate Shelly Bowman.” Lucy Schmidt, Jesse Griffin, Jennifer Ludlam and Joel Tobeck star. ✭✭✭✭

Mike & Molly (TV2, 7.30, 5.1) When Mike and Molly meet with the priest at Peggy’s church, Molly’s outspoken and forthright nature winds up costing them their wedding chapel. ✭✭

The Big Bang Theory (TV2, 8.00, 5.1, R) It’s Christmas, and Leonard is crushed when Penny starts dating his handsome colleague. Elsewhere, Sheldon gets confused by the rules and etiquette of gift-giving. ✭✭✭✭

Sunday Theatre –  Audi NZ Season: Siege (TV One, 8.30)  In 2009, Napier gunman Jan Molenaar terrorised a town for more than 50 hours when he shot at anyone who came near. Golden’s Joel Tobeck and Miriama Smith star. ✭✭✭✭

Movie: Australia (TV3, 8.30, 5.1, R) Crikey! You’ll want to go walkabout long before this three-hour frontier folly ends – unless you’ve a bent for melodramatic drivel that’s more farcical than fabulous. Nicole Kidman plays a headstrong aristocrat who, to stave off financial ruin and stop an Aboriginal boy from becoming one of the “stolen generation”, tries to tame maverick drover Hugh Jackman on an epic cattle drive. The odd-couple partnership leads to their locking horns with a rival beef baron (David Wenham). (2009) ✭✭

Touch (TV3, 11.10, 5.1) When Martin is mistaken for a criminal, he must involve himself with a heist crew in order to win back an innocent dock worker’s job. ✭✭

Sky Movies Greats Premiere: Eraser (Sky 22, 8.30, 5.1) Arnold Schwarzenegger plays a marshal who rides shotgun for people in the federal witness protection programme. His latest assignment is erasing the identity of an FBI stooge (Vanessa Williams) who exposes a secret, super-weapon arms deal which triggers her death warrant. The corrupt powers-that-be who want her rubbed out also try to frame her protector for treason. Crammed with gung-ho heroics, impossible stunts and hi-tech weaponry, Eraser won’t disappoint those who relish outlandish escapism leavened by artful humour but in an era of testosteronic overkill, it scarcely makes a mark. (1996) ✭✭

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