Tonight in HD: October 31

The Mentalist (TV2, 8.30)

Friends (TV2, 6.30, R) Ross begs Joey to stay away from Emma’s hot new nanny; Mike meets (and accidentally kills) Phoebe’s unusual pet. ✫✫✫

Shortland Street (TV2, 7.00) Maxwell struggles with forbidden fruit; Luke can’t resist Halloween; Jasmine contacts the other side. ✫✫✫

The Mentalist (TV2, 8.30) A member of the CBI team is the prime suspect in a murder. Most blog critics reckon this episode, which opens in the middle, then jumps back and forth in time, will have fans spinning. Said Reviewbrain: “I’m tempted to give this one a rating into the ground simply for shaving about ten years off my life, and for having Patrick Jane, in one sentence, manage to send me into a fury as well as confuse me. But that wouldn’t be fair. It was an excellent, exciting, well written episode.” ✫✫

SoHo Highlight: Game of Thrones (Sky 10, 8.30, 5.1) Being the most anticipated drama premiere of the year saddles this lavish, violent, ribald fantasy saga about dueling dynasties and dragons with expectations that are all-but impossible to meet. And so it proves with this double-episode launch that fascinates and compels yet lacks the dramatic complexity and resonance of character that are HBO’s hallmarks. It promises to be fiercely entertaining but not your King Arthur’s Sopranos. As the New York Times archly observed: “If you are not averse to the Dungeons & Dragons aesthetic, the series might be worth the effort. If you are nearly anyone else, you will hunger for HBO to get back to the business of languages for which we already have a dictionary.” However, most US critics echoed The Hollywood Reporter: “There’s a real allure to costume dramas that pair dense mythology with all of the crowdpleasing elements of war, honour, pride, lust, power and, yes, even humour. Thrones has all of those in spades and supports them with exceptional storytelling, strong writing, superb acting and some stunning visual effects.” ✫✫✫✫

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