Wall-to-Wall HD Wednesdays on TV2

As of Wednesday, TV2 will screen more consecutive HD series in a single night than any other free-to-air network.

Seven 1080i shows will run back-to-back over five hours and from next week there will be eight.

Most form the network’s hugely popular comedy block, including new seasons of Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory.

They will be joined by newcomer 2 Broke Girls, which starts this week, and from next week, for the first time in HD, Happy Endings.

Bookending this block from 6.30pm will be the FriendsShortland Street hour, and from 9.30pm, the dramas The Walking Dead and Nikita (which resumes from episode eight of season one).

But because season two has a movie-length premiere, this week’s Walking Dead will start half-an-hour earlier at 9pm.

Initially there was concern season two wouldn’t be as good as season one, because of the dumping of showrunner Frank Darabont.

But the New York Post reported: “You’ll be happy to know that at least as far as the first two episodes go, the show is better than ever — which would have seemed impossible.”

Agreed The Hollywood Reporter: “The Walking Dead hasn’t lost the most important ingredient in its strangely successful recipe: it’s thrilling.”

“The show seems somehow sleeker and better paced,” The Washington Post reckoned. “Characters may now be people first and archetypes second. This has the subtle but immediate effect of making The Walking Dead less predictable and more frightening.”

But People thought “a wiry, tired jitteriness has crept in” and while the Boston Globe called the zombie masses “a grim spectacle … the living people in The Walking Dead, those uninfected with the mysterious virus, they are far less compelling”.

Many fans were disappointed in the mid-season finale but by delaying season two until now, TV2 should be able to air it uninterrupted (it resumes next week in the US).

Meanwhile, Two and a Half Men has scarcely faltered since Ashton Kutcher replaced Charlie Sheen.

It was the third highest-rating show of the first half of the US fall season, suggesting the Chicago Sun-Times was correct in its appraisal: “After eight long seasons, the show might end up being better off with some new blood — of the non-tiger variety …

“[It] got off to a surprisingly good start, considering it took place in a funeral home. Penis and fart jokes are one thing — and the first episode made it clear the show intends to keep cranking those out. But death is a tougher sell, even before a studio audience full of fans.”

New stablemate 2 Broke Girls is the highest-rating new comedy of the US fall season, and should be an ideal match for Two and a Half Men.

“The well-written pilot has a couple of brazenly vulgar sight gags, but nothing that will shock Two and a Half Men fans,” Newsday said.

“This show goes for Broke with its snappy dialogue, occasionally crossing the taste barrier with its grotesque ethnic caricatures (the girls’ Asian boss in particular),” US TV Guide said. “But the girls have great chemistry.”

But the New York Times complained of “too many one-liners about semen stains and orgasms that aren’t clever, just pronounced very loudly to carry over the titters of a studio audience”.

And the New York Post said only stars Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs made Girls bearable. “With different casting, this show would be as flat as the pancakes they serve up in the Brooklyn diner where they work.”

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