HD Heads-Up: July 6-12
Fans of The Almighty Johnsons will have to start praying to the Almighty if they want the Kiwi gods comedy/drama to endure beyond season three, which starts 8.30 tonight.
Having seen off one NZ drama, Harry, with Arrow, TV2 is now setting its sights on another by relocating the comic book adaptation to 8.30 Thursdays from July 11.
The primetime promotion isn’t unexpected given how huge Arrow’s been 9.30 Wednesdays, where it’s rated higher than most 8.30 shows.
TV2 programmers clearly were taken by surprise with Arrow’s popularity after previous high-profile sci-fi and fantasy fare, most notably The Walking Dead, undershot in the ratings.
But the rescheduling could be fatal for TAJ, which only just snuck under the wire for a third-season renewal.
The changeover will deliver Arrow fans a bonus episode, as its last 9.30 Wednesday broadcast will be the same week.
TV3 programmers will be hoping its primetime overhaul that week will help to offset Arrow’s impact on TAJ.
From 7.30 Tuesday-Friday, as a curtain-raiser to The Block NZ’s return, it will strip DIY newcomer House Rules, which is from the producers of TV2′s ratings SD phenomenon My Kitchen Rules — only it will air in HD.
It’s also belatedly launching Chicago Fire just weeks ahead of its second season starting in the US.
From Law & Order creator Dick Wolf, it earned largely lukewarm reviews but is the kind of lighthearted drama, about firefighters and paramedics, that should appeal to the NCIS audience, hence it succeeding NCIS: Los Angeles 9.30 Tuesdays (after new SD episodes of Grand Designs Australia).
“Chicago Fire definitely has familiarity going for it and familiarity going against it as well,” Newsday said in one of the show’s kinder reviews while the Los Angeles Times observed: “In a world without cable dramas, Chicago Fire would be considered television at its more compelling and realistic.
“As it is, it walks the line between shameless entertainment–hot guys, hot girls, the fires within, the fires without–and intelligent storytelling.”
But the San Francisco Chronicle lamented: “Wolf either doesn’t know what to do with his characters while they’re waiting around for a fire to break out, or thinks their personal stories should be the dominant element in his new series.
“They could be, if only those stories weren’t ripped from the book of overused cliches.”
Also new of note in HD for the week starting July 6:
❑ Season finales of CSI: New York (TV3, 9.30 Saturday), Pretty Little Liars (TV2, 4.10 Sunday) and Packed to the Rafters (TV One, 8.30 Sunday)
❑ The season premiere of First Crossings (TV One, 8.30 Tuesday) and Call the Midwife (TV One, 8.30 Saturday) — expect series two of Midwife to air 8.30 Sundays from July 14 on a double-bill with the SD reality series The Midwives
❑ A new episode of The Year That Was (TV One, 9.40 Tuesday) — Cal Wilson revisits 1994
❑ The return of Go On to an off-peak slot (TV3, 4.00 Saturday), where the last few episodes will air on a double-bill with a handful of Last Man Standing re-runs
❑ The network premiere of The Social Network (TV2, 8.30 Sunday) and re-runs of Night at the Museum 2 (TV2, 8.05 Sunday), 2009′s Halloween II (TV2, 10.55 Sunday) and The Transporter (TV3, 9.05 Monday)
❑ Sandra Bullock, Samuel L Jackson and Nick Frost guest on Friday’s Graham Norton Show (TV3, 8.30).