HD Heads-Up: June 28-July 4
TV3 will launch two mid-week dramas in HD the same week it reverts to Sunday night movies and resumes one of it longest-running procedurals for the first time time in HD.
SVU will make its HD debut on June 28, as the first half of a Saturday night double-bill with season two of Blue Bloods.
It’s a long overdue upgrade and follows MediaWorks TV renegotiating its deal with NBC Universal; previously, SVU was licensed for SD broadcast only.
But the biggest drama news comes with the 8.30 two-hour premieres of Crisis on Tuesday and of Hope and Wire on Thursday.
The latter dramatises the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquakes with a cast of veterans (Boys From the Blackstuff’s Bernard Hill, Underbelly: Razor’s Chelsie Preston Crayford, Ins > Luanne Gordon, Top of the Lake’s Stephen Lovatt) and newcomers (Lucy Wyma, David Sutherland).
“Hope and Wire is set amid the ruins, illuminating common experiences of living in the quake zone during the aftermath, surviving aftershocks, some of which shook the city to bits,” series writer and director, Gaylene Preston (Home By Christmas), says.
Despite the immense promise of this premise, TV3 has scheduled it conservatively after bombing last year with high-profile NZ dramas like The Blue Rose and Harry in more prominent slots.
Two days earlier the network will replace its NCIS combo with Crisis, a conspiracy thriller about some of Washington, DC’s most powerful figures, including the President, being compromised by the kidnapping of their children.
It stars Gillian Anderson (The X-Files), Dermot Mulroney (My Best Friend’s Wedding) and Rachael Taylor (Transformers) but was axed after 13 episodes (the last two air this weekend in the US).
US reviews were mixed but generally positive.
“The pilot is terrific, and it was directed by Phillip Noyce, whose credits include the Harrison Ford movie Clear and Present Danger and the pilot of ABC’s Revenge,” the New York Times said in a review headlined: “These Kidnappers Hit the Mother Lode.”
“Crisis may not be great, but it works,” People magazine said while the San Francisco Chronicle asked: “Do cliches abound? Do they ever.
“But Crisis is moderately entertaining thanks to well-paced direction, some competent character development, and the presence of Gillian Anderson in the pivotal role as a take-no-prisoners corporate CEO.”
But The Hollywood Reporter took no prisoners: “Crisis comes out of the chute as flat as any recent thriller on network television –actually more so. There’s barely an ounce of believability in it.
“The casting seems woeful and the acting isn’t going to get you to the second hour.”
In other HD programming news of note for the week starting June 28:
- The first of Shortland Street’s ”winter season” hours premieres on Monday (TV2, 7.00)
- The Secret Lives of Dancers kicks off its third season on Saturday (TV3, 7.00)
- Broadchurch’s finale on Sunday (TV One, 8.30) precedes the two-hour season finale of Person of Intereston Monday (TV One, 8.30)
- Mark Ruffalo, Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden, Michael Sheen and Ed Sheeran guest on Fr >Whip It (TV2, 11.55 Saturday), Snow White and the Huntsman (TV3, 8.20 Sunday), The Woman in Black(TV2, 10.30 Sunday), In Time(TV3, 8.30 Monday) andTwilight (TV2, 9.45 Friday).