HDTV Heads-Up: February 25-March 2
As of the last week in February, Coronation Street will be the only free-to-air primetime serial still screening in SD.
TV2′s Shortland Street has been in HD for more than a year while TV3′s Home & Away will make the switch on February 27, in time for Bianca and Liam’s wedding.
The news is not so good for Coro St fans: TVNZ is not committing to when, or even if, the Manchester soap will air here in HD.
“If and when it is delivered to us in HD at no extra cost, then yes, it’s likely it will run in HD,” acquisitions chief Andrew Shaw told ScreenScribe.tv late last year.
In the UK, HD transmissions started with the siege at Underworld, when Tony held Carla and Hayley at gunpoint; these episodes screened on TV One in December.
Home & Away’s changeover coincides with TV3 resuming HD commission The Almighty Johnsons, on February 29, and launching the dino-mite Steven Spielberg production, Terra Nova, four days earlier.
The Almighty Johnsons is switching nights, from 9.30pm Mondays to 8.30pm Wednesdays, in the hope it will shore up mid-week viewership after a run of flops in that slot.
Its male-skewed humour will provide a sharp contrast to TV One’s Winners & Losers and a compatible lead-in to popular bikie drama Sons of Anarchy.
The first series, which averaged a 9.8 rating and 25.7% share in TV3’s target 25-54 demographic, had only a 10-week run whereas there are 13 episodes in season two.
Terra Nova will launch with a two-hour episode, at 7.30pm on February 25.
Said The Washington Post: “Even with a lavish two-hour premiere, Terra Nova could stand to slow down and admire the world it has taken us to — Earth, 85 million years ago. Still and all, it’s a dazzling debut, with a variety of compelling mysteries to get itself going.”
But the Miami Herald argued: “By the end of a couple of episodes, most viewers will be wishing Spielberg and his henchmen had spent more time on scripts and less on special effects, even if it meant splicing old outtakes of Barney and Friends into the action sequences.”