Count­ing Down­ton

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Eguide Television - TIM MARTAIN

JUDG­ING by the nu­mer­ous empty spots in the TV sched­ules this week and the switch over from new episodes to re­peats all over the place, the big three are pre­par­ing for the next big push in this year’s rat­ings war.

South­ern Cross is about to start screen­ing se­ries two of the mas­sive hit Down­ton Abbey, so 7TWO is re­play­ing all of sea­son one in dou­ble- episode in­stal­ments start­ing tonight at 8.30pm.

Mean­while, it is back to re­peats of Bones and Cas­tle on Sun­day nights.

TDT ap­pears to have filled much of its sched­ule with re­peats of NCIS and Law & Or­der dur­ing the later parts of the evening, most likely as place- hold­ers for its im­mi­nent se­ries re­turns like Off­spring.

WIN has re­gressed to end­less re­peats of The Big Bang The­ory for the early evenings and empty slots for later times, which will prob­a­bly have been filled by the time this goes to print – Chan­nel 9’ s sta­ble of chan­nels has been is­su­ing up to a dozen amend­ments a day lately.

Those highly pro­moted new sea­son episodes of The Men­tal­ist are still switch­ing nights with de­press­ing reg­u­lar­ity and it’s of­ten im­pos­si­ble to keep track.

So it has been pretty hard to re­li­ably pick high­lights this week, as they tend to change as soon as they are plugged into the sched­ule.

The empty spots in the guide might be filled by the time you read this, but things are cer­tain to be shuf­fled around in com­ing weeks as the chan­nels play that weird bluff- dou­ble- bluff game that pro­gram­ming di­rec­tors love to play – each wait­ing to see what the other has planned.

But April 1 also marks the start of sea­son two of the ob­ses­sion- cre­at­ing HBO se­ries Game of Thrones in the US, so any­one with an in­ter­net down­load­ing habit will prob­a­bly ig­nore the tele­vi­sion com­pletely as they count down the sec­onds un­til they can grab the lat­est episode di­rect from Amer­ica.

Lo­cally, the first episode of sea­son two pre­mieres on Aus­tar chan­nel Show­case on April 10, which is good news for those who: a) have pay- TV; and b) are will­ing to tol­er­ate the week- and- a- bit de­lay be­tween the US pre­miere and the Aus­tralian pre­miere of each episode.

What do you no­tice here? The big- ticket drama se­ries Game of Thrones has a def­i­nite pre­miere date for HBO in the US, which has been set in stone for some time.

The Aus­tralian FTA net­works, how­ever, only of­fer a vague ‘‘ com­ing soon’’ with no fixed date to look for­ward to, and end­lessly shuf­fle things around, usu­ally show­ing ‘‘ new’’ episodes many months past their US re­lease and mud­dling re­peats in with the new episodes.

De­spite changes in the way we watch TV these days, peo­ple are still in­ter­ested in ‘‘ ap­point­ment TV’’, mak­ing time on par­tic­u­lar nights to watch the lat­est episode of some­thing they re­ally en­joy.

Even the down­load­ers wait­ing for pi­rated copies of Amer­i­can shows to hit the web so they can watch them im­me­di­ately are proof of that.

So come on guys, how about a lit­tle cer­tainty for a change? No­body likes be­ing strung along and stood up.

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