This week the M-Net Movies Premiere channel 103 on DStv underwent a bit of a scheduling shuffle, something which has been long overdue, I reckon.
The idea is to present a new movie (or miniseries episode) every night, loosely themed. I would not consider this cast in stone, since you may have noticed the former Drama & Romance channel (107) is now just Romance, but its movies are not. As I am writing this, I have the EPG up in front of me for this past Wednesday, which had The Walking Dead (the 1995 movie, not the series, which you can still watch on FOX every week night) and Single White Female. With not even the greatest stretches of imagination could either of those be called romances.
Anyway, we’re focusing on Premiere for now. The new format changes from the three or four new movies every Friday, and the Sunday night premiere, which would then just be repeated throughout the week. Most of these have been made available on the Explora catch-up as well, where you notice a disturbing abundance of horror and alien titles, mixed in with a few overly sentimental dramas and a sprinkling of family fare. Explora catch-up also puts up old movies like the Men In Black series and Jurassic Park, while the Girl With The… trilogy pops up repeatedly. This is not all up to the content controllers, but to do with licensing rights.
Until now, the Friday and Saturday, as well as Sunday and Monday, line-ups on Premiere have been identical – same movies, same times. Highly annoying. This has been rectified for Friday and Saturday (this week, anyway), but sit on those jazz hands for now – Premiere new movies they may be, but Jack Reacher is still on this Sunday at 8.30pm.
Most of the content during the week comes out of the “where-the-heck-did-they-find-that?” bin, with not much that graced the big screen in the past year. So this is the plan: Mondays are variety, Tuesdays are nouveau, Wednesday are miniseries (which the channel has been quietly screening here and there for months without fanfare), comedy on Thursdays, action on Fridays, animation and family titles on Saturdays and, of course, blockbusters on Sundays.
And in that last day lies your clue. I suspect this move is to fulfil the contractual obligation to screen the rubbish movies that come as part of the package from studios and distributors, and predict that it will now take even longer for the decent stuff to migrate from Box Office.
The Tomorrow People is on a break until January 24, and previous episodes will be repeated in the 8.30pm time slot on M-Net on Fridays until then. Beauty And The Beast (M-Net, Saturdays at 7pm) is also on holiday until January 25. In its place tomorrow will be a double bill of Elementary. The first episode is about a chief executive who is poisoned, followed by the mystery of the death of a former mob assassin.
And Ellen De Generes’ show is now off until January 13 (M-Net Series Reality, weekdays 6.30pm) and the timeslot will be filled with repeat episodes until then.
Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (M-Net, Wednesdays at 8.30pm) will be off until February 12, with repeats of previous episodes in that time slot until then.
Broadchurch - M-Net Series Showcase, 9pm
This series has received critical acclaim, been booked for a second season, and picked for a US remake – yay. When the quiet seaside town of Broadchurch in Dorset is rocked by the murder of 11-year-old Danny Latimer, Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller is upset when Superintendent Jenkinson hires Detective Inspector Alec Hardy to head up the investigation. Having known the Latimer family quite well for some years, Ellie has to deal with her personal struggles, as well as with those people whose lives have been destroyed by Danny’s death.
In the week
Super Fun Night - M-Net, Monday, 6pm
A sitcom about three nerdy female friends in their mid- to late twenties on their “funcomfortable” quest to have fun every Friday night, which they have been doing for 13 years. Wikipedia says the show got “mixed reviews”, then proceeds with: “Review aggregator Rotten Tomato gives the series a score of 33 percent based on 40 reviews, with an average rating of 4.9 out of 10 and the consensus: ‘Despite the presence of the funny and talented Rebel Wilson, Super Fun Night is overreliant on tired, clichéd weight jokes.’
The New York Daily News gave the show two stars out of five and said it was “not all that much fun”. Brian Lowry of Variety gave the show a negative review, calling Wilson’s US accent “uncomfortable” and the material “slight”. Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter gave the show a negative review. Doesn’t sound very mixed to me.
Brooklyn Nine Nine - Vuzu, Monday at 7pm
I’m confused. The e-mail from the channel PR highlights this as a new show from next Monday, yet then gives the synopsis for the sixth episode. That’s because it seems to have been on for five weeks. Andre Braugher stars as tightly-wound captain Ray Holt who takes over Brooklyn’s 99th precinct, which includes Jake Peralta, a talented but carefree detective who’s used to doing whatever he wants.
Hostages - M-Net, Tuesday, 8.30pm
This one went on a short little break, missing just one week, and is back with the episode “Fight Or Flight”. The series concludes the week after with a double bill. Now that she has been caught kissing Duncan, Ellen tells him she will not kill the president, but will help him get what he needs in return for something she wants. Meanwhile, after Brian told her about Duncan’s plan, Nina flees the hospital.
Dexter - M-Net, Tuesday, 9.30pm
The final episodes of this last season will be screened as a double bill. Dexter is torn between taking out the Brain Surgeon for good and fleeing the country with Hannah. A hurricane is brewing, which is a not so subtle metaphor for the turmoil Dexter and his family are experiencing.
The Vampire Diaries - M-Net Series Showcase, Tuesday, 8pm
In the fourth season, Elena finally became a vampire. In the season five premiere, Elena – her relationship with Damon intact – goes to Whitmore College with Caroline, excited about having a normal college experience, but their good time ends badly when their roommate is murdered by what seems to be another vampire. Damon is left to take care of Jeremy, who has trouble adjusting back into school after telling everyone he faked his own death, while at the same time pretending to be Bonnie, who is still dead. Just go with it.