HD Highlights: September 11

SoHo Highlight: Strike Back (Sky 10, 8.30, 5.1) In the season-two premiere, Agent Scott is ordered to the Kenyan desert to secure the transfer of Keemal, a Libyan functionary seeking asylum, to British Embassy officials. As the Wall Street Journal said of this high-octane action hour: “Fun even when it’s ludicrous, forgivable when the cliches fly.” But TV Guide thought  there was “a stronger through-line in its second season as the terrorist-battling heroes of the clandestine Section 20 go on a season-long international pursuit (24-style) of a bundle of deadly nuclear triggers that passes like a Frisbee from one evil cabal to another. There’s a tough new female (the appropriately intimidating and dour Rhona Mitra) in charge of Section 20, but it’s the absurdly over-the-top machismo of countless firefights and explosions and high-body-count carnage that makes Strike Back such a cheese-tastic guilty pleasure. That plus the tendency of American soldier-of-misfortune Damien Scott (Sullivan Stapleton) to graphically shag any exotic temptress in his path between bloody engagements, which often involve capture and torture and reckless rescue capers.”  Closer to home, the NZ Herald reckons “while it’s not a deep psychological spy thriller, like Homeland for example, it’s a gritty show about humanity, and more importantly, survival.” ✭✭✭✭

Coastwatch (TV One, 7.30)  Boaties come to grief in the Waitemata Harbour; fuel supply becomes critical on a rescue flight; and Auckland Fisheries is out in force to net those not sticking to the rules. ✭✭✭

Tricky Business (TV3, 8.30) When Kate confirms that Rick is responsible for the business accounts being fleeced, she tries to put him out of her heart and her mind. ✭✭✭

Southland (TV One, 11.05, 5.1) Ben seeks revenge when his mother’s rapist is released from prison; Lydia and Josie bump heads over a chainsaw; Sammy deals with his wife’s betrayal. “I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed watching a bunch of people trudge through the misery of their day-to-day lives as much as this week’s episode of Southland,” said Crave Online. “But Southland’s bleak tone and sobering storylines are more than just a punch in the gut. As we watch these characters attempt to reconcile their values with their often unfortunate circumstances, their choices continue to kick them in the ass. It’s watching them get to their feet, again and again that makes us want to keep rooting for them.” ✭✭✭✭✩

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