Tonight in HD: December 19

SoHo Highlight: Game of Thrones (Sky 10, 8.30, 5.1) Ned makes a fateful decision; Robb takes a prized prisoner; Dany finds her reign imperilled. “This episode was made of sadness and shock,” the Wall Street Journal warned while Entertainment Weekly declared it “delivers one of the most shocking twists in TV history”. “If Game of Thrones wasn’t based on a successful novel, Baelor would be one of the more audacious episodes of TV ever,” the AV Club said. “As it is, it still has a conclusion sure to blow the minds (and break the hearts) of all us non-initiated fans. The episode itself, while terrific, was not quite as fast-paced as a lot of the latter half of the season has been. But it’s impossible to criticise this show for lack of narrative thrust considering those last few minutes.” No wonder The Guardian asked: “Unexpected deaths, mayhem, misery and plenty of shocks – can you wait for next week’s finale?” ✭✭✭✭✭

Special: Prep & Landing (TV2, 7.00, R) After working for 227 years preparing homes for Santa’s arrival, an elf named Wayne wonders if all his efforts make any difference – until he’s sent on a very special mission. Features the voices of Sarah Chalke and Dave Foley. ✭✭✭

Modern Family (TV3, 7.00, 5.1, R) Phil reluctantly agrees to get rid of the Dunphy station wagon, which prompts a wave of nostalgia for the old car. ✭✭✭✭

Criminal Minds (TV One, 8.30, R) When an ex-con boldly escapes BAU custody and begins a killing spree, the team must profile his criminal career in order to stop him. ✭✭

The Mentalist (TV2, 8.30, F) Double-episode season finale: Patrick Jane comes face-to-face with Red John after the identity of the CBI informant is finally revealed. Wondered Entertainment Weekly: “Red John revealed! But do you believe it?” After viewing the shocking outcome, you may wish to read this interview with creator Bruno Heller. ✭✭

Movie: Shooter (TV3, 8.30, R) Mark Wahlberg plays an ex-Marine “shooter” who’s lured back into service to serve his country by thwarting an assassination of the President only to find he’s the patsy. Director Antoine Fuqua (Brooklyn’s Finest, Training Day) can’t stop Shooter from self-destructing in an overkill of violence, improbability and George W Bush-bashing but it’s worth sighting for its exceptional action sequences and location work. (2007) ✭✭✭

Shameless (TV2, 11.00) Desperate to come up with a plan to pay two goons looking for the $6000 that he owes, Frank stumbles onto a risky solution that might work – if his family goes along with it. ✭✭✭✭

Sky Movies: Sanctum (Sky 20, 8.30, 5.1) Sanctum hits rock bottom in its first half-hour but the wretchedly written and acted set-up is worth enduring for the gripping subterranean scenario: a tropical storm traps cave divers in a South Pacific labyrinth from which there seems no escape. Ignore the lame characterisations and immerse yourself in the suspenseful underwater sequences. Richard Roxburgh, Rhys Wakefield and Ioan Gruffudd star. (2010) ✭✭

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