Tonight in HD: February 15

Season premiere: Sons of Anarchy (TV3, 9.15, 5.1) Clay, Jax and the other jailed SAMCRO members are released after a 14-month stretch and return to Charming — and a rude welcome from the new sheriff. But at least the critics were welcoming: “There’s all the slamming violence you might want in your gas-fumed escapism, mingled with real-world difficulties” (Entertainment Weekly); “The good news for Sons of Anarchy fans is that series creator Kurt Sutter leaves no doubt that he’s put the series back on solid ground in season four and, in turn, delivers all of the larger-than-life storytelling that viewers mop up” (The Hollywood Reporter); “The show hasn’t just returned to its setting of Charming, California. It also returns, slowly, to Jax’s realisation that he doesn’t want his life to be Abel’s, and that he wants a way out” (Time). Indeed, he tells Tara: “I’m done with SAMCRO. The bond that holds this club together isn’t about love or brotherhood anymore. We lost that a long time ago. It’s just fear and greed now.” ✭✭✭✭

Happy Endings (TV2, 9.00) In the US, season two opened to a better reception than the first: "In its second season, Endings has clicked as one of prime-time's most sophisticated ensemble comedies," People Weekly said. Concurred Entertainment Weekly: "It's not perfect (why must the characters refer to themselves in the third person?), but hey, neither was Friends when it started." But TV Guide was less effusive: "The largely chemistry-free ensemble of this under-inspired Friends wannabe has exactly two funny standouts, both luckily showcased in the season opener: Casey Wilson as the insecure Penny, who moves into her own condo (declaring it 'the year of Penny,' because these characters are always referring to themselves in self-aware sitcom-speak) and then frets that she's falling into a 'sad spinster' trap; and Adam Pally as slovenly gay guy Max, who overreacts when he thinks his buddy Brad is shunning him because he's not 'professional' enough. I've tried to give this one the benefit of the doubt, but when they take a swipe at The Good Wife (of all shows to act superior toward), that's crossing the line." ✭✭✭

Friends (TV2, 6.30, R) Phoebe is discovered by a record producer, who wants to make a Smelly Cat video; Joey considers moving back in with Chandler, but he has a new roommate. ✭✭✭✭

Shortland Street (TV2, 7.00) Daniel makes a secret arrangement; Brooke struggles with jealousy; Jasmine puts Wendy in the firing line. ✭✭✭

Two and a Half Men (TV2, 7.30) Walden’s ex-wife visits. Judy Greer guest stars. ✭✭

SPCA Rescue (TV One, 8.00) Season premiere: Inspectors get tough with a hoarder who refuses to let them check her animals; a pregnant dachshund needs emergency surgery; a field officer goes on a wild goose chase to save a wounded bird. ✭✭✭

2 Broke Girls (TV2, 8.00) Max gets upset when Caroline keeps meddling in her business and steals her break-up scene. ✭✭

Winners & Losers (TV One, 8.30) Jenny chases popularity; Frances plays house with Zach; Bec tries to keep a burgeoning relationship under wraps. ✭✭

The Big Bang Theory (TV2, 8.30) Amy is caught in a battle of wills between Sheldon and Penny; Leonard tries to spice up his long-distance relationship with Priya, who has moved back to India. ✭✭✭✭

Harry’s Law (TV One, 9.30) Harry teams up with Ollie to defend a teenage girl who cruelly outs a closeted lesbian classmate, resulting in suicide. ✭✭

The Walking Dead (TV2, 9.30) Coming to the aid of another, Rick discovers a possible safe haven; Shane must go on a dangerous mission to get badly needed medical supplies. ✭✭✭✭

Nikita (TV2, 10.30) Michael goes after the terrorist who killed his family, and Nikita decides to help him. When Percy learns of her involvement, he sends agents to kill her, compromising the mission. ✭✭

CSI: New York (TV3, 11.20, 5.1, R) Season six opens with Mac’s team recovering from a hail of machine-gun fire aimed at them a month earlier while they were at a local bar. ✭✭✭

Sky Movies Premiere: Paul (Sky 22, 8.30, 5.1) So lame is most of the humour in this Close Encounters of the Nerd Kind spoof that you could be forgiven for thinking Simon Pegg and Nick Frost had phoned in their screenplay from home. They play comic-book geeks touring the UFO hotspots of America when they pick up a hitchhiking ET with an attitude who’s being pursued by men in black. Most of the gags are at the alien-probe level but bright performances, stunning locations and fun creature effects make Paul less appalling that it might have been. ✭✭✭

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