Seven's new Intelligence is a sci-fi thriller with attitude
TV TRAGIC: Gabriel Vaughn has a rogue agent for a wife, a whole lot of attitude - and a chip in his head.
In fact this special ops agent played by Lost's Josh Holloway is the United States' most valuable piece of technology and its secret weapon, the first human connected to the information grid and an agent with special forces training.
Everyone wants him, or wants that chip that allows Gabriel to hack into anything, track anyone and even unlock doors, all in the name of fighting terrorism and crime and keeping his country safe.
In fact he's a superhero and Seven's new Intelligence is a superhero series disguised as an espionage/Sci-Fi thriller.
And for those worried this is a slicker version of Chuck, Intelligence is a far different beast.
Unlike Chuck who's lead character is an ordinary guy except for the data he's inadvertently downloaded into his head, Gabriel has the skills to fight his way out of nasty situations.
We meet him in the pilot allowing himself to be arrested so he can plant a computer virus in a secret base. He then uses his chip to unlock a door before turning to his special ops skills to escape armed men.
Later we watch Gabriel walk through a three-dimensional snapshot of a scene or captured memory in his head so that he can analyse small details. It's called cyber-rendering, or "like a dream" as Gabriel puts it.
But for all his "powers" our secret weapon is not quite tame. In fact Gabriel is reckless and doesn't follow procedure. Worse, he's obsessed with finding his wife, an agent who may have gone rogue while undercover.
So United States Cyber Command director Lillian Strand (Marg Helgenberger) assigns a Secret Service agent Riley Neal (Meghan Ory) to protect Gabriel from outside threats - and from himself.
The conflict and banter between them underpins this series with Riley taking her role as "handler" seriously but Gabriel taking risks. Gabriel's hunt for the truth about his wife and his connection with the evil Mei Chen are also strong elements to the series.
Intelligence is comfortable viewing with plenty of action. It's underlying theme boils down to good versus evil and although it doesn't push boundaries it remains reasonably true to its name. It's also heaps of escapist fun.
Holloway has a big fan base from his role as James "Sawyer" Ford in Lost. He's appealing as Gabriel and his shirtless scenes where he shows off a muscular body can't help but be appreciated by female fans.
There's some question as to whether CBS in the US will renew Intelligence for a second season. We think it deserves time to build up a loyal viewership.
INTELLIGENCE is next showing on Seven on Tuesday night at 9.50pm.
WHAT WE'RE WATCHING THIS WEEK
DEATH IN PARADISE, Saturday, April 26, 7.30pm, ABC1
A LIGHT-HEARTED murder mystery series which has delightful characters and a wonderful Caribbean island setting.
This week, DI Goodman (Kris Marshall) and his team are drawn into the world of politics when Saint-Marie's scandal-ridden Commerce Minister Jacob Doran (Simon Shepherd), is discovered dead.
KOKODA, Saturday, April 26, 8.30pm, SBS ONE
NEW Guinea, 1942. Australia is at war with Japan. A small platoon of Australian soldiers from the 39th battalion have been set as a forward patrol far outside the perimeter of Isurava, a village on the Kokoda track. After sustained bombardment and initial attacks from the Japanese, the men are cut off from their supply lines and all communications.
Isolated in the jungle behind enemy lines, they must make their way back through the most unforgiving terrain on earth to get to safety and the main body of Australian troops.
PARER'S WAR, Sunday, April 27, 8.30pm, ABC1
IT'S 1942 - Darwin has been bombed and 29-year-old, war time cinematographer Damien Parer (Matt Le Nevez), is filming Australian troops as they fight the Japanese on the deadly razorback ridges of New Guinea.
Risking his own life, Damien is determined to make the film that will shake Australians out of their complacency and let them know that the war is on their doorstep.
Based on the lives of real people and actual events, Parer's War tells the story of a man caught between two worlds and battling with his emotions.
Allegiances form, strengths and weaknesses emerge, and leadership battles threaten to destroy the group, as the going gets tougher and tougher.
After three days with no food or sleep, carrying their wounded, and suffering the effects of dysentery and malaria, they emerge from the jungle exhausted to the point of collapse. But on learning that Isurava is about to fall they pick themselves up and rejoin the battle.
THE GODS OF WHEAT STREET, Saturday, April 26, 8.30pm, ABC1
AN intimate journey into the lives, hearts and humour of the Freeburns - a modern Aboriginal family of local legends. The GODS of Wheat Street is about letting go of the past, with the aid of a little magic and enough deadpan humour to tackle the future.
During the six-part series, we follow the trials and tribulations of Odin Freeburn and his family as they rise above obstacles that would bring mere mortals to their knees - and get on with the important matters of love, family and football.
VIKINGS, Monday, April 28, 8.35pm, SBS ONE
THIS is bold, gritty and powerful storytelling and worth a look. Vikings was SBS's highest rating drama of 2013.
It tells the story of legendary Viking Ragnar Lothbok (Aussie Travis Fimmel). Ragnar Lothbok has risen to the rank of Earl, and with more power than ever before, his desire to continue to conquer the lands of the west is burning, spurred by his new alliance with King Horrik (Donal Logue). Yet there is a price to pay.
THE WALKING DEAD, Tuesday, April 29, 9.25pm, SBS 2 (13-part series)
IN the hugely popular Golden Globe winning zombie drama series The Walking Dead, sheriff Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) leads a group of survivors in a world ravaged by a zombie apocalypse.
FARGO, Thursday, May 1, 8.30pm, SBS One (new series premiere, double episode)
SBS is bringing Fargo - a new 10-part series inspired by the classic 1990's film of the same name - to Australian screens only weeks after its US debut.
With the film's masterminds Joel and Ethan Coen as executive producers, the series boasts a cast led by the inimitable Billy Bob Thornton (Sling Blade), as well as Hollywood heavyweights Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, The Office), Colin Hanks (Mad Men, Dexter) and Bob Odenkirk (Breaking Bad). Fargo follows an all-new "true" crime case with new characters, all entrenched in the trademark humour, murder and "Minnesota nice" that made the Academy Award-winning film an enduring classic.