First Review: Sea Patrol II

“We’re gonna need a bigger boat” decided Nine, so they went and got it for Sea Patrol II: The Coup.

The bigger, better, faster Hammersley will be a great boon to this second series, principally because it allows more than three actors to appear in the bridge of the navy boat.

Having almost all the lead actors in the same screen space instantly allows for more stories and conflict than the predecessor ship allowed. Captain James T. Kirk never knew how lucky he was in Star Trek!

The new Hammersley is one of the subtle changes to Nine’s action drama. Another is the inclusion of Alan Dale in an ongoing subplot involving aid workers in the South Pacific.

Last season we had an ongoing romantic thread with Sibylla Budd (on-going plots actually help gain mini-series funding), this time the producers have wisely opted for a more contemporary, plot-driven device.

That said, there are still some clunky problems with the first episode of the new series. Characters still state the bleedingly obvious -a victim of adhering to Navy speak. The show is so closely seconded to the Australian Navy that heaven forbid if dramatic license overtakes realism (curiously City Homicide has no such problems given its cops are ‘State Police’ rather than ‘Victorian Police’).

The first episode encounters the early beginnings of a civil coup on a nearby island, illegal fisherman and a dog lost at sea. The latter gives rise to the line “we’ve got a $50m boat and we’re looking for a lost dog?” I couldn’t help but agree. Once more the show shies away from being hard-hitting and takes a middle ground of action, jeopardy with touches of romance and light relief. Doubtless the recipe is devised to win over the biggest possible audience. After all The Hallmark Channel is one of the show’s key partners….

Lisa McCune is once again excellent as both tough and vulnerable, Ian Stenlake is once again doing nothing other than barking orders, and Jeremy Lindsay Taylor (pictured) is offered little in the first ep. He’s one of the show’s best actors, hopefully he will get more across the series.

Alan Dale (my god, out of a suit for once!) was actually pretty disappointing with what amounted to a cameo in the first ep. Again, no doubt his best is yet to come, too.

I’m assured that some of the eps that surface later are great stuff, which is something of a risk in today’s climate. McElroy All Media appears to have taken a “steady as she goes” approach to change rather than taking hold of the wheel and firmly jumping the shark with a tougher, grittier tone.

Sea Patrol continues to benefit from heroic plots, wide open spaces, terrific vistas and stirring music. No doubt if you enjoyed the first sea cruise, you’ll be happy to set sail once more.

Sea Patrol II: The Coup premieres Monday 8:30pm on Nine.


  1. I think the show needs to focous on the other cast members. Last season there was only really the private life of Lisa and Ian. I think they need to focous on the effects of family who are waiting for their loved ones. I think that sometimes the navy jargn gets really annoying. I want to see a death this season to really get some emotion and acting out of the actors.

    Also last season, 3 episodes to the end was when mysterys started to really appear and get deep. Why was this? Did they think they might get cancelled so they don’t bring it up bring away? I think they need more action this series.

    Lastly David what ratings figures do you think this will bring in for nine?

  2. KnoxOverstreet

    Agree with keloggs87 I have no problem with the producers adhering so closely to navy speak it ads to the realism.I also agree with David re seeing some darker episodes. Just throw in one now and then to show us what you can do! Anyway great to have this brilliant series back and the addition of Alan Dale is a great move. First episode looks like a ripper!

  3. Oh, and I’d like to watch the show as I’m an Alan Dale fan, but I haven’t been able to take the show seriously since I saw a supposedly dead woman breathing in the pilot lol. 😛

  4. Actually, the first season was rated M on DVD, and from what I’d seen from the pilot episode, the rating was justified. I don’t understand why they gave it a PG in the first place as some scenes and situations were of an intensity that were too strong for the PG rating IMO.

    I don’t think the show will be any more “mature” than it was back in season 1; I just think that Nine will take the OFLC’s reasons for classifying the first season DVD M into consideration when they rate season 2.

    Season One was originally rated M for “Moderate themes, Moderate violence” however Roadshow (or whoever produces the DVD) disputed the rating, and had the rating reviewed. A separate rating body (the Classification Review Board) retained the M rating, however they issued it the somewhat more descriptive consumer advice of “Action themes, Infrequent moderate violence”.

  5. Monday is rated M yes. I guess the level of violence went up a tad in first ep. Rather see it go to MA and get darker. I just have a hard time believing naval life is this “nice.”

  6. Sorry, don’t agree. Any show that tells me something in dialogue that I’ve just seen visually is always going to be problematic with me.

    In the first ep there is a boat chase in which some culprits are almost caught by the navy team. Do we really need a line of dialogue that then says “We nearly caught them, ma’am” (paraphrasing)?

    Wherever it can the show needs to work against the constant ‘navy-speak’ I-am-saying-out-loud-what-I-am-going-to-do .

    I recognise McElroy Media has a close relationship with the navy and everybody wants to be doing everything by the book. How the producers deal with this dramatic constraint is part of their challenge.

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