Sea Patrol

Nine's Hammersley boat sails back to screen with its vista backdrops, naval action and soapie sub-plots.

sp3_ep5aLast year was a shining year for Australian drama. We had it all: Underbelly, City Homicide, Packed to the Rafters, Rush, East of Everything, Bed of Roses, Satisfaction and many more. While they weren’t all worthy of a place in the Hall of Fame, we were spoiled rotten.

Now that Nine has Underbelly in hiatus, all eyes are on its returning, glossy flagship, Sea Patrol. When the series first began two seasons ago, it was clear there was real money up there on the screen.

Two years on there have been subtle tweaks by producers. It remains a mix of action and soap, but the balance appears to have shifted for the better. Now there is more action over melodrama. We open on the high seas, in the middle of a rogue boat aimed directly for an Australian oil rig and refusing to yield. No time for backstory here. As the HMAS Hammersley’s orders are ignored, they are forced to take things into their own hands.

From here the show flips immediately into its soapie tones, with a romantic tryst between two central characters. It’s a little earnest, but I suppose it will appeal to the masses. In the first episode one character will also die. Guess they had a better offer this year?

Aside from its robust scenes on the high seas, Sea Patrol is blessed with some good performers. Jeremy Lindsay-Taylor as ‘Buffer’ is a gruff, hard-hitting alpha-male and absolutely believable as an officer you wouldn’t want to mess with (well, not in that way anyway). TV darling Lisa McCune also hits her strides in an action role belying an underlying vulnerability. Ian Stenlake will need to show his mettle if we are to believe he is worthy of another year as commander. Cheekily, even Robert Coleby from the ABC’s 1979-1983 drama Patrol Boat makes an appearance.

This drama is most effective in its action scenes on location. Right now there’s really nothing else on the box that goes there physically or dramatically with such confidence. I rather wish it was even tougher – Wildside on a boat would have been a great brief. Instead, in keeping with its sales to international broadcasters, including Hallmark, it doesn’t quite race over the line.

Sea Patrol is broadly aimed at a wide audience who should enjoy its vista locations, action scenes and soapie storylines.

4_starsSea Patrol returns 8.30pm Monday on Channel Nine.

14 Responses

  1. Ken Green –
    If Sea Patrol didn’t have the exciting storylines they have, it would be a boring, low-rating show. And if you’re so bored while watching Sea Patrol as to look at their badges and medals, you may want to stop watching. Depicting the exact life on a patrol boat would be boring. I certainly wouldn’t watch it if the story lines were not this exciting – even being a Lisa McCune and Nikolai Nikolaeff fan!

  2. should be interesting to see how it rates over the next few weeks Only Real Opposition they really face is SBS Southpark and Flight of the Conchords and those are off for a few weeks Damn Ashes Tests!!!!!.The Desperate Housewives Lot need not apply

  3. I think the producers need to improve thier continuity.
    Cast, with medals mounted in the wrong order.
    Incorrect badges worn.
    The cast try hard, but its not a true depiction of patrol boat lif.
    Story lines over the top, if young people join the navy hoping to have an exciting time, like the Hammersley crew, they are going to be very dissappionted. Most patrols are just boring routine.
    Don’t get me wrong, the navy is a great life.
    The ABC series of Patrol Boat, was excellent & ran true to the mark.
    I think it is time, for the ABC to do a series again.
    Regards Ken (Ex-RANR)

  4. I agree about Lisa McCune leaving a lot to be desired as a Naval Officer, she makes all female officers in the R.A.N look stupid. It’s great to see that Jeremy has taken the time to research his role,and he does a superb job

  5. I don’t know about Sea Patrol this year, after just the first episode we have killed of a main character, and had a monkey on board that was part of a pirate ship crew. there is only so much that you can do on the high seas.

    Maybe some people smuggling needs to take place on sea patrol that would be a good plot.

  6. Sorry Michael i have to disagree with your comment about Lisa McCune…

    yes Ian does do an extrodinary job for his character but Lisa’s character allows her to do much more. Mike (ian) doesnt leave the ship and is restricted to what he can do on the Bridge, where as Kate (Lisa) is more able to extend her character as she leaves the ship on the RHIB’s and is on boarding parties etc.

    Cant wait for Season 3!!!!

    Thanks David, a main character/actor/ress interview during the season would be nice! haha

  7. I think Ian Stenlake does quite a good job as the Captain certainly better than Lisa McCune; the bulk head would be more convincing as a naval officer! I’ll agree that Jeremy Lindsay-Taylor’s character is probably the most interesting in the cast.

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