Natural leader: Gary Foley.
FREE TO AIR
Persons of Interest: Gary Foley, SBS One, 8.30pm
It's Gary Foley's turn to face accusations made against him in his ASIO dossier. Foley started out as an Aboriginal activist in the 1960s, building the push for native rights in a country that had little interest in the issue, riding the wave of Black Power rolling across the world from the United States. Foley was a firebrand speaker with a rock-star styling and a natural leader. Dedicated to his cause, he called for action - violent, if necessary - to redress injustices. Delving into his security file, we get an insight into a period of history fed by the stirring of a new social conscience, fuelled by establishment paranoia. We hear from a string of public figures who caught ASIO's attention and can't help sniggering at the fears their activities fostered. Foley's reunion with former head of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, Barrie Dexter, who thought Foley planned to kill him, is a sweet climax to the episode. This is a superb series, rich with raw material and insight into hidden corners of our history.
Hard Time, ABC2, 9.30pm
Atlanta's Metro State Prison is run on a tough paramilitary-style model. Newbies enter boot camp when they arrive and are broken down through marching drills, intense authority enforcement and the removal of individual rights, before being moved into the general prison population, where they must fend for themselves among the lifers, chronic rule-breakers and other violent offenders. Julie is on her third trip inside, knows how to play the system and feels right at home. Amy went from straight-A student with a loving family to party drug user to heroin addict and thief, and has five years of hell to look forward to. She seems too frail to survive, but is determined to turn herself around. It's a system that offers tough love at its toughest. Whether it improves lives or just fosters resentment is unclear.
By Any Means, ABC1, 9.30pm
It's an appealing idea - a team of crack coppers who work in a grey zone to redress monumental injustices the legal system fails to catch. It's hip and cool, technology-driven and too clever for its own good, and the plot is riddled with holes. Set that aside and this piece of fluff is an amusing diversion. Tonight, the team targets a property tycoon who got away with murder when he had a housing block torched, killing innocents.
Darren McMullen's Outsiders, Nat Geo Adventure, 8.30pm
Darren McMullen, host of The Voice, is travelling across Europe investigating all sorts of weird and wonderful subcultures. What better place to start than with the Bronies, those obsessive adult fans of the children's cartoon series My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Relentlessly stereotyped across the internet as socially inept sad cases, the Bronies find great joy in their fandom and great comfort in the welcoming, non-judgmental community they have made for themselves. McMullen heads to Manchester to get the lowdown at a gathering of hundreds of Bronies from across Europe. Then it's off to Spain for a religious procession in which pilgrims are carried through the streets in open coffins, and on to Sweden to meet up with a Finnish Viking metal band. Looks like an interesting series.
True Detective, Showcase, 8.30pm
As Louisiana homicide detectives Rust Cohle and Martin Hart (Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson) hunt for the perpetrator of the central murder, we learn more about both of them. Most interesting is how Cohle's exposure to drug chemicals in his undercover days left him prone to hallucinations. Well rendered in computer-generated imagery, they don't come off gimmicky; they just add more texture to an already compelling series.
The Road to Hong Kong (1962) 7TWO, 3pm
It is a little-known fact that the first two men to fly around the moon were Harry Turner and Chester Babcock. These two flimflam men were in Calcutta in the early 1960s, trying to make a fortune out of Try It Yourself Inc, the corporation behind self-propelled flight.
In this case, it was a small spinning propeller on your helmet and a larger one on your bottom. It didn't work, of course, but Harry and Chester were such incompetent shysters that they did end up pioneering interplanetary travel. Bing Crosby and Bob Hope had great success with the silly and daggily irresistible Road to … films, starting with Road to Singapore (1940). Many were happy, though, when the series petered out with 1952's Road to Bali (which opens in Darwin). However, the British, who then lived on cinema corn (the Doctor and Carry On films, for example), decided a decade later to fly everyone from Los Angeles to London and give it one last try. It starts well with a title sequence from James Bond's Maurice Binder, before retreating into obvious retreads of all that had gone before. But who should begrudge two legends their fun, svelte Dorothy Lamour a brief return, countless stars (including Peter Sellers and David Niven) their cameos, and the scriptwriters the chance to write, ''The Italians have landed'', when Harry and Chester see Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra?
The Mango Tree (1977) ABC1, 12.26am (Wednesday)
From the golden years of Australian cinema comes this adaptation of Ronald McKie's The Mango Tree. It is not director Ken Hannam's most spirited or defining period drama, but it is quietly engaging and contains from Geraldine Fitzgerald what Australia's authority on British cinema, Brian McFarlane, calls ''one of the most luminous performances by an actress in Australian film''.