Big deal: <i>Highway Through Hell</i>.

Big deal: Highway Through Hell.

FREE TO AIR

Highway Through Hell, ABC2, 7.30pm

"You need big iron to deal with big iron," says big Jamie Davis, whose job it is to clear the high mountain passes of British Columbia when one of the thousands of freight trucks that use its highways each day comes a cropper. When his right-hand man Kevin turns up to an accident in the middle of the night without basic safety cones or two-way radios, the sparks fly. The jobs are dangerous, working in sub-zero conditions in the dark, among twisted metal and busted glass and highway traffic on icy roads. But the really big issue in this ep is the safety concerns raised when Jamie's 16-year-old son and sidekick Brandon gets a piercing he won't remove. Big Canadians doing big, dangerous jobs should be more exciting than this.

Nature's Classroom: An Australian Outback Adventure, SBSOne, 7.30pm

In this odd little outing a French couple up sticks for seven months to travel to Australia (via Africa) and introduce their kids to the local wildlife. Mum Miriam is an ethnologist, dad Luc a natural history documentary maker. They spend their days filming, drawing and hopping about, learning about the seasons and cycles of life, and going nuts over kangaroos, emus and shingleback lizards. The family's dialogue is dubbed and weirdly literal, which sounds unnatural when trying to capture the daughter's manner of speech which is, you know, French and teeny and all breathy and punctuated with, like, colloquialisms. Still, this is a cute and informative exercise that shows a family bonding and getting out and doing stuff, even if their excitability about animals we think of as ordinary is a bit OTT.

Doc Martin, ABC1, 7.40pm

After six seasons, Doc Martin (Martin Clunes) is still gruff and ill-tempered, his severe and strangled bedside manner untempered by the sea air and green hills of Cornwall. Nor has fatherhood made him less awkward with other sentient beings; he cradles his infant James like he's a bundle of loosely wrapped oranges about to spill as he tries to balance on the bow of a rocking boat. But as a doctor he's efficient and effective, which comes in handy when a man is found unconscious among the rocks of Portwenn's harbour. The man skedaddles and the doc's aunt, Ruth, coincidentally acquires a stalker.

GORDON FARRER


PAY TV

Justified, FX, 7.30pm

It's hard to say whether Justified is getting better by the week or merely maintaining the level of excellence that has made it one of the very best shows of the decade so far. One thing that the lowlifes of Harlan County, Kentucky, should have learnt long before this ripping fifth season is that you shouldn't mess with deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant). Another is that under no circumstances whatsoever should you mess with the charismatic but stone-cold criminal Boyd Crowder (the ever-brilliant Walton Goggins). Tonight Ava (Joelle Carter), having been framed by a psycho warder, is transferred to a new prison. This means that Boyd has to take time out from his negotiations with a Mexican drug cartel to visit an old neo-Nazi pal to try to get her some protection. Boyd has been besieged on all fronts of late, but, you'd be mad to bet against him pulling off another bloody coup. With even the minor characters being as fascinating, fully fleshed and integral to the drama as the leads, Justified is a rare delight.

Scott & Bailey, UKTV, 8.30pm

An intriguing, well-written start to a two-part mystery in which Manchester detectives Janet Scott (Lesley Sharp) and Rachel Bailey (Suranne Jones) investigate a grisly murder while trying to deal with family dramas.

BRAD NEWSOME


MOVIES

The Driver (1978) Nine, 1.50am (Sunday)

While Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive (2011) dazzled many viewers, it also infuriated grumpy old critics for being a rip-off of a fabulous Walter Hill film, The Driver. Yes, films need to be remade, but it seems not unreasonable for them to be properly acknowledged and, hopefully, better made.

Hill's movie is about a man known as The Driver (Ryan O'Neal), who expertly handles getaway cars in robberies. He is pursued in a Crime and Punishment manner by The Detective (Bruce Dearn), who later attempts to lure The Driver into a trap. The Player (Isabelle Adjani) is the woman who may be The Driver's salvation or Achilles heel.

The Driver is actually inspired by a French classic, Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Samourai. In each, the driver lives inside his head, barely connecting with or interested in the outside world. Human emotion is what he fears will be his undoing.

Le Samourai is ice-cool with its polished gloss, elegant technique and near-wordless intensity. The Driver is much the same, one of the few American films to take a European film and honour it intelligently.

For decades, The Driver has only been available in poor-quality prints shown very late at night on television and the odd dodgy DVD. Last year the gods smiled and a radiant Blu-ray was released.

It certainly isn't for everyone, and the ad breaks will do its slow-burn intensity no favours, but for anyone interested in existential crime thrillers - and a hypnotic performance from that most-underrated of actors, Ryan O'Neal - this will more than reward your interest.

Wedding Crashers (2005) Nine, 9pm

The story of two divorce mediators (Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughan) with a fetish for weddings, David Dobkin's Wedding Crashers is often hilarious and intermittently touching. Set in Washington and East Maryland, the film is luscious to the eye. The dialogue ranges from predictable crudeness to incisive wit.

SCOTT MURRAY