Scumbus is Ed Kavalee's pet project. Photo: Simon Schluter
FREE TO AIR
Scumbus, Channel Ten, 9.30pm
HERE'S another reminder to watch this enjoyable, locally made film. Meet Thomas Murphy (Ed Kavalee). He's a cop, it's his birthday and he's the hero of this film, which means he's the straight guy in the centre of a cop comedy farce. Because this is a television comedy made in 2012, the always amusing Toby Truslove is in it, cast as Tommy's best mate, surprisingly successful playboy and all-round loveable goof Jessie. These last-chance police partners are assigned to staff the ''scumbus'', a mobile police station where the officers deal in illegal drugs and general zaniness, much to Tom's displeasure. This is a comedy telemovie, which is a rare thing for a film industry that once produced great comedies.
Gardening Australia, ABC1, 6.30pm
TONIGHT'S program showcases the five finalists for the Gardener of the Year award. One rural Victorian garden has adopted a Mediterranean landscape that has become a haven for birds and disability groups. Going a step further, a nurse has developed a horticulture therapy program in a rehabilitation centre, providing a sensory garden for all patients. Another garden near Adelaide is dedicated to plants from arid regions, while Costa visits the home of a Jervis Bay gardener who is helping to re-vegetate local dunes in the face of wind, salt and sand.
Blackout, SBS One, 8.30pm
THE second instalment of any trilogy is always tough - it's not setting up and it's not cleaning up. The worst-case scenario is a bridging chapter, dragging things out for no good reason. Blackout's second episode is the other end of the scale, ratcheting up the tension and solving obvious problems early, only to reveal far more complex threats and delicious drama. We open with Daniel (Christopher Eccleston) elected to mayor. The alcoholic, philandering, corrupt council official who last week beat a man to death in a drug-fuelled blackout before taking a bullet to save a stranger, is on top of the world, seemingly over his addictions, happy with his family and getting away with murder, all for the greater good. Then, as his blackout clears, the hurdles start coming thick and fast. This is an engaging hour watching an anti-hero discover the fragility of his reformation.
Sinbad, ABC1, 9.05pm
ISN'T it always the way? You're all set for a simple ocean cruise, then the captain's new love interest - who claims to have been raised by tigers, no less - arranges for a professor to use the boat to ship her giant egg to a deserted island for part of an experiment. And wouldn't you know it, the professor is a mad scientist and the egg's hatching midtrip? Tonight, the crew never even makes landfall, as it's all about a monstrous cargo let loose in the hold. It's a decent episode and a good variation on the one-night-on-an-island formula.
Penguins of Madagascar, Nickelodeon, 9am
NEIL Patrick Harris reprises his role as dolphin super villain Dr Blowhole in this patchy double-episode special. The first half is an enjoyable romp, with some good action sequences and funny moments. Dr Blowhole hatches a plan to steal the memories of penguin leader Skipper and use them to break in to penguin headquarters while Skipper is out of it with amnesia and marooned on a desert island. Skipper hallucinates a ''spirit guide'' in the form of Alex the Lion to help him get back to New York, but it's Dr Blowhole, his mad inventions and his lobster minions, that steal the show. The second episode is a musical, which is less entertaining but gives Harris a chance to exercise the pipes with which Broadway audiences have become so familiar.
Supercars: Pagani, National Geographic, 4.30pm
THE most unusual instalment of the series takes us inside the Italian factory - sorry, ''atelier'' - of eccentric Argentinian car designer Horacio Pagani. Pagani insists that all parts of his cars - even those hidden under the driver's seat - be beautiful works of art in their own right. Such attention to detail means that buying a new Pagani Huayra will set you back a cool €1 million ($1.3 million). The documentary follows the design and testing of the Huayra, highlighting Pagani's meticulousness and his various innovations - such as the special exhaust pipes that amplify sound, giving the turbocharged Huarya a roar worthy of its naturally aspirated predecessor, the Zonda.
New Zealand's Next Top Model, Fox8, 7.30pm
Brigette, Rosanagh and Bianca have one last chance to impress before learning who will be crowned in this week's series final.
Dark Secrets of the Lusitania, National Geographic, 7.30pm
A high-tech dive expedition heads to the wreck of the Lusitania, sunk in 1915 with the loss of 1195 lives.
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, TLC, 8.30pm
The New York chef heads to Chile.
Shane (1953), ABC2, 8.30pm
THE sturdiest of all western myths is that of the lone gunman who rides into town, burdened by a past littered with death and wrong decisions. But, inspired by the decency he finds in others under siege, he will bravely and unselfishly save the innocents and, in the process, find redemption. In George Stevens' Shane, the gunman (Alan Ladd) has the primaeval strength farmer Joe Starrett (Van Heflin) needs to defeat his enemies. As often happens in fine westerns, there is sexual tension between the stranger and the decent man's wife (Jean Arthur). A classic, Shane prefigures the tougher westerns from John Sturges (The Magnificent Seven, below) and John Ford (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, ABC1, 2pm).
The Magnificent Seven (1960, ABC2, 10.25pm
SEEKING protection against an evil bandit (Eli Wallach), a poor Mexican village hires professional killers. Based on Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, John Sturges' western was hugely popular at the box office and made stars out of Steve McQueen and James Coburn. It does what all great westerns should: subtly disguises the seriousness behind the surface thrills.