.....if you rate this new show after only seeing the first episode (or even only the first 15 minutes) before switching it off in disgust, then you're missing something. The first Strike Back, as poster JackB says, was a fine series, and I'm sure that many people sat down to watch this because of Richard Armitage who gave us such a memorable character in John Porter. But, the producers were left in the lurch last summer when Armitage, not surprisingly, went off to join Peter Jackson in New Zealand for 18 months to play the leading role of Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit. Obviously, there had to be a lot of rewriting and, without Armitage and with the Americans now involved, it was bound to be a different show.
To give the producers and the scriptwriters credit, the cameo from Armitage which was, quite possibly, filmed in a studio in NZ because he had no time to visit South Africa, is more a part of the story-line than one would expect. I've seen the first 3 episodes and JP is not only acknowledged in flashbacks and dreams but, by episode 3, we have the reintroduction of Kenneth Bratton from series 1 and a reminder that JP saved him when he was a hostage. IMO, Porter is given a heroic send-off and has been made a part of the over-arcing story-line. What more could they do if the actor isn't available?
And my opinion of Project Dawn? The first episode, setting up the story and with gratuitous sex scenes, thanks to input from Cinemax/Skinemax, was the weakest and doubtless lost a lot of potential viewers. But there were no sex scenes in episode 2 to hold up the action and the series has been bowling along ever since. It is exciting and entertaining, and, as in series 1, is spectacularly filmed in South Africa. The vistas over Cape Town in episode 3 were quite stunning. They also have a good bunch of actors on board: Sullivan Stapleton was in an Oscar-nominated film earlier this year, Philip Winchester does a great British accent and has a certain gravitas, while Amanda Mealing reminds me of a young Judi Dench in her M-style role as the chief of Section 20. All the stunts are extremely well staged, there is a good bromance developing between our two heroes, plus some excellent twists in the plot and some humorous dialogue. So far, it reminds me most of the last story in the first series and so it's not completely removed from its original source.
I am giving this 5 stars because, so far, for excitement and entertainment value, I think it's worth it. If it disappoints me in future episodes, I shall return and make some adjustments.
Edit: Well, I have seen the lot now and I haven't changed my opinion. Although the gratuitous sex scenes were a bit TOO gratuitous for my taste, had no bearing on the plot and held up the real action, this series thundered along to an exciting and well-executed climax. Series 3 has been announced and I shall be back to watch it.