Fox (Mondays, 9 p.m. ET)
Here’s a series that lives up to its name. Set at the dawn of the 5th century on the isle now known as Ireland (but filmed in Australia, where skies are incongruously sunny), it features clangorous combat scenes in which warriors emit fierce, throaty sounds while having at one another with swords, spears and fists. Your only defense: turn down the volume.
Heath Ledger, a fresh face from Down Under, plays Conor, the reluctant hero drafted by destiny to unite the fractious Celtic tribes in opposition to the Roman Empire. Though Ledger seems steady enough as an actor, there are signs in the July 14 premiere that 20-year-old Conor is in over his head, so he’s lucky to have a tough but likable bodyguard in Fergus (John Saint Ryan, who bears a distinct resemblance to Sean Connery). They will have to contend with evil Queen Diana (Lisa Zane) and her 400-year-old sorcerer-adviser, Longinus (Sebastian Roche). But our money is on Ledger’s legion of vigorous underdogs, who roar with pride when he hails them as people who “will never be silenced.” Yeah, so we’ve heard.