Cinemax renews ‘Strike Back’ for final season

The good news: Cinemax is bringing back its terrific action drama “Strike Back” for another season.

The bad news: it’ll be the last one.

The third Cinemax season of “Strike Back” wrapped up a couple of weeks ago in terrific fashion, and on Friday night the channel finally began airing the original British-only season with Richard Armitage, under the title “Strike Back: Origins.”

Now Cinemax, Sky and Left Bank have agreed to produce one more season, with much of the production team (including frequent director Michael Bassett) intact. The returning cast has yet to be announced, but I can’t imagine a circumstance under which they’d do another year without both Philip Winchester and Sullivan Stapleton.

On the one hand, I’m disappointed that these next 10 episodes will be the last for the series. On the other, it’s better to go away before we get sick of you. A four-year run (five if you count the Armitage episodes) is a really respectable one for an efficient, surprisingly effective bit of pulp fiction like this.

“Strike Back” was Cinemax’s first real dip into the waters of original programming, done as a co-production with the Brits. It was followed by another UK collaboration in “Hunted,” which ended prematurely because Cinemax and the BBC had different expectations for it. (Frank Spotnitz is still working on a spin-off project about Melissa George’s character.) Now Cinemax has started making shows entirely on its own, whether in a similarly pulpy vein (“Banshee,” which really grew on me over its first season) or something a bit more highbrow (Steven Soderbergh’s “The Knick,” an upcoming drama starring Clive Owen as a doctor at a New York hospital in 1900). Especially after the experience with “Hunted,” I assume the goal is for Cinemax to have complete control of its shows going forward, which leaves “Strike Back” as a vestige of an old plan.

Sad it’s going. Excited to see just how much mayhem the boys can get into before they’re done, one way or the other.