John Byrne’s TV choices for the week ahead (Dates covered: Saturday March 15 to Friday 21).
Imelda May hosts the Sunday/Saint Patrick’s eve big show on RTÉ One, BBC drama Line of Duty and RTÉ One comedy The Walshes both bow out, while newcomers include a drama called The Widower and a US comedy called Mixology that features Dubliner Sarah Bolger.
Pick of the week
Line of Duty (Wednesday, BBC 2)
This second season of Line of Duty has been nothing less than compelling and sets a new benchmark for current British TV drama. Yep, it’s better than Broadchurch, much better than Broadchurch, and Keeley Hawes has been outstanding in the lead role of Detective Inspector Lindsay Denton, a good cop framed for murder. In this final episode, AC-12’s investigation exposes a vicious criminal gang run from within the police, aided by 'The Caddy', whose identity Cottan has apparently uncovered thanks to the help of his former colleague DC Morton. Dryden is charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, vindicating Hastings’ brave stance. But while Steve now appears convinced of Lindsay Denton’s innocence, his close relationship to the former chief suspect unsettles Kate. Despite mounting pressure both at work and home, Kate remains determined to prove Denton had a role in the ambush.
Here's a season two trailer:
Star of the week
The Imelda May Show (Sunday, RTÉ One)
Well, yeah, the St Patrick’s Festival Parade is on Monday from 12.20pm with Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh, Aidan Power and Des Cahill on the streets of Dublin – but there’s also this show, which could end up spawning an entire series if it’s not too careful. Liberty Belle Imelda May has enjoyed a successful career in recent years after a long apprenticeship, and here she takes another step forward, this time as a TV presenter. Not that she’ll be straying too far away from home as The Imelda May Show is music-driven and will feature the cream of Irish music talent. The show will also be broadcast across RTÉ Television, Radio and Online so that a wider audience can be entertained by guests that will include Finbar Furey, The Original Rudeboys, Nathan Carter, Sharon Shannon. Naturally, Imelda May will also perform live in studio with her band.
Here's Imelda May performing Mayhem at The Gathering:
Starting this week
The Widower (Monday, UTV)
This is a three-part drama based on the crimes of convicted murderer, Malcolm Webster, who is played here by Reece Shearsmith (Psychoville, The League of Gentlemen, A Field in England). Over a 13-year period, Webster set about poisoning and murdering his first wife, attempting to do the same to his second wife, and then moving on to a further scheme to deceive his third fiancée. The very watchable Sheridan Smith – who will be seen later this year playing singer and TV presenter Cilla Black in the three-part drama Cilla - plays Claire, the killer’s first wife.
Here's a trailer:
Also starting this week:
The Park (Sunday, TV3)
Filmed over two years, this four-part series portrays Ireland’s oldest National Park, in Killarney.
W1A (Wednesday, BBC 2)
This warts-and-all mockumentary is the successor to the award-winning comedy Twenty Twelve.
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Sunday, RTÉ Two)
Agent Coulson and co are back to save the world on a weekly basis in this Avengers’ movie spin-off.
Living the Wildlife (Tuesday, RTÉ One)
Colin Stafford-Johnson returns to search for Ireland’s most exciting fauna.
The Takeover (Thursday, RTÉ Two)
Norah Casey is back to help staff change the fortunes of the ailing business that employs them.
Ending this week
The Walshes (Thursday, RTÉ Two)
This enjoyable new sitcom - which saw Father Ted and IT Crowd creator Graham Linehan collaborating with the Diet of Worms comedy troupe - closes its doors after three episodes. The Walshes are getting ready to leave the house for a night out together at their favourite restaurant. But mobilising five people at the same time can prove tricky.
Here's when Graeme arrived at the Walshe house for the first time:
Also ending this week:
Duck Quacks Don’t Echo (Friday, Sky 1)
Lee Mack gathers Jimmy Carr, Terry Wogan and Carol Vorderman for one last show.
Looking (Monday, Sky Atlantic)
Patrick’s actions prove costly in this bittersweet season one finale of this HBO sitcom.
Drama of the week
The Americans (Saturday, UTV)
After an impressive debut season, The Americans is back for a second run. Having recovered from her injuries suffered on the last mission, Soviet undercover agent Elizabeth (Keri Russell) returns home just in time for her son Henry’s birthday party, and she and fellow spy/husband Philip (Matthew Rhys) try to restore a sense of normality to their family’s everyday "American" life. While Henry is just overjoyed to have his mother back, daughter Paige’s nagging suspicions about her parents’ curious activities have only continued to grow in her mother’s absence.
Here's a season two trailer:
Comedy of the week
Mixology (Sunday, RTÉ Two)
This new sitcom from the writers of The Hangover trilogy takes place over the course of one night at a Manhattan bar where six women and five men meet up for more than just a casual conversation and a few drinks. Each episode follows two or three characters as they meet each other and from there will determine the outcome in the season finale, which will coincide with the end of the night. Dubliner Sarah Bolger stars in this episode as a character called Janey.
Here's a trailer:
Documentary of the week
A Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (Sunday, National Geographic)
Promising awe, wonder and mind-blowing science, the charismatic and popular astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is not shy when it comes to hyperbole. Expectations are high as this series follows on from Carl Sagan’s iconic, Emmy Award-winning 1980s’ documentary Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. This is a 13-part series produced by Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane. Meanwhile, on a similar space tip, over on Channel 4 there’s Live from Space: Lap of the Planet (7.30pm), Dermot O’Leary presents a ground-breaking live broadcast where viewers can interact with astronauts who are circling Earth every 90 minutes.
Here's a pretty amazing trailer:
Film of the Week
Up (Saturday, RTÉ One)
Another superb animated movie from Pixar. Yet again they hit the target with this poignant tale of an elderly widower (voiced by Ed Asner) and an earnest young Wilderness Explorer (Jordan Nagai). By tying thousands of balloons to his home, 78-year-old Carl sets out to fulfil his lifelong dream to see the wilds of South America and complete a promise made to the love of his life.
Here's a trailer: