John Byrne’s TV choices for the week ahead. Dates covered: Sat August 30 to Friday, September 5.
There are lots of new and returning shows to look forward to as August gives way to September and the new TV schedules begin. Among the newbies are Domestic Divas, Jamie's Comfort Food, and Our Zoo.
Pick of the week
Domestic Divas (Tuesday, RTÉ One)
This brand new series promises to be a master class in achieving domestic bliss. Aisli Madden and Cat Lawlor are on a mission to help the helpless, to demonstrate basic life skills that came so naturally to an earlier generation but not so easily to current 20 to 30-somethings. In the opening episode, busy working-mother-of-two Michelle Dillon wants the Domestic Divas to advise her on homemade, nutritious meals for her family and help with planning her weekly shopping. She has two small children and is returning to her job as a social worker once her baby Harry turns six months.
Star of the week
The Late Late Show (Friday, RTÉ One)
Yep, The Tubster is back for another season of entertainment, music and interviews. As he told this week's RTÉ Guide: "The modern chat show is about stunts, it's about fast-food interviews. The Late Late Show does not have a comedian presenting it, we don't do a monologue at the start, and we don't cut out all the boring bits and leave in the hilarious bits. Of course we plug stuff but they all do."
Here's a clip from last season of Ryan Tubridy interviewing Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum:
Starting this week
The X Factor (Saturday, UTV & TV3)
Back for yet another run, the search resumes for a singer worthy of landing a record contract. Viewers will also see the return of music mogul Simon Cowell, and pop princess Cheryl Fernandez-Versini. They are joined by straight-talking Spice Girl, Mel B, and music manager and long-standing judge Louis Walsh. Host Dermot O’Leary is also back. The action kicks off with the room auditions, where hopefuls face the judges eyeball to eyeball in the intimate audition room.
Also starting this week:
Winning Streak (Saturday, RTÉ One)
The National Lottery's game show of chance returns with presenters Sinead Kennedy and Marty Whelan. Marty's the one with the moustache.
Jamie's Comfort Food (Monday, Channel 4)
The title says it all. Expect reinvented British classics, nostalgic comforters, outdoor treats and scrumptious puddings from the start.
Our Zoo (Wednesday, BBC One)
This new six-part drama is about George Mottershead, the man who created Chester Zoo, and the impact it had on his family.
The Two Amigos: A Gaucho Adventure (Sunday, BBC Two)
Comedians and pals John Thomson and Simon Day learn the ways of the gaucho - Argentina’s rugged cowboy, national icon and the embodiment of freedom and courage. This might get you in the mood . . .
Ending this week
Wentworth Prison (Monday, TV3)
In a dramatic first season finale, Bea discovers that Debbie’s secret boyfriend was Jacs' son. She jumps to the obvious conclusion that Jacs was behind her daughter's death. Bea is already in enough trouble, so Liz convinces her to go by the book and get Erica to talk to the police. Meanwhile, Fletch makes amends with Vera and they grow closer, finally making love. But the love bubble soon bursts when Vera reads Fletch's journal and discovers the shocking truth about his affair with Meg. When she accuses him of killing her, Fletch tells Vera to get out of his life.
Also ending this week:
Pet Island (Thursday, RTÉ One)
The final episode sounds pretty odd as there's an IQ test of some city slicker dogs and there's the return of the cats that are being trained to use a toilet.
Drama of the week
Chasing Shadows (Thursday, UTV)
This new four-part drama focuses on the work of a missing persons field unit charged with tracking down serial killers who prey on impressionable and vulnerable people. Reece Shearsmith (The League of Gentleman) plays DS Sean Stone and his partner, Ruth Hattersley is played by Alex Kingston (ER, Doctor Who) while Noel Clarke (Star Trek Into Darkness, Doctor Who) takes on the role of DI Prior.
In this opener, after criticizing police procedure in the aftermath of the eventual capture of a serial killer, DI Sean Stone is seconded to the Missing Persons Bureau, assigned to a new ‘unit’ with MPB analyst Ruth Hattersley. In reality, Stone’s new assignment is made with the intention of keeping him out of the way. But when he comes across the case of a missing 16-year-old girl, he’s soon back out in the field.
Comedy of the week
Silicon Valley (Wednesday, Sky Atlantic)
This hugely impressive HBO comedy’s season one finale picks up right where the previous episode left off, with things turning out surprisingly well after Erlich’s disastrous presentation. He was tackled to the floor before he could say a word, but the threat of a lawsuit sees the Pied Piper boys advance directly to the finals. Also put up in a plush suite, everything’s looking swell until they decide to check out the competition.
Boardwalk Empire Seasons 1-4 (From Monday, Sky)
The multi-award-winning period drama from Terence Winter and Martin Scorsese enters its fifth and final season in October, so no wonder Sky are putting all four previous seasons up on demand. Boardwalk Empire chronicles the often violent and highly illegal activity in Atlantic City during the height of Prohibition, and this sumptuous crime drama has become one of the most watchable shows on TV in recent years. Steve Buscemi is great as politician-cum-crime-boss, Nucky Thompson.
Documentary of the week
Close to Evil (Monday, RTÉ One)
This one-off documentary charts Holocaust-survivor Tomi Reichental’s quest to meet one of the women who held him in captivity in Belsen concentration camp. It also investigates her claims that she is ‘a victim of victor’s justice’. The documentary follows the series of events that finally lead him to meet Alexandra Senfft, the grand-daughter of the man who ultimately sanctioned the murder of Tomi’s family in the Shoah.
Film of the Week
21 Jump Street (Wednesday, RTÉ One)
This shouldn't work, but it's actually very entertaining comedy drama starring Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum. Based on the 1987 television series of the same name (where Johnny Depp made his breakthrough), the film follows two police officers who are forced to relive high school when they are assigned to go undercover as high school students to prevent the outbreak of a new synthetic drug and arrest its supplier.