John Byrne’s TV choices for the week ahead (Dates covered: Saturday Nov 8 – Friday 14)
There's plenty to choose from this week with the return of The Fall, new drama Stalker, a Neil Diamond special, and loads more besides. Feast your eyes, folks!
Pick of the week
The Fall, Sunday, RTÉ One
The first season of this RTÉ-BBC co-production set in Belfast was nothing short of brilliant. Gillian Anderson put in her as per usual impressive shift as Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson, while Jamie Dornan was quite terrifying as Paul Spector, the bereavement counsellor and family man who happens to moonlight as a serial killer. As season two begins, it's been ten days since Spector told DSI Gibson that she would never catch him. As Gibson tries in vain to help Spector’s surviving victim to remember her attacker's identity, Spector is forced to deal with the loose ends that he left behind in Belfast. His return to the city reveals that someone from his past has been helping police with their enquiries, forcing Spector to change his plans with terrifying consequences.
Star of the week
Neil Diamond: One Night Only, Thursday, UTV
Legendary American music star Neil Diamond - undeniably one of the greatest songwriters of the last century - takes centre stage at the London Palladium for a one-off TV special. Rob Brydon, one of Diamond’s greatest fans, not only hosts the show but also takes his musical hero on a journey back to Brooklyn and to where Neil Diamond’s story began. The pair head to Coney Island and Brighton Beach, to Flatbush and to Diamond’s childhood home as well as spending time at the legendary Bitter End Club. This special will also see Diamond perform some of his greatest hits as well as tracks from his eagerly anticipated new album.
Here's Neil Diamond on a recent Graham Norton Show:
Starting this week
Stalker, Monday, Sky Living
Sky have been trailing this show – from the creator of The Following - with some gusto so hopefully it's worthy of the hype.
Over six million people are stalked in the US every year and detective Beth Davis (Maggie Q, Nikita) knows all too well how it feels to be watched. Using her expert knowledge, much of which she garnered as a result of traumatic personal experience, she heads up the LAPD’s Threat Assessment Unit to investigate all types of obsessions; from vendettas driven by rejection and revenge, to cyber harassment and voyeurism.
The pilot kicks off with Davis cautiously welcoming a new addition to the Unit. Dylan McDermott (American Horror Story, The Practice) stars as Jack Larsen, a cocky homicide detective with obscure reasons for transferring from New York City and a reputation for questionable behaviour. His antics may have landed him in trouble before, but they could actually prove useful in his new role.
The cast is pretty impressive, the premise has possibilities. Fingers crossed, eh?
Elementary, Tuesday, Sky Living
Holmes and Watson are back for a third season of a show that keeps struggling to get out of second gear. The very impressive Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu return as modern day sleuths,Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson, but their partnership is in tatters following a fall-out over Sherlock’s brother Mycroft,. This results in Joan moving out of their shared New York City home and Holmes heading to London to work with MI6. Relations are still icy as the new season begins but, following a run-in with his secret service colleagues, Holmes returns to the States to make up with his former crime-solving partner.
The Newsroom, Wednesday, Sky Atlantic
Back for six more episodes, Aaron Sorkin's quick-witted, fast-paced but perilously smug drama, starring Emmy winner Jeff Daniels and Emily Mortimer, returns for its final instalment of sharp-talking tales from behind the scenes of a cable news channel.
Kitchen Hero: Donal's Irish Feast, Thursday, RTÉ One
Cuddly cook Donal Skehan's back with a brand new series that promises a culinary and visual spectacle. For starters, he goes to Galway where he visits three of the county's finest artisan food producers, and then gets cooking salmon, lamb, and mud pie.
Puppy Love, Thursday, BBC FOUR
This new six-part comedy is a story of love, dogs and the love of dogs. When dog trainer Nana V (Joanna Scanlan) is called out to rescue a dangerous dog, she gains the attention of Alexander Moss (Tobias Menzies), who's having an embarrassing problem with his dog.
Babylon, Thursday, Channel 4
Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong's drama about PR and London's police force is back for a six-part run. A private security firm calls the police for assistance at a Youth Offenders Institution riot, giving Commissioner Richard Miller (James Nesbitt) an ideal opportunity to highlight the force's opposition to the transfer of essential services from the public to the private sector.
Ending this week
Doctor Who, Saturday, BBC ONE
Peter Capaldi's first season as the Timelord comes to a close. With Cybermen on the streets of London, old friends unite against old enemies and the Doctor takes to the air in what is being called a 'startling new role'. Can the mighty UNIT contain Missy? As the Doctor faces his greatest challenge, sacrifices must be made before the day can be won.
Downton Abbey, Sunday, UTV
Preparations are underway for Rose’s big day, but family tensions on both sides threaten to derail proceedings. Edith’s arrangement with Marigold is happily working out, but how long can she and Cora conceal the truth from Robert? In London, Denker reveals an unexpected side to her personality, which causes trouble for more than one of the servants. With the war memorial due to be unveiled, Mrs Patmore is still upset but Robert has something up his sleeve. Meanwhile, Branson has come to a heart-wrenching decision and the storm clouds that have been gathering over Anna and Bates finally burst.
Legends, Wednesday, Sky 1
Sean Bean's Martin narrowly escapes from the Saudi interrogation, only to learn that Sonya and Aiden have been kidnapped. In the process of tracking them down, the undercover agent connects the dots between Verax, Arcadia and his own past.
Lewis, Friday, UTV
In 2001 Robbie Lewis (Kevin Whately) arrested slater Graham Lawrie for the brutal murder of three police officers. Lawrie was given a whole life sentence and, diagnosed with psychopathy during the trial, was incarcerated in a secure psychiatric hospital. But thirteen years later the prosecution’s case is falling apart.
Drama of the week
Love/Hate, Sunday, RTÉ One
And so we come to the final episode of the fifth season of a series that has truly captured the imagination of the nation. If you're looking for spoilers you've come to the wrong place because if I revealed anything I'd end up on the end of a skewer. Suffice to say, blood will flow and spill and at least one head won't be resurfacing next time around. It's like a jungle - all the time.
Here's TEN's Laura Delaney chatting to Johnny Ward, who played Pauley:
Comedy of the week
The Big Bang Theory, Wednesday, RTÉ 2
Okay, it's as predictable as porridge but it's still got plenty of laughs in the tank. This week Raj's honesty about his past comes back to haunt him. After Emily meets everyone, she is not cool with Penny because Penny slept with Raj. Meanwhile, the guys think about investing in Stuart's comic book store to help him get restarted after the insurance settlement was not enough to get him back on his feet.
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Netflix
This comedy has gone almost completely under the radar on this side of the Atlantic, even though it's been running for nine seasons and is very funny. The show was created by Rob McElhenney, and produced by McElhenney, Glenn Howerton, and Charlie Day, all of whom star in the show, which follows the exploits of a group of self-centred pals (so it's very post-Seinfeld) who run Paddy's Pub, a relatively unsuccessful Irish bar in South Philadelphia. All nine seasons are available on Netflix and you have no excuses - well, unless you've no Netflix.
Here's a season two trailer:
Documentary of the week
Johnny Cash - The Man, His World, His Music, Friday, BBC FOUR
This is a rare opportunity to see Robert Elfstrom’s 1969 classic film, which captures the Man in Black as he reaches the first of many peaks in his roller-coaster career. Fresh on the heels of his Folsom Prison album, Cash reveals the dark intensity and raw talent that made him a country music star and cultural icon. If you like Cash, you'll love this. Slick it ain't, but it's a great snapshot of the man and his music.
Film of the Week
Psycho, Friday, Channel 4
Alfred Hitchcock's classic chiller may be a horror film, but it is also a sublime black comedy with a fascinating plot twist. Janet Leigh stars as a thieving secretary, but the film's all about Anthony Perkins, who is spellbinding as Norman Bates, the motel man from hell.