John Byrne's TV choices for the week ahead (Dates covered: Saturday Jan 23-Friday Jan 29).

Pick of the Week: The X-Files, Tuesday, RTÉ2

14 years after the original X-Files came to an end, one of the most era-defining shows in TV history returns for a six-part event series.

Creator/executive producer Chris Carter is back, as are David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in the roles of FBI Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. Even Mitch Pileggi returns as FBI Assistant Director Walter Skinner, who continues to walk a very fine line between loyalty to the two investigators under his wing and being accountable to his superiors.

William B Davis reprises his role as the 'Cigarette Smoking Man', but the list of guest stars is impressive, and include Joel McHale, Lauren Ambrose (Claire from Six Feet Under), Annet Mahendru (The Americans), and Silicon Valley's Kumail Nanjiani , who also has a podcast called The X-Files Files.

The X-Files debuts with a special two-night event on Tuesday January 26 and Wednesday January 27 on RTÉ2, just two days after it airs in the US. In the opening episode, Mulder and Scully take on a case of possible alien abduction.

Star of the Week: Neven Maguire
Neven Maguire: Healthy Home Chef,
Wednesday, RTÉ One
Easily one of Ireland's most popular chefs, Neven Maguire's back with new series that's based around a health theme with a weekly guest who's relevant to each theme. First up he cooks with Olympic silver medallist Sonia O'Sullivan and dishes include Grilled Beef Salad, Hake and Nutty Energy Bites.

As well as cooking with O'Sullivan, he finds out what she ate on the day in 2000 when she won the medal in Sydney, and how her diet has changed now that she is no longer competing professionally - and with two teenage daughters around the kitchen.

Starting this Week: Marvel's Agent Carter, Thursday, Fox


The first season of this superhero-free show was great fun, with Hayley Atwell impressive as the eponymous Peggy Carter, a former Captain America sidekick during WWII. In this season two opener Carter relocates from New York to Los Angeles, where she takes on a Soviet spy and bank robber, Dottie Underwood.

Other Voices, Saturday, RTÉ2


The music show filmed in Dingle is back for its 14th run and promises to be one of the most diverse and exciting to date. Episode one features Gavin James, Lapsley, Gaz Coombes (yep, the guy who was in Supergrass) and in the IMRO Other Room there's Bitch Falcon.

The Nightmare World of HG Wells, Thursday, Sky Arts
The first two episodes in a series of four HG Wells adaptations begins with The Late Mr Elvesham. This tale follows a 21-year-old medical student named Edward Eden (Luke Treadaway) who is tricked into trading bodies with aging philosopher Egbert Elvesham (Michael Gambon).

James May's Cars of the People, Sunday, BBC Two
Covering every type of car for the masses - from the Beetle to the Kei Car - former Top Gear guy James May looks at the many forms of motor, their origins and their effect on history. The entire show has a slight element of Top Gear about it, but apparently it's very much a documentary as well.

Mary Berry Foolproof Cooking, Monday, BBC Two
The celebrated British food writer and television presenter offers tips for dinner parties, beginning with salmon fillets with a side of vegetables, a lobster dish, and her take on an old favourite: beef Wellington.

The Real Marigold Hotel, Tuesday, BBC Two
In this brand new travel documentary series, an all-star cast of eight famous senior citizens head to India on an experimental adventure of a lifetime as they head to a private mansion in Jaipur.

Madam Secretary, Wednesday, Sky Living
Téa Leoni returns as CIA analyst turned Secretary of State Elizabeth Adams McCord in a season two premiere directed by, and guest-starring, Morgan Freeman in his TV directorial debut.

Ending this Week: Music Moguls: Masters of Pop, Friday, BBC Four
Episode three of this superb series delves into the publicity plots that have helped shape some of the world's greatest artists. Narrated by Alan Edwards, the programme includes contributions and interviews with the leading PR man himself.

Deutschland '83, Sunday, RTÉ2
The Cold War drama concludes. Moritz returns to East Germany to stop his HVA superiors in their tracks. At HVA HQ, fear of a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the West has become a very real possibility, while in the West, the war game Able Archer reaches its peak. A fallen agent, Moritz is now persona non grata on both sides of the border. On his way back into the lion's den to confront the top brass at the HVA, he saves Yvonne from the clutches of Annett and the Stasi. Ingrid hunts down Schweppenstette to save Thomas from prison. And Alex confronts his own demons - about his sexuality, about AIDS, and about his father. Finally, Moritz has no choice but to sacrifice himself to stop the HVA from setting off a catastrophe of epic proportions.

Walking the Himalayas, Sunday, Channel 4

Levison Wood reaches the last leg of his expedition. Accompanied by his old friend and guide Binod, he tracks the mountains from eastern Nepal into the final country of his journey: Bhutan. But later, as the expedition continues, Binod's feet begin to swell up. The further they head into the wilderness, the more painful his feet become, and it looks like he might not make it to the end of the Himalayas...

Drama of the Week:  Scandal, Thursday, Sky Living
It's the midseason break of season five (!) and Olivia and Fitz's relationship is out in the open. However, the reality of life as First Lady is getting Olivia down - and she's jealous of the career trajectory of her predecessor, Mellie. So what's to do?

Comedy of the Week: The Goldbergs, Thursday, RTÉ2
The Goldbergs in fine form once again. Per its title (and, yes, I will argue that a character pronouncing karate as "kara-te" is never not funny), the episode explores Barry's obsession with the seminal '80s movie The Karate Kid and, by extension, the ancient art of "kara-te" (remember young 'uns, this was before that Jaden Smith movie). I place emphasis on "kara-te" because what Barry does - a series of uncoordinated punching and kicking with some jumping thrown in for good measure - is not exactly any form of martial art in the traditional sense.

Nevertheless, he believes himself to be a karate master. It certainly doesn't help that Beverly refuses to look past her Mom goggles and sees his embarrassing routine with the same reverence that a martial arts fan would have for the films of Bruce Lee. Thus, when Barry announces that he'll be performing at the talent show, Beverly supports the decision full-force.

Documentary of the Week: The Mad World of Donald Trump, Tuesday, Channel 4


Matt Frei enters the colourful and mad world of presidential hopeful Donald Trump, whose meteoric political rise comes amid one of the most controversial political campaigns America has ever seen. It's the all-consuming story of a privileged multi-billionaire tycoon who has now decided to use his considerable resource to become the most powerful person on the planet.

On Demand: Master of None, Netflix


One of the better comedies to have come out over the last 12 months or so, this one was co-created by and stars Aziz Ansari, who previously impressed as the self-obsessed Tom on Parks and Recreation.
Ansari stars as Dev Shah, an actor struggling to get parts and make a living in New York. Each episode revolves around a certain topic, such as parents and how Indians are stereotyped on TV. It's hilarious.

Film of the Week: John Wick, Sky Movies Premiere, Friday
Keanu Reeves made quite the action hero comeback with this shoot-and-beat-em-up last year - a thoroughly deserved sequel is in the works. He plays a former hitman who dusts off his gun and heads out for vengeance following the murder of his wife. Directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch previously made a living as stunt co-ordinators, and it shows in the brilliantly executed (sic) set-pieces here. There's also plenty of black humour, and, arguably, the cutest dog in movie history.

John Byrne