January – A Haven of TV…

Posted on January 10, 2010

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…but does it all have to be on Sunday and Monday nights?

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Don’t get me wrong. January is great. Sure it might be International “Broke and Fat” month, after the Christmas period. It might be the month when, if you’re in Ireland, you got an unmerciful amount of snow, which in normal circumstances we’d all love but weather, you’re taking the biscuit now!

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After the rollercoaster of Christmas, all most people want to do is curl up by the fire for a month, finish what’s left of the chocolate and watch copious amounts of TV. They might go to work every now and then too.

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So for TV stations, January is really a great month to introduce new series and gain ratings. True, series will run into February but by this time most viewers will have a vested interest in it and will continue watching even after the post-Xmas slump.

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But as I said, does it all have to be on Sunday and Monday nights?

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In the last two weeks, there have been four new series that I hope to follow. All four of them clash of course. Sunday nights boast Wallander on BBC1, the second series of adaptations of Swedish novelist Henning Mankell’s excellent crime novels. Which is good because the first series was excellent. I know a lot of people who are a bit wary of Kenneth Branagh ever since his uncut version of Hamlet but Wallander is certainly worth lifting the ban for.

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On opening the TV guide today, I discovered that another excellent series was returning tonight too. Being Human was one of the BBC’s freshest and most exciting series of last year. It also shows off the extremely pretty Aidan Turner. (He’s one of our own, people!) Examining the living conditions of a ghost, a werewolf and a vampire might seem silly but it really wasn’t. The beauty of the series lay in the small, quiet moments between characters when the title of the series comes into play – they learn what it is to be human despite their supernatural elements. Suddenly a Sunday night predicament appears…

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Of course, if you’re interested in neither of these, or if you can’t access BBC, there’s always the new series of Raw on RTE. But if I were you I’d get a Sky box… It’s not that Raw is particularly bad – the first series was quite good, in fact. But it’s a recurring thing in Irish drama that we always seem to be trying to tick the boxes when making something. By trying to express all the problems of contemporary Ireland, it simultaneously manages to express none of them, because it’s trying to do too much. Still it’s worth a look, but unfortunately also occupies Sunday nights…

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Then onto Monday, last week ABC’s new series Flash Forward started on RTE1 and it has to be said, it wasn’t bad. It’s the kind of series that will grip an audience as long as it keeps things moving and doesn’t mess us around in the way that Lost did. But the problem is that it’s at least ten episodes long which make an audience invest much more time in it. It may be the rock it perishes on. For more on Flash Forward click: https://ahayzer42.wordpress.com/2010/01/07/flash-forward-a-flash-of-the-new-lost/

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Monday also gives a home to another BBC series, Hustle, an old favorite at this stage as it’s in its sixth series. A clever series, it never tries to be anything other than what it is. And what it is, is a charming, quirky, crime caper with a great cast, lots of twists and humour. It’s cool and it knows it. It also clashes with Flash Forward. For more on Hustle, click: https://ahayzer42.wordpress.com/2010/01/07/opportunity-trouble-the-return-of-hustle/

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So I suppose the question of this blog is, what happened to the other five days of the week? It’s fair to eliminate Friday and Saturday because on both RTE and BBC, those days are dedicated to light entertainment like The Late Late Show, or Jonathon Ross, etc. But what about Wednesday, Thursday, Friday? This is the very tyranny of television scheduling!

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But enough of my moaning. The fact is I’ve detailed 5 promising series in the above post and I’ll certainly be finding a way to view them all – wish I had Sky+, it would it a lot easier but alas, woe is me.

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Anyway, next week could possibly throw up another series that will clash with something else but think of it this way, if you collect each episode, you’ll certainly have enough material to get you through the rest of “Couch-January”.

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See you all after the thaw!

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Wallander BBC 1                         Sundays 9pm

Being Human BBC 3                 Sundays 9:30pm

Raw RTE 1                  Sundays 9:30pm

Flash Forward RTE 2                  Mondays 9pm

Hustle BBC 1                    Mondays 9pm