Eight of the best TV shows to watch this week
How’s Your Driving as you head back to your Homeland? I’m sure it’s Bliss
Everything Sucks (Friday, Netflix) revolves around two rival groups of nerdy kids who are forced to come together to defeat a common enemy – boredom
How’s Your Driving?
Monday, 8.30pm, RTÉ One
What kind of a driver are you? Truth is, when it comes to safe driving, we aren’t saints, and the time has come to confront our bad road habits in How’s Your Driving? There are more than two million cars on Irish roads and we spend an average of 2 hours a day behind the wheel, clocking up an average of 15,000km a year. But, as this programme shows, we’re not the exemplary vehicular operators we think we are. Simon Delaney uncovers some unbelievably bad driving, and puts a team of ordinary folk through their paces on a test track to see how they perform “under the influence” and while sending texts. He’ll also poll people in the streets about their knowledge of the rules of the road, and meet people whose lives have been devastated by careless driving.
Monday, 9pm, BBC Two
The BBC’s latest thriller series starts with a pizza delivery and quickly turns into a full-on investigation of murder and conspiracy. Collateral features an all-star cast headed by Carey Mulligan as DI Kip Glaspie investigating the murder of a Syrian refugee, Abdullah, who was shot dead while delivering a pizza to a customer in London. Why did the manager of the restaurant send Abdullah instead of the regular delivery guy Mikey? And why are Abdullah’s sisters Fatima and Mona so frightened? This four-parter also stars John Simm as local MP David Mars and Billie Piper as his ex-wife Karen, who just happens to be the customer who ordered the fatal pizza.
Tuesday, 10.10pm, Sky Atlantic
Bridgette is a single mother negotiating the perils of modern life in Smilf. Don’t ask me what ‘Smilf’ stands for, but I can tell you this semi-autobiographical comedy drama is based on a short film by Frankie Shaw, and stars Shaw as the eponymous unmarried object of desire. Rosie O’Donnell co-stars as Bridgette’s tough, terrifying mom Tutu.
Tomi Reichental: Condemned to Remember
Wednesday, 9.35, RTÉ One
Tomi Reichental is an Irish Holocaust survivor, and he has told his harrowing story in two acclaimed documentary films, Til the Tenth Generation and Close to Evil. Condemned to Remember is the third in the trilogy and sees Reichental embark on a quest to get convicted Nazi war criminal Hilde Michnia account for her crimes against humanity. He also visits Bosnian Muslim survivors of the “ethnic cleansing” atrocities, and looks at how Eastern Europe is still unable to face up to the scale of collusion and collaboration with the Nazis.
Wednesday, 10.10pm, Sky One
Andrew is a man torn between two families in Bliss. Stephen Mangan stars as basically a bigamist, with Heather Graham and Jo Hartley as the two women in his double life, each of whom has no idea of the other’s existence. Not sure if we’re supposed to empathise with Andrew, but there should be some good cringy moments as he tries to keep up his deception.
Thursday, 10.10pm, RTÉ2
Carrie Mathison is a survivor. She’s made it through terrorist attacks, shootings, explosions, mental illness, relationship issues and all sorts of bureaucratic hazards to reach the seventh series of Homeland. It’s the aftermath of the assassination attempt on president Keane, and Carrie is out of the White House and living with her sister Maggie. Meanwhile, Saul has been imprisoned along with another 200 intelligence personnel. Carrie must use all her wits to take on the president and his staff and secure the release of the 200.
Thursday, 10.15pm, RTÉ One
Imagine a mix of Hogwarts and School of Rock. Instead of learning wizardry, the kids learn to become musical wizards, wielding drumsticks instead of wands, and guitars instead of broomsticks. And imagine a magical room filled with all kinds of books which awaken a sense of wonder in whoever visits. Welcome to Headfort, an old-fashioned boarding school with a very modern outlook. School Life visits Ireland’s only primary-age boarding school and meets its headmaster John Leyden and his wife Amanda, who have been running the school for nearly 50 years. The documentary follows a year in the life of Headfort, following staff and pupils around the winding halls of the 18th-century building, and seeing teachers working some real magic with their eager young charges.
Someone once said “the Nineties are the new Sixties”, and it certainly seemed to be a golden age of grunge, Britpop, Friends, Seinfeld and Spice Girls. But in the small town of Boring, Oregon, high school life in the 1990s is anything but idyllic, and the kids in Boring High School can’t wait until the millennium arrives to put them out of their misery. Everything Sucks is a new dramedy series set in the real-life US town, and revolves around two rival groups of nerdy kids who are forced to come together to defeat a common enemy – boredom. The school’s AV Club want to make an independent movie so they form an uneasy alliance with the Drama Club to bring their vision to life. The series’ creators drew on their own experience of high school in the 1990s to come up with an “honest” story of teens in late-20th-century purgatory. If you spot a character hunched over a hand-held device, that’s a Tamagotchi, not a smartphone.