The best new TV shows to watch in February and March

First Dates Ireland, Home of the Year, Line of Duty return. Eve Hewson stars in Behind Her Eyes

James Nesbitt in Bloodlands. Photographer: Steffan Hill/BBC

James Nesbitt in Bloodlands. Photographer: Steffan Hill/BBC

 

During these purgatorial days, television has become our reliable friend, confidante and beacon of sanity. A terrible hush has, it is true, settled over the world. But that’s alright because we have the Queen’s Gambit and Bridgerton. Covid has of course disrupted TV shooting schedules. However, with the next Line of Duty wrapped, Peaky Blinders season six already filming and cameras likewise rolling on Succession season three, the industry is slowly coming to grips with Covid. Here, then, are some of the shows to look forward to in February and March (and do bear in mind some airdates have yet to be announced ).

Soulmates
Amazon Prime Video, February 8th
Succession’s Sarah Snook stars in this anthology series set in a near future in which scientists have unlocked the secret of “true love”. The six-part drama is co-written by Will Bridges, who has previously worked on Stranger Things and Black Mirror.

RTÉ Investigates: Covid19 – The Third Wave
RTÉ One, February 9th
RTÉ returns to Tallaght University Hospital as frontline staff confront the challenges of the post-Christmas third wave of Covid. It won’t be an easy watch. But it will remind us just what we are up against as we face into our second Summer of Coronavirus.

Forensics: The Real CSI
BBC One, February 9th
A gripping look at how police forces use science to tackle what might have once been unsolvable crimes. The setting is a well-to-do suburb in Birmingham, where a husband calls 999 claiming to have killed his wife. He is covered in blood but insists he remembers nothing. Enter crime scene coordinator Jo Ward, who searches for forensic clues to prove or disprove the husband’s claims.

Imagine…We’ll Be Back
BBC One, February 9th
The arts are in deep freeze but there is hope. So argues Imagine presenter Alan Yentob, as he explores how Covid has impacted on the performing arts. He also considers the challenges facing the arts in both the short and long term.

First Dates Ireland: Ethan Miles, Mateo Saina and Alice Marr
First Dates Ireland: Ethan Miles, Mateo Saina and Alice Marr

First Dates Ireland
RTÉ Two, Thursday February 11th, 9pm
It’s a case of love in a Covid climate as the dating show returns with an all-new menu in which social distancing is the house specialty. Diners are seated at opposite ends of the table while background restaurant-goers are all members of family bubbles.

Some aspects of the series will be reassuringly familiar as Maitre’D Mateo and master-mixologist Ethan put in an appearance. Among those looking for love are mohawked Philip from Tipperary who arrives, as all reality TV contestants should, by skateboard and Shane from Meath, who has recovered from a head injury and is undertaking his first date in 14 years.

Stonehenge: The Lost Circle Revealed
BBC Two, February 12th
Join Prof Alice Roberts as she uses cutting edge science to tease out the origins of the famous “bluestones” used to construct Stonehenge.

Home of the Year
RTÉ One 8.30pm, February 16th
Hugh Wallace is joined by two new judges: award winning interior designer Suzie Mc Adam and award-winning architect Amanda Bone. They’ll be casting a cold eye over houses and apartments vying for the Home of the Year accolade.

Eve Hewson as Adele in Behind Her Eyes
Eve Hewson as Adele in Behind Her Eyes

Behind Her Eyes
Netflix, February 17th
Eve Hewson displays a hitherto unhinted-at extreme creepiness as a housewife whose psychiatrist husband (Tom Bateman) is having an affair with his secretary (Simona Brown). The Sarah Pinborough novel from which it is adapted brims with thrills, chills and unreliable narration. On the screen, it is Hewson’s star power that shines.

Turas Clainne
TG4, February 18th
Fertility issues, surrogacy, miscarriage and post-natal depression are among the subjects covered in this look at the challenges often facing would-be parents. We meet Prisscilla De Búrca, who is in her third trimester of pregnancy, but is anxious following the difficult delivery of her second child two years previously. She hopes a doula will help with a more positive experience this time around.

Cast of For All Mankind. Photograph: Apple TV
Cast of For All Mankind. Photograph: Apple TV

For All Mankind, Season 2
Apple TV +, February 19th
Apple TV’s original content has veered from ho-hum (The Morning Show) to hopelessly blinkered (See). One of the tech giant’s better outings was For All Mankind, an alternative history of the space race from Ronald D Moore (Battlestar Galactica, Outlander). Season two witnesses an acceleration of the competition for domination of the final frontier between America and the USSR. The big departure from actual history is that here the Soviets were first to the moon. Women and minorities are also given prominence - underscoring their absence from the actual space programme.

Chris Packham’s Animal Einsteins
BBC One, February 21st
Why are some animals smarter than others? And are humans really top of the cognitive food chain? Chris Packham meets chimpanzees with better memory than the average person, cuttlefish that plan ahead and bees that “play football”.

David Attenborough’s Life In Colour. Photograph: BBC
David Attenborough’s Life In Colour. Photograph: BBC

Attenborough’s Life in Colour
BBC One, February
The godfather of wildlife TV is back with a series exploring how colour plays an essential role in the daily interactions of many species. Meanwhile, specially built cameras promise to “reveal a world of colour normally invisible to human eyes”.

Eating with the Enemy
Virgin Media One, March
Strangers with opposing viewpoints meet at the Radisson Hotel on Golden Lane in Dublin to discuss the big topics of the day. Among those featuring will be soft furnishings guru “Mattress Mick”, holding forth on the homeless crisis. Ladies and gentleman, peak “Virgin Media One” has been achieved.

Bloodlands
BBC One, March
Northern Ireland “noir” starring James Nesbitt as hardbitten PSNI detective Tom Brannick. He’s called to investigate the discovery of a car in Strangford Lough. It contains a suicide note connected to a cold case in which Brannick has a personal as well as professional interest. Ian McElhinney, from Derry Girls and Game of Thrones also stars, alongside Lisa Dwan, Charlene McKenna and Susan Lynch.

All That Glitters
BBC Two, March
If there’s one thing television is desperately short of it is reality TV in which members of the public try their hand at an artisanal trade. And so, on the heels of the Great British Bake Off, the Great Pottery Throw Down and Interior Design Masters, comes All That Glitters in which comedian Katherine Ryan welcomes “eight talented jewellers”, who will “battle it out” as they bid to become the one gem wrangler to rule them all.

Finding Jack Charlton is on Virgin Media One in March
Finding Jack Charlton is on Virgin Media One in March

Finding Jack Charlton
Virgin Media One, March
A co-commission between Virgin Media and the BBC, this documentary chronicles the final 18 months of Jack Charlton’s life as the former Ireland soccer manager struggles with dementia.

24-Hour Pet Emergency
Virgin Media One, March
We visit the Veterinary Hospital at UCD, where vets attend to poorly pooches and miserable moggies. Prepare to have your heart-strings tugged.

Crash Scene Investigates
Virgin Media One, March
A car crash can permanently change a person’s life. This documentary series will tell the story of real life road accidents and examine their long-term impact.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Photograph: Marvel
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Photograph: Marvel

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Disney +, March 19th
Marvel spin-offs…assemble! Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan team-up for what is pitched as an action-packed return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s sure to be an early highlight for superhero fans starved of blockbusters. It may also give them something to chew on, with Disney promising it will explore “complex” topics. And it brings back Captain America: Civil War villain Helmut Zero (Daniel Brühl).

Invincible
Amazon Prime Video, March 26th
Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman is the creator of this adult superhero animation about a 17 year-old (Steven Yuen) whose father (JK Simmons) happens to be an omnipotent crime fighter with godlike powers. With a legacy like that, how do you make your own way in the world?

Line of Duty, season six
BBC One, March
Adrian Dunbar is back as jolly DCI Ted Hastings in Jed Mercurio’s popular, if often convoluted, corrupt copper caper. Shot over the autumn in Belfast, LoD season six was one of the first major TV productions to run the Covid gauntlet. It got over the finishing line by filming as many outdoor scenes as possible and by ensuring interior sets were ventilated. Optical illusions were even utilised to make the actors appear closer than they actually were. Kelly MacDonald joins as this year’s celebrity casting.

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