The best TV shows to watch this week

First Dates Ireland, Vikings and Star Trek all return to the small screen

Dancing with the Stars: second series begins on Sunday. Photograph: RTE

Dancing with the Stars: second series begins on Sunday. Photograph: RTE


Star Trek Discovery
Monday, Netflix

Marauding hordes with bumpy faces threaten the entire star system when Star Trek Discovery returns. Trekkies had a lot of new concepts to get their heads around in the first series, not least the idea of a starship using a giant bug as a power source. They also had to deal with an openly gay relationship between the ship’s doctor and science officer, rough Klingon-human sex, lots of swearing and – gasp – a female character with a boy’s name.

First Dates Ireland
Tuesday, RTÉ Two, 9.30pm
With all the tangos and lambadas on Dancing with the Stars, there’s bound to be some heated moments, so we probably won’t need to bother with the new series of First Dates Ireland. Judging by the number of dates in the last series that ended in steamy embraces, maybe the producers should consider sticking a dancefloor into the First Dates’ restaurant for this third series. Well, maybe it’ll be third time lucky for this bunch of hopefuls, which will include Mormons, surfers and a male stripper, plus the programme’s first trans dater and first deaf dater.

Wednesday, RTÉ Two, 9pm

Fans of hairy marauding hordes will rejoice at the return of Vikings, the Irish-Canadian co-production that’s given countless Irish extras some much-needed work over the years. We’re into season five now, and the Vikings have penetrated into the very heart of England, and are about to take the town of York and establish it as their stronghold. But tensions between Ragnar’s sons are growing, and threatening to blow up into full civil war. Jonathan Rhys Meyers joins the cast as the warrior bishop Heahmund, who must use all his power and charisma to rally the Saxons to defend their kingdom.

Derry Girls
Thursday, Channel 4, 10pm

This candid and family-centred comedy, created by Lisa McGee and on her own experiences growing up in Derry, is set during later years of The Troubles in Northern Ireland. The show revolves around 16-year-old Erin Quinn, played by Saoirse Monica Jackson, and her gang of school friends coming of age in 1990s Derry. The show is packed with pop culture references and mouthfuls of Derry slang. McGee said she wanted to show a different side of the North – the city was “a brilliant place to live and grow up. I just thought ‘someone needs to show the other side of it’ – that these people are funny. You never got to see that side of Northern Ireland.”

It’s been described as an “Inbetweeners for clever girls” – which is good enough for us.