Weekly TV preview 8 - 11 Feb | Virgin Media
Weekend TV preview

Weekly TV preview: Aliens, pharaohs and Moonshiners

08/02/2016

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Want to know what delights are in store on that magical box of colours that sits in the corner of your living room? We have all the best picks of unmissable TV for you to enjoy throughout the week.

The X-Files

Monday 8th February at 9pm on Channel 5 (CH 105)

X-Files

The truth isn’t out there – it’s right here on Channel 5, weirdly enough, as Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny slip back into their iconic personas and make us think we’re in secondary school all over again. Ahhh.

The world has changed a lot since the 1990s – both in terms of television and in terms of crackpot conspiracy fear-mongering. Back then, aside from some notable and noble exceptions telly largely sucked when it came to long-form, epic story arc type things. Also, conspiracy theories were new and exciting. That’s why The X Files originally became such a sensation – a sprawling, refreshingly complex drama full of thrilling revelations that made us come over all twitchy and paranoid, in a good way.

But can The X-Files still delight and intrigue in 2016? Post-Snowden, everyone’s basically a bit Mulder, so actual-Mulder may seem a bit old hat. Plus, there are marvellous TV shows ready to be binge-watched at the touch of a button, so do we still care to invest time with Mulder and Scully? Well, you HAVE to give it a try, at least for nostalgia’s sake, and when you hear that familiar theme tune whistle out at you, you WILL feel like you’re young again. We’ll also get to see Mulder as a grisly, off-the-grid crazy guy, and Scully as an icily efficient surgeon who has left all the aliens well behind her. Or so she thinks…

What's the verdict?

Word has it, The X-Files has indeed moved with the times, with even Mulder choosing to regard aliens as a “smokescreen” for the real villains in the Big Brother government. But will all of this work in this day and age? We want to believe…

The Silver Pharaoh Mystery

Tuesday 9th February at 9pm on National Geographic (CH 266)

The Last Leg Goes Down Under

Think King Tut had a grand nook to bed down in for eternity? Well prepare to venture into the equally lavish domain of Psusennes I, the pharaoh who’s somehow slipped under everyone’s radar. 

Think “Egyptian tomb” and it’s Tutankhamen who probably springs to mind.  Despite being a fairly nondescript ruler in his day (he was more John Major than Winston Churchill), Tut’s name is now known to pretty much everyone because of the grandeur of his tomb. Indeed, his iconic golden death mask is right up there with the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx as a symbol for Ancient Egypt itself.

But did you know that decades after Tut’s tomb was infamously raided, another equally majestic resting place was discovered? Probably not, because the 1940 discovery of Psusennes I was rather overshadowed by the slight matter of World War Two. And yet, as this documentary reveals, there were some serious wonders within. The solid silver casket earned him the nickname “silver pharaoh”, and it’s interesting to learn that, due to its scarcity, silver was actually more valuable than gold in Egypt. Tonight we’ll learn more about his rule, his incredible ambitions, and the riches which were brought out into the open as the world plunged deeper into catastrophic conflict. 

What’s the verdict?

The story of Howard Carter and King Tut is now so well-worn and overly mythologised, that it’ll be refreshing to hear about this other great feat of archaeology. Even if this one doesn’t come with a tasty “curse” attached to it…

Moonshiners

Wednesday 10th February at 10pm on Discovery (CH 250)

The Last Leg Goes Down Under

Rampant facial hair, denim dungarees, and firewater strong enough to make your eyes wince. Welcome to the world of Moonshiners, a must-watch for lovers of Duck Dynasty, Axe Men and all the other shows about good ole’ boys having a time.

It’s not often that the potential illegality of a docusoap becomes a focus of debate. But when Moonshiners first hit screens in the US, viewers were somewhat baffled. How could a show about a bunch of guys doing actually illicit things – ie, distilling moonshine – be allowed to air? Surely episode two should have largely involved everyone being carted off in handcuffs? Well, the question has only sort-of been answered, with some of the cast members insisting that they can’t be nicked unless there’s direct evidence for police to confiscate.

To which we can only say “Hmmmmm. Or perhaps it’s actually all made up for ‘entertainment purposes’”? Either way, it promises to be a real hoot, with various hillbilly types trudging around in glades, waxing lyrical about their potent elixirs, and occasionally ribbing each other for good measure. Things are also looking tricky for one of the gang in tonight’s episode – his “legal” moonshine business is hitting rocky waters. It’s enough to drive anyone to drink…

What’s the verdict?

There’s surely a gap in the market for a UK equivalent of these kinds of shows. Wise-cracking shepherds in Wales? Grumpy veg growers in Dorset? In the meantime, this will do very nicely. Just take it easy on the tipple – it’s very hard stuff.

Mega Shipyards

Thursday 11th February at 9pm on National Geographic (CH 266)

Extreme Time Cheaters

It may not have the most enticing name of any documentary ever made, but never mind that. Because anyone with a penchant for massive ships and incredible feats of engineering will be rather embarrassingly engrossed by all the uber-manly goings-on.

Ah, shipyards. Great aren’t they? They’re big. Really big. And they have ships in them. Really big ships. And… Well. OK, so there’s not really very much you can say about shipyards that will make them sound interesting. And the same can be said for this documentary series. It will either appeal to you on some strange gut level (“A programme about shipyards? Woohoo!”) or make you frown and want to move onto the next thing immediately, because who wants to watch a show about shipyards?

But… if YOU are the kind of person who wants to watch a show about shipyards, then you will take to this like James May to a vintage Ford. The heroes are the engineers – the man so filled with raw, unpolished, oil-stained masculinity that blokes at home may cover all inadequate by comparison. Doesn’t matter. Don’t let it get to you. We can’t all be action heroes of construction, drilling huge holes in giant sheets of metal, and welding together gigantic tugs in American harbours. As well as building ships, they even go and salvage a capsized vessel in this episode. That’s how good they are.

What's the verdict?

This is a real love it or hate it kind of programme, and if you do love it, it’s probably best enjoyed with the rest of your family safely elsewhere, so they can’t look at you with increasing disbelief as you get all engrossed in tales of mid-sea salvages. Enjoy.