Robots will wage war and humankind will return to Eden. No, it’s not the end of the world – it’s just what’s on telly over the coming week. Allow us to elaborate
Monday 18th July at 9pm on Channel 4 (CH 104)
Why you should watch: Because haven’t you ever wondered how good it would be if human civilisation could just start from scratch?
Is it some new glossy sci-fi drama? Nope, it’s a new reality show about a bunch of strangers building a new society in the middle of nowhere.
Actual location: OK, it’s the Scottish Highlands. So not quite “nowhere”.
What to say: “This could be a new generation’s answer to Castaway. In a good way.”
What not to say: “Call me when they finally break and start burning each other in Wicker Men.”
Tuesday 19th July at 10pm on BBC Two (CH 102)
Why you should watch: It’s a one-off satirical sledgehammer about the political madness of post-referendum Britain.
Who’s behind it? Jolyon Rubinstein and Heydon Prowse, aka the highly amusing chaps behind The Revolution Will Be Televised.
Sample sketches: A hipster who’s campaigning for Islington to become an independent state, and what it means to get stuck in a revolving door with Boris Johnson.
What to say: “In times like this, outlandish comedy makes more sense than anything on Newsnight.”
What not to say: “I’m still choosing to believe Brexit refers to a new brand of low calorie oat cracker.”
Thursday 21st July at 9pm on Universal (CH 208)
Why you should watch: One of the most acclaimed dramas of recent years finally makes its telly debut. Prepare to get addicted.
Who is Mr Robot? Well, he definitely ISN’T the main character – a talented techie who joins a secret group of revolutionary anarchist hackers.
So who is Mr Robot? Christian Slater!
Watch if you like: Breaking Bad, House of Cards, Better Call Saul, The Wire, and all the other big US shows that everyone talks about.
Trivia tidbit: The main star, Rami Malek, played a Pharaoh in all three Night At The Museum movies.
The Marvellous World Of Roald Dahl
Saturday 23rd July at 8pm on BBC Two (CH 102)
Why you should watch: This promises to be a whipple scrumptious fudgemallow delight of a programme about the fantastic Mr Dahl.
Juicy factoid alert: The documentary will take us through archived letters to tell Roald Dahl’s incredible life story through his own words.
Look out for: Chatty asides from Quentin Blake, whose drawings are synonymous with Dahl’s world.
Random unlikely fact: Dahl was once a spy. (And quite the womaniser too.)
How do you identify witches again? The nostrils. Always check the nostrils.
Sunday 24th July at 8pm on BBC Two (CH 102)
Why you should watch: Because we’re about to re-live the turn of the millennium with apocalyptic nostalgic carnage!
Who’s in charge?: Dara O’Briain is the new master of ceremonies, watching the dreams of nerds get literally pummelled into shrapnel.
Will Sir Killalot return?: Oh yes. And he’s roughly the size of a small house.
What to say: “Did you know Jeremy Clarkson presented Robot Wars before Craig Charles?”
What not to say: “Awooga! Awooga!” It’s not 1998 anymore.
Child Genius US
Monday 18th July at 9pm on Lifetime (CH 208)
Why you should watch: From sweet shy nerds to cockily precocious so-and-sos, the kids in this competition are irresistibly watchable.
What’s the gist? A bit like the British version, the show follows a gaggle of cute cleverclogses as they battle for a big college fund jackpot.
Excellent episode title alert: The opening edition is called “I’m Not A Tiger Mommy”.
Look out for: Scarily intense parents who are all basically Competitive Dad from The Fast Show.
What’s 456 x 4 – 48 + 2? These kids are way ahead of you.
Return From The Dead
Tuesday 19th July at 8pm on National Geographic (CH 266)
Why you should watch: Wouldn’t you like to have an idea of what this whole “death” thing is all about?
What’s going on here? A mad scientist is conducting experiments to induce “near death” experiences… we think. It’s hard to tell, to be honest.
Mad scientist? Actually he’s a renowned neurologist. But for the purposes of this documentary, mad scientist is our go-to description.
Is it a bit like Flatliners?: We do hope so. A cameo from Kiefer Sutherland would make this particularly awesome.
Zombie presence clarification: No, Return From The Dead is not about zombies.
Friday Night Dinner
Friday 22nd July at 10pm on Channel 4 (CH 104)
Why you should watch: It’s series four of the sitcom starring Simon “Chief Inbetweener” Bird. And it’s going to be a hoot.
Sitcom summary: If you’ve never seen it, Friday Night Dinner is about precisely that: dinner, on Friday. With a British-Jewish family.
Catchphrase to live by: “Hello bambinos!”
What to expect: The first episode of the new run features an incredibly annoying man who talks with his eyes closed.
Also: There’s a really big fish.
Look out for: Mark Heap, doing his patented Mark Heap being weird thing as the family’s weird neighbour.
Keith Richards: The Origin Of The Species
Saturday 23rd July at 9pm on BBC Two (CH 102)
Why you should watch: It’s about Keith Richards, the nearest thing to an alien life form left on Earth since Bowie returned to the stars.
Why it’s no ordinary rockumentary: It’s only about his early years growing up in Kent, and ends with the Rolling Stones getting together.
Potential Brian Pern-iness: Maybe a bit. But Keith is the least cringey rock god imaginable.
What to say: “How is this man still alive? HOW?”
What not to say: “I always did prefer Keith to Mick, don’t you know.”
Saddam Goes To Hollywood
Sunday 24th July at 8pm on Channel 4 (CH 104)
Why you should watch: Because it’s a story so flippin’ bizarre it cannot possibly be real. But it is.
What happened? Legendary hell-raiser Oliver Reed once starred in a movie financed by Saddam Hussein. This is the story of that almighty mess.
What the actual what?: This was back before Saddam was the world’s designated super-villain. Apparently, Ollie Reed got into a “table-lifting” competition in a Baghdad restaurant.
Could this be the best documentary ever? It’s certainly looking that way.
Watch this if you liked: Argo. But want a story even more bizarre, and significantly less made-up.
Recommended for you