This Is Us
Tuesday 6th December at 9pm on Channel 4 (CH 104)
Why you should watch: Because everyone will be talking about this at work soon, and you don’t want to be the convo-gooseberry, do you?
What is it?: A major new US comedy-drama about the turbulent lives of a group of people who share the same birthday.
Example people: An angry sitcom star, his twin sister struggling with size issues, and a successful businessman seeking his long-lost father.
Is it zeitgeisty?: Oh heck yes. But it also flashes back to the past, so it’s quite the epic saga.
Watch if you like: Unashamedly emotional dramas, and buying boxes of tissues (you’ll go through a fair few before the series is up).
Digging For Britain
Tuesday 6th December at 9pm on BBC Four (CH 107)
Why you should watch: It’s the fascinating new series from Dr Alice Roberts, the TV academic who looks uncannily like Victoria Coren Mitchell.
Best Wikipedia write-up ever: Dr Roberts’ page describes her as an “anatomist, osteoarchaeologist, physical anthropologist” and “palaeopathologist”. Way to make us all feel inadequate.
What’s being dug up?: Britain’s first “double henge”, among other things.
Most revelatory moment: We’ll learn about the British WW1 trenches. Yes, they existed.
Is this show a bit like Time Team, then?: You know it.
Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas
Wednesday 7th December at 8pm on Channel 4 (CH 104)
Why you should watch: It’s time to get crafty with Kirstie! Because this is a show about arts and crafts. And that’s why we said that.
Can’t I just buy all this stuff from the shops?: Stop being lazy and embrace the true spirit of Christmas, damn it.
What’s being made: Homemade crimbo decorations. Presumably more complex than those paper chain things we made at school.
Also: Competitive gingerbread house making. It’s going to get fierce.
Best watched with: Scissors, glitter and a bottle of port for drowning of sorrows when you make a terrible mess.
In Plain Sight
Wednesday 7th December at 9pm on ITV (CH 103)
Why you should watch: It’s a serial killer thriller about an obsessive detective and his sadistic quarry. But here’s the twist: it’s set in the 1950s.
In other words: Think The Fall, but in period gear.
True story alert: It’s based on the true reign of terror of Scottish murderer Peter Manuel.
Facial recognition analysis: Our detective hero is played by Douglas Henshall, who also played a copper in Shetland.
Probability of gripping sofa cushion till knuckles are white: 100%.
Tuesday 8th December at 9pm on ITV1 (CH 101)
Why you should watch: This new series really lives up to its name, showcasing some truly inspiring nuptials.
Is it a trashy reality show?: No, this isn’t about crazy/expensive/silly weddings involving pink castles and fake unicorns and Kim Kardashian impersonators and the like.
What makes them extraordinary?: The couples have overcome incredible adversity to walk down the aisle.
Example adversities: One groom was suddenly blinded by a rare form of cancer, and one bride was paralysed from the neck down in a freak accident.
Yikes: Indeed. Prepare to weep like you’re… well, at a wedding.
Friday 9th December on Netflix
Why you should watch: It’s season two of the US sitcom which puts big silly smiles on our faces.
What’s the gist?: It’s the saga of a widow who recruits members of her family to help raise her kids. Shenanigans ensue.
Why does it sound familiar?: It’s a belated sequel to hit 80s/90s sitcom Full House, which starred the Olsen twins.
Will the Olsen twins be making a cameo or what?: Looks like no, but don’t quote us on that.
Is that a laughter track I hear?: Yep. It’s unashamedly old-school and uncool, and will make you feel like you’re in the 90s all over again. Great, eh?
Fuller House will be available from Friday 9th December on Netflix
White Rabbit Project
Friday 9th December on Netflix
Why you should watch: It’s the big new series starring members of the MythBusters team.
So it’s basically a sequel to MythBusters?: Yes. Get excited.
What’s the gist?: The gang will be exploring jailbreaks, bizarre weaponry, daring heists and other fun stuff.
Robot jousting alert: There will be robot jousting.
Entertaining torture alert: Our intrepid investigators will also be zapped with electrodes while eating dinner. Sadistic science is great, isn’t it?
White Rabbit Project will be available from Friday 9th December on Netflix
Medici: Masters Of Florence
Friday 9th December on Netflix
Why you should watch: The story of Europe’s most powerful and notorious dynasty is told in this lavish new drama.
Who were the Medici?: A sprawling family of bankers, politicians, religious leaders and patrons who helped spearhead the Renaissance.
A-listers alert: Dustin Hoffman is one of the heavyweight stars, along with Game Of Thrones alumnus Richard Madden.
Fun fact: This became the most Tweeted-about show of 2016… in Italy.
Watch if you like: The Borgias, The Tudors, and other shows which sound intellectual but deliver on the “juicy romp” front.
Medici: Masters Of Florence will be available from Friday 9th December on Netflix
Saturday 10th December at 9pm on Discovery (CH 250)
Why you should watch: Because it’s a show about iconic Wild West lawmen and outlaws, and iconic Wild West lawmen and outlaws are cool.
What to expect: Cinematic, dramatized sequences depicting their legendary adventures, along with actual historian interviews.
What makes it unique: Each episode tells the story of a particular historical figure from their own point of view.
First up: Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday’s exploits at the OK Corral.
Best watched with: A bowl of grits. Whatever grits are.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
Sunday 11th December on Netflix
Why you should watch: Because the classic Douglas Adams character has been given a brand new screen incarnation, and we’re very curious to see what it’s like.
When did we see this before?: A BBC version was made starring Stephen Mangan as the quirky crime-solver.
Who’s playing him this time?: Someone called Samuel Barnett, but the real star turn is Elijah Wood as his hapless sidekick.
Who is Dirk Gently anyway?: A “holistic detective”, who cracks cases by piecing together seemingly unconnected clues. It’s bizarre and brilliant.
Unlikely fact of the day: Harry Enfield once played Dirk in a radio version.
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency will be available from Sunday 11th December on Netflix
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