Tuesday 23 January 2018

The best of the week ahead: Your tv highlights with Paul Whitington

Showing: Humans Channel 4, 9pm Strangers in our midst

Humans, Channel 4
Humans, Channel 4
Angel From Hell, CBS
Man Down, Channel 4
Selfie, RTE
Selfie RTE
Selfie, RTE2
Hot pursuit: Coronation Street - ITV

How might we behave if life-like humanoid robots were commonplace in our homes? That’s the intriguing question posed by this creepy new Channel 4/AMC co-production based on a Swedish drama called Real Humans. With an impressive cast that includes William Hurt, Colin Morgan and Rebecca Front, Humans is set in an alternative near future where sophisticated androids are widely available, and easily afforded.

The androids, known as ‘synths’, are used as servants, workers, childminders and even lovers, and while many have replaced this technological advance, others are apprehensive about what might go wrong. Though synths are easily identifiable thanks to their bright, flawless skin, glossy hair and luminous eyes, and require regular doses of electricity to survive, some users seem happy to forget that they’re only machines, and begin developing emotional relationships with them.

William Hurt plays a heartbroken widower who has formed a fatherly bond with his synth Odi, and uses the android’s flawless mind to help recall memories of his dead wife. Gemma Chan is a beautiful and servile ’bot who, now and then, does something disconcertingly human. And poor Laura (Katherine Parkinson) is put in an awkward spot when her husband buys a synth he thinks will solve their marital difficulties. That guy has a lot to learn about women.


Angel from Hell

CBS, autumn

Your very own guardian angel

As Glee nears its end, the character most fans will miss is the villainous cheer-leading coach Sue Sylvester, played with unhinged venom by Jane Lynch. But this autumn, Ms Lynch moves on to Angel from Hell, an ambitious sitcom co-starring Maggie Lawson as a prissy perfectionist called Allison Fuller. Allison is understandably sceptical when an eccentric and possibly homeless woman called Amy (Lynch) turns up claiming to be her guardian angel, but she does have unexplainable gifts. 



Monday, RTE2, 7.30pm

Famous for absolutely nothing

This frothy sitcom pretty much died a death when released in America late last year, but is an interesting experiment and has moments of near brilliance. In a plot that seems inspired by Pygmalion, former Doctor Who girl, Karen Gillan, is Eliza Dooley, a flashy and brittle ‘insta-famous’ social media star who’s grown tired of the limelight. So she hires a marketing expert to teach her how to be a real person and have proper friends as opposed to Facebook ones.


Man Down

Channel 4 On Demand

The big man returns

Greg Davies’ rather crude but endearingly old-fashioned comedy Man Down suffered a body blow last year when Rik Mayall, died. He had played the alarmingly eccentric father of Davies’ character, Dan, and for a time it seemed the show might not continue. But it returned on Channel 4 last week and can also be followed on ‘4 On Demand’. The bumbling, affable Dan is discouraged by the news that his prostate is enlarged in episode one, but happy and surprised when he gets himself a date.

The sopabox: Secrets & spoilers

More one night stands than you can shake a stick at

Coronation Street: Sophie, Kevin and Rita are in hot pursuit of Jenny after the police inform them that her son drowned when he was left unattended. Julie's true love, that being Brian, is back on the street. He's jacked in his high-flying teaching job in Wales to give Julie another whirl, which is fortuitous timing. Kylie and David play happy families in front of Callum. Ayla is left more than a little shuck after Sharif suffers a panic attack, so she asks Jason can she get drunk with him. And maybe do other stuff. Oh, and Fiz is back too. Fair City: Caoimhe convinces her dad to move back, which is bound to thrill absolutely no one - except Jane who is particularly reluctant to give up her hate campaign. Wayne's still unable to bring himself to give Dolores' sickbed nuptials his blessing. Decco's left scratching his head as to how he's going to let Kerri-Ann down after she suggests they cohabit. Niamh's morto when she misreads Paul's signals.

Emmerdale: Rachel loses the plot with Sam again this week, and it's a lot more terrifying than the time she chucked the plate at him. Robert is hell bent on keeping his beady eye on Cain as he's convinced himself that the wily Dingle knows where Adam and Victoria are hiding. Cain has other concerns as he pays Charity a visit in prison before going to meet Joanie to give her a deposit. And then he wears the face off Chrissie. Busy Cain. Meanwhile, David pulls out of the shop sale. All those fraudulent bank dealings for nowt…

EastEnders: Kush is a man in the middle when Carmel and Shabnam can't agree on the decorations for the engagement party. Welcome to the rest of your life, mate. Dean, meanwhile, finds out that his daughter is still alive and you'll never guess where he confronts Shabnam about her lies. In entirely unrelated news, Roxy has a one-night stand, much to Ronnie's joy, while Stacey also has a one-night stand. Elsewhere, Carol and Buster bond. Shirley's bound to take that well…

* Sheena McGinley is an editor at entertainment.ie

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