This week I'm watching...TV with Paul Whitington
Reviewed this week are The Fall, Stalker, Lilyhammer and Olive Kitteridge.
Sunday, RTE1, 10.30pm
Bleak Belfast drama returns
BBC Northern Ireland's crime drama The Fall emerged from nowhere in the summer of 2013 to win plaudits both here and in Britain, where critics hailed it as one of the best TV dramas of the year. Allan Cubitt's unforgettably bleak thriller was gripping, intelligent and wildly original from the get-go, and starred Gillian Anderson as Stella Gibson, a top Scotland Yard detective who's sent to Belfast to investigate a string of horrific murders. The interesting thing about The Fall's structure was that while Stella slowly zeroed in on her prey, we immediately found out who he was: Paul Spector (Jamie Dornan), a grief counsellor and family man who moonlights as a midnight strangler.
At the end of season one, Spector left Belfast with a spring in his step having apparently gotten away with his crimes, but as this new series begins, things don't seem quite so clear-cut. It's 10 days later, and DSI Gibson is trying to get the only surviving victim to remember her attacker's face when Spector realises that an old acquaintance is helping police with their enquiries, which means he must risk all by returning to Belfast to stop them.
Jamie Dornan is terrifyingly good as the demented killer, and The Fall is unmissably good.
Monday, Sky Living, 10pm
Nasty new crime series
Distantly related to the Scream movies, and similar in tone to Criminal Minds, this grisly new crime series starts off shockingly and continues that way. It stars Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott as Jack Larsen and Beth Davis, the heads of a unit that investigates cases of stalking in greater Los Angeles. This keeps them pretty busy, as you'd imagine, and Beth has a personal interest in her work as she was once stalked herself. It's entertaining, but a little bit nasty.
Netflix, November 21
A mobster in Norway
Steve Van Zandt had never acted in his life when he agreed to play the part of Silvio Dante in The Sopranos, and very good he was too. Since then Van Zandt has had a sleeper hit with this amiably eccentric comic drama, and season three of Lilyhammer streams on Netflix in two weeks. New York gangster Frank Tagliano has started a new life in Norway, and is now the proud father of baby twins. But his violent past has followed him, and as this new season opens an old ghost resurfaces.
Sky Atlantic, December
Memoirs of a housewife
Early reviews of this four-part HBO mini-series have been glowing. Based on the acclaimed novel by Elizabeth Strout, Olive Kitteridge stars Frances McDormand as Olive, a New England maths teacher and housewife who views with a jaundiced eye events big and small in her homely New England town. Richard Jenkins plays her dull husband; Bill Murray is a widower with whom Olive strikes up an unlikely friendship, and the series skates through several decades as it tells its complex story.