On the Box
John Byrne’s TV choices for the week ahead.
It’s taken 24 years for the Republic of Ireland to qualify for its second Euro finals, but this should be worth the wait. After some pretty grim years for the national side, legendary Italian coach Giovanni Trapattoni arrived to put some much-needed manners on the squad. His diligent approach and reliance on the work ethic has seen the Irish qualify for a major tournament through a combination of cast-iron discipline and determination. Euro 2012 kicks-off with co-hosts Poland facing 2004 champions Greece (KO 5.00pm) and Russia playing the Czech Republic (7.45pm). We’re up to bat on Sunday, against Croatia.
Season two of the spooky drama begins and there’s a new group – headed by Lacey Turner (EastEnders) – of residents at Bedlam Heights, the spooky apartment block owned by Warren Bettany (Hugo Speer), where they are set to be drawn closer to their darkest fears. Ellie (Turner), for example, has lost her fiancé and her job as a paramedic as she has become increasingly plagued by visions of ghosts and how they died.
Fair play to TG4, there’s no messing with the crystal meth here as it’s straight into season two of this remarkable drama about Walt White, a mild-mannered chemistry teacher who reinvents himself as an increasingly nasty drug supplier after discovering he’s got terminal cancer. Having completed their deal with Mexican drug baron Tuco in the junkyard, Walt and Jesse discover just how crazy and violent he can be.
Gossip Girl (Tuesday, TG4)
Season five opens in Los Angeles as a suntanned Serena has found the perfect summer job when Chuck and Nate – still on their trek around the globe – decide to pay her a visit on their mega-yacht. Meanwhile, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Blair is still dealing with the fallout from her impossible choice between Prince Louis and Chuck, and Dan’s world is shattered when someone goes behind his back and finds an editor to anonymously publish one of his stories.
Green is the Colour (Wednesday, RTÉ Two)
Darragh Maloney hosts the fourth and concluding chapter in this hugely enjoyable sift through the history of football in Ireland. Covering a period from 1996 up to the modern day that’s defined by scandals that highlight the constant need to modernise and change with the times. The Kerr and Staunton years follow, Giovanni Trapattoni arrives, and there are moments such as playing in Croke Park, and Thierry Henry’s handball in 2009.
There’s a great sense of inevitable doom with this show as it concludes its fifth season. While Don suffers with a crippling toothache, the agency’s fortunes continue to improve as the partners look to expand their office onto a second floor. Elsewhere, Megan is given food for thought when a fellow would-be actress asks for Don’s help in landing a role in a commercial. Plus, Roger is reunited with Marie, and Pete and Beth’s actions have severe repercussions.
It’s amazing to think this has been on for eight seasons, but Shonda Rhimes’ mix of medicine and romance has worked really well for her, surviving cast members and the shows’ millions of fans. In this season finale, faced with a life threatening situation, the doctors must fight to stay alive while trying to save the lives of their peers; Bailey and Ben make a decision regarding their relationship; and Teddy is presented with a tempting offer. Meanwhile, Richard plans a special dinner for the residents.
Documentary of the week
Punk Britannia (Friday, BBC FOUR)
The opening episode in this trilogy was both informative and entertaining, and set things up just nicely for the meat in the sandwich, which revolves around the short lifespan of punk, which started to draw attention to itself in 1976 but was a spent force by 1978. And while Sex Pistols, The Clash, Buzzcocks and others blazed a path of determined individualism, what followed was stifling conformity. But it was fun while it lasted.
Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld reached what many consider to be the benchmark in sitcom writing with the fourth season of Seinfeld. The fun begins in The Trip, a two-parter that sees Jerry’s stand-up career on the rise as he’sinvited to appear on a talk show in Los Angeles. Taking George with him, the pair decide to track down Kramer who, at the end of last season, had already made his way to LA to forge himself an acting career.