TV guide: 12 of the best shows to watch this week, beginning tonight

Including Kin, The Last of Us, Réaltaí na Gaeltachta and Race Across the World

Dancing with the Stars finale

Sunday, RTÉ One, 6.30pm

It’s the grand finale of RTÉ's big winter-warmer dance contest, and after comedian Kevin McGahern’s elimination last week, we’re down to the last four who will battle it out for the big prize. Fashion blogger Suzanne Jackson is still in the running after just pipping McGahern in the elimination round, and RTÉ presenter Carl Mullan has beaten all odds and stayed the course. But the main battle is between singer Brooke Scullion, who has consistently been on the front foot, and singer and actor Damian McGinty. Last dance, please!


Sunday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

It’s season two of the Dublin gangland drama and the Kinsella crime family are doing quite nicely thank you. They’re pretty much ruling the roost, but perhaps killing Eamon Cunningham wasn’t such a great idea. Now a Turkish crime cartel has come knocking and they want money that Eamon owed them. And, in their eyes, whoever killed Eamon is going to have to pony up for the debt.

Sebastian Barry: Family Stories

Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

Irish writer Sebastian Barry is the willing subject of this profile by the directing-producing team of Charlie McCarthy and Clíona Ní Bhuachalla, which looks back on Barry’s 40-year career and examines the influences and events that shaped such works as The Steward of Christendom and The Secret Scripture. Barry’s novels and plays focus on family dynamics and the hand of history reaching into the present day, and this documentary explores Barry’s own family history and how his writing has evolved over the years.

The Last of Us

Monday, Sky Atlantic, 9pm

And so we reach the end of this stage of Pedro Pascal’s perilous journey through a post-apocalyptic zombie wasteland – except it’s not really the end because HBO has announced it will air a bonus episode of the hit dystopian sci-fi series following this season finale. So, what can we expect from this ninth and final episode in this series? As the trailer shows, Joel and Ellie are set to reach Salt Lake City but before they get there they may have to fight a few more Infecteds and, as Ellie says in the teaser trailer, “finish what we started”.


Réaltaí na Gaeltachta

Tuesday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

It makes I’m a Celebrity seem like a teddy bear’s picnic, and makes Ultimate Hell Week seem like afternoon. Five celebs are abandoned in the wilds of the Gaeltacht and have to survive even though they’ve forgotten most of their Gaeilge. Can they keep their Irish up to the end, or incur the wrath of the bean an tí? Amanda Brunker, Des Cahill, Lauren Whelan, Fred Cooke and Oisín Mullin are nearing the end of Gaeilge boot camp, but there’s one more test of endurance, the dreaded ceolchoirm, where they’ll have to do their party piece – as Gaeilge. Scaoil amach mé!

Love Life

Tuesday, TG4, 10.30pm

Anna Kendrick stars as serial dater Darby Carter in this HBO anthology series from 2020 all about the ones that got away. Everyone has a list as long as your arm of relationships that didn’t last, but it looks like Darby’s going to need a longer arm, as one promising partnership after another goes down the Swanee. In episode one, she meets a chap named Augie Jeong and thinks he may be the one, but it’s just the beginning of a long, convoluted road to love paved with disappointments and disastrous dates. Relatable? Let me count the ways.

Race Across the World

Wednesday, BBC One, 9pm

Imagine having to race from the west to the east coast of Canada, without being able to book tickets online, use your credit card, or use a smartphone to find directions. You don’t even get a sporty car to smooth your journey, like the Top Gear presenters. Five teams have to get from Vancouver to St John’s, Newfoundland, relying only on their wits and the kindness of strangers, and using an ancient form of currency known as cash. It’s about 5,000km as the crow flies, but their route will see them cover about 16,000km to get to the finish line.

The Cockfields

Wednesday, BBC Two, 10pm

Alas for fans of Joe Wilkinson’s sitcom set on the Isle of Wight, this is not a much hoped-for third series, but it is a chance to relive the laughs, as Simon (Wilkinson) brings his new girlfriend to meet his family in Cockfield, who include his mother Sue, who still treats him like a little boy; his stepdad Ray, who’s a bit of a control freak; his stepbrother David, who has an unhealthy obsession with TV presenter Alan Titchmarsh; and his dad Larry, who’s also got a new girlfriend, making for more than a bit of awkwardness.

In the Name of the Son

Thursday, RTÉ One, 10.15pm

Dingle woman Mags Riordan lost three children in separate tragedies but has turned her loss into a lifelong life-saving vocation. This documentary tells the story of the Kerry woman who lost her baby daughter Niamh in 1974 after the car she was in rolled off the pier at Dingle, and lost her baby boy Luke two years later to cot death. In 1999, her son Billy drowned while on holiday in Malawi, and Mags has since set up a clinic in Cape Maclear, the place where Billy died, to treat people for Aids and other diseases. It’s a story of extraordinary resilience in the face of family tragedy, but also a story of how one woman is working tirelessly to transform the fortunes of a country hit by poverty and disease.

Na Goirt Órga

Thursday, TG4, 9.30pm

Dara Ó Cinnéide has been a lifelong fan of sports and he knows that no matter where sport is played, whether it’s the local village pitch or the world’s biggest sports stadium, the passion and power of sport is always the same. In this three-part series, Ó Cinnéide visits some of the most iconic venues in Irish sport, but also travels the world, visiting famous playing fields across all sports and meeting fans whose lives for whom these sports grounds are veritable meccas.


Friday, Paramount+

It’s season two of the drama about a high school soccer team who are stranded in the Canadian wilderness in 1996 after their plane crashed en route to a game. Did they end up eating each other like that soccer team in the Andes? Season one saw the teen survivors descending into Lord of the Flies-style savagery as they split up into rival clans, with flash-forwards to 2021 as the girls, now grown up, deal with the legacy of their shared ordeal. What fresh horrors, past and present, will season two bring?

Drift – Partners in Crime

Friday, Sky Atlantic & Now, 9pm

Ali is a hard-bitten, hard-drinking cop who likes to do things his own unorthodox way. But when a big police operation goes pear-shaped, Ali is forced to work with a cop from another jurisdiction, Leo. The pair have nothing in common – in fact, they don’t even like each other. That’s because they are estranged brothers. Will their sibling rivalry threaten to derail the investigation? Or will law enforcement’s answer to Oasis learn at last to get along? This German series stars Ken Duken (Inglourious Basterds) and Fabian Busch as the quarrelling cops.

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist