This Week’s TV Highlights: Raising Hope, Wallander, Britain’s Secret Treasures, Suburgatory, The Angelos Epithemiou Show

by Matt D

As we approach another week in TV land here’s the usual five highlights for the week ahead.

Raising Hope (Sky 1, Sun, 6:30pm)
Anybody who saw the first series of Raising Hope on Sky knows that this likeable sitcom is worth a watch when it returns on Sunday. Raising Hope is based around the exploits of the Chance family and in particular, son Jimmy who, in the first episode of the series, discovered that he’d had a baby with a serial killer who know wanted him to look after it as she was to be sent to the Electric Chair. Jimmy and his parents Burt and Virginia do their best to care for Hope, although things don’t work out all that well while the fact that they’re not exactly wealthy means they can’t always afford the finer things in life, but somehow they muddle through. This second series starts with the revelation that Jimmy was once a musical child prodigy and so he sets out to discover his artistic side mainly to impress long time crush Sabrina. While Raising Hope isn’t as funny as Modern Family, it’s good old-fashioned working class sitcom with some great one-liners while Martha Plimpton is a hoot as Virginia and the legendary Cloris Leachman is just plain barmy as Jimmy’s great-grandmother.

Wallander (BBC1, Sun, 9pm)
As there was so many programmes to cover last week I forgot to mention that the newly knighted Sir Kenneth Branagh is back for a new run as gruff Swedish detective Kurt Wallander. This second episode, based on Henning Mankell’s The Dogs of Riga, starts with two bodies of Latvian thugs found on a boat with their tongues and mouths destroyed by chemical torture. The Latvians send one of their police officers over to help Kurt with his investigation however Karlis Liepa, played by Soren Malling of The Killing and Borgen, isn’t much help drinking Kurt’s alcohol and smoking his fags. Eventually Wallander journeys to Riga himself however things don’t end well there either despite him being propositioned by a local widow, but it’s all in a days work for this moody ladies’ man. Though I’ve never really been a fan of re-making foreign TV shows just so English language speakers can understand everything, I still enjoy Branagh’s portrayal of Wallander and the moody camerawork that is employed during the series.

Britain’s Secret Treasures (ITV1, Nightly from Mon 8pm)
ITV1 seems to love a list show at the moment as they count down the Top 60 Number One Singles of All Time, they also have time to divulge the 50 Greatest Artefacts discovered by members of the general public. To jazz this up a bit, the channel have dubbed it Britain’s Secret Treasures and have asked historian Bettany Hughes plus a team of anonymous experts to judge in what order the list should go, my guess is they just picked names out of a hat. Hughes co-hosts the show with Michael Buerk and a whole array of guest presenters who track down the people who found this stuff in the first place, and are presumably trying to get it back. The usual list of hangers-on such as John Sergeant, Gethin Jones and Dan Lobb are joined by some more interesting bookings, including former captive John McCarthy looking at a 2,000 year old slave shackle. Though Britain’s Secret Treasures is a tad on the heavy-handed side, on the whole it’s an interesting look at some extraordinary artefacts and the people who had enough time on their hands to discover them.

Suburgatory (E4, Tues, 9:30pm)
E4 adds yet another American comedy to its output, with the ridiculously named Surburgatory which thankfully makes up for that moniker by being very funny and rather sweet. The programme stars Jane Levy as Tessa, a New York girl whose dad George decides that they should move to the cosy town of Chatswin located within the suburbs. Tessa views Chatswin as a horrible place full of women wearing day-glo pink tracksuits and men who play sports all day in the country club, however she is eventually charmed by a handful of residents. Suburgatory is an amusing programme, bolstered by a great central relationship between Levy and Jeremy Sisto as George while the script is at its funniest when pointing out the ludicrous nature of smalltown life. The best thing about Surbugatory, for me at least, is the supporting performances from Cheryl Hines and Alan Tudyk as nice but dim socialite Dallas and George’s old college friend Noah.

The Angelos Epithemiou Show (C4, Fri, 10:35pm)
Another show I missed highlighting last week is the full series of Angelos Epithemiou’s talk show after a successful pilot at the end of last year. Most of you will remember Angelos Epithemiou, who is played by Dan Skinner, as the score-taker in the final few series of Shooting Stars however he has since been given his own chat show by Channel 4. The programme, which is sort of a greasier Alan Partridge, sees Epithemiou interview some people from the lower end of the celebrity food chain who possibly wouldn’t appear on Graham Norton’s show, for example this week’s lead guest is former Towie cast member and Big Brother housemate Amy Childs. This second episode also features a giant tortoise holding competition between Angelos and Professor Green, plus there are cameo appearances from Gabby Logan as well as his old mate Ulrika Jonsson. Skinner is a fabulous character comedian and portrays Angelos as one of life’s losers but thankfully his chat show is an absolute hoot and well worth a watch.

What do you think of this week’s picks? What are you enjoying on the TV at the moment? Leave Your Comments Below.