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The 7 best things on TV this week

We've got highbrow; lowbrow; cutting-edge starts; triumphant returns. All the TV worth watching — from the final series of Ricky Gervais' After Life to a sweeping Shakespeare adaptation — is right here.

PICK OF THE WEEK: After Life, Netflix, 14 Jan

Ricky Gervais’s surprisingly touching and well-crafted comedy series about dealing with the loss of a spouse is back for its third and final iteration. The gruff, foul-mouthed Gervais is balanced out by his supporting cast: Penelope Wilton (Downton Abbey) as a kind widow, Ashley Jensen as a nursing home nurse with whom he bonds, and — of course — Brandy the dog.

Euphoria, NOW TV, 9 Jan

It’s series 2 of HBO’s hard-hitting drama about teen addiction and sexuality, starring Zendaya (Spiderman: Homecoming) and produced by Drake. Uncompromisingly frank but sensitively executed, the show’s first series received critical acclaim, and this next chapter firmly delivers with more drama, heightened emotion, and saturated colour. Not always an easy watch, but deftly done.

Couples Therapy, BBC2, 10 Jan

One for all of us nosy parkers… this American show follows four real couples through their therapy sessions, dirty laundry and all. Absolutely beats us why anyone would agree to it, but boy does it make for a guiltily engaging watch.

Rules Of The Game, BBC1, 11 Jan

Inspired by the Harvey Weinstein scandal, this four-part series examines sexual politics in the modern workplace through a police-drama lens, as businesswoman Sam (Maxine Peake) is questioned by police after the death of an employee. Meanwhile, a new HR girl struggles to challenge the company’s laddish culture. Expect gripping plot and stellar performances.

The Bay, ITV, 12 Jan

Return to the apparently perpetually-solemn coastal town of Morecambe with series 3 of this ITV crime drama. There’s a new central character, but the show doesn’t suffer for it — it’s still a satisfying tale of case-cracking that nicely feeds the nation’s crime show obsession.

Save the Cinema, NOW TV, 14 Jan

Sometimes you just can’t beat a feel-good, predictable story of underdogs standing up to The Man. Here it’s the true story of how local woman Liz Evans stepped up to save Carmarthen’s Lyric Theatre & Cinema from being demolished back in 1996. Nice, low-stakes viewing: obviously she’s gonna succeed because they made it into a film, but we go on a journey to get there anyway. Charming Welsh accents: tick. Surprising appearance from Draco Malfoy (Tom Felton): tick. Warm, fuzzy feelings: tick. That’s Friday evening’s watch sorted.

The Tragedy Of Macbeth, Apple TV, 14 Jan

For a highbrow watch — brows positively sky-high — don’t miss this powerfully stripped back adaptation of Macbeth, starring Denzel Washington. It premiered at the 2021 New York Film Festival to critical acclaim, and is all theatrical, monochrome seriousness. Both Washington as Macbeth and Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) as Lady Macbeth are excellent.

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