TV not to miss

SATURDAY

Zodiac

RTÉ Two, 9pm

In the late 1960s and early 1970s a serial killer terrorised the San Francisco Bay Area. In a case that was never solved, he killed at least five people, and possibly more. This take on the tale stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr as two newspaper men who become involved in the case when the killer sends encrypted messages to their office. The fact that the film stays close to actual events ensures that it doesn’t have the neat ending we’d all desire, but overall it still manages to satisfy with a gripping story and some superb performances.

SUNDAY

The TV Book Club

More4, 7.10pm

Stuck for some opinions to offer at your own book club? Just steal some ideas from the new series of this televised equivalent. In tonight’s opener, actress Caroline Quentin is among a panel discussing Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson.

Birdsong

BBC One, 9pm

The second and final part of Abi Morgan’s take on Sebastian Faulks’s classic novel. Last week’s opener was a mite slow for some viewers, but its depiction of the contrasting worlds of Stephen’s passionate love affair and his time in the hell of Flanders seduced many more. In this episode, we get a taste of the horrors of the Somme and the sheer folly of the war. Incongruously, the bond between the men stuck in the midst of those awful events produces a sense of the basic decency of humankind. All the while, Stephen is driven on by his love for Isabelle. A worthy adaptation.

Jaws

RTÉ Two, 9.30pm

Yes, some of the special effects do look a bit ropey, but young Steven Spielberg’s first major feature does still stand the test of time. Released in 1975 when the director was just 29, it was a phenomenal success and became the first ever film to clock up $100 million at the box office. And John Williams’s two-note shark tune stands as possibly the most evocative piece of movie music ever.

God Bless Ozzy Osbourne

BBC Two, 10pm

This feature-length documentary on the legendary rocker and reality TV star has been produced by Ozzy Osbourne’s son Jack, but it doesn’t shirk the darker side of the Black Sabbath singer’s life. His excess made for some great macho anecdotes — incredible amounts of alcohol and cocaine, biting the head off a bat, snorting a line of ants, etc — but it was also linked to violence against his wife Sharon and a self-destructive path that had him on course to an early grave. Here, Ozzy’s children and bandmates, as well as the likes of Paul McCartney and Tommy Lee, talk about both sides of a man who now comes across as a sort of doddery and endearing granddad.

The Meaning Of Life

RTÉ One, 10.30pm

Richard Branson is usually an engaging interviewee so Gay Byrne’s probing about some of the bigger questions in life produces interesting results. An avowed athiest, he ranks such believers as Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter as close friends and admits to being envious of their faith. The British billionaire has also been a supporter of environmental campaigns, something he has to square with his ownership of a major polluting airline.

MONDAY

Dúshlán

TG4, 7.30pm

The final episode of the documentary series follows Irish oil man Dáithí Ó hArgáin as he heads to Bolivia to try and clinch a deal with the government of Evo Morales. Mindful of the centuries of exploitation that western interests have imposed on his country, Morales is quite hostile to multinational energy companies, and the Dublin entrepreneur has a tough task to convince that his company’s quest for profits can also benefit the Bolivians.

The Wrestler

Film4, 9pm

Part of the network’s Great Directors series this week, Darren Aronofsky’s account of a burnt-out wrestler trying to get his life and career back on track was a surprise hit in 2008. It also provided the perfect vehicle for the resurrection of Mickey Rourke’s career, and he nailed the part so well it is difficult to imagine anyone else in the role.

John Adams

Sky Atlantic, 9pm

At last a chance to see the widely-praised 2008 mini-series on the life of America’s second president. Produced by Tom Hanks for HBO, it stars Paul Giamatti in the title role of a man who has been strangely neglected in his home country.

TUESDAY

The Piano

Film4, 9pm

New Zealand director Jane Campion gained a huge reputation on the back of this 1993 erotic tale set in her home country in the 19th century. Holly Hunter and Harvey Keitel shine in a tale of love in the colonies.

WEDNESDAY

One Born Every Minute

Channel 4, 9pm

Among the expectant mothers featured in tonight’s show is a 17 year old facing into the experience of being a lone parent, and a mother of two who’s fairly upbeat about having her third.

The Crusades

BBC Two, 9pm

The final episode in the series on the medieval conflicts between Christian and Muslim armies looks at the role of Crusade leader King Louis IX and also Baybars, the blue-eyed former slave who had such a major hand in ensuring the defeat of the European powers.

THURSDAY

Raymond Blanc: The Very Hungry Frenchman

BBC Two, 8pm

New series has the French chef exploring the food of different regions of his homeland. Begins in his birthplace of Franche Comte, the relatively little-known region in the north east of the country.

Toughest Place to Be

BBC Two, 9pm

A second series of shows where British workers go to perform their equivalent jobs in a different country. Tonight’s show has a London binman heading off to Jakarta in Indonesia where he joins up with a local rubbish collector who works under far more difficult conditions.

Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy

E4, 10.30pm

The former Mighty Boosh man is never going to be everybody’s cup of tea, but he may strike a chord with those whose sense of humour leans towards the surreal. In tonight’s episode, Little Chrissie and Spoon Snake visit the Jelly Fox. You’d have to be there.

FRIDAY

Tallafornia

TV3, 10pm

TV3 management must be grinning like cheshire cats at RTÉ’s dropping of tonight’s episode of Homeland in favour of amateur boxing. It’s a decision that may deliver a flock of new viewers to the tanned and toned ambassadors for west Dublin. In tonight’s show, Natalie gets a birthday surprise from the lads while Nikita’s sexy surprise is waiting for her back in the house.

* Get daily TV news, previews and reviews on Twitter via @examinertv

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