January is always a depressing month, with Christmas over, all the decorations down and the gluttony behind us, and the next few months of winter spreading seemingly endlessly ahead of us. Thank God for decent TV shows being back in their droves, as this means we can all stay inside in the warm and lose ourselves in alternate worlds.
Girls: Season 3- airs on Sky Atlantic Monday 20th January 10pm
In the first two seasons of Girls Lena Dunham marked herself out as a powerhouse of writing, directing and acting. Girls has proved to be funny, thought-provoking and controversial, and has now made Lena a Vogue cover star. Season 3 is back with a bang, and sees Dunham’s character Hannah back with her distinctly odd but oddly-loveable boyfriend Adam (“an off-the-wagon, neanderthal sociopath”), Jessa in rehab, Marnie working in a coffee shop and Shoshanna making the most of her lost virginity. The characters are all as self-involved, weird and obsessive as in the first 2 seasons, but this time they are joined by rock royalty in the form of Kim Gordon and living legend Richard E. Grant. As a bonus for those of us in the UK who don’t have Sky Atlantic, it will also be available on Youtube thanks to makers HBO.
The Bridge (Bron/Broen): Season 2- BBC4 Saturdays at 9pm
Saga and Martin are back in season 2 of the Danish/Swedish police show. The first four episodes have now aired in the UK, and we have been drawn into another intriguing case which needs the co-operation of the Swedish and Danish authorities, this time involving a ship (as Saga emphatically reminds her co-workers, not a boat) running in to the titular bridge, and a group of eco-terrorists poisoning members of the public ahead of an EU summit. Saga (played by Sofia Helen) is another brilliant Scandanavian heroine, so it is great to see her and her leather trousers back on our screens. If you missed the first four episodes you can catch up on iplayer here.
House of Fools- BBC 2 Tuesdays at 10pm
Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer are back in their new sitcom on BBC2, and boy is it good to have them back. The adverts for the show made it look a distinctly bland affair, but thankfully the real thing is Vic and Bob on top form, and House of Fools is to sitcoms what Shooting Stars was to game shows. They have taken the traditional Beeb sitcom format and taken it to surreal new heights. Yes, it is a studio setting, with a live audience, and the action centres around two chalk-and-cheese housemates, but it also features a creepy Norwegian son, Vic’s brother (newly released from prison), tins of pineapple, a date with a Sandy Toksvig lookalike into the Conan the Barbarian movies and Matt Berry‘s character Beef shitting in a kettle.