Secret State launched a new season of high end drama for Channel 4 this week, amid a flurry of hype and publicity. With Gabriel Byrne leading the cast, comparisons to legendary political thrillers such as State of Play and Edge of Darkness swirling in the air and the fact that it was supposed to be loosely based around the '80s mini-series A Very British Coup, meant expectations were that this might be something quite special.
Sadly, if you were expecting something distinguished and sophisticated, Secret State didn't deliver the goods. With some plot twists so far fetched it felt more like we were seeing inside Hogwarts than the Houses of Parliament, the drama was more soapy than gritty, no matter how much Byrne scowled and simmered.
The show started with an explosion at a petrochemicals plant in the North East of England, which appears to be the fault of the shadiest of shady US big businesses. And if this wasn't enough of a problem for the government of the day with a general election impending, their prime minister disappeared in a mysterious plane crash on the way home from a meeting with the aforementioned shady Americans.
Throw in a smarmy, know-it-all journalist (Gina McKee) who appears to have information on everything and anything she wants (she'll probably have the winning lottery numbers next week) and more far fetched coincidences than we could shake a Spooks DVD at and some viewers may have left feeling slightly short changed.
But that's not to say I won't be tuning in next week. Squeezing together terrorism, CCTV culture, banking, evil American chemical villains, backstabbing scary politicians, mutterings about something that happened in Bosnia and general public paranoia into one nifty hour-long episode ensured that there was plenty to chew on.
The slithering Charles Dance was compelling as the most cunning of chief whips, while Sylvestra Le Touzel and Rupert Graves made for fabulous conniving, dirty government ministers. And that's not to even mention moody Byrne, who still impresses even during the most flat moments of script.
I've no idea where this one is twisting (and I don't really care), but I'm stocking up on the popcorn for the next three weeks.
Secret State continues at 10pm on Wednesdays on Channel 4.
The best TV comedy of the week came courtesy of BBC One documentary Pound Shop Wars. I had no idea a highstreet battle between the bargain basement paradises Poundland, Poundworld and 99p Stores existed. But apparently it does, and this inside look at the men who have built these tatty store empires was both hilarious and fascinating.
99p Stores' Hussein Lalani and Poundworld's Chris Edwards were real life David Brents, spouting out business zingers and saving pennies at every opportunity..
Offices with pictures of Del Boy and Rodney framed on the wall and 'Best Boss' Oscars on the filing cabinets; lonely nights in hotels with the same room service every evening ("I always have soup of the day, some chicken, a red wine and a tonic water"); staff called Baz who fire employees for eating a 15p bag of crisps; your mum bringing you low-fat spread sarnies for lunch every day - all in the quest to flog unimaginable tat to the nation.
And maybe the most flabbergasting part of it all of was the shoppers, who couldn't get enough of the scrag end merchandise. A discount of 1p was enough to brighten up some shoppers' days.
Both Chris and Hussein were worthy of full spinoff series. It felt like we barely scraped the surfaces of these two cocksure but incredibly sad entrepreneurs.
Pound Shop Wars is still available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
"If someone puts a d**k in my face, it's my instinct to suck it." Ah, welcome back Geordie Shore, how we've missed you.
Does it make me a bad person if I actually look forward to a new series of this kebab-stenched reality TV garbage? Well, if it does, I'm a bad person.
Some of the cast have left, some new cast members have joined. but zilch has changed of real consequence in the Toon. Talk of defecating, floppy penises and ludicrous crude catchphrases ("I grill more birds than George Foreman") were the order of the day as the gang got back to boozing, shagging and more boozing. It's zoo TV and there are no redeeming features among any of it. So why can't we stop watching?
The disgraceful Geordie Shore continues on Tuesdays at 10pm on MTV.
Missed it? Don't miss Out!
Space Dive - The incredible story of Felix Baumgartner's 128,000ft jump to Earth was explained in this access all areas doc. Even for a man who gets a nosebleed looking out of the bedroom window, this was must-see TV. Inspiring and stirring stuff.
Still available on BBC iPlayer until November 13.
Red Dwarf X - The last episode of the buffed and polished tenth series. BBC bosses must be wondering which buffoon decided that they didn't want another series, because the latest outing has been the sci-fi comedy's finest since its early '90s pomp. Smegging ace.
Still available on Dave On Demand.
Friday Night Dinner - Hello bambinos! The most underrated show on TV and also quite probably the funniest. Great performances all round, but (topless) Paul Ritter and Mark Heap steal the show every week.
Still available on Channel 4OD.