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10 things we learned from watching TV last week 11

Justified

Feature Rob Carnevale and Tim Carson

Here’s what we learned from watching TV between 26th March and 1st April, 2012.

1. Is there a cooler lawman on TV right now that Marshall Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) in Justified? The third season of the acclaimed US show started on 5USA last week and featured a cracking fist-fight between Raylan and long-term friend/nemesis Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) as well as a tense stand-off between him and an ice-pick wielding assassin (Dexter’s Desmond Harrington). It was slickly written, as ever, and picked up right where the excellent second season left off.
Justified, 5Star, Wednesday, 9pm

2. The Vampire Diaries still provides plenty for us to sink our critical teeth into. Last week’s episode involved yet another party as a device for bringing people together and more deceptions involving irritating leading lady Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) and vampire brothers Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) Salvatori. Quite why the latter two waste so much time trying to save a woman who seems hell-bent on putting herself in dangerous situations week after week remains the series biggest question.
The Vampire Diaries, ITV2, Tuesday, 9pm

3. When on form there are few shows funnier than Modern Family. This week’s priceless moments included the look of sheer horror on Phil Dunphy’s face when he found out his daughter was no longer a virgin (as well as his subsequent attempts to deal with it maturely) and a slow-motion drive-by conducted by Manny (Rico Rodriguez) in a bid to impress the girl of his dreams. The reverse drive-by that followed it was priceless.
Modern Family, Sky1, Friday, 8pm

4. Two weeks in and Julian Fellowes’ ambitious Titanic continues to suffer problems. The focus did at least shift to a set of more interesting characters (Toby Jones included), and made better use of the actual impact of the iceberg on the boat, but still lacks enough characters to genuinely become invested in. The non-linear format is partly to blame, as is Fellowes’ insistence on following too many characters.
Titanic, ITV1, Sunday, 9pm
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5. Sam Neill does a good bad guy. As the sinister Benjamin Linus-style figure in Alcatraz he walks that fine line between good and evil and is seemingly prepared to do anything to recapture the Alcatraz prisoners including letting a child die. Luckily, Doc Soto the Hurley-like character is there to do the right thing. Nice one Jorge!
Alcatraz, Watch, Tuesday, 9pm

6. If you’re in a lottery syndicate make sure you are always paid up in full. If not then your fellow “syndicees” can vote that you don’t get a share of any winnings. This was just one of the lessons learned in BBC1’s new drama about a syndicate of lottery winners cunningly named The Syndicate. A good solid cast including Timothy Spall and Joanna Page and several complex storylines are enough to make it entertaining and watchable even if it’s not compulsive.
The Syndicate, BBC1, Tuesday, 9pm

7. The Apprentice is car crash TV – not in that it’s terrible just in that it sometimes gets to the point where you don’t really want to watch yet somehow something makes you. I’d never want to work with any of these people, including Lord Sugar.
The Apprentice, BBC1, Wednesday, 9pm

8. It’s possible to stay friends with people you hate or at least it seems that way from White Heat. Tensions got unbearable this week and burst out into violence (of a sort) as Jack and Victor came to blows over a woman, of course! Well, acted and some decent dialogue but sometimes the plot stretches credulity. White Heat, BBC1, Thursday, 9pm
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9. There is room for another TV talent show. And yes I’m even more surprised than you. The BBC have got a winner on their hands with The Voice their new X Factor style talent show. As in the name, the show does away with all the bells and whistles of its teatime rival and focuses on the “voice”. A nice twist is having the judges or rather coaches being unable to see the singers unless they choose to turn round. Once they do then the singer can choose any of the coaches who’ve expressed an interest. Surprisingly good fun.
The Voice, BBC1, Saturday, 7pm

10. CIA agent Carrie Mathison isn’t crazy! The brilliant Homeland got even better this week as the two major protagonists faced off in a cabin in the woods (no relation to the Joss Whedon film!). After another drunken fumble the pair got a little more serious. But are they both playing games or both being honest? They certainly revealed a lot more to each other than we expected. And the final revelation about Brody’s fellow prisoner was a shocker.
Homeland, C4, Sunday, 9pm
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