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Remote Control?

The Remote: Classic Simpsons, Irish crime and an escape from New York - your weekly TV guide

From the youngest members of the family to teenagers to mum and dad, we’ve got you covered here.

AS WE ALL get used to the new measures brought in to restrict the spread of the coronavirus, it’s fair to assume there’ll be a growing number of combatants in the battle for the remote control in most households.

With a greater than ever selection of content available – not just on TV but on phones and tablets, ironically, that paradox of choice can make it even more difficult to find something everyone can enjoy at the same time.

Here at The Remote we’ll be trawling through the TV listings to bring you a range of recommendations each week, including shows for the kids, favourites everyone in the household – either in family homes or apartment shares – can enjoy together, and must-see Irish-produced content the whole country will be watching as one.

We’ll focus mainly on free-to-air TV and freely available streaming services – with the occasional recommendation from subscription services too.

Stay tuned…

Something half the country will be talking about…

The Guards: Inside the K: This five-part documentary series – filmed in the distant days of 2019 – follows gardaí serving on the frontlines in the Dublin suburbs of Cabra, Finglas and Blanchardstown.

The series made a splash when it first aired a couple of weeks ago, as sections of the public realised the difficult job that many gardaí do on a daily basis.

Further proof is evidenced in tonight’s episode, which looks at the challenges facing gardaí when they deal with mental health issues and attempt to preserve life during the course of their duties.

Where can I see it? Wednesday night on Virgin One, catch up on the Virgin Media Player.

Virgin Media Television / YouTube

Something funny…

The Simpsons: Yes, you’ve seen them all at least 50 times and yes, you can quote every episode backwards in your sleep.

But with the world’s longest-running sitcom now in its 31st series (!), the glut of episodes that are available to screen means it’s rare that the classics make it to free-to-air television anymore.

This week, however, Channel 4 is airing six episodes from season eight between tonight and Saturday morning (including Homer’s fight against Springfield’s ‘beer baron’, and the Sideshow Bob-fronted Frasier parody).

For those subscribed to Disney+, all episodes are available for streaming.

Where can I see it? Channel 4 at 6pm on Wednesday; 6pm and 6.30pm on Thursday and Friday; and from 8.25am on Saturday. Streaming on Disney+.

Something to watch as a family… 

The Muppets: Like its title, this 2011 Muppet feature brought Jim Henson’s iconic puppets back to basics, as the adaptations and ambitious plotting that defined Muppet movies in previous decades made way for a classic type of anarchic adventure.

Jason Segel and Amy Adams star – among a range of cameos – as fans of the famous puppet variety show, who discover that a powerful businessman is going to knock down the Muppet theatre and drill for oil on the site.

Not pleased with this, they track down Kermit and persuade him to reunite his co-stars, so they can put on one more performance in an attempt to save the venue.

And if that doesn’t sound like enough fun, it also features songs by Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords fame.

Where can I see it? Saturday 4pm on BBC 2.

DanceOn / YouTube

Something to stream…

Unorthodox: This Netflix miniseries has flown under the radar on this side of the Atlantic, but is a highly rated import from the US.

The four-part series is loosely based on a memoir by Deborah Feldman, and tells the story of a young Hasidic Jew who flees from her arranged marriage in an Ultra-Orthodox community in New York.

It’s a captivating look inside a cultural community that may be recognised, but not well-known, to Irish viewers.

Where can I see it? Netflix

Netflix / YouTube

Something sporty… 

Bocsáil i mBoston: Don’t be turned off by the subtitles. Ask anyone who’s watched a TG4 documentary and you’ll find out that the station’s factual programming is one of the hidden gems of Irish television.

You don’t have to be a fan of sport to find out for yourself on Friday evening, when the Irish language broadcaster airs this hour-long documentary about a group of young athletes from Connemara Boxing Club who travel to Boston to compete in a major event.

Where can I see it? TG4 at 7.30pm on Friday

Something to help with homeschooling…

Home School Hub: RTÉ’s new Home School Hub continues on TV and online on weekdays. As part of the broadcaster’s response to the Covid-19 crisis, the hub is providing primary school children with daily lessons from the comfort of their homes.


There are also a range of nature documentaries suitable for all ages available on free-to-air TV and online.

On Netflix, there’s eight episodes of the David Attenborough-narrated Our Planet. Alternatively, there’s an in-depth look at the island of Madagascar on Earth’s Tropical Islands on RTÉ2 on Sunday.

Where can I watch it? Home School Hub: 11am to 12pm weekdays on RTÉ2, and online. Our Planet: streaming on Netflix. Earth’s Tropical Islands: 8pm on Sunday on RTÉ2.

Something from the archives…

Love/Hate: The cops-and-robbers crime drama made headlines recently when it emerged that RTÉ would screen it again over the coming weeks.

The series follows Dublin gangsters in the city’s criminal underworld, and stars Aidan Gillen, Ruth Negga and Robert Sheehan alongside the then-emerging Tom Vaughan-Lawlor and Charlie Murphy.

Episodes sometimes stray into the ridiculous and aspects of the show have dated a bit, but it’s genuinely gripping television and rightly regarded as one of the best shows RTÉ has ever produced.

RTÉ have yet to announce details of when the series will screen on TV, so if you can’t until then, it’s all available to watch online.

Where can I watch it? On the RTÉ Player

And finally…

The cast of Derry Girls have shared a video showing two of the group isolating in a cupboard in 1996.

The video, shared by Saoirse-Monica Jackson – who plays Erin – shows her and her screen cousin Louisa Harland – who plays Orla – doing what they describe as “the most important thing we’ve ever had to do”.

Take a look:

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