Worth Watching This Week: The Umbrella Academy, Traitors, Adult Swim

In our weekly TV recommendation slot, Den Of Geek scours the streaming and broadcast schedules to bring you a few tasty tips every Friday…

Readers with school-aged children may wish to look away from these recommendations now, as the UK February half-term probably means that your TVs will be occupied (in the wartime sense) for the next seven days.

If, though, your kids happen to be of the variety that sometimes sleeps, you may be able to squeeze in a few episodes of a new Wes Anderson-styled weird comic book adaptation, a period spy thriller, an Icelandic crime drama or the brilliant Rick And Morty (which everybody but you has already seen because you were too busy wasting your time bringing beautiful unique life into the world, you fool.)  

Here’s Den Of Geek’s pick of the best new and continuing shows airing between Friday the 15th to Thursday the 21st of February. Come back next week for the new additions.

The Umbrella Academy

Friday 15th February, Netflix

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Adapted from the Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá comic book series, this ten-episode first season is a quirkily imaginative superhero team-up. It’s the story of a group of children with special abilities, all of whom were spontaneously born on the same day in 1989 to mothers around the world who’d woken up that morning pregnancy-free. Adopted by an eccentric billionaire who trained the kids to use their abilities, the ‘siblings’ grew up and grew apart, until a family tragedy brings them back together as adults… Ellen Page, Robert Sheehan, Tom Hopper and more star.  

Rick And Morty/Robot Chicken: The Walking Dead Special

Friday 15th February, 10pm, E4

E4 is the first free-to-air UK home of Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland’s obsession-worthy adult animated sci-fi comedy Rick And Morty. Seasons one to three of the show about a dysfunctional genius scientist and his good-hearted grandson’s adventures in space and time will air starting this Friday at 10pm as part of a new weekly Adult Swim hour on E4. The Rick And Morty premiere is followed by Robot Chicken: The Walking Dead Special. (Speaking of which, The Walking Dead is back too, on FOX on Monday nights at 9pm.)

Also arriving on Friday the 15th on streaming service All4 are no fewer than 300 other Adult Swim episodes, including Tim And Eric’s Awesome Show, The Venture Bros., The Eric Andre Show, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Squidbillies, Hot Streets, Ballmastrz9009 and loads more, many of which are making their free-to-air UK debut.

And The Academy Award Goes To

Saturday 16th February, 10.30am, BBC Radio 4

Attn: Tolkien geeks! This half-hour BBC Radio 4 series returns in the first of three episodes revisiting Oscar-winning Best Pictures. The first is Peter Jackson’s The Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King. Expect interviews with Jackson, alongside the film’s editor, executive producer, screenwriter and the head of WETA workshops. 

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Trapped

Saturday 16th February, 9pm, BBC Four

BBC Four’s traditional ‘moody subtitled crime drama’ spot welcomes back Iceland’s Trapped, the first season of which aired late last year to a pleasingly warm reception. That’s the only thing warm about Trapped, which plays out against the sinisterly chilly backdrop of a remote Icelandic town under the effects of in a freak weather event that cuts it off from the rest of the country while a murder mystery unfurls. There’ll be two episodes every Saturday night for the next five weeks on BBC Four. Season one is currently available free in the UK to Amazon Prime subscribers.

Traitors

Sunday 17th February, 9pm, Channel 4

A six-part original spy thriller from Boardwalk Empire and Masters Of Sex screenwriter Bash Doran, Traitors stars Emma Appleton, Keeley Hawes, Luke Treadaway and Michael Stuhlberg. Set in London in 1945, it’s a proper grown-up thriller filled with politics, suspense, good music and – blessedly – the odd bit of leavening humour. Appleton stars as Fiona, an upper middle class intelligence trainee whose dreams of wartime espionage are dashed when the war ends. But, as episode one teaches, wars never end – Britain, reeling from the election of a Socialist government, still has enemies, but will ‘Feef’ be able to tell who they are? 

Baptiste

Sun 17th February, 9pm, BBC One

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Harry and Jack Williams’ hit detective drama The Missing returns (sort of) in this spin-off starring Tchéky Karyo as retired French police detective Julien Baptiste. We catch up with the philosopher-gumshoe having survived his brain tumour and attempting to live the quiet life. The quiet life though, has other ideas, and while visiting his daughter in Amsterdam, Julien is dragged into the search for a missing young woman. Tom Hollander co-stars.

Additionally, for anybody who missed it the first time, from Monday the 18th at 10pm, BBC Two is repeating Diane Morgan satirical documentary comedy Cunk On Britain, a must for fans of her Screenwipe persona.