TV listings – Feb 17-23

Don’t be put off by the IT guys talking about Game of Thrones around the water-cooler. They might have beaten you to downloading this superb adult fantasy series, which is set in a fictional world similar to medieval Europe, but it doesn’t mean they own it.

Its appeal is broad, not niche. It’s exciting, relentless, gory, sexy and funny. If you’re not won over by the title sequence, it will take just five seconds of any scene involving dwarf actor Peter Dinklage (The Station Agent) to make you a fan. With able support from the likes of Sean Bean, Lena Headey, Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (he’s a dandy bastard, but he grows on you), and a host of unknowns and know-him-from-somewheres, this was 2011’s best new drama.

Based on the novels of George RR Martin, it’s set to run for seven series, and while we suspect it’s going to get sillier (i.e. more magic) as it goes on, you don’t want to miss this.  

Equally charismatic as Dinklage is Zooey Deschanel (500 Days of Summer), who shares a flat with three men in acclaimed new US sitcom New Girl – could this be this decade’s Friends?

Death in Paradise (TV2, Fri 20:00) also has a familiar twang. Ben Miller is a grumpy British detective transferred from London to the Caribbean – but so far the reviews suggest it’s the breakout his career has been promising … for over 15 years.

Elsewhere, US sitcom 2 Broke Girls (TV2 Zulu, Mon 20:35, repeated Wed 22:40) has its moments; Ricky Gervais is back for a slightly less controversial hosting of the Golden Globes (TV2 Zulu, Fri 21:50); American Idol (TV3 Puls, Sun 20:00) is back for an umpteenth season with Steve Tyler and J-Lo once again onboard; Wallis Simpson (DR K, Thu 21:00) is well timed given Madonna’s biopic will be out soon; you’re probably best off avoiding the premiere of Cupcake Wars (TV3 Puls, Wed 21:00), a reality show that makes even the dull Top Chef (TV3 Puls, Wed 20:00 – back for a new season) look good; and this episode of Glee (DR HD, Sat 21:00, repeated Tue 17:50) features the debut of the winner of the recently-aired The Glee Project – please don’t ask why we know that.

View this week's TV listings.