While humankind continues its search for a way to live forever, TV performs Lazarus tricks left, right and centre using flashback.

Take Andrew Earlham, the seemingly nice surgeon who turned out to be a serial rapist in Liar (STV, Monday), returning for a second series this week. At the end of the first run we saw Earlham (Ioan Gruffudd) face up in the Kent Marshes with his throat slit. One imagines that has got to smart a bit, not to mention being fatal. But who was this striding along a corridor, alive as you like? None other than Earlham himself, heading for a first encounter with the teacher, Laura Nielson (Joanne Froggatt), who was to become one of his victims.

Clearly we were back to before the horror began. Then we fast forwarded to three weeks after Earlham’s disappearance and the discovery of the body. Back and forth we went as other characters were introduced, some new, others familiar. After half an hour not only had confusion set in, a bad case of whiplash was accompanying it.

Basically, the story of Earlham’s disappearance is being told again, but from his point of view, and this is topped up by the search for who killed him. It is either a clever device that will reveal new aspects to the story, or it is a way for the writers, Jack and Harry Williams, to ruthlessly capitalise on the success of the first series without breaking much of a sweat.

Joining the cast this series is Katherine Kelly (Becky off Coronation Street) playing a nicotine gum-chewing detective seconded to Kent from London for a reason that was as convoluted and creaky as everything else. I particularly liked Miss Nielson telling the class about the new book they would be starting just as the police arrived to tell her of Earlham’s death. Jekyll and Hyde? Of course it was.

You can never have too many cops and killers shows on television. Well, you can, and we do, but no-one has told the bods who commission drama. McDonald and Dodds (STV, Sunday) is the latest to arrive in a shiny new wrapper promising something different, but not too different. In this case it is another chalk and cheese combo.Young, go-getting DCI Lauren McDonald (Tala Gouveia) is continuing her scramble up the career ladder with a move from London to Bath. Heading the other way is DS Dodds (Jason Watkins). Dodds appears doddery, a hick from the West Country sticks, but don’t be fooled: he’s really as sharp as Columbo, but with a beige anorak instead of a raincoat.

Robert Lindsay played an obnoxious entrepreneur playing his heirs off each other, Succession-style. When a body was found at his home it looked like a break-in gone wrong, but since that was not going to keep the pot boiling for two hours the story tore off in other directions, McDonald’s irritation with Dodds increasing every minute. You just know they will turn out to be great friends eventually. Unless she kills him.

With its playful, murder most horrid air, McDonald and Dodds seemed more suited to weekday afternoons than Sunday primetime, but by episode end I was ready to give it another chance. Just one, mind.

There is a new kid on the TV academic block by the name of Dr James Fox, presenter of Age of the Image (BBC4, Monday). With his smart suit and model looks (maybe M&S rather than Dolce & Gabbana), he certainly lived up to his thesis that image was key to modern life and culture. The first of four films ranged from Paul Cezanne to Harold Edgerton and was terribly clever. A tad too clever at times. I did enjoy the clip from an old interview with the master of surrealist painting. After a long, rambling answer, the interrogator said with commendable honesty: “Dali, I must confess you lost me half way through.”

The boys, Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan (above), were back for The Trip to Greece (Sky1, Tuesday). The winning formula of fabulous meals, dreamy hotels, faux drama and competitive joshing is untouched, thank goodness. One doesn’t imagine many people making Coogan laugh so often for so long, but Brydon does. Brydon alo has a lovely “man bag”, which I’m coveting along with everything else.

Where Coogan and Brydon were good company I struggled to get through an hour with the titular character in The Trouble with Maggie Cole (STV, Wednesday). A radio interview with amateur historian and dedicated gossip Cole (Dawn French) about village life went badly wrong when one G&T too many led her into spilling the beans about her neighbours.

I find a little of French in Vicar of Dibley mode goes a very long way, and her character here was a trial from start to finish. For the purposes of the revenge story to come she was meant to be annoying, but talk about going above and beyond.