This week: Spooks and The X Factor's excess emotion

BBC1, Monday, 8 December, 9pm

Broadcast's not-all-that-surprising news that Spooks has been commissioned for an eighth series was one of the most popular stories on our website last week.

Its fans love its combination of the shocking, the spectacular and the ridiculous - series seven featured the deaths of two major characters, Harry's drug-addled torture, a fake restaurant explosion and the old nuke-in-the-suitcase finale. Oh, and a hissing, traitorous Connie.

Old-fashioned cliffhangers and new-fangled gadgets drive the plot and the longer story arcs help build the tension in each episode, giving you just enough of the characters' personal lives to care if they get bumped off. You can keep Jack Bauer - it's Lucas and Ros all the way for me. Where's that MI5 application form?
Chris Curtis

The X Factor's excess emotion
ITV1, Saturday, 7pm

The X Factor is a Saturday night staple for me. The singers get better as the weeks progress, Cheryl Cole is charming and kind and I enjoy the judge's sideswipes at each other.

But it has become utterly clichéd. The judges pile on the formulaic praise - “The one to beat” or “Like DHL, you always deliver” - without really appraising the singers' performances.

Worst of all are the tearful pre-records of Alexandra or Diana saying “I just have to make it to the semi-final/final, it is the most important step in my life so far... ”. And, as for last week's tears, spare me.

We had Diana (the loser) crying, Eoghan crying and bombing around like a wind-and-release toy, even lovely Cheryl was in tears. It was just too much.

Without that necessary little bit of subtlety the show risks becoming a parody of itself.
Nicola Brittain