What might be the collective noun for good television, do you think?

It most certainly would not be an "embarrassment", you know, like an "embarrassment of riches" even though an embarrassment of riches is largely held to be a good thing, though a bit embarrassing when in the company of those unfortunates who are skint of riches.

So no, not an embarrassment. Well think about it: if the collective noun for good television was an "embarrassment of good TV" it would actually make all that good television sound like rather a lot of very bad television all collected in one place. Of course if there were such a place, I'm pretty sure it would be called TV2. ("TV2: Home of Embarrassment of TV"; Think of it!).

No, the collective noun for a lot of good television - and I have given this at least 30 seconds' thought - should be a "rarity". A rarity of good television. Sounds rather pleasant doesn't it? And the word rarity implies - as it bloody well should - that the sudden appearance of a lot of good television at one time is so unbelievably uncommon as to be, statistically, almost impossible.

Yet here we are, this very week, bang smack in the middle of a rarity of good television.

I have already mentioned in a previous column that Californication, which rather sadly finished on Monday, is not, as previously advertised by bores and prudes, the end of civilisation. It is in fact the funniest, if most mortifying, thing on television today.

I have already mentioned in a previous column that Downton Abbey (Prime, 8.30pm, Tuesdays) is a most excellent adult drama of a smart and old-fashioned class. It's just a pity (actually a damn nuisance) that Prime doesn't broadcast in HD.

I have also previously praised the raffish charms of Sons of Anarchy (the third series is now screening on TV3, 9.30pm, Wednesdays) and Prime's Mad Men (though, again, it finished this week). And now, to our rarity of good television, we may add two more shows: the returning Doctor Who (Prime, 8.30pm, Thursdays) and the brand-spanking new Sherlock (TV One, 8.30pm, Sundays).

It hardly needs to be said, but Doctor Who is completely bonkers. Last week's first episode of the new series (a two-parter, the second of which was last night, though I had not seen it at the time of writing) managed, in the space of hour, to drag into its story a lake in the middle of nowhere, the death of the doctor, a Viking funeral, very scary aliens with no mouths, Apollo astronauts and President Nixon. What other show could do that? What other show would want to do that?

I read recently an opinion piece suggesting that the new blokes playing Dr Who have a tendency to oversell in an attempt to stamp their marks on a role that is, well, rather long in the tooth. This is a view I happen to agree with. But Doctor Who, the show, is special. It is, if British television has such things, a taonga and should be celebrated as such. The first story of the new season gave every reason to believe Who's fans are still very lucky indeed.

By a strange alignment of programming planets, the first two episodes of the new season of Doctor Who happen to be written by the same bloke responsible for the first episode of Sherlock, one Steven Moffat. I can tell you, with the confidence of a man who has read Mr Moffat's Wiki entry, that he is a Scot and the winner of many television awards.

On the basis on the first episode of this reboot of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous sleuth, I can also tell you that Mr Moffat knows his business.

Mind you this version of Holmes was so hyped, I feared the worst. But Moffat delivered such a bold, confident and witty reworking of the much-loved and much filmed consulting detective that, having watched once, I immediately wanted to watch it again.

The new Sherlock (played with relish and style by Benedict Cumberbatch) is such an unlikeable character that I liked him immediately. He is arrogant, he is proud, he is rude. He also deals in the most wonderful putdowns; I am already memorising a number for future use.

Dr Watson (Martin Freeman) too is redrawn in a way that seems loyal to the Conan Doyle stories while making one of popular fiction's most beloved sidekicks his own man - and a modern man too.

The script cleverly played with all manner of things: famous Holmesisms (a "three pipe problem" became "a three [nicotine] patch problem"), modern embarrassments (assumptions and discussions about being gay) and, fleetingly and obliquely, that modern Britain has more CCTV cameras than anywhere else calling itself a democracy.

And Sherlock managed the feat of sustaining suspense, laughs and engagement of the old scone for well over an hour and half.

What might one call that, do you think? Elementary, my dear reader: a rarity of good television.

- TimeOut