Each week, Torontoist examines the upcoming TV listings and makes note of programs that are entertaining, informative, and of quality. Or, alternately, none of those. The result: Televisualist.
Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey as Jack Donaghy and Liz Lemon in 30 Rock. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.
MondayTVO airs Walter’s War, a really good hour-long drama about Walter Tull, who was the first black commissioned officer in the British Army in World War One (and thus pretty much anywhere in the western world). It’s engrossing with good actiony bits, and O.T. Fagbenle has real presence as Tull. (9 p.m.)
Jon and Kate Plus 8: Viewer’s Top Moments. I don’t even wanna know. (TLC, 9 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Homer Loves Flanders,” where Homer decides that Ned is actually his best friend. Chaos ensues. “Where’s Homer? *BANG* Where’s Homer? *BANG*” (CFMT, 10 p.m.)
TuesdayTVO’s picked up The Cosmos: A Beginner’s Guide from BBC Two, and although it doesn’t have Carl Sagan, it’s a pretty decent “here is the awesomeness of the universe entire” sort of series, if you enjoy that sort of thing. Some people don’t. Then again, these are boring people. (TVO, 9 p.m.)
Tonight on 18 Kids and Counting: the Duggars answer viewer questions! Except, of course, for the one question they get over again: “What the fuck? I mean, really: what the fucking fuck?” Because you just know that’s the only question a lot of us want to ask. Yes, you too. (TLC, 9:30 p.m.)
WednesdayThe 43rd annual Country Music Association Awards are on tonight. Really, this is always hard to write about, because on the one hand we want to make shitkicker hillbilly jokes, but on the other hand we respect country as an art form and besides just because some parts of it aren’t for us doesn’t mean that it’s automatically bad. So let’s see who’s won last year…Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, and Carrie Underwood. And they won the year before that, too. Okay, shitkicker hillbilly jokes it is! (ABC, 8 p.m.)
AMC airs Tora! Tora! Tora!, which is the film about the attack on Pearl Harbor that was made about thirty years before Pearl Harbor, and although the explosions are not quite so impressive as the more recent entry, you don’t have to sit through Ben Affleck and Kate Beckinsale having a dreamy romance. Or Josh Hartnett and Kate Beckinsale having a guilty romance, or Jon Voight’s hilariously bad performance as Franklin Roosevelt. And really, isn’t that worth a whole lot to you, in the final accounting? (8 p.m.)
ThursdayCBC airs After Elizabeth II, an hour-long special about how people don’t like Prince Charles and wish he would just kind of go away. Okay, there’s more to it than that, but if there’s another reason to discuss the post-Elizabethan ascension to the throne other than that one time Prince Harry dressed up as a Nazi, we don’t know what it is. (CBC, 8 p.m.)
This week on 30 Rock: Jack offers Liz Lemon a talk show as the new cast member, who may or may not be the dancing robot guy from last week, arrives on set. If the dancing robot guy alone didn’t sell you on this show, maybe you should give away your television and try being one of those people who act snooty at parties and say things like “oh, I don’t watch television.” Somebody has to do it. (City, 9:30 p.m.)
FridayDoes anybody watch The Ron James Show? I tried once but I got distracted by a dog barking outside. That dog sure could bark. I wanted to watch Ron James’s sketches but the dog kept barking and barking and eventually I just gave up. Eventually I realized there was always going to be something more interesting to me than The Ron James Show. And then I started asking people, and it turned out that I was not alone! So is this a universal thing? Is it an urban/rural thing? I bet there’s a way for me to get a grant to research this. (CBC, 8 p.m.)
Three episodes in, White Collar is proving to be a fun little piece of mock-procedural fluff: the reverse of a caper series like Leverage, where the heroes are trying to catch the con artists and thieves rather than be them. The guy who played the other guy on Chuck is great as the lead, the dialogue and plotting is whip-smart, and really the only downside is watching Tiffani-Amber Thiessen play the still-hot wife of the FBI agent and feeling a bit old. (Bravo, 9 p.m.)
The WeekendThis week on Mythbusters: the Mythbusters team finally answers once and for all the question of whether a beer hangover is worse than a liquor hangover. They will do this with science of some kind. Really, just watching the Mythbusters get piss-drunk will be entertainment enough all on its own, even if they solve absolutely nothing. (Discovery, 10 p.m. Sunday)
OH MY GOD Independence Day! I love this movie! I don’t care if it doesn’t make sense that they hack the alien computer with a Mac! True fact: the original screenplay had humans using alien secrets in the ’50s and onwards to advance our microprocessor technology and then Steve Wozniak quit working for the alien lab and started Apple, which is why they used Macs to hack alien computers. I am not even slightly kidding. Anyway, this movie is awesome, even if it really only Part One of Roland Emmerich’s never-ending war against Earth’s famous landmarks. Presumably his next film after 2012 will just be ninety minutes of landmarks blowing up. The Sphinx: BOOM! The Washington Monument: BOOM! The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur: BOOM! The CN Tower: BOOM! And of course then the Toronto Star can write an article about how the CN Tower blows up in Roland Emmerich’s latest film, three weeks after Torontoist does it first. (Space, 9 p.m. Sunday)