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.
Ken Finkleman really does wear those sunglasses almost all the time. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.
MondayThe Event returns with back-to-back episodes, hoping to halt the free fall it was experiencing in ratings before it went on hiatus. Unfortunately, the likelihood that the new Event episodes will be watchable in any way whatsoever is remarkably low: this show started bad and got worse, and only the devoted few who really want it to be “the next Lost” are hanging on at this point. Of course, if we’re being honest, what really stings is that more people watch this dreck than watch Community. That is tragic. (NBC, 8 p.m.)
Another season of The Bachelor winds down, as we get the “women tell all” episode that comes right before the season finale this week. These recaps/boredom fests routinely get double the viewership that Community does, which is probably the best argument yet for maybe just letting the dolphins have a go at being the dominant species on this planet. (City, 8 p.m.)
TuesdayTVO asks How Many People Can Live On Planet Earth? Our guess: eleventy jillion. (9 p.m.)
Before Jon Cryer had to deal with Charlie Sheen steadily going insane on a weekly basis while being emasculated for a pay check on national television, he was emasculated for a pay check in Pretty In Pink, which right up until the ending makes a case for being John Hughes’ best film. Duckie was robbed! (CHCH, 8 p.m.)
WednesdayIn The Arena is Parker/Spitzer minus the Parker, and maybe subtracting from a subpar show is what will make people watch this news opinion show! Oh, Eliot Spitzer, you’re so dreamy! CNN just can’t quit you! No, really, they can’t quit you, because they offered you a guaranteed contract. Boy, that was dumb. (CNN, 8 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “The Cartridge Family,” wherein Homer buys a gun and… well, what you would expect to happen, happens. “What started out as a traditional soccer riot has quickly escalated into a citywide orgy of destruction. Reacting swiftly, Mayor Quimby declared mob rule, meaning for the next several years, it’s every family for themselves.” (Fox, 11 p.m.)
ThursdayI’m not the only one to say this, but boy, has The Big Bang Theory been getting more and more tired lately or what? It used to be that this was the Chuck Lorre show that actually tried to present its characters as being basically nice people, even if they were dorks or Aspergin’ it up or what have you. Sheldon’s tics used to be understandable, rather than just an excuse to be a prick. But now, well, not so much. One doesn’t expect a show like Big Bang to have the complex character arcs of The Wire or anything, but a few notes as to why these people are friends—beyond the “well, we’re just used to each other” cheap-out provided in the most recent episode—would be welcome, because the show just seems meaner every week. Like a nerdy version of Two and a Half Men. [Insert Charlie Sheen reference.] (CTV, 8 p.m.)
FridayBeauty Shop was Queen Latifah’s attempt to make a female-friendly spin-off from the Barbershop franchise, which did not quite work. The movie just fails to click on so many levels, which is a shame because it wastes so much talent: Queen Latifah is as charismatic as always, but the movie also wastes good work from Djimon Hounsou, Alfre Woodard, Della Reese, and Alicia Silverstone, among others. Unfortunately, the movie spends way too much time on a stupid plot about Kevin Bacon’s stupid evil Euro-hair-guy and his stupid plan to kill off the beauty shop, and that kills the flick. (W, 9 p.m.)
The WeekendNow that we’ve seen a few episodes, what can we say about Good Dog, Ken Finkleman’s return to scripted comedy? It owes a large stylistic debt to Curb Your Enthusiasm—a debt Finkleman tries to downplay by making it an explicit plot point in the pilot, but one that remains nonetheless. It’s far more a descendant of Curb than The Newsroom, for all that the show is about an older George Findlay, and honestly, so far this doesn’t have The Newsroom’s sharp edge. There are glimmers, to be sure, but Finkleman’s working much broader territory than he previously did. At best, this is an uneven return. (HBO Canada, 8 p.m. Sunday)
Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Story is part biopic, part “last lecture” from Suzuki, as he sets out a manifesto/statement of beliefs regarding environmentalism and its place in the human condition, set against his personal history as a Japanese-Canadian who grew up in an internment camp and who would, among his numerous and meritorious personal accomplishments, eventually grow what was most certainly Canada’s finest afro. (CBC, 8 p.m. Sunday)
The 2011 Tim Hortons Brier will have been going on all this week, but we figure curling fans already knew that. Casual fans, however, may be interested in watching the final. Do casual fans of curling even exist, though? It seems like the sort of sport that either you follow rabidly or you only think, “well, I guess they like it well enough, and it doesn’t harm me.” Unless you were, at some point, brutally harmed by a curling stone. Then you might be less neutral about curling. (TSN, 7:30 p.m. Sunday)