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culture

Televisualist: Dylan McDermott! AHHHHHHHHHH!

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.

Yep. Them’s zombies. It's the season for 'em.



Monday

Hey, do you want to watch a TV show about a haunted house? “But wait,” you say, “most haunted house movies run out of steam halfway through; how is an ongoing show going to keep up my interest?” So I say that it has Dylan McDermott in it. Then you look at me funny. And then you end up watching American Horror Story anyway, for reasons you cannot adequately explain. Sometimes, these things just happen. (City, 9 p.m.)

Wilfred is an American remake of an Australian TV show where a man in the middle of a nervous breakdown sees his neighbour’s dog as a man in a dog suit rather than just a dog. It is, if you could not guess, a comedy. Elijah Wood plays the breakdowning lead; Jason Gann plays the man in the dog suit, reprising his role from the Australian version. It is a solidly okay show, with occasional flashes of brilliance and occasional flashes of mediocrity. But it’s already been renewed for a second season, so at least you won’t be left hanging. (City, 10 p.m.)

Monster In-Laws has nothing to do with the terrible Jane Fonda/Jennifer Lopez film of the almost-same name, but is instead a reality show about family therapy sessions among battling in-laws. Hey, do you derive sick pleasure from seeing normal, average people fighting bitterly with one another? Then this show is for you! Otherwise just go watch the show with the guy in the dog suit. (A&E, 10 p.m.)

Third new show of the night on City: The League returns for season three, and this show about a fantasy football league has grown to become one of the most consistently funny sitcoms on TV thanks to a brilliant cast and a dedication to raunchy humour that at present is only bested by It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. (10:30 p.m.)


Tuesday

If you’re interested in what happens in other provinces, tonight you can catch the Saskatchewan provincial election debate, where Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party—which at this point has essentially completely taken over the entirety of the provincial Liberal and Conservative parties—is set to again be victorious over the New Democrats, led by Dwain Lingenfelter, who has the greatest name in Canadian politics at the present time by at least two syllables’ worth of awesomeness. Unless, of course, Wall somehow makes a crucial gaffe during this debate. Perhaps he will suggest that Saskatchewan should install its own mountain range, and then Lingenfelter could be all, “no, we Saskatchewanians stand for flatness above all!” and then the election’s fortunes would dramatically reverse. It could happen! (SunTV, 8 p.m.)

Hey, do you like how on Auction Hunters, they managed to make a show out of the entertaining aftereffects of people going bankrupt and losing all their stuff? Well, now Spike has chosen to complement that show with Flip Men, which is a show about the entertaining aftereffects of people going bankrupt and losing their homes: the spunky protagonists buy foreclosed homes for pennies on the dollar, refurbish them as quickly as possible, and sell them. This being Spike, the show mostly focuses on the “funny” houses—the meth lab, the house where squatters have been living (squatters! COMEDY GOLD!), the rundown shacks. But, just to keep it all in perspective, the show also has some episodes devoted to “goldmines,” where the house is in perfect condition and they barely have to do a damn thing other than remind people to forget about the family that lived there previously before Dad lost his job and Mom got cancer. (10:30 p.m.)


Wednesday

Dragon’s Den this week is an “all-student special,” which means the kids will either be brilliant or exceptionally stupid by Dragon standards. There’s not going to be an in-between here, we don’t think. (CBC, 8 p.m.)


Thursday

Televisualist always recommends watching It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and we sure aren’t going to stop doing so now. “I got a rock.” (ABC, 8 p.m.)

We’re not entirely sure why, in the lead-up to Halloween, Turner Classic has decided to show Fiddler on the Roof, or why Turner Classic has now decided that a movie from the ’70s now falls within its “classic” mandate (until recently, TCM shied away from the ’60s as being too modern), but it has, and we are thankful for it because, come on, it’s Fiddler. (8 p.m.)

The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Treehouse of Horror XIX,” which is the one with the It’s The Great Pumpkin homage where the Simpsons characters are redrawn, Peanuts-style. Also features the brilliant opening with Homer trying to vote for Barack Obama. “Hello, I’d like to vote for president, governor, and anything else that will take money away from our parks and libraries.” (Fox, 11 p.m.)


Friday

Chuck returns for its fifth and final season, and after the fourth season—which started out weak and then got progressively better towards the end—we’re not sure what to expect, as Chuck is one of those shows that pivots sharply along the quality line and often relies on the significant charm of its cast in order to skate past gaping plot holes. But on the other hand, the dialogue is usually funny and the cast, as mentioned, is excellent, and this season will be the only time where Chuck‘s writers won’t have to be writing both a possible ending and a possible ongoing series for practically every episode, so on the whole we’re optimistic. (8 p.m, CHCH).

When new series were announced for the fall season a while back, Grimm was generally lumped with Once Upon A Time as the two “fairytale” series coming at the same time. However, the two shows are not kith and kin by any stretch: Once Upon A Time is a mythology-driven show with extensive plot arcs (or at least appears to be), while Grimm is very much more coming from a Buffy/Supernatural zone—a horror-action show where the fairy tales are monsters and the Chosen Hero has to kill them real good. It’s not bad, but it’s just treading the same ground those shows previously did and needs to do a lot of work to distinguish itself. Especially when Supernatural is, you know, still on. (CTV, 8 p.m.; also NBC at 9 p.m.)


The Weekend

Allen Gregory is Jonah Hill’s new animated comedy about a ridiculously brilliant seven-year-old going to elementary school for the first time, and from the first episode it appears to have one joke as its premise. But it’s a good joke. We have no idea if they can stretch it out into a series though. (Global, 8:30 p.m. Sunday)

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