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culture

Televisualist: A High-Functioning Sociopath

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.

This week, Brett answers the eternal question: what if Sherlock Holmes teamed up with Jeff from previous Stephen Moffat show Coupling? And now, we know.

Monday

The Pitch had a sneak preview earlier this month, but this new reality show from AMC (motto: “Story Matters Here”) wherein advertising firms compete for a wealthy client company’s business is… not bad? It’s not great and it doesn’t feel like a very AMC-ish show beyond the obvious thematic connection to Mad Men, but there are many, many shows out there that will insult your intelligence more than this. This feels like a segment from The Apprentice except the people involved in the challenge are not horrible and stupid. (AMC, 9 p.m.)

Team-up alert: the good guys from NCIS: Los Angeles are teaming up with the good guys from Hawaii Five-O in something where there’s an evil bioterrorist and only Hawaii Five-O and NCIS teamed up together can stop him for some reason. Because Hawaii Five-O hates Tupac, but loves the LL. And also Chris O’Donnell and his dorky haircut. (Global, 10 p.m.)

Ridiculousness is Rob Dyrdek’s new show – this one is all about Rob Dyrdek and his crew of commentators “dissecting” failed YouTube video stunts. You know, the type where somebody tries to do something EXTREEEEME but then they take a shot to the nuts when they try to do it. Anyway, it looks like this will be less dissection-and-analysis then it will be “oh man look at his nuts.” Maybe you want to watch that, and make Idiocracy start coming true well in advance of when it was supposed to happen. If so, we shall not judge. (MTV Canada, 10 p.m.)

Tuesday

The Biggest Loser concludes – oh, we probably didn’t mention previously that it was on, did we? Well, we assume people will seek out this show if they want to see it. There is a limit to the number of times we can make fun of Jillian Michaels’ crazy eyes. (CFMT, 8 p.m.)

This week’s Frontline is about Wall Street continuing to make risky bets with other people’s money while regulators do their best with limited power to try and keep them from blowing up the economy again. In short: it’s a horror movie! And a documentary! At the same time! (PBS, 9 p.m.)

Okay, we made fun of the Hawaii Five-O/NCIS: Los Angeles team-up above—part two of which airs tonight—but in all sincerity: when good guys from two different shows team up, it makes us feel like we are seven years old again and reading Superman and Batman team-up comics. Or like we are twenty-nine years old again and reading Superman and Batman team-up comics, if we’re being honest. The point being: team-ups are inherently awesome and we don’t want people to think that us making a little bit of fun of Chris O’Donnell’s dorky haircut doesn’t mean we aren’t honestly thrilled by this. (Global, 9 p.m.)

Wednesday

The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Co-Dependent’s Day,” wherein Homer frames Marge for drunk driving so that he doesn’t get caught drunk driving. “I can’t talk to my wife for 28 days. Sir, she is not an alcoholic. You can’t put me on hold, I’ll put you on hold. I am a lineman for the counteeeee… Your call is important to us. Please continue to hold. And I driiiiive the main rooooad… There are…eight calls ahead of you. And the Wichita lineman is still on the li-li-li-li-li-li-li-li-li-li-li-li-line…” (CJMT, 10:30 p.m.)

Thursday

This week’s 30 Rock isn’t live like last week’s was, but they’ve given us an even better alternative: it features the return of Queen of Jordan, Angie’s reality-show-within-30 Rock that was so inspired. We cannot wait to see what new nuggets of wisdom D’Fwan, Angie’s gay hairdresser/homosexual party planner, delivers unto us. And also to see what Michael does this time to get his hands on some meth. (City, 8:30 p.m.)

Friday

For people who love prison-break movies, but have already seen The Shawshank Redemption, perhaps you should consider Papillon if you have not already seen it? After all, this 1973 classic – featuring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman – offers a far more realistic view of what one has to do to escape prison, which involves spending time with lepers and being betrayed by nuns over a period of thirty-plus years. It’s grim at times, but definitely something all fans of prison break stories should watch. (PBS, 9 p.m.)

The Losers flopped in 2010, which is a shame because it’s honestly a great action movie (and a fine adaptation of the comic book of the same name). It has a kickass cast (Idris Elba, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chris Evans, Zoe Saldana), good dialogue, things blow up really nicely, and people shoot guns in all sorts of entertaining ways. It is a fine way to kill a few hours. (Showcase, 10 p.m.)

The Weekend

The Amazing Race concludes, with not a single likeable team left in the race. The closest the remaining competitors get to likeable, in fact, is Dave and Rachel, and that only counts because Rachel seems cool and maybe Dave isn’t as misogynistic and patronizing in real life as he is on TV. The rest of the teams – drama-queening Brendon and Rachel, irritating Vanessa and Ralph, and whiny wannabe-alpha-males JJ and Art – come across as horrible people, and with Mark and Bopper’s elimination this week we have to settle for the finale of the Race being exciting because it almost always is, even when someone terrible wins. And that will just have to do. (CTV, 8 p.m. Sunday)

Sherlock returns for season #2 (which, admittedly, aired long ago on the BBC, but this is its first North American network airing). Now, granted, there are some sexism issues with the first episode, “A Scandal In Belgravia,” which introduces this Sherlockverse’s version of Irene Adler – some critics complained that reducing Adler’s level of personal agency diminished her, which is a fair complaint, but the counterpoint to that complaint is that the show is not called Adler. (PBS, 9 p.m. Sunday)

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