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Culture

Welcome to TIFF 2014

Survival guides, reviews, and other fun stuff

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culture

Televisualist: Thank God, the New Fall TV Season Is Finally Here

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.

Were Kevin O'Leary to appear on Over the Rainbow, CBC cross-promotion would be at an all-time high! Assuming you did not, you know, reflexively throw something at your TV when O'Leary explained that Dorothy's story was "a tribute to the spirit of the entrepreneur."


Monday

The Voice returns for season three, and by now you know what you’re gonna get: a bunch of good non-famous singers; Christina and Cee Lo and Cowboy Guy and Maroon 5 Guy bantering; and Carson Daly reminding everybody that Ryan Seacrest’s job is actually really hard, you guys. The “blind auditions” begin our season, as always, and are really the most fun part of the show, so it is on, we guess. (CTV2, 8 p.m.)

Men at Work has nothing to do with the classic Emilio Estevez/Charlie Sheen garbageman comedy from the early ’90s, which is a damn shame because that would be better than this painfully generic older-bros comedy. (Comedy Network, 10 p.m.)

NBC is using the Voice premiere to hype its top new comedies of the season with a sneak peek right afterward. First off is The New Normal, the comedy about a gay couple (played by a guy who starred in The Book of Mormon and the “boring lost guy” from The Hangover) that hires a sweethearted single mom to be their surrogate, which also features Ellen Barkin as an extremely bigoted senior citizen. The pilot is a bit uneven in terms of laughs, but the heart and the talent are there and it has its tone nailed down, and everybody in the TV-critic club (we get free mimosas, you know, it’s pretty awesome) is figuring that it will be this season’s breakout comedy hit. (NBC, 10 p.m.)

Following New Normal is Go On, starring Matthew Perry as Matthew Perry, because you don’t watch Matthew Perry to not see Matthew Perry, and this show gets that, which is good. Anyway, the idea here is that Matthew Perry’s TV wife recently died and his boss has ordered him to attend grief counselling, and unsurprisingly the grief-counselling group has a bunch of wacky-but-deep characters. This pilot is something of the inverse of New Normal, because while the laughs are there and the talent is there, it isn’t quite yet finding its voice. It’s not sure yet how dark it wants to be (and a comedy about grief counselling has to be at least a little bit dark), and if it wants to get laughs from silliness or black humour. But, like New Normal, it is good already and should stick around. (NBC, 10:30 p.m.)


Tuesday

The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Lisa’s Wedding,” wherein a fortune teller tells Lisa’s future. A classic. “Now we’ll see what the future holds.” “The Death card?” “No, that’s good: it means transition, change.” “Oh, that’s cute.” “Ah! The Happy Squirrel!” (Did you know that the Happy Squirrel has actually become a thing in modern tarot? Well, now you do.) (Comedy Network, 8 p.m.)

Guys With Kids is another NBC sitcom, and this one is about goat farmers. No, we’re kidding, it’s about guys being dads because that is endlessly fascinating. It’s why What To Expect When You’re Expecting made 400 million dollars at the box office—no, wait, that did not happen. However, this show does have Tempesst Bledsoe in it. You remember her? From The Cosby Show? Accordingly, here is a Cosby Show–themed palindrome for you: “Lisa Bonet ate no basil.” You’re welcome. (Global, 9:30 p.m.)

Returning for season four: Parenthood. Showrunner Jason Katims spent season three trying to jam in as many Friday Night Lights alumni as possible onto the show. We support this endeavour and hope the trend continues. (Global, 10 p.m.)


Wednesday

The X-Factor was not the giant smash success that everybody expected it would be, so Simon Cowell has mega-revamped it. No more Paula! No more Nicole Sherzinger! No more announcer host guy! Instead, now we get Britney Spears and Demi Lovato as judges, and you can hear Simon Cowell praying for the trainwreck from a mile away because trainwrecks are ratings gold, we guess. We suspect, however, that there will be no examination of the possibility that perhaps people are tired of Simon Cowell. Call it a hunch. (CTV, 8 p.m.)


Thursday

It’s the finale of America’s Got Talent! This year’s finalists: a sand artist who sculpts sand to music, a team of performance painters, a dance troupe, a comic, an “earth harpist,” and a dog-trick act. No singers! For the first time in this show’s history, no singers! Truly the end of the world is upon us. The Mayans probably predicted these finalists! (City, 8 p.m.)

Glee is back, with an episode titled “The New Rachel.” However, the old Rachel is still on the show, as part of the episode will feature Rachel in New York, following her dreams, because Glee is fundamentally a show about awful, awful people, and you can’t not have Rachel in the show because she is the awfullest. (Global, 9 p.m.)


Friday

Shark Tank returns for another season of not being as good as Dragon’s Den. (CTV2, 8 p.m.)


The Weekend

After CBC’s success with How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? in 2008, it was only natural that they would want to duplicate it, and Over the Rainbow, which is the same show except with contestants competing for a role as Dorothy in a stage production of The Wizard of Oz, is that duplication. If you liked Maria, you’ll probably like this. (8 p.m. Sunday)

The Mob Doctor is exactly what it sounds like! She is a doctor for mobsters but she is conflicted about it because she has no choice and this show demands many sarcasm italics! (CTV, 9 p.m. Sunday)

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