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culture

Televisualist: Halloween Begins With a Whimper, Not a Bang

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.

Unfortunately, this image is incorrect, as the two candidates should instead be shouting "Gangnam Style" repeatedly.

Monday

The final game of the National League Championship Series, between the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants, airs tonight. This has been a weirdly boring series despite the fact that we are in game seven, because, of the six games so far, four of them have been won by at least five runs, which is not quite a blowout but pretty smackdownish. Heck, if they had been blowouts they would have at least been entertaining in the way that one-sided domination always is in sports. The NLCS games have all hit that magic zone: just uneven enough to be sort of dull. And Televisualist likes baseball, so we shudder to think what the “baseball is boring if you aren’t drunk” crowd thinks of this series. Oh well, at least it ends tonight. (Sportsnet, 8 p.m.)

It’s the very final U.S. presidential debate! This time, the topic is foreign policy, which is a very important aspect of the president’s job that the average voter knows next to nothing about. In practice, what this means is that someone who challenges an incumbent president can say basically anything about how the president has screwed up foreign policy and come across as believable, and the incumbent president must respond to this with the devastating “you don’t know shit because you’re not the president” card. Then Fox News will say Mitt Romney won so long as he didn’t set his podium on fire, and everyone else will call it a tie even if he does. There you go. (American networks, CNN and Newsworld, 9 p.m.)

My Shopping Addiction is…look, it’s on Slice (“the worst network ever”), so you already know what it is. Get your superiority rush on! (10 p.m.)

Because it is Sorta-Halloween Week (the traditional “week before Halloween, and also the extra shopping days when Halloween does not fall conveniently on the weekend” time that exists in Televisionland), AMC brings us the original Halloween, which is still a great slasher-horror movie. And then, immediately after, it brings us Halloween 4, because when you get the airing rights to Halloween it only comes in a package deal and AMC isn’t gonna waste the rest of them, are they? Of course not. (8 p.m. and 10 p.m.)


Tuesday

The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Treehouse of Horror XI,” which is the one where the dolphins attack Springfield. “Hmm, Bottlenose bruises, blowhole burns, flipper prints. This looks like the work of rowdy teens! Lou, cancel the prom.” (Comedy Network, 8:30 p.m.)

Returning for a second season with more evil-bitch-with-a-heart-of-sort-of-gold storylines and more Van Der Beek: Don’t Trust The B—- In Apartment 23. Hey, it’s kind of funny! These days, that’s not so bad. (City, 9:30 p.m.)


Wednesday

You know what deserves applause? The Comedy Network’s remake of Match Game. Because you can’t really go wrong with Match Game‘s formula: D-level celebrities (and in Canada, we have no other kind!) make family-friendly dick jokes while “contestants” who really are not that clever never score any points until the game makes it pathetically easy for them, so the host (Darrin Rose, doing quite well in the job) mocks them at length. The show is just fun, and that’s all we really want. Also, Sean Cullen looks more and more like Charles Nelson Reilly every day! Although we understand Nipsey Russell is dead, which is sad, because you just know they’re gonna get Snoop Dogg. Or maybe Coolio. Coolio seems more in their budget range. (Comedy Network, 8 p.m.)

The World Series kicks off, with the Detroit Tigers—having already knocked off the New York Yankees (BOOOOOO YANKEES, YOU SUCK)—facing either the St. Louis Cardinals or the San Francisco Giants, as discussed above. Even though we still harbour many bitter feelings towards the Tigers for pummelling the Jays in 1984 and 1987 (and for managing to turn Cecil Fielder from the also-ran that he was with the Blue Jays into a God of Home Runs), we are still rooting for them. That’s partially because they beat the Yankees, and partially because, as we mentioned, the NLCS has been boring as all get out. (Sportsnet, 8 p.m.)


Thursday

Animal Practice has already been cancelled, proving all those cynical critics who thought that the American viewing public would just say, “Hey, a monkey! I love monkeys! Let’s watch this show forever!” were in fact wrong. The show’s most enduring legacy may be that every other NBC sitcom is now using it to make fun of NBC. Even Community is making fun of NBC for airing this show, and Community is stuck in limbo. Our point is: watch this show while you can, because it is going to be one of the great go-to punchlines for the next few years and you want to get the full experience. (Global, 9:30 p.m.)


Friday

Kitchen Nightmares returns for another season of Gordon Ramsay shouting at people, voiceovers from Fox’s terrible voiceover announcer for any show starring Ramsay (seriously, that announcer is the worst), and wishing that Reasonable Gordon Ramsay, who only appears on British television shows for the most part, was around more often. (Global, 8 p.m.)


The Weekend

Have you ever seen the TV adaptation of Stephen King’s It? It was made back in 1990 as a TV miniseries, and…well, it’s okay, we guess. It has a decent enough cast: Tim Reid, John Ritter, Harry Anderson, Annette O’Toole, and Tim Curry as the evil clown monster thing. But It is a really brutal and vicious horror novel, and the miniseries—which, let us not forget, was a Major Network Event back when the big networks still had standards—can’t go to the dark places the story really needs to go as a result. Still, good performances, and although they’ve been promising a new movie for years now, we doubt it will ever happen. So you might as well enjoy Tim Curry’s evil clown. (Spike, 7 p.m. Sunday)

Once Upon a Time has, over the last year, gradually morphed from “barely watchable blatant Fables rip-off” to “reasonably enjoyable blatant Fables rip-off,” and we felt it was only proper to mention this to you, because although everybody keeps telling us we’re in the golden age of genre television, we tend to think most of it is really very bad. When something decides to be not bad, we give it props. Props, Once Upon a Time! Props. (ABC, 8 p.m. Sunday)

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