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culture

Televisualist: Nerdular Nerdence

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.

"King of the Nerds" does not get much better than this. Sorry.

Monday

If you want a glamorous political event with almost no substance, then the Presidential Inauguration is for you! CNN actually started covering the Inauguration on Sunday—a full day before it started—because that is CNN and that is what they do. That having been said, Obama’s speech should be good. (Beginning at 1 p.m., American news networks)

The Following has been hyped for months now despite having a premise that is, bluntly, just stupid: serial killer James Purefoy somehow contacts other serial killers and has them serial-kill for him by proxy, and only Kevin Bacon can stop him. In a world where they let a super-brilliant serial killer talk to just anybody, you see. Anyway, this will probably be hugely successful because the viewing public loves shitty shows about murderers and the heroic FBI agents who catch them (see: The Mentalist, Bones, Criminal Minds—none of which are particularly good and all of which are better than The Following), so get ready for terrible conversations about the show from that one person at work you can’t stand. Unless you happen to be that person. Which would not be good. (CTV, 8 p.m.)

Wild Things With Dominic Monaghan features the former hobbit/Lost castaway on his brave new adventures across the world, going to exotic locations and finding weird animals. Or, in other words, it is a nature show, and the catch this time is that you keep hoping Billy Boyd will randomly show up for no reason at all except that would be nifty. (OLN, 9 p.m.)


Tuesday

The Taste is basically American Idol but for chefs, which means it’s competing with Top Chef, Chopped, Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef, and whatever other cooking competition shows Gordon Ramsay hasn’t created yet. This one is most notable for “blind tasting” by judges like Nigella Lawson and Anthony Bourdain, and also some other food people who aren’t as famous as those two. Also we say “most notable” with implied sarcasm-quotes because we’re not sure how “tasting the food” is supposed to be somehow revolutionary on a cooking show. (CTV, 8 p.m.; ABC has a two-hour premiere instead starting at the same time)

Season seventeen of The Ultimate Fighter premieres tonight, and now it’s a deluxe-cable show rather than the basic-cable show it was previously, which probably tells you a lot about how popular this show is. (FX Canada, 9 p.m.)

Private Practice ends after five seasons, which amazes us because we thought it was already cancelled and that it would never die at the same time, a sort of Schrödinger’s Shitbox TV Show, if you will. Take that, quantum thingies! (CTV, 10 p.m.)


Wednesday

The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Alone Again Natura-Diddly,” wherein Maude Flanders dies. “Look Ned, I know we ain’t hung out much, what with your insane fear of drinking and me being banned from the church and all but eh, that Maude, she was really something.” (Comedy Network, 8:30 p.m.)

King of the Nerds is just your standard Big Brother ripoff, except all of the contestants are nerds, and when we say “nerds” what we mean is “as many people who are as close as possible to being Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory as the producers could manage to find.” We’re not generally sympathetic to people who complain about BBT being “nerd blackface” (because come on, how is that comparable to for-real blackface?), but this show manages to be a lot more offensive than BBT, even though it’s “real life.” (Slice—of course it’s Slice—10 p.m.)


Thursday

So four months ago Televisualist wrote that Last Resort, Shawn Ryan’s big expensive ambitious show about nuclear submarines and geopolitics and Andre Braugher being awesome, would either be cancelled in one season or last for years and years. Now that the series finale is airing tonight, we can say, truthfully, that we saw it coming but did not want to tempt fate and jinx things by saying so. The problem is that Fate, apparently, does not read this column. (Probably Ron James and the president of TLC Canada don’t either. At least we hope they don’t, because then they might be unhappy and not enjoy their morning bowl of healthy breakfast cereal, and everybody deserves a delicious and nutritious breakfast.) (Global, 8 p.m.)


Friday

The Batman Vs. Dracula is a feature-length direct-to-DVD movie based on the The Batman series that aired from 2004-2008. Like the series, it is pretty good—perhaps not the best Batman cartoon movie ever made and certainly not in the league of the Batman: The Animated Series stuff, but as a general rule a Batman cartoon will almost always be better than a non-Batman cartoon, unless it’s one of the terrible comic book adaptations DC has been churning out lately. Also, this has Peter Stormare voicing Dracula, and if you know Peter Stormare then you know that is near-perfect voice casting for a vampire. (Teletoon, 9 p.m.)


The Weekend

As Movie Awards Season rushes through its now-tremendously-sped-up phase, due to the oscars having been moved to February, we get to watch the 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards, which are typically useful for figuring out who will win the acting categories on Oscar night. Also Dick Van Dyke gets a lifetime achievement award this year, although given his age it is unlikely he will do a comic pratfall. If he does do a pratfall, expect obituaries to follow. (Global, 8 p.m. Sunday)

Wilson Phillips: Still Holding On is of course named after the one Wilson Phillips song anybody remembers twenty years later, and is of course the inevitable Wilson Phillips reality show as they try to make a comeback, because that is what faded-out musicians do now. Not make comebacks; have reality shows about their attempted comebacks. That way, when the comeback fails, you still get the reality show money. It’s really quite clever. (MuchMoreMusic, 8 p.m. Sunday)

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