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culture

Televisualist: Evil Demon Clock-Sucking

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.

See, once upon a time Keri Russell was in a show called Felicity, and in the second season she cut her hair, and fans hated it because it looked terrible, and this is what passed for controversial TV in 1999, people, so if you’re younger than, oh, 25 you probably have zero chance of getting the reference unless you decide to watch the whole series on Netflix. (American Netflix, not Canadian Netflix.)

Monday

Seed debuted last week and, as Canadian single-cams sitcoms go, the debut was moderately funny. Not Arrested Development-premiere level funny, of course, but funny enough in an 18 to Life/Dan For Mayor sort of way that it should run for two to three seasons before getting cancelled, and nobody will feel bad about it getting cancelled, but while it’s there, people will enjoy it when they flip to it accidentally. This is about the most that Canadian TV can hope for these days. We’re all about the hard truths here, people. (City, 8:30 p.m.)


Tuesday

The Simpsons rerun of the week: “New Kids On The Blecch,” wherein Bart, Milhouse, Nelson, and Ralph form a boy-band which is secretly being used to broadcast subliminal messages so that the Navy can destroy Mad magazine. Much better than it has any right to be. “Now listen to me, Smash. We’re not signing anything unless it’s a contract!” (Comedy Network, 8:30 p.m.)

City’s also picked up The Americans, the cable series from down south about Russian spies living in deep, deep cover during the dawn of the Reagan era. This show received nigh-unanimous praise when it debuted a couple of weeks ago on FX, and as much as Televisualist would like to play contrarian, we just can’t because the show is so good—smartly written, exciting, uses the early-80s setting properly (e.g. to make the spying harder since they have to use old-timey spy gadgets, rather than simply playing Duran Duran songs all the time in the background), and has fantastic performances from Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, and Noah Emmerich. Seriously, just get on this right now before it is the next Mad Men and you’re trying to play catch-up – or, alternately, before it is the next Homeland and you are debating whether or not to watch the good parts before it goes all “what the hell” on you. (9 p.m.)

Live from Washington, it’s the 2013 State of the Union! We will go out on a limb and predict that President Obama will tell everybody that the state of the union is “strong,” because they always say that. Maybe, maybe if they decide to push the boundaries, they might say that it is “getting stronger” or “resilient, you know, like a giant spring and we’re gonna go BOING any second now.” (American networks, 9 p.m.)


Wednesday

Returning for its twenty-sixth season, we have Survivor, which is doing another “Fans Vs. Favorites” season, which lets them bring back popular former Survivors. Granted, one of the “favorites” this year got eliminated first in her season, so maybe they are stretching a little—but other than that, some of the notables returning are Malcolm from Survivor: Philippines (a superb player), Cochran from South Pacific (lovable dork), Brandon Hantz from South Pacific (kinda crazy, but hey, Survivor now has almost twenty per cent Hantz saturation!), Erik from Micronesia (who memorably did the stupidest thing ever in Survivor when he gave up his immunity idol to another player and then promptly got voted out), and Phillip from Redemption Island (one of the batshit-craziest players ever). So: promising. (Global, 8 p.m.)

Also inexplicably returning: My Strange Addiction, wherein we learn about people who are addicted to coffee enemas and licking cats. So technically I suppose TLC is sort of living up to its name. Sort of. (10 p.m.)


Thursday

Oh my god you guys Zero Hour looks so bad it is wonderful. The basic premise, apparently, is that Anthony Edwards is out one day with his antique-shop-owning wife, and she finds this weird clock, and then she gets kidnapped because somebody wants the clock, and it turns out the clock is one of a set of magical clocks or something like that, and if you get all twelve clocks then Something Happens, and also the clocks were the entire cause of World War II because the Nazis wanted the clocks, and now Anthony Edwards and the FBI have to go up against the Latter Day Nazis in a Quest for the Magic Clocks and also the Catholic Church is involved for some reason, possibly because the clocks make scary mutant babies, because like we said they are magic. Edwards looks to be doing all of his acting on this show after drinking a fifth of NyQuil, the Latter Day Nazis cannot quite keep their accents straight, and this is a show about evil magic clocks. This is the shittiest thing we have seen show up on a major network in years. This makes Revolution—a show that famously makes no sense whatsoever—look like The Wire. (If you are not following, The Wire is very good. That is the point of the simile.) Anyway, you need to watch at least one episode of this. Preferably while drunk or stoned or maybe both. (Global, 8 p.m.)

This week on Glee: Will and Emma finally get married! Yes, it only took four seasons, but finally the worst romantic pairing on television is finally resolved. (Global, 9 p.m.)

Freakshow is AMC’s new reality show about a traveling carnival sideshow and the daily lives of its performers, and this is one of those shows that you will know quite well beforehand whether you want to watch it or not. As a television critic, I generally discourage this sort of show from existing, because what the hell am I supposed to do with that? (10 p.m.)


Friday

The 2013 NBA Rising Stars Challenge—or, if you don’t want to bother with silly names, the all-rookie/all-sophomore game—kicks off NBA All-Star Weekend. Number of Raptors participating: none. But it should be a fun game, as the rookies and sophomores all want to make Statements, as they so often do, to ensure they get decent contract extensions. Kyrie Irving alone should make this endlessly watchable. (TSN, 9 p.m.)


The Weekend

The NBA All-Star Weekend continues, first with the All-Star Saturday Night which includes the point guard skills challenge contest, the three-point shooting contest, and finally the slam dunk competition, which includes both Toronto Raptor rookie dunking sensation Terrence Ross as well as New York’s James “Flight” White, who as a basketball player has never been particularly special—except for the fact that he is quite possibly the best dunker of all time and this is the first time he has ever competed in the slam dunk contest, so expect T-Ross to compete strongly for second place. (TSN2, 8 p.m. Saturday) The next day, you can watch the actual All-Star Game and marvel at how Dwight Howard made it onto an all-star team as a starter, or for that matter how the Los Angeles Lakers – a team with a terrible losing record – have two of five starters for the Western Conference. (TSN, 7 p.m. Sunday)

The Amazing Race returns for season 22 (!) and this go-around, we have: twin brothers who are also doctors, former Toronto Maple Leaf Bates Battaglia and his little brother, a pair of roller derby players who are also moms, a father/son team of cancer survivors, two of the three members of the country group Stealing Angels, and the now apparently-obligatory team of Youtube personalities. (CTV, 8 p.m. Sunday)

Comments

  • ApathyMonger

    I already watched the pilot of Zero Hour on Hulu. It is not good. It’s kind of stupid fun, but probably not enough to keep me watching.

  • http://twitter.com/mk_patter Megano!

    Everyone pretty much should stop what they’re doing right now and watch the first two eps of The Americans, that’s how great it is.