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culture

Televisualist: Exit Walter White, Enter Agent Coulson

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.

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Let’s see some boring meth dealer do THIS.

Monday

How I Met Your Mother begins its ninth and final season, and now we’ve all finally met The Mother even though Ted hasn’t, so hopefully everybody who kept complaining about not meeting The Mother—even though the identity of The Mother was never really the point of this show about a group of friends growing up from late-twentiesdom into adulthood—will now shut up. (City, 8 p.m.)

Oh, hey, The Voice, good to see you again, fresh off that Emmy win. Ooh, I bet American Idol is jealous. It’s never won an Emmy! And Cee-Lo Green and Christina Aguilera are back to add their special brand of crazy to the show—definitely a step up from Usher’s good-natured smug-all-the-time schtick, although we shall indeed miss Shakira. (CTV, 8 p.m.)

Mom is Chuck Lorre’s new multi-cam sitcom, but really all you had to do to get us to overlook that was say “Anna Faris and Allison Janney in a sitcom together as estranged mother and daughter, the latter of whom is also a single mother.” We’re on board, even if we already know the identities of both of the mothers. (City, 9:30 p.m.)

The Blacklist is one of those shows where all the critics acknowledge its problems—for starters, the fact that it’s basically really stupid and relies on a “brilliant evil mastermind” trope that was tiresome many, many moons ago—but everyone refuses to call it out for being crap because they really love James Spader. Okay, fine, we’ll say it. This is a terrible show, and James Spader has begun channelling the spirit of his former co-star William Shatner in that every role he takes now is just another opportunity for an increasingly pudgy James Spader to be James Spader. Remember when all those critics were looking forward to James Spader being on The Office? But that sucked! And partially it sucked because of James Spader! (Global, 10 p.m.)

The critics also say that Hostages sucks, and whoa, nelly, are they right about this one. Don’t even bother reading the summary in TV Guide—even the summary will make you wince. (CTV, 10 p.m.)


Tuesday

So nerds everywhere are desperately waiting for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., because everybody loves Agent Coulson, and the show’s co-creator Joss Whedon is King Shit Of Everything Nerd nowadays, and yeah the pilot is okay. It’s nice to see J. August Richards again (good old Joss Whedon, always finding his former series regulars new work) and Ming-Na Wen is totally badass, and that’s fun, but other than that—man, did Joss go out of his way to find a bunch of bland white actors? Was that the plan, Joss? Because as of the pilot, that certainly seems like the plan, and while many a Joss Whedon series takes time to gel, fans aren’t exactly as patient as they used to be back in the misty days of the late 1990s. (CTV, 8 p.m.)

Trophy Wife gets Televisualist’s vote for the prestigious Best New Show With a Terrible Name Award because not only is it the sort of name that drives viewers away (“Really? A trophy wife? What happened to the good old days, when they made shows about upstanding people, like meth-dealing schoolteachers?”), it’s also wildly inaccurate given that Malin Akerman’s protagonist isn’t even a trophy wife—she’s just a third wife trying to find her place in a somewhat crazy extended family. Anyway, this show has a superb cast (including Bradley Whitford and Marcia Gay Harden, two actors who are basically Good In Everything And Should Make All The TV—which is also an award, and they both won it) and smart writing and will probably last about three months before it gets cancelled. (CTV, 9:30 p.m.)

Lucky 7 is about seven poor people who win the lottery and all become instant millionaires, because that’s relatable! Presumably the stories will all be about how money doesn’t solve all their problems, because there’s nothing Hollywood likes better than reminding you that money doesn’t solve everything, because Hollywood people have lots of money and they all need therapists, so clearly their problems are just as pressing as those of poor people. (ABC, 10 p.m.)


Wednesday

The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Homer vs. The 18th Amendment,” wherein Homer becomes a booze smuggler when Springfield re-enacts Prohibition. “At first, I thought prohibition was a good thing. People were drinking more and having a lot more fun. Without beer, prohibition doesn’t work!” (MuchMusic, 8 p.m.)


Thursday

Parks and Recreation is going to London! Hooray! Presumably at some point Amy Poehler will do her horrible British accent! (City, 8 p.m.)

The Crazy Ones is a new sitcom starring Robin Williams, and we’ll just stop right there because you already know whether or not you want to watch a sitcom with Robin Williams in it. Yes, he does a bit in which he imitates a bunch of celebrities. Yes, he sings at one point. Do you want to watch this? We won’t judge you. Some people like this a great deal. (City, 9 p.m.)

Everybody who has already seen the pilot of The Michael J. Fox Show says the same thing: it’s well acted, but could stand to be a little more ballsy in its comedy—its willingness to go into Parkinson’s jokes notwithstanding (and if you want jokes about Parkinson’s Disease, then man is this the sitcom for you to watch). We’ll admit the pilot was a bit treacly, but come on, it’s a pilot—you don’t get a lot of edgy stuff in the pilot of most comedy shows (that aren’t Archer). We’re more concerned with the fact that the actors are all good and the writing seems generally competent. Bite can be added to flavour this show as needed. (NBC, 9 p.m.)


Friday

Hey, who wanted to see Gordon Ramsay trying not to be all Gordon Ramsay at a bunch of adorable children in a cooking competition show? Apparently, the creators of MasterChef: Junior Edition believe the answer to that question is “many of us.” (CTV, 8 p.m.)


The Weekend

Breaking Bad comes to its long-awaited conclusion, and Televisualist still is not caught up with this show. We have to sort of mentally block out Twitter every Sunday, and even with that, we’re sick to death of Saul Goodman jokes. Anyway, we think this ends with the stunning revelation that Walter White was in fact dead the whole time and what we have actually been seeing is an angel bringing the Galactica to Albuquerque. (AMC, 9 p.m. Sunday)

Betrayal serves to remind us all of what we all already knew: other people’s adulterous love affairs are inherently boring unless there are explosions and things. WARNING: As of yet, there are no explosions on this show. (City, 10 p.m. Sunday)

Comments

  • Edward Phillips

    Man – I admire your dedication to the “Simpson’s Rerun of the Week” portion of your column, but I think you’ve already hit all of the great classic episodes and are now trolling the “hit and miss” shoals the “modern classics” (though “Homer vs. the 18th Amendment” may be a true classic – I honestly can’t remember). I can foresee when you will have mentioned every single Simpson’s episode in existence (or at least all of the ones worth mentioning).
    Perhaps from there you can shift gears and start doing the syndicated shows that are currently ubiquitous (“Big Bang Rerun of the Week” or “Two-And-A-Half Men Rerun of the week”), or go classic/retro (“M*A*S*H Rerun of the Week or “Cheers Rerun of the Week”) or even nerdy/cultish (“Buffy Rerun of the Week” or “Star Trek Rerun of the Week”).
    I would vote for “classic” myself . . .

  • http://twitter.com/Sean_C2 Sean Curley

    While meeting The Mother was never precisely the point of HIMYM, the show arrived at the point where meeting her was really the next logical step in the show/group’s development a few seasons ago, but because the writers didn’t want to, the characters have been increasingly spinning their wheels. This is most pronounced with Ted himself, who pretty much exhausted his character development prior to actually meeting his wife.