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Televisualist: It’s Log, It’s Log, It’s Better Than Bad, It’s Burning

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.

Ah, technology.


Have a Retro, Retro Christmas (1): YTV has A Flintstone Christmas, wherein Fred and Barney have to take over for Santa when Santa sprains his ankle on Christmas Eve. They never really explained why cavemen were celebrating the birth of Christ, which presumably happened thousands of years after all the Flintstones were dead. FUN ACTIVITY: Discuss this logical problem with a young child, after explaining in great detail who the Flintstones were and why the kid should care. Remember that any young child will not be familiar with the live-action movie starring John Goodman, since any child old enough to remember seeing that when they were a kid is now in their twenties. (YTV, noon)

Time to watch A Christmas Story as you do every year! Then you can quote it at people and ironically buy them leg-lamps and all the other things watching this movie makes one do. (CBC, 8 p.m.)

Also airing tonight, presumably to create an amusing contrast: Bad Santa. (CHCH, 9 p.m.)

Hollywood Game Night returns, and whatever, we don’t even care about the rest of this column now, because Hollywood Game Night is the best forever. Tonight’s celebrities include Ray Romano, Rachel Bilson, and the inescapable joy of Christmas. (CTV2, 10 p.m.)


Space is airing a mini-marathon of Doctor Who episodes: “The Snowmen,” “The Doctor, The Witch and the Wardrobe,” “A Christmas Carol,” “The End of Time,” “The Next Doctor,” “Voyage of the Damned,” and “The Runaway Bride.” Which is to say: the last seven Doctor Who Christmas Day specials. They’re all good episodes, too. (begins at 6 p.m.)

The CBC has its annual airing of Scrooge, which is still the best Christmas Carol adaptation going that features neither Mickey Mouse nor the Muppets. (8 p.m.)


If you need some morning televised Christmas burning log, you’re covered from 5:30 a.m. until 9:00 a.m. If you need mid-afternoon log, you probably have to just use Netflix, which has a Christmas log. Netflix: it Has Everything Except Gilmore Girls. (CityTV)

Have a Retro, Retro Christmas (II): Watch The He-Man/She-Ra Christmas Special, if only to see Prince Adam walking around in a fat-suit. LAFFS. (9 p.m., Teletoon Retro)

The Queen’s Christmas Message is now only ten minutes long. She’s getting on in years and wants to get back to her gin. Can you blame her? (CBC Newsworld, 10 a.m.)

In case yesterday’s Doctor Who orgy was not enough to whet your appetite for time-traveling heroism, tonight Space has “The Time of the Doctor”—the annual Christmas episode and Matt Smith’s final adventure as The Doctor (well, until he comes back for the inevitable crossover episode featuring multiple Doctors), and presumably featuring the first glimpse of Peter Capaldi as the newest Doctor. (That whole John Hurt thing has people arguing about whether Capaldi’s Doctor is the 12th or 13th Doctor, and we’re not gonna get in between rival camps of rabid nerds.) (9 p.m.)


20/20 has a two-hour special about the castle that inspired Downton Abbey because people fucking love Downton Abbey, or something. (CHCH, 9 p.m.)

The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Homer’s Enemy,” which is the one with Frank Grimes. “Smithers, I’ve just seen the most heroic dog on television. He pulled a toddler from the path of a speeding car, then pushed a criminal in front of it. Find this dog. I want to make him my executive vice president.” (MuchMusic, 8:30 p.m.)


Foolproof is an underrated Canadian thriller/comedy starring Ryan Reynolds as the leader of a team of pretend-we’re-thieves-for-fun friends who then get roped into an actual heist by a ruthless criminal person. It’s good fun, and it’s actually set in Toronto for real, and that’s kind of novel. (CHCH, 8 p.m.)

The Weekend

Lawrence of Arabia. Because Peter O’Toole died recently, so you might as well watch one of the truly transcendent performances in film history. There aren’t that many of them. (TCM, 8 p.m. Sunday)

About a Boy isn’t transcendent, but it’s definitely a Christmas film for all those people who like certain aspects of Christmas but hate “Christmas” and all the associated crap that comes along with Christmas. (You know what? My fellow man sucks, and he deserves no goodwill. Screw that guy.) (Global, 9 p.m.)


  • bobloblawbloblawblah

    “Log from Outer Space” was always my favourite Log. God Bless the folks from Blammo for giving us Log.


  • To Mr Grinch

    Okay, so first thing you do is rip the Flintstones to shreds and then move on in your superior tone to rip A Christmas Story to shreds. WTF happened to you this morning? Your cat pee in your cornflakes or something? Have a nice tall glass of ChillOut juice.
    I don’t really expect this will get past the Torontoist Censor Board (thou shalt not criticize or ridicule the writer who is busy criticizing and ridiculing) but it is worth a try.

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      Ah, the old “you won’t print this and that proves you’re as bad as I say” ploy.

    • 4ChanApologist

      Hopefully when you wake up on Wednesday someone will have left a sense of humour in your stocking.

    • Dinah Might

      At no point does he say Christmas Story is bad. And did you miss all the other parts where he says things are good? I think you may wish to examine your OWN cornflakes.

  • 4ChanApologist

    I found this article to be both informative and humorous. A tip of the cap to you, Christopher Bird.

  • Joe Clark

    I still have a tape of nearly all the five-hour telecast of Yule Log from back when CITY-TV really was CITY-TV. I am talking about the telecast with five full hours of captioning (a reasonably expressive job given the difficulty of the material).