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culture

Televisualist: Game of Balls

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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They’re Arya and the Hound / yes Arya and the Hound / one’s a tweenager, the other’s renowned / by winning all the fights / they elude Tywin’s knights / they’re Arya, they’re Arya and the Hound Hound Hound Hound Hound.

Monday

How I Met Your Mother comes to its end at last, and while there are all sorts of criticisms that can be levelled at it, the series accurately captured the feeling of Dad Stories and the progress of people from their late twenties to mid-thirties (AKA “the new growing up”). It was frequently extremely funny, mastered the use of exceptionally complex and detailed worldbuilding, and had some out-of-the-park performances from its cast. Not going to lie: we’ll miss it. (City, 8 p.m.)

CBS’ replacement for HIMYM—the forthcoming and mostly unrelated How I Met Your Dad aside—is Friends With Better Lives, which is sort of a cross between Friends and Rules of Engagement, but it is so white that it stars James Van Der Beek, unironically. (City, 9 p.m.)

First we had reality shows like Top Chef about competing chefs. Then we had reality shows like MasterChef about competing skilled home cooks with lots of skill. Now, we have a reality show about “young aspiring chefs with no formal culinary training” in House of Food. Next up, presumably, is a reality show about people who don’t know what food is competing to cook things. (MTV Canada, 10 p.m.)


Tuesday

The Rick Mercer Report and 22 Minutes conclude for another season, and you know what that means: no more news until they’re back on the air! Stand down, Vladimir Putin, you can’t do anything, because there’s no more comedy news until the fall! (CBC, 8 p.m.)

Returning for yet another season of terrifying fertility: 19 Kids and Counting. This episode, another Duggar gets married into an equally creepy family, and in a desperate effort to be tolerant and polite, we all pretend like their chosen lifestyle isn’t weird and extreme (TLC, 9 p.m.)


Wednesday

The Simpsons rerun of the week: “My Mother the Carjacker,” a season fifteen highlight mostly because Glenn Close’s appearances as Mother Simpson are always pleasant. “Captured ’60s radical Mona J. Simpson goes on trial today on decades-old charges of sabotaging the Montgomery Burns germ warfare lab. For those of you too young to remember the ’60s, here’s our stock montage… what a shrill, pointless decade.” (Much, 9 p.m.)


Thursday

This week on Community, the show does a parody of the original G.I. Joe cartoon, because that’s timely! No, we’ll probably still enjoy it, but you have to admit, the stunt episodes on this show are running out of ground to supposedly break. (City, 8 p.m.)

The former MuchMoreMusic, now simply “M3″ (what is the core message of a station named “M3?” Lots of Ms, maybe?), has the season premiere of Franklin and Bash, which actually aired in 2012 in the United States—because this is just the second-season premiere for some reason—but hey, if you missed this utterly pointless show two years ago, now’s your chance! (8 p.m.)


Friday

Getting a lot less hype as it ends than How I Met Your Mother is Raising Hope, a reliably funny show about actual working-class poor people that never really found its audience, mostly because it was about working-class poor people, we think. Will be sad to see it go. (City, 9 p.m.)


The Weekend

March Madness continues, and we’re down to the Final Four: Florida versus Connecticut, and Wisconsin versus Kentucky. A lot of the tournament darlings have been knocked out, both the overdogs like Michigan, Louisville, and Arizona, and the underdogs like Dayton and Stanford. (Kentucky, a #8 seed, is the closest thing left to an underdog at this point.) Now all that’s left are, well, good college basketball teams. Could be worse. (TSN, 6 p.m. Saturday)

Turn is AMC’s latest bid for an eventual replacement for Mad Men as “the quality show that Walking Dead pays for.” It’s got an attention-getting setting (Revolutionary War America), a good premise (the story of America’s first spy ring against the British), and a quality lead (Jamie Bell). Of course, plenty of AMC shows over the past few years have had better pedigrees than this coming in and, well, you all saw how Low Winter Sun turned out. Still, we hold out hope. (9 p.m. Sunday)

This season on Game of Thrones—well, if you’ve read the books, you already sort of know, and if you haven’t, you get offended at those of us who have. We will say that Pedro Pascal’s performance as Oberyn Martell is thrilling, that the extra story arc they’ve given the Night’s Watch to bulk out this season makes very good sense indeed, and that the show has chosen an extremely sensible solution for dealing with the issue of their younger cast members aging. None of those are spoilers, right? Good, then. (HBO Canada, 9 p.m. Sunday)

Silicon Valley debuted last week, and we forgot to discuss it. Long story short: it’s a well-written show with good gags and a decent heart, but unlike a lot of Mike Judge’s work, from what we’ve seen so far of it, it could use more female presence. Yes, real-life Silicon Valley is a boys’ club, but so what? That’s the nice thing about TV. You’re already playing pretend. (HBO Canada, 10 p.m. Sunday)

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