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culture

Televisualist: Dead People, They’re Creepy

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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ATTACK OF THE MAUDLIN ZOMBIES.

Monday

The Voice begins the live shows, which is when we peons get to vote. Yay, peons! (CTV2, 8 p.m.)

Archer concludes its fifth “we’re tired of being a spy agency, let’s do something else” season with Lana having her baby and the used-to-be-ISIS team trying to stop a (nuclear? biological? space gorilla lasers?) weapon from killing lots of people somewhere. Archer has had a hell of a great run this year as the ISIS bunch became completely inept drug dealers, and we hope that streak will carry on into season six. (Teletoon, 10 p.m.)


Tuesday

The Toronto Raptors host the Brooklyn Nets in game two of their first-round playoff matchup after losing the first one thanks to a combination of obvious playoff jitters for many of the young Raptor players and some terrible officiating. However, that first game featured an insanely loud home crowd, so here’s hoping for more of the same on that level, at least. (TSN, 7:30 p.m.)


Wednesday

Rerun of the week: Top Gear, from the most recent season, when the Top Gearies (?) respond to the challenge that they “never drive small, practical cars” by driving small, practical cars through Ukraine—until they realize they have to drive to Chernobyl, at which point they start trying to find all sorts of ways to make their small, practical cars as inefficient and impractical as possible so their cars can die before they arrive. “I’m still getting 23 miles to the gallon! I’ve got to get that down. How do I get that down?” (BBC America, 9 p.m.)


Thursday

NBC’s desperate and never-ending search for recycled content means tonight we get a Saturday Night Live special devoted to the digital shorts the show airs with every episode. On the plus side, this should mean we get to see “Lazy Sunday” and “Dick in a Box” on TV again. But if you don’t like Andy Samberg, this might not be your thing. (9 p.m.)

I’ll bet you were thinking, “Hey, you know what I have no desire to see adapted into a TV series? Bad Teacher, the 2011 Cameron Diaz comedy.” But they did it! The cast is surprisingly decent (Sara Gilbert, Kristin Davis, and David Alan Grier all show up in supporting roles), and the premise of the film probably translates reasonably well to a TV series, but at the same time, we keep asking, “Wait, who asked for this?” (Global, 9:30 p.m.)

Black Box is a new medical drama about a neuroscientist who solves the toughest cases of brain injury and mental illness, but is herself secretly bipolar—which is probably how TV thought it was being clever this week. Also featured: Vanessa Redgrave in full gimme-dat-paycheck mode. (ABC, 10 p.m.)


Friday

TLC continues its dominance of all wedding-related television with the third-season premiere of I Found the Gown, which is like Say Yes To the Dress, except “gown” is not the same word as “dress.” Tonight’s episode features the Gown Rush sale, wherein hundreds of women invade the store and basically fight to the death for a cheap wedding dress. If you think that Televisualist is of the opinion that the entire “wedding industry” is sleazy as all get–out, you’d be correct. (10 p.m.)

Run is a pretty minimal commitment as series go (it’s a four-episode British miniseries, with four standalone stories that all tie into one another), but it’s got Olivia Colman and Lennie James, who can both act like nobody’s business, and some stylish direction. Probably worth a try. (Showcase, 10 p.m.)


The Weekend

Space has picked up The Returned (Les Revenants), the critically acclaimed and very creepy French series about dead people returning to life and all the problems this phenomenon causes, and also how it is incredibly creepy and not at all miraculous that this is happening. It’s a good first season (the second is on the way), and the inevitable English adaptation is already in pre-production, but you might as well watch the original now. (10 p.m. Saturday)

Showcase debuts The Musketeers, the BBC original series based on The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. The first few episodes are a bit repetitive, but by mid-season the show found its footing as a sort of midway point between costume drama/intrigue and awesome sword-fighting. However, the first season also got great mileage out of Peter Capaldi’s turn as Cardinal Richelieu, and given that Capaldi is now busy being the Twelfth Doctor, it’s going to be tough for the show-runners to make up his loss for the second season. (10 p.m. Sunday)

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