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Televisualist: Send In the Clones, There Ought to Be Clones

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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It’s all done with mirrors. And magnets.


The Ron James Show ends another season of mediocrity with, we assume, more mediocrity, because we don’t think Ron James has a comedy equivalent of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band lurking in his personal depths. Man, we wonder would happen if Ron James read all the bad stuff we write about him. Would he track us down and kick our asses? Probably not, eh. After all, he has all his TV show money. (CBC, 9:30 p.m.)


So the news about Glee is that next season they’re “rebooting” the show, so it’ll be about the original cast members in New York trying to make it as performers—or, in other words, they’re turning Glee into Smash, because nobody cares about Glee: The New Class, or whatever it is these days. (City, 8 p.m.)

It’s the 2014 NHL Draft Lottery, which lets Leafs fans know exactly how much benefit the team will receive from the agony of the 2013–14 season. Answer: probably not enough to matter. (TSN, 8 p.m.)


Hey, Forrest Gump! We still like it, even if many people don’t (because it has an ostensibly conformist message or gives Baby Boomers too much forgiveness for … things, and the like). (AMC, 7 p.m.)

The Toronto Raptors visit the New York Knicks in their final game of the season, and the playoff races are getting ever more interesting as seeding gets more and more intense: the Raps are tied with the Bulls right now in win/loss records, and so long as that remains the case or Toronto has a better record, the Raptors will capture the #3 seed—meaning a first-round matchup against either the Washington Wizards (more likely) or the Charlotte Bobcats (still possible), and a potential second-round matchup against LeBron James and the Miami Heat. If Chicago pulls ahead, however, the Raptors drop to fourth, and have a first-round matchup against the Brooklyn Nets and a potential second-round matchup against the Indiana Pacers. The interesting thing here is that Toronto will likely play better against Washington/Charlotte than they will against Brooklyn, but are probably better equipped to take on the Pacers in the second round rather than the Heat. If you are a basketball fan in Toronto, these are interesting times. And if you are a Knicks fan … well, we feel your pain. (SN1, 8 p.m.)


Vegas Rat Rods is a “car transformation” reality show (that’s right, it’s a genre now) that focuses on rebuilding old wrecks into hot rod racers. We have a theory: “process” reality shows such as this one, which are about people doing the same thing each week and facing different complications related to and iterations of the same task, are inherently more addictive than other forms of reality shows that involve plot lines—because there is no barrier to entry. (Discovery, 10 p.m.)


If you haven’t seen it, we can confirm that the movie version of 21 Jump Street really was as funny as everybody said it was. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill “on drugs” is more or less the funniest thing ever. (Lifetime, 8 p.m.)

Rerun of the week: The West Wing, “The Black Vera Wang.” Secret service agent Mark Harmon is getting stumped by C.J.’s murderous stalker, Donna gets stranded in North Dakota, and Toby yells at network executives who don’t want to broadcast the political conventions. “We gave you the airwaves for free, 70 years ago, and 357 days a year you can say who’s up and who’s down, who won the West and who lost the South—but what’s wrong with eight days, not every year, but every four years, showing our leaders talking to us. Not a fraction of what they said, but what they said. And then the balloons.” (CITS, 8 p.m.)

The Weekend

Orphan Black returns to Space for a second season of smart writing, and Tatiana Maslany playing multiple characters, and just generally being great and something Canadians can be proud of. What we’ve seen of the second season so far justifies the hype. (9 p.m. Saturday)

In My Dreams: a Hallmark TV movie about two people who dream of one another all romantical-like and for some reason have only one week to find each other, sort of, and also has Katherine McPhee in it. That should be enough information for you to decide if this is a TV movie for you. It was not a TV movie for us. (ABC, 9 p.m. Sunday)

And if you were thinking, “Well, that sounds awfully syrupy, but it’s not 100 per cent pure treacle, so I am unsatisfied, plus I only get one shot of it,” then Hallmark has also made a series for you called Signed, Sealed, Delivered, which is about “postal detectives” who open undelivered mail in the name of True Love so they can make sure people attend each and every love-rendezvous. You can tell it’s a Hallmark production because in this TV show, people make plans to meet via snail-mail, because romance. (M3, 8 p.m. Sunday)

The winner of the Worst Premise for a Series contest in 2014 is Salem. Ready for it? Here we go: “What if the Salem witch trials, well-known as one of the great injustices in American history, were actually totally justified because witches were real?” If reading that made you feel nauseated, don’t worry—that’s entirely normal. (Space, 10 p.m. Sunday)

CORRECTION: April 16, 2014, 3:00 PM This post originally stated that Orphan Black airs at 8 p.m., when it fact it airs at 9 p.m. We regret the error.


  • Dinah Might

    Fall 2016 Preview:

    From the minds behind the sleeper hit “Salem” comes “Lotus”, the new drama that dares to ask: “What if the foot-binding practices of Imperial China were totally justified because all women of that time were actually ninjas who had mastered the Deathly Toenail technique?!?”

    And if you like that, you’ll love “Suffrage”, the prime-time thriller that poses the question: “What if withholding voting rights from women were totally justified because there existed a clandestine secret shadow conspiracy amongst all women to immediately enslave all white men over 50?!?”

    Then you’ll want to stay tuned for “Auschwitz”, where [SIGNAL LOST]

  • blearghhh

    Ron James is a scary guy in person.

    I used to work backstage at a theatre he appeared at, and I seriously thought he was going to tear me a new one.

    • Notcleverguy

      He is an ass, I know people that work for his show now, they say he might be the most unpleasant person they have ever worked with. Who keeps putting him on TV anyway?

      • CaligulaJones