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culture

Televisualist: Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep

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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“If anybody asks you about an autistic child with superpowers, I’m not here.”

Monday

24 is back! What? How? But yes! Twelve whole episodes of Jack Bauer shooting baddies—ironically, though, the government now thinks he is the terrorist! Like it did just as sensibly with Batman in The Dark Knight! In addition to Kiefer Sutherland, this series has Benjamin Bratt, Yvonne Strahovski, Michael Wincott, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Tate Donovan, Stephen Fry, Michelle Fairley, John Boyega, and lots of explosions, probably. (Global, 8 p.m. – beep, beep, beep, beep)

Flip or Flop returns for a second season of some guy buying houses only to resell or demolish them. We know people care about this, because HGTV keeps churning out these series—all of which are essentially variations on the theme of “what if you were rich enough to buy a house just for kicks.” We are not that rich, personally, and these shows do nothing for us. (9 p.m.)

Louie returns for a fourth season of Louis C.K. mostly exploring the dark little niches of his psyche and making them hilarious. (FX Canada, 10 p.m.)


Tuesday

Tonight’s season finale of Pioneers of Television focuses on the prep techniques of comic actors and comedians as they get ready to perform. Featured are Tina Fey, Jonathan Winters, and Robin Williams—the last of whom, we hope, has more to his prep method than “steal some relatively unknown comic’s jokes.” (PBS, 8 p.m.)

Freakshow, the oddly entertaining reality series about carnival performers, returns for a second season as Todd auditions new cast members performers for the carnival’s touring season. (AMC, 10 p.m.)


Wednesday

Back for a third season of people lying about themselves online—Catfish: The TV Show. Isn’t it amazing that this reality show based on a documentary has had such success? I mean, now Catfish has had as many seasons as Private Benjamin did! That was based on a movie, too. You’re probably not familiar with it, because it’s really old. (MTV Canada, 10 p.m.)


Thursday

Tonight’s 30 for 30, “The Bad Boys,” focuses on the notorious Detroit Pistons team of the late ’80s/early ’90s, which broke all the rules, remade the game, and indulged in cliché use to a nearly unprecedented level. But seriously: 30 for 30 is almost always good, even if they don’t really do 30-minute-long mini-documentaries any more, so the title isn’t quite right. (7:30, TSN)

The American Comedy Awards are back after a 13-year absence—and the attempt by Comedy Central to create its own Comedy Awards—because NBC sucks at making successful television series and instead just wants to air specials all the time. (9 p.m.)

Big Brother Canada comes to an end! Hooray! We guess! (Slice, 9 p.m.)


Friday

We’re quite disappointed that Master and Commander didn’t become a franchise as obviously many people (and especially Russell Crowe) hoped it would, because it remains a cracking good film: great acting, lovely direction by Peter Weir, exciting action scenes, lots of things involving boats. Pity, really. (TLN, 9 p.m.)


The Weekend

NBC has gone and remade Rosemary’s Baby as a mini-series, with Zoe Saldana as Rosemary and Jason Isaacs as an evil Satanist cult leader who wants her to give birth to a devil-baby. Can this possibly be as scary as the original movie? Well, Zoe Saldana is good at screaming, and Jason Isaacs is probably scarier than Ruth Gordon was in her day—or at least more British. So there you go. (9 p.m. Sunday)

Penny Dreadful is a sort of off-brand League of Extraordinary Gentlemen-esque riff on public domain characters: Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, and Dorian Gray all make appearances, as do Josh Hartnett, Eva Green, and Timothy Dalton. Probably nobody has ever screamed at Josh Hartnett, though. Not in fear, anyway. (TMN, 9 p.m. Sunday)

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