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culture

Televisualist: Finals Week

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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In the end, one was shot and killed, one died of cancer, one had his first wife die of cancer and then his second wife leave him, and one played a tiny conductor on a children’s show about terrifying intelligent trains.

Monday

TCM has A Hard Day’s Night, the classic 1964 Beatles musical comedy that barely has a plot and doesn’t really need one at all. This is one of the truly great movies, so if you haven’t seen it, make the time. (8 p.m.)

Returning for a second season, presumably because somebody has some really good blackmail material: Mistresses. (To be clear: we’re not saying that because this is a female-centric series. We’re saying that because it’s a bad show.) (CTV, 10 p.m.)


Tuesday

Premiering tonight on A&E are both Storage Wars AND Shipping Wars, because every job can be described as a war! Debuting soon: Plumbing Wars, Accounting Wars, and Insurance Underwriting Wars. (Storage 9 p.m., Shipping 10 p.m.)


Wednesday

Global, for some reason, has the network premiere of Anonymous, which is a terrible, stupid film about the conspiratorial idea that the plays of William Shakespeare were actually written by someone who was not William Shakespeare—in this case, Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. The de Vere theory is one of the more popular alternative-authorship ones, because he died in 1604, which was before Macbeth, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, or The Tempest were written. No, wait—we’re sorry. Those are reasons the Oxfordian alternative authorship theory is stupid—our mistake. Who would have thought that a bogus theory that attempts to refute historical records and is based on naked classism would be flawed? Well, at least Rhys Ifans (as de Vere) is fun in this. (8 p.m.)

Tonight also marks the first game of the Stanley Cup Finals, which will feature the Los Angeles Kings versus the New York Rangers, and oh, man, we can hear Gary Bettman drooling over the TV revenues from over here. (CBC, 8 p.m.)


Thursday

The NBA Finals commence with a sequel to last year’s Miami Heat/San Antonio Spurs showdown, which was widely acclaimed as one of the best and most exciting championship series in NBA history. And this return outing is even more anticipated—the Spurs have gotten even better and are determined to avenge their loss (and Tim Duncan wants to win his fifth ring), while LeBron James wants the threepeat so he can show everybody he’s definitively in the running for greatest basketball player of all time. Basketball fans everywhere are pumped for Heat/Spurs II—it’s true. (TSN, 8:30 p.m.)


Friday

Tonight, you can catch The Adjustment Bureau, a fun little sci-fi movie with a killer cast (Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, John Slattery, Terence Stamp, Anthony Mackie) and a plot that deals with destiny versus free will and the nature of the universe and true love. The film doesn’t fully deliver on its ambitious premise, but it’s enjoyable and smart and doesn’t pander (or, at least, doesn’t pander too much). It did okay but not amazingly at the box office and seems destined to become a Film That Time Forgot—but it probably deserves more than that, so maybe give it a watch. (W, 9 p.m.)

Or, if something that is fun and smart isn’t your thing, there is the season premiere of Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta, because maybe you hate yourself and other people—we don’t know. (TLC, 9 p.m.)


The Weekend

There’s a stupidly strong slate of plays competing for Best Play this year at the 68th Annual Tony Awards–our personal “wish we had seen it” is All the Way, about Lyndon Johnson’s passing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (with Bryan Cranston as LBJ), but Case Valentina, Harvey Fierstein’s drag dramedy, and Terrence McNally’s Mothers and Sons have both been widely acclaimed as well. Anyway, since we haven’t seen any of them, we’ll have to settle for enjoying Hugh Jackman’s hosting, which is fine, because Hugh Jackman is really good at hosting awards shows. (CHCH, 8 p.m. Sunday)

Or, if Hugh Jackman being charming and entertaining is not your thing, there’s always the Miss USA Pageant, because maybe you want to make fun of the costumes. (NBC, 8 p.m. Sunday)

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey concludes, and it has been an entertaining, ambitious, and educational show in so many ways—not least because of its willingness to stand up clearly and decisively for scientific research over religious dogma, a move that might seem less important in this day and age, but really isn’t. Also, Neil DeGrasse Tyson is a badass. (Global, 9 p.m. Sunday)


CORRECTION: June 2, 2014, 11:05 AM This post originally stated that A Hard Day’s Night would be broadcast on TMC. The station is in fact called TCM.

Comments

  • Carol

    Monday: It should read TCM, not TMC.

    • TorontoistCopyEditors

      Thanks for pointing this out. We’ve corrected the error.

      • wklis

        This incident will be shown on the next episode of PROOFREADER WARS!

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    Regard Anonymous, Kyle Kallgren’s two videos on the subject are worth viewing:

    http://blip.tv/brows-held-high/vlog-anonymous-5708397

    http://blip.tv/brows-held-high/shakespeare-month-anonymous-6896889

    • Chris Pannell

      No, they aren’t. Far better for the viewers to read the plays and become acquainted with the problems in attributing their authorship to the man from Stratford. It’s a complicated subject, and these videos are simplistic.

  • Shelly Maycock

    *Anonymous* takes lots of historical liberties and it is fictional. It is a fun recreation of Elizabethan times with a pretty good story… Authorship people know it is terribly flawed, and does not entirely or accurately represent ideas about Shakespeare or the case for de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, but the theory is not a conspiracy and it is not dumb… Try the film *Last Will and Testament* or Mark Anderson’s book Shakespeare by Another Name instead if you are curious. The above reviewer is a little biased. You all can think for yourself. .., see also: Doubtaboutwill.org

  • Howard Schumann

    The author of this article seems to have found the long lost manuscripts of Macbeth, King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, Coriolanus, and The Tempest since he seems to know when these plays were written. For your edification, dates of publication or performance tell us nothing about dates of composition.

    Throwing around words such as terrible, stupid, and bogus to describe Anonymous indicates that the author most likely has never seen the film, never read a book about the authorship issue, and knows nothing about the real issues involved.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    So, any of you conspiracy theorists got an actual argument to put forward?

    • http://Oxfraud.com/ Sicinius

      Anonymous started with daft Oxfordian theory, tried to make it sound sensible but in attempting to thread it into a coherent narrative, simply ended up making it appear even dafter. A labour of Hercules, you might think.

      It’s a chain made entirely of broken links.

      The words ‘terrible’ and ‘stupid’ damn the film with faint damning. The film is an example of how not to make films. Just as Oxfordian theory is an example of how not to construct theories.

  • http://Oxfraud.com/ Sicinius

    However, if you want to carry on for more than 30 seconds believing an aristocrat wrote Marx, Brecht and Engels’ favourite English play, Coriolanus, giving Will absolutely peerless left wing political credentials, you have to deal with the fact that ALL Elizabethan professional playwrights were ‘working stiffs’, not pampered, lazy, dim wastrels in jewelled hose bought on borrowed money.

    If you can suspend your disbelief that far, you can join the gullible in their playground as they open their jigsaw puzzles, throw away three quarters of the pieces, batter what’s left into new, smaller and far less exciting images and then try and find an audience who will applaud their ingenuity.

    Oxfordianism is reductionist drivel, Michelangelo’s David carved into a six inch carrot.

  • Guest

    However, if you want to carry on for more than 30 seconds believing an aristocrat wrote Marx, Brecht and Engels’ favourite English play, Coriolanus, giving Will absolutely peerless left wing political credentials, you have to deal with the fact that ALL Elizabethan professional playwrights were ‘working stiffs’, also writing half their ‘plays about noblemen murdering and otherwise antagonizing other noblemen and the other half about Italian nobility murdering Italian nobility’. They were not pampered, lazy, dim wastrels in jewelled hose bought on borrowed money.

    If you can suspend your disbelief that far, you can join the gullible in their playground as they open their jigsaw puzzles, throw away three quarters of the pieces, batter what’s left into new, smaller and far less exciting images and then try and find an audience who will applaud their ingenuity.

    Oxfordianism is reductionist drivel, Michelangelo’s David carved into a six inch carrot.

    • http://Oxfraud.com/ Sicinius

      Not entirely sure what Disqus is doing here but the second Guest comment above was my intended post.

  • http://Oxfraud.com/ Sicinius

    I don’t think you understand anything. What ON EARTH gives you the crazy idea that Elizabeth’s court accepted Shakespeare as an equal?

    The simple way to prove that Will had inside knowledge of court life would be to list those differences between his plays and those of other playwrights of the period which illuminate and support the idea.

    But you can’t do this.

    Because there aren’t any.

    It’s yet another nostrum based on nothing other than superficial guesswork.

    Another Oxfordian lamp which illuminates only itself.

  • http://Oxfraud.com/ Sicinius

    No they haven’t. You haven’t. Oxfordian ‘scholars’ haven’t.

    I have asked this question numerous times over the years and Oxfordians will either change the subject, run away or produce a list of untrue facts, as you have.

    No one quotes Burleigh’s private papers – Burleigh’s precepts and Polonius’ speech to Laertes merely resemble each other because every father’s speech to a son leaving for university resembles every other and besides – Polonius does, in 21 unforgettable line, what takes Burleigh an age; Ben Jonson did not spend a lot of time in jail (a few weeks); Nashe wasn’t hanged for the Isle of Dogs (or any of his other seditious writing); other playwrights certainly did caricature existing nobles (read Jonson) – Will, by and large didn’t; playwrights commonly refer to falconry and bowling (lawn, crown, tavern and cricket) as these were sports in which anyone could indulge; Ovid and Plutarch are more often used as sources than for quotes but they were both more likely to be read by grammar school boys than aristocrats; John Stubb*e* had his hand cut off for directly attacking the Queen and her proposed marriage – an action Elizabeth bitterly regretted and the last of its kind; Elizabeth’s quote “do you not know I am Richard II’ is apocryphal; and Will not only got off scot free for writing Richard II (he was very, very clever at drawing the line), he got off scot free after the perpetrators of the Essex rebellion used it as a pick me up the night before they rebelled.

    You can’t, I repeat, prove that Will had inside knowledge of court life.

    But then there is almost nothing, in the interminable list of contentions that forms the Oxfordian Fallacy, which you CAN prove.

  • http://Oxfraud.com/ Sicinius

    Oh, I see Queen Mab hath been with you.

    Will bought New Place for £60 from the last surviving Clopton in 1597 when he was London’s #1 playwright and poet.

    And what are we to say of the contention that there is no commercial intent behind the plays?

    Is it perhaps a contender for the daftest thing ever said about Shakespeare? The Elizabethan impresarios and playwrights invented the theatre ticket, then went on to invent the professional theatre, in which Will was smart enough to grab an early stake rather than remain a journeyman. An eye for a profit has never been incompatible with artistic merit.

    Hamlet is (almost) never performed uncut today and the four version in FF simple represents everything Will wrote. Different running times in FF scripts create no more difficulties than the different running times of Martin Scorsese films. Two hours is what’s known as a generalisation. Not a bad one either, since audience attention sons haven’t changed much over the years.