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culture

Televisualist: But What About the Pointy Elven Ears?

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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“Well, there’s no chance I will regret appearing on this reality show one day.”

Monday

Running Wild With Bear Grylls is the famous survival expert’s new show, wherein he takes celebrities into the wilderness to do surviving things. The first episode features Zac Efron crossing a chasm with a rope and it actually looks legitimately dangerous, and there are worse things than seeing Zac Efron subjected to danger. (Global, 8 p.m.)

The Bachelorette concludes, meaning you’ll have to wait almost five whole months for us to talk about how worthless this entire franchise is once more. (ABC, 8 p.m.)


Tuesday

Fans of Dance Moms—every last horrible one of you—will no doubt flock to watch Raising Asia, a show focused on Asia Monet, the eight-year-old dancer/singer/actor who is terrifyingly focused on her career like crazy (which we know because she says “I am focused on my career like crazy”). We’re counting down to the probably inevitable nervous breakdown. (Life, 10 p.m.)

So last week the teams on The Amazing Race Canada did, in fact, leave the country! Good for you, reality show, for finally doing what you’re supposed to do! And we don’t even mean that ironically. (CTV, 9 p.m.)


Wednesday

Fans of Things That Are Bad will no doubt enjoy Sharknado 2: The Second One. Which is, in case you missed it, being preceded on Space by the original Sharknado. Ian Ziering and Tara Reid reprise their roles from the first movie, in which they killed a lot of sharks with chainsaws; the sequel also features Vivica A. Fox, Judd Hirsch, Mark McGrath from Sugar Ray (who is not ironically cool yet), and Andy Dick for some reason, probably because they were aiming for “intentionally bad” (in case you forgot that bit). (Sharknado 7 p.m., Sharknado 2 9 p.m.)


Thursday

The Quest instantly gets our vote for “most amazing/dorky show of all time.” It’s a competitive reality show in which contestants pretend they are heroes in a fantasy realm. Seriously, check out the trailer, which makes this show look like the most fantastically weird thing since Pirate Master. It is billed as being from “an executive producer of The Lord of the Rings.” SPOILER: It’s not Peter Jackson. (City, 8 p.m.)

Turner Classic is running a Mel Brooks mini-marathon, mostly featuring his lesser-known works: The Twelve Chairs (8 p.m.), Silent Movie (9:45 p.m.), High Anxiety (11:30 p.m.), an episode of The Dick Cavett Show featuring Brooks (1:15 a.m.), and To Be or Not to Be (2:15 a.m.). Not all of these are at the level of Blazing Saddles or even Spaceballs, but none of them are outright bad Brooks like Dracula: Dead and Loving It either.

Tonight’s rerun of Futurama, “Less Than Hero,” is a personal favourite because it is the one where Leela and Fry become superheroes thanks to Miracle Cream, and then Bender decides to join them, pointing out that he basically has superpowers already. (Teletoon, 9 p.m.)


Friday

We actually quite like Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!, the 2004 romcom that was supposed to launch the movie careers of both Topher Grace and Josh Duhamel, and did not do so (Grace is now firmly in the ranks of Character Actors and Duhamel was one of the warm bodies in the Transformers movies), but despite its flaws (including a fairly patronizing attitude at times towards Kate Bosworth as the female lead, which thankfully she mostly rises above) it’s got charm and some pretty clever writing. Also, it’s not available on any streaming service, so unless you want to go look for a used DVD this is your best option. (Spark, 8 p.m.)


The Weekend

Halt and Catch Fire, AMC’s surprisingly strong 1980s computer-creator series, concludes tonight, and it’s been exactly what the network needed: a new show that can plausibly pick up where Mad Men leaves off when AMC needs a period drama they can market as “quality” which is also actually reasonably good. (10 p.m. Sunday)

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