Televisualist: Dollhouse, Plan, and Survivor, Man
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Televisualist: Dollhouse, Plan, and Survivor, Man

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.


President Barack Obama (…yeah, still sounds good) delivers a televised presidential address, which presumably will be about either the economic stimulus package or possibly a giant asteroid hurtling towards Earth that will destroy human civilization as we know it. Personally, we are kind of rooting for the asteroid. (All major American networks, 8 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase,” still probably the best meta-episode the show has ever aired (even better than “Beyond The Laughter”). “Oh, man, what a day. It’s no cakewalk being a single parent, juggling a career and family like so many juggling balls. Two, I suppose.” (Comedy Network, 9 p.m.)


If ever you were that child in school who did not get one Valentine for Valentine’s Day, then Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown will resonate with you. And if you were never that kid, be aware that some of us really hated your ass, but it’s okay because now we’re all in therapy. (ABC, 8 p.m.)
Televisualist notes that AMC has shifted 48 HRS. into its steady rotation, and we thoroughly applaud this because it is nice to see that people still remember when Eddie Murphy was genuinely a big deal, and not just because of hype but because he was a fucking brilliant comedic actor who could blow anybody else out of the water. As opposed to the guy who now makes Daddy Day Care and the like. Hollywood ruins everybody! (8 p.m.)
Nova has a special three-hour episode entitled “Judgement Day: Intelligent Design on Trial.” Most likely this will be three hours spent very politely explaining why creationists are full of crap. Hooray! (PBS, 8 p.m.)


Readers have politely requested an opinion on Being Erica, CBC’s new time-travel dramedy, so here we go: after five episodes, Televisualist’s opinion is “tentative thumbs up.” Occasionally the show gets preachy and/or mawkish, but the dialogue and writing tend to be clever enough that it’s never downright painful and the acting is good. More importantly, though, is that it’s a reasonably original concept (okay, maybe it owes a little to Quantum Leap, but frankly more shows should steal from Quantum Leap), and it has a very distinct voice that makes one think it could only get made by the CBC. On second thought, let’s make that thumbs up a bit less tentative. (9 p.m.)
A Simple Plan is a movie most people haven’t seen and which is very, very good; it has one of Billy Bob Thornton’s best performances ever, definitely Bridget Fonda’s best performance ever, and a slow, deliberate pace that is never boring. The tension just keeps heightening. If you’ve missed it ’til now, you’re missing out on one of the great modern thrillers. (Peachtree, 8 p.m.)


New season of Survivor! This time they are off to the Tocantins (the Brazilian highlands, in other words), and the cast is… well. Remember how last season, the show was dominated by the scruffy late-fifties high school physics teacher? Apparently CBS decided that wasn’t gonna happen again, because this season’s cast is the quite possibly the buffest and prettiest of all time; only three cast members are over the age of forty and only one of them is even in only average shape. One of them even looks like a younger Skeet Ulrich! There’s a kid who’s only nineteen! This season better destroy these pretty people; that is all I ask. (Global, 8 p.m.)
City reruns one of the best early 30 Rock episodes, “The Fighting Irish,” wherein Nathan Lane appears as Jack Donaghy’s long-lost brother Eddie, and then there is a big fight. Also Tracy Jordan samples religions. “My attorney told me I should join a church preemptively, ’cause juries are suspicious of celebrities who find religion after getting into trouble.” (8 p.m.)


Dollhouse debuts. The much-ballyhooed new television show by Joss Whedon featuring Eliza Dushku as a memory-wiped assassin is already the target of cancellation rumours from fans paranoid about Fox screwing up yet another ambitious story-driven series with sci-fi elements (see Firefly, Drive, The Visitor, The Lone Gunmen, Harsh Realm, Freakylinks, John Doe, and so on and so forth). But if you don’t watch it, it will get cancelled. So it’s your problem! (9 p.m.)
High School Musical and High School Musical 2 back to back? Like, OH MY GOD! (Family, 8 p.m.)