Televisualist: Eastbound Swings and Ralph Burns Things
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Televisualist: Eastbound Swings and Ralph Burns Things

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.

Monday

Televisualist is undecided about Eastbound and Down, the new comedy from HBO. On the one hand, the pilot episode was easily one of the funniest fucking pilots we have ever seen, and Danny McBride’s Kenny Powers made us laugh harder than anything else in living memory. Also, there is so much swearing it makes Deadwood look positively genteel. On the other hand, we’re not exactly sure how the show is going to progress from its first episode, because although the show is funny and McBride is funny, he’s also absolutely reprehensible in every possible way to all possible maximums. If the show’s just going to be McBride being an asshole for thirty minutes every week, it’ll likely get old fast. But better to burn out than fade away, right? (9:30 p.m., HBO Canada)
Lucky Number Slevin was a somewhat overlooked film back in 2006, and it’s worth a viewing—it’s not exactly the greatest tense thriller of all time, and a couple of the twists are pretty predictable by the end, but it’s a film with Josh Hartnett in it that nonetheless manages to be pretty compelling, and that’s not nothing. (Spike, 9 p.m.)

Tuesday

Barack Obama has another Presidential Address already? Man, what did he do now? (major American networks, 9 p.m.)
“Numbers” was the first episode of Lost that could truly be considered comedic, as Hurley’s bad luck after winning the lottery had some of the funnier little Easter eggs in the show (he owned the box company where Locke worked!). Of course, if you are a fan of Lost and you watch this episode again, you might wonder, “Hey, have they resolved why those numbers are important yet?” The answer, as of part way through season five, is “no.” Also, what’s with that giant four-toed foot? (Space, 8 p.m.)

Wednesday

The CBC is worried that Being Erica isn’t pulling bigger numbers in its new timeslot (it’s doing only slightly okay at best). Hey, CBC: if you want to guarantee the best odds of viewership for your original shows, don’t put them up against Lost, huh? Is that somehow hard to figure out? Anyway, this is a good show and people should watch it. Or tape it, at least. Until it gets cancelled because the CBC can’t schedule new shows worth a damn. (See also: jPod.) (9 p.m.)
Space has what looks like an original documentary called Pretty Bloody, “focusing on women who work in the horror genre.” No idea if these women work in horror film or are horror writers or what. Presumably they do something scary. Or maybe they’re hookers or tax attorneys or something. We don’t know. There hasn’t been a lot of advance promotion for this one. (10 p.m.)
Snowboard Academy. Released in 1996. Stars Jim Varney and Corey Haim. We’re pretty sure your IQ will drop by thirty points if you watch it. Be forewarned.

Thursday

If you did not purchase the Secrets of the Furious Five DVD that came out about the same time as when Kung Fu Panda was released on DVD, NBC is airing it tonight, seeing as how it is only about half an hour long. And although it wasn’t worth the twenty dollars to buy, it’s entertaining enough animation and will kill thirty minutes very nicely, and will also teach children a series of morals, such as “snakes know kung fu.” (8 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “This Little Wiggy.” Ralph Wiggum and Bart become friends, sort of. “This is my swing set. This is my sandbox. I’m not allowed to go in the deep end. That’s where I saw the leprechaun. He told me to burn things.” (Comedy Network, 9 p.m.)

Friday

Discovery Project Earth is an interesting show, in that it is about radical geo-engineering solutions for global warming (and occasionally radical alternate energy solutions, such as last week’s “wind turbines attached to blimps” episode). Of course, most of these episodes end with “…and it will take trillions of dollars to make this work.” This week’s episode, “Hungry Oceans,” about using phytoplankton to “eat” even more CO2 than they currently do, will likely prove to be no exception. But hey: it’s science! (Discovery Channel, 8 p.m.)
Inside Man was a pleasant break in Spike Lee’s continuing descent into mediocrity, proving to be an entertaining thriller with an excellent cast, as Denzel Washington, Jodie Foster, and Clive Owen all compete to see who is smarter than the other. Of course, after this he made Miracle at St. Anna, which really sucked ass. So we would like to see the good Spike Lee back again, please. (BET, 8 p.m.)

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