Televisualist: Line and Mars and Battlestar
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Televisualist: Line and Mars and Battlestar

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.


Ever since HBO Canada made it harder for TMN to fill out the television portion of their schedule, people have been hoping that maybe the channel could start producing “HBO-quality” Canadian-made shows. (Of course, this ignores the fact that Arli$$ and John From Cincinatti were HBO shows, but whatever.) The Line is the channel’s first serious attempt at homegrown television in the HBO mold, but…it feels like the show’s producers wanted to make “The Wire, but in Toronto!” Which, well, that’s what it is. Canadian television executives want to make HBO-quality shows without the HBO-quality budget, which is why The Line has almost embarrassingly bad audio at times (you can almost hear the white person in the background saying, “And now we need a rap song here!”), extremely uneven performances, and a weird, non-organic mix of comedy and drama throughout the first few episodes. There are certainly good performances scattered through this mess (especially Wes “Used To Be Maestro Fresh-Wes” Williams as a truly bad-ass drug dealer), but the key word is “scattered.” Torontoist feels bad panning it, because this is the sort of thing we genuinely want to see succeed, but…just because we want it to be good doesn’t mean that it is, you know? (TMN, 10 p.m.)
The History Channel has something called “Death Or Canada,” which just makes us think of that Eddie Izzard bit about cake. Presumably it is not the same thing, because this show is two hours long and probably very serious in some way. (8 p.m.)


Peachtree airs Star Trek: Insurrection, presumably because everybody saw the new trailer for the J.J. Abrams Trek movie and it was just too awesome to handle, so they cleverly chose to calm everybody down by airing the one where Riker shaves his beard, Worf gets a zit, F. Murray Abraham is the villain, and Picard is saved by the power of love or something like that. Like most Trek films, it seems like an episode of the show rather than a movie. Hopefully Abrams understands that, when one goes to see a Star Trek film, one goes to see a bazillion starships blowing the crap up out of each other. Right? (8 p.m.)
Paris Hilton’s British Best Friend. …No, no, not going to talk about it, thanks. (MuchMusic, 8 p.m.)


Life on Mars got cancelled, so “enjoy” the acting talents of Jason O’Mara while you can! And if anybody ever figures out why they felt the need to remake the British series, please explain it to us. It probably would have been cheaper to re-air the sixteen episodes of the two British seasons, and more people would have watched it. (Global, 10 p.m.)
ABC may have lost Life on Mars, but waiting in the wings? Better Off Ted, which they want people to think is like The Office, but in fact is absolutely nothing like The Office, because it is about a guy running the mad-science division of a giant soulless company named Veridian Dynamics. If you can get past this shameless bit of dishonest marketing, the show actually looks somewhat promising; the jokes in the pilot are a bit hit-and-miss, but they’re mostly more hit than miss. (“We want to weaponize a pumpkin.” “Then so do I!”) Plus, the actors are all game, and it has Portia de Rossi in it, and we have been waiting for Portia to get a new gig since Arrested Development got cancelled, and she does not disappoint. (ABC, 8:30 p.m.)


CBC’s Doc Zone airs “The Great Food Revolution: The Battle To Get On Your Plate,” which presumably is about food policy and nutrition in some way, but it’s not even up on the Ceeb’s website so we can’t actually be sure. Way to advertise your potentially interesting television show, CBC! (8 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “$pringfield,” wherein Mr. Burns opens a casino and Marge discovers her (frequently later referenced) gambling addiction. “No, Lisa, you’re not a monster. The only monster here is the gambling monster that has enslaved your mother, and I call him Gamblor! We must save your mother from his neon claws!” (CFMT, 7:30 p.m.)


The last ever Battlestar Galactica and after last week’s episode? Well, we still can’t be sure whether or not humanity will survive, but it looks like there’s pretty good odds that the last ever episode of Battlestar Galactica will feature a whole shit-ton of space battle explosions, and you can’t go wrong with that. You see, Star Trek? This is how you do it. Incidentally, in addition to the final episode tonight, Space is also playing a “Finale Special” immediately before it, as well as running a mini-marathon of the second half of the final season all afternoon. (Marathon begins at 11 a.m., Finale Special at 8 p.m., actual finale at 9 p.m.)
Teletoon airs Gremlins 2: The New Batch, which is a great movie that doesn’t see enough play. But come on, if you’re the sort of person to appreciate Gremlins 2, you’re just gonna be watching Battlestar anyway. (9:30 p.m.)