Televisualist: Awards, Smile, and Japanese Style
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Televisualist: Awards, Smile, and Japanese Style

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.


The second part of CBC’s Rene Levesque II miniseries airs tonight, and someone has to ask it so Televisualist will do the honours: why? The first Rene Levesque miniseries they aired three years ago A) flopped and B) wasn’t any goddamn good anyway. Why did the CBC feel the need to sequelize a miniseries that was both a commercial and critical mediocrity? Likely answer: it’s the latest iteration of Canadian television production’s golden rule, which is “this is not a meritocracy.” Stick around long enough and eventually you too can get a miniseries! Or, at the very least, a made-for-TV movie about a hockey player with a broken home life. (CBC, 8 p.m.)
If you missed Lie to Me and want to watch Tim Roth catch people lying with dubious science from the beginning, Global repeats the pilot tonight. It’s new to you! (9 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “D’oh-in’ In The Wind,” wherein Homer becomes a hippie and goes and seeks out his mother’s elderly hippie friends. Recommended mostly because George Carlin is in it. “I guess the juice business is more important than the ideals our hippie forefathers refused to go to war and die for.” (Fox, 11 p.m.)


Hitched or Ditched has been putting up reasonably good audience numbers for the CW, which, given its premise (shoving couples obviously unready for marriage into the supposedly holy bonds of matrimony), is once again proof that we are all plunging into the abyss. An abyss where people burn. Burn, burn, burn. (City, 9 p.m.)
Do you like country music? Then probably you already know that the 2009 CMT Music Awards are on tonight. Which forces one to ask why we’ve bothered to mention it. Really, is there any point to us mentioning it if you, the putative country music fan, already know about it? We’re taking entertainment journalism to a new metaphysical level here at Torontoist! (CMT, 8 p.m.)


The Unusuals got cancelled two or three weeks ago, so tonight’s final episode is your last chance to catch one of the most original and entertaining police procedurals to come along the pike in years; like Barney Miller crossed with NYPD Blue and just a touch of non-conspiracy-based everyday paranoia. And some really good gags. And some really good actors. Sometimes the good shows get cancelled. (Global, 10 p.m.)
I Survived A Japanese Game Show returns for a second season. The first season was, surprisingly, much less racist than one would have expected; on a scale of 1 to Hitler, it was probably only one-tenth of a Jerry Lewis “Chinaman” routine, which for a major network show involving stereotypes of a nation known for being politely eccentric is not bad at all. And the stunt sequences are entertaining. (City, 9 p.m.)


The annual NHL Awards are on tonight! Go back to the CMT Music Awards mention just above. Now replace all the mentions of “country music” with “hockey.” This saves everybody time. (CBC, 8:30 p.m.)
The movie 300 is whole new levels of historically inaccurate. It’s intensely homoerotic. (Sarah Silverman: “I thought 300 was supposed to mean how gay it was on a scale of 1 to 10.”) The slo-mo shots are fetishized to a ridiculous extent. The acting is both nonexistent and shouty. The “THIS! IS! SPARTA!” meme was annoying even before it really got under way. And celebrating this C-grade movie is probably responsible for Zack Snyder getting to direct Watchmen, and hoo boy did that suck. Even despite all of this, though, it’s a fun movie to kill time with. (Teletoon, 9:30 p.m.)


Anchors Aweigh is most famous for the sequence where Gene Kelly dances with Jerry the mouse (of “Tom and Jerry” fame, natch), but it’s entertaining far beyond that one sequence, since it’s the first movie of the legendary Kelly/Frank Sinatra teamups, replete with a half-dozen great song-and-dance sequences. Worth your time if you enjoy musicals. And who doesn’t like musicals? Well, maybe a better question would be “who is willing to admit that they like musicals,” which would be far fewer people. (PBS, 8 p.m.)
When Mona Lisa Smile came out in 2003, it was widely considered to be the “passing of the torch” from Julia Roberts to either Kirsten Dunst or Julia Stiles as “the next big female star.” You could not pick up a copy of Premiere without being informed of this obvious fact. Now, six years later, Dunst’s career hangs on the Spider-Man franchise and Stiles has faded back into the Hollywood mid-field. Meanwhile, Maggie Gyllenhaal, also in Smile, is far more awesome than either. The world, she revolves oddly. (W, 9 p.m.)