Televisualist: Mad Shaq Jason Attack
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Televisualist: Mad Shaq Jason Attack

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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Monday

The 1995 remake of Sabrina is one of those films that should work, but never really does. Julia Ormond and Greg Kinnear were, at the time, The New Hot Things (and now he does smarmy character parts and she does a lot of TV; how time flies). Harrison Ford was, of course, Harrison Ford, before he helped ruin Indiana Jones forever. And the film was a remake of a classic romantic comedy, with Sydney Pollack in the director’s chair. And it should work. But it never really does. Still, interesting failures are worth a watch sometimes. (AMC, 9 p.m.)
Showcase picked up the four-hour miniseries adaptation of XIII, based on the European comic about an amnesiac spy, and airs it tonight and Tuesday. It’s actually not bad in some ways; Stephen Dorff is quite decent as XIII and the action is often exciting, but the storyline is muddled (to say the least) and Val Kilmer’s performance in particular is of the “what the fuck” variety. (9 p.m.)

Tuesday

ABC premieres Shaq Vs., a reality series wherein Shaquille O’Neal attempts to compete with world-class athletes in their specialties. The teasers for the show have promised Shaq swimming with Michael Phelps, boxing with Oscar de la Hoya, and playing tennis with Serena Williams. All of those sound interesting, which raises the question: when are they going to get Shaq to compete against a world-class basketball player? Oh, right, that happens all the time. (9 p.m.)
Over on Hell’s Kitchen, Fox has been teasing Robert’s potential elimination from the game for medical reasons. This could be the second season in a row that Robert (who, not to mince words, is morbidly obese) has had to bow out of the competition because of heart palpitations. Televisualist is just saying: if heart palpitations were keeping us from cooking, we might look into losing some weight. (8 p.m.)

Wednesday

Truth Be Told is TLC’s latest documentary series: hour-long looks into particular types of weirdness. This week’s theme is “I’m Obsessed with My Pet.” We’re not sure what this has to do with “learning,” per se, but then again, when was the last time TLC actually referred to itself as The Learning Channel? (9 p.m.)
Fox airs two hours of Octomom: The Incredible Unseen Footage. That is the last sentence we will ever, ever, ever write about Octomom. (8 p.m.)

Thursday

CBC premieres The Spies Who Came From The Sea, which is about German spies who landed on the banks of the St. Lawrence during World War II, dropped there by the German U-boats that were sinking Canadian convoys bound for the U.K. Includes an interview with a for reals German spy! Suck on THAT, History Channel! (9 p.m.)
Have you seen Jason X? The one where the Friday the 13th killer is put into cryogenic suspension when the government can’t figure out how to kill him, and then five hundred years later a bunch of space-teenagers find him and reanimate him and he starts killing people again, and then, for some reason, he turns into a super-mutant version of himself. It’s so goddamned stupid it goes all the way around and becomes almost sort of cool again. (Space, 9 p.m.)

Friday

It’s not often that Televisualist gets to mention a culturally important film airing that isn’t available on DVD for your convenience, but here’s one of the big ones: The Magnificent Ambersons, Orson Welles’s second feature film. Even though the only cut remaining is one where Welles lost creative control over the final product, it’s still one of the best movies ever made and well worth your time, especially considering you can’t easily rent it. (PBS, 8 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Lisa the Simpson,” wherein Lisa fears that she is genetically predetermined to become an idiot thanks to her lineage. The Simpson family reunion Homer organizes to make Lisa feel better is absolutely one of the classic moments in the series. “Well, sir, I step in front of cars and sue the drivers.” “I beg celebrities for money!” “I’m a prison snitch.” “Jug band manager!” “My legs hurt!” (Comedy Network, 9 p.m.)

The Weekend

America’s Best Dance Crew has, as usual, nine excellent crews competing this season. As usual, it represents a variety of styles in its dance performances, all of them blended together with various elements of hip-hop. As usual, it strives to be as culturally and racially inclusive as possible (there’s even a GLBT vogueing crew this season). And as usual, there’s one crew of dedicated B-boys who are head and shoulders above all their competition, but this time around it’s not even particularly subtle: the Massive Monkees are such an institution in their hometown of Seattle that they’ve actually got an official holiday in their honour there. However, also as usual, the dancing is incredibly spectacular and entertaining, so if you can get past the annual mismatch that is the voting portion of this show, it’s all good. (MuchMusic, 9 p.m.)
As you no doubt already know, Mad Men is back for its third season, which kicked off yesterday with a flourish as Sal finally had his first homosexual experience (that viewers are aware of), while Pete and Ken were set up to compete against one another for the Head of Accounts position. But these are minor things, because now Mad Men has reached 1963, the year JFK was shot, and the 1960s are only starting to get really tumultuous. Should be fun. (AMC, 10 p.m.)

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