Televisualist: Bored (In a Good Way)

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Televisualist: Bored (In a Good Way)

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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Jason Schwartzman in Bored to Death. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.

Monday

America’s Got Talent comes to its conclusion this week, as the remaining acts battle it out for… oh, I don’t care. Look at the list of finalist acts: singer, singer, singing group, singing group, singer, singer, and rounded out by a breakdancer/contortionist and a grandmother/”comedian,” neither of whom will win because singers almost always dominate this show. Where is the dog that did Frisbee tricks? Does America hate Frisbee-catching dogs? Apparently so, because they voted out the dog. And that is why this show sucks. (CTV, 8 p.m.)
The Jay Leno Show debuts tonight, as NBC has determined that rather than watching original programming, what people really want to see is Jay Leno, the most mediocre comedian of all time, on every weeknight, forever and ever. The show will feature blatant product placement for the new Ford Focus and promises less standup comedy. Boy howdy, who wouldn’t want to watch this? (City, 10 p.m.)
CBC debuts their week-long reality show Super Spellers, which is kind of like the Scripps National Spelling Bee except Canadian and it’s a reality show with the “top 12 spellers” from across Canada competing in the “Spell Dome” (really, CBC? Really?) at Acadia University in Nova Scotia. The CBC generally has a good track record at making competitive reality shows that have a good blend of entertainment and not being embarrassing to watch, so this should be reasonably good fun. (8 p.m. every day this week)

Tuesday

The Biggest Loser debuts again with a two-hour special, because God hates you. (City, 8 p.m.)
More to Love finishes its first season with a two-hour special. Also because God hates you. (Fox, 8 p.m.)

Wednesday

Fox is rolling out the fall season of So You Think You Can Dance in a relatively restrained manner: no two-hour specials multiple times a week, but instead a single hour once a week. They’ve claimed they won’t even reveal the top 20 until late October. Apparently they’ve decided to try and maximize the amount of time they can put it on the schedule. (Fox, 8 p.m.)
Bones makes its season debut, hopefully rebounding from last season’s dreadful finale: a horrendously cheesy dream-sequence storyline taking place inside Booth’s coma, ending with Booth waking up and having amnesia so he can’t remember that he’s in love with Dr. Brennan. All that episode needed was an identical twin and a rapidly aging child, and it would have had every over-the-top stupid soap opera cliche ever. (Global, 8 p.m.)
Final-results episode of America’s Got Talent, featuring a performance by Susan Boyle. Last time we made very slight fun of Susan Boyle we got a ton of Susan Boyle fans coming here to scold us for making fun of the living realization of their fantasy that one day they too might not be insignificant their favourite singer. So it’s probably a good thing we didn’t talk about her porn career that time, or it really would have pissed them off. (CTV, 8 p.m.)

Thursday

Survivor: Samoa! This time around the survivors are mostly white, mostly in their early twenties to mid-thirties, and… look, we’re trying to find a way to distinguish this from most seasons of Survivor, and we’re failing at present. This is not to say that it won’t be entertaining: Survivor is traditionally one of the better-made reality shows. But their casting department needs a serious kick in the ass. So does Jeff Probst, but that’s only because he’s Jeff Probst. (Global, 8 p.m.)
The Office returns, and to be honest I still haven’t finished catching up on season five. I will now go and write “I am a bad television critic” one hundred times on a chalkboard. (Global, 8:30 p.m.)
Community, NBC’s semi-hyped new single-camera comedy, debuts. On the one hand, it has John Oliver in it. On the other hand, it has Chevy Chase in it. Also on the other hand, it means John Oliver will have to leave The Daily Show. We remain undecided as of yet. (City, 9:30 p.m.)

Friday

Eva Longoria and George Lopez host the 2009 American Latino Media Arts (ALMA) Awards, for distinction amongst Latino performers in the fine arts. Expect a bunch of Republican senators to stand outside and complain that white people aren’t able to win these awards. (ABC, 8 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Kiss Kiss Bang Bangalore,” wherein the nuclear power plant is outsourced to India, and also Selma and Patty finally lose it and kidnap Richard Dean Anderson. “You can’t do this! People will know I’m missing! There’s a liquor store I go to every morning!” (Comedy Network, 9 p.m.)

The Weekend

Bored to Death is a new HBO series starring Jason Schwartzman as a writer who decides to try being a private detective. Ted Danson and Zach Galifianakis provide the supporting comic relief. The series is definitely weird, but in a sort of “feels like a Wes Anderson movie cut down to twenty-eight minutes” sort of way. In short: it’s worth a try. (HBO Canada, 9:30 p.m.)
The 61st annual Emmy Awards! You would expect us, being TV knowledgeable and all, to be enthusiastic about the Emmy Awards, but really, the Emmy Awards are the awards that gave Everybody Loves Raymond six billion award victories and The Wire exactly zero. You can forgive the Oscars some of their screwups: after all, movies only get one shot at the little golden dude. But the Emmys? They get multiple chances to make themselves look not bad and routinely screw it up, even if they occasionally get something right (like giving Mad Men a trophy after its first season). So, you know. Meh on the Emmys. (CTV, 8 p.m.)

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