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.
Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House and Tom DeLay as himself. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.
MondayHouse returns. Last season House descended into complete crazyland addiction to Vicodin and hallucinated that he was sleeping with Cuddy, so naturally they have to kick off this season with House…in a mental hospital! Where, and we are just guessing here, he will run into somebody who is dying and only House can cure him. Dear House: it probably will not be lupus. (Global, 8 p.m.)
Dancing With The Stars comes back yet again, bigger than ever. Televisualist traditionally uses DWTS for cheap joke fodder, because come on: Steve-O? David Alan Grier? Tucker Carlson? These are not stars. That having been said, after the first four or five eliminations of the truly bad “celebrities,” the actual dancing becomes quite entertaining, and this year because of an exceptionally large cast (featuring Macy Gray, Melissa Joan Hart, Donny Osmond, Aaron Carter, and, yes, former Republican house leader Tom DeLay) the choreographers have added the bolero, lambada, two-step, and Charleston to the usual complement of ballroom dances. The idea that one might get to see Tom DeLay dance a lambada is truly horrific: thankfully it seems that he may have broken his foot and therefore we will never get to see it. (CTV, 8 p.m.)
TuesdayBeing Erica returns for a second season, and certainly we have our share of complaints about the show, but on the whole, uneven as it might be, we’re thankful that a decent Canadian dramedy exists that doesn’t have to be about farmers in the Prairies or fishermen in the Maritimes but instead about urban Torontonians. Compare how many American shows are set in New York City versus how many Canadian shows are set in Toronto, then compare the percentage of Americans living in New York City versus the percentage of Canadians living in Toronto, and you get an idea of how Canadian television production’s Torontophobia is downright ridiculous. (CBC, 9 p.m.)
Honey, Jessica Alba’s first major foray into motion pictures, is godawful bad. But it’s not 2003, so you already knew that summing up Jessica Alba in a sentence would have to include the words “great ass” and “can’t act.” (BET, 8 p.m.)
WednesdayEastwick is a new TV series version of The Witches of Eastwick, featuring Rebecca Romjin as the head witch and Paul Gross (of all people) as the devil. It’s got the cast to succeed, but adapting a famous novel that got turned into an equally famous movie is dicey, to say the least. Early critical reception has been tentative, so this one could go either way. (A-Channel, 10 p.m.)
Cougar Town is a new half-hour dramedy starring Courtney Cox about the stink of desperation. No, wait, sorry, it’s about a single mother in her forties “facing the harsh realities of dating and aging in the current youth- and beauty-obsessed culture.” So any desperation you smell is actually probably just wafting off the producers, because if there was ever a recipe for a total bomb of a show, Courtney Cox whining about not being pretty enough for hunky men is it. (City, 9:30 p.m.)
ThursdayFlashforward debuts. ABC’s latest attempt to reinvent the success of Lost (following Invasion, The Nine, and Life on Mars) is a show wherein the entire population of earth passes out for five minutes and has visions of their future (assuming they don’t die because they were driving a car or in a plane or something). The show has the creative heft to be a success: it’s based on the award-winning novel of the same name by (Canadian!) sci-fi author Robert J. Sawyer, the pilot was directed by David Goyer, it was originally going to be an HBO series until they figured it was more mass-market capable, and it stars Joseph Fiennes, John Cho, Jack Davenport, and Gabrielle Union, quality actors all. But there’s one problem: the only version of the pilot we’ve seen so far? Isn’t that good. (8 p.m.)
Deep Blue Sea! MY HAT IS LIKE A SHARK’S FIN! (BET, 8 p.m.)
FridayDaryl “Chill” Mitchell alert: the former talented young actor best known for his work on The John Larroquette Show and Veronica’s Closet before he was paralyzed in an auto accident returns in Brothers, playing a guy who has to get along with his big brother (and who was paralyzed in an auto accident). We hope that Mr. Mitchell will not consider us biased towards the disabled when we say that this show is, judging from the pilot, really quite bad. And that is with CCH Pounder as the mom, and we loves us some CCH Pounder. She could kill a bear with her teeth alone, that’s how tough CCH Pounder is. (Fox, 8 p.m.)
Smallville continues its descent into self-parody as it enters its likely-to-be-staggeringly-awful ninth season. This year: Brian Austin Green is Metallo! No. Really. (SunTV, 8 p.m.)
The WeekendDexter kicks off season four with Dexter now happily married to Rita and the proud father of a new baby boy, and still, you know, a serial killer and such. This season will apparently focus on John Lithgow’s new serial-killer character, who Dexter sees as kind of a role model. Last season was a bit of a stumble for this show, but it recovered halfway through; hopefully season four represents a return to classic form. (TMN, 10 p.m. Sunday)
This year on The Amazing Race: a team of Harlem Globetrotters! A married interracial couple! A pair of female professional poker players! Two brothers, both gay! Vegan yoga teachers! The token “older but very fit” team! And of course the usual melange of best friends and bickering daters! All this, plus a first leg that takes the teams to Japan. Oh, Amazing Race. We missed you. (CTV, 8 p.m. Sunday)
America’s Best Dance Crew concludes its fourth season with a shocker: Massive Monkees danced a mediocre routine at the worst possible time and got sent home right before the finale. So now ABDC, one way or another, will see its first championship team with female members: either the half-and-half salsa team AfroBorike or the all-girl popping crew We Are Heroes will take the crown. Which, honestly, is pretty awesome. (MuchMusic, 8 p.m. Sunday)