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.
Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.
MondayLittle Mosque on the Prairie returns for its fourth season with a new sort-of villain: a big city (boo!) minister who doesn’t want Muslims renting out part of the church for their heathen ceremonies (double boo!). CBC promises that this season will have “more edge.” Who the hell wants “edge” on Little Mosque? It was precisely its lack of edge that prompted Fox to consider an American version (which will likely be disastrous, but that’s Fox’s problem, not the CBC’s). More noteworthy is that Little Mosque, like Heartland and Being Erica, will now prominently feature a TD Bank branch in the show, further demonstrating the CBC’s gradual slide into corporate whoredom. (8 p.m.)
We know absolutely nothing about Trauma, NBC’s stab at an ER successor. All of the big three US networks have one; the “straight-up hospital drama” slot is open and the competition is fierce. Presumably there will be doctors of some sort, and by the title we are betting also surgery and blood gushing from horrific wounds. (City, 9 p.m.)
TuesdayNCIS: Los Angeles stars LL Cool J. There has to be some sort of chartable downwards trajectory for rappers, some way to measure how one goes from chart-topping rapper to second banana in action movies and then to prominent role in a police procedural. It already happened to Ice-T and now the LL is rocking a plainclothes job. All we’re saying is that if we were Coolio’s manager, we would totally be pushing him for CSI: Dallas or what have you. (Global, 9 p.m.)
The Rick Mercer Report returns, in case you were desperate for Canada’s lesser, sell-out version of The Daily Show. Alternatively, you could just watch The Daily Show, which is on four times a week to Mercer’s one and tells actual jokes rather than relying on crap sketch comedy involving prominent politicians. Hey, remember when Rick Mercer was edgy and dangerous? Yeah, neither do we. (CBC, 8 p.m.)
So You Think You Can Dance Canada is an unmitigated (mostly) homegrown hit; it’s been pulling 1 to 1.4 million viewers all season long. So why isn’t the top-10-performance episode two hours long? Because CTV wants to air the Dancing With The Stars results show. There’s something to be said here about how Canadian broadcast networks are sick jokes that absolutely fail at presenting Canadian television content. Even when Canadian content is very successful, it’s still more cost-effective to simulcast American shows instead. Dear CTV (and Global, and all the rest, and the CRTC too for that matter): fuck you for that. (CTV, 8 p.m.)
WednesdayOf course, simulcasting would beat the CBC’s clever policy of airing the third-season premiere of The Tudors nearly six months after its American and British airdates. Memo to the CBC: we know you guys know about Bittorrent. Try to program like you do, please. (9 p.m.)
Modern Family pulled excellent ratings for its debut, which is good news because the show is actually pretty clever and funny despite a horrible, horrible premise that made us gag (“here’s three families that are one family and they all have quirks!”). To be sure, a lot of the character and humour is rooted in cliche, but at least it’s funny, well-executed cliche. (ABC, 9 p.m.)
ThursdayWhy the hell do they call it Saturday Night Live Weekend Update if it’s on Thursdays? It’s not cutely ironic, guys. It’s just stupid. (Global, 9:30 p.m.)
Whale Music is a really great early-’90s film starring Maury Chaykin in a rare lead role as a reclusive former rock star who has to deal with a strange girl showing up in his house one morning. It’s funny and touching in a very sort of Canadian way, and it’s awesome to get to see Maury Chaykin get a serious amount of screen time. We can even forgive the sex scene. Yes, Maury Chaykin gets a sex scene. (Bravo, 9 p.m.)
FridaySpace debuts Stargate Universe, the third and latest in the Stargate series of television shows. This one stars Robert Carlyle and Ming-Na on a wrecked spaceship. Hey, if you could go back in time to 1994 and tell yourself, “Hey, you know that Stargate movie? Yeah, the one you were waiting for on video? They’re gonna make a whole series of television shows off of it, and they’ll be widely successful,” what would the past you think? Other than “where is this dude’s awesome flannel shirt?” Because obviously that would be a given. (9 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Stark Raving Dad,” featuring Michael Jackson in an uncredited cameo. “I had a cat named Snowball, she died, she died! Mom said she was sleeping, she lied, she lied! Why, oh why is my cat dead? Couldn’t that Chrysler hit me instead?” (CFMT, 10 p.m.)
The WeekendCBC debuts Battle of the Blades, which is a new reality show, basically “Dancing With The Stars on ice,” as NHL players like Tie Domi and Claude Lemieux pair up with former Olympic pairs skaters like Shae-Lynn Bourne and Isabelle Brasseur, for reasons I cannot adequately explain. (8 p.m. Sunday)
In a ballsy bit of counterprogramming to the CBC, A-Channel airs Blades of Glory, the terrible 2007 film starring Will Ferrell and Jon Heder as figure skaters. Okay, so it’s a bad movie; you still have to admire the cojones on A-Channel for doing that. (8 p.m. Sunday)