Televisualist: A Very Small British Invasion
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Televisualist: A Very Small British Invasion

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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Athena Karkanis as Khalida Massi on The Border and Jane Lynch as Sue Sylvester on Glee. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.

Monday

TVO’s presentation of Channel 4’s Henry VIII: The Mind of a Tyrant serves as a more accurate, less dramatized counterpoint to all the hot sexin’ going on in The Tudors. Tonight’s final episode, “The Tyrant,” focuses on Henry’s later years, which while certainly not as fuck-laden as his younger days, is in fact a lot more important from the perspective of history: it was during his later years as King when Henry firmly established England’s independence once and for all. Plus, if you want to know more about the earlier fucking you missed out on in the first three episodes, TVO will no doubt re-air the series eventually. Mind you, this is a Channel 4 documentary, so there’s no nudity or even onscreen rumpy-pumpy, but rather old British people chatting about it. Maybe that works for you. (TVO, 10 p.m.)
On Heroes, Nathan has amnesia and doesn’t remember anything. Oh, that we could all be so lucky. (Global, 10 p.m.)

Tuesday

So You Think You Can Dance Canada winds up the season with the top-four performance episode, and Emanuel Sandhu haters can take comfort in knowing that he juuuuuuuust missed it. The second Canadian season hasn’t been quite as superb as the first one, unfortunately; this is not so much the fault of the dancers as it is of some choreographers resting on laurels they did not particularly have yet, along with the judges being entirely too friendly and nicey-nice. (FYI: Blake McGrath, you are only entertaining when you are being an evil diva bitch.) However, there have certainly been enough standout routines (particularly those choreographed by Luther Brown, Stacey Tookey, and Gustavo Vargas) to consider the season a successful one overall. Tonight’s episode should be strong: of the final four, the only one who arguably isn’t really strong enough to deserve his place is Everett the tapper, and only marginally so. (CTV, 8 p.m.)
TVO’s also picked up London Hospital, the North American retitling of the British series Casualty 1909, which is basically “what if ER happened at the turn of the century?” It’s an interesting mix of historical costume drama and hospital procedural that isn’t for all tastes: at times, the interplay between ER-style tenseness and proper Victorian-ness can get a bit fraught. But it’s interesting and there isn’t anything else like it on TV, and that’s good in our book. (10 p.m.)

Wednesday

Now that Glee has been picked up for a full season, we are going to go ahead and say it: best new network show of the fall. Also, Jane Lynch is the best comedic actress on TV this fall. Also, the idea to pursue alternate revenue streams via selling the show’s musical performances on iTunes is the best marketing decision of the fall. Basically this show is awesome. (Global, 9 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Treehouse of Horror X.” One of the best “Treehouses,” especially because of the last story which features Tom Arnold. “I mean, my shows weren’t great but I never tied people up and forced them to watch. And I could’ve, because I’m a big guy and I’m good with knots.” (Comedy Network, 9 p.m.)

Thursday

The Border‘s third season is shaping up to be more entertaining than the second, although Grace Park has only shown up in one episode so far, which is not nearly enough, because when I watch The Border I like to pretend that she is a Cylon and will eventually shoot one of the other agents in the chest repeatedly, then break down in tears. Don’t get me wrong, the show’s good. But everything is better with Cylons. (CBC, 9 p.m.)
Parks and Recreation should be good. It has Amy Poehler and Rashida Jones, and the combined awesomeness of those two should make any show good. It has the comic team behind The Office, and that should make any show good. But no, the show is not good. This is dismaying. (City, 8:30 p.m.)

Friday

Richard Dawkins is this week’s guest on Allan Gregg. We wonder if he will say anything about God not existing? Answer: probably. (TVO, 10 p.m.)
So some people ask us “how bad, exactly, is the second season of Dollhouse?” And the answer is “it is so bad it makes Cop Rock look like The Wire.” You are welcome. (Global, 9 p.m.)
Alien/Aliens double bill! Which is kind of weird because, really, other than the shared setting, these two films are nothing alike: one is a tense horror/thriller and the other a rock-out-with-your-cock-out sci-fi/action flick. But they’re both awesome, and that’s what counts. (AMC, 8 p.m.)

The Weekend

So You Think You Can Dance Canada concludes with a two-hour extra-special finale, presumably with lots of dancing and so forth in it like the kids like. (CTV, 9 p.m. Sunday)
AMC gives you an Alien double bill. MuchMusic gives you a double bill of American Pie direct-to-DVD spinoff films: Band Camp and Beta House. This is why MuchMusic has become the worst television channel in the history of the world. (8 p.m. Sunday)
In discussing The Border, the third and second seasons were accidentally described as the first and second (mostly because the first and second 13-episode seasons both aired in 2008 and were sometimes described as a “single full season”).Televisualist regrets the error.

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