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.
MondayThe Simpsons rerun of the week: “Homer’s Barbershop Quartet,” featuring the genesis of the B-Sharps, a cameo by the late George Harrison, and far, far too many other Beatles references. “What did you do, screw up like the Beatles and say you were bigger than Jesus?” “All the time. In fact, that was the name of our second album.” (Fox, 11 p.m.)
Lie To Me, while a formulaic show, is not a bad one, and it’s interesting to see that Fox, a major network (sorta) is using a more cable-centric model in developing the show: after a thirteen-episode “first season,” they’ve brought it back for a “second season” also of thirteen episodes. Alternatively, one might argue that the show is just having a large twenty-six-episode first season, staggered over a different time frame than your usual network shows. Anyway, Tim Roth is great in this and his and the rest of the cast’s skill elevates the show beyond the field of usual boring procedurals that just copy Bones. (Global, 9 p.m.)
TuesdayThe Forgotten, on the other hand, is a formulaic show that’s pretty bad: your standard murder-of-the-week with a washed-up movie star (Christian Slater, jowlier than ever), a boring hook (the victims are…unknown!), a bunch of colourless nobodies in the supporting cast and plots that make Bones look like the height of veracity. When did Bones become the show to rip off, anyhow? It’s not a bad show or anything, but why? Somebody tell us that. (ABC, 10 p.m.)
18 Kids and Counting has an hour-long special: Twenty Years, Twenty Duggars. We are divided about this show: on the one hand, the Duggar mom and dad clearly adore one another and their kids, and this is a much more functional family than Jon and Kate (or, for that matter, a lot of “normal” families). On the other hand, they’re still kind of creepy. (TLC, 9 p.m.)
WednesdayReasons why Canada’s Dragon’s Den is better than America’s Shark Tank: two of the rich businessguys were ours first. Fewer weepy-sad stories from people who “desperately need this” and more pragmatic business-people who aren’t mortgaging their lives away to launch fur-bearing trout farms. Less stupid moralizing from rich businessmen. Generally speaking, more awesomeness. In conclusion: Canada rules. (CBC, 8 p.m.)
TLC debuts King of the Crown, a reality/doc series about a beauty pageant coach. Well, the beauty pageant coach, as apparently this guy is the winningest pageant coach ever. Despite Televisualist’s antipathy for all things pageanty, the first episode is actually quite interesting, as it focuses on a client who Televisualist would describe as “a pretty girl” but who is apparently too hippy for the anorexic world of the pageant. We haven’t seen the second episode (also airing tonight), but it features Caitlin Upton, AKA that former Miss Teen South Carolina who answered the question about flags and it went up on Youtube and she became a national laughingstock. So maybe it’s worth a view. (TLC, 9 and 9:30 p.m.)
ThursdayPam and Jim get married in a hour-long special episode of The Office. Say what you will about The Office, but one of the reasons it’s become such a successful comedy franchise is its willingness to let the overall story travel forward; they haven’t played off the romantic will-they-won’t-they for so long that everything afterwards becomes stale, but instead have let the characters naturally progress to where they should be going while introducing new snags and pitfalls for them to deal with. Also, adding Ed Helms to the permanent cast was a stroke of genius that has paid off in spades multiple times over. (Global, 9 p.m.)
Parks and Recreation, on the other hand, just isn’t clicking. Amy Poehler is great, of course, but she’s more or less trying to do a female Michael Scott, and you can’t just duplicate Michael Scott and put him in a fresh new…um. That’s not exactly what we meant, but you get the general idea. (NBC, 8:30 p.m.)
FridayCat City is a documentary about the feral cat population in Toronto, which currently numbers over one hundred thousand lost, abandoned, and wild cats. If that number doesn’t freak you out, what the hell is wrong with you? Clearly these cats are plotting against us. We must strike first, comrades! We must strike first. (Global, 8 p.m.)
Bring It On is the first great film of the new millennium and if you say otherwise you are wrong and bad. Eliza Dushku wears a cheerleader outfit and does backflips in this movie, and therefore it is the best movie ever. Suck on that, The Departed! So long, Brokeback Mountain! Lord of the Rings, more like Lord Of The Not Enough Cheerleaders, am I right? (MuchMusic, 9 p.m.)
The Weekend“Hey, Seth McFarlane! Got an idea for a new television show?” “Yeah, there’s this guy, right? And he has a family? A supportive wife, a teenaged daughter, a nerdy son, and a little younger kid who talks like an adult. And there’s an animal of some kind, and it talks too. It thinks it’s people! And they get in wacky scrapes.” “Great, but could you make it a spinoff of another show you did like that?” And thus, The Cleveland Show was born. (Global, Sunday, 8:30 p.m.)
Three Rivers is CBS’s big stab in the “let’s replace ER in the hearts and minds of America” sweepstakes, about a hospital in Pittsburgh where they specialize in transplants. Transplants! The most dramatic surgeries of all! Anyway it’s not bad and it has Alfre Woodard in it, but at this point Televisualist is burned out on any hospital show that doesn’t have Dr. Perry Cox in it. (Sunday, 9 p.m.)