Televisualist: We Didn't Call It "Skate Idol"
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Televisualist: We Didn’t Call It “Skate Idol”

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.

Thankfully, Battle of the Blades is much classier than this. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.


Battle of the Blades concludes, revealing the winning pair tonight in a super finale. Claude Lemieux and Shae-Lynn Bourne are the favourites at this point, but the CBC tells us it is anybody’s to win, and would the CBC lie to us? (Quite possibly. I mean, it is a reality show.) In any case the show has really been a monumental success for the Ceeb, both critically and popularly (and the latter so much so that the show’s producers actually think they can sell the format in other countries, which would be a Canadian first). Clearly this means that the path to Canadian reality TV success is either to ape an American show or do a Canadian-themed variant. However, since “hockey” has already been used, presumably the next great Canadian competitive reality show will involve either drinking beers or complaining about politicians. Or possibly both. (8 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “I Am Furious Yellow,” wherein Bart makes an animated Web series about Homer’s rages. “It’s true! I’m a rageoholic! I just can’t get enough rageohol!” (CFMT, 7:30 p.m.)


Merry Madagascar? A Christmas special on November 17? A Christmas special before American Thanksgiving even? To quote another illustrious individual: oh HELL to the NAW. This cannot and must not stand, people. Bad enough that Christmas specials are now routine in November, but Christmas special season is now bleeding over past other holidays! At this rate in ten years’ time we will be watching Frosty the Snowman just after Labour Day! (NBC, 8 p.m.)
People tend to think of A Fistful of Dollars or The Good, The Bad And The Ugly when they think of Sergio Leone’s Westerns, but Once Upon A Time In The West is his masterpiece: a three-hour neorealist Western, epic in scope and ambition. No, there’s no Clint Eastwood, but you do get Charles Bronson as a wicked-cool white hat and Henry Fonda playing against type as a cold-blooded villain, and that more than makes up for it. (Turner Classic, 8 p.m.)


Human Edge this week spends an hour on Helvetica. Yes, the font. Yes, there was a feature-length documentary made about Helvetica just a couple of years ago. No, apparently one documentary wasn’t enough to tell us everything we could possibly need to know about Helvetica. (TVO, 8 p.m.)
With Hank cancelled (since everybody hated it), ABC has taken to airing Modern Family twice on Wednesdays, rerunning the previous week’s episode at 8 and then running the new episode in its standard timeslot at 9. This is because Modern Family is gently funny in good ways, even if it is not exactly a show that is ever going to be remembered for doing anything momentous or exciting at all ever. And that’s fine. Not everything has to be Mad Men.


One of the best things about Survivor: Samoa is that Russell, the supposed “villain” of the season, is finally demonstrating what most of us suspected long ago: although the challenges might be physically demanding, the quirks of Survivor make it fairly easy to exploit with a little work. Thus far, Russell has found not one but two hidden immunity idols without a single clue as to their location, by working out that any hidden immunity idol had to be near a relatively obvious landmark near camp and taking it from there. This, combined with the fact that most of the players this season are noxious, self-absorbed douchebags, makes Russell the easy fan favourite. And also he wears an awesome porkpie hat. (Global, 8 p.m.)
Apparently Dominic Monaghan has joined the cast of FlashForward, which is on Televisualist’s list of “shows to watch later in a big bunch at a time.” Yes, I know I’m a TV critic, but I keep putting off FlashForward on the basis that it too desperately wants to be the next Lost. Even if Joseph Fiennes is more awesome than Matthew Fox by an order of magnitude. (ABC, 8 p.m.)


Well, this is a bit outside the usual: the annual East York Rotary TV auction. (That would be an auction on TV, as opposed to an auction of TVs.) The general idea is that you watch the auction, see something you like, and bid by phone. We’re not sure how much you’ll want to bid on, but hey, it’s an auction! And a long one, too: this kicks off at 7 p.m. tonight, goes till midnight, and then starts up again on Saturday at 10 a.m. and goes straight through till midnight, with a break from 4–7 so they can broadcast the Toronto Marlies game. Er, Rogers will broadcast the game. Not the East York Rotary Club. They’re not that powerful. (Rogers Community-10)
Shrek the Third. In this one, Shrek dies a horrible death. No, wait, that is what happened in our ideal third Shrek. Actually it’s what happened in our ideal first. We don’t much care for Shrek. (ABC, 8 p.m.)

The Weekend

AMC’s remake/revisiting/re-something of The Prisoner is certainly intriguing, and Ian McKellen and Jim Caviziel bring some seriously A-list acting chops to it. Of course, a project such as this is one that can really only be judged on its merits as a whole rather than an episode-by-episode basis, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking a look at the first two episodes, re-airing this weekend. Mostly because Ian McKellen is bad-ass. (AMC, 10 p.m. Sunday)
Aliens! Hell yes. “I am the ultimate badass! State of the badass art! You do NOT wanna fuck with me. Check it out! Hey Ripley, don’t worry. My squad of ultimate badasses and I will protect you! Check it out! Independently targeting particle beam phalanx. Vwap! Fry half a city with this puppy. We got tactical smart missiles, phase-plasma pulse rifles, RPGs, we got sonic electronic ball breakers! We got nukes, we got knives, sharp sticks…” (AMC, 8 p.m. Saturday)
The 2009 American Music Awards! Like the Grammys, except nobody ever remembers them. Seriously, if you can name off the top of your head who won the most important American Music Award last year, we will be impressed. Heck, if you can name what the most important American Music Award’s title is, we will be impressed. (ABC, 8 p.m. Sunday)