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.
MondayMuchMusic debuts Make It Or Break It, a drama about teen gymnasts who want to make the Olympics. Well, when we say “debut,” we mean “air a show that actually debuted on American TV in the summer.” God knows what will happen when a Canadian channel starts airing Sons of Anarchy and pretending that last year’s episodes are somehow a big deal. Also, not that this needs to be said, but we don’t see how gymnastics has anything to do with music and/or muchness. (8 p.m.)
Fox has Carrie Underwood: An All-Star Holiday Special, which is sort of like the old Bob Hope specials except with Carrie Underwood instead of Bob Hope, Dolly Parton instead of Bing Crosby, David Cook instead of Lucille Ball, Brad Paisley instead of Barbara Eden, and despair instead of entertainment. (8 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “I’m Spelling As Fast As I Can,” wherein Lisa competes in a spelling bee which has been rigged by George Plympton. A later-period instant classic. “And now, I go off to do whatever it is I do.” (CFMT, 7:30 p.m.)
TuesdayThe Biggest Loser concludes its eighth season, as the semifinalists return to see who has lost the most weight. In our new tradition of not relentlessly making fun of The Biggest Loser, we note that one contestant has lost, as of the semifinal, over two hundred freaking pounds. That’s impressive. And if he has not lost at least another forty by the finale, Jillian Michaels will kill him and then hunt down and kill his entire family. Standards must be upheld! (City, 8 p.m.)
Better Off Ted, the dark workplace satire that plays like a mix of Andy Richter Controls The Universe and Arrested Development, returns. We seriously thought this one didn’t have a chance in hell, but apparently sometimes good shows do get renewed. Hooray for our side! Which is where all the good things end up. (ABC, 9:30 p.m.)
The 2009 “Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings” is a big curling thing sponsored by Tim Hortons because, as Rex Murphy will tell you over and over again, Tim Hortons is the coffee of real Canadians, who shovel snow and complain about politicians and pretend that curling is a really for-real sport rather than a super-sized version of crokinole. (TSN, 8 p.m.)
WednesdayGlee hits its midseason climax with “Sectionals,” which are the step below regional championships for glee clubs or something like that. The show’s gotten horribly inconsistent of late, schizophrenic even, with brilliant scenes right next to horrible clunkers within the same episode. There’s enough good in Glee that it’s still worth watching, because the “on” moments are like no other show. But man, it’s weird. (Global, 9 p.m.)
CBC has magician Greg Frewin, whom we had never heard of before we saw the preview, doing a Christmas-themed magic special. Because when you think Christmas, you think magic tricks! Excuse me, “illusions.” The CBC is not a whore in need of cocaine money. Not until the next round of budget cuts, anyway. (9 p.m.)
Baba Wawa has her Ten Most Fascinatingest People Of The Year Special. This year: Adam Lambert! Lady Gaga! Michael Jackson’s kids! Oprah Winfrey! Brett Favre! And then it really goes downhill with Tyler Perry, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and Kate Gosselin. Who the fuck is fascinated by Kate Gosselin? Dear lord. As usual, the most fascinatingest person of the year is a secret until the special airs, so that means it’s either Barack Obama or the cast of The Hills. With Baba Wawa, it could go either way. (Global, 10 p.m.)
ThursdayComing to America? Man, I thought this was the best movie ever when I was eight. Of course, I also thought Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall were for-real fighting with battle-sticks. Still…”Queens!” (BET, 8 p.m.)
The most recent remake of The Four Feathers flopped when it came out, but now that Heath Ledger is dead maybe it’ll get some more attention. It deserves it, because it’s a really solid piece of work (Kate Hudson’s horrible mock-English accent aside), and it also has Djimon Hounsou in it, and Djimon Hounsou could be compelling if he were reading the Yellow Pages. (AMC, 8 p.m.)
FridaySanta With Muscles, starring Hulk Hogan, is…well you’ll just have to watch it for yourself because we’re not going to give you any spoilers. You prefer it this way. Trust us. (CHCH, 7 p.m.)
The WeekendScrooged! Man, they could air Santa With Muscles five times straight so long as they air Scrooged just once, I tell you what. One of the truly great Christmas comedies, and probably the only great Christmas horror-comedy. (Did they ever do a Chucky movie that was Christmas-themed? That might give it some competition.) Of course, anything with Bill Murray in it was going to be great anyway, but Scrooged is one of his best. (CHCH, 9 p.m. Sunday)
Oprah Winfrey, that fascinating person, goes to the White House and has Christmas with the Obamas. Well, we assume it’s the Obamas. Wouldn’t it be kind of awesome if she showed up and had to spend an hour with a White House intern named Stevie? “Want to see the photocopier? This is where I personally copied an early draft of the healthcare bill that they decided not to advance in Congress!” (CTV, 10 p.m. Sunday)