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.
MondayDances With Wolves gets a lot of shit (and not undeservedly) for having basically snagged Best Picture away from Goodfellas, which is obviously far and away the better movie of the two and probably should have won. However, Dances With Wolves is honestly a pretty good movie in its own right; there’s a reason it brought Westerns back as a genre. Plus, Graham Greene! He’s kinda awesome, you know. (AMC, 8 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “22 Short Films About Springfield,” wherein everybody gets their own little moment! Well, except for Professor Frink. “Everyone needs to drive a vehicle, even the very tall. This was the largest auto I could afford. Should I therefore be made the subject of fun?” (Comedy Network, 9 p.m.)
TuesdayThe Hills has its sixth-season premiere tonight and…look, either you care about watching what happens to Heidi and Spencer or you just want them run over by a bus. We don’t even mean “you want to see them get run over by a bus,” because that would imply a level of personal connection that is not there. We just mean you would like the next thing you hear about Heidi and Spencer to be bus-related, in a suitably tragic way. We here are in the bus category, so that’s all we’ll say about The Hills. (MTV Canada, 10 p.m.)
Unforgiven is a three-part British drama about a woman released from prison on parole fifteen years after murdering two policemen and what happens once she’s free. (Hint: a lot of it is not fun.) It’s remarkably compelling TV, and Suranne Jones in the lead role is just breathtakingly good. Highly recommended. (TVO, 9 p.m.)
TLC has a show called Help! I’m Turning Into a Giant! This is the sort of show that is basically immune to criticism. Either this is a deeply personal concern to you, or it is not. (8 p.m.)
WednesdayHappy Town appears to be ABC’s latest attempt at “hey let’s make the next Lost,” this time centred around a small town where there is a spooky mystery. Admittedly, this time they’ve stuffed it with a bunch of good actors (Sam Neill, Robert Wisdom, Amy Acker) and, uh, some other people (Steven Weber?). Maybe it will be good? Of course, ABC’s track record with next-Losts is not that great at this point, so be wary. (10 p.m.)
ThursdayThe Marriage Ref has been renewed for next season. This is probably because you did something bad and God saw you. Or maybe it’s because the “Jay Leno at 10” experiment and subsequent fallout was so pathetically bad for NBC that even NBC’s own sitcoms make fun of how embarrassingly stupid the network is now, and NBC is desperate for content they can air at 10 p.m., no matter how terrible it is. No, actually, it’s probably because you touched yourself in the wrong ways. It’s all your fault. (City, 10 p.m.)
It’s the 2010 Latin Billboard Awards! This year is notable for being the first year the awards have been held outside of Miami, instead being hosted in Puerto Rico, one of the centres of Latin music. Also, Ricky Martin will make his first major appearance since coming out. Exciting! If you like Latin music, anyhow. (Telelatino, 8 p.m.)
FridayThis week’s episode of Egypt Unwrapped, featuring the Scorpion King, does not in fact have anything to do with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Just so you are aware. (Discovery Channel, 10 p.m.)
We never got the idea behind The Neverending Story II: The Next Chapter. It’s bad enough that a movie titled The Neverending Story had an ending in the first place, but then to do a sequel which also has an ending? So infuriating! (Family Channel, 8 p.m.)
The WeekendA special hour-long episode of Family Guy, entitled “Brian and Stewie,” which is basically a Brian and Stewie clip show. Somewhere, Seth MacFarlane is laughing at us. (Fox, 8 p.m. Sunday)
We’ve been trying to figure out what to write about Treme, HBO’s new drama that also serves as the next chapter of David Simon’s televisual opus about America, following The Wire. After much consideration, the most noteworthy thing we can say about Treme is that it’s absolutely excellent in every way, and if you’re like us and you only started watching The Wire late in its run or after the fact, wouldn’t you like to watch a show that’s just as good right from the get-go? We thought so. (HBO Canada, 10 p.m. Sunday)