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.
Brett is not impressed with Idol-style charity. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.
MondayCHCH has been doing a sort of steady James Bond rotation lately, gradually working their way through the films once every night, and tonight is On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the sole film to star George Lazenby as Bond. Some contrarians like to say how they think Lazenby is the best Bond; he is not even slightly close, being worse than all of them bar perhaps Roger Moore at his campiest. The film has a good story, though, so if you haven’t seen it, it’s worth it for the curiosity value alone. (9 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Scenes From The Class Struggle In Springfield,” wherein Marge buys a Chanel dress at the outlet mall and uses it to become part of Springfield’s high society. “Maybe, just once, someone will call me ‘sir’ without adding, ‘you’re making a scene.'” (Comedy Network, 9 p.m.)
TuesdayToday is Deadliest Warrior super-awesome day on Spike, as we kick off with a marathon presentation of the first season: everything from “Apache vs. Gladiator” right through to “IRA vs. Taliban,” as well as Televisualist’s personal favourite, “Shaolin Monk v. Maori.” Then, once that finishes up, there’s Deadliest Warrior Season 1: Back For Blood, wherein…maybe there are rematches or something? Or it’s a recap? We’re not sure. But the real highlight is the premiere of the second season, featuring “SWAT vs. GSG-9.” This is the dorkiest, most spastic show on television, which is why it is so awesome. (marathon begins at 12:30 p.m., Back For Blood at 8:30 p.m., “SWAT vs. GSG-9” at 10 p.m.)
Parenthood looks like a lock for renewal at this point; it doesn’t have fantastic ratings, but for NBC it’s nothing short of a small miracle that it hasn’t collapsed against The Good Wife, one of the new hits of the year. For what it’s worth, the show isn’t a bad one; it definitely tends to have a formula for its episodes, but there are signs they’re shaking it up a bit now that they’ve got their footing. And the cast is rock-solid, so there’s that. (City, 10 p.m.)
WednesdayTonight is Idol Gives Back, the annual American Idol charity concert. Performers will include Elton John, Alicia Keys, Carrie Underwood, the Black Eyed Peas (ugh), Annie Lennox, and Jeff Beck, as well as the Idol contestants, one of whom will go home! Because charity is all about reality show eliminations! (CTV, 8 p.m.)
Now, Mercy is a different kettle of fish, because it’s struggling and getting lousy numbers (just like Trauma, NBC’s other desperate attempt to relive the ER glory days), and because it’s a big glossy hospital show it’s expensive (unlike, say, Scrubs, which used the same five sets over and over and over again). Mercy is probably going to get canned. So if you are one of the six people who love it, now is the time to start sending NBC…I dunno. What would you send for this show? Little angels? (Of mercy, you see.) Or maybe No-Doz, because you need it to stay up through an episode? I dunno. (City, 8 p.m.)
ThursdaySharkwater is a special documentary about the exploitation of sharks at the shark reserves in the Galapagos and and Cocos Islands. See, what they do is they get the sharks to make cut-rate goods at extremely low prices, because instead of paying the sharks money, they just have to throw them some fish every once in a while. So the next time you’re in Sears looking at a blender, take a minute to make sure that it’s not the product of shark labour…okay, no, not really. (Discovery Channel, 8 p.m.)
It’s Merge Week on Survivor, where Russell’s reputation for extremely clever play is being unfairly enhanced by the fact that a number of exceptional players have been playing the game in incredibly stupid ways. First, Tyson managed to get himself voted off because he couldn’t remember who to vote for to ensure that Russell and Parvati’s alliance would crumble. Then Coach decided that Russell was honourable for exactly long enough to stab Boston Rob in the back (and you know Boston Rob, who actually plays the game as well as it can be played, knew it was coming and couldn’t do a damn thing about it, because Coach is a deluded idiot), which then left Russell the opportunity to boot him. And then, because Russell was busy eliminating all his competition in one tribe, the remainder of the Heroes tribe decided to give him their immunity idol. Because…strategy, or something. (Russell reading J.T.’s mash note to him in disbelief back at camp is probably one of the funniest Survivor moments in history.) However, Russell has made one mistake: namely, booting Courtney last week rather than the far more intelligent Sandra, who’s friends with Rupert on the opposing tribe and knows what’s going on. This season is, unsurprisingly, proving to be extremely entertaining, and the schadenfreude value is just off the charts. (Global, 8 p.m.)
FridayDouglas Coupland alert: the generation-defining author appears on Allen Gregg tonight. I, for one, personally cannot wait to find out what my generation is up to nowadays. (TVO, 10 p.m.)
Hotel Rwanda is a must-watch if you haven’t seen it, and PBS isn’t going to cut out any of the horrific bits. That is all. (8 p.m.)
City picked up Warehouse 13, the mostly uninteresting show SyFy aired last year about the warehouse where the government stores all the conspiracy stuff. It’s not a great show, but it does have Saul Rubinek in it and he’s entertaining as he always is. Then again, you can always see Saul Rubinek in other things. (10 p.m.)
The WeekendSo, three episodes in, the new Doctor Who is impressing greatly: Stephen Moffat’s take on the Doctor is welcome, as Matt Smith’s goggle-eyed weirdo Doctor is definitely a little less cuddly and hubristic than David Tennant’s Doctor; there’s a little more of the notion that the Doctor is old and alien and a bit nutso in Smith’s performance, which is greatly welcome. Karen Gillan’s Amy Pond is rapidly becoming a favourite companion, and the first three episodes have all been great bang-up stories. Of course, if you don’t have access to the internet, then tonight’s episode on Space is only the second episode you’ve seen so far. Of course, if you don’t have access to the internet, then you’re not reading this either. (9 p.m. Saturday)
Superswarm! Televisualist isn’t even sure what the hell this is about: presumably insects of some kind. But so what? Superswarm! If you don’t want to watch a thing about a superswarm, which by definition has to be much more important than a regular swarm, you are wrong and bad and also wrong. (Discovery Channel, 8 p.m. Sunday)