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.
Man, look at all that white space. This was the easiest illustration ever! Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.
MondayShakespeare In Love sometimes gets a bad rap for having won Best Picture over Saving Private Ryan, and for having been the picture which basically kickstarted the whole idea of “Oscar campaigning” by the studios into overdrive. However, Saving Private Ryan, while excellent, is not without its flaws (Private Ryan is the old man in the end? Come on) and it’s not the fault of Shakespeare in Love that it was the right film at the right place at the right time, really, because if it hadn’t have been Shakespeare it would probably have been Life is Beautiful, and can you imagine Roberto Benigni winning Best Picture on top of everything else? Most importantly, though, is that Shakespeare In Love is honest-to-God a good film: perhaps it’s a bit slight, but it’s clever and affecting and uplifting, and there’s nothing wrong with that. (CHCH, 8:30 p.m.)
Hey, Castle got renewed! Nathan Fillion is no longer a show-killing cult favourite actor! Now he is mainstream! Expect the backlash to begin any second now; Televisualist has already pre-registered fuckyoufillion.com, nathanfillioneatsballs.com, nathansoldout.com and stormingthecastle.com. (ABC, 10 p.m.)
TuesdayFans of Glee have been complaining lately that the show has lost some of its oomph since it came back from midseason hiatus, and it’s understandable; it’s not just that the first thirteen episodes were pretty obviously written to be a mini-season in case the show wasn’t successful, but also that the show has shifted somewhat—where previously an episode would have two to four musical numbers per show, now it’s more like four to six, and they’re longer too. This really changes the flow of an episode significantly; instead of being a fun dramedy with a few musical numbers, now it’s an out-and-out musical, and it’s a lot less unique. It’s not a bad show now; it’s just not as good. (Global, 9 p.m.)
Tonight on Deadliest Warrior: Jesse James versus Al Capone? What? Al Capone wasn’t a deadly warrior! He was a mob boss! A big, pudgy mob boss! Sure, you could say “we’re going with young, mean and lean Al Capone,” but that entirely misses the point of Al Capone. Nobody cares about “before he was big” Al Capone; we care about Mob Boss Al Capone, the one who is level 20 and has a +5 tommygun. For shame, Deadliest Warrior. For shame. If Jesse James does not win this in a runaway, you will officially jump the shark, unless he loses because Al Capone hires Robert Ford to cap him. (Spike, 10 p.m.)
WednesdayThe Simpsons rerun of the week: “Bart on the Road,” wherein Bart, Milhouse, Martin, and Nelson rent a car with a fake driver’s licence. “All right, I have thought this through. I will send Bart the money to fly home. Then I will murder him.” (Fox, 11 p.m.)
ThursdayThe British national election is today! Hee, those funny British people, they have their elections on Thursdays. That’s so Britishly wacky! Betcha they have to do silly walks to the polling station too, or it doesn’t count. Anyway, coverage of what is, jokes aside, actually a pretty important election is available on BBC World News, which stands to reason when you think about it. (Begins at 4:45 p.m.)
Rumours are flying that Steve Carell is prepared to ditch The Office after next season. Fun fact: Nancy Walls, former Daily Show correspondent and respected comic actor in her own right, now goes by “Nancy Carell,” as she is married to Steve Carell. Which is fine and all, but you can’t help but wonder if this name change is career-related, huh? And no, we don’t have anything to say about this specific episode. So there. (Global, 9 p.m.)
FridayFriday Night Lights, which is the single best show on television, returns for its fourth season tonight. Well, technically the show already aired its fourth season on DirecTV last fall, but we don’t get that here in the Great White North so it’s new to you! If you didn’t already download it off the internet. All that aside, did we mention that this is the single best show on television? Yes, it’s even better than Minute to Win It. And this is an ideal place to start watching, as the fifth and final season is already guaranteed. (Global, 8 p.m.)
Win a Date With Tad Hamilton! came out in 2004 and mostly got ignored, which is kind of a shame because it’s really a nice little movie, with Topher Grace and Josh DuHamel and Kate Bosworth all doing good work, but then again we can understand why it got ignored; it’s kind of ignorable, in a polite, competent, totally inessential way. Hey, whatever happened to Kate Bosworth, anyway? She hasn’t been in anything in a while. Apparently she is going to be in a remake of Straw Dogs, which just seems like a bad idea, doesn’t it? (W, 9 p.m.)
The WeekendThe internet (well, Facebook, but whatever, the internet is mostly Facebook now, sad as that might be) demanded it, and now it shall be: Betty White is hosting Saturday Night Live! This just furthers my theory that if the internet existed in the 1960s Tiny Tim would have had a much, much more successful career than he in fact did have. There probably would have been a line of Tiny Tim breath mints, for starters. A Tiny Tim channel on YouTube. People parodying Tiny Tim, also on YouTube. Tiny Tim would have had his own Twitter account and about eight hundred thousand followers. All of this would have led to a thriving career in Butterfinger commercials, reality TV appearances, and convention signings. Then, the revolution would have come, because this still would have been the 1960s. (Global, 11:30 p.m. Saturday)
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang came and went in theatres in 2005, and unlike Tad Hamilton this one really doesn’t make any sense because it’s a genuinely entertaining-as-all-get-out flick, with Robert Downey Jr. (everybody loves Robert Downey Jr.!) and Val Kilmer in a great comedy-action plot with clever dialogue and exciting fighty bits and all that sort of thing. If you haven’t seen this one yet you’re missing out. (AMC, 8 p.m. Sunday)
The Amazing Race concludes its sixteenth season with the usual three teams racing to the finish line. This time the three teams are the eminently uninteresting gay brother/straight brother team of Dan and Jordan, the amusing cowboys Jet and Cord, and dating models (oy, always with the dating models on this show) Brent and Caite. Caite is of course better known for being the beauty pageant winner on YouTube who said something quite dumb about maps, and her goal on the Race has been to prove that she is not stupid. She has proven this excellently; now, when one thinks of Caite, one does not think “stupid beauty queen,” but instead “contentious, whiny, unpleasant human being.” Congratulations, Caite! We will root for the cowboys. (CTV, 8 p.m. Sunday)