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.
The cynical viewpoint. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.
MondayNBC is obviously trying to boost the profile of Last Comic Standing by getting The Office and Hot Tub Time Machine‘s Craig Robinson to host, because Craig Robinson is someone you might actually recognize if you saw him on the street; the show hasn’t had a host this famous since Jay Mohr. (How sad is it that Jay Mohr is the second-most-famous comic to host Last Comic Standing?) Anyway, no word yet on whether this season will feature a token Canadian comic, to follow in the proud footsteps of Debra DiGiovanni (eighth place) and Sean Cullen (tied for sixth). (NBC, 8 p.m.)
Persons Unknown is the next “next Lost” to come down the pike, and this time around is more blatantly next-Lost than usual, as this show is about random people who are kidnapped by Mysterious People Or Forces to a strange place not on any map from which they cannot escape, and who have to forge bonds of trust to work together to uncover the mysteries of etc,. etc., etc. At least Alan Ruck is in it. Alan Ruck is awesome. (NBC, 10 p.m.)
TuesdayGlee ends its season with multiple cliffhangers (will Quinn have her baby? Will the glee club win through nationals? What will Sue Sylvester do?). Speaking of Lost, it seems that there’s a high crossover between Lost fans and Glee fans, which means one of two things: either these people really like shows with four-letter one-word names (which explains why V has not taken off with them—not enough letters), or they hope that Rachel will be mauled by a polar bear. Possibly both. (Global, 9 p.m.)
Pretty Little Liars is a show based on Sara Shepard’s young adult novels about four girls whose clique-leader disappears and then years later they start getting text messages from somebody who might be her threatening to reveal their darkest secrets. Shepard managed to make this go for eight whole books, the last of which will come out in print the day this show premieres. Which is impressive, even if the books themselves sound awful. (ABC, 8 p.m.)
WednesdayThe Simpsons rerun of the week: “Homer v. the 18th Amendment,” wherein Springfield re-enacts Prohibition and Homer becomes a bootlegger. “Ladies and gentlemen, what you are seeing is a total disregard for the things St. Patrick’s Day stands for. All this drinking, violence, destruction of property. Are these the things we think of when we think of the Irish?” (Fox, 11 p.m.)
ThursdayAfrica On The Move concludes with two hour-long docs about a Masaai who has moved to Nairobi to start a safari business and an Egyptian woman who’s attempting to overturn traditional Islamic prejudices to start a women’s soccer league. The first two installments of this show were excellent; we expect no less from the second. (CBC, 8 p.m.)
Mall Cops: Mall of America has been on for a while, and at first we were all “seriously? No, seriously?” But no, this is a for-real show about the struggles of everyday mall security guards. And now, we are all “…no, really, seriously?” (TLC, 10 p.m.)
The 2010 FIFA World Cup Kickoff Concert can be seen tonight on Telelatino, in case you can’t wait for tomorrow to watch it on less-threatening NBC. But why would you want to watch the kickoff concert after World Cup games have already started? Wouldn’t that make seeing Shakira less special? (8 p.m.)
FridayWell, since the World Cup kickoff concert was yesterday, presumably you have figured out that the World Cup actually starts today, which it does, with the first round of Group A matches airing on the CBC: Mexico v. South Africa at 9:45 a.m. and France v. Uruguay at 2:15 p.m. Actually, South Africa is kind of convenient for North American soccer fans, since you can kick off the day with World Cup soccer and then pretend you just had a stomachache or something and work the afternoon. Or, alternatively, go to work in the morning, then pretend you are coming down with a migraine and go watch the afternoon game. The important thing is that you are cutting work to watch soccer. How you do it is up to you.
Waterlife is a documentary about the Great Lakes and how people live on/off them, how people can take all that fresh water for granted and what can be done about that, and is well worth a watch. It’s also narrated by Gord Downie, which is a bit of a trip because you keep expecting him to break into “At the Hundredth Meridian” or maybe some of his bad poetry. (Global, 9 p.m.)
The WeekendWorld Cup action this weekend: Saturday features the first round of what’s probably the most competitive group, group B, which has Greece v. South Korea (7:15 a.m.) and Argentina v. Nigeria (9:45 a.m.), as well as the first game of group C, England v. the United States (2:15 p.m.). Sunday finishes up group C with Algeria v. Slovenia (7:15 a.m.), then moves on to group D with Ghana v. Serbia (9:45 a.m.) and Australia v. Germany (2:15 p.m.). So basically you can spend the entire weekend watching World Cup and still go out for beers in the evening. Hooray! (all games CBC)
If you don’t like soccer, you can always watch the 64th Annual Tony Awards! Broadway! Musical theatre! Granted, many of the people who claim to hate soccer will hate this even more, but that’s not my problem, now, is it? (SunTV, 8 p.m. Sunday)