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.
Life sucks when you don’t have a well. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.
MondayObligatory G20 tie-in: All this week on The Agenda, the theme is “Rethinking Economics.” If all you know about stimulus is crude pornography-themed jokes, give it a go! (TVO, 8 p.m.)
“The Girl In The Fireplace” is one of current Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat’s early triumphs writing for the show, as David Tennant’s Doctor has a curious sort-of-romantic-relationship with Madame de Pompadour that spans her entire lifetime. It’s intelligent, sad, and heartfelt, and is a pretty decent introductory episode for viewers new to Who. (Space, 8 p.m.)
World Cup today: At 9:45 a.m., the Netherlands will presumably walk all over Slovakia, who barely made it into the round of sixteen due to a tie with New Zealand. Of course, this is the Netherlands we’re talking about, so the potential for a drastic choke is always present. Then at 2:15 p.m. Brazil plays Chile in one of the more exciting elimination matches this week, as both teams played excellently within their groups. Brazil have, perhaps, not played as well as people think they could have, so this might be tighter than it looks on paper. (all games CBC)
TuesdayFrontline/World, the spinoff of Frontline that features short video docs that keep the general level of quality you expect from Frontline, features the failure of American donors to supply fresh-water pumps to small African communities this week. It’s a depressing topic, but engagingly told, and it stays with you after the viewing. (PBS, 8 p.m.)
World Cup today: Japan plays Paraguay at 9:45 a.m., and unless Japan takes their excellent play from their last game against Denmark and improves on it, Paraguay will probably win this one. Then at 2:15 p.m. there’s another marquee matchup: Portugal vs. Spain, two sides which were anticipated to be favourites in the tournament and two sides which struggled more in the group rounds than people expected. Figure that both teams will be looking to regain momentum they didn’t start building immediately; the match should be a good one, assuming the Portuguese don’t start flopping like dead salmon again. (all games CBC)
Not actually the World Cup today: Wipeout has a “World Cup” episode. We boldly predict that the Big Balls will be Big Soccer Balls. (Global, 8 p.m.)
We forgot to mention last week that Downfall is only the show’s name because the ABC executives decided that the “Of Western Civilization” part made it too wordy. (ABC, 9 p.m.)
WednesdayThe Simpsons rerun of the week: “Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily,” wherein through a series of strange coincidences, Homer and Marge are found to be unfit parents and thus the kids are sent to live with the Flanders family. “Ned, have you considered any of the other major religions? They’re all pretty much the same.” (CJMT, 7:30 p.m.)
ThursdayHawthoRNe is a show starring Jada Pinkett-Smith as a registered nurse who breaks all the rules which first aired last year on TNT in the States. It’s a pretty mediocre show that basically only seems to exist so writers can compare it to Nurse Jackie, which is also a show about a registered nurse, but avoids being ultra-bland Hollywoodish fare. Wait, no, also it exists because somebody owed Will Smith a favour. Boy, I bet that guy wishes he’d gone for the “make a remake of Karate Kid starring my son” favour instead now. Anyway, Global’s picked up this show and don’t bother watching it. (10 p.m.)
“Canada Rocks The Capital” is the annual CBC Canada Day concert with fireworks from Parliament. This year: Barenaked Ladies. Woooooo! (9 p.m.)
Friday“America Celebrates July 4th at Ford’s Theatre” is weird because it’s on the 2nd. It’s weird because Ty Burrell is the host. It’s weird because it’s where Lincoln was shot. What we’re saying is that this is a weird special. (ABC, 9 p.m.)
World Cup today: First quarterfinal matches start today, as Uruguay plays Ghana at 9:45 a.m. in a match where Ghana essentially has homefield advantage and Uruguay has “we’re the stronger team” advantage; this one is difficult to call. The second match of the day will be Slovakia or Netherlands against Brazil or Chile at 2:15 p.m.; assuming that the Netherlands is one of the two teams, this should be a barnburner. (all games CBC)
The WeekendWorld Cup this weekend: On Saturday, Argentina plays Germany at 9:45 a.m.; Argentina have arguably been the strongest team in the entire tournament thus far, but after Germany’s shock loss to Serbia they’ve been methodically defeating their opponents with predictable Teutonic efficiency. At 2:15 p.m., the winner of Paraguay/Japan plays the winner of Spain/Portugal; you have to figure that whichever of Spain/Portugal wins is the favourite here. (all games CBC)
The Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular is set to be the Sheinhardt Wig Company’s best-ever celebration of all things fireworky. Yes, we mention this only to make 30 Rock references. What’s your point? (NBC, 9 p.m. Sunday)