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 more than a little cynical with how teams are treating the rules at the World Cup. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.
MondayCTV has picked up Hot In Cleveland, the new sitcom airing on TV Land in the USA, which got a lot of hype for having Betty White in a supporting role. The hype is not undeserved, because Betty White can still drop a gagline with the best of them, but the show’s real fun comes from the interplay between Valerie Bertinelli, Wendie Malick, and Jane Leeves, all of them wickedly brilliant comedic actresses (and Bertinelli is amazingly hot at fifty, it must be said). The writing is still a bit uneven—at times veering into How I Met Your Mother–quality territory, at others going for old-school sitcom gags that often don’t work—but the delivery never fails. (8 p.m.)
All-day Band of Brothers marathon on Spike! “Three miles up, three miles down!” “Hitler gets one of these right across the windpipe, Roosevelt changes Thanksgiving to Joe Toye Day, pays me ten grand a year for the rest of my fucking life.” “Lieutenant Sobel does not hate Easy Company, Private Randleman. He just hates you.” “There’s no snow, we got warm grub in our bellies, and the trees aren’t fucking exploding from Kraut artillery, but yeah, Frank—other than that, it’s a lot like Bastogne.” “We’re paratroopers, lieutenant. We’re supposed to be surrounded.” “You don’t say! The Germans are bad, huh? Hey Frank—this guy is reading an article that says the Germans? Are bad.” (“Currahee” kicks off marathon at 9:30 a.m., goes all day)
TuesdayWorld Cup today: It’s the first of the two semifinal matches, as the Netherlands play Uruguay. The math here is simple: the Netherlands are a nice team who play lovely soccer and who have never won a World Cup, and Uruguay are stinking, cheating jerks who cynically prevented a Ghanaian goal that should have cost them their slot in the semis on the off chance that Ghana’s exhausted striker would miss the ensuing penalty shot, which he did, and allow the superior striking Uruguayan team the chance to win in a shootout, which they did. Tactically sound, but completely amoral and besides, Uruguay have already won two World Cups so screw their cheating asses. Go Oranje! (CBC, 2:15 p.m., replay at 7 p.m.)
If you’ve never caught Californication, Showcase has the pilot airing for you tonight because they’re considerate like that. If Showcase was your date, they’d be nice and tender when they first gave it up to you. Then they’d get rough and rowdy on the second date, because Showcase is also like that. (10 p.m.)
WednesdayWorld Cup today: Second semifinal matchup as Germany plays Spain, and with Argentina collapsing (as everybody thought they eventually would, because with Diego Maradona in charge it was more or less inevitable), these are the two strongest teams remaining on this side of the bracket. Whoever wins this match will be the favourite going into the final. Germany are playing incredibly disciplined soccer, and while it may be a bit predictable that Germans would be disciplined, what isn’t predictable is that they’ve successfully married it to youthful exuberance. Germany was widely expected to be in a rebuilding phase and to only play somewhat competitively this Cup, but other than that shock loss to Serbia in the group stages they’ve been dominant with a very young team. (Come 2014 in Brazil, Germany’s team will likely be downright terrifying, as they’ll basically be this team with four more years of experience.) Spain probably has better players than Germany, but the question of whether they have a better team seems to be up in the air; the team’s been relying on the magnificent David Villa to produce goals this Cup, and he can’t win for them against Germany by himself. If the rest of Spain shows up, they’ll stand a good chance to take it all. If they don’t, say hello to our new German overlords. (CBC, 2:15 p.m., replay at 7 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Mr. Plow,” the long-standing classic wherein Homer buys a snowplow and then finds himself in competition with Barney for Springfield’s plowing business. “Oh, you want the Mr. Plow who plows driveways. This is Tony Plow, you know, from Leave It To Beaver… Yeah, they were gay.” (CJMT, 6:30 p.m.)
ThursdayBig Brother premieres, giving you a sneak peek of at least one Amazing Race team in next year’s spring season. (We joke, we joke. Okay, only partially do we joke.) This time around, the show has the same “Have/Have Not” formula that worked so well last season. Well, we say “worked so well,” but really we mean “more people watched, but not us.” Because we didn’t watch it. We can’t watch everything, after all. (Global, 8 p.m.)
City has a mini-marathon of Community episodes tonight, which is good news for anybody who missed out on the strongest new comedy of the year when it was airing fresh, because tonight’s mini-mar has some of the best episodes of the season: the Goodfellas-themed “Contemporary American Poultry,” the insane billiards episode “Physical Education,” the brilliant “Debate 101,” and the balls-out hilarious “Modern Warfare,” which steals a half-dozen tricks from John Woo when John Woo was still John Woo. If you’re not going out tonight and you haven’t given Community a shot, watch this. (starting at 8 p.m.)
FridayPleasantville is something you don’t often intend to watch, but it never fails to impress when you do; it’s still clever and funny and even a bit poignant a decade later, Joan Allen is still the best actress ever who isn’t Meryl Streep, and the colour/black-and-white interplay remains visually stunning. It’s quite possibly the sort of movie that would probably get ruined by a crappy 3D post-production transfer today. (CHCH, 8:30 p.m.)
“Changing Channels” is difficult to recommend as Supernatural episodes go. On the one hand, it’s yet another brilliantly weird premise that should communicate to new viewers very well (Sam and Dean get stuck in various TV shows as a result of the interference of one of their recurring nemeses), but on the other, it’s also immersed quite deeply in the show’s mythos, making it a bit impenetrable to new viewers. That being said, the Grey’s Anatomy parody should endear it to all viewers, new and old. (SunTV, 9 p.m.)
The WeekendWorld Cup this weekend: It’s all over! On Saturday, we have the third-place game for the losers in the semifinals (CBC, 2:15 p.m., replay at 7), and then on Sunday, the very last World Cup game for another four years until Brazil 2014 (CBC, 2 p.m., replay at 7). And that’s it. Order of possible winners from most satisyfing to least: Netherlands, Spain, Germany, stupid cheaty Uruguay.
More Big Brother because I-don’t-know-why. CBS gets desperate for summer content just like all the other networks, you know. (Global, 8 p.m. Sunday)