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 thinks this is what tennis is like. He has never seen it. lllustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.
MondayWimbledon is the classiest and most prestigious tennis tournament. The French Open is probably the most difficult. But the U.S. Open, which kicks off today and continues through the week, is arguably the fastest; the hardcourt surface of the Open makes for faster serves overall, which can make for ludicrously exciting tennis when you have players capable of handling the speed. The result is exciting sports. You like exciting sports, right? (TSN, 1 p.m. and throughout the day)
For Love Of The Game, Kevin Costner’s final baseball flick (unless he makes another one, but that seems unlikely at this point) is tremendously uneven. The romantic flashback portions with Kelly Preston are largely not good, mostly because Kelly Preston is a not a good actress. But the baseball portions are exciting and tense and just great filmmaking. Best recommendation here is to record it and skip all the parts that don’t involve the baseball diamond; you get a pretty great fifty-minute movie. (AMC, 8 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Half-Decent Proposal,” wherein Artie Ziff returns to offer Homer a million dollars to sleep with Marge. Jon Lovitz is always awesome. “Your wife’s virtue shall remain as untouched as Bill Gates’ weight room.” (Comedy Network, 9 p.m.)
TuesdayA televised presidential address. What will Barack Obama talk about? The end of major combat operations in Iraq? The need to let the Bush tax cuts lapse? Apologize for pre-empting Minute to Win It? How Glenn Beck is a weenie? We hope for that last one, but do not expect it. (U.S. networks, 8 p.m.)
For some reason, A-Channel is airing a new episode of Raising The Bar, the show about criminal defence lawyers where the most compelling thing is Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s crazy mullet. The show was cancelled almost ten months ago. No, we don’t get it either. (8 p.m.)
WednesdayThe 13th annual Van Cliburn International Piano Competition was last year, but it’s only making its way to PBS now. If you haven’t seen and heard Nobuyuki Tsujii play piano, then this is well worth your time; not that any of the other contestants aren’t amazing (at this level of play, everybody is essentially perfect to mundane ears), but Tsujii’s performance is remarkably engaging, all the more so because he’s blind. (9 p.m.)
Rescue Me premieres on Showcase (only two months or so after it premiered in the U.S., but I’m sure Showcase doesn’t worry about losing audience share to BitTorrent). Needless to say, Denis Leary’s character did not die in season five’s cliffhanger, because he is the star after all. The sixth season has thus far focused on Leary’s Tommy dealing with nearly getting killed, as well as the possibility of the firehouse getting closed down. Even two months late, this show is still sublime drama. (10 p.m.)
ThursdayTrashopolis is an offering from the History Channel about how “the great cities” historically handle their garbage. No, Toronto is not included. But for everybody who likes thinking about municipal garbage duty, this series is right up your alley. The one with trash in it, specifically. (10 p.m.)
Friday“You are the vulgarian, you fuck.” “Wanda, do you have any idea what it’s like being English? Being so correct all the time, being so stifled by this dread of doing the wrong thing, of saying to someone ‘Are you married?’ and hearing ‘My wife left me this morning,’ or saying ‘Do you have children?’ and being told they all burned to death on Wednesday.” “It’s K-K-K-Ken c-c-c-coming to k-k-k-kill me!” A Fish Called Wanda. Oh yes. (PBS, 8 p.m.)
The episode of That ’70s Show where Eric and Donna reveal to their parents that they’re sleeping together is probably one of the highlights of the series, if only for Bob’s slow, homicidal burn when Eric stammers his way through an explanation of how much he loves Donna. But the rest of the episode is good too. This show has aged really well. (TVtropolis, 8:30 p.m.)
The WeekendIf you haven’t seen Step Up 3D yet, W has you covered with a mini Step Up marathon: Step Up AND Step Up 2 The Streets. Yes, we said W. Not MuchMusic. W. We don’t get it either. Maybe the programmers at W really like
The 2010 World Music Awards! of course, these were aired back in May, but as we all know, in Canada everything only happens when television networks tell us it happens. (City, 8 p.m. Sunday)