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.
SHAQ DEFEATS YOUR HAIR, JUSTIN BIEBER! Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.
MondayThe Bachelorette comes to its end as our leading lady, who is somebody I don’t know who got rejected by the last Bachelor but who fans like, makes her final pick of suitor. Maybe, if fans are very lucky, one of the rejected suitors from this show will become the next Bachelor! Then he can reject a whole bunch of women and one of them will become the next Bachelorette. It’s almost exactly like the circle of life, except for the bit where it’s indescribably depressing. (City, 8 p.m.)
Tonight on Man vs. Fish: Matt Watson, one of many Aussies trying to become the spiritual heir of Steve Irwin, gets into a cheap little rubber raft to fish for a mako shark. (Rest assured: he’s only fishing to tag it.) The actual fishing sequence is only about three minutes long, but be forewarned that it is three minutes of absolute insanity. (Discovery Channel, 8 p.m.)
TuesdayShaq Vs. returns for a second season of Shaquille O’Neal competing with other people who are not Shaq. Last season, Shaq got his ass handed to him in every episode. This is perhaps the reason why this season, Shaq is competing in things other than sports, with the promise of a spell-off versus last year’s Scripps champion speller, a magic-off versus Penn and Teller, and something against Justin Bieber. Personally, we want to see this series get even more weird, and have Shaq compete against Stephen Hawking in a “think-off.” Unfortunately, this week’s debut episode is just a race versus Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (CTV, 8 p.m.)
“Blink” is widely considered to be probably the single best episode of Doctor Who since the series restarted in 2005. It requires absolutely no foreknowledge of Doctor Who to enjoy beyond knowing that the doctor is a time traveller, since he isn’t even particularly the star of this episode. It’s a genuinely scary hour of television, too—when it originally aired, parents were warned ahead of time they might want to tape the episode and then allow their kids to watch it during the day. Must-see, even if you’re not a Who fan. (Space, 8 p.m.)
WednesdayThe Simpsons rerun of the week: “Behind The Laughter,” the Behind The Music parody episode that’s relentlessly clever and one of the more recent classics. “And that horrible act of child abuse became one of our most beloved running gags.” (Comedy Network, 9 p.m.)
ThursdayFor some reason it appears to be Steven Seagal night. AMC has Out For Justice and CHCH has Under Siege, and these are, interestingly enough, probably the two best films starring Steven Seagal ever made, for a given value of “best.”. (Some might argue for Executive Decision, but Seagal’s character dies in the first twenty minutes of that one.) Sadly, the two airings overlap, so you’ll have to pick one for your ponytailed martial artist fix; we recommend Under Siege, because it’s the better movie and because Tommy Lee Jones is the villain. (Justice: 8 p.m., Siege: 9 p.m.)
Those following TNA Impact of late will be aware of an “invasion” angle, wherein former wrestlers from ECW (Extreme Championship Wrestling, before it went defunct, then was purchased and resurrected by World Wrestling Entertainment, then went defunct again) are “invading” TNA for nefarious purposes not yet fully explained. Of course, the fascinating part of this isn’t the storyline, but the fact that TNA wants to hire Paul Heyman, the notorious mind behind ECW and a legendary promoter, to be the “leader” of the invaders. But they haven’t actually managed to hire him yet. But they’re still going ahead with the story. The next time one of your scripted television programs disappoints you with an ill-thought-out plot twist, remember this: at least they hired everybody they needed ahead of time before they started filming. (Spike, 9 p.m.)
FridayFriday Night Lights comes to its fourth season conclusion, with the fifth (and probably final) season guaranteed. As usual, the show is absolutely excellent; as usual, the writing and characterization are spot-on; as usual, the performances are superb (led by Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton, portraying the most realistic marriage ever depicted on television); as usual, not enough people are watching. It’s a shame. (Global, 8 p.m.)
Red Dawn! WOLVERINES! Ah, Cubans invading the middle of nowhere. They’re actually remaking it for a new generation; this time, instead of Russians, it will be the Chinese invading, so in addition to paranoia there can be a helpful dollop of racism as well. (CHCH, 9 p.m.)
The WeekendSpeaking of wrestling, if you want to see highlights from Wrestlemania (which was five months ago), including the Shawn Michaels/Undertaker match described by many fans as “epic,” then you can watch that Saturday night in the “world television premiere.” (NBC, 9 p.m.)
Red Eye came and went in theatres, possibly in part because of its very brief running time (eighty-five minutes), but this tiny little thriller starring Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy is a really great movie even if it is terrifically short. Cillian Murphy is particularly creepy. But then again, isn’t he always kind of creepy? (ABC, 8 p.m. Saturday)
In case you missed “Something, Something, Something Dark Side”, the second of the Family Guy parodies of the original Star Wars trilogy, it’s rerunning. Like most Family Guy episodes, it has a successful-joke-to-failed-joke ratio of about 15:1. But at least this time the jokes that don’t work are about Star Wars! (Global, 9 p.m. Sunday)