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.
You know, six weeks ago, Brett was complaining that there was nothing on. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.
MondayLone Star is probably the most ambitious television offering of the season: the story of a bigamist con man who wants to go straight. The protagonist shouldn’t be sympathetic, but thanks to a stupendous performance by James Wolk you actually root for him. Unfortunately, this show is airing on Fox, which means it’s 50/50 whether it survives more than a single season. But while it’s here, enjoy. (Global, 9 p.m.)
Dancing With The Stars this season actually has some people that you might consider stars; to wit, above D-list. Margaret Cho? David Hasselhoff? Michael Bolton? Brandy? At this point it’s safe to say that Dancing With The Stars is now primarily C-list. At this rate, in twenty-five years top celebrities will be dancing competitively on this show. I personally cannot wait to see James Franco do the cha-cha-cha with a giant female body pillow. That having been said, the presence of Bristol “got pregnant and has a crazy famous mother” Palin shows us that the producers have not forgotten this show’s roots, so maybe the theory does not work. (CTV, 8 p.m.)
TuesdayBeing Erica returns for its third season. This little show is rapidly becoming the Little Canadian Genre Show That Could, mostly because it works very hard to convince its audience that it’s not a genre show but instead a standard romantic dramedy that just happens to have time travel in it. But regardless of this bit of dishonesty, the show remains entertaining and one of the highlights of Canadian TV—not just in the present, but, increasingly, overall. (CBC, 9 p.m.)
Running Wilde has Will Arnett in it being a stock Will Arnett character, and because of this everybody desperately hopes it is the next Arrested Development. Big spoiler: it is not that thing. (Fox, 9:30 p.m.)
The latest mayoral debate is tonight! Rob Ford is rampaging his way to victory. Can this debate change the tide? Probably not, because nobody watches them. But you never know. (CP24, 8 p.m.)
WednesdayUndercovers is J.J. Abrams’ latest series, by which we mean “he will have his name on the show for about a season, tops.” In any case, this spy show is otherwise notable for having black leads and not being about a middle-class family or cops. No, really: that’s news. We know this because the TV preview stories all talk about this. Hooray for post-racial whatever. (City, 8 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Two Dozen and One Greyhounds,” wherein Mr. Burns tries to steal the Simpson puppies. Featuring “See My Vest,” one of the most inspired bits of Simpsons musical lunacy ever. “Honestly, sir, you just don’t put the effort into your schemes that you used to.” (CJMT, 7:30 p.m.)
ThursdayOutsourced is the new sitcom that NBC is pushing really hard, in the newest attempt to maintain their “keep our Thursday night sitcoms block alive forever” strategy. It’s…very, very bad. The concept is a good one—American gets transferred to India to run call centre—but far too many of the jokes are stupid in the “it’s funny because it’s racist” sort of way. (And it’s not even clever and witty racism, at that.) Also, Ben Rappaport’s work in the lead role makes you want to punch him in the face. Granted, the almost entirely Indian supporting cast is strong, it’s nice to have a show set as far away from New York as humanly possible, and combined with the concept there could be a good show here. But there’s no good show here yet. (Global, 9:30 p.m.)
We refuse to remember how exactly CBS bowdlerizes the title of Shit My Dad Says, but does it really matter? Either you want to see William Shatner say “politically incorrect” things (the mere use of that phrase ensures that the show will be staler than a bowl of old croutons) or you don’t. We don’t. (CBS, 8:30 p.m.)
When last we left Fringe, Olivia, Walter, and a group of mutant superheroes who all eventually got killed had just teleported into an alternate universe where there are blimps and such to rescue Peter, who was in fact a native of that universe, who Walter kidnapped from Alternate-Universe Walter to save his life. Then Leonard Nimoy blew himself up in order to send them back to their universe, except that Olivia is in fact still a prisoner in the alternate universe and Alternate Universe Olivia has secretly taken her place. Descriptions like this are why Fringe is great. (City, 9 p.m.)
FridayBlue Bloods stars Tom Selleck’s moustache as a cop moustache that is also the patriarch of a family of younger cop moustaches. They fight evil criminal moustaches and are generally noble and upstanding moustaches, and not at all conflicted like you might see on other, non-mustachioed cop dramas. (CTV, 10 p.m.)
Hell’s Kitchen debuts because apparently Gordon Ramsay must always have a new show on television. We like Ramsay, don’t get us wrong, but there is such a thing as overexposure. And what’s worse is that Hell’s Kitchen is now one of Ramsay’s weakest offerings: it’s not as good as MasterChef or The F Word or Kitchen Nightmares, all of which feature people who aren’t entitled, incompetent, or both. (This is probably because all the good chefs aim for Top Chef instead.) We can’t even remember who won the last Hell’s Kitchen and that was, what, two months ago? Space it out a little, Gordon. (City, 8 p.m.)