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.
Not pictured: Paul Gross holding a bag of money. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.
MondayMen With Brooms debuts; this is a TV series based on the sort-of-a-hit Canadian movie from a while back which still has a lot of good feeling directed at it despite the fact that it wasn’t really amazing or anything. Mostly we think this is because the makers of Brooms were willing to pay for trailer space in front of Lord of the Rings and act like their movie was a big deal. For reasons we cannot adequately explain, it was nice going to see three hours of hobbits and orcs prefaced with an ad for a romantic comedy about curling. We do not know if this affection will translate to the sitcom version. (CBC, 8:30 p.m.)
You know what’s a really bad show this season? Chase. They run a lot, then they spout cliches about being cops, oh sorry U.S. marshals, running after criminals. Then they run after criminals. It is clearly meant to be exciting, breakneck TV. It is not that thing. (City, 10 p.m.)
TuesdayOn the other hand, Detroit 187 isn’t a bad show. It’s just yet another cop procedural in a long line of cop procedurals. The hook in this case is that Detroit is a serious craphole of a city, but that didn’t really help K-Ville, the cop procedural set in post-Katrina New Orleans. That show, like 187, was a perfectly competent bit of TV storytelling about police. It lasted eleven episodes, for those wondering. (ABC, 10 p.m.)
American viewers are already on season three of Swamp Loggers, the reality show about, well, loggers working in a swamp. (It’s like Ice Road Truckers in that the title really tells you what you’re gonna get.) Canadians, meanwhile, are still in season two, which aired five months ago in the USA. It’s new to you! If you didn’t already download it. Seriously, we’re just waiting for Canadian networks to start complaining that it’s the viewers’ fault that they wait weeks or months to air old television. You know it’s coming. (Discovery, 10 p.m.)
WednesdaySo You Think You Can Dance Canada is down to its top 10, and this season has frankly been a bit blander than average. Maybe it’s the vague sameyness of the nearly-all-contemporary-dancers cast, or CTV’s insistence that more judges and less dancing is good enough for the audience—because they’ve decided that one hour is all that’s needed for this show so they can air The Defenders, a piece of weasel bile masquerading as teevee, or maybe it’s just good old Canadian network parsimony rearing its head as per usual. It’s still a decent show, but the magic is not quite so much there. Also, the judges need to stop trying to get their personal catchphrases over as if they were professional wrestlers. (CTV, 8 p.m.)
Okay, maybe it’s not fair to call The Defenders weasel bile. I mean, just because it’s got both Jim Belushi and Jerry O’Connell, that doesn’t make…no, never mind, it’s weasel bile. (CTV, 10 p.m.)
ThursdayOkay, so all the other TV critics have been all “you should watch Community because it’s the best comedy on television and if you don’t watch it it might get cancelled and then we’ll all just have to watch Two and a Half Men until our eyes bleed out,” and we don’t want to copy them or anything, but you really should watch Community because it really is the best comedy on television. Although even if it were to be cancelled, we would not watch Two and a Half Men, because we have limits. (City, 8 p.m.)
Law and Order UK is, in many respects, the true heir to Law and Order that the new Los Angeles incarnation of the show isn’t; it’s straight-up reliable procedural storytelling that is more or less guaranteed to be a good watch. Also it has Freema Agyeman and she is pretty. And also intelligent! (City, 10 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Burns, Baby, Burns,” wherein Rodney Dangerfield voices Mr. Burns’ illegitimate son. “Well, frankly, test scores like Larry’s would call for a very generous contribution. For example, a score of four hundred would require a donation of new football uniforms, three hundred, a new dormitory, and in Larry’s case, we would need an international airport.” (Fox, 11 p.m.)