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.
Yep. Them’s zombies. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.
MondayThose interested in election coverage have a few choices: CP24 has live coverage all night long, as does Rogers 10. SunTV has an hour-long election special at 8 p.m., right before an airing of F/X, the classic 80s action movie with Bryan Brown. (We mention that because it is just so random.) CTV has an hour of coverage at 10 p.m., and CityTV, the channel which made its news name on municipal election coverage, has… absolutely nothing, instead opting to air The Event, which nobody likes in the whole world. If we wanted more proof that City is just an empty shell at this point, Televisualist isn’t sure what more you could ask for.
TuesdayGlee‘s Halloween episode, sort of, is a Rocky Horror Picture Show-themed episode. We admit we are curious as to how “Touch-a Touch-A Touch-a Touch Me” will be worked into the episode’s narrative, because you already know in advance will happen, because this is Glee and whatever they might do, subtlety is not on the list. (Global, 8 p.m.)
WednesdayThe World Series kicks off as the Texas Rangers play the San Francisco Giants in a unintentional allegory to the current political situation in the United States that only incidentally happens to involve baseball. Sportswriters and pundits everywhere would like to thank the New York Yankees for making sure this happened. Everybody else is just glad the fucking Yankees aren’t in the World Series, because fuck the fucking Yankees. (Sportsnet, 8 p.m.)
ThursdayScared Shrekless is proof that we will never, ever, get away from goddamned Shrek, no matter how many times they promise to not make any more Shrek things. When Mike Myers dies, they will use electricity to animate his vocal chords so he can continue to spout Shrek’s lines in his hackneyed Scottish accent, because it has been decreed: there must always be more Shrek. That essential truth is the scariest thing about this Halloween. (NBC, 8 p.m.)
Hey! Little Shop of Horrors! That’s great. It’s good to see it now before Glee uses it for next year’s Halloween episode and Lea Michele’s rendition of “Suddenly Seymour” becomes the standard by which a whole new generation comes to view the story. (SunTV, 8 p.m.)
FridayIt’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is one of the best Peanuts specials and is timeless in a wonderful, simple way: kids in costumes, Charlie Brown getting a rock, and Linus wasting Halloween waiting for the Great Pumpkin to appear. Always worth your time. (ABC, 8 p.m.)
The WeekendGlobal has the usual “Treehouse of Horror<" Simpsons mini-marathon (a tradition long since dimmed as Global doesn’t even bother with four- or six-hour-long marathons any more – for shame, Global! For shame), this year featuring Treehouses V (where Groundskeeper Willy tries to rescue people repeatedly), VI (with the three-dimensional Homer segment), XII (with Pierce Brosnan as a future-house) and XVI (with Mr. Burns hunting people for sport). Not a bad selection. (8 p.m. Sunday)
The Walking Dead is AMC’s latest prestige series, based on the popular comic by Robert Kirkman, with at least the opening episode directed by Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) and other than that it is a TV series about surviving in a zombie apocalypse, AMC has mostly kept the lid down on this – the series won’t exactly match the comic, they haven’t shown much beyond one or two trailers, and nobody really knows where they’ll go with it. However, Televisualist has already seen it, and suffice it to say that this is exactly the sort of awesomeness you would expect out of an AMC zombie television series. (10 p.m. Sunday)
Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake gets a lot of flak for using “fast zombies,” as purists of the form demand that zombies are scary because they are a non-personalizing mass that doesn’t get angry and snarl. However, there is the strong argument to be made (and a philosopher makes it, in part, here) that part of the backlash against fast zombies is that they remove the element of survivalism that many people depend on to be comfortable watching a zombie movie – it’s a lot more difficult to comfort yourself by imagining surviving the zombie apocalypse (unlike all the stupid people) when you need to be in excellent physical shape to even stand a chance of not getting chased down and eaten. Or, to put it another way: once you get past all the complaints that Snyder didn’t make exactly the same movie as Romero with all the same morals, this movie is really goddamned scary. (AMC, 8 p.m. Sunday)
If that was just not enough zombies for you, Space has been running Dead Set, the British miniseries about the cast of a season of Big Brother trying to survive a zombie apocalpyse, and reruns the entire series tonight after playing the final episode. It’s a great little miniseries that effectively all together becomes one great zombie movie, but strongest possible recommendation here: if you haven’t seen any of it yet, do not, not watch the ending first. Trust us on this. You don’t want to ruin it. (final episode 9 p.m. Sunday, full series rerun begins at 9:30 p.m. Sunday)
And if you don’t want to watch zombies at all this Halloween, instead you should watch The Host, the absolutely brilliant 2006 Korean film about a family of misfits trying to stalk and kill the giant monster which has abducted their youngest member. It’s a superb movie, exciting and frightening and funny, with intelligent political commentary, some truly vicious satire and awe-inspiring violence. One of the best movies of the last decade, easily. (TVO, 8 p.m. Sunday)