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.
Poetry in motion. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.
MondayA CMA Country Christmas confirms that, yes, the Christmas special season is now officially in full swing—in frigging November—and we must all come to grips with this extremely irritating fact. Anyway, this is your standard “country singers sing carols” special, and if you like that sort of thing, you like that sort of thing. (ABC, 9:30 p.m.)
BP $30 Billion Blowout is the CBC’s documentary about cute little kittens doing cute things like playing with string and accidentally falling into the sink and pouncing on rubber mice and grooming themselves and failing to conduct proper oversight over deep-sea oil wells and causing massive environmental disasters. Kittens! (Newsworld, 10 p.m.)
TuesdayRudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. In November. In fucking November. I take it back; Christmas specials in November are and always will be a total travesty. Televisualist wll mention no further Christmas specials until next week. I don’t care if Bob Hope comes back from the dead and introduces a John Lennon/Kurt Cobain duet of “Deck The Halls.” The line is drawn here. (CBS, 8 p.m.)
Maybe you haven’t been watching No Ordinary Family, since the first few episodes were kind of shaky, but the show has settled into a solid groove now; it’s building up its mythology, slowly but surely, and the characters are getting fleshed out, and Michael Chiklis doesn’t seem like a giant whiny-bear anymore. In short: the show is quite watchable, and worthy of some attention. Not lots of it. But some. (ABC, 9 p.m.)
Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould made the rounds at film festivals last year and early this year and got very strong reviews, despite treading much of the same ground that Thirty-Two Short Films About Glenn Gould did. Opportunity to compare! (Bravo!, 9 p.m.)
WednesdayWait, there’s a concert celebrating the Grammy nominations? That’s a thing now? (Global, 10 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Bart On The Road,” wherein Bart, Nelson, Martin, and Milhouse get a rental car and go wild. “Knoxville! Knoxville! Knoxville!” (CJMT, 7:30 p.m.)
ThursdayA documentary tonight on Doc Zone about apocalypse prediction, Mayans, and the possible End of Everything in 2012? Well, sign us up for that one. (CBC, 9 p.m.)
Fans of Doctor Who, and people who are not fans but who might want to be fans, and people who are already fans and who have someone in their life who is not yet a fan but whom they want to be a fan and they are willing to tie those people up, possibly with rope—well, the modern series loops around tonight, starting again with “Rose,” the premiere of Chris Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor. (Space, 8 p.m.)
FridayAvengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is cranking out new episodes at a tremendous rate right now, and the show is…good. It’s not on par with, say, Justice League Unlimited (probably the apex of all cartoon superhero team shows and, yes, we know exactly how nerdy a sentence that is and we don’t care), but it’s much better than most superhero team shows, which are, let us admit it, generally speaking, either grim, overwrought angst-fests for the high-single-digit crowd or an endless string of unfunny one-liners and anime spit-takes. So enjoy a superhero cartoon team show that is good (if not quite great) for once. (YTV, 8 p.m.)
This week on Smallville: the return of John Glover as Lionel Luthor! Granted, it involves an alternate universe and a wacky Evil Alternate Universe Clark plotline, and the evil alternate universe Clark probably won’t even have a goatee, but that’s tenth season Smallville for you. It’s all fanservice and if it makes sense, that’s kind of an optional extra. (Space, 8 p.m.)
The WeekendPunkin Chunkin 2010 is perfect television. It is two hours of watching people try to hurl a pumpkin with a catapult as far as humanly possible. There is nothing about this that is not transcendent in all ways, from the wonderful “zzzzzzzzSHUNNNK” sound of catapults firing to the slow-mo of pumpkin splatter. Watching this show will bring you closer to the Buddha. Who, come to think, is vaguely pumpkin-shaped, so there’s a theme going on here now. (Discovery, 8 p.m. Sunday)
[email protected] is an excellent and shamelessly manipulative documentary about a seniors’ chorus that puts on a concert of rock and blues. Warning: you will probably cry if you watch this. (TVO, 9 p.m. Sunday)