Televisualist: Presents!
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Televisualist: Presents!

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.

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Ah, technology. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.

Monday

The Sing-Off concludes its second season with the live finale, as we find out who the public voted for from the four remaining competing a cappella groups: Street Corner Symphony (a Southern-rocker-style band), The Backbeats (a group of self-described “a cappella all stars” from LA), Committed (a gospel band), and Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town (an old-school Motown group helmed by the former lead singer of The Persuasions). At this point, the favorites are Committed and Jerry Lawson and Talk of the Town, but any of the four could win because they’ve all contributed very strong performances thus far. Also, Ben Folds traditionally plays alongside the finalists, so that’s more reason to watch. (NBC, 8 p.m.)
If watching talented musicians is not your thing, perhaps instead you would like to watch Million Dollar Money Drop, the newest entry in the “let’s throw prizes down off a great height, symbolizing the collapse of civilization” genre of game show which was pioneered by Downfall. In this one, Kevin Pollak (why, Kevin Pollak? Why? Christ, you were in The Usual Suspects!) hosts as contestants are given a million dollars and then asked to gamble the million on a series of multiple-choice questions, allowed to spread their money along different answers as they see fit in order to conserve some of it. It is essentially Who Wants To Be A Millionare in reverse. It is on all week, because Fox knows nothing says “Christmas” like “losing money for trivial reasons.” (Fox, 8 p.m.)
Scrooged! Granted, AMC was running it weeks ago, but that was before Televisualist acknowledged the existence of Christmas. CHCH is running it at the proper time, which is just before Christmas. That’s why CHCH is a great television station. (8 p.m.)

Tuesday

Saturday Night Live Presents: A Very Gilly Christmas. Two straight hours of Kirsten Wiig’s one-joke “psychotic child” character, probably the least amusing since Julia Sweeney’s Pat. Actually, no. Worse than Pat. (NBC, 9 p.m.)
Santa With Muscles is a Christmas movie starring Hulk Hogan. We leave the details up to your imagination. (CHCH, 9 p.m.)

Wednesday

Home For The Holidays is an annual special devoted to increasing awareness of adoption and foster children who don’t have families yet. To increase awareness this year, there are performances by Katy Perry, Nelly, Maroon 5, Ricky Martin and Melissa Etheridge. We are not entirely sure how musical performances increase awareness of the need for adoption or if it works at all, really. The Dave Thomas Foundation (yes, that would be Dave Thomas as in “founder of Wendy’s”), which sponsors the special, estimates it has been responsible for 20,000 adoptions since the specials began twelve years ago—which is less than 2,000 adoptions per year. Given that the domestic adoption rate in the United States has stayed more or less stable around the 120,000 mark for the last few decades, with variations of about 10–15,000 either way, it looks like those 2,000 adoptions each year are statistically a drop in the bucket. But, if nothing else: Katy Perry and Ricky Martin! (CBS, 8 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “When You Dish Upon A Star,” where Homer becomes a personal assistant to Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger. “When was the last time Barbara Streisand cleaned out your garage? And when it’s time to do your laundry, where’s Ray Bolger? I’ll tell ya. Ray Bolger is looking out for Ray Bolger.” (CFMT, 6 p.m.)

Thursday

The Alastair Sim A Christmas Carol is considered by many to be the definitive Carol (the classic Canadian Tire “give like Santa, save like Scrooge” commercials based their Scrooge on Sim’s performance) and Sim’s Scrooge the definitive Scrooge, and not without reason. Watch it, if you haven’t. (CBC, 9 p.m.)
We’re going to go ahead and say that Batman Returns counts as a Christmas movie, since it is set at Christmas and also because Christopher Walken’s Max Shreck is an evil department store owner (among other things). Given that the oddball Returns is in many ways the best of the ’90s Batman flicks, and features Michelle Pfeiffer when she was achingly gorgeous and hot, this counts as holiday viewing because dammit, Batman. (Space, 10:30 p.m.)

Friday

The holiday fireplace! Nothing like a televised burning log to fill the aching void of an empty fireplace. (Rogers 10, all day)
For those of you looking to keep to the proud history of Cancon, An Avonlea Christmas. Because, when you get down to it, nothing says “Canadian TV” like Avonlea. Absolutely nothing. (A-Channel, 8 p.m.)

The Weekend

A new record for promptness as the annual Doctor Who Christmas Day special this year airs on Boxing Day, a mere one day after Christmas. At this rate, Canadians will be able to watch the Doctor Who Christmas Day special on Christmas Day within fifteen to twenty years! (Space, 9 p.m. Sunday)

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