Televisualist: Fake Snow, New Show
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Televisualist: Fake Snow, New Show

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.

In an alternate universe, Paula Abdul is a contestant on The Bachelor. It is a terrible, terrible alternate universe. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.


Village On A Diet is the CBC’s answer to The Biggest Loser, sort of—it’s a show wherein the entire population of Taylor, B.C. goes on an intensive four-month exercise and diet plan in order to collectively lose, as the advertisements claim, a tonne of weight. The “whole community chipping in to help each other out” angle is interesting, although we wonder if there will be a profile of the villainous convenience store owner who refuses to stop selling Häagen-Dazs, knowing that his profits will only skyrocket as people sneak in for secret eating. (9 p.m.)
Unnatural History is a show about a kid who is basically Batman after travelling the world learning to be smarter than everybody else and how to do every martial art ever. The Cartoon Network aired it this summer in the USA; it was an okay show, but nothing so staggeringly awesome that you desperately need to watch it if “Batman goes to high school” is not your cup of tea. Especially since it’s already been announced that there will be no second season. (YTV, 8 p.m.)
The Bachelor returns (gag) and the twist (gag) is that this time the Bachelor is the exact same Bachelor as last time! Boy, that sure makes him (gag) appealing. (City, 8 p.m.)


The “Corner Gas alumni” well has been fairly consistent in generating decent new Canadian sitcoms: Dan For Mayor was thoroughly good and Hiccups improved after a shaky start. The newest show to come from Corner Gas alumni is InSecurity, which goes high-concept by being about a bunch of spies in Canada’s “National Intelligence Security Agency.” What CBC has so far previewed seems promising: a bunch of characters being admirably silly in what amounts to a modern riff on Get Smart (the classic show, not the so-so Steve Carell movie) combined with The Office-style interpersonal dynamics. Which means this looks to be a quality comedy involving kicks to the face. (CBC, 8:30 p.m.)
Paula Abdul has been insistent that Live To Dance is nothing like So You Think You Can Dance, despite the fact that both shows are competitive talent shows for dancers. Live To Dance, for example, allows groups of dancers to audition, and has no age limits. Also, it has Paula Abdul as a judge. Does anybody see Paula Abdul on So You Think You Can Dance? Eh? Eh? (CTV, 8 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Million Dollar Abie,” where Grandpa becomes a matador. (It’s not the greatest week for Simpsons reruns.) “I’ve come up with our team—the Springfield Meltdowns! And here is our stadium, sponsored by corporate naming. It’s the Duff Beer Krustyburger Buzz Cola Costington’s Department Store Kwik-E-Mart Stupid Flanders Park!” (Comedy Network, 9 p.m.)


Hey, it’s the 37th Annual People’s Choice Awards! Because somebody has to give the actors of Twilight their props. Well, other than the Teen Choice Awards. Actually, new rule: if your awards show has “Choice” in the title, ninety percent of the award winners will in fact be really terrible. Prove me wrong, people. (Global, 9 p.m.)


Cat Crazed is Doc Zone‘s latest offering, about what many consider the latest ecological problem—the global overpopulation of cats—and the effects this has on our environment. A sequel is in development about the global overpopulation of lolcats, and what effects it may haz on cheezburger. (CBC, 9 p.m.)
Despite ABC’s very thin suggestions otherwise, Winter Wipeout is basically just Wipeout but with fake snow on the ground (it is shot in Southern California, after all) and winter/holiday-themed obstacles. Which is fine, because Wipeout may be a guilty pleasure, but guilty pleasures are still, in the end, pleasurable. (Global, 8 p.m.)
X-Cars is a docu-reality show about the Canadian developers of the eVaro, one of many cars competing for the Progressive Automotive X-Prize (a ten million dollar prize for the best car to achieve 100 miles/gallon fuel efficiency and be production-capable), as well as the other teams competing for the prize. The Canadian advertisements make it seem like the eVaro team are the stars, but the American advertisements for the same show? Not quite so much. For those who want to know what happened without watching the show, this is how the eVaro performed. (Discovery, 8 p.m.)
The product placement that has become endemic to college football’s Bowl season hits its ultimate nadir with the Bowl, a name so terrible and soulless that after the game, the competing teams of Middle Tennessee and Miami will commit ritual suicide to expunge their shame. This could have been avoided! (The Score, 8 p.m.)


The Comedy Network airs the pilot of Ugly Americans again. In the listings, they claim this is a new episode. This isn’t even a new episode for Canadian broadcast since they aired it earlier this year, so apparently we have discovered a new, lower standard for “new” as yet undiscovered in this country. New Coke was newer than this. (9:30 p.m.)

The Weekend

The Cape is NBC’s latest attempt to produce a relevant hit TV show, and although the show is entertaining enough you can almost smell the desperation from NBC, saying “please let this be a big genre hit please please please.” They’ve loaded up the cast with some serious talent (Keith David, Summer Glau, James Frain, Vinnie Jones) and the trailers for the show make it look reasonably goofy and entertaining. It’s still early to say that this is quality teevee, but nothing else it looks like it’s worth a shot, and NBC has loaded up the first two episodes back-to-back, so… (CTV, 9 p.m. Sunday)

CORRECTION: January 6, 2011, 11:45 AM Fooled by the Comedy Network’s ads for newness, we originally stated that Friday’s broadcast of Ugly Americans was a debut. Which it is not, and for which we apologize. No more believing advertising! Thanks to reader Mikey Kolberg for pointing out the error.