Televisualist: Winter Doldrums
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Televisualist: Winter Doldrums

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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“Troy and Abed on Torontoist!” Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.

Monday

The fifth season of Little Mosque on the Prairie and second season of 18 to Life both started last week, with CBC’s new plan of thirteen-episode seasons seeming to work out—both shows had ratings higher than last season (Little Mosque a third again better than last season’s finish). Don’t know if it will stick, but Mosque and Life are decent sitcoms that deserve a reasonable amount of success, and right now that’s what they’ve got. Also, finally advancing the Amaar/Rayyan romance on Mosque is extremely welcome. (CBC, 8 p.m.)
Hey, two new episodes of Lie to Me!… okay, yeah, that’s the first sign that this is the start of the January TV doldrums. (Global, 8 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Springfield Up,” featuring Eric Idle as a documentary filmmaker who focuses on Springfield. “I hope you don’t use this shot after the one where I say I won’t have kids, because that would be a devastating edit.” (Fox, 11 p.m.)

Tuesday

Shine introduced most of the world to the fact that Geoffrey Rush is awesome, and for that we can all be thankful. If you haven’t seen it, then you probably should do so. At luckily CHCH has you covered, because CHCH has apparently decided that if Citytv isn’t going to be Citytv, then someone else has to do it. And good on them. (8 p.m.)
CBC’s rerunning The Pillars of the Earth, which originally broadcast on TMN last summer but now you can watch it for free. It’s worth watching: the adaptation of Ken Follett’s epic novel about the building of a cathedral is generally entertaining, even if the villainy of the William Manleigh character has been played up to a nigh-absurd level (they threw in an incestuous relationship with his mother for… well, we’re not sure why). Besides, it has Ian McShane and Rufus Sewell and Donald Sutherland and Gordon Pinsent and Matthew Macfadyen in it. That’s some awesome cast right there. (9 p.m.)

Wednesday

In all honesty Televisualist should mention Modern Family more often because it’s really just a tightly written, quality comedy series. It’s nothing particularly special, mind: it’s not a strikingly personal show like Louie, or a relentlessly creative one like Community. Modern Family is just a display of pure competence in craft, week in and week out. Which is why we don’t write about it too often; because it’s so unspectacularly good we often forget to watch it. (City, 9 p.m.)
Aw, man, Teen Wolf? It is like CHCH decided today is my birthday! (8 p.m.)

Thursday

Still mostly reruns this week, but speaking of Community, tonight you can watch two of the most recent back-to-back: the clever “Conspiracy Theories and Interior Design,” which is emblematic of Community‘s style of episodes themed around a genre or style of TV/filmmaking, and “Mixology Certification,” which was completely the opposite. Both are excellent, much like the rest of Community, which is a show you really should be watching, you know. (City, 8 p.m.)
Also rerunning tonight: “Niagara,” or “The Office episode where Jim and Pam finally get married.” A lovely little hour of television. (City, 9 p.m.)

Friday

This week’s Allan Gregg In Conversation With… features Russell Peters, which should be moderately entertaining, because Russell Peters is mostly funny and Allan Gregg is mostly not. (TVO, 10 p.m.)

The Weekend

The 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards are… well, they’re the Golden Globes. Hollywood wants them to be a really big deal, but only occasionally do they really influence an enormous movement of Oscar voting (e.g., what everybody really cares about). It happened a couple of years ago when Kate Winslet got her double Golden Globes for Revolutionary Road and The Reader, which then led to double Oscars for the same films. The rest of the time you watch to see Hollywood stars getting drunk (which never happens at the Oscars) and having a fun party where they get awards, and possibly there are one or two entertaining or sentimental speeches, and maybe somebody does something awkward-looking enough to make a meme. Which is fine and good, but let’s not pretend that the Golden Globes—awarded, let us remember, by a bunch of journalists who are really just trying to kiss ass anyway—matter in any real way. (CTV, 8 p.m. Sunday)

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