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.
There are those who dismiss Matthew Perry out of hand. Brett is one such. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.
MondayThe Chicago Code was originally called Ride-Along, but Fox thought that title was too difficult for its audience to understand so they changed it. The show boasts a good pedigree: Shawn Ryan, creator of The Shield, doing another multi-layered cop show, with Delroy Lindo playing the probably-corrupt alderman and Jennifer Beals (whoa!) playing the first female superintendent of the Chicago PD. If you can get past the terrible trailer with token fat cop screaming about the way things go in Chicago (to remind everybody that Chicago is a corrupt city filled with corrupt corruption), maybe you can give this a go. (Global, 9 p.m.)
Mr. Sunshine is a new single-camera sitcom starring Matthew Perry as a midlife-crisis-ing manager of a sports arena and Alison Janney as his crazy eccentric boss. What’s been shown so far seems to be average writing that relies on the skills of Perry and Janney (and a talented supporting cast, including Andrea Anders from Better Off Ted and James Lesure from Las Vegas) to elevate it. Luckily, Perry and Janney and company have the goods, so hopefully they can keep this odd duck afloat until the writing gets better. (CTV, 8 p.m.)
TuesdayTraffic Light is yet another show about three male friends: one married, one living with girlfriend, one single. Basically it’s Rules of Engagement, but without Patrick Warburton, and replacing David Spade with the guy who played creepy Colin in Love Actually. Sound like a winner yet? (Fox, 9:30 p.m.)
WednesdayLive to Dance concludes its first season, which will likely be its only season given its terrible ratings: up against the tryout episodes of a Cowell-less American Idol, it did worse numbers than what CBS had up against Idol tryouts last year. (Which would have been reruns of Gary Unmarried, the Jay Mohr sitcom you didn’t want to watch either.) Hopefully this will be the last gasp of Paula Abdul’s television hosting/judging career, but we all know that if Kate Gosselin can hang around television as long as she has, Paula isn’t going anywhere. (CBS, 8 p.m.)
The Onion A.V. Club wrote up one of their periodic Very Special Episode columns on “Vienna Waits,” a particularly interesting episode of Taxi—and not a week later, it pops up on SunTV? What are the odds of that? Fear the A.V. Club! Fear it! (9:30 p.m.)
ThursdayShit My Dad Says is still just shit. (CTV, 8:30 p.m.)
CHCH has a Sundance 2011 special and we don’t know if it will be good or not. If it is good, it’ll talk a lot about the smaller movies that don’t get enough media time. If it is bad, it will talk a lot about the big stars that show up at Sundance to schmooze and possibly about Sundance itself, all of which is besides the point. Most specials of this sort tend to go 70/30 between these two elements; what will happen in this case is a question we cannot answer. (10 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Wedding for Disaster,” a decent and recent episode where Homer is kidnapped right before he and Marge can renew their wedding vows. “I’m chained to a wall like a common bicycle! But who would do that to me? It would have to be someone who could afford a chain.” (Fox, 11 p.m.)
FridayBe My Valentine, Charlie Brown is one of the earlier Peanuts specials (1975) and one of the better ones, as Charlie Brown gets no valentines. It’s relatively aimless, as by this point the shows were more themed collections of Peanuts gags from the strips, but it’s entertaining and smart, and that’s not nothing. (ABC, 8 p.m.)
The WeekendTVO has you covered if you’re the sort of person who wants a stay-in romantic weekend, with a double bill of Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, Richard Linklater’s pair of romances starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. The two films are completely charming and smart—romantic in the best ways without ever getting sappy or stupid. There’s a half-hour episode of The Interviewers in between the two devoted to discussing the films, so it’s not at all a bad way to spend a Saturday night, especially if you have someone with whom to share your couch. (Sunrise 8 p.m. Saturday, Sunset 10 p.m. Saturday)
For some reason, CTV is airing a one-year anniversary special devoted to last year’s Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Which is probably the most pointless thing they’ve ever aired and there is zero need for you to ever watch this, unless you got hit on the head and forgot about us winning the hockey. But if that happened, now you know we won the hockey! (8 p.m. Sunday)
Hey, it’s the Grammy Awards! People probably care less about the Grammys than they do about last year’s Winter Olympics! Seriously, name one artist who won a Grammy last year. Just one. We bet you can’t do it without Googling, or by naming a really big famous artist like Beyonce or Kanye and hoping that they did in fact win one. (8 p.m. Sunday)