Televisualist: Robot Trebek Edition
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Televisualist: Robot Trebek Edition

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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Purposefully not pictured: everybody in Terminator: Salvation. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.

Monday

Jeopardy! airs the first of three special episodes tonight, as Ken Jennings (the all-time leader in American game show winnings) and Brad Rutter (the all-time leader in Jeopardy! winnings) take on Watson, a supercomputer developed by IBM solely to be unstoppable at Jeopardy! In previews released last month, Watson cleaned Jennings’ and Rutter’s clocks, although towards the end of the preview the human players were starting to get a feel for Watson’s timing, and were more closely matched against it as a result. In any case, feel free to make any number of tired, derivative Terminator-themed jokes about the machines taking over, because that never gets old. (CBC, 7:30 p.m.)
Clap clap, clap clap clap, clap clap clap clap dog show! Specifically the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which is the King Kong of dog shows and begins tonight. Last year’s Best in Show winner was a Scottie named Sadie (or, if you want to use the names dog breeders formally give their dogs, “Mercedes of Maryscot,” which is one reason dog breeders are often terrible, terrible people). Everybody kind of went “oh,” because after a Sussex spaniel won it in 2009 and a beagle won it in 2008 (each the first time for its breed), it was kind of anticlimactic for a Scottie to win it, because a Scottie is a very dog-showish sort of dog. Will a mutt win this year? HA HA HA HA HA of course not. (TSN, 8 p.m.)

Tuesday

If you want to see a good Billy Crystal movie, there is When Harry Met Sally… tonight. Which is a bit odd, because you would think it would air on Valentine’s Day for all the romantics (or the very, very lonely people), but apparently not. It’s still a very good movie, though. (SunTV, 8 p.m.)
If you want to see a bad Billy Crystal movie, there is My Giant, which is a fictionalized version of Crystal’s stories about being friends with Andre the Giant, and is exactly as good as you might think “well, I want to tell how my friend’s issues with his size and tragic early death as a result of his imbalanced body chemistry affected me” would be. (CHCH, 8 p.m.)

Wednesday

Survivor: Redemption Island kicks off this week, and this season’s gimmick is twofold. First off, there’s a “redemption island” where eliminated contestants go to compete in challenges for the eventual opportunity to re-enter the game. Second, and more important from a hype perspective, “Boston Rob” Mariano and Russell Hantz, two of the most cunning players in the game’s history, are both returning this season. Bold prediction: neither of them will win it this time either, but Boston Rob will get further in the game than Russell will, because Boston Rob is basically a decent guy who enjoys the gamesmanship of Survivor, and Russell is just an asshole who’s reached his success so far by making other players believe he has magic powers or something, and his time with that trick is about up. (Global, 8 p.m.)
It’s the 2011 Brit Awards! Can you believe there is a major music awards show where Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber and Beyonce have a combined one nomination between them? I know! On the other hand, though, Take That are nominated for two awards, presumably because the British music industry wanted to give Robbie Williams credit for finally realizing his solo career was never going to be all that and a bag of chips. Or, as the British call them, “crisps.” Also performing at the show are Rihanna, Cee Lo Green, and the Arcade Fire. Hooray for British people! (MuchMusic, 8 p.m.)

Thursday

Winter Wipeout concludes, because apparently they don’t want to overexpose the people getting dunked in the water after they fall off of things. (Global, 8 p.m.)
“The boat will be ready for you on Friday. If I see you or any of your friends before then, Miss Finneran will find herself the victim of a most gruesome violation before she dies. As will your father, Mr. Hockney, and your Uncle Randall in Arizona, Mr. Kint. I might only castrate Mr. McManus’s nephew, David. Do I make myself clear?” Worse ways to commemorate the life of the recently passed-on Pete Postlethwaite than a viewing of The Usual Suspects. (CHCH, 9 p.m.)

Friday

Tonight on Blue Bloods: I don’t care. (CTV, 10 p.m.)

The Weekend

The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Homer Goes to College.” A classic. “Remember, your job depends on your successful completion of Nuclear Physics 101. Oh, and one more thing… you must find the Jade Monkey before the next full moon.” (Global, 12 p.m. Saturday)
The Amazing Race‘s new season is sort of an All-Stars season, except that none of the teams competing have ever won the Amazing Race. Instead, this season is mostly a bunch of “everybody’s favourite” teams from previous seasons: the cowboy brothers, the dating goths, the Harlem Globetrotters, and so on. (For some reason Zev and Justin from season 16 are back and I don’t remember anybody really missing them, but it wouldn’t be an All-Stars sort of season without one or two “whuh?” picks.) Also, this is the first season where The Amazing Race, far and away the major network show that most demanded to be shot in HD because of all its gorgeous locations, will be shown in HD. So that’s even better. (CTV, 8 p.m. Sunday)
If you like Saturday Night Live, then NBC is going to make you happy by airing a bunch of specials! First off is a one-hour special of SNL fake commercials called “Just Commercials.” Following that is SNL: Backstage, which appears to be a sort-of documentary about the behind-the-scenes life of the show, splashed with some memorable sketches to keep people’s attention. (NBC, 8 p.m. Sunday)

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