Televisualist: Have A Very Real Real Reality Summer
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.
Soccer: it has lots of kicking. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.
MondayWe’re not sure if CTV’s decision to begin airing So You Think You Can Dance Canada during the American season of So You Think You Can Dance is a good programming decision or a bad one. The argument for it being a good decision: airing it concurrently with the American season gives fans of the show a double-shot of what they enjoy at a time when there’s little competition for eyeballs. The argument for it being a bad decision: overexposure of the format exhausts even the hardcore fans of the show and decreases the audience. Televisualist leans towards it being a bad idea, but we’ll see. (CTV, 8 p.m.)
Prophets of Doom, a two-hour special that originally aired about six months ago in the U.S.A., us getting its first airing here. It’s about potential endings of the United States, due to your choice of the following: peak oil, freshwater supply decline, financial explosion, nuclear terrorism (domestic or foreign). So basically this is a fun two hours! (History Channel, 8 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Itchy and Scratchy Land,” one of the most insane episodes of The Simpsons ever—although even with all the killer robots, our favorite part is still the guard at Euro Itchy And Scratchy Land. “Hello? Itchy & Scratchy Land, open for business! Who are you to resist it, eh? Come on, my last paycheck bounced! My children need wine!” (Comedy Network, 9 p.m.)
TuesdayFollowing the success of Wipeout, ABC has a new extremely stupid game show, an adaptation of the British show 101 Ways To Leave a Game Show. In this show, contestants answer questions for money, and if they get a question wrong, they are eliminated in spectacular fashion: being ejected via bungee launcher, dragged away by a speedboat, flown away while standing on top of a biplane, et cetera. A show like this more or less depends on the charm of its announcers, since viewers get bored with the visual experience early on; ABC has hired Jeff Sutphen, the host of Nickelodeon’s gameshow Brainsurge, to host this show. Having watched Brainsurge, we have to say that Sutphen is ideally suited to host a gameshow for children who don’t know what anything good is like, so he should be fine here. (CTV, 8 p.m.; also ABC, 9 p.m.)
Speaking of Wipeout, there is a “sneak preview” special tonight, in case you can’t wait to see all the best bounces off the big balls until it is time for them to actually happen. (Global, 8 p.m.)
WednesdayThe 2011 NHL Awards! The only show on television that dares not make jokes about the Vancouver riot! Actually, we can’t make jokes about the Vancouver riot either. Not because we’re not allowed, but because Vancouver isn’t funny. It’s kind of sad. Vancouver, we mean. (CBC, 8 p.m.)
ThursdayExpedition Impossible is a sort of combination of The Amazing Race and Eco-Challenge, as teams of three race in stages across Morocco in an entirely outdoor-challenge sort of way (cross-country hiking, mountaineering, river fording, and so on), but with puzzles and challenges on top of that, and with a team being eliminated at each stage of the race. Should be watchable, because Mark Burnett, the producer, knows good reality TV. Then again, Mark Burnett is also responsible for Pirate Master. (CTV, 9 p.m.)
Tonight’s rerun of Community, “Cooperative Calligraphy,” was their attempt at a bottle episode (an episode of a sitcom taking place entirely within one location), and the meta-nature of Community combined with some truly brilliant writing made this one of the second season’s highlights. Recommended viewing. (City, 8 p.m.)
FridayAnd now, the 2011 NHL Entry Draft! Of course, the muted expectations of NHL draftees make this less exciting than the NFL or NBA drafts; in those sports top draft picks are actively expected to turn around fortunes of entire teams, whereas in the NHL it’s entirely common for a top draft pick to maybe spend a season or two in the AHL honing his skills before advancing to the NHL proper. But sports drafts are always interesting, so even this should be watchable. (TSN, 7 p.m.)
The WeekendSlice has picked up The Glee Project, a singing/performance competition where the winner gets a seven-week-long guest-starring role on the next season of Glee. Impressively, Slice is only airing the show a mere week after the American airing, which in some ways is worse than how Canadian networks often air reality show seasons months after they conclude in the United States, if only because it emphasizes the second-class nature of Canadian cable television. (9 p.m. Sunday)
The FIFA Women’s World Cup kicks off this weekend, and for once Canadians don’t have to merely root for whatever foreign team they feel they should vote for, since Canada actually has a team competing. Canada is in Group A, along with Germany, France, and Nigeria, which is as close as a Group of Death exists in this tournament. Sportsnet has all the games this year, but Team Canada’s games will also be aired on the CBC. (Nigeria v. France 8:45 a.m. Sunday; Germany v. Canada 11:45 a.m. Sunday on CBC, repeat at 6:30 p.m. Sunday on Sportsnet)