Televisualist: Carrying The Torch
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.
Hey, remember when Michael Bolton did that thing? Like that! Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.
MondayHoarders does its second-season version of “Where are they now?” as it goes back to revisit what some previous hoarders featured on the show are now hoarding, or not hoarding, as the case may be. The problem with this is that, if the former hoarders have stopped hoarding, it’s good for them but boring for the viewer; if they haven’t stopped hoarding, it’s bad for them but also good TV. In short: this idea is basically lose/lose. (A&E, 9 p.m.)
It’s July 4 today, so that means the Americans are celebrating with fireworks! NBC has the Boston Pops playing your favorite movie scores and the like to accompany the fireworks, while CBS has the annual Macy’s extravaganza. Woo! Shit blowin’ up good! (Macy’s 9 p.m., Boston Pops 10 p.m.)
TuesdayCTV is once again trying to earn some indie cred by airing The Borgias in network prime time; they previously aired the series uncensored on Bravo!, but now it’s summer and they need to air something, so here we go. No word yet on whether the breasts of the Italian Renaissance will go free or CTV will air a censored version of the show instead; they aired The Sopranos uncensored, but then again that was mostly only bad words rather than nudity. The Borgias ended up being quite good, though, so it’s worth seeking out. (10 p.m.)
The 2011 Tour de France kicked off this weekend past, but the joy of watching three hours of cycling at a time is that you can jump in at basically any point. Tonight, it’s stage 4, from Lorient to Mur-de-Bretagne. For those people who absolutely have to know what Canadians are present in any major international sporting event, Ryder Hesjedal, who finished seventh in the Tour last year, is riding as part of the Garmin-Cervelo team. You’re welcome. (TSN, 7:30 p.m.)
Well, Canada is well and truly shut out of Women’s World Cup contention after a close loss to Germany and then a total drubbing at the hands of France, but with any luck we can at least beat Nigeria so we don’t look like a bunch of patsies. (CBC, 2:30 p.m; replay at 7 p.m.)
WednesdayFriday Night Lights finishes up its final network run with a ninety-minute finale as Coach takes the Lions to State, bookending the first season’s ending with the fifth and giving fans of good television a rarity: letting a low-rated, high-quality show end almost entirely on its own terms (thanks to the DirecTV deal that produced the final two seasons of this show). A lot of people overlooked Friday Night Lights when it was on because the subject matter (high school football and the community surrounding it) wasn’t cool enough in their eyes; that’s their loss, as FNL will go down as one of the truly great TV dramas of the last decade. (Global, 9 p.m.)
Deadliest Warrior fans be aware: Spike has a first-season marathon of your favorite stupidly-brilliant fantasy-battle show, starting with “Shaolin Monk v. Maori Warrior” and ending with “Yakuza v. Mafia”: over eight hours of stabbing, chopping, bludgeoning, shooting, and actors going “raaaaaaaaagh!” and waving their fists in rage and/or triumph. There are far worse ways to kill an afternoon. (beginning at 3:35 p.m.)
ThursdayTelevisualist doesn’t care much for Big Brother, which started out with its own gimmick and gradually morphed into “Survivor but in a house rather than on an island,” and Survivor without the island is a like a jumbo hot dog without mustard. This season’s gimmick seems especially silly: the show will begin with eight new housemates, but when they get down to six contestants, the show will then add six more contestants, who are all popular previous contestants. It doesn’t exactly make sense that the show would give experienced players what amounts to a leg up, but then again, Big Brother has never really been about the intellectual consistency. (Global, 9 p.m.)
Oh, yeah, Rookie Blue came back for a second season! Apparently people really like it! We’re not sure why! (Global, 10 p.m.)
FridayAh, Desperado, you so remind us of the mid-1990s: when Antonio Banderas was widely believed to be the next great action star, when Robert Rodriguez wasn’t busy making new editions of Spy Kids, when Hong Kong-style gun-fu action movies were still fresh and new to the general public. That may all be in the past now, but at least Salma Hayek is still smoking hot. (Bravo!, 9 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “The PTA Disbands,” where the teachers go on strike. “Oh, Edna. We all know that these children have no future… Prove me wrong, children. Prove me wrong.” (Comedy Network, 9 p.m.)
The WeekendSpace picked up Outcasts, presumably because it came as part of a package deal when they picked up Doctor Who and Being Human, because this generally bad sci-fi series got cancelled after one season and is eminently skippable. Do not bother with it. (8 p.m. Saturday)
However, Space also picked up Torchwood: Miracle Day, which serves as the fourth season of the Doctor Who spinoff, and the first to take place entirely in the United States: this season adds honest-to-God Americans like Mekhi Phifer, Lauren Ambrose, and Bill Pullman to the cast. (Pullman, in what sounds like a spectacularly weird bit of casting, plays a multiple murderer on death row.) Torchwood can be extremely hit or miss, but this season’s core storyline—suddenly, people just stop dying—is a clever hook. (9:15 p.m. Saturday)