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.
Although Mark Wahlberg has not acted like this for many, many years now, and is only tangentially related to Entourage at this point, it is still sort of funny, and that is what is important. Illustration by Brett Lamb/Torontoist.
MondayHell’s Kitchen returns for its ninth season, with a record 18 chefs competing. We say “chefs,” but if this Hell’s Kitchen is anything like previous seasons, we actually mean “a motley collection of spazzes, weirdos, and freaks with two to four actual competent potential winners buried in there somewhere.” Which will give Gordon Ramsay many opportunities to swear and/or call people “donkey,” which we understand in England is worse than saying words about one’s mama. (Fox, 8 p.m.)
The 2011 World Series of Poker has begun, and you know you’re watching summer television when you watch people play poker on television. It might as well be called the “2011 World Series Of You Get To Stay Inside With Your Air Conditioning On.” Particularly since numerous players now wear sunglasses while playing poker, which should be cheating. Perhaps I will enter the next World Series of Poker wearing a full welding mask! That would give me a major advantage! (TSN, 7 p.m.)
NBC picked up Harry’s Law for a second season, but that second season won’t start until September, so if you want to get a second crack at seeing Kathy Bates be a feisty lady lawyer who’s a liberal but also carries a gun (she defies stereotypical expectations! Because she’s a liberal and she totally carries a gun!), you can start tonight as NBC is reairing the first 12-episode season, beginning with the pilot. We’re not recommending that you do, though. Unless you really like air conditioning. (10 p.m.)
TuesdayNBC premieres It’s Worth What?, which is a show that sort of combines Antiques Roadshow with The Price Is Right, as contestants play a variety of pricing games, all based around estimating the value of various interesting things: Elvis’ jumpsuits, a dinosaur skeleton, the first appearance of Spider-Man, and so forth. Although the concept really isn’t anything new, it’s nice that Cedric the Entertainer is hosting, because Cedric the Entertainer is actually entertaining, and was more-or-less designed to be a game-show host. (8 p.m.)
If you’ve never seen XIII, the action series based on the TV miniseries based on the video game based on the Belgian comic book, then now is your chance to get in on the fourth iteration of the ground floor, as Showcase airs the pilot tonight. Get in now before they base something else on the ongoing series, like a trilogy of pulp novels or perhaps a set of dinnerware! (10 p.m.)
WednesdayAfter two weeks of marathons, Spike stops teasing us and gives us what we want: the season premiere of Deadliest Warrior. And this week it is… George Washington vs. Napoleon Bonaparte? We have to watch George Washington fight shrimpy little Napoleon in bloody combat? No, Deadliest Warrior! It is too early for you to jump the shark! Don’t do it! (10 p.m.)
Fanboy Confessional is Space’s new half-hour documentary series about various nerd communities: “real life superheroes,” furries, horror fans, and so forth. Nerds will probably be fascinated by it. Non-nerds might not be, much for the same reason that nerds aren’t lining up to watch documentaries about, say, NASCAR fans or fantasy-basketball players. But odds are that, if you are reading this, you are probably half nerd anyway, so that should be good for at least 15 minutes, right? (10 p.m.)
“Trapped In The Closet,” one of the most famous (and justifiably so) episodes of South Park, is on tonight. Watch again as Trey Parker and Matt Stone mock Scientology to the ends of the earth, then suggest that Tom Cruise and John Travolta and possibly R. Kelly are gay. Good times. (Comedy Network, 10:30 p.m.)