Televisualist: The Poor Man’s Bobby Flay
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.
So You Think You Can Dance Canada concludes season four in the proud So You Think You Can Dance tradition of attempting to fix things that were never broken, opting for a six-person final competition episode rather than the usual final four. This is of course the format that was used in the sixth season of the American show, which fans disliked, so why not imitate something that was cumbersome and wasn’t popular? Following on the show’s bold decision to have dancers dance less, one can only wonder what the next revelation from SYTYCD Canada producers will be. Maybe they can have Katie Holmes guest-judge! I hear she’s available. (CTV, 8 p.m.)
Rocco DiSpirito, the poor man’s Bobby Flay, debuts Rocco’s Dinner Party, wherein three competing chefs cook off for Rocco and his celebrity guests. The show is pretty bland fare as far as competitive cooking shows go and eminently skippable (as anyone who took the opportunity to watch it three months ago when it debuted on American TV knows), but the first episode does have Michael K. Williams as one of the guest judges, and Omar makes everything better. Even dull cooking competition shows. (W, 10 p.m.)
Death Valley has a sort of COPS-meets-The-X-Files vibe to it, as it’s an ongoing series about a team of police officers tasked with hunting down “the undead”: vampires and zombies and werewolves. (Apparently the entire world has decided to follow Terry Pratchett’s lead and declare werewolves to be honorary undead.) The most notable actors in it are one of the original dudes from MadTV and the girl who played Alex on Lost, but the show has a pretty fun horror/comedy vibe going and an admirable splatterpunk spirit, and you should consider watching it if you can handle a lot of blood. (Much, 9 p.m.)
America’s Got Talent progresses into its final rounds, as the top 10 acts compete for a shot at the final four, and this year’s final 10 are surprisingly diverse: only three singers and a band, instead of the usual smorgasbord of singers filling up almost the entire top 10. Granted, the remaining six acts include four dance troupes (with a magician and a team of stunt motorcyclists rounding out the top 10), so maybe the new rule for America’s Got Talent is that if you want to have a realistic shot of making the finals, you need to do something another show already celebrates. Which is a pity, because this is the only reality show where a dog act can conceivably win the whole thing. (City, 9 p.m.)
Bravo’s carefully making sure to debut all of their series acquisitions within the same window (even if they’re months behind their American debuts), and Against The Wall is the latest; this one’s about an Internal Affairs police officer in Chicago whose job pits her against her cop family. It’s not terribly thrilling, although it does have Treat Williams in it. So if you like Treat Williams, go nuts. (9 p.m.)
Roseanne’s Nuts is Roseanne Barr’s new reality show about her new life as a macadamia nut farmer in Hawaii, which if it was not real would be one of the most random sentences ever constructed. But it definitely is real! (W, 10 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “The Last Temptation of Krusty,” wherein Krusty is locked out of the Springfield Comedy Festival, then reinvents himself as an edgy comic, then sells out all over again. Featuring the smooth ride of the Canyonero. “Can you name the truck with four wheel drive / smells like a steak and seats thirty-five / Canyonero, Canyonero.” (Comedy Network, 9 p.m.)
Dance Moms is effectively the reality-TV dark side of So You Think You Can Dance, as it follows the adventures of professional dance mothers and professional dance trainers who make (or help) young kids achieve the best results in competitive modern dance. At times amazing and at times creepy, which is what good unscripted television should be. (Slice, 10 p.m.)
Although it is about football, Necessary Roughness has nothing to do with the Scott Bakula/Sinbad sports comedy of the same name. Which is a pity, because who doesn’t love Scott Bakula? (Sinbad, not so much.) Instead, this is a television show about a woman, played by the excellent Callie Thorne (previously of Homicide), who becomes the team therapist for the New York Giants. It appears to be reasonably entertaining in a light kind of way, which is more or less the USA Network’s specialty in regards to dramedy. Worth checking out. (W, 8 p.m.)
If you wanted to watch The Pacific back when it was on HBO but couldn’t afford HBO, History Television begins the freeview tonight. And it’s something you should watch: it paces itself more slowly than Band of Brothers in many respects, but also manages more profound moments and a deeper antiwar message than the more straightforward earlier HBO maxiseries. (9 p.m.)
Want to watch a show that managed to offend absolutely everybody? Then Mob Wives is the show for you! It offends Italian-Americans who hate the base portrayal of their culture, victims of Mafia violence who are offended that the show glorifies the lifestyle, actual Mafia members who consider the stars of the unscripted show to be traitors to the Mafia’s code, and critics who had to watch it. Naturally it was successful and a second season is therefore in production. Ah, huddled masses! Your tastes are so terrible! (Slice, 10 p.m.)
So You Think You Can Dance Canada determines its winner tonight, who will be either the lone remaining ballroom dancer or one of the five contemporary dancers remaining in the top six. (CTV, 8 p.m. Sunday)
Also concluding: In The Flow With Affion Crockett, which has been hit-or-miss during its short run, but in the promising sort of way when a young comic getting his first major league at-bats is throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks. Some of his rapper impressions have been gold (particularly his Drake), and some of his sketches show a lot of ballsy talent. Unfortunately, not all of them, and when he’s not on, he’s all the way off. Like we said: hit or miss. (Fox, 9:30 p.m. Sunday)
CORRECTION: September 6, 2011, 1:00 P.M. This article originally indicated that The Pacific will be airing on the History Channel. It will in fact be airing on History Television.