Televisualist: American TV Executives Ruin Everything
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Televisualist: American TV Executives Ruin Everything

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.

You're right, TSN, nothing screams athleticism like a bunch of dudes sitting around a table, smoking, gambling, and eating pretzels.

Monday

For some reason City is now airing the previous week’s episode of Parks and Recreation on Mondays, which has traditionally been a ratings-killer in Canada because we all have access to the American networks and will just watch the American broadcast instead. Networks know this—it’s one of the many reasons they successfully lobbied for replacement-casting their versions of American shows over American channels, because they knew they would lose viewers to American networks even when broadcasting the show at the same time. In any event, the upside of this is that viewers who missed last week’s episode, “The End of the World,” can catch it now, as it is both a relatively standalone episode of Parks that new viewers can watch quite easily and because it’s probably one of the best episodes of the show’s run so far. (9 p.m.)

Tuesday

AMC runs a Rocky marathon—five movies, back to back. That means Rocky (excellent), Rocky II (pretty good), Rocky III (skippable unless you really love Mr. T), Rocky IV (don’t bother, although the opening where Apollo Creed is killed by the evil Russian is unintentionally hilarious), and Rocky V (flawed but interesting). Sadly, AMC isn’t showing Rocky Balboa, which ended the franchise on a strong note, but this is a slice of film history here, and it’s interesting to see the progression of the franchise over 14 years in Hollywood. (First film begins at 12:30 p.m.)

Cato is not about libertarians, but instead is a documentary about Cato Bontjes van Beek, a female German anti-Nazi protester and member of the Red Orchestra German resistance movement who was executed by the Reich at the age of 23 for high treason. Stuff like this is the reason TVO remains so vital: the CBC can’t air all of the documentaries that demand airing. (TVO, 9 p.m.)

Do you know who Ben Lamb, Martin Staszko, and Pius Heinz are without checking Wikipedia first? If so, the 2011 World Series of Poker Final Table is probably up your alley. Watching pasty white dudes play cards is the very essence, we think, of what belongs on a sports channel. (TSN, 9 p.m.)

It’s season three of Quints by Surprise! TLC currently airs this in a block with 19 Kids and Counting, because apparently there is a desire among the viewing public to watch multiple TV shows about families with enormous numbers of children all in one night. We guess. (10 p.m.)

Flying Wild Alaska returns for its second season, and unlike many docu-reality shows, Televisualist quite appreciates this one because it’s not just “family operates a slightly odd business” but instead “family operates a slightly odd business in the middle of nowhere.” Seriously, the town this family lives in has a population of less than 800. The school district this town is in covers 75,000 square miles! Stuff like this makes this show more entertaining than, say, your average Real Housewives. (Discovery, 10 p.m.)

Wednesday

So if you haven’t been watching Survivor this season, here is what happened: firstly, Coach has somehow transformed from being one of the stupidest douchebags to ever compete on this show into a clever, insightful, and tactical player of the social game, which is weird enough in and of itself. Then Ozzy’s tribe found themselves potentially a man down going into the merge, so they came up with a pretty smart cover story: they eliminated Ozzy in the hopes that he would win Redemption Island and that the merge would happen right afterwards, and that is exactly what happened. Unfortunately, the other part of their plan didn’t work, because that part was “pretend that Cochran had the immunity idol and eliminated Ozzy with it, and then have Cochran infiltrate Coach’s tribe and strike from within.” This was a bad plan for two reasons: firstly, they were all terrible actors and Coach (again—of all people, Coach) saw right through it, showed Cochran that he knew exactly what had really happened, and then also was perceptive enough to realize that Cochran had been treated absolutely terribly by his tribe and offered him an alliance. So Cochran jumped ship and eliminated Keith, who was the biggest asshole to him. (Also, we got to see Dawn waffle on whether or not she should jump ship with Cochran, which coincided amazingly neatly with whether or not she was safe from elimination. It turns out Dawn only felt guilty when she was in danger!) So now Cochran is seventh of seven in his new alliance, except that at some point that alliance has to fracture, and furthermore Cochran is now one of the safest people to take to the final tribal council because five people hate him like poison. It’s been a pretty great season of Survivor so far, and this week promises to have Cochran’s former tribemates whining like horrible people, which is always fun. (Global, 8 p.m.)

It’s the 45th annual Country Music Association Awards! Hosted by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, with performances by Paisley and Underwood, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban, among others. Some of you will watch this, as it is the biggest night of the year for country music, so we mention it as a public service. (CHCH, 8 p.m.)

Thursday

Space has picked up another season of Primeval, the BBC’s “government agents hunt time-travelling dinosaurs” show, and if that description doesn’t make you want to watch this show, then maybe something is just wrong with you. (10 p.m.)

The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Alone Again Natura-Diddly,” which is the one where Maude Flanders dies. “In many ways, Maude Flanders was a supporting player in our lives. She didn’t grab our attention with memorable catchphrases, or comical accents.” “Aye.” “Yar.” “Oh, glaven, why glaven?” (Comedy Network, 8 p.m.)

Friday

Fort Boyard: Ultimate Challenge is the latest iteration of a British version of a French game show that has been co-produced to introduce the show to an American audience. Sadly, the show has been watered down a bit because of this: traditionally the show features actors playing the evil Boyard (who taunts the competitors) and his prisoner (who helps them—one of these was played by Tom Baker of Doctor Who fame), but this has been removed and now it simply has presenters like every other game show. Also, since the competitors are now all teenagers, the show’s stunt competitions are a little less exciting. Also they got rid of the tigers. We are not kidding about there having been tigers on this show. First America ruined Coupling and now this? (Family Channel, 9:30 p.m.)

The Weekend

TLC premieres All-American Muslim, a documentary show about… being a Muslim in America. We’re not sure whether the existence of this show is encouraging or sad. (10 p.m. Sunday)


CORRECTION, November 7, 4:40 p.m. This post originally incorrectly indicated that this was the first season of Primeval that Space was broadcasting. We regret the error.

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