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.
Being Erica concludes its fourth and final season tonight, and we must say that, despite being sad to see Erica leave us, it is certainly a success—despite having slightly less than half a million viewers per episode. Why do we say this? Because the CBC made four years and forty-nine episodes’ worth of Being Erica, a clever and whimsical television series that was not like anything else on the air, and that is the sort of thing the CBC should be doing (and which has led to producers in the UK and USA making their own versions of the show). It was, in many ways, a BBC-like thing to have done, and that is the sort of thing the CBC should do. Public broadcasters should make good television. Bravo. (9 p.m.)
Returning on the same night Erica departs: Fear Factor. With Joe Rogan and eating bugs and everything you would expect from Fear Factor. This is probably a metaphor or a simile or something. (Global, 8 p.m.)
Christmas stuff tonight: A Christmas Carol is the Alastair Sim version, widely acknowledged as the best Scrooge of all time (Turner Classic, 8 p.m.); White Christmas is Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney singing like, well, Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney, but if you miss it tonight, AMC is playing it literally all week long (AMC, 8 p.m.)
William and Kate: Inside the Royal Marriage reveals all of the secrets that the royal couple deems suitable for the public to learn. For example, did you know that Kate and Wills are very, very rich? Like, richer than you will ever be in your life forever and ever? And that’s before you consider the money he will get when he becomes King? And that they don’t pay taxes on it? We think these are fascinating facts about the royal marriage, personally. (NBC, 8 p.m.)
The Biggest Loser wraps up, and…once again we’re out of things to say about this show. We’re practically at the point of going Dada on this show, which just never seems to stop. TOURNIQUET FISHMONGER CORNBELT EMPEROR! Did you find meaning in that sentence? We hope you found some. Or perhaps we did not. Dada! (Omni-1, 9 p.m.)
Once again, it’s time to pretend that Barbara Walters is still relevant, as we watch Barbara Walters Presents the 10 Most Fascinating People of 2011. This year’s Most Fascinating People will include Derek Jeter, Donald Trump, Katy Perry, the Kardashian sisters, Simon Cowell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet from Modern Family, and Kate Middleton’s little sister Pippa, who it turns out actually exists and is not someone that was just made up to make Kate more relatable. I guess Barbara Walters is hoping that if she reads enough copies of US Weekly she will begin to age backwards. She probably should have stuck with baby blood. You can’t go wrong with freshly-squeezed baby blood, I tell you what. (Global, 9:30 p.m.)
In case you weren’t sure what was important out of this past year, Katie Couric will tell you in The Year With Katie Couric. Thank god someone remembered to tell us all what was important, or else we would have had to guess! (CHCH, 9 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Mountain of Madness,” wherein Homer and Mr. Burns are trapped in a snowed-in cabin together. “I think sharing is overrated too. And helping others. And what’s all this crap I’ve been hearing about tolerance?” (Comedy Network, 8 p.m.)
Christmas stuff tonight: you can catch your pick of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (CBC, 8 p.m.) or A Charlie Brown Christmas (ABC, 8 p.m.); Food Network runs a double-up of Jamie Oliver Christmas-themed cooking specials (8 p.m.).
In case you were in the mood for some Capital-A Art, PBS has you covered with Great Performances: The Little Mermaid, which has the San Francisco Ballet performing the ballet based on Hans Christian Andersen’s original fairytale and will not in any way have singing crabs in it. You needed some culture anyway, didn’t you? Right? (9 p.m.)
Christmas stuff tonight: the thoroughly creepy-looking CGI-animated The Polar Express (CBC, 8 p.m.); the horrible sequel to the tremendously overrated and not-funny Christmas Vacation is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 2: Cousin Eddie’s Island Adventure, and if you really wanted to see Randy Quaid get hit in the balls a lot, well, here you go (YTV, 8 p.m.).
Survivor lurches to the end of a disappointing season filled with players mostly unable to actually play the game. Originally we thought Coach was playing an exceptional game; instead, it turns out he was playing an average game with people who don’t understand the basic social dynamics of Survivor—like “you need to demonstrate to people why they should keep you around, rather than insist petulantly that you deserve to stay” or “if you want to vote someone out, you have to find a majority of votes to do so.” Partially this can be attributed to players being starstruck by returning players like Coach and Ozzy who are pseudo-celebrities, but mostly it’s because Survivor players are, somehow, getting dumber and more irritatingly moralistic as the seasons progress. Redemption Island, the gimmick nobody liked the first time around, was even less fun this second time around. Thankfully next season’s twist (both tribes living together in one camp) hopes to bring some excitement back to the game. In the meantime, enjoy Coach or Ozzy winning, everybody! (Global, 8 p.m. Sunday)
Syfy’s latest grim-tinged revamp of a children’s book (a la Tin Man and Alice) is Neverland, where Peter Pan meets Dickensian-style London and…well, it’s not terrible, with good performances from Rhys Ifans and Bob Hoskins (who plays Smee again, as he did in Steven Spielberg’s Hook), but it’s not terribly good, either. But there are worse ways to spend your time. (Space, 8 p.m. Sunday)
Christmas stuff this weekend: Remember how we just mentioned how Christmas Vacation sucks? Well, now you can watch it and see for yourself (City, 8 p.m. Sunday); if you never get tired of Kirsten Wiig’s “Gilly” character from Saturday Night Live—bearing in mind that Kirsten Wiig herself is sick to death of the character—then perhaps you might like A Very Gilly Christmas (MuchMoreMusic, 8 p.m. Sunday).