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.
Rudolph’s Shiny New Year is the lesser-known sequel to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. It is not terrible, assuming the idea of watching Rudolph babysit a baby New Year entertains you terribly. Otherwise it kind of sucks, despite being a supposed classic. Sometimes old things were just never good in the first place. (ABC, 8 p.m.)
Another way you know the new year is upon us: the beginning of best/worst of 2011 shows. Such as Video On Trial‘s “Best of the Worst 2011” special. We’re not going to diss VoT, which gives a lot of talented Canadian comics an opportunity to showcase their talents in a pop-culture-friendly way. That’s how we roll. (MuchMusic, 10 p.m.)
For those not interested in years new or otherwise, Space airs Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus and Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus and then follows it up with Jaws because once you run out of Mega Shark you have to go back to where it all started. (beginning at 6:30 p.m.)
TLC debuts Extreme Couponing, which… look, we make fun of TLC’s terrible reality shows a lot here, but as others have said: this is a reality show about coupons. How do you begin to make fun of that? It is like trying to bail out the ocean. No matter how much you try, no matter how much effort you exert, there will always be more ocean. Hats off to you, TLC, for finding a way to immunize yourselves from TV critic snark. (10 p.m.)
“Not only was it authentic frontier gibberish, it expressed the courage little seen in this day and age.” “Mongo only pawn in game of life.” “No, thank you. Fifteen is my limit on schnitzengruben.” “Now you men will only be risking your lives, whilst I will be risking an almost certain Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.” “You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know… morons.” “I want rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers and Methodists.” “Piss on you! I’m working for Mel Brooks!” Blazing Saddles. Oh yes. (AMC, 8 p.m.)
Bravo throws a bit of Hugh Grant our way today with a double bill of About A Boy and Notting Hill, which are both fine movies that are quite British and fun and full of adorable British stammering and references to English things. Also, the Queen. Not that she appears in them, but you know what we mean. (beginning at 6:30 p.m.)
Happy New Year, Charlie Brown features, as a major plot point, Charlie Brown’s attempts to read War and Peace over the Christmas break. Did anybody here ever read War and Peace—for school or for fun—when they were ten? We ask out of idle curiosity. Also, as an aside, this was the 30th Peanuts special. The 29th, if you were wondering, was It’s Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown, which never airs now because it is staggeringly dated, but is nonetheless sort of awesome. (ABC, 8 p.m.)
Hook, Line and Sisters is TLC’s new reality show about coupons. No, wait, it’s not about coupons at all! This one is about a family of sisters who all work as deep sea fishers in Alaska. Presumably they use coupons of some sort at times, but we would like to stress that this show has absolutely nothing to do with coupons, except where coupons appear incidentally. We want our readers to be aware of these things, in case they need their coupon-related show urges fulfilled. (10 p.m.)
The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Simpsons Tall Tales,” one of those episodes where the Simpsons re-enact old stories as vignettes. In this case, it’s American oral culture. “Don’t worry, I’m not a stabbing hobo, I’m a singing hobo. Ohhhhh, nothin’ beats the hobo life, stabbin’ folks with my hobo knife…” (Comedy Network, 8 p.m.)
New Year’s Eve stuff: Muchmusic brings back Electric Circus for a “one-night-only” shindig (10 p.m. Saturday); Global airs the Niagara Falls New Year’s Eve Special, featuring performances by Styx and Glass Tiger (10 p.m. Saturday); City’s New Year’s Eve Bash 2012 has Howie D of the Backstreet Boys, because nobody else was willing to hang out in Nathan Phillips Square (10 p.m. Saturday); NBC New Year’s Eve With Carson Daly has Drake, Cee-Lo Green, and Tony Bennett (10 p.m. Saturday); and Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve With Ryan Seacrest has the longest title of the night, a 40th anniversary recap special (beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday) and Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Pitbull, LMFAO, Florence + The Machine, Nicki Minaj, and Blink-182 (10 p.m. Saturday).
There are lots of bad New Year’s Day marathons, but one good one is Showcase’s, which is all three Indiana Jones movies back-to-back. “Crystal Skull?” What is this thing you speak of? We do not understand your strange and terrible language. (beginning at 11:30 a.m. Sunday)