Televisualist: Because Canada Has No Ninjas
Torontoist has been acquired by Daily Hive Toronto - Your City. Now. Click here to learn more.



Televisualist: Because Canada Has No Ninjas

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.

We're not sure what is more worrying: that when asked to draw an image for American Ninja Warrior, Brett responded with a picture of an American, a ninja, and a warrior, or that he thinks Americans always have their hands up in the classic "Wooh!" stance.


You know what is more entertaining and awesome than it has any right to be? American Ninja Warrior. Despite the fact that this “do stunts in desperate attempt to achieve physical supremacy and fleeting glory” show has a silly title, it takes its physical competition completely seriously, and that is the key to it being so good. If it had “boing!”-style sound effects and jokey, cheesy announcers, it would be Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, and also it would be terrible. But it is neither of those things. It takes the fact that it is basically Obstacle Course: The Show and runs with it, and because it is serious, the show transcends silliness and becomes sport. And that is kind of great. (NBC, 9 p.m.)

We have to admit that The Devil’s Ride does not really fit into Discovery Channel’s usual mould for reality shows, because this is a show about a biker gang, and that’s a little more dramatic than usual for Discovery—a channel that usually likes reality shows about people doing interesting/dangerous jobs or people who like to blow up things for laughs—no, wait, we just saw it. (9 p.m.)

Suits returns for season two: the story of someone who would be the world’s greatest lawyer if only he were able to get a law degree! But he cannot! So instead he is a pretend lawyer. We think this show is proof that any non-incompetent procedural with enough snark in the dialogue can get three seasons these days. (Bravo, 9 p.m.)

Also returning for a second season: White Collar. Of course, this second season aired two years ago in the U.S., but it’s new to you. If you do not know what the Internet is. (Bravo, 10 p.m.)

The Glass House debuts. Interestingly, there was a possibility that this show might not have debuted, because CBS sued ABC, trying to prevent the show from airing. Their argument was that the show rips off Big Brother because on Big Brother the contestants are sealed within an enclosed compound and are gradually eliminated while performing stunts to get bonuses and game advantages, and on Glass House the contestants are sealed within an enclosed compound and are gradually eliminated while performing stunts to get bonuses and game advantages—but the walls are clear so people can see through them. Despite this similarity, ABC is going to get to air the show anyway, because the glass walls make everything different, or at least sufficiently different that it’s not the same show. Were Televisualist a little cheesier we would herein make a joke about transparency, but you are reading an extremely classy column here. We write it while dressed in formal white-tie dress. That is how classy it is. (CTV, 10 p.m.)


The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Homer the Whopper,” wherein Homer gets cast as a superhero in a feature film but is too fat to perform (sad trombone). It was written by Seth Rogen so it’s actually funnier than it sounds. “I played hardball with Hollywood—the closest I will ever come to playing a sport in my life.” (Fox, 11 p.m.)


It’s the 2012 NHL Awards! This year the show will feature a stunning musical performance by Mark Messier, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Cirque du Soleil, which will pay interpretive tribute to Rocket Richard. No, wait, sorry, we lied. Instead, Nickelback will perform a song. We liked our idea better, though. (CBC, 8 p.m.)


You know what doesn’t have a good title? Justin Bieber: All Around The World. It does exactly what it says on the tin: this is a special where Bieber is followed on tour for a couple of weeks. But surely they could have come up with a better title? We can’t think of one offhand but they must have someone there who gets paid to come up with titles. Wait, Frequent Bieber Miles. There you go! Okay, it’s not great, but it’s better than their boring title. (Global, 8 p.m.)

Tonight on TLC, which, as we recall, stands for “The Learning Channel”: America’s Worst Tattoos. Because you’re learning! About tattoos! (10 p.m.)


Now that the awards are over, it is time for the 2012 NHL Draft. Experts are saying this year’s draft is “thin” and there probably isn’t much suspense in the top rounds (although there is some debate as to whether Ryan Murray or Nail Yakupov will be the first pick). On the bright side, though, Nickelback is not scheduled to perform tonight. (TSN, 7 p.m.)

Salvage Hunters is a show about “decorative salvage dealers,” which is basically a job where you go around, look for cool old crap you can get for free or nearly free, and then sell it to people who want to decorate their homes or businesses with cool old crap. It promises to be the show that most makes you say “wait, why am I working in this boring office?” to come along in some time. (Discovery Channel, 8 p.m.)

The Weekend

We don’t know too much about The Great Escape, other than it has nothing to do with the classic movie of the same name. We know it’s a reality show from the people who brought you The Amazing Race. We know the idea is that teams of two will, well, escape from places. We know that the first season features Alcatraz at some point (because, well, of course it would). And we know that the show’s creators are selling it as being mega-exciting. Is it? We don’t know. But we admit, we are slightly intrigued. After all, “escape Alcatraz” sounds better to watch than “live in a glass house.” (Showcase, 10 p.m. Sunday)

The Newsroom is Aaron Sorkin’s new show for HBO, and it is expertly calculated to make West Wing fans drool. Everything you want from a Sorkin show is here: clever comic bits, topical political references, great actors (Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, Sam Waterson, Dev Patel—even Olivia Munn is good in this) talking really fast, inspirational speeches, people walking and talking at the same time, all of it. The show’s clever gimmick is—well, let’s not spoil it, but if you do some searching, probably EW or somebody will tell you. We are still undecided whether we like it or not. (HBO Canada, 10 p.m. Sunday)