Televisualist: All the Shiny New Toys You Will Be Sick of by February
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Televisualist: All the Shiny New Toys You Will Be Sick of by February

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 are not actually sure if Ryan Gosling in fact said this, but whatever.


This season of Dancing with the Stars is the “all-star” season, with the likes of Pamela Anderson, Kirstie Alley, Joey Fatone, Drew Lachey, and Emmitt Smith making one think the title is almost merited. But then you see that Bristol Palin is also returning and you remember “Oh, right—it’s just Dancing with the Stars.” (CTV, 8 p.m.)

Partners is a sitcom starring Jon Cryer and Tate Donovan. The premise is that Jon and Tate are business partners and friends, but then Tate wants to get married to Maria Pitillo and Jon is worried about what that means for his friendship and their partnership…. No, wait, sorry, this is actually taken from a 1995 Televisualist column that somehow travelled forward in time. This new show called Partners is a sitcom starring David Krumholtz and Michael Urie, and David wants to get married to Sophia Bush, and Michael is worried about what this means for his friendship and their partnership. The twist this time around is that Michael’s character is gay, so the homoerotic subtext can be more, like, text. Also, you should have seen Televisualist’s hair in 1995. It was out there. (City, 8:30 p.m.)


Ben and Kate has been getting a lot of favourable press in the “show most likely to be unjustly overlooked” column, as it is one of those shows which is quietly excellent but has no obvious hook by which its network can publicize it. It is just a simple little sitcom about a single mother who invites her brother to live with her because she needs live-in help to take care of her kid, and it’s funny. So don’t unjustly overlook it, people! You don’t want to be unjust! (City, 8:30 p.m.)

Meanwhile, basically everybody has been giving The Mindy Project heavy ups because TV critics all love Mindy Kaling because she is funny and talented AND a woman AND a minority AND Hollywood has not thrown her out on the street yet despite all of that. However, here is the thing: the pilot of The Mindy Project is kinda meh. It’s not a home-run slam-dunk touchdown of comedy is what we are saying here. The cameos by famous people are forced and the episode feels awkwardly paced. Obviously we’re willing to let it work out its growing pains, because Mindy Kaling. But…yeah. (City, 9:30 p.m.)

Vegas is one of this season’s big, ambitious shows, about the early days of Las Vegas as the gambling-and-strippers paradise we all know and love, and the conflicts between the Mafiosi coming in and the cowboys who had always been there. In this show, Dennis Quaid is the heroic cowboy sheriff and Michael Chiklis is the bastard mobster, and that alone should sell you on the pilot if nothing else. (Global, 10 p.m.)


So, cynical critics are all predicting that Animal Practice will be NBC’s big breakout comedy hit this season, because it is basically Scrubs: But With Veteranarians This Time. Big, broad humour and cute animals. It’s not bad by any means (Bobby Lee in particular seems to be acting as if failure to sell his wimpy character will result in certain death). But it’s just sorta there. Still, it does have broad humour and cute animals, often at the same time, and people do like that sort of thing. (NBC, 8 p.m.)

The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Scenes From the Class Struggle in Springfield,” wherein Marge wants to be part of Springfield’s social 1 per cent thanks to her newfound Gucci dress. “But Marge…valets! For once maybe someone will call me ‘sir’ without adding ‘you’re making a scene.'” (Comedy Network, 8 p.m.)


The other one of this season’s big, ambitious shows is Last Resort, ABC’s super-intense drama about a submarine captain (played by Andre Braugher, who delivers more dramatic speeches per hour than he did in Homicide) who refuses to nuke Pakistan when ordered and then the U.S. government attacks his sub so he does the natural thing and uses his nukes to secede from the country. Shawn Ryan (The Shield, The Chicago Code) is behind this one, and the general odds people are giving is that it lasts for one season but OH what a season. Or, maybe it goes for multiple years and wins all the awards. The future is an unwritten country. (Global, 8 p.m.)

Elementary is CBS capitalizing on the success of Sherlock by doing an hour long procedural in which Sherlock is dysfunctional and Watson has to keep him in hand, so basically it becomes like every CBS procedural ever, except with Sherlock Holmes. The stunt-casting of Lucy Liu as “Joan Watson” and emphasizing Sherlock’s history as a drug addict are new takes on the modernized Sherlock, though, and we like Jonny Lee Miller (and Liu) so we’ll give this a chance to get good. (Global, 10 p.m.)


Made In Jersey is a legal drama starring newcomer Janet Montgomery as a plucky criminal defence lawyer from New Jersey and…you know what, just go watch the trailer and save yourself the work of actually watching the TV show. (Global, 9 p.m.)

The Weekend

This season on The Amazing Race: an athletic double amputee! Husband-and-wife monster-truck drivers! Reality-TV goat farmers! Chippendales dancers! Sri Lankan twins! Hard rockers! The potential to win $2 million rather than $1 million (if you come in first on the first leg and then win the whole thing)! Phil and his eyebrow! Ah, Amazing Race, we have missed you. (CTV, 8 p.m. Sunday)

666 Park Avenue is a show about a condo development in New York that is run by Vanessa Williams and Terry O’Quinn, who collectively are the Devil. Somebody greenlit this. No, really. (City, 10 p.m. Sunday)