Televisualist: Okay, Okay, We'll Talk About Doctor Who
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Televisualist: Okay, Okay, We’ll Talk About Doctor Who

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.

How much does Brett hate House rip-offs? Enough to draw a Dalek. That is a lot for him. You have no idea.


Coma is A&E’s new Ridley and Tony Scott miniseries about eeeeevil doctors who put patients into comas so they can operate on them for medical research. A&E spent a lot of money on this (Lauren Ambrose, Geena Davis, Ellen Burstyn, Richard Dreyfuss, James Woods), and it’s campy, fun garbage (and there are worse things—for example, not-fun garbage, of which there is plenty on teevee). But given Tony Scott’s recent death, we can’t help but think this is gonna be remembered in that context, which is a shame. (9 p.m.)

Obama Revealed: The Man, The President is CNN’s viewer-baiting special that tries to play up the fact that the Democratic National Convention is this week, and after the Republican convention was not the ratings success people envisioned—even when Clint Eastwood shouted at an empty chair—CNN is a little desperate. Tonight, CNN reporters share their insights into the President. For example: did you know he is black? And that he recently turned 50? (8 p.m.)

Franklin and Bash premieres because Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer are staring into the deep abyss of TV irrelevance and they are accordingly going to cling to their shitty lawyer series for as long as humanly possible. (Bravo, 9 p.m.)


It’s the Democratic National Convention! Tonight’s expected speakers: San Antonio mayor Julian Castro, Michelle Obama, and former Republican senator and current governor of Rhode Island, Lincoln Chafee. Tonight’s expected chairs: not empty. (CNN and PBS, 7 p.m.)

Also political and happening tonight: the Quebec provincial election, wherein Jean Charest probably gets his ass handed to him, although polling of late shows that the Parti Québécois has been bleeding some support and its previously expected win of a majority government might not happen after all—but, in any event, the race will be extremely close. Quebec politics are always fascinating, and the parties have the best logos in Canada (the Coalition Avenir Québec’s logo is so neat and futuristic it looks like it should be an evil corporation that makes zombies in its basement), so maybe you watch this instead of the Americans, eh? (CBC Newsworld, 7:30 p.m.)

Oh hey, Kindergarten Cop! “It’s nadda tumah!” Sorry, but we love this stupid movie, even more than we love politics. (CTV2, 8 p.m.)

The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Homer the Great,” which is the one with the Stonecutters. “Welcome to the club, Number 493. You have become a member of the ancient and noble society of Stonecutters, who since ancient times have always endeavoured to shatter the stone of ignorance, to bring forth the light of truth. Now, let’s all get drunk and play Ping-Pong!” (Comedy Network, 8 p.m.)

World Without End is the sequel to The Pillars of the Earth, the 2010 miniseries about the contruction of a cathedral in Kingsbridge (both miniseries of course being based on Ken Follett’s very successful novels). This time around, it’s 137 years later and also there is the Black Death. Starring this time around: Cynthia Nixon, Miranda Richardson, Ben Chaplin, and Peter Firth, plus, for you people who love to see Canadian actors, both Carlo Rota and Megan Follows make appearances! (Showcase, 10 p.m.)


Day two of the Democratic National Convention! Speaking tonight: Elizabeth Warren and Bill Clinton. That’s all you really need to say right there. Other than another joke about chairs, because, come on, Clint Eastwood, what the hell were you thinking? (CNN and PBS, 7 p.m.)

Perception is another medico-crime procedural wherein Smart Doctor With Personality Problems (Just Like Gregory House) Helps The Cops. In this show, the House is played by Eric McCormack (of Will and Grace fame), and he is a paranoid schizophrenic, but of the television variety, where it is entertaining rather than tragic, and he uses neuroscience to solve crimes. If you have already seen House and Bones, sort of mash them together and you get this show. Also, this show has LeVar Burton on it, and we are not going to make fun of LeVar Burton because he is an awesome guy. (Bravo, 9 p.m.)


It’s the final day of the Democratic National Convention, and tonight there will be John Kerry, a chair, Joe Biden, another chair, and then Barack Obama, who may or may not have a chair with him. Is the chair joke dead yet? Did we kill it? Okay, now we can move on. (CNN and PBS, 7 p.m.; major American networks begin coverage at 9 p.m.)

In an excellent case of counterprogramming, tonight is also the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards, featuring performances by Frank Ocean, One Direction, Green Day, Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Alicia Keys, and Pink, who apparently now sometimes calls herself “P!nk,” because that is not silly at all. Pink, you are better than doing the put-punctiation-in-your-name thing. (MuchMusic, 8 p.m.)

Interesting programming from Turner Classic tonight: almost four hours of early silent comedies. They’re filling prime time with three hours of Mack Sennett shorts from the 1910s, then progressing to some Fatty Arbuckle and early Charlie Chaplin for the later hours. Fascinating viewing opportunity here. (Beginning at 8 p.m.)


This year’s Stand Up to Cancer special features performances by Alicia Keys and Taylor Swift, who we guess don’t have to tour any more because they can just do endless appearances on television specials? Or something? Also, Coldplay, who tour all the time but really just hate cancer. (Global, City, and CTV, 8 p.m.)

The Weekend

Okay, so we didn’t mention the Doctor Who premiere last week because we have (not kidding) gotten emails saying we talk about Doctor Who too much and will always include it in the column no matter what, so, in order to show balance, we didn’t mention it, mostly because it was a week where we were spoiled for choice anyway, and that was before the Republican convention was taken into consideration. And then we got people emailing us (again, not kidding) asking us how we possibly could have forgotten to talk about Doctor Who? Well, the premiere was okay, although we’re not sure how Steven Moffat will write the new Companion back into the show after what was, let’s be honest, a pretty damn solid killing off. As for this week, the episode is called “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship,” which is one of the best titles of all time. So, there you go. (Space, 9 p.m. Saturday)