Televisualist: Unhappily Ending (Not This Column, It's a Reference)
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Televisualist: Unhappily Ending (Not This Column, It’s a Reference)

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.

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The “Happy Endings” Caption Guy soon fell into a depression, claiming he “had peaked” with the Dave caption. He was replaced by a caption robot three months later and eventually took his own life in shame. (Luckily, Torontoist can’t yet afford a caption robot.)

Monday

The Simpsons rerun of the week: “Dial N for Nerder,” wherein Bart and Lisa believe they’ve killed Martin Prince. “Martin Prince was known by many names. Martin Priss, Martin Princess, Fartsin Prince, Martin the Brown-Nose Reindeer…” (CFMT, 6 p.m.)

Last Car Standing is exactly the sort of reality competition show that the Discovery Channel—which for a long time now has been our measuring stick for non-terrible docudrama reality shows—should be airing. Each episode is a competition between terrible, beat-up cars to see which is the “best beater.” So it’s really more of an investigation into which old cars have held up the best than anything else. The show is sort of a new-age spin on classic shows like Junkyard Wars. The first episode features a 1996 Dodge Stratus, a 1991 Honda Accord, a 1992 Volvo Wagon, a 1996 Chrysler Sebring convertible, and a 1997 Cadillac Catera. Our money is on the Honda, because you just can’t kill those things. They are the cockroaches of cars. If you liked cockroaches and cockroaches were useful, that is. (10 p.m.)


Tuesday

Returning for a ninth season of documenting the lives of people involved in an industry in sharp decline: Deadliest Catch, which is called that because Fisherman Subsidies would have been too on the nose. After all, this season’s “plot” is that last season’s catch really sucked for all of the ships and they “need to make a comeback.” Like this was boxing, instead of exploiting a severely strained resource or something like that. (Discovery Channel, 10 p.m.)


Wednesday

The finale of the tenth season of Top Chef airs tonight, assuming you didn’t watch it two months ago when it originally aired in the United States and then made it onto the internet. It’s a good finale, though, and the first all-female one in Top Chef history, so it’s even a little bit noteworthy. It was a lot more noteworthy back in February, but of course Canadian cable networks get a discount if they air programs after the fact, and it’s not like they’re run by massively powerful and wealthy media conglomerates or anything. (Food Network Canada, 10 p.m.)


Thursday

This week’s season finale of The Nature of Things is a feature about Chris Hadfield: Canadian astronaut, national hero, and future-Member-of-Parliament-if-he-wants-to-be (let’s just admit it). (CBC, 8 p.m.)

Texas Car Wars is a new reality show that’s sort of a hybrid competition and drama, since it’s about competing custom mechanic shops trying to bid on, rebuild, and flip classic cars. In other words, the show relies both on the competitive rebuild process as well as the personalities of the mechanics. The good news is that it’s a fun show that has a good process on which to build its “stories.” The bad news is that the narrator is too strongly reminiscent of Waylon Jennings on The Dukes of Hazzard and you keep waiting for Boss Hogg to show up. (Discovery, 8 p.m.)

Utopia debuted earlier this year in the U.K. and quickly found an audience for its “people find a conspiracy buried in a comic book” plot and clever (even daring) writing. The show has solid actors (as most British shows tend to) and works smartly around its low budget (as most British shows have to). And since it’s only a six-episode commitment for the full season, the first episode will let you know sooner rather than later if you want to make this a weekly thing. (Space, 10 p.m.)


Friday

Happy Endings concludes its third season of being royally screwed by its network, as ABC has taken to burning off episodes of the critically acclaimed comedy two at a time on Friday nights. It seems unlikely that the show will return for a fourth season on ABC (although it is possible). More probable is the show jumping to a cable network like USA and continuing to air, albeit with a lower production budget. Which better not conflict with Max’s next Mandonna reunion! (City, 8 p.m.)

The original 1970s Gone In 60 Seconds got some attention about a decade ago when it was remade with Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie. The remake was bad, because it managed to be a movie about stealing cars that had only one good car chase. The original (airing tonight) is essentially one great, very long car chase—after you wait through some very long, boring stretches of low-budget movie. Tune in at about the hour mark. (Spike, 8 p.m.)


The Weekend

It’s the Canadian Video Game Awards! Did you know those existed and were televised? We did not know this! (City, 9 p.m. Saturday)

Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story is CBC’s high-profile biopic about Howe’s return from retirement to play in the World Hockey Association in the 1970s with his sons Mark and Marty. Michael Shanks of Stargate: SG-1 plays Gordie Howe, which we would not have expected because, come on, it’s Guy From Stargate. (8 p.m. Sunday)

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