Televisualist: We Don't Mean To Interrupt Your Lovely Film Festival, But TV Is Still Here, You Know, And TV Still Loves You
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Televisualist: We Don’t Mean To Interrupt Your Lovely Film Festival, But TV Is Still Here, You Know, And TV Still Loves You

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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It turns out Arsenio Hall will not, we repeat NOT, be bringing his old jackets to his new show. Pity, really.

Monday

If you were going to ask us to combine two different TV shows, Big Brother and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire would not be the first combination we’d think of, but that’s the best way to describe The Million Second Quiz, a game show that will run continuously while contestants spend time in a sort of booth thing answering questions until they get kicked out. NBC will air highlights every day for the next eleven days. Also, Ryan Seacrest will host it, because of course. (City, 8 p.m.)

The Simpsons rerun of the week: “A Milhouse Divided,” wherein the Van Houtens get divorced. Primarily entertaining because Kirk Van Houten instantly becomes the most pathetic character on the show. “Kirk, crackers are a family food. Happy families. Maybe single people eat crackers. We don’t know. Frankly, we don’t want to know. It’s a market we can do without.” (MuchMusic, 8:30 p.m.)

The Arsenio Hall Show is back after many, many years, and if you don’t believe us, there is in fact a trailer, which seems to be a callback to Vampire In Brooklyn. That movie didn’t even have Arsenio Hall in it, despite the fact that Arsenio was in every other terrible Eddie Murphy movie back then. But yes, Arsenio is back (and much more gaunt than he used to be, but then we all get old, don’t we?), and his first guests are Chris Tucker, Magic Johnson, and Nas. That’s not a half bad show, even if Charles Barkley is always funnier than Magic. (CFMT, 10 p.m.)


Tuesday

So You Think You Can Dance comes to the end of a reasonably strong season, with the combined brilliance of the remaining contemporary dancers having been dimmed somewhat by the loss of the show’s last proper, classically trained male dancer, who was eliminated at top 8. Your remaining male dancers are Aaron, the tapper, and Fik-shun, the hip-hopper. The girls are, of course, contemporary dancers, because this show loves its contempo-girls (and when young girls make up the bulk of your voting audience, they will vote for the girls whose dancing they think is prettiest and contemporary dancers do a lot better in this regard than anybody else). And the dancing this season has been exemplary, because So You Think You Can Dance remains a competition of very, very talented and dedicated professionals doing what they love to do and doing it ridiculously well—which has always elevated it above most competition shows. (CTV, 8 p.m.)


Wednesday

Speaking of “most competition shows,” The X-Factor debuts again, and if there’s a singing show the existence of which we routinely forget about, it’s this one. Even though it has Simon Cowell. Probably because it has Simon Cowell, really. (CTV2, 8 p.m.)


Thursday

Restaurant Stakeout returns for a fourth season, and we’re not sure why anybody bothers to watch Kitchen Nightmares Without Gordon Ramsay, especially considering it has faced repeated allegations that it fakes problems for restaurants by hiring actors to be “customers” who are difficult with employees. We understand that “reality show” is always in invisible quotation marks, but this pushes it. (Food Network, 9 p.m.)


Friday

Hey, it’s O Brother, Where Art Thou? That’s good! You should watch that. (We decided to go minimalist for this one. How’s it working out?) (AMC, 9:30 p.m.)


The Weekend

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown comes back for a second season of “let’s just send Anthony Bourdain places and let him be entertainingly interested in everything.” There are worse ideas for shows, so that’s all right then. (CNN, 8 p.m. Sunday)

It’s the 2014 Miss America Competition! Does anybody reading this even care? Will you watch the special episode of 20/20 preceding the pageant that goes into the “confidential” details behind competing in the Miss America pageant? Are we, and by extension the Miss America pageant, simply shouting into the abyss? Well, if we are, we hope somebody is at least making music with wineglass rims into the abyss, because that is always neat. (ABC, beginning at 8 p.m. Sunday, pageant proper begins at 9 p.m.)

It was a minor hit at best in theatres, but Unstoppable really does play best on the small screen: this movie, in which Denzel Washington and Chris Pine try to stop an out-of-control train, is a simple, straightforward little action movie—competently made and relatively modest in its scale and ambition. It’s fun, and that’s all you need to know, really. (Bravo!, 9 p.m. Sunday)

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