Televisualist: A Leisurely Saunter to the Panic Room
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Televisualist: A Leisurely Saunter to the Panic Room

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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Jason Isaacs wonders if they’ll ever need him to play Lucius Malfoy in new Harry Potter movies. “Probably not,” he thinks to himself, and uses it to make his character more grim.

Monday

Bates Motel returns for a third season and goddammit how much longer do we have to wait for Norman Bates to murder his mother, it’s all we’re here for, it’s the only reason the show even exists. Of course, they know this, so obviously the Bates Motel people are going to pull a Smallville and make us wait 10 seasons for Norman to murder even just a single hobo in a dress. Prequels, man. I don’t know. (A&E, 9 p.m.)

Best New Restaurant: Because they ran out of cooking reality show names. It finally happened. (Food Network, 9 p.m.)

The Returned is an American adaptation—no, no wait, let us finish, don’t run into the panic room just yet because so many American adaptations of late have been terrible—of the French horror/drama series of the same name, which is about dead people returning to life and things generally being ominous. Okay, now you can run to the panic room, or maybe walk, because it’s only kinda not good as opposed to being a disaster. (A&E, 10 p.m.)


Tuesday

Cold Water Cowboys returns for a second season of no actual cowboys. Fishermen are not cowboys and we will not rest until this fraud upon the public ends. (Discovery, 10 p.m.)


Wednesday

Dig is basically Da Vinci Code: The Teevee Show—noble whitebread American (Jason Isaacs, who is, of course, not actually American, but oh well) accidentally discovers ancient religious conspiracy, conspirators try to kill him, he has an out-of-touch boss (Anne Heche, who deserves better), et cetera. It is Not Very Good, but at least it’s only supposed to be a 10-episode, limited series, so it won’t be around too long to suck in front of us. Plus, it reminds us that, as bad as the recent crop of adaptations of foreign TV series have been, America is still fully capable of churning out schlock that is completely original (or at least not officially adapted from someone’s original work). (Showcase, 10 p.m.)

Returning for a second season: Newlyweds: The First Year, which has cleverly found new couples to have a first year. That’s forethought, that is. Now us critics can’t make critical jokes about the show not living up to the title. Well played, Slice. Well played. (10 p.m.)


Thursday

Food Fortunes: It’s Dragon’s Den, but everything the contestants pitch is about food somehow. That is literally the entire show. The imagination crisis in food television is real, people! We need a telethon to fix this! (Food Network, 10 p.m.)


Friday

What Could Possibly Go Wrong? is the next iteration of MythBusters: instead of using science to answer real (if silly) questions about real life, the hosts instead use science to recreate viral video stunts and blow things up. Not that we’re against this particularly, but you have to admit, it’s a hell of a metaphor they’re setting up here. (Discovery, 8 p.m.)

Classic movie alert: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which is way slower-paced than you remember (it’s almost two and a half hours long), and the child actors are really kind of annoying, but it still has any number of remarkable scenes in it. (Turner Classic, 8 p.m.)


The Weekend

Returning for a 10th (!) season and still not even remotely interesting: Keeping Up With the Kardashians. If the show had more Kanye in it, maybe we’d care more. But it does not. (E!, 9 p.m. Sunday)

In addition to the Kardashian bandwagon, E! also makes the jump to scripted television production with The Royals, a series about a fictional version of the English royal family that is much more interesting and dramatic than our boring old real-life royals, where the best you get is Prince Harry dramatically running away from his interview to go fly a combat helicopter, and Prince William getting balder every day. These fictional royals include Elizabeth Hurley as the queen, Joan Collins as the queen mum, and lots of drinking and drugs and sex and the like. Probably also a lot of combat helicopters, if they’re smart. Can’t go wrong with combat helicopters. (E!, 10 p.m. Sunday)

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