Televisualist: Best Column Ever
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Televisualist: Best Column Ever

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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Best screencap ever!


This season, be prepared for Dancing With The Stars to become a cultural battleground, because Paula Deen, famous TV chef and probably also pretty racist person, is competing, which means that this entire season will become a TV voter referendum on whether or not Deen is a good person (see Palin, Bristol). Also, Gary Busey is competing, which makes him, we think, the second person nominated for an acting Oscar to be reduced to the Dancing level of stardom (Tatum O’Neal being the first). (CTV2 and Bravo, 8 p.m.)

It’s the finals of American Ninja Warrior, which is the point where, if one has become invested in this show, one wants to see the Ninja Warriors succeed, even though it is so very difficult for them to do so, what with all the upper body feats of strength they have to do and such. You will also have Opinions about how these athletes are doing the incredibly difficult things all wrong, because that is how sports work, and this is—amazing as it might be—most certainly sports. (NBC, 8 p.m.)


We’re still not entirely sure what Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris actually is, and that is certainly part of the show’s marketing strategy: promise a vague fun time with NPH and not actually say what the vague fun time will be, because the show looks like a combination prank/variety show, and the last time somebody tried that it was Betty White and she’s just as adored as NPH is if not more. But yeah: it looks like a lot of pranks, a lot of celebrity cameos (mostly B-list), maybe some live performances, and NPH being as charming as possible to make one forget we’ve seen all of this sort of thing before. (CTV, 10 p.m.)

When Labor Games was announced earlier this year, everybody pretty much lost their crap because it is a game show where the contestants are all pregnant women during their labor, which sounds like a parody that was rejected by Saturday Night Live for being too broad. But now it is here, and… no, it’s still awful. (TLC, 8 p.m.)

The Bastard Executioner certainly has the best title of any show this year; the jury is still out on whether it’s going to be a good show. Kurt Sutter’s record on Sons of Anarchy can probably be considered “mixed’ given that it started out strong and then went south in the later seasons, and judging by the pilot – which is looking to be a medieval revenge drama—it seems less open-ended than Sons was, at the beginning at least. So we actually cannot tell you whether or not to get invested in this show or not! Man, we’re not good at this. Maybe we should turn this into a restaurant review column. (FX Canada, 10 p.m.)


It’s time for the second Republican candidates’ debate, and this, like the previous debate on Fox News, will be conducted in two rounds, with a “first round” of barely-relevant candidates and then a “final round” of candidates who actually have significant public support in polls. There will, however, be plenty of stupidity and jaw-dropping awfulness in both debates. (CNN, “first round” at 6 p.m., “final round” at 8 p.m.)

strong>Moonbeam City seems to want to get everybody who loves Archer to watch it, given that it goes directly to that “cartoon action hero who is at the nexus of competent and incompetent” vibe, complete with Archer-style improbable plots, silly names, lots of violence, lots of sex jokes, and a strong voice cast (Rob Lowe, Elizabeth Banks, Will Forte, Kate Mara). So we can only hope it’s half as good as Archer is. And that there is a danger zone of some kind. (Much, 10:30 p.m.)


AMC has a twofer of John Hughes tonight: The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles. All the Molly Ringwald you will need for a full calendar year, in one night! And you need your yearly dose of Ringwald because it prevents Ringwald-deficiency. You don’t want that. (8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. respectively)


So, after a week, what do we think of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert? It is hard to say. Colbert has definitely toned down his act for network television, and we don’t just mean the abandonment of his Colbert Report character; he’s cuddlier, less acerbic, and less detail-oriented. On the other hand, kinder and gentler can still be used smartly—his interview with Joe Biden was a remarkable thing, as the two men talked about their respective struggles with grief. That having been said: the show right now, on the whole, remains uneven. Colbert is still figuring out what he’s doing with this. But we think he will get there. It just might take a few months. (CBS, 11:30 p.m.)

The Weekend

It’s the 67th Emmy Awards! This year, Andy Samberg hosts, in what is his trial by fire to see if he can handle being a primetime awards host for the rest of his career. Odds are currently 7-5 against. (CTV, 8 p.m. Sunday)


Now you can watch Dinotrux, the cartoon about dinosaurs which are also trucks. No, we don’t know who thought of this. It’s like they picked two nouns at random. Coming soon: Pelicanoz, the cartoon about pelicans which are also volcanoes. (Netflix)