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Devious Maids clean up after a Bad Teacher in Salem? TV must-sees for the week

- April 20th, 2014

Ari Graynor in Bad Teacher

Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of April 20

1 Bad Teacher
Debut: Based on the Cameron Diaz film, this stars Ari Graynor (pictured above) as a former trophy wife masquerading as a teacher. Wait a minute, isn’t there already a show called Trophy Wife? I’m so confused.
When: Thursday on CBS, Global

2 Devious Maids
Season-two debut: More sexy clashes between the rich and not-so-rich. Marisol (Ana Ortiz) finds a new love, while Zoila (Judy Reyes) discovers that Valentina (Edy Ganem) has returned from Africa.
When: Sunday on Lifetime

3 Salem
Debut: This is a new take on the infamous witch trials of the 17th century, exploring intriguing theories as to why they actually may have taken place. Stars Janet Montgomery and Shane West.
When: Sunday on Space

4 Parks and Recreation
One-hour, sixth-season finale: Leslie (Amy Poehler) ponders her future while Ron (Nick Offerman) has another run-in with ex-wife Tammy 2 (Megan Mullally). Michelle Obama guest-stars.
When: Thursday on NBC

5 Tracy Morgan: Bona Fide
Canadian debut: Standup special sees Morgan performing in his home town of Brooklyn, talking about everything from growing up in the projects to the time he had to be, um, removed from Prince’s house.
When: Saturday on Comedy

6 Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Debut: If you’ve ever wondered what happens to “dead letters,” well, this is not a documentary. Rather, it’s a new series about ridiculously dedicated postal people, starring Eric Mabius and Kristin Booth.
When: Sunday on M3

7 Veep
Dan (Reid Scott) tries to minimize the impact of a Saturday Night Live sketch about Selina (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) just as she is preparing to announce her candidacy for president of the United States.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

8 Black Box
Debut: Kelly Reilly stars as Dr. Catherine Black, a world-famous neurologist intent on unraveling the mysteries of the human brain. But she is hiding the fact that she’s bipolar. Is that good thinking?
When: Thursday on ABC

9 The Returned
Canadian debut: This creepy series from France allegedly breaks conventional zombie stereotypes. I’m just stunned we’re living in a world where conventional zombie stereotypes exist.
When: Saturday on Space

10 True Tori
Debut: I’m not going to lie, while it really doesn’t affect my life one way or the other, I don’t quite get the endless fascination people have with Tori Spelling. What is this, reality show No. 90210 for her?
When: Tuesday on Lifetime

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Mad Men and Orphan Black’s clones visit Fargo; must-sees for the week of April 13

- April 11th, 2014

Jon Hamm as Don Draper

Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of April 13

1 Orphan Black
Season-two debut: Clone-based series sees Tatiana Maslany returning in her signature role as Sarah. And Rachel. And Cosima. And Alison. And on and on and on. I hope Maslany is getting paid accordingly.
When: Saturday on Space

2 Fargo
Debut: This is not a direct remake of the Academy Award-winning movie, but rather a new story, “inspired by” the original. Billy Bob Thornton stars as Lorne Malvo, a dangerous drifter with a cruel sense of humour.
When: Tuesday on FX Canada and FXX Canada

3 Mad Men
Seventh-season debut: This technically is the final “season” for this acclaimed series, but it’s airing over two years, just like Breaking Bad. Last we saw Don Draper (Jon Hamm, pictured above), he was out of a job. Poor ugly schmuck.
When: Sunday on AMC

4 MTV Movie Awards
Live: Conan O’Brien hosts yet another annual hardware handout. So does this officially bring an end to “awards season?” Regardless, scheduled presenters include Kate Upton and Mila Kunis, so count me in.
When: Sunday on MTV

5 Vegas Rat Rods
Debut: No, this isn’t about an infestation of rats in Sin City and the questionable methods used to control them. Rather, it focuses on a company called Welder Up, which specializes in crazy vehicles known as “rat rods.”
When: Thursday on Discovery

6 When Calls the Heart
Canadian debut: Family drama based on a book series by Janette Oke, this stars Erin Krakow as Elizabeth Thatcher, a 19th-century, high-society teacher suddenly living in a coal town. Also with Lori Loughlin.
When: Wednesday on Super Channel

7 Mom
First-season finale: Christy (Anna Faris) and Bonnie (Allison Janney) try to help an emotional Violet (Sadie Calvano) through labour. This series has been renewed, so time to buy some cutesy baby clothes.
When: Monday on CBS, City

8 Unusually Thicke
Debut with back-to-back episodes: This is a reality show with Alan Thicke, his young wife Tanya, and his three sons, including pop star Robin Thicke. I’ll bet Robin gets into more mischief than Kirk Cameron on Growing Pains.
When: Wednesday on Slice

9 Californication
Debut of seventh and final season: As usual, Hank (David Duchovny) is desperate to reunite with his eternal love Karen (Natascha McElhone), while Charlie (Evan Handler) is overcome by performance anxiety.
When: Sunday on The Movie Network, Monday on Movie Central

10 Nurse Jackie
Sixth-season debut: Jackie (Edie Falco) is “using” again. And lo and behold, she is getting her drugs at the gym. You know, this show seemed a lot more daring and shocking before Rob Ford dulled our senses.
When: Sunday on The Movie Network, Monday on Movie Central

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Rockin’ Dave Clark Five doc will make you Glad All Over

- April 7th, 2014

The Dave Clark Five

No one else sounded like the Dave Clark Five, before or since.

That’s an accomplishment on its own, notwithstanding the substantial commercial success the Dave Clark Five enjoyed as part of the British Invasion in the 1960s. You can get a crash course in the band’s unique crash-and-bang style with the new documentary The Dave Clark Five and Beyond: Glad All Over, which airs April 8 and April 11 as part of the Great Performances series on most PBS affiliates (check local listings).

The doc includes interviews with Paul McCartney, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Hanks, among many others. It was Hanks who passionately inducted the DC5 into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2008.

Clark kept the rights to the DC5 music catalogue through the decades, and while that meant the band didn’t get robbed like many of its British Invasion contemporaries, Clark’s devotion to sound quality nonetheless cost the band some cash.

“The reason I took the catalogue off the market was Epic Records made (the records) into electronic stereo, which was terrible,” Clark recalled. “So I thought I would clear the market of all the vinyl, and then when the CD market took off, we would bring it out.

“It was never a monetary thing with me. It’s being protective of one’s creativity. If the records had stayed on the market, you get your publishing income, you get your record royalties. Maybe people thought I was a bit crazy, but I did what I believed in, and I think that’s what I’ve tried to do all my life.”

As stunning as the Dave Clark Five’s output was – 14 top-20 singles in the U.S., plus a record 18 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show – this might be the most rare and remarkable thing of all:

“We never had one legal letter between us,” Clark said proudly, referring to the members of the group.

Talk about Glad All Over.

Bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Dave Clark 5, montage

Take a Turn into Silicon Valley and play a Game of Thrones with the Veep; TV must-sees for the week

- April 5th, 2014

Dragon in Game of Thrones

Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of April 6

1 Game of Thrones
Fourth-season debut: Veterinary medicine figured out “dog years” versus “people years. But what of “dragon years?” When do dragons become adults? I’m just waiting for Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) to turn loose those fire-breathers.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

2 Turn
Debut: Based on the book Washington’s Spies by historian Alexander Rose, this drama set in the 1770s tells the tale of fledgling new-world espionage as the American Revolution becomes a reality. With Jamie Bell, Heather Lind and Samuel Roukin.
When: Sunday on AMC

3 Silicon Valley
Debut: Created by Mike Judge (King of the Hill, Beavis & Butt-Head), this live-action series is about nerdy but brilliant high-tech dudes who are on the cusp of successes they couldn’t possibly handle. Sort of The Big Bang Theory on steroids.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

4 Veep
Third-season debut: Last time we saw VP Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), she had been handed an opportunity to run for president in the next election. But she doesn’t exactly connect with everyday voters a la Rob Ford, as we soon will see.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

5 The Dave Clark Five and Beyond: Glad All Over
Debut: Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Hanks are among those saluting the DC5 in this new documentary. With 14 top-20 hits in the U.S., the DC5 appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show 18 times, more than any other British Invasion group.
When: Tuesday or Friday on most PBS affiliates

6 The Haves and the Have Nots
Canadian debut: Drama series from Tyler Perry is about a rich Georgia family and the servants who serve them. John Schneider – yes, from The Dukes of Hazzard – stars as a powerful judge and family patriarch who is leading a double life. Hey, who isn’t?
When: Tuesday on OWN

7 Jacked
Debut: Jeremy Patterson is the hurricane slayer. Well, no, he doesn’t stop hurricanes. But Patterson and his rag-tag team travel across the continent, raising hope by raising hurricane-damaged houses that many thought were beyond salvage. One inch at a time.
When: Monday on Discovery

8 Win, Lose or Draw
Canadian debut: A revamped version of the 1980s game show, this one is hosted by Justin Willman and features young and current Disney stars teaming up with kid contestants. This definitely is a more high-tech version than the original, though.
When: Monday on Family

9 Being Human
Series finale: It’s a wrap, folks, as this show has been cancelled. In the final episode, Sally (Meaghan Rath) makes a major sacrifice to stop her vision of Aidan (Sam Witwer) killing Josh (Sam Huntington) from coming true.
When: Monday on Space

10 Disaster Decks and Decked Out
Season-two/season-four debuts: One deck-based series wasn’t enough for Paul Lafrance. He needed two, with double episodes of each, airing back-to-back-to-back-to-back. This could lead to some crazy crossover episodes, with famous decks making guest-appearances on the other show.
When: Tuesday on HGTV

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Aisha Tyler’s Self-Inflicted Wounds may become a sitcom

- April 2nd, 2014
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Aisha Tyler at the 2014 Annual Critics’ Choice Awards (Brian To/WENN.com)

Comedian Aisha Tyler, possibly the hardest-working candy in town, may soon star in her own sitcom.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that CBS has optioned  Self-Inflicted Wounds: Heartwarming Tales of Epic Humiliation, Tyler’s book of autobiographical essays.

A search is underway for writers to adapt the book as a potential half-hour comedy series. No network is currently attached. Tyler and her management company, ROAR, are attached to executive produce.

It’s not clear whether Tyler  will star in the show if it makes it to the airwaves, though it seems likely she would. If she does, as Bustle’s Rachel Semigran notes, it’ll be a big step for diversity in sitcom TV.

If Tyler stars in the project (which presumably, she will), it will be the ONLY major network comedy starring an African-American woman. Yep, the only one. As it stands there are currently no African-American women starring in a comedy on NBC, ABC, CBS, or FOX.

Tyler, who our own Steve Tilley describes as  ”an unstoppable, indefatigable, Terminator-style machine,” does regular stand-up tours, hosts the popular Girl On Guy podcast, voices Lana on FX’s Archer, hosts The CW’s Whose Line Is It Anyway and co-hosts CBS’ The Talk.

Good lord. Does she ever have time to sleep? Or eat? Or poop?

“Just barely any of those,” says Tyler with a laugh so genuinely eargasmic that one wishes it could be bottled and distributed to happiness-starved regions of the world. “I’m like a camel and I save up my defecation for the weekend.”