Make Canoe my Homepage

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

Friends With Better Lives win Juno Awards while Inside Amy Shumer; TV must-sees for the week of March 30

- March 29th, 2014

Cristin Milioti, Jason Segel, Alyson Hannigan, Josh Radnor, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris, Bob Saget

Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of March 30

1 Juno Awards
Live: Co-hosted by Serena Ryder, Johnny Reid and Classified, scheduled performers include Arcade Fire (taped), Tegan and Sara, Sarah McLachlan, Robin Thicke, the Sheepdogs and Thunderface (kudos if you get that joke).
When: Sunday on CTV

2 How I Met Your Mother
Series finale (cast pictured above): There are many rumours and theories about what might be revealed, some of them quite dark. Here’s hoping Ted (Josh Radnor) and “the mother” (Cristin Milioti) aren’t facing some horrible tragedy. It’s a sitcom, people!
When: Monday on CBS, City

3 Friends With Better Lives
Debut: New sitcom following the How I Met Your Mother series finale that clearly wants to be the next How I Met Your Mother, albeit a notably dirtier one. With Kevin Connolly, Brooklyn Decker and James Van Der Beek, among others.
When: Monday on CBS, City

4 Short Poppies
Debut: This eight-episode series sees Rhys Darby – who you will remember as hapless band manager Murray Hewitt on Flight of the Conchords – playing multiple characters in a “mockumentary” about ordinary New Zealanders.
When: Thursday on Netflix

5 The Late Late Show/The Price is Right
It’s an April Fool’s switcheroo, as Drew Carey and Craig Ferguson swap jobs. Note that Carey hosts The Late Late Show in the early hours of Tuesday, a.k.a. late Monday night, with Ferguson hosting The Price is Right on Tuesday morning.
When: Tuesday on CBS, OMNI/CBS, City

6 Inside Amy Schumer
Season-two debut: Another 10-episode campaign for this combination sketch/standup/interview series gets off to a purposely awkward start, as Amy’s characters marry a black guy, lose a tennis match and try to pray away a nasty case of herpes.
When: Tuesday on Comedy

7 Dragons’ Den
Eighth-season finale: The Dragons hit the road to surprise some of the show’s most memorable pitchers. Have the people who landed deals succeeded or failed? And what of those who were turned down but were convinced the Dragons got it wrong?
When: Wednesday on CBC

8 Raising Hope
Series finale: Back-to-back new episodes wrap up this underrated series after four seasons. In the first episode, Downton Abbey’s Lesley Nicol guest-stars. In the second, Kenny Loggins makes a musical appearance, playing himself.
When: Friday on Fox, City

9 Intelligence
First-season finale: Riley (Meghan Ory) and Gabriel (Josh Holloway) are shocked to learn there are foreign sleeper agents embedded in the U.S. government, and even more shocked when the identities of the spies are revealed.
When: Monday on CBS, CTV Two

10 Family Guy
An ad executive guest-voiced by Peter Dinklage asks Peter Griffin (voice of Seth MacFarlane) to be the face of an anti-smoking campaign, as long as he continues to smoke. Sheesh, and I thought Game of Thrones was complicated.
When: Sunday on Fox, Global

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Funniest bit from the James Franco roast, courtesy of Jonah Hill

- September 6th, 2013

Jonah+Hill+Comedy+Central+Roast+James+Franco+XA101vgGzBpl

Okay, I’ve been laughing about this bit all week and can’t get it out of my head. So I might as well share it.

Here’s Jonah Hill (pictured above) from the Comedy Central Roast of James Franco, which aired across Canada last Monday on the Comedy Network, commenting on ex-Saturday Night Live cast member Bill Hader’s recent career choices. Very clever. Totally cracked me up, and as I said, I’ve been repeating it to myself all week and chuckling every time.

WARNING: There is some explicit language in this clip. You can watch it here.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

 

From The White Queen to The League; TV’s must-sees for the week of Sept. 1

- August 31st, 2013

the-white-queen

Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of Sept. 1:

1 The White Queen

The tale of three different yet equally relentless women trying to scheme, manipulate and seduce their way onto the English throne. You know, just like today. Stars Rebecca Ferguson, Amanda Hale and Faye Marsay.

When: Friday on Super Channel

2 The League

Fifth-season debut: The scene shifts to L.A. for the wedding of Andre (Paul Scheer) and Trixie (Jayma Mays). Meanwhile, Ruxin (Nick Kroll) refuses to live up to his “Sacko” punishments.

When: Thursday on FX Canada

3 Copper

Second-season debut: Tammany Hall’s outspoken General Brendan Donovan (Donal Logue) returns from the Civil War to restore law and order in New York City’s Sixth Ward.

When: Sunday on Showcase

4 TV’s Funniest of the Funniest

This two-hour Paley Center for Media special looks at TV’s biggest laughs from old shows (I Love Lucy, Taxi, Cheers) and more recent ones (The Big Bang Theory, Modern Family, 30 Rock).

When: Sunday on NBC

5 Annoying Orange

Canadian debut: Inspired by an animated web series, this follows the fruity adventures of Orange, Pear, Passion Fruit, Marshmallow, Grapefruit and Nerville (Toby Turner) as they travel through time and space in a fruit cart.

When: Thursday on Teletoon

6 Roast of James Franco

Do you think James Franco will be more awake for his own roast than he was co-hosting the Oscars? Regardless, roasters include Andy Samberg, Jonah Hill, Sarah Silverman, Bill Hader and Aziz Ansari.

When: Monday on Comedy

7 Highway Thru Hell

Second-season debut: The first episode is titled Welcome to Winter, which sounds ominous. Jamie Davis, proprietor of the heavy-rescue company, begins to worry if he has brought in the wrong machines. Gulp.

When: Tuesday on Discovery

8 The Social

Debut: New Canadian daytime talk show features news anchor Melissa Grelo, gossip blogger Lainey Lui, entertainment reporter Traci Melchor and relationship expert Cynthia Loyst.

When: Monday on CTV

9 Lost and Sold

Series debut: An eccentric group of dealers attends weekly auctions for misguided packages and lost luggage. Just how angry will you be if you see any of your own stuff?

When: Monday on Slice

10 ABC Fall Preview

Presented by The Chew, this special gives you a look at some of the new fall shows, such as Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (starring Clark Gregg), Super Fun Night (starring Rebel Wilson) and Trophy Wife (starring Malin Akerman).

When: Sunday on ABC

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

 

 

From Jon to John; Oliver takes over from Stewart at Daily Show desk

- June 7th, 2013

stewart

All The Daily Show is doing is adding a letter.

From Jon to John.

John Oliver (pictured above left) is taking over as the host of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, starting Monday, June 10 on The Comedy Network and CTV. Relax, not permanently.

Jon Stewart (pictured above right) is going to spend the summer directing a feature film. Oliver, a British comedian who has been part of the team on The Daily Show since 2006, is stepping in – or sitting down, as it were – for the big guy.

It’s funny, when I first heard about this, it made me think of an old episode of The Larry Sanders Show that involved Stewart, in a guest spot playing himself.

Larry (played by Garry Shandling) was a talk-show host, a la Johnny Carson or David Letterman. The setup was that the network was trying to work in Stewart – who at the time was a young up-and-comer who didn’t have The Daily Show yet – as a guest-host on Larry’s show.

But Larry kept nabbing all the good guests for the nights that he knew he was going to be working. Stewart was being left with people such as Sally Struthers, because, according to Larry, Stewart would be great “flirting” with her.

Larry commandeered certain guests under the guise of them being “personal friends.” When Stewart asked, “So, Hootie and the Blowfish are personal friends of yours?” Larry distractedly replied, “The Blowfish are. Hootie seems aloof.”

Tonally, there are a lot of similarities between The Larry Sanders Show, which aired from 1992 to 1998, and The Daily Show, which – as hard as it is to believe – goes all the way back to 1996 (Stewart took over from original host Craig Kilborn in 1999).

Oliver’s segments always have been among the funniest on The Daily Show. There is a barking certainty to his delivery that rarely fails to make me laugh.

Oliver also has played a semi-recurring character on the sitcom Community, and he has had a few standup specials as well.

Perhaps the funniest and smartest thing I’ve seen on TV in recent months was a Daily Show segment Oliver did about gun-control legislation. He went to Australia to interview people who had passed gun-control laws back in the 1990s, but were politically ruined because of it, even though the laws have worked remarkably well.

When they explained to Oliver that they had pushed for gun-control laws because they thought it was the right thing to do, and they knew if the laws passed it still might ruin their political careers, Oliver’s gap-jawed reactions were priceless. That would NEVER happen in the United States, he explained.

Being a correspondent on The Daily Show and hosting The Daily Show are two different things, of course.

Oliver has said – probably not entirely as a joke – that he knows the ratings are going to go down, first because it’s summer, and second because he’s hosting. His ambition is to not ruin the show completely. In his mind, that will qualify as success.

Privately, I’m sure he has higher goals than that. For fans, it’ll be fascinating to see another funny Jon – make that John at the Daily Show desk.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv