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Modern Family gets Cook’d in a Labyrinth; TV must-sees for the week of May 18

- May 16th, 2014

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Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of May 18

1 Rookie Blue
Fifth-season debut: Andy (Missy Peregrym) and Dov (Greg Smith) try to pull themselves together at a diner, but let’s just say some Pulp Fiction-style complications ensue.
When: Monday on Global

2 Labyrinth
Debut: A four-hour historical Holy Grail-themed mini-series airing over two nights, starring Jessica Brown-Findlay, who played the ill-fated Lady Sybil Crawley on Downton Abbey.
When: Thursday and Friday on CW

3 Modern Family
Fifth-season finale: Wedding-day chaos threatens everything, but an unexpected turn of events gives Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet) the ceremony they’ve dreamed about.
When: Wednesday on ABC, City

4 Last Comic Standing
Eighth-season debut: The new judges are Russell Peters, Roseanne Barr and Keenen Ivory Wayans. The new host is J.B. Smoove. But it’s the competitors who’ll have to be funny.
When: Thursday on NBC

5 Cook’d
Debut: Kids can be the pickiest eaters in the world, so why not make a TV show about it? Each week celebrity chefs prepare meals in the hopes of impressing a panel of jaded juvenile judges.
When: Tuesday on YTV

6 Gang Related
Debut: An action drama centring on Detective Ryan Lopez (Ramon Rodriguez), a rising star on L.A.’s gang task force whose gang connections might be a little too good, if you know what I mean.
When: Thursday on Fox

7 Buy It Fix It Sell It
Debut with back-to-back episodes: More “junk TV,” so to speak. Pro “fixers” battle over auction items that need just a little love before hopefully becoming money-making masterpieces.
When: Friday on HGTV

8 Shannon and Sophie
Debut with back-to-back episodes: This essentially is a delayed spinoff of Gene Simmons Family Jewels, starring Gene’s wife, model/actress Shannon Tweed, and their daughter Sophie.
When: Tuesday on W

9 The Middle
One-hour fifth-season finale: After Sue (Eden Sher) wins a family trip, the Hecks must overcome a series of setbacks if they want to enjoy their time at Walt Disney World.
When: Wednesday on ABC

10 The Maya Rudolph Show
Debut: Yet another attempt to revive the so-called variety-show format that basically has been co-opted by all the late-night dudes. Rudolph is joined by Andy Samberg, Kristen Bell and more.
When: Monday on NBC

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Spring TV lineup: It’s not just for finales any more

- May 2nd, 2014

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Big TV debuts can “spring” up any time.

Spring used to be reserved for overwrought season finales and the arrival of crappy summer shows. But now there can be major debuts in May and June, as the jockeying for competitive advantage intensifies. Even as the weather warms up, here are some offerings to keep you inside. Keep in mind, networks can change broadcast dates at their whim, so check local listings as things approach:

24: Live Another Day
May 5 on Fox, Global
Jack is back. And as usual, he ain’t happy.

Louie
May 5 on FX Canada
Louis C.K. is back. And as usual, he’s confused.

Penny Dreadful
May 11 on The Movie Network, Movie Central
Horror series stars Josh Hartnett, Eva Green and Timothy Dalton.

Rosemary’s Baby
May 11 on NBC
Two-part mini-series based on the 1967 novel/1968 movie.

Rookie Blue
May 19 on Global
This show has displayed great resilience, heading into season five.

The Maya Rudolph Show
May 19 on NBC
A variety special. Say what?

Gang Related
May 22 on Fox
Action drama about L.A. police battling gangs.

Labyrinth
May 22 on CW
Time-jumping historical mini-series seeks the Holy Grail.

Undateable
May 29 on NBC
New sitcom from creator Bill Lawrence (Scrubs, Cougar Town).

Derek
May 30 on Netflix
Second season of nursing home-set series starring Ricky Gervais.

Crossbones
May 30 on NBC, Global
It’s a pirate’s life for John Malkovich.

Halt and Catch Fire
June 1 on AMC
About the computer revolution, set in the early ’80s.

Mistresses
June 2 on ABC, CTV
Second season of sultry series starring Alyssa Milano.

Orange is the New Black
June 6 on Netflix
Prison does not improve with time.

Defiance
June 19 on Showcase
Second season of sci-fi series starring Grant Bowler.

True Blood
June 22 on HBO Canada
The final blood-sucking season.

Falling Skies
June 26 on Super Channel
The skies are still falling, apparently.

Reckless
June 29 on CBS, Global
Sexy legal drama set in South Carolina.

The Leftovers
June 29 on HBO Canada
After the “Rapture,” these folks didn’t make the cut.

Under the Dome
June 30 on CBS, Global
Were they spared our nasty winter under that thing?

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Pretty Little Liars come Full Circle with a Crisis of Continuum? TV must-sees for the week of March 16

- March 14th, 2014

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Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of March 16

1 Continuum
Third-season debut: Kiera (Rachel Nichols) jeopardizes everything to stop Alec (Erik Knudsen) from altering history in his mission to save Emily (Magda Apanowicz). But can Kiera’s new allies be trusted? Experience suggests no.
When: Sunday on Showcase

2 Crisis
Debut: The children of Washington’s elite are on a school trip when their bus is ambushed on a secluded road. Who are the kidnappers and what do they want? With Gillian Anderson, Dermot Mulroney and Rachael Taylor.
When: Sunday on NBC

3 Pretty Little Liars
Fourth-season finale: After years of questions surrounding the night Alison (Sasha Pieterse) disappeared, her four best friends – played by Shay Mitchell, Lucy Hale, Ashley Benson and Troian Bellisario – finally learn what happened.
When: Tuesday on M3

4 The 100
Debut: The only human survivors of nuclear destruction were in orbit, on space stations. Now, a century and three generations later, 100 juvenile prisoners secretly have been sent back to Earth, to see if it’s inhabitable.
When: Wednesday on CW

5 Glee
This is the 100th episode. In some ways doesn’t it feel as if this show has been around longer than that? Anyway, past and current members of New Directions gather to reminisce and reinvent their favourite performances.
When: Tuesday on Fox, City

6 Doll & Em
Debut with back-to-back episodes: Real-life best friends Emily Mortimer (The Newsroom) and Dolly West portray fictionalized versions of themselves in this semi-improvised comedy about an actress who hires her pal as a personal assistant.
When: Wednesday on HBO Canada

7 Love Under Cuban Skies
Documentary debut: Apparently there’s a steady stream of Canadian women partaking in sex tourism in Cuba. Many merely are looking for a little excitement. But some wind up bringing their new lovers back up north.
When: Thursday on CBC

8 Resurrection
Bellamy (Omar Epps) gets some help from Maggie (Devin Kelley) as he pushes hard for permission to exhume the tomb of Jacob (Landon Gimenez). Meanwhile, Pastor Tom (Mark Hildreth) reaches out to his childhood friend.
When: Sunday on ABC, City

9 Full Circle
Canadian debut: From DirecTV in the U.S., each episode has two characters talking in a restaurant. The next episode has one of those characters back, alongside a new character, and so on. Minka Kelly and Tom Felton get it started.
When: Thursday on Super Channel

10 Colin and Justin’s Cabin Pressure
Debut: The latest of many TV series from well-known Scottish interior designers Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan. In this one, they’re searching for a Canadian cottage in Muskoka on which to put their own stamp. Look out, loons!
When: Tuesday on Cottage Life

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Will Star-Crossed and Jimmy Fallon appeal to Generation Like? Must-sees for the week

- February 15th, 2014

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Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of Feb. 16

1) The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
Debut: Fallon becomes the sixth host in the history of this fabled late-night talk-show franchise, following Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, and then Jay Leno again.
When: Monday on NBC, CTV Two

2) Generation Like
Debut: Many teens today truly don’t understand the term “selling out.” This doc examines how kids are more than willing to work tirelessly for free online to market products, such as movies, to other teens.
When: Tuesday on PBS

3) Star-Crossed
Debut: Aimee Teegarden and Matt Lanter star as teens trying to overcome the prejudices of their respective peoples. Oh, did I mention Lanter’s character is an alien? That’s kind of important to know.
When: Monday on CW

4) Lost Girl
Season-four finale: Bo (Anna Silk) is forced to make the toughest decision of her life if she hopes to stop evil from bringing destruction to her world. No Fae-king this time.
When: Sunday on Showcase

5) About a Boy
Debut: Following nightly Olympics coverage, this is a sneak peak of a new sitcom that ultimately will air Tuesdays, on NBC and Global. David Walton, Minnie Driver and Benjamin Stockham star.
When: Saturday on NBC

6) Darknet
Debut: This horror anthology series shows the lives of everyday people being interrupted by vivid instances of unexpected strangeness or violence. Just in case you weren’t stressed out enough already.
When: Friday on Super Channel

7) Castle
Beckett (Stana Katic) and Castle (Nathan Fillion) take on the case of a high school mean girl who apparently was murdered by someone with telekinetic powers. More proof, thinking too much kills.
When: Sunday on CTV, Monday on ABC

8) Intelligence
Gabriel (Josh Holloway) and Cybercom investigate when artificial-intelligence scientists are infected and eventually killed by microscopic robots. That’s pretty much the scariest thing I’ve ever heard.
When: Monday on CBS, CTV

9) The Following
While Joe (James Purefoy) acclimatizes himself to his new surroundings, Emma (Valorie Curry) realizes that she is in dangerous company. Hey, if Emma’s scared, we all should be, too.
When: Monday on Fox, CTV

10) Shameless
Fiona (Emmy Rossum) goes to jail while Frank (William H. Macy) wakes up in the emergency room. Um, philosophically speaking, couldn’t all episodes of this series end up that way?
When: Sunday on The Movie Network, Monday on Movie Central

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

From Doctors and Miracles to Blinders and Blades; TV must-sees for the coming week

- November 16th, 2013

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Bill Harris TV must-sees for the week of Nov. 17

1 The Day of the Doctor
Debut: A worldwide, commercial-free simulcast marking the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. Eleventh Doctor Matt Smith teams up with 10th Doctor David Tennant. I hope there isn’t too much math.
When: Saturday on Space

2 Almost Human
Debut: From J.J. Abrams and J.H. Wyman, this series is set in 2048, when human police officers are partnered with highly evolved androids. Can you tell the difference? Karl Urban and Michael Ealy star.
When: Sunday on Fox, Global

3 Battle of the Blades
Fourth-season finale: The three remaining pairs with title hopes are Violetta Afanasieva and Jason Strudwick; Marie-France Dubreuil and Mathieu Dandenault; and Amanda Evora and Scott Thornton. Ron MacLean hosts.
When: Sunday on CBC

4 Nikita
Final-season debut: Nikita (Maggie Q) still is on the run after being framed for the assassination of the president of the United States. Maybe she describes herself as a “patsy,” just like Lee Harvey Oswald.
When: Friday on CW

5 Sarah Silverman: We Are Miracles
Debut: Taped in front of a tiny live audience – 39 people, to be exact, at a club in Los Angeles – the never-shy Silverman takes aim at subjects such as pornography, sexuality and U.S. President Barack Obama.
When: Saturday on HBO Canada

6 Peaky Blinders
Canadian debut: A six-part British drama set in 1919 Birmingham as returning soldiers, criminal gangs and revolutionaries angle for supremacy. Cillian Murphy, Sam Neill and Helen McCrory star.
When: Thursday on Super Channel

7 New Girl
Jess (Zooey Deschanel) does her best to occupy Schmidt (Max Greenfield) while Cece (Hannah Simone) goes on a date with Coach (Damon Wayans, Jr.). Sound madcap enough for you?
When: Tuesday on Fox, City

8 Battleground
Canadian debut: Originating with U.S. online provider Hulu, this is a dramedy about a group of volunteers who set aside their personal lives to get involved in a long-shot political campaign. Jay Hayden and Teri Reeves star.
When: Monday on Super Channel

9 How I Met Your Mother
John Lithgow returns in a guest-starring role as the father of Barney (Neil Patrick Harris). Meanwhile, best man Ted (Josh Radnor) believes he has been framed when a wedding-related duty is botched.
When: Monday on CBS, City

10 Styled to Rock
Debut: Executive produced by Rihanna, this new reality series is a search for the next trend-setting fashion designer. Celebrity guests include Miley Cyrus, Carly Rae Jepsen and Kylie Minogue.
When: Sunday on E!

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca