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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

‘American Horror Story: Freak Show’ brings the circus to town

- March 24th, 2014

American Horror Story’s next season may just be its freakiest yet.

Early Monday morning, Ryan Murphy, creator and show runner of the entire American horror franchise, took to Twitter and confirmed the newest season of the show would indeed take place inside a carnival.

Rumors had surfaced months in advance that the latest season of the horror anthology would be set inside a murderous pageant setting, although Murphy and his team vehemently denied it.

 

Although Murphy himself didn’t announce more than the title of the fourth season, American Horror Story: Freak Show, Entertainment Weekly did manage to secure some more details surrounding the upcoming season, including which of the previous cast would return.

“Set in Jupiter, Florida, in 1950, Freak Show finds Jessica Lange playing a German ex-pat who is managing one of the last freak shows in the U.S.,” the Entertainment Weekly story stated.

This isn’t the first time Murphy has played around with a German ex-pat living in the United States, but unlike James Cromwell’s character from American Horror Story: Asylum, Murphy hasn’t made any announcements that hint toward Lange’s character being a Nazi.

freakshow

Florida is also an interesting choice to host the carnival, a setting much more suited for New Orleans, where the last season, American Horror Story: Coven was set.

“Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Angela Bassett, and Frances Conroy all play performers whom Lange’s character has rescued; Denis O’Hare and Emma Roberts are also in talks to return.”

From the casting news, Murphy has taken talent from each season of his anthology, but will be primarily focusing on bringing back characters from the first and third installments.

The biggest news surrounding the latest season, as well as permanent casting announcements and plot details, will emerge closer to the show’s air date, sometime in late October.

Vikings and Mr. D try Mixology for a Remedy? TV must-sees for the week

- February 22nd, 2014

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Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of Feb. 23

1 Vikings
Second-season debut: Ragnar Lothbrok (Travis Fimmel) faces new challenges, both to his authority and on the home front. Will his brother Rollo (Clive Standen) have the guts to go through with his betrayal?
When: Thursday on History

2 Remedy
Debut: New Canadian medical show stars Enrico Colantoni, Sara Canning, Sarah Allen and Dillon Casey. High-stakes surgeries are fine for TV, but what this country really needs is a few more family doctors, am I right, people?
When: Monday on Global

3 Mr. D
Third-season debut: In his third year at Xavier Academy, Gerry Duncan (Gerry Dee) is determined to finally land the only job he really wants: Gym teacher. Just think, he’d get to yell at kids and wear shorts all day. Dare to dream.
When: Monday on CBC

4 Late Night with Seth Meyers
Debut: As Saturday Night Live alumni continue to populate the showbiz universe, Meyers joins the weeknight world. His opening-show guests are Amy Poehler, U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden and A Great Big World.
When: Monday (technically early Tuesday) on NBC, CTV

5 Mixology
Debut: This is a high-concept sitcom, with the entire season taking place on one night in a bar. Ten attractive young people are looking for sex and/or love. Who gets lucky and who goes home alone is the big question.
When: Wednesday on ABC, CTV

6 The Ron James Show
Fifth-season debut: Just how far would you go to avoid “spoilers” if you hadn’t seen the previous night’s Game of Thrones? That issue is explored in one of the sketches, and let’s just say more than winter is coming.
When: Monday on CBC

7 Growing Up Fisher
Debut: Eleven-year-old Henry (Eli Baker) always has been the eyes for his blind dad Mel (J..K. Simmons). So Henry understandably is a little insecure when a new guide dog basically takes over the job.
When: Sunday on NBC, Global

8 Hannibal
Second-season debut: Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) is locked in an asylum, accused of crimes we know were committed by Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen). The trick for Will is to get someone, anyone, to believe him.
When: Friday on NBC, City

9 Mind Games
Debut: This has nothing to do with the John Lennon song, although that would be cool. Rather, Steve Zahn and Christian Slater star as brothers who are part mental magicians, part master manipulators and part con artists.
When: Tuesday on ABC, City

10 The Americans
Second-season debut: Elizabeth (Keri Russell) comes back from her injury, but what should be a routine mission goes awry. She also cheers way too loudly for Russia in the Sochi Olympics. Wait, that’s not right.
When: Wednesday on FX Canada

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Sean and Catherine’s wedding is an American Horror Story at the Grammys? TV must-sees for the week

- January 26th, 2014

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Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of Jan. 26

1) Grammy Awards
Live: Paul McCartney (above right) and Ringo Starr (above left), the two surviving Beatles, will take the stage as the legendary band is honoured with a lifetime achievement award. Fab, but should have happened long ago, huh?
When: Sunday on CBS, City

2) American Horror Story: Coven
Third-season finale: Another campaign for this innovative and frightening series comes to a close. Which witch will rise as the new “supreme?” The last episode sets up as a kind of in-coven Super Bowl.
When: Wednesday on FX Canada

3) Super Bowl’s Greatest Commercials
Canadian viewers diverted by simulcasting often complain that they never get to see the American ads that air during the big game. Often it’s much ado about nothing, but here’s a chance to catch up.
When: Wednesday on CBS

4) Episodes
Frustrated by his current role and intrigued by an unexpected new opportunity, Matt (Matt LeBlanc) tries to convince Sean (Stephen Mangan) and Beverly (Tasmin Greig) to kill him off Pucks.
When: Sunday on The Movie Network, Monday on Movie Central

5) The Following
Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) receives some mysterious phone calls – no, not from telemarketers – while information comes to light about the new life put together by Joe Carroll (James Purefoy).
When: Monday on Fox, CTV

6) Community
As Annie (Alison Brie) and Professor Hickey (Jonathan Banks) prepare the cafeteria for the mid-term dance, they must negotiate with Greendale’s head custodian, played by guest star Nathan Fillion.
When: Thursday on NBC, City

7) True Detective
Maggie (Michelle Monaghan) sets up Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) with a friend, which you know won’t go well. Meanwhile, parishioners identify a scarred man who was seen with the murder victim.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

8) Republic of Doyle
This represents the back end of a crossover-episode arrangement with Murdoch Mysteries. Yannick Bisson guest-stars as Bill Murdoch, a descendant of Detective William Murdoch.
When: Wednesday on CBC

9) 19-2
Debut: Set in Montreal, this is a 10-episode English-language adaptation of a French Canadian series. It’s about two reluctantly partnered beat cops, in this case played by Jared Keeso and Adrian Holmes.
When: Wednesday on Bravo

10) The Bachelor: Sean and Catherine’s Wedding
Live: In this special presentation, Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici exchange vows in front of family, friends, paparazzi, gossip-mag reporters, hangers-on, puzzled passers-by, you know the drill.
When: Sunday on ABC, OMNI

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Girls find Flowers in the Attic in Suburgatory; TV must-sees for the week of Jan. 12

- January 11th, 2014

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Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of Jan. 12

1) True Detective
Debut: Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson star in this dark and brooding eight-episode series about cops and occult-related killings. The narrative jumps between 1995, 2002 and 2012.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

2) Girls
Third-season debut: Some people love it. Some people hate it. Many don’t understand it. But few series in this day and age prompt as much discussion as this one from star/creator Lena Dunham.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

3) Justified
Fifth-season debut: Deputy U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) confronts the Crowes, a deadly, lawless family from Florida that is determined to find a new centre of operations.
When: Tuesday on Super Channel

4) 1964
Debut: Documentary examines what has been dubbed “the last innocent year,” in which the world both came together and split apart as it embraced the Beatles and dealt with rising civil unrest.
When: Tuesday on most PBS affiliates

5) Flowers in the Attic
Debut: Made-for-TV movie tells the twisted story of kids living in an attic in an ill-advised effort to reclaim a family fortune. With Heather Graham, Ellen Burstyn and Kiernan Shipka.
When: Saturday on Lifetime

6) Golden Globe awards
Amy Poehler and Tina Fey return as hosts of this hardware handout that tends to cause more eyes to roll than any other awards show. But hey, at least Amy and Tina will provide a few laughs.
When: Sunday on NBC, CTV

7) Shameless
Fourth-season debut: This picks up a few weeks after the previous season ended, with the Gallaghers braving a brutal winter. Tell me about it, huh? William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum star.
When: Sunday on The Movie Network, Monday on Movie Central

8) Suburgatory
Third-season debut: Tessa (Jane Levy) and her dad George (Jeremy Sisto) adopt a furry friend as they try to rebuild their relationship, while ditzy Dalia (Carly Chaikin) tries to fill a void.
When: Wednesday on ABC, Thursday on City

9) Cloud 9
Debut: Executive produced by Ashley Tisdale, this made-for-TV movie stars Dove Cameron as a snowboarding diva. Are snowboarding divas like regular divas, but colder?
When: Friday on Family Channel

10) House of Lies
Third-season debut: Marty (Don Cheadle) is seeking clients for his new firm, while Jeannie (Kristen Bell) plots big moves of her own, like the Veronica Mars movie. Wait, that’s not right.
When: Sunday on The Movie Network, Monday on Movie Central

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv