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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

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

- January 26th, 2014

xbox-briefing-beat_1415304i

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

True_Detective_promotional_image

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

Michael Buble gets Played with 7 Days in Hell; TV’s must-sees for the week

- December 15th, 2013

I Love Lucy Christmas special

Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of Dec. 15

1) Masters of Sex
First-season finale: In an episode titled Elvis Has Left The Building, a nervous and tense Dr. Masters (Michael Sheen) doesn’t get the reaction he’s hoping for when he presents his orgasm research.
When: Sunday on The Movie Network, Movie Central

2) Homeland
Third-season finale: OK, how many times does Carrie (Claire Danes) have to disobey direct orders before her superiors quit giving her so much “freelance” leeway? Oh well, the mysteries of TV.
When: Sunday on Super Channel

3) Michael Buble’s Third Annual Christmas Special
Filmed in Vancouver, Buble is joined by guests such as Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, British Columbia’s Coastal Sound Children’s Choir, and, um, the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street.
When: Wednesday on CTV

4) Played
In back-to-back episodes to wrap up the first season, Detective John Moreland (Vincent Walsh) faces his worst nightmare when a convicted armed robber out on parole is determined to exact harsh revenge.
When: Thursday on CTV

5) The Sheepdogs Have At It
Documentary follows Western Canadian rock band the Sheepdogs as they continue to plot their career after an appearance on the cover of Rolling Stone in 2011 changed their lives forever.
When: Monday on Super Channel

6) Canada’s Walk of Fame
In a ceremony filmed earlier this year, the 2013 honorees include Carly Rae Jepsen, Terry Fox, Victor Garber, Alan Thicke, Oscar Peterson, Bob Ezrin, Christine Sinclair and Craig and Marc Kielburger.
When: Wednesday on Global

7) 7 Days in Hell
Two adventurers battle the Yukon wilderness as they experience – purposely – what it would have been like to be Gold Rush prospectors in 1885. Intriguing, but ain’t there an easier way to get your kicks?
When: Tuesday on History

8) I Love Lucy Christmas Special
This is a one-hour program that highlights two recently colourized episodes from the classic 1950s sitcom. The seldom-seen Christmas episode from 1956 (pictured above) was thought to be lost for decades.
When: Friday on CBS

9) eTalk’s Stars and Scandals 2013
I guess you could say the same thing at the end of every year, but 2013 certainly had its share of celebrity controversies. Get ready for plenty of Miley Cyrus in this sum-up special.
When: Wednesday on CTV

10) NCIS: Los Angeles
Michelle Trachtenberg guest-stars as a senator’s daughter who narrowly escapes a serious attack. Might it have been related to her dad’s attempted crackdown on international cyber warfare? I’m betting yes.
When: Tuesday on CBS, Global

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

Aziz Ansari gets Seduced and Abandoned in Bunks; TV must-sees for the week

- October 27th, 2013

Capture

Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of Oct. 27:

1 Aziz Ansari: Buried Alive

Debut: A standup special filmed in Philadelphia starring Aziz Ansari, who is best known to TV audiences for his role as Tom Haverford on Parks and Recreation.

When: Friday on Netflix

2 War of the Worlds: American Experience

Documentary debut: A new look back at the legendary Orson Welles radio broadcast, which caused a widespread panic 75 years ago when rubes didn’t know it was fake.

When: Tuesday on PBS

3  The Governor’s Wife

Reality-series debut: Trina settles into her role as former Louisiana governor Edwin Edwards’ spouse. She is 50 years his junior and frozen sperm is involved.

When: Sunday on A&E

4 The Walking Dead

It’s Halloween week, so this seems like a natural. While a group leaves the prison to search for supplies, those who remain deal with recent losses.

When: Sunday on AMC

5 It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Creative differences over what constitutes “tasteful nudity” cause Frank (Danny DeVito) to pull his money out of the proposed Lethal Weapon 6.

When: Thursday on FX Canada

6 Masters of Sex

William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) arrange for couples to be included in their study of human sexuality. It’s about damn time.

When: Sunday on The Movie Network, Movie Central

7 Chasing Nashville

Reality-series debut: Singers from the Appalachia region travel to the annual Hillbilly Days talent competition and are surprised to learn they may have a shot at a record deal.

When: Tuesday on Lifetime

8 Seduced and Abandoned

Documentary debut: Actor Alec Baldwin and film-maker James Toback travel to the Cannes Film Festival to try to secure financing for a movie.

When: Monday on HBO Canada

9 Bunks

Made-for-TV movie debut: Cheeky, mischievous brothers played by Dylan Schmid and Aidan Shipley accidentally unleash a curse that plagues their summer camp with zombies.

When: Sunday on Disney XD

10 Trophy Wife

In the first Halloween episode of this rookie sitcom, Kate (Malin Akerman) hijacks the holiday when a costume provided by flighty Jackie (Michaela Watkins) is found to be lacking.

When: Tuesday on ABC, CTV

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca