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Lindsay Lohan hears Sirens in Wild Canada; must-sees for the week of March 9

- March 9th, 2014

RESURRECTION-Season-1-Cast-PHoto

Bill Harris’ TV must-sees for the week of March 9:

1 Resurrection
Debut (pictured above): One of the most buzzed-about shows of 2014, with Omar Epps, Kurtwood Smith and Frances Fisher starring in a tale about loved ones coming back many years after they disappeared, without having aged.
When: Sunday on ABC, City

2 True Detective
First-season finale: Gripping series starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson has been razor-sharp and crazy intense from the get-go. Hard to predict how it’s going to end, but I’m betting not well.
When: Sunday on HBO Canada

3 Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
Debut: Meant as a successor to the Carl Sagan science series, Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlane is one of the executive producers behind this new four-channel project. Hey, Stewie had a time machine, so that’s science-y.
When: Sunday on Fox, Global, National Geographic, Nat Geo Wild

4 Sirens
Canadian debut: Adapted from a British show, this is a foul-mouthed but funny American series about paramedics and cops, executive produced and co-written by foul-mouthed but funny American Denis Leary (Rescue Me).
When: Thursday on Comedy

5 Believe
Debut: Created by Oscar winner Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), this story focuses on a young girl named Bo (Johnny Sequoyah) who was born with special abilities and now needs protection. Kind of Heroes meets Touch.
When: Monday on NBC, CTV Two

6 Wild Canada
Debut: From the makers of Human Planet and Planet Earth, this is a four-part natural-history documentary series using the latest in camera technology to explore our nation’s sweeping terrain and diverse species.
When: Thursday on CBC

7 Working the Engels
Debut: Starring Kacey Rohl, Azura Skye, Benjamin Arthur and SCTV’s Andrea Martin, this sitcom is about dysfunctional relatives who must unite to run the family law firm when the patriarch passes away.
When: Wednesday on Global

8 Canadian Screen Awards
Hosted by Martin Short, this is the Canadian TV and film industry’s annual “everybody gets a trophy” soiree. There’s less hardware handed out at an average kids’ soccer tournament, and that’s saying something.
When: Sunday on CBC

9 Cache Craze
Season-two debut: Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes Alex Bilodeau, Rosie MacLennan and Benoit Huot participate in this adventure series based on the GPS-aided game called “geo-caching.” Um, did they do this in Sochi?
When: Tuesday on YTV

10 Lindsay
Debut: From filmmaker Amy Rice, this documentary series follows fallen actress Lindsay Lohan through yet another period of crisis and recovery, and crisis and recovery, and crisis and recovery. And crisis.
When: Sunday on OWN

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv

Family Guy – or should we say Yug Ylimaf – backs into its 200th episode

- November 8th, 2012

FamilyGuy200thLogo_StewieHead_final

The 200th episode of Family Guy brings new meaning to the term “born again.”

Airing Sunday, Nov. 11 on Fox and Global, the title of Family Guy’s 200th episode – Yug Ylimaf, which is Family Guy spelled backwards – is a good indication of what the story is about.

The bigger question for Seth MacFarlane’s long-running animated series, of course, is if the comedy on Family Guy still is moving forward.

Family Guy is the series on which MacFarlane has built his entertainment empire. Debuting in 1999, Family Guy unofficially teamed with South Park (which debuted in 1997) to take the irreverent humour of The Simpsons and push it to extremes.

I have been pleasantly surprised by the staying power of Family Guy and South Park through the years. I thought initially that the pressure of continually testing the limits of taste and acceptable content might prove to be a trap for both shows.

But comedy is simple in the sense that, you either laugh or you don’t. And I have to say, I laughed quite a few times while watching Family Guy’s 200th episode, while continuing to marvel at what they can get away with these days on network TV, especially when it’s masked in a cartoon.

In Yug Ylimaf, Brian wants to impress the women he has been picking up in bars, so he secretly starts to use Stewie’s time machine. While Stewie is sleeping late at night, Brian sneaks his dates into the machine to take them on fantastical trips.

Keep your ears open for a couple of eyebrow-raising lines – one about a segregated restaurant, one about a 16th birthday – that had me saying, “I can’t believe I just heard that.”

Brian panics when he realizes the time machine has a “years travelled” odometer, which would expose his chicanery to Stewie. But when Brian fiddles with the odometer, it’s time itself that starts to go backwards.

This allows references to some famous Family Guy scenes of the past, not to mention a heaping helping of the straight-forward gross humour for which the series is known (Stewie is a baby; think of what that might mean).

Can Brian and Stewie get time moving in its normal, forward direction before Stewie is “unborn?”

Speaking of being haunted by the past, it was in the summer of 2009 during a party at the Television Critics Association tour in Los Angeles that MacFarlane and I had a conversation about the future of Family Guy.

“I don’t want to go 20 years like The Simpsons,” MacFarlane insisted at the time. “Ideally we would go another couple of years and then wrap it up.”

Hmmm, well, clearly that hasn’t happened. To mark the 200th-episode milestone, a half-hour behind-the-scenes special titled The End of the World as We Know It will air immediately following the Yug Ylimaf episode, making for a one-hour extravaganza.

“Every show starts to suck after a certain point,” MacFarlane observed back in 2009. “And we could already be there for all I know, I don’t know.”

Nonetheless, 200 episodes is a lot of episodes, with or without an operational time machine.

bill.harris@sunmedia.ca

@billharris_tv