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December 19, 2014

TV Picks

What to Watch: TV Picks for September 6 - 11

by Stephanie Earp, posted Sep 6th 2011 8:40AM
9/11: Ten Years Later -- Sunday, September 11, 8PM ET/PT, CBS/Global

Of all the specials airing this week, this one, narrated by Robert De Niro, may be hard to watch, but not as hard as others (like the hour on History playing all the phone calls out of the towers). This is an update to a special that aired not long after 9/11, and told the story of Engine 7 Ladder 1. It's also the only special that has footage of the first plane hitting Tower One. As astounding as it may seem, there is a whole generation of young people out there who did not see it happen the first time and are old enough now to watch and understand.

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What to Watch: TV Picks for August 29 - September 4

by Stephanie Earp, posted Aug 29th 2011 9:40AM
CTV News - Thursday September 1, 11PM ET, CTV

Iconic Canadian anchorman Lloyd Robertson signs off after his final newscast tonight. After 60 ears on the air, the guy has definitely earned his retirement. True fans can tune in an hour earlier for a documentary called 'Lloyd Robertson - And That's the Kind of Life It's Been' which was directed by his daughter Lisa.

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What to Watch: TV Picks for August 22 - 28

by Stephanie Earp, posted Aug 22nd 2011 1:05PM
Dan For Mayor - Sunday August 28, 7:30 pm ET/PT, CTV

As sure a sign of the end of summer as Labour Day, it's the season finale of 'Dan For Mayor' and its partner show, 'Hiccups' (following at 8:30). It means CTV is gearing up to dedicate its airwaves once more to shows about hot doctors, hot housewives and coming soon, hot stewardesses -- in other words, American shows. Tonight, Dan signs off with a show about the struggles of vegetarians, with a great many meat puns.

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What to Watch: TV Picks for August 8 - 14

by Stephanie Earp, posted Aug 8th 2011 9:20AM
Karaoke Battle USA - Friday August 12, 9 PM ET/PT

All the televised singing competitions have suffered the slings and arrows of being called nothing but a karaoke contest. Finally, a show that actually is just a karaoke contest. If you're lucky, you live in a town with a popular karaoke night with a couple of truly talented regulars -- you know, the whole bar roots for them and enjoys the performance, and they often have a signature tune or two.

This show brings those people together for a sing-off, hosted by Joey Fatone and judged by singer Carnie Wilson, journalist Joe Levy, and Brian Scott, the 2009 National Karaoke Champion. I'm really looking forward to Levy's contributions -- I remember him from his witty comments on 'Behind the Music' type shows on the late 90s and early 2000s. He was my most obscure celebrity crush.

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What to Watch: TV Picks for August 2 - 7

by Stephanie Earp, posted Aug 2nd 2011 12:35PM


Take the Money and Run - Tuesday August 2, 9PM ET/PT, CTV/ABC

Finally, a new idea in reality television, even though the 'nets are calling this a mix of 'The Amazing Race' and 'CSI.' I think that comparison does a disservice to this very cool idea. A pair of competitors -- in the season premiere it is the hilariously named brothers Raul and Paul Bustamante of San Francisco -- are given one hour to hide $100,000 before they are hauled in by real detectives who have a full day to grill them. If the suspects keep their secret, they also keep the money. If the cops break the case, they get the ultimate raise.

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What to Watch: TV Picks for July 25 - 31

by Stephanie Earp, posted Jul 25th 2011 11:01AM
Into the Dragon's Lair - Wednesday July 27, 7 PM ET, Animal Planet

Two renowned nature cinematographers head into the crocodile-infested water of the Nile, armed with cameras and a spear gun, to try to capture the life of the crocodile while it's underwater. The 'dragons lair' of the title is actually tunnels through and under the papyrus reeds of the river, created by crocs and hippos, where visibility is basically nil. Their challenge is to get the animals on camera, in a way that's comprehensible for viewers, and not get injured by any number of dangerous creatures.

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What to Watch: TV Picks for July 18 - 24

by Stephanie Earp, posted Jul 18th 2011 11:00AM
Murdoch Mysteries - Wednesday July 20, 10 PM ET, Citytv

While Obama wrestles with a potential financial Armageddon south of the border, here in Canada our leader makes a cameo appearance on a homegrown cult show.

Substantially more ink has been devoted to writing about Prime Minister Stephen Harper's primetime debut than was used to write his few lines, but I guess that's the point of hiring a man renowned for being stiff and unemotional for an acting gig. Harper plays a desk sergeant in this episode that tracks sunken treasure through a letter written by Sir John A. MacDonald, while a fictionalized Sir Wilfrid Laurier plays Watson to Murdoch's Sherlock. If this thing was any more Canadian it would be a giant red and white maple leaf that said nothing but 'eh' and 'sorry' while it drank beer and played hockey.

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What to Watch: July 11 - 17

by Stephanie Earp, posted Jul 11th 2011 3:00AM
Biography: Natalie Wood -- Sunday, July 17, 8 PM ET/PT, Biography

The lovely actress best remembered for her roles in 'Rebel Without a Cause' and 'West Side Story' lived a life that seemed designed for the tabloids. A child star at nine -- with a requisite pushy stage mother -- she blossomed into a serious actress and great beauty. Her on-again off-again relationship with Robert Wagner and her mysterious drowning death are all covered in this special.

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What to Watch: TV Picks for July 4 - 10

by Stephanie Earp, posted Jul 4th 2011 10:39AM
Friday Night Lights - Wednesday July 6, 9PM ET/PT, Global/NBC

The series and season finale of one of the finest pieces of television ever made airs tonight. Like any other epic ending, there are engagements, reunions, job changes, and plenty of nods to the very first episode. Basically, you're going to need an entire box of tissue to get through this. In the end, you'll probably feel that each of the characters winds up where you'd hoped they would -- or at least that they made the best of things. The real tears come from realizing that from now on you have to live without them.

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What to Watch: TV Picks for June 27 - July 3

by Stephanie Earp, posted Jun 27th 2011 2:30AM
The Voice - Tuesday June 28, 9PM ET, CTV/NBC

The show ends this week, with the final four singing tonight and results tomorrow. I've enjoyed what I've seen of the show, though I admit I wasn't devoted to it. Most of my pleasure has come from watching Adam Levine try to be Simon Cowell, and wondering what Xtina is going to wear next. We get it, sweetie, you have a small waist and big chest.

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What to Watch: TV Picks for June 20 - 26

by Stephanie Earp, posted Jun 20th 2011 2:30AM
The Marriage Ref - Sunday June 26, 10 PM ET/PT, Citytv/NBC

The second season of Jerry Seinfeld's comedy roundtable debuts to much consternation, since it was generally agreed that the show was a flop. To be honest, I'm really happy about it. I thought the first season was pretty funny and at least it's not another singing competition. Julianne Moore and Ricky Gervais join Jerry on the panel and Tom Papa is back to referee.

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What to Watch: TV Picks for June 13 - 19

by Stephanie Earp, posted Jun 13th 2011 2:30AM
Jon Benjamin Has a Van - Wednesday June 15, 10 PM ET/PT, Comedy Network/Comedy Central

New to the fake news genre is this series from comedian and voice actor Jon Benjamin. You might know his deadpan delivery from 'Bob's Burgers' or 'Home Movies' or reaching way back, as Dr. Katz's lethargic son Ben. Achieving new heights of meta, most episodes start out looking like a traditional news show, but slowly devolve into a whacked-out narrative. It's hard to explain, but it will definitely appeal to hardcore comedy nerds.

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What to Watch: TV Picks for June 6 - 12

by Stephanie Earp, posted Jun 6th 2011 2:30AM


Teen Wolf - Monday June 6, 10 PM ET/PT, MTV Canada/MTV

MTV takes a risk with this luscious HD reboot of 'Teen Wolf' -- yes, the Michael J. Fox comedy from the 80s that's provided hours of parody scenes ever since. But this new version is anything but a joke -- it's dead serious, and looks to attract the pro-Jacob faction of Twi-hards. Previews and teaser reveal great cinematography, with much of the show shot after sunset. If the writing can match the mood, this could be a hit.

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What to Watch: TV Picks for May 30 - June 5

by Stephanie Earp, posted May 30th 2011 2:30AM
Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition - Monday May 30, 10PM ET/PT, Citytv/ABC

Remember when this franchise was a cruel plastic surgery show, back in the days of 'The Swan' and 'Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire'? In some ways this new edition is going back to its roots, but without cosmetic dentists or mean-spirited and disparaging remarks that led to lawsuits and an alleged suicide.

In the season premiere, we meet one contestant -- a 21-year-old overachiever named Rachel who aims to lose 80 pounds in 3 months -- and she weighs nearly 400 pounds at the beginning of the series.

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What to Watch: TV Picks for May 23 - 29

by Stephanie Earp, posted May 23rd 2011 2:30AM


Elizabeth Taylor Biography - Sunday May 29 8PM ET/PT, Biography

Taylor's death earlier this year reignited the public's fascination with the original movie star, the woman for whom the paparazzi was invented, and one half of the world's most famous love affair. Remembered more now for her violet eyes and fondness for enormous diamonds, this bio will remind viewers that Taylor was an Oscar-winning actress, stomped the boards on stage and always, always did things her way.

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