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TV Picks

What to Watch: TV Picks for May 16 - 22

by Stephanie Earp, posted May 16th 2011 2:30AM
The Office - Thursday May 19, 9PM ET/PT, Global/NBC

Rarely has a season finale been so beautifully set-up for a guest-star bonanza. With Dwight officially out of consideration for the top job at Dunder Mifflin, Jim is tasked by Jo to form a search committee and start looking for Michael's replacement. Interviewees include Jim Carrey, Will Arnett, Ray Romano, James Spader, Ricky Gervais and more. Kathy Bates is on hand to guide the proceedings. The lead-up episode had very few laughs -- here's hoping this talented crew can send 'The Office' to hiatus with a bang.

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What to Watch: TV Picks for May 9 - 15

by Stephanie Earp, posted May 9th 2011 2:30AM
Survivor - Sunday May 15, 8PM ET/PT, Global/CBS

Rob Mariano has played his best game -- even if he does say so himself -- but is it enough to finally get him an elusive win? The Survivor three-hour finale airs tonight. The first two hours are, as always, on the island. Then Jeff and his blue shirt will travel through time to a live studio audience where the winner will be announced. I'm eager to see if Rob can keep control of the game right up to the bitter end. If so, the final three should be Phillip, Rob and Natalie. In any other season, I'd be rooting for Grant, the nice guy who's been strong in challenges, strategic in his voting and alliances and wears dirty dreadlocks well. But I love me some Boston Rob, so I'm rooting for him all the way.

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What to Watch: TV Picks for May 2 - 8

by Stephanie Earp, posted May 2nd 2011 2:25AM
Friday Night Lights - Wednesday May 4, 10PM ET/PT, Global (Friday, 8PM ET/PT, NBC in US)

Things start to go sideways for the Taylors as the fifth and final season of 'FNL' moves into its middle period. The arrival of Mr. Howard in his life stirs up images of the old Vince -- the angry, sullen kid standing on the edge of a precipice.

Becky and Mindy make a strange peace, and Tyra's older sister finally gets a plotline all to herself. Meanwhile, Tami continues her campaign to reach out to troubled East Dillon students, and is met by much apathy. She may have finally met a kid who doesn't respond to her no-nonsense charm. As always with this show, there is an undercurrent of impending doom and somehow, hope.

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What to Watch: TV Picks for April 18 - 24

by Stephanie Earp, posted Apr 18th 2011 2:30AM


30 Rock
- Thursday April 21, 10PM ET/PT, Citytv/NBC

It's been a bit of a rocky season for '30 Rock.' The one-liners have been fantastic -- I loved the copy of 'Black Yachts' magazine last week -- but the plots have become increasingly nonsensical. Perhaps Tina Fey has been too busy making best-selling books and babies to concentrate. Here's hoping this 1-hour episode -- the show's 100th -- is a highlight of the season. There may not be many more Jack Attacks, since Alec Baldwin is making noises about leaving the show after the 6th season, though Fey claims that's BS.

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What to Watch: TV Picks for April 11 - 17

by Stephanie Earp, posted Apr 11th 2011 2:30AM


Happy Endings - Wednesday April 13, 9:30PM ET/PT, Citytv/ABC

I've seen a few commercials for this new series over the last few weeks, but what I haven't seen is much of purported series lead Elisha Cuthbert. The previews focus instead on the antics of the supporting players like Casey Wilson ('SNL') and Damon Wayans Jr. -- I'm sure with good cause.

But it does make me wonder if ABC perhaps regrets casting the pillow-lipped actress and then giving the series such a gross double-entendre of a name. (I'm not alone in thinking of illegal massage parlours when the words 'Happy Endings' are strung together, am I?) Anyway, the series is about how a group of friends cope when one of the core couples break up at the altar. But whatever, that's not important -- it's like 'Friends' in that it doesn't really need a plot. And it's actually quite good.

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What to Watch: TV Picks for April 4 - 10

by Stephanie Earp, posted Apr 4th 2011 2:30AM



Britney Spears: I Am the Femme Fatale - Monday April 4, 5PM ET, MTV Canada (Sunday April 3 in the US on MTV)

In an effort to drum up interest in her latest attempt at a comeback, Britney lets MTV cameras follow her around as she prepares to release her new album 'Femme Fatale.' We see her in the studio, at dance practice, filming videos and live on stage, and the action is interspersed with interviews. These days, Brit sounds like she always has a cold -- or is maybe about to cry. There is definitely something ... not right with her. The most shocking thing in the special: Britney is nearly 30 years old.

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What to Watch: March 28 - April 3

by Stephanie Earp, posted Mar 27th 2011 2:30AM
Chaos - Friday April 1, 8PM ET/PT, Global/CBS

Does Freddy Rodriguez balance out Brett Ratner? I'm hoping so. This new spy comedy (I think its a comedy) stars the erstwhile undertaker from 'Six Feet Under' as a CIA agent who finds himself on black-ops missions that are underfunded, underplanned and patently ridiculous. With Ratner ('Prison Break', 'The X-Men: Last Stand') on board as producer, things blow up good, but what's kind of neat about this take on the old spy game is the focus on red tape and bureaucracy. Imagine working for Michael Scott, but your job is to save the world. The supporting cast includes Eric Close ('Without A Trace') who is starting to look a lot like Robert Redford in his best 'Out of Africa' years. Way to age well, Mr. Close.

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What to Watch: March 21 - 27

by Stephanie Earp, posted Mar 21st 2011 2:30AM


The 2011 Juno Awards - Sunday March 27, 8PM ET, CTV

My American friends may call them the Canadian Grammys, but I actually think we Canucks do a better job of it. OK, maybe 'better' isn't the word. 'Watchable' will do. Ever since Nelly Furtado hosted dressed in feathers, hanging from a hula-hoop in Saskatoon, you can at least say something interesting usually happens at these things.

And this year, the party is in Toronto, which I'm sure is part of the reason so many Canadian artists are planning to attend (half of them live down the street, let's be honest). Performers include City and Colour, Sarah Harmer, Sarah Slean, The Sadies, Broken Social Scene, Chromeo and Down with Webster. Drake is hosting.

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What to Watch: March 14 - 20

by Stephanie Earp, posted Mar 14th 2011 2:30AM


Feist: Look at What the Light Did Now - Thursday March 17, 9PM ET, The Movie Network

As part of the 'hidden gems' programming on TMN, this documentary follows the making of Feist's landmark album 'The Reminder.' Cameras capture the studio recordings, which are interesting, but the real meat is the creation of the live show. Feist's comments about bringing a wide range of artists together to create a whole pierced my cynical soul, and reminded me (no pun intended) that no matter how many times I've heard the album, it's still beautiful, fresh and ambitious.

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What to Watch: February 28 - March 6

by Stephanie Earp, posted Feb 28th 2011 2:32AM


The Celebrity Apprentice - Sunday March 6, 9PM ET/PT, Global/NBC

I honestly don't know how The Donald continues to attract genuine -- if slightly faded -- celebrities to compete on his tired show. But mixed in with a 'Real' housewife and Gary Busey are Marlee Matlin, Dionne Warwick, Niki Taylor, Meat Loaf and Lil Jon. As always, they'll compete in a number of dubious marketing challenges and raise money for charity. In this 2-hour premiere, the task is running a pizza joint in NYC, where the contestants break a fundraising record and then His Hairness fires someone.

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What to Watch: February 21 - 27

by Stephanie Earp, posted Feb 21st 2011 2:30AM
The 83rd Annual Academy Awards - Sunday February 27, 8PM ET, CTV/ABC

Are you ready for five hours of watching people try to thank every one they've ever met -- and a few they haven't -- before getting cut off by the sad strings of 'No One Cares'? I know I am. Actually, I've seen more of the nominated films this year than usual, and I admit to a mild curiosity about how hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway will fare. Is it just me or does Franco always seem like he just smoked a huge fatty? Not that there's anything wrong with that -- it's just hard to take him seriously. I'll be rooting for 'Incendies,' 'Black Swan' and Hallie Stanfield, whose achievement in dressing her age is definitely unparalleled.

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What to Watch: February 14 - 20

by Stephanie Earp, posted Feb 14th 2011 4:00PM


Survivor: Redemption Island -- Wednesday, Feb. 16, 8PM ET/PT, Global/CBS

The 22nd season of 'Survivor' begins today bringing with it the return of two of the the game's most controversial players: Russell Hantz, whose talent for finding immunity idols actually changed the way producers plan the game, and Rob Mariano, the last great immunity monster who got the car and the girl, but not the title of 'Sole Survivor.'

A new format allows a strong player who's been voted off to survive the game by winning a series of immunity challenges on a separate island, a situation that sounds ideal for these two returning players.

On another note, I love that Russell and Rob have become divas -- they didn't even turn up for the show's photo call. I can just hear Rob telling Jeff, "Nah, take a picture of those people I'm gonna beat and I'll meet ya on set."

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What to Watch: February 7 - 13

by Stephanie Earp, posted Feb 7th 2011 2:00AM
Mr. Sunshine - Monday February 7, 8PM ET/PT, CTV/ABC

In all of his outings since 'Friends,' I've increasingly gotten the sense that Matthew Perry is a dark guy. He seems angry a lot, and he even has scowl lines. Sigh. I loved Chandler Bing -- I wanted to be more than 'Friends' with him, if you know what I mean.

But I guess we all have to move on from early TV crushes. Here, Perry plays an angry, scowling manager of an arena where stuff happens: hockey games, circus acts, and reunion tours of mid-level rock bands. In the pilot, Perry gets dumped by his friend-with-benefits, turns 40 and realizes he doesn't want to be alone anymore. Sounds really funny, right? No wait, I can make it worse: Thomas Schlamme is directing but Aaron Sorkin isn't involved, so get ready for a lot of walk-and-talks without very interesting talk.

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What to Watch: January 31 - February 6

by Stephanie Earp, posted Jan 30th 2011 2:00AM


Puppy Bowl VI - Sunday February 6, 6PM ET, Animal Planet

Returning to compete against the Super Bowl, Puppy Bowl is sort of like a live-action version of Cute Overload. To put it bluntly, it's a bunch of cute puppies on a miniature football field. They lick each other, cuddle with each other and pee on stuff. There a puppy's-eye-view cam and a water dish cam, a kitten half-time show and at the end of the 'game,' there's even an MVP. If this wasn't all adorable enough, it turns out all the puppies on screen are available for adoption through the SPCA. Canadians can follow up here.

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What to Watch: January 24 - 30

by Stephanie Earp, posted Jan 24th 2011 2:30AM
New Music Live - Thursday January 27, 5PM ET/PT, MuchMusic

The cast of 'Pretty Little Liars' is in attendance for a full hour at MuchMusic's downtown Toronto headquarters. Host Lauren Toyota will try to get them to reveal something -- anything -- about this 'A' person who keeps writing to them or reveal how plotlines will play out, and the actors will say words with no meaning that can't possibly give anything away, and thousands of people will watch it despite knowing this going in. I'll probably be one of them.

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