New Shows (2013): October 14 - 20

For a change, there was quite a bit of good new television this week, including one show I am convinced will become a holiday classic. The color code: red means don’t bother; blue means maybe; green means good; magenta means great.

Russell Peters vs. The World (Netflix Streaming)
A four part documentary about Peters’s world tour leading up to his filming his latest comedy special in Sydney. I watched the first half hour which wasn’t horrible, but neither was it very revealing, interesting or funny.

Russell Peters: Notorious (Netflix Streaming)
The aforementioned comedy special. It was so offensive that I turned it off after about eight minutes.

Mondays at Racine/Redemption/Open Heart (HBO at 9:00pm)
A series of three short documentary films. Mondays is about two sisters who run a beauty salon on Long Island. One Monday a month, they open their door free of charge to women suffering from cancer. Redemption is about the men and women who collect bottles and cans off the streets of New York to redeem for five cents a piece. Some of them are surviving by doing this. Open Heart is the story of eight children from Rwanda who traveled to the Sudan for open heart surgery. Inspiring and moving, these stories put my worries right into perspective.

E! True Hollywood Story: Paula Deen (E! at 10:00pm)
My Crazy Roommate (Bounce at 10:00pm)
True Evel (Discovery at 10:00pm)

Superheroes (PBS at 8:00pm)
A three hour documentary about comic books and superheroes. I went into this expecting to give it half an hour, get a sense of it and move on. I ended up watching all three hours, fascinated. I am not a reader of comic books and never have been. But, listening to the writers and artists talk about the history, what is happening now and where they believe this genre is going is compelling. If you are a fan, drop everything to watch this. If, like me, you are not, you will still find it an entertaining documentary.

Criss Angel BeLIEve (Spike at 10:00pm)

Toy Story of Terror (ABC at 8:00pm)
If you are the one person on earth who has never watched one of the Toy Story movies, drop everything and watch them now. They are wonderful, heartwarming tales that show just how good animation can be. This Halloween themed show has all the characters we have come to know over the years and the message is beautifully handled. Make sure to catch this. I’m sure it will soon be counted as one of the classic Halloween specials.

Burton & Taylor (BBC America at 9:00pm)
In 1983, Burton and Taylor acted together on Broadway in Coward’s Private Lives. This movie is based on that time, is overdrawn and devolves into soap opera territory quite frequently. However, it is a much watch as both Dominic West and Helena Bonham Carter are peerless as the leads. Ignore all the nonsense and watch this for the acting tour de force that it is.

Schooled: The Price of College Sports (Epix at 8:00pm)
Gem Hunt (Travel at 10:00pm)

Reign (The CW at 9:00pm)
sunbunny reviewed the pilot. Both she and I were pleasantly surprised by the fact that we liked this, but it is certainly not for everyone. Read the review and decide for yourself.

Apocalypse Preppers (Discovery at 9:00pm)

The Birthday Boys (IFC at 10:30pm)
A new sketch comedy show that is more clever than funny. The set-ups for the sketches were truly inventive (one is a group of nerds inventing a computer in the ‘70s who are more interested in the garages in which they work), but I didn’t find them all that humorous. To truly appreciate these sketches, you need to understand the TV tropes they are satirizing. Thanks to this column, I did. It still didn't make me laugh.

Dancing on the Edge (Starz at 10:00pm)
The story of a jazz band in 1930s London, this five-part miniseries should have been wonderful. The juxtaposition of an all-black band that not only hung out with royals, but were subjected to the prejudices of the time could have been filled with drama and weight. Instead, the story is languid and, ultimately, boring. The music is magnificent and the acting is excellent, but it is not enough to save this. I didn’t make it through the first hour.

Missing at 17 (Lifetime at 8:00pm)
Grave Halloween (Syfy at 9:00pm)
Tipping Points (Weather Channel at 9:00pm)
When Calls the Heart (Hallmark at 9:00pm)

Guy’s Grocery Games (Food Network at 8:00pm)
The Incredible Bionic Man (Smithsonian at 9:00pm)
Queer Eye Reunion: 10 Years Later (Bravo at 9:00pm)
When Ghosts Attack (Destination America at 10:00pm)
Covert Kitchens (Spike at 11:00pm)

Two shows return Friday, October 25. The Carrie Diaries is on The CW at 8:00pm and Grimm is on NBC at 9:00pm.

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