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A select viewing guide for Monday, Aug. 27
DRAMA: Day of the Triffids (Showcase, 7 p.m.) Mad at the world because your summer is grinding to an end? Watch the entire planet teeter on the brink of destruction in this two-part BBC miniseries first broadcast in 2009. Based on John Wyndham’s apocalyptic novel, the story takes place in the foreboding near future when man’s search for an alternative energy source leads him to stumble upon the Triffid, a crop much prized for its fuel properties but seemingly with a life of its own. After a solar storm blinds most of the planet’s population and society collapses, the Triffids break free and begin a campaign of killing and eating people, with the task of saving mankind falling to the humble Dr. Bill Masen (Dougray Scott) and BBC reporter Jo (Joely Richardson). The story is dated, but the Triffids are terrific. Part two airs Tuesday night.
REALITY: Canadian Pickers (History, 8 p.m.) One man’s junk is still another man’s livelihood in this popular Canadian series. Back for a third season, the show’s format follows the road trips of Calgary-based “pickers” Sheldon Smithens and Scott Cozens, who ramble all over the country in search of antiques or curios they can flip for profit. In the season-opener, the boys are flush with bucks and optimism when they arrive on Vancouver Island in search of fresh goods. A quick check reveals no shortage of great items, but unfortunately the owners are asking unreasonably high prices. In classic good ol’ boy fashion, the pickers separate the rubes from their treasures.
REALITY: Intervention (A&E, 9 p.m.) Still the most unsettling concept on cable, this cinema-vérité style series documenting the lives of people addicted to drugs, alcohol and other temptations continues to rank among the highest-rated series on the A&E lineup. The show recently launched its 13th season with a visit to Calgary to profile a young woman named Nicole, who routinely knocks back an average of 18 beers each day. Monday night’s new episode focuses on fortysomething Dennis, formerly known to his family, friends and neighbours as a doting father and devout Christian. Somewhere along the line, however, Dennis lost his way and today he lives in a haze of alcohol and methamphetamine addiction. His family decides to step in, but will Dennis stick around for the intervention?
REALITY: Collection Intervention (Slice, 10 p.m.) Less important but still pretty darn frightening, this series from the U.S. SyFy channel attempts to provide a reality check for obsessive collectors. Hosted by History Detectives mainstay Elyse Luray, the show opens with two startling profiles. First, meet Consetta, whose tiny home is crammed to the rafters with Star Wars collectibles, from light sabres to Wookie figurines. Next up: Mark, who appears to spend every waking minute obsessing over his collection of Catwoman memorabilia. He is even hiding it from his wife in the garage! In either instance, Ms. Luray gently helps the collectors rejoin the human family.
MOVIE: San Francisco (TCM, 8 p.m.) The top-grossing film of 1936, this epic feature capably merges frothy romance with real historical events. Set in turn-of-the-century San Francisco, the story stars Clark Gable as the tough but lovable rogue Blackie, who hires the virginal singer Mary (Jeannette MacDonald) to perform at his rowdy saloon and gambling den. Local priest Father Mullin (Spencer Tracy), meanwhile, insists that Mary share her gift with the opera company. The men’s difference of opinion becomes a moot point with the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906, depicted here with remarkable special effects for a film made in the thirties.