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A select viewing guide for Wednesday, February 13
REALITY Survivor (CBS, Global, 8 p.m.) Back tonight for its 26 th season, TV’s sturdiest reality show gives many viewers a reason to live during the cold winter months. So how does a show launched in 2000 reach the 26-season mark in a dozen years? By cranking out a new series every few months and never deviating from the formula that made the show a success in the first place. The minimal tweaks to the new campaign are a new setting (the Caramoan Islands in the Philippines) and a slight format adjustment: This time, ten Survivor fans (The Gota Tribe) will have the opportunity to prove they have what it takes when they take on an equal number of favourite players (The Bikal Tribe) from past expeditions. Otherwise, it’s simply another group of grownups willfully enduring bad food, bug bites and backstabbing in pursuit of the million-dollar grand prize. Long may it run.
COMEDY Modern Family (ABC, Citytv, 9 p.m.) You just know Valentine’s Day is going to be a comedy of errors for the various family units on TV’s funniest half-hour. As in years past, Phil (Ty Burrell) and Claire (Julie Bowen) attempt to resurrect their romantic alter egos Clive and Juliana, except this time the fantasy role-playing lands Claire in the hospital. Elsewhere, Gloria (Sofia Vergara) is frustrated when she tries to find some alone time with Jay (Ed O’Neill), and Cam (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler) host a Valentine’s Lonely Hearts party, which ends up with everyone desperately hungover and asking a few questions: Namely, why is Haley’s (Sarah Hyland) boyfriend Dylan (Reid Ewing) now living with Cam and Mitchell?
REALITY My Strange Addiction (TLC, 10 p.m.) Don’t be confused by the title. Kicking off its fourth season tonight, this series actually has very little to do with physical addiction. As related in a disclaimer before each episode, the individuals profiled are in fact afflicted with compulsive behaviours in which anxieties are alleviated through the ingestion of non-food items and ritualistic activities. Tonight’s first show introduces viewers to Mike and Trina, a seemingly normal couple both hooked on coffee enemas (no jokes about double-double, please) and Lisa, a middle-aged lady who can’t stop eating cat fur. In the second show, we meet Mark, who spends every waking minute, and every night, in the close company of inflatable pool toys. Bless ‘em all.
DRAMA CSI (CBS, CTV, 10 p.m.) Still going strong in its 13 th season, the original entry in the CSI franchise remains the go-to show for viewers who like their crime stories neat and tidy and occasional fleeting glimpses into the personal lives of the cops solving them. In tonight’s new episode, CSI boss D.B. Russell (Ted Danson) and his team investigate the brutal death of a famous Cuban singer’s sister. On the personal front, CSI team member Hodges (Wallace Langham) is starting to get cold feet at the prospect of marrying his gorgeous Italian girlfriend. You’re not getting any younger, fella.
MOVIE Mrs. Brown (Vision, midnight) There are few steadier English thespians than Dame Judi Dench. Recently excised from the James Bond film franchise (sorry for the spoiler if you haven’t seen Skyfall), the stage and film veteran pours her heart and soul into every character portrayal. Case in point: This little-seen 1997 period piece set during the 1860s and starring Ms. Dench as the imperious Queen Victoria. Still mourning the death of her husband Prince Albert two years before, the Queen’s handlers arrange a daily horseback ride with a humble Scottish horseman named John Brown (Billy Connolly). The Queen naturally bridles at first, but eventually takes to Mr. Brown’s genial company and soon the odd couple are riding every morning. Of course their riding sessions also have people wagging that the Queen and the commoner are madly in love.