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A select viewing guide for Monday, July 23
REALITY: Bachelor Pad (ABC, OMNI-1, 8 p.m.) What becomes of the broken-hearted? If they happen to be rejects from reality series, very often they resurface in this unusual program, back tonight for its third summer season. Hosted by Chris Harrison, the no-frills format drops 20 young and attractive singles – 10 men, 10 ladies – into a mansion. Five answered a casting call on the ABC website; the other 15 are castoffs from The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. As before, the participants scheme against each other and compete in challenges toward the $250,000 grand prize. The fun starts in tonight’s opener with the participants coupling up and then trying to help each other not fall out of heart-shaped cups hoisted high above the ground.
COMEDY: How to Rock (YTV, 8 p.m.) When summer’s here and the regular networks are awash in repeats, get thee to the specialty channels for fresh TV fare. Debuting tonight, this new sitcom from the U.S. cable channel Nickelodeon is based on a popular teen novel and stars the impressively-named Cymphonique Miller as Kacey, a mean-girl teen whose social rank takes a nosedive when forced to wear braces and glasses. Shunned by her usual clique, Kacey finds a creative outlet as the new singer of the local pop group Gravity 4 (naturally renamed Gravity 5). The inevitable clash occurs when Kacey’s former friends form their own group, The Perfs, and everyone competes in a battle-of-the-bands show. Sure, it smells like recycled teen spirit, but it’s still more entertaining than reruns of How I Met Your Mother.
SCI-FI: The Almighty Johnson (Space, 9 p.m. ET, 11 p.m. PT) Debuting tonight, this series was a sensation in its native New Zealand. Mashing comedy and drama, the opener introduces Axl Johnson (Emmett Skilton), an average bloke perplexed by bizarre events on his 21st birthday. The water in the local harbour is blood red and roiling and strange women are trying to kill him. All is made clear in a secret ceremony where his brothers reveal they are all reincarnated Norse gods and that Axl is none other than Odin himself. All the Johnsons are in a weakened state and the only way to restore their powers is for Axl to find the reincarnation of Odin’s long-deceased wife, which leads to much derring-do with the majestic Kiwi scenery as backdrop.
DOCUMENTARY: Too Fast to Be a Woman? (CBC News Network, 10 p.m.) This documentary chronicles the gold-medal victory by South African runner Caster Semenya in the 800-meter event at the 2009 world championships in Berlin. Her record-breaking time and muscular appearance lead to speculation that Semenya was actually born a man, which in turn lead to an official investigation by the International Association of Athletics Federations. Removed from competition for one year, she was eventually cleared by the IAAF. The film documents Semenya’s reaction to the controversy and her preparations to compete at the upcoming London Summer Games.
MOVIE: Forrest Gump (A&E, 8 p.m. and midnight ET, 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. PT) Life lessons abound in this 1994 film that was both a commercial hit and a critic’s darling. Tom Hanks earned a Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal of Forrest, a slow-witted but fast-running Alabama boy who is implausibly present for most of the memorable events of the second half of the 20th century.