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A select viewing guide for Monday, March 25
REALITY My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding (TLC, 7 p.m.) In no way connected to the freakishly popular program My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, which documents the spirited gypsy lifestyle in England, Ireland and elsewhere in Europe, this sequel series focusing on their U.S. counterparts recently began its second season. So where are the American gypsies? In accordance with the supposedly clandestine gypsy lifestyle, the show is filmed in secret locations throughout Ohio, North Carolina, Georgia and West Virginia, where the families reside in campers, trailers and occasionally rental homes. As per the U.K. edition, the series concentrates primarily on young women, most of whom are actively looking for a husband by the age of 13. Watch the fireworks tonight when a handful of teen brides-to-be infuriate their elders when they decide to skip gypsy traditions in their upcoming nuptials.
REALITY The Voice (NBC, CTV Two, 8 p.m.) Back tonight for a fourth season, NBC’s version of American Idol returns with two new “coaches” and a slick new set. Gone are Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green, whose seats are capably filled by Usher and Shakira (joining Blake Shelton and Adam Levine). As before, the season begins with a two-hour opener in which contestants are submitted to the nervewracking blind audition process. The one to watch is a Chinese teen adopted by U.S. parents who raises the roof with her audition performance. Also: Usher repeatedly reminds the amateur warblers that he launched the career of Justin Bieber in hope of luring future superstars to his team. Carson Daly hosts.
DOCUMENTARY 180 Days: A Year Inside an American High School (PBS, 9 p.m.) Welcome to the not-so-hallowed halls of Washington Metropolitan High School in Washington, D.C., where only seven per cent of students are deemed proficient in mathematics and nearly half drop out before graduation. Filmed in unflinching style, this film documents the daily routine of students, teachers, administrators and parents attempting to build a better future in accordance with Barack Obama’s “Race to the Top” initiative, in which school funding is largely determined by standardized testing. Students profiled include Raven, 17, a young mother displaced by Hurricane Katrina and juggling homework with her part-time job, and Delaunte, 18, whose chronic absenteeism has put him two years behind other students his age. A powerful snapshot of the U.S. education system.
DRAMA Revolution (NBC, Citytv, 10 p.m.) Launched to huge ratings last fall, this apocalyptic drama from Lost creator J.J. Abrams finally returns tonight with new episodes. For those who missed it the first time around, the series opened with all the electrical power on the planet shut off and mankind thrust into the dark ages – literally. Fast-forward 15 years and the world is not a pretty place, especially in Chicago, where the scrappy teen Charlie, played by Winnipeg-born Tracy Spiridakos, is on the lam from the citizen militia run by Captain Tom (Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito). In tonight’s return episode, Charlie’s equally feisty mother Rachel (Elizabeth Mitchell, ex of Lost) has found a way to return power to the rebel forces opposing the militia, but in order to throw the switch, she has to leave her kids behind. The future, it seems, is all about sacrifices.
MOVIE Fiddler on the Roof (Vision, midnight) Directed by Canada’s own Norman Jewison, this 1971 film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical actually improves upon repeat viewing. Set in the small town of Anatevka in turn-of-the-century Tsarist Russia, the story stars the Israeli actor Topol as Tevye, a lowly milkman beset by considerable woes. Beyond the challenges of poverty, Tevye has to deal with the complicated romantic entanglements of his five daughters. His eldest daughter Tzeitel (Rosalind Harris) is supposed to marry the wealthy butcher Lazar (Paul Mann), but she’s really in love with the destitute tailor Motel (Leonard Frey). And his headstrong daughter Chava (Neva Small) is insistent on marrying Fyedka (Raymond Lovelock), a non-Jew! Everything changes for Tevye when the Czar decrees all Jews have three days to leave Anatevka, or be removed forcibly.