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A select viewing guide for Monday Nov. 19
COMEDY Ron James: Back Home (CBC, 8 p.m.) Born in Cape Breton and raised in Halifax, Ron James is Canada’s pre-eminent monologist. This TV version of his popular touring road show was taped a few years back before an appreciative Halifax audience and finds the pint-sized comic in top scattershot form. James expounds at length on his maritime birthplace–“the borning lands of lobster blood”–and tells stories about his quirky relatives, sneaking into the local tavern and his post-secondary education at Acadia University. The hometown crowd roars.
HISTORY Mankind: The Story of All of Us (History, 9 p.m.) First broadcast on the U.S. History Channel, this sprawling documentary series tracks the history of the human race in epic fashion. Narrated by Josh Brolin, the format merges fresh historical perspective from the usual academic types with vivid reenactments of key turning points from throughout history. Tonight’s opener harkens all the way back to the very dawn of civilization, when mankind, along with the dinosaurs and other creatures, was threatened with extinction before learning to master two significant elements: fire and rudimentary farming techniques. Soon after we learned how to trade, and the not-so-fine art of war.
FOOD Mystery Diners (Food Network, 9:30 p.m.) What’s a restaurant owner to do when they suspect one of their employees? In this new series, they call in the Mystery Diners production team to install hidden cameras in the eatery to catch the aberrant behavior. The show’s watch-factor comes in the wide range of unethical work practices on the part of the employees. Some steal food, others insult customers and others refuse to do a lick of work once the boss is looking the other way. In tonight’s series opener, the proprietor of the Groves Bar & Grill in Gilbert, Arizona, reveals suspicions of his recently-hired head chef. The big reveal at the end is worth the price of admission.
DRAMA Revolution (NBC, Citytv, 10 p.m.) Attention, Led Zeppelin fans: The seventies supergroup has agreed to the usage of two songs–Kashmir and Since I’ve Been Loving You–for tonight’s episode of this hit rookie drama. In fact, the permission from the group involves corporate synergy to promote the release of Led Zeppelin’s Celebration Day DVD, released today in stores. As for what’s going on in the TV show, the grim ex-army guy Miles (Billy Burke) and his fellow survivors mount an assault against the leaders of the Monroe Republic (all of which would mean a lot more to those who’ve been following the apocalyptyic plotline).
MOVIE Red Dawn (Spike, 9:30 p.m.) Before shelling out to see the big-budget remake of this 1984 action feature this weekend, watch the original. Directed by John Milius, who also co-wrote the script, the story posits fictional events in the wake of an invasion of the U.S. by the Soviet Union (with a little help from Nicaraguan and Cuban allies). In the rural community of Calumet, Colorado, the citizenry’s attempt to fight back are met with murderous military force and internment camps. A handful of teens, including Jed (Patrick Swayze), brother Matt (Charlie Sheen) and several others, label themselves “Wolverines” and commence a series of daring vigilante raids against the invading forces.