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A select viewing guide for Monday, Oct. 1
REALITY: Breaking Amish (TLC, 8 p.m.-midnight) The reality hits just keep on coming for TLC. The upstart cable channel has been on a roll in recent months with knockout ratings for new programs like Craft Wars, Abby and Brittany and, heaven help us, Here Comes Honey Boo. This latest arrival tracks four young people – two Amish, one Mennonite – as they leave their respective agrarian communities and move to New York. Naturally the four are faced with countless temptations in the city that never sleeps. Tonight’s five-episode marathon begins with the series opener, in which the four are shunned by family and friends for their decision to sample life on the outside world. By the second episode, however, they’re partying like the rapture is just around the corner. Such is the power of reality TV.
REALITY: Over the Rainbow (CBC, 8 p.m.) Remember the show How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? Based on a hit U.K. series, CBC’s 2006 talent-search series mounted a reality-style search for a young singer to play the role of Maria Von Trapp in a stage production of The Sound of Music. Six years later, this new show is pretty much the exact same concept, except that the contestants are competing to play the role of Dorothy in a stage production of The Wizard of Oz. So far OTR’s ratings have underwhelmed, with fewer than a half-million Canadians watching the Sunday-Monday broadcasts. The numbers could pick up in tonight’s results show wherein the bottom two contestants are revealed and then pitted against each other to determine which one will be ejected. Surrender, Dorothy!
DOCUMENTARY: Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (PBS, 9 p.m.) Inspired by the book of the same name by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, this two-part documentary takes six female celebrities to an equal number of developing countries to meet courageous people affecting change and empowerment for women and girls. In tonight’s opener, Kristof and actress Eva Mendes travel to Sierra Leone to meet a woman attempting to stem the alarming rise of sexual assaults against young women in West Africa. Next stop: Cambodia, where Kristof and Meg Ryan meet a woman who was sold into sexual slavery as a young girl and now runs a center to rehabilitate other young women rescued from brothels. Similar journeys of discovery await Diane Lane, America Ferrera, Olivia Wilde and Gabrielle Union in Tuesday night’s installment.
DRAMA: Castle (ABC, CTV, 10 p.m.) No doubt devotees of this easy-viewing crime drama are dazed and confused by this show’s recent fifth-season return. The first four seasons derived mileage from the brisk sexual tension between fictional bestselling author Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) and sexy-but-tough NYPD detective Beckett (Stana Katic). The show closed with the pair smooching in last spring’s finale and now suddenly they’re a full-blown couple. All of which factors into tonight’s new episode in which the lovebirds look into the murder of a New York TV weather lady. As the investigation proceeds, Castle and Beckett discover there is no way to keep a new relationship secret from prying co-workers.
MOVIE: Brubaker (AMC, 11 p.m.) After knocking out a dozen leading-man roles in the seventies, Robert Redford only appeared in four movies throughout the eighties, most notably this 1980 drama based on real-life events. Redford is perfectly suited to the titular role of Henry Brubaker, the idealistic new warden of a rundown Southern prison with a bad reputation. Brubaker is keen to introduce reform to the institution and provide inmates with modern rehabilitation methods, but the prison is entrenched in corruption and in short order he’s butting heads with both crooked guards and the government officials who hired him. As in every Redford film, he’s the smartest (and prettiest) guy in the room. Watch closely for Morgan Freeman in one of his first film appearances.