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A select viewing guide for Wednesday, Oct. 3
REALITY: Hoarding: Buried Alive (TLC, 7 p.m. ET; 4 p.m. PT) It seems there is no shortage of hoarders in America. Now in its fifth season, this highly-rated series profiling people literally buried by junk in their own houses is forever wading into new piles of horrific clutter. Tonight’s first episode introduces viewers to Jeff, who refuses to admit he’s a hoarder despite the fact his home has garbage piled to the ceiling. In the same show, we meet Debbie, who credits her chronic hoarding (and single status) to having OCD. In the second show, the compulsive collector Michael has six weeks to clean up his house or he’s going to jail. In each instance, the hoarders get their lives in order with assistance of professional counselling.
COMEDY: The Middle (ABC, CITY-TV, 8 p.m. ET/PT) In tandem with the comedy Suburgatory (returning Oct. 17), this family-themed sitcom provides the perfect hour-long aperitif to Modern Family. The anchor of the show is former Everybody Loves Raymond regular Patricia Heaton as the lovable working mother Frankie Heck, who resides in the blue-collar burg of Orson, Ind., with hubby Mike (Neil Flynn) and their three not particularly adorable children. For the past three seasons Frankie has kept the family fed with her part-time position selling used cars at a local dealership, but in tonight’s new episode she’s abruptly fired from the job. As befits any industrious mom, Frankie decides to go to tech school to begin a new career, but doing what?
REALITY: The Bachelor Canada (CITY-TV, 9 p.m. ET/PT) Gangway for lovelorn Canucks. Debuting tonight, this show is identical in format and leering tone to the American version airing on ABC. The Bachelor himself is former CFL player Brad Smith, who is tasked to find his one true love via the usual routine of exotic dates and rose ceremonies. As on the original series, the watch-factor stems entirely from catfights among the 25 young women selected to go through the faux-courtship process. They include: Sandy, 29, a makeup artist from Wetaskiwin, Alta.; Kara, 25, a grad student from Delta, B.C.; and Amber, 29, a strip-club server from Winnipeg. Reality-TV veteran Tyler Harcott (Wired, Junkyard Wars) hosts.
DRAMA: Royal Pains (Showcase, 10 p.m. ET/PT) Launched in 2009, this cable series is in for the long haul. Last week, the USA Network renewed the show for a fifth and sixth season even before the fourth campaign finished airing. If you’re new to the party, the premise stars Mark Feuerstein as the young physician Hank Lawson, who is wrongly blamed for a patient’s death at a New York hospital and then relocates to the Hamptons to take a job taking care of the rich and famous (to drive home the point that he’s a good guy, Dr. Hank also tends to the indigent at a local hospital in his spare time). Also thrown into the mix is Hank’s younger sibling Evan, played by Canadian Paulo Costanzo, who is forever trying to drum up new business for his big brother’s practice. In tonight’s show, Evan lands some new patients with a little help from his rich girlfriend, while Hank treats a woman with memory problems and fields a new job offer.
(Williams & Hirakawa)
MOVIE: Mark of the Vampire (TCM, 11 p.m. ET; 8 p.m. PT) After making his name directing silent films and the 1931 classic Dracula, Tod Browning’s career crashed and burned with the 1932 feature Freaks (his decision to use real sideshow performers had moviegoers running screaming from theatres). Browning eventually redeemed himself with this 1935 horror feature, which was a remake of his 1927 silent film London After Midnight. Set in the usual spooky European village, the story follows the efforts of police inspector Neumann (Lionel Atwill) and occult expert Professor Zelen (Lionel Barrymore) to investigate the murders of citizens found drained of blood. Naturally, suspicion falls on the creepy Count Mora, played by Bela Lugosi in a broad turn on his Dracula persona, and his strange daughter Luna (Carroll Borland), but appearances are deceiving in this instance. The denouement delivers one of the most surprising twists in cinema history.