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A select viewing guide for Tuesday, Oct. 9
COMEDY: Rick Mercer Report (CBC, 8 p.m.) The Canadian public’s love affair with Rick Mercer continues. Recently returned for its 10th season, Mercer’s weekly roadshow pulls in more than a million viewers weekly – even up against such heavyweight U.S. network fare as NCIS, Dancing with the Stars and The Voice. Because who else on Canadian television is exposing viewers to such strange experiences each week? In tonight’s new episode, Mercer and Over the Rainbow host Daryn Jones are in Horseshow Valley, Ontario, to try out a new recreation sport known as “zorbing,” in which the participant rolls down a hill in a giant plastic orb of water (think The Prisoner, with less malicious intent). Next up: The Montreal Biodome, where Rick explores the facility’s five co-existing ecosystems and even helps take care of a few species living there. Long may he run.
COMEDY: Go On (NBC, 9 p.m.) Could NBC be more pleased with this new show starring Matthew Perry? Based on strong startup ratings, the peacock network recently bestowed a full-season order upon the offbeat comedy featuring the ex-Friends fixture as Perry King, a sportscaster trying to recover from the death of his wife in an auto accident. For sitcom purposes, most of the show takes place in Perry’s grief-support group, whose members include brittle lesbian lawyer Anne (Julie White) and angry young man Owen (Tyler James Williams). In tonight’s new episode, Perry finally begins to accept his loss by displaying a textbook grieving symptom: compulsive eating. Not your typical sitcom, and Perry is reliably solid.
COMEDY: The Mindy Project (Fox, Citytv, 9:30 p.m.) Never underestimate the adorableness of Mindy Kaling. For many viewers, Kaling was the main reason for watching The Office, and she’s no less spunkily precocious in this new series casting her as Mindy Lahiri, a single, sort of wacky physician with odd friends and even odder co-workers. So far the show has been generating solid ratings, and Kaling, who created the series and has written each episode, keeps pushing the premise with each episode. Case in point: In tonight’s new show, Mindy has to find a new gynecologist, so she books an appointment with co-worker Danny (Chris Messina). Before she gets into the stirrups, though, the two medics engage in a game of chicken to see who backs out first.
REALITY The Big Jig (TLC, 10 p.m.) So you thought the kids on Dance Moms had it tough? Those pint-sized hoofers have it easy compared to the subjects of this new special focusing on the highly-competitive world of competitive Irish dancing. The film follows five young competitors during their intense training period leading up to the 2012 World Irish Dance Championships in Belfast. The ones to watch: Marina, 12, who goes into the contest with added pressure of being the niece of Lord of the Dance star Michael Flatley, and Julia, 11, who in the spirit of Rocky Balboa actually ingests raw eggs in her training regimen. Unlike most of the reality programming on TLC, this is must-see TV.
MOVIE: The Best Years of Our Lives (TCM, 9:45 p.m. ET; 6:45 p.m. PT) Winner of seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, this 1946 drama tells a powerful story that still rings true today. With sensitive direction by William Wyler, the film documents the post-battle lives of three U.S. servicemen in the days immediately following the Second World War. The most heartfelt portrayal is essayed by Fredric March, who earned Best Actor honours as Al, a decorated war hero with a supportive wife (Myrna Loy) and proud family welcoming him home. As with his fellow veterans, Al struggles to reclaim the life he left behind, but has difficulty settling back into his old job at a bank and is haunted by horrific battlefield memories.