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You see the most extraordinary, gripping things on TV. And one of those things is Jessi Cruickshank's right arm. It's a thing to behold. It's long and works very hard. I wouldn't be surprised if Cruickshank's right arm had its own agent and development deal.

Cruickshank is the host of Canada's Smartest Person (CBC, Sunday, 8 p.m.), a show that has CBC very excited. The network is hoping this thing becomes huge. Well, we'll see. It's not stupid, this show about smart people, but while it's fun, its format is overly familiar and unadventurous. Apart from Cruickshank's right arm.

"We searched the country to find Canadians with the strongest and most versatile intelligence," Cruickshank declares off the top. She's standing on a circular stage in a wee dress and very high heels. That's the overly familiar part. It looks like lots of game shows.

The point of the show is to unveil to Canada the person who is not just smart in the old-fashioned IQ-test way, but who is the smartest according to the "theory of multiple intelligences." That theory was developed by some chap at Harvard whose name escapes me, possibly because I'm not that smart. And possibly because Cruickshank's right arm kept distracting me from taking in that vital info.

Anyway, loads of people applied to the CBC to be part of this competitive intelligence test, and, as we are informed, "32 unique Canadians battle to prove they're smart." To achieve this goal, they go on TV and their smarts are tested in the areas of visual, linguistic, physical, musical, social and logical intelligence. Viewers are invited to play along.

The show has a serious case of the cutes. We meet, as an example of musical intelligence, little Ryan, all of six years old and a piano prodigy. Co-host Jeff Douglas, whose voice is familiar from CBC Radio's As It Happens, shows Ryan photos and asks him to compose a response to them. He does this with aplomb.

Regrettably, little Ryan isn't one of the four competitors shown on Sunday's two-hour opener. Instead, we get four adult Canadians who perform various tasks and complete certain tests to determine a winner. It's quite convoluted.

But there are fun bits. Such as the bit in which a model is shown wearing 15 articles of clothing, and the contestants, after getting a look at her, must then replicate her outfit exactly.

Apart from being convoluted, it's loud, brash and bizarrely paced. It takes a very long time to introduce the theory of multiple intelligences, and then we're introduced to people, such as little Ryan, who don't turn up for the opening show.

Douglas, who is listed as "co-host" and rocks a nice suit with a dashing pocket square, seems to do most of the work. Cruickshank is the equivalent of the traditional "ta-da! girl" who accompanies a magician and goes ta-da! when the magician makes the rabbit reappear. Countless times, she waves that right arm to introduce something or someone.

Me, I'll give anything on TV a go, and I appreciate the manic effort put into Canada's Smartest Person. But the two-hour start is an hour too long. There's only so much convolution and cuteness a person can take. And if I'm mainly distracted by Cruickshank's right arm, then the core of the show isn't emerging. It is awe-inspiring, that arm, though.

Also airing this weekend

Where is Flight MH370? (Sunday, CBC NN, 10 p.m. on Passionate Eye) is an investigation by the BBC's Horizon program into the mystery surrounding the Malaysian Airlines flight that disappeared last March. The program offers a cornucopia of theories and insights into the search work, but offers no firm conclusions. One aircraft investigator says possible scenarios to explain the disappearance are "structural failure or terrorist actions." Another expert dwells on the fact that 200 kilograms of highly flammable lithium batteries were on the flight. We also learn a lot about radar blind spots. To deepen the mystery even further, a scientist from a satellite firm, Inmarsat, explains how it is perfectly possible the plane flew on invisibly for seven hours after it first disappeared from radar.

Take note that several hit shows return on Sunday – Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Sunday, Fox, City, 8:30 p.m.), Resurrection (Sunday, ABC, CTV, 9 p.m.) and Revenge (Sunday, ABC, City, 10 p.m.)