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The Globe and Mail

Seven Days of Television: August 18 to August 24

A select viewing guide to the next seven days of television

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MONDAY AUGUST 18 MythBusters (Discovery, 9 p.m.) Still chugging along in its 13th season, this series in which hirsute handymen Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman apply the scientific method toward popular urban myths still draws healthy ratings and maintains an impressive presence on social media - with more than 1.5-million Twitter followers. Most likely people still watch because the show consistently chooses relatable topics. Tonight, the pair go to great lengths to determine whether a public washroom hand dryer really is more sanitary than a paper towel, after which they determine whether it really is wise to stand in a doorway during an earthquake. Watch and learn.

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TUESDAY AUGUST 19 Wizard Wars (Space, 10 p.m.) If the TV universe has room for reality competitions to find the next great singer, model or chef, why not a contest to decide the world’s best low-budget magician? Coming from the SyFy channel, this low-budget series tasks two teams of amateur magician duos to create astounding feats of legerdemain. How it works: Host Justin Flom supplies the aspiring David Copperdales with a bag of props and gives them one hour to make the magic happen. The teams then have to perform their trick for a group of judges comprised of a professional magician, a magician’s assistant and a magic critic (that’s a job now?). The fun part: All the props came from a dollar store.

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WEDNESDAY AUGUST 20 Epic Ink (A&E, 10:30 p.m.) Welcome to Area 51 Tattoo in Springfield, Oregon, where pop culture is a way of life and any customer looking for an old-school tattoo of a ship’s anchor is sent packing. Apparently people flock to Area 51 from all over the U.S. for the shop’s hyper-realistic body art that most often features iconic characters from classic sci-fi films and TV shows. And sometimes the characters don’t even have to be classic. In the series opener, a client receives a large tattoo of his favourite character from The Goonies, while another requests a massive Arnold Schwarzenegger tattoo. Classy!

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THURSDAY AUGUST 21 Doc Zone: Dog Dazed (CBC, 9 p.m.) Were you aware Canada’s canine population has more than doubled in the past decade? In this upbeat documentary, filmmaker Helen Slinger deconstructs the longstanding and seemingly unbreakable connection that exists between humans and dogs. Along the way, we meet all manner of precocious dog-lovers, including a couple who share their bed with a 220-pound mastiff nightly; a couple whose divorce necessitated legal joint custody of their pooch; and a woman who plans on being buried with her best friend.

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FRIDAY AUGUST 22 America’s Next Top Model (Citytv, 9 p.m.) Strike a pose and settle in for the 21st edition of TV’s glitziest reality competition. As before, Tyra Banks holds forth as mentor, judge and diva on the show, which for the second occasion will feature both male and female contestants vying for runway superstardom. And this time there’s a Canadian contender: Toronto model Chantelle Brown-Young, who suffers from the rare skin condition known as vitiligo, which has left her entire body covered in discoloured patches. According to recent press reports, Banks herself invited the 19-year-old model to the contest after seeing pictures of her on Instagram. Make us proud, Chantelle.

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SATURDAY AUGUST 23 Doctor Who (Space, 8 p.m.) Get ready to meet your new Doctor. Following months of advance hype and fan anticipation, the esteemed Scottish actor Peter Capaldi steps into the role of the time-traveling alien Doctor Who. In the feature-length story, the Doctor steers his TARDIS (which still resembles a sixties-era English police box) into Victorian-era London right in the midst of decidedly strange occurrences. The fact people are spontaneously combusting seems odd enough, but why is there a dinosaur swimming in the Thames River? On the plus side, the Doctor receives assistance in solving the mystery from his comely new “companion” named Clara (Jenna Coleman).

STEVE BROWN

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SUNDAY AUGUST 24 2014 MTV Video Music Awards (MuchMusic, MTV, 9 p.m.) Watch closely: Ever since Madonna planted a liplock on Britney Spears back in 2003, the MTV Video Music Awards unfailingly yield at least one OMG moment per broadcast. The 31st edition of the VMAs will air live from The Forum in Los Angeles with Beyonce leading the pack with eight nominations, followed by Eminem and Iggy Azalea with seven nominations apiece. But nobody really cares about who takes home the “moon-man” trophies. The VMAs are must-see-TV for the live performances, which this year will include stage turns from the likes of Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, The Beastie Boys, Justin Timberlake and Madonna - who has reportedly stocked up on lip balm.

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