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The Globe and Mail

TV: Five shows worth watching tonight: January 2

A select viewing guide for Wednesday, January 2

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COMEDY Whitney (NBC, CTV Two, 8 p.m.) Easing into its second season, this low-concept sitcom is allegedly based on the single-white-female existence of sassy standup comedian Whitney Cummings, who naturally assumes the title role and serves as a producer on the series. Everyone following the story will already know the show focuses largely on Whitney and her seemingly perfect bond with her slacker boyfriend Alex (Chris D’Elia). The relationship ties are tested tonight when Alex agrees to let his ex-fiance Chloe (June Diane Raphael) crash on his couch without telling Whitney first.

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REALITY Counting Cars (History, 9 p.m.) Hailing from the U.S. edition of History Channel, this new series spins off from the freakishly popular Pawn Stars. The premise follows the daily work routine at Count’s Kustoms, a Las Vegas auto-restoration company owned and operated by Danny Koker, who appears regularly on Pawn Stars. In tonight’s opener, Danny and his team attempt to restore a 1968 Ford Mustang GT Fastback, likely best known for burning up the streets of San Francisco in the 1968 film Bullitt. The car looks great, sure, but try finding parts for a 1968 Mustang.

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DRAMA Criminal Minds (CBS, CTV, 9 p.m.) The worst crimes happen in small towns in this creepy crime drama now in its eighth season. In tonight’s rebroadcast episode, profiler David Rossi (Joe Mantegna) and the Behavioural Analysis Unit head to a tiny Oregon town where a series of ritualistic murders have the making of a religious cult. The episode guest-stars Robert Englund, aka Freddie Krueger in the A Nightmare on Elm Street film franchise, as a local detective and former Buffy the Vampire Slayer regular Juliet Landau as a psychiatric patient.

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DOCUMENTARY Life on Fire (PBS, 10 p.m.) Remember the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull Volcano a few years back? The natural disaster made a global impact by paralyzing air traffic around the world for several days. Narrated by Jeremy Irons, this new six-part series examines the adaptations made by people and wildlife who live within direct proximity of volcanoes. The program also tells a cautionary tale of another volcanoe, named Katla, which is ten times the size of Eyjafjallajökull and has only recently begun to swell and rumble. Be afraid.

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MOVIE Gosford Park (Vision, midnight) Crisply directed by Robert Altman, working off a script by Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey), this 2001 film is a sharp indictment of the British class system, circa mid-thirties. Michael Gambon and Kristin Scott Thomas play the priggish Brit socialites Sir William and his wife Lady Sylvia, who invite a gaggle of diverse guests to their sprawling country manor for a weekend of hunting. The guests include Sylvia’s Aunt Constance (Maggie Smith), vain actor Ivor (Jeremy Northam) and theHollywood movie producer Morris (Bob Balaban). When the lord of the manse is unceremoniously murdered, the investigation by Inspector Thomson (Stephen Fry) exposes the shocking secrets of the houseguests and also the expansive serving staff, played by the likes of Helen Mirren, Alan Bates, Clive Owens and Derek Jacobi.

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