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TV: Five shows worth watching tonight: Oct. 11

A select viewing guide for Thursday, Oct. 11

1 of 5

MOVIE: Coupe de Ville (Vision, midnight) Merging drama and comedy in equal parts, this 1990 film holds up remarkably well on repeat viewing. Set in the summer of 1963, the story revolves around the semi-lovable Libner brothers. Eldest brother Marvin (Daniel Stern) is an Air Force sergeant with no sense of humour whatsoever; middle child Buddy is the bookish type with big dreams; and the youngest Bobby (Patrick Dempsey) is the handsome lothario bad-boy type. Although the three young men are not close, they’re forced together by their tough father Fred (Alan Arkin) when he orders them to drive a mint-condition Cadillac for their mother from Detroit to Miami. The subsequent roadtrip is naturally a disaster and the scene in which the bickering brothers debate the meaning of the lyrics of Louie, Louie is worth the price of admission.

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REALITY: Beyond Scared Straight (A&E, 10 p.m.) Scary and real, this series was created for television by veteran filmmaker Arnold Shapiro, best known for his seminal 1978 documentary Scared Straight!, which followed a handful of young offenders on a visit to a rundown New Jersey prison. The premise remains intact on a weekly basis on this program, which tonight transports four cocky teens to a correctional facility in scenic New Jersey. Already arrested multiple times for theft and drug dealing, 18-year-old Samir immediately runs afoul of a tough corrections officer, while Teshon is shaking and tearful upon witnessing firsthand the ultimate destination for gang members.

3 of 5

DRAMA: Beauty and the Beast (Showcase, 9 p.m.) Old TV concepts never die; they simply get repackaged with younger actors and better special effects. This new series from the CW Network is inspired by the popular eighties series of the same name, which in turn was inspired by the fanciful fairy tale. In this version, former Smallville regular Kristin Kreuk plays Catherine “Cat” Chandler, a NYPD homicide detective still haunted by the image of witnessing her mother’s murder years before. While investigating a case with partner Tess (Nina Lisandrello), Cat discovers the fingerprints of a handsome doctor named Vincent (Jay Ryan), who was supposedly killed while on military duty in 2002. Turns out Vincent leads a double life as a scary wolf-like creature and was responsible for saving Cat’s life on the night of her mother’s murder. Can a tough lady cop and a big hairy beast find true love in the big city? Watch and see.

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DOCUMENTARY: 30 for 30: 9.79 (TSN, 8:30 p.m.) Remember the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea? All of Canada rejoiced when sprinter Ben Johnson defeated U.S. arch-rival Carl Lewis to win the gold men in the men’s 100-meter final. Within 48 hours, the entire country was shocked when Johnson tested positive for anabolic steroids and was unceremoniously stripped of his gold medal. This film by British documentarian Daniel Gordon reveals the little-known fact that six other competitors in the race also tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs or were implicated in a drug scandal. Was Johnson guilty of extreme drug usage or the fall guy for a practice that has gone on for decades. You be the judge.

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5 of 5

REALITY: Dirty Jobs (Discovery, 8 p.m.) Still one of the highest-rated programs on the U.S. Discovery Channel, this series in which everyman Mike Rowe tackles various vocations is occasionally unpleasant, but rarely boring. At last check, the affable Rowe has tested out nearly 300 jobs that most of us would go out of our way to avoid, including roadkill cleaner, snake wrangler and animal barber. But sometimes he catches a break, as in tonight’s episode in which he takes on general labourer duties at a rum distillery in Newport, Rhode Island. Rowe’s long day of scouring copper kettles, hauling hoses and brewing molasses is more than offset by the rum-sampling session at quitting time.

Andrew Cutraro

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