Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Weekend TV picks: Small-town tales from tragedy to sunshine


Saturday, CTV, 7 p.m.

"A desperate father. A wayward daughter. A drug-dealing boyfriend. And tragedy on St. Patrick's Day." That's how Lloyd Robertson introduces an in-depth look at a murder. In June 2011, Kim Walker was found guilty of manslaughter for the shooting death of James Hayward in Yorkton, Sask. Walker's daughter, Jadah, who was 16 years old at the time, and had moved in with Hayward, her 24-year-old boyfriend, a man the RCMP said was a major drug dealer in area. As Robertson tells the story it is a tale of teenagers feeling confined and rebellious in a small town, turning to drugs and events spiralling out of control. It's the details that are telling here – anonymous letters from concerned neighbours telling Jadah's parents of her drug use. Parents going to the police for help and feeling angry when instant action doesn't follow. All the ingredients were there for horror erupting in a teenage wasteland.

Story continues below advertisement

Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town

Sunday, CBC, 8 p.m.

This wry, lovely-looking adaptation of some stories from Leacock's masterpiece manages the delicate task of finding hard truths in the author's sunny world. A touch of the real Leacock story – the unreliable father – is woven into events and what transpires as daydreaming in the stories is dramatized here. We get two of the core tales – the sinking of the Mariposa Belle steamboat, and events surrounding an attempt to stop the cancelling of the liquor licence of the Mariposa hotel. As adapted by Malcolm MacRury, the production has a sometimes surreal quality, one that saves it from lapsing into merely pretty, affectionate, period-piece drama for TV. Here the comedy touches on both the pleasures and terrible limitations of small-town life. Gordon Pinsent narrates as Leacock's voice, and the large cast includes Jill Hennessy, Peter Keleghan, Colin Mochrie, Caroline Rhea, Patrick McKenna, Leah Pinsent, Sean Cullen and Ron James. American Donal Logue is excellent as Josh Smith, the hotelier and rogue.

The 54th Annual Grammy Awards

Sunday, CBS, Global, 8 p.m.

If I understand this correctly, Adele will sweep all the main Grammy award categories. Thus, the main fun is with the performances – Nicki Minaj (not sure who that is, I admit), Bruno Mars, Foo Fighters, Paul McCartney, Jason Aldean, Kelly Clarkson and Taylor Swift are scheduled to do their thing. And Coldplay will team up with Rihanna, which should either be intriguing or off-putting, depending on your musical taste. The host is LL Cool J, which is mystifying, I think. He's way past his prime isn't he? Late-breaking is news that the Beach Boys will perform, the first time the founding members have played together in public in two decades – that is, Brian Wilson, Mike Love and Al Jardine, with David Marks and Bruce Johnston. They're doing something with Maroon 5 and Foster the People. Fogeys, take note.

The Walking Dead

Story continues below advertisement

Sunday, AMC, 9 p.m.

Yes, it's back, in what is grandly being called "the midseason premiere." That really means there are new episodes airing tonight and for the next few weeks. If you so choose, you can catch up. AMC is airing a Walking Dead marathon, with Season 1 starting on Saturday, at 8 p.m. And Season 2 airing Sunday, starting at 1:30 p.m. When last we met the motley crew trying to survive in a world of flesh-eating zombies, some terrible things happened. It is only necessary to remember the scene of the character Sophia coming out of the barn at the farm where the crew had landed and stayed, to be reminded of the powerful emotions that The Walking Dead can evoke. There is always heartbreak and terror. Main character Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is still the cop, still trying to be a true leader. The zombies are still dangerous, but the message remains – humanity is doomed unless people learn to get along.

Check local listings.

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author
Television critic

John Doyle is The Globe and Mail's television critic. His column appears in the Review section Monday to Thursday and on Saturday. He has been the paper's critic since 2000. More

Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.