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The Globe and Mail

Seven Days of Television: July 28 to August 3

A select viewing guide to the next seven days of television

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The Bachelorette (ABC, CITY-TV, 8 p.m.) Loyal viewers who have been following ABC’s torrid love-connection series this summer will be counting down the minutes to tonight’s 10th-season finale. After being wined, dined and wooed by 25 male suitors over the past three months, feisty single lady Andi Dorfman (who famously walked out on that cad Juan Pablo Galavais on The Bachelor last year) has finally whittled the list down to two potential soul mates: Former pro baseball player Josh Murray and software sales executive Nick Viall. While both men are rakishly handsome and vaguely intelligent, only one will receive the coveted rose from Andi. No wagering, please.

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TUESDAY JULY 29 Celebrity Wife Swap (ABC, 10 p.m.) Merging elements of The Osbournes and Big Brother, this still popular reality series puts a clever spin on the original Wife Swap format: Two matriarchs of celebrity families switch domiciles, lifestyles and kids (but not the hanky-panky) for a one-week period. In the third-season finale, the mates of rapper DJ Paul of Three 6 Mafia renown and NFL player Plaxico Burress change places. Paul’s wife Majda is a Las Vegas party girl accustomed to her husband’s all-nighters in the studio and on the Strip; Burress’s wife Tiffany is a prim partner in a law firm and CEO of her own clothing line. Sparks fly and valuable life lessons are dispensed.

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WEDNESDAY JULY 30 Sex in the Wild (PBS, 10 p.m.) Get ready for a little adult viewing – PBS-style. As the title suggests, this cheeky docu-series chronicles the wild and woolly world of animal reproduction in vivid detail (at times almost too vivid if you have a HD television). Since this is public broadcasting, the mating rituals are naturally handled with good taste, but the show’s alternating tour guides, veterinary scientist Mark Evans and anatomist Dr. Joy S. Reidenberg, still manage to apply fitting lightness and humour to the subject. This week the experts head to Australia to document the efforts of conservationists in Brisbane to boost the declining birth rate among kangaroos and koalas. Those Barry White records don’t work down under, mate!

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THURSDAY JULY 31 The Quest (ABC, CITY-TV, 8 p.m.) For those viewers bemoaning the long wait until the next season of Game of Thrones (which won’t be back until next spring, if we’re lucky), have we got a show for you! Clearly inspired by Thrones and the general public acceptance of role-playing games, this big-budget competition series drops 12 contestants into a scripted fantasy world populated by mythical creatures including dragons and witches and gnomes, oh my. Players are set packing into the woods on a mission and along the way they learn how to shoot a crossbow and climb a rope ladder, while actors in character regularly appear to berate them and provide clues. May the best nerd win!

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FRIDAY AUGUST 1 You Gotta Eat Here! (Food Network, 9 p.m.) Now in its 3rd season, this culinary travelogue series is still helmed by the entertaining John Catucci, who collects calories and air miles with abandon in search of unique Canadian comfort-food experiences. This week he’s in Kingsville, Ont., to determine whether Jack’s Gastropub really does serve Canada’s best burger.

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SATURDAY AUGUST 2 Hell on Wheels (AMC, 9 p.m.) Remember when AMC used to show old John Wayne movies on Saturday night? Buoyed by the success of Mad Men, The Walking Dead, et al, the upstart cable network now reserves the space for original programs like this lauded period-piece drama, back for a fourth season. Set during the 1860s amid the westward construction of America’s first transcontinental rail line, the show revolves around Anson Mount as Cullen Bohannon, a former Confederate soldier working on the railroad. As the new season opens, Cullen finds himself suddenly married, albeit at gunpoint, to a sweet young thing named Naomi (MacKenzie Porter). And hopefully we learn whether his loyal pal Elam (Common) survived his run-in with a bear?

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SUNDAY AUGUST 3 Halt and Catch Fire (AMC, 10 p.m.) It’s no Fargo or True Detective, but this edgy drama set in the eighties has garnered glowing reviews and a healthy viewing audience over the past three months. Former Pushing Daisies star Lee Pace drives the premise as Joe MacMillan, a fiercely ambitious computer whiz determined to build a computer “faster and better than the IBM PC” (which was considered state of the art technology in the early eighties). Joe’s primary confidantes: fellow techie Gordon (Scott McNairy) and coding expert Cameron (Mackenzie Davis) who believe in the dream, but with slightly less fervour. In tonight’s first-season closer, Joe and Gord take great pains to secretly transport “The Giant,” while Cameron suddenly ponders her place in the partnership.

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