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TV: Five shows worth watching tonight: Feb. 21

A select viewing guide for Tuesday, Feb. 21

1 of 5

REALITY My Strange Addiction TLC, 7 p.m. ET, 11 p.m. PT Despite the title, this wildly popular reality series, now in its third season, has nothing to do with addiction. As related in the disclaimer before each episode, the individuals profiled are in fact afflicted with compulsive behaviours in which somehow anxieties are alleviated through the ingestion of non-food items and ritualistic activities. That said, it's still the weirdest program on television, as evinced in tonight's two episodes. In the first, twentysomething Nathaniel is completely obsessed with his car, and even takes it out on dates, while a young woman name Jaye admits can't stop snorting baby powder. Not strange enough, you say? In the second show, meet Alicia, who loves the smell of mothballs so much she carries them in her purse, and Mary, who consumes over 900 cat treats (and several cans of cat food) each and every day. Only in America!

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2 of 5

COMEDY Rick Mercer Report CBC, 8 p.m. ET/PT If you've never experienced the joyous experience of Quebec City's annual Winter Carnival, Rick Mercer saves you the trouble in tonight’s new edition of this popular CBC series. While in La Belle Province, Monsieur Mercer joins the ice-canoeing team from HMCS Montcalm for a paddle across the St. Lawrence River and later teams up with the très jolie mascot Bonhomme for a race on city streets. Sticking to the same winter theme, Mercer travels next to Winnipeg, where he goes for a skate at The Forks – listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest ice rink in the world – and helps build a warming hut in a contest that includes a design by famed architect Frank Gehry, no less. Put the smart money on Mercer’s entry.

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3 of 5

DRAMA The River ABC, CTV, 9 p.m. ET/PT Better catch this show while you can. Launched two weeks ago, The River is booked for an eight-episode run but tepid ratings could bring the show to a quick and merciful cancellation. The premise, if you missed it, involves the TV explorer host Dr. Emmett Cole (Bruce Greenwood) disappearing, along with his crew, without a trace in the Amazon, thereupon prompting his equally adventurous wife Tess (Leslie Hope) and son Lincoln (Joe Anderson) to wade into the jungle in search of him. In tonight’s episode, they find one of a missing crew members, which should be good news except the man’s days are numbered courtesy of an ancient curse. Did we mention this was a supernatural series?

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4 of 5

DOCUMENTARY Frontline PBS, 10 p.m. ET/PT Everyone wants faster and better service on their cell phones these days, but few consumers realize the tragic human cost. Tonight's edition of the venerable news magazine presents an alarming workplace profile of the independent contractors who build and service America's cellular infrastructure. According to this report, the cellular workers are 10 times more likely to die on the job than the average construction worker. In the same show, Frontline correspondent A.C. Thompson delves into child-death cases in which the people were convicted and imprisoned on medical evidence, including abuse and “shaken baby syndrome,” that was later discovered to be completely unreliable.

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5 of 5

MOVIE War of the Worlds AMC, 10 p.m. ET; 7 p.m. PT Although this 1953 film had a fraction of the budget of Steven Spielberg's 2005 remake, most H.G. Wells purists prefer the original. Adhering fairly closely to Wells’s novel, the story casts Gene Barry as the scientist Dr. Clayton Forrester, who races to the scene when a large meteor crashes outside a small California town. While Dr. Forrester tries to take the scientific approach, the military begin dropping atomic bombs – to no avail – and pretty soon our little green planet is overrun with huge mechanical aliens shooting death rays. One of the first science-fiction films to win an Oscar (for special effects, naturally).

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