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TV: Five shows worth watching tonight: Oct. 8

Your select viewing guide for Thanksgiving Day, 2012

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DOCUMENTARY: Engraved on a Nation (TSN, 7:30 p.m.) The 100th edition of the annual sports spectacle known as The Grey Cup is just around the corner. To mark the occasion, TSN has commissioned a series of documentary films focusing on the great Canadian game and its place in modern sports culture. Tonight’s opening film, The 13th Man, was directed by award-winning documentarian Larry Weinstein and chronicles the longstanding connection between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and their fiercely devoted fans – known in pro-sports parlance as the “13th man”. The film pays particular attention to the 97th Grey Cup game in which the team was penalized for having a 13th player on the field that lead to a dramatic defeat and left fans heartbroken. In the best CFL tradition, the Roughriders have survived and thrived.

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COMEDY: Partners (CBS, Citytv, 8:30 p.m.) A long run already seems a longshot for this rookie sitcom. The show has been averaging six-million U.S. viewers since launching a few weeks back, which would be respectable on any other American network but not on CBS, the home of comedy mega-hits like The Big Bang Theory and Two And a Half Men. The premise is based on the real-life experiences of TV producing team Max Mutchnik and David Kohan, gay and straight, respectively, and best known for creating the sitcom Will & Grace. In this version, they’re represented by the super-straight architect Joe (David Krumholtz) and his co-worker Louis (Michael Urie), who is gay. So far, each episode has the straight man seeking life/relationship advice from his much wiser gay pal. Like tonight’s new episode, in which Joe freaks out when he finds a sexy photo with his fiancée posing with baseball star Derek Jeter.

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SCI-FI: Falling Skies (Space, 9 p.m.) Look to the skies! First broadcast on the U.S. cable channel TNT, this sci-fi drama has earned rave reviews and solid ratings and is currently prepping its third season for broadcast next year. The story takes place several months into a pretty successful hostile alien takeover (nearly 90 per cent of mankind eliminated) and focuses primarily on Tom Mason (Noah Wyle), a college history professor whose family has been scattered every which way by the invasion. Fortuitously, Tom is also a military history buff, which sure comes in handy when he signs up with the ragtag army fighting back against the alien invaders. In tonight’s original pilot episode, Tom and the resistance fighters head out on a recon mission to find food and water for their fellow survivors. Along the way, they run into “Skitters” (six-legged alien soldiers) and “Mechs” (roving robotic killers). Watch once and you’ll be hooked.

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DRAMA: White Collar (Bravo!, 10 p.m.) Back tonight for its third season, this low-key drama from the USA Network puts a new spin on the old odd-couple scenario. In this instance, it’s the buttoned-down FBI agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) enlisting the assistance of oleaginous con man Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomber) to catch bad guys. Each episode delivers its own red-herring twist, and the crime-drama tone is lightened considerably by TV veteran Diahann Carroll as Neal’s inquisitive landlady. While the unlikely partners get along most of the time, the third campaign commences with the pair struggling with serious trust issues, which doesn’t help one bit in their efforts to catch a thief who cleaned out the Federal Reserve.

Eric Ogden/USA Network

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MOVIE: The Mist (Space, 11 p.m.) Director Frank Darabont has the magic touch when it comes to translating Stephen King to the big screen. Following successful film adaptations of The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile, Darabont went straight for the horror vein in this 2007 thriller based on a King novella. The story casts Thomas Jane as the New England everyman David, who takes his young son to the local grocery store to pick up supplies in the wake of a horrific rainstorm. While shopping with his friends and neighbours, an eerie mist suddenly envelops the store and the town itself. Once it becomes apparent the mist is ridden with nasty, tentacled creatures with a taste for human flesh, David attempts to lead a contingent of his fellow shoppers to safety. Standing in their way: The intensely religious Mrs. Carmody (Marcia Gay Harden) and her steadily growing group of fanatical followers.

Ralph Nelson

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