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TV: Five shows worth watching tonight: Sept. 13

Your select viewing guide for Thursday, Sept. 13

1 of 5

REALITY: America’s Got Talent (NBC, Citytv, 8 p.m.) That’s a wrap. TV’s gaudiest talent competition comes to a close tonight with a super-sized two-hour finale. The seventh season of AGT has also been the highest-rated in franchise history, likely due to the addition of radio shock-jock Howard Stern to the judging panel (replacing the departed Piers Morgan). Broadcast live from the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, tonight’s closer will feature final stage turns from the remaining six contestants, one of whom will be awarded the $1-million (US) grand prize and earn a headliner gig at a Las Vegas casino. The real reason to watch: A performance by Canada’s own Justin Bieber.

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COMEDY: Absolutely Fabulous (Vision, 8:30 p.m) Unlike many British TV comedies, this sharp sitcom holds up brilliantly in encore viewing. Vision has been airing the recently filmed Ab Fab specials with Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley as the faded fashionistas Edina and Patsy, but the episodes from the show’s original 1992-1995 run are far funnier. Case in point: Tonight’s second-season outing in which the daffy pair head off to exotic Marrakech for a fashion shoot with Eddy’s daughter Saffron (Julia Sawalha) in tow. In between copious drug consumption and drinking, the daffy pair go shopping for “ethnic fashions” at an outdoor bazaar, where Patsy finally becomes fed up with Saffy’s priggish behavior and sells her into slavery.


3 of 5

DRAMA: Saving Hope (CTV, 9 p.m.) Turns out Canadian viewers adore this new medical drama. Launched earlier this summer, the filmed-in-Toronto series, which also simulcasts on NBC, has been a ratings success story – it had a recent audience of 1.7-million viewers – and was renewed by CTV for a second season. For those out of the loop, the premise casts ex-Smallville regular Erica Durance as the earnest young surgeon Alex, who was en route to wed her chief-of-surgery sweetheart Charlie (Michael Shanks) when their taxi was broadsided. Charlie lapsed into a coma and thereafter his spirit roamed the hospital hallways to interact with recently expired patients. Last week’s show saw Charlie snap out of his coma and in tonight’s season finale he’s already in physiotherapy learning how to walk again. Alex, meanwhile, has to inform a bride-to-be that she’s going to die. Such is the circle of life.

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REALITY: Restaurant Stakeout (Food Network, 10 p.m.) Not your average reality show, this series from the U.S. Food Network has made an instant media personality out of restaurateur Willie Degel. Following a few brushes with the law as a young man (and a few stints behind bars), the native New Yorker went into the restaurant business and eventually created a successful chain of steakhouses. In this show, he assumes the savior role for owners of struggling eateries by sneaking into the establishment and exposing improper or unhealthy work habits with hidden video cameras. Tonight, he’s in Staten Island to shake things up at the Oakwood Diner, where the staff come and go as they please and routinely insult the customers. Not anymore.

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MOVIE: The Shipping News (Vision, midnight) Based on the Pulitzer-winning novel by Annie Proulx, this big-screen adaptation failed to register with filmgoers in 2001 but is worth watching if only for the breathtaking Newfoundland scenery. Directed by Swedish filmmaker Lasse Hallstrom, the story stars Kevin Spacey as Quoyle, a world-weary newspaper man on the far side of a terrible marriage. With his teen daughter in tow, Quoyle moves back to his ancestral Newfoundland home, where he reconnects with his feisty Aunt Agnis (Judi Dench) and finds work writing for the local newspaper, The Gammy Bird. Along the way, Quoyle also picks up some life lessons from the lovely single mother Wavey, played by Julianne Moore.

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