Life on Mars
Damon plays astronaut left behind on red planet
‘You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind
blows,’ but these days, a guide through the seemingly endless flurry of pop-culture offerings is just what we need. With that in mind, here is what’s
on the radar in TV, music and film for the
BIG EVENTS TUESDAY: Grandfathered (Fox/City, 7 p.m.); The Grinder (Fox/City, 7:30 p.m.) BIG PICTURE: Back-to-back sitcoms banking on vets... everything old really is new again. Grandfathered finds John Stamos in the role of Jimmy, “the ultimate bachelor” and restaurateur. Imagine a sane Charlie Sheen. He’s the kind of man who cares more about his career — and avoiding creases in his pants — than people. Jimmy’s priorities are upended when he learns he has an adult son (Josh Peck) and baby granddaughter. Is a full house better than an empty one? ( The answer? Yes, if it isn’t home to an Olsen twin.) Adventures in babysitting, diaper- changing and selflessness all come with the new territory. Meanwhile, The Grinder finds Rob Lowe playing Dean, a vain actor best known for his role as a melodramatic TV lawyer. When he decides to join his family’s law firm despite no actual legal experience, laughter ensues. Fred Savage ( The Wonder Years)
plays his brother, and the straight man of the promising comedic duo. FORECAST: Lowe makes every show better as part of an ensemble or supporting cast, so The Grinder will be found guilty of entertaining. Grandfathered will also be a welcome addition to your TV family. HONOURABLE MENTIONS: Code Black ( Wednesday, CBS/CTV, 9 p.m.); Dr. Ken (Friday, ABC, 7:30 p.m.). There are two new doctor shows coming to TV, but I’m still waiting for a reality show based on the old Hasbro game Operation. (Surely, modern science can find a way to make a patient’s nose glow red?). Code Black, based on the 2014 documentary film, follows the trials and occasional errors in the country’s busiest emergency room. Don’t expect love triangles, threesomes, McDreamys and other such nonsense — this is all about saving lives. Meanwhile, Ken Jeong ( Community, The Hangover) basically plays himself before he started playing other people. The doctor-turned-actor plays a physician with shabby bedside manner in the sitcom Dr. Ken. BIG RELEASES FRIDAY: Janet Jackson ( Unbreakable); the Sheepdogs ( Future Nostalgia) BIG PICTURE: Jackson is back with her first effort in seven years, while Missy Elliot and J. Cole help keep things fresh with guest appearances. An official statement said the album includes “Janet’s views on where we stand today as individuals and as the interrelated elements of a planet.” That’s laudable. I guess. But with song titles such as Dammn Baby, No Sleep and Gon B Alright, don’t expect her new material to be taught in any English classes. Meanwhile, Saskatoon’s the Sheepdogs don’t go barking up any new trees, sticking with their safe, accessible brand of retro rock ’n’ roll. Aging hippies, get out your faded tie-dye! Fittingly, the album includes a medley of six song fragments ( Abbey Road- style). FORECAST: Future Nostalgia will find sentiment in its favour. While Jackson’s return will fuel fan nostalgia, she will struggle to break through the din of today’s arsenal of young pop queens. But she could start a new trend of albums named after M. Night Shyamalan movies. The Sixth Sense? Signs? After Earth? The Last Airbender? Your move, recording industry. HONOURABLE MENTION: Collective Soul ( See What You Started by Continuing); Born Ruffians ( Ruff ). It’s a draw in the battle for head-scratching album title of the week. While fans looking to relive the ’90s will take a shine to Collective Soul’s ninth release, Ontario’s Born Ruffians catchy, high-tempo indie rock has more bite.
Matt Damon plays an astronaut who must find a way to survive on a hostile planet.
John Stamos in a scene from the first episode of Grandfathered.