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The Watchers Sept. 7-13: In praise of Chris Farley and anticipation of the real Stephen Colbert

The Watchers Sept. 7-13: In praise of Chris Farley and anticipation of the real Stephen Colbert
 Chris Farley as motivational speaker Matt Foley on "Saturday Night Live" is shown in this undated handout photo for the documentary "I Am Chris Farley." As the directors of the new documentary "I Am Chris Farley" put it, the film doesn't follow the late comedy star into the "dark room." While it delves into the addiction issues that led to his drug overdose death at age 33 in December 1997, it doesn't dwell on them. "That story has been told in the tabloids," says Brent Hodge, who directed with Derik Murray. | Photograph by: HO , Montreal Gazette

Happy Labour Day weekend. There are still a couple weeks to go before the traditional networks disgorge themselves of dozens of new shows, but I’ve scraped together a nice collection of show recommendations for this week.

Monday, Sept. 7

I Am Chris Farley (The Movie Network, 9 p.m.)

“You may think that you can handle it,” says Dan Aykroyd. The “it” is fame and its henchmen. “Handle it,” in the case of film and TV star and Second City alumnus Chris Farley, translates as stay alive, which Farley did not. I remember his Chippendales bit with Patrick Swayze on SNL, and his plaid-sport-coast-wearing guy who lived in the van down by the river. His physical comedy alone was spectacular. In this documentary, he is remembered by the likes of Aykroyd, Bob Odenkirk, Adam Sandler, Mike Myers, David Spade, Jay Mohr, Christina Applegate and Bob Saget with admiration and tears. His and Spade’s films Black Sheep and Tommy Boy precede the doc, starting at 5:50 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 8

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (CBS, 11:35 p.m.)

I won’t say I hate change, but I wouldn’t mind a little more familiarity on the late-night TV front, where there’s not much to be had except for Jimmy Kimmel and he’s not my go-to guy (nothing personal). I don’t miss Jay Leno, but after he signed over the Tonight Show to Jimmy Fallon (a comer, but still not my guy), there came the great late-night exodus: Craig Ferguson, Stephen Colbert, David Letterman and Jon Stewart, all gone. Into the void have come The Late Late Show with James Corden and the Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. While both have their strengths, goofy and incisive respectively, neither has become a habit for me. Tonight, 8 1/2 months since Colbert signed off the Report, he is stepping into Letterman’s Late Show spotlight in the Ed Sullivan Theater. I loved his blowhard pundit persona on the Report, but as himself? Will it be late-night love? I’m a little nervous. His guest list looks great, starting tonight with George Clooney and following through this week and next with U.S. presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, Kevin Spacey, Amy Schumer and Carol Burnett, as well as music performances by The Dead Weather, Willie Nelson and Run the Jewels with TV on the Radio. It’ll be great, right?

Wednesday, Sept. 9

A Season with Notre Dame Football (The Movie Network, 9 p.m.)

The new sports reality show goes behind the scenes with the storied football club of the University of Notre Dame, starting with the Fighting Irish squaring off against the University of Texas Longhorns. If you don’t catch it on The Movie Network, watch for it on Bell’s streaming serviceCraveTV after the season wraps.

Thursday, Sept. 10

Longmire (Season 4, streaming on Netflix starting at midnight)

I had been tipped to this modern western shortly before A&E cancelled it last year, despite a strong and growing audience. Fans were shocked and demanded more. Justice prevailed when Netflix picked it up for a fourth season (they’d already signed up to stream Seasons 1-3, which you can watch now). I’ve seen only a little, but that’s because I’m saving it for a couple of deep winter weekends. Good, moody stuff. Based on the novels of Craig Johnson, this crime drama set in Wyoming centres on Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor), a gruff sheriff who’s been gutted by his wife’s murder. Surrounded by a rich cast, including Katee Sackhoff and Lou Diamond Phillips, the good sheriff freight-trains to the cliff-hanger Season 3 finale, in which he’s certain he’s found his wife’s killer. Cue Season 4.

Friday, Sept. 11

Mr. Robot (Showcase, 10 p.m.)

In Episode 2 of this hacker drama, Elliot (Rami Malek) must choose between a rock (Evil Corp) and a hard place (fsociety).

Saturday, Sept. 12

Ferrell Takes the Field (HBO, 10 p.m.)

This is not just Will Ferrell the clown, although that would be good enough for me. This is Ferrell the clown with the heart of gold. It’s a one-hour comedy special that distills Ferrell’s one-day residency at Major League Baseball’s spring training in Arizona this past spring. He played “10 positions” for 10 teams over five games. He has dedicated the special to Cancer for College and to Bert Campaneris, who made baseball history in 1965 by playing all nine positions for the Kansas City Athletics in a game against the California Angels.

Sunday, Sept. 13

Project Greenlight (HBO, 10 p.m.)

After 12 years on ice, the HBO chronicle of the search for the next big film director is back with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. Now that the lads who catapulted to stardom in 1997’s Goodwill Hunting are famous Hollywood fat cats, do you still care? I guess we’ll see.

For footnote

Broadcast times are subject to change.

That’s it for me this week. Got a question? Spot an error? Find me, tell me. And as always, you would do well to check my daily Watchers picks on the Montreal Gazette’s smartphone app in the iTunes and PLAY stores. (It’s the blue one — the app, not the store.)


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