Archive for Thursday, March 12, 2009

TLC enters tow-away zone

March 12, 2009


While reporting on the glut of logging and lumber reality series, I may have overlooked another imitative boomlet in the cheap documentary format: the parking/towing and impounding subgenre. A&E; has its “Parking Wars,” and now TLC responds with “Stop Shouting at Me!” (9 p.m., TLC). “Stop” follows private towing and impounding businesses in Buffalo, Toronto and Miami.

One towing agent gets threatened with murder by an irate gentleman who proceeds to overpay for his ticket and fees before departing with a screamed, “Keep the change!” Speaking of bonuses, the same operator relates tales of unsavory offers for certain services rendered in lieu of payment. Despite a steady onslaught of threats, taunts, bad behavior and deceit, all of the “stars” of this pedestrian series claim to love their job. One considers it a “calling”; another wants to bestow his “legacy” to his son.

Unlike the city employees chronicled on “Parking Wars,” these independent contractors represent the face of privatized justice. Bearing neither gun nor badge and possessing scant legal authority, they act as judge, jury and collection agency for the state. It’s little wonder they receive so much abuse.

• Hosted by special forces veteran Terry Schappert, “Warrior” (9 p.m., History) looks at the weapons and tactics of military fighters from eras past, from the Mayas to the vikings. Along the way, Schappert and a camera crew will travel to the locations of actual battles. He will also use and display actual weaponry, including viking battle axes, Samurai swords, the armor of chivalric knights and the ballista of the Roman legions.

• A very different travelogue explores international prostitution on “Brothels: The Ins and Outs” (8 p.m., BBC America). Two women and a reporter explore the differences between the storefront window brothels of Amsterdam, the sex ranches of Nevada and travel to New Zealand, where sex workers have organized themselves into a co-op.

Tonight’s other highlights

• “World News America” (6 p.m., BBC America) offers a special report on rising acidity levels in the world’s oceans because of carbon dioxide emissions.

• A murdered car dealer’s remains defy belief on “Bones” (7 p.m., Fox).

• Matt’s mother (Christine Baranski) arrives on “Ugly Betty” (7 p.m., ABC).

• Linda Lake (Tori Spelling) returns on “Smallville” (7 p.m., CW).

• Kath makes Phil an offer on the season finale of “Kath & Kim” (7:30 p.m., NBC).

• Michael’s promotional scheme causes confusion on “The Office” (8 p.m., NBC).

• Outer space takes center stage on “Naked Science: Death of a Star” (8 p.m., National Geographic), followed by “Naked Science: Journey to Jupiter” (9 p.m.).

• With Liz away, chaos ensues on “30 Rock” (8:30 p.m., NBC).

• Fashion week is a killer on “Eleventh Hour” (9 p.m., CBS).

• Dr. Benton (Eriq La Salle) visits an ailing Carter (Noah Wyle) on “ER” (9 p.m., NBC).

• Odyssey discovers a U-boat and its sunken prey on “Treasure Quest” (9 p.m., Discovery).

• Bridget Marquardt (from the brainless and depressing “The Girls Next Door”) hosts “Bridget’s Sexiest Beaches” (9 p.m., Travel). Weekly through June.


Joesgirl 9 years, 3 months ago

Just a quick line to let you know that the article written about 'Stop shouting at me' has some wrong information. The private towing businesses are NIAGARA FALLS, CANADA, Toronto and Miami.....NOT Buffalo. Thank you.

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