Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

And you think Winnipeg's weather is terrible today?

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Talk about a bad day.

As the denizens of this frosty outpost deal with winter's arrival and the surface-street chaos and carnage that will necessarily follow, there will be no end to people's moaning about how tough things get during a Winnipeg winter.


The Last Day of the Dinosaurs

Sunday at 7 p.m.


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Yeah, well, try a nuclear winter.

And while you're at it, toss in a meteorite shower, a toxic gas cloud, earthquakes, floods, tidal waves, volcanic eruptions and a rapid super heating of the Earth's atmosphere.

I know they didn't have Environment Canada warnings 65 million years ago, but if they had, this day would have called for something more urgent than "exposed skin will freeze in less than one minute."

The new Discovery special The Last Day of the Dinosaurs (which airs Sunday at 7 p.m. on Discovery and 8:30 p.m. on Discovery World HD) theorizes on what surely must have been this planet's worst bad day -- the day a gigantic asteroid slammed into the Gulf of Mexico, starting a chain reaction of cataclysmic events that brought a quick end to the age of the dinosaurs.

In the best Discovery-special tradition, The Last Day of the Dinosaurs makes use of voluminous scientific research and some truly impressive computer-generated animation to create a dramatic and completely convincing speculation on how events likely unfolded deep in Earth's pre-history.

The special, which serves as the flashy introduction to this year's Dino Week on Discovery, proposes a planet Earth on which dinosaurs happily topped the food chain -- a lush, green, healthily populated world that seemed destined to continue in just that fashion for many pleasant (well, for the predators, anyway) millennia.

And then, out of deep space, the odds-defying arrival of the aforementioned asteroid that barely misses striking the moon and instead smashes through Earth's atmosphere and lands with an impact that sends seismic waves around the globe.

What follows is a meticulously crafted picture (actually, the product of 18 months' worth of scientific research and more than a million visual-effects images) of the hour-by-hour, day-by-day and week-by-week demise of almost all life on Earth.

As has been the case with most of Discovery's CGI-driven specials (led by Walking With Dinosaurs), Last Day is a stunning achievement, filled not only with great pictures and thought-provoking ideas but also a real sense of compelling TV drama.

It's a must-see... especially if you're still grumbling about your "crappy day" after sweeping 15 centimetres of snow off the windshield of your car.


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Blades: Final Battle -- The three remaining pairs on CBC's Battle of the Blades will skate their final competitive routines on Sunday night (8 p.m., CBC), and then it's up to the viewers -- and only the viewers, as the judges' scores will have no bearing on the final result -- to determine the sophomore season's winners.

The final contenders are Valeri Bure and Ekaterina Gordeeva, Patrice Brisebois and Shae-Lynne Bourne, and Todd Warriner and Isabelle Brasseur; filling the guest judge's chair for the finale will be British ice-dancing legend Christopher Dean.

The contest wraps up on Monday (8 p.m., CBC), with an ensemble performance by all eight of this season's pairs, and a special-guest "extreme" skate by the husband-wife team of Violetta Afanasieva and Pete Dack. Co-hosts Kurt Browning and Ron MacLean will also serve up a twirl or two.

Last week's instalment of Battle of the Blades attracted an audience of nearly 1.8 million.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 20, 2010 C8

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