TV Wasteland: Game Over (Mania.com)
Date: Monday, May 28, 2012
The curtain falls on Game of Thrones’ successful second season this week, marking an end to the current TV cycle and giving us a chance to reflect on who survived it all. The Secret Circle is out. Alcatraz is out. Terra Nova, Sanctuary and The River are out. Chuck is out by its own volition. That’s a pretty grim kill ratio for genre shows this season, though hardly unusual. Sci-fi, horror and fantasy often take it on the chin, thanks to high production costs and an increasingly stratified audience. On the plus side, old favorites like Supernatural and the aforementioned Game of Thrones are going strong, joined by newcomers such as Grimm and Once Upon a Time.
The new fall schedule doesn’t exactly set us on fire, but that Green Arrow show could be fun and you never know if Hannibal Lecter can pull a surprise out of its hat. As the formal TV season wraps up its schedule – and with Warehouse 13, Falling Skies and other tasty morsels holding us over the summer – it’s hard to feel too hopeless about the state of genre on the boob tube. At least for now.
In the meantime, we have a schedule populated almost entirely by movies this week, save for the aforementioned Game of Thrones finale.
Aladdin (ABC, 9:00 PM EST)
Though fitfully amusing, Disney’s animated musical about a boy and his lamp hasn’t aged well at all.
The A-Team (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
How do we love you, Liam Neeson? Let us count the ways…
1408 (FMC, 7:30 PM EST)
The set-up is terrific, as Sam Jackson and John Cusack square off about the latter’s entry into a haunted hotel room. It just can’t keep up the pace.
Kung Fu Panda (FX, 8:00 PM EST)
Dreamworks scored a wonderful surprise with their big budget family kung fu epic. Pity the sequel couldn’t hold up.
The Last Legion (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
Hey, Ben Kingsley likes the big checks too!
Source Code (Showtime, 9:00 PM EST)
This smart sci-fi thriller from Bowie-spawn Duncan Jones is probably your best bet for the evening.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Starz, 9:00 PM EST)
Is it wrong that I find the mermaid/preacher romance one of the best things here?
Casino Royale (Syfy, 8:00 PM EST)
This should help tide you over until the massive James Bond Blu-ray set arrives this fall.
Fact or Faked: Paranomal Files (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
The UK is apparently plagued with gargoyle sightings, while someone in Kentucky has spotted a spectral cat. Bust out with the night-vision goggles and let’s get to it!
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (HBO, 7:30 PM EST)
Take a bow, Harry Potter and well done. I suspect your films are going to age like fine wine.
Teeth (IFC, 10:15 PM EST)
Those with a taste for something different should check out this cautionary tale about a young lady who’s vajayjay resembles an H.R. Giger painting.
Alien vs. Predator (Spike, 6:34 PM EST)
Paul W.S. Anderson may have hit a low with this monster mash-up… and considering his resume, that’s saying something.
Doom (Spike, 8:47 PM EST)
Though Battleship may have topped it, this film previously held the title of Most Egregious Insertion of Game Imagery into a Shitty Motion Picture.
Underworld (Cinemax, 8:00 PM EST)
This probably holds the record for biggest Awesome Trailer/Lame Movie disparity in history.
My Babysitter’s a Vampire (Disney XD, 7:00 PM EST)
You know what I hate about this? The confusing title.
Planet of the Apes (FMC, 10:30 PM EST)
Tim Roth and Paul Giamatti are magnificent. The rest of the film? Toss it back.
Open Water (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
IFC opts for torture porn nihilism tonight, though this tale of a couple lost at sea at least keeps the blood to a minimum.
Hostel (IFC, 9:45 PM EST)
Eli Roth’s smug wankfest, on the other hand, has nothing going for it but the blood.
Powder (Showtime, 7:00 PM EST)
Nice to see something new on the dial: a flawed but interesting tale about a young albino who seemingly attracts lightning and boasts extraordinary powers in the bargain.
Scream 4 (Showtime, 9:00 PM EST)
Not with a bang but a whimper goes the signature horror franchise of the 1990s.
Toy Story 3 (Starz, 7:15 PM EST)
I hope to God this isn’t the last great Pixar movie, but unless Brave comes up big, it might mark the end of their extraordinary winning streak.
The Haunted Mansion (ABC Family, 7:00 PM EST)
If you ever feel like bad-mouthing a Pirates of the Caribbean film – any of them – give this turd a spin. It puts “bad” in a whole new perspective.
The Mask (ABC Family, 9:00 PM EST)
New Line’s warped take on the Dark Horse Comics character enters the winner’s circle solely on the talents of Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz. (Okay, the dog’s pretty cool too.)
X-Men: First Class (HBO, 7:45 PM EST)
Yup. Still awesome.
Queen of the Damned (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
Yup, still face-clawingly awful.
Stealth (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
One of the performers here has won an Oscar. See if you can guess who. No, it’s not the plane.
Insane or Inspired (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
They’re covering backyard inventions this week… and this is me, dropping the show from the column.
Red Dawn (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
Someday, they’re going to release the long-delayed remake. That will not be a good day. In the meantime… “WOLVERINES!!!”
WarGames (AMC, 110:15 PM EST)
A bit of mid-80s computer paranoia goes a long way, as this solid thriller proves.
Hancock (FX, 7:00 PM EST)
AKA Super-Dickery: The Movie.
Fight Club (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
It still packs a punch – quite literally – twelve years later.
Beauty and the Beast (ABC Family, 7:00 PM EST)
You can never go wrong with Disney’s modern masterpiece: so good that they’re rerunning it at 9:00 PM EST.
Independence Day (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
Will Smith puts an awful lot of polish on this glorious guilty pleasure. Thanks Fresh Prince!
The Exorcist (BBC America, 8:30 PM EST)
If you have to ask…
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
Andy Serkis gets robbed of an Oscar nomination – again – with his incredible portrayal of a hyper-intelligent chimpanzee.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (FX, 8:00 PM EST)
He’s gonna do the same thing to the turtles. Just sayin’…
Kill Bill, Vol. 1 and 2 (IFC, 8:00 PM EST and 10:15 PM EST)
I wonder what would have happened if they released this in the theaters as one movie?
Aliens (Syfy, 6:00 PM EST)
Because the not-quite-a-prequel is gonna hit in about a week. Followed by Alien vs. Predator at 9:00 PM EST.
Game of Thrones (HBO, 9:00 PM EST)
Theon rallies his men and Jaqen gives Ariya a strange gift as the second season comes to an end. See the top of the article for more.
The Time Traveler’s Wife (ABC Family, 9:30 PM EST)
If you’re in the mood for a little romance, check out this bittersweet tale of a man unbound by time and the woman who loves him.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (FX, 8:00 PM EST)
I still like it. So neener.
District 9 (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
Science fiction hit a palpable high point in 2009 with this brilliant tale of space aliens and prejudice set in South Africa.
Battle: Los Angeles (Starz, 9:00 PM EST)
This is a long way from District 9, but it sure blows stuff up good, doesn’t it?
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
Wow, Syfy actually screens a genre masterpiece for once. I’m amazed!