TV Wasteland: Revolutionary? (Mania.com)
Date: Monday, September 17, 2012
The new fall season officially kicks into gear this week, and already, we’re presented with a fresh new bucket of NBC’s flop sweat. Revolution, premiering Monday and occupying an unseemly percent of promo time during the Olympics, feels exactly like an all-or-nothing gambit perpetrated by a desperate network eager to get back in the game in one fell swoop. Sure, it has big names attached to it – J.J. Abrams angeled it and Jon Favreau directed the pilot – but are they going to deliver the goods straight out the gate, or ask us to stick around while they trundle out a convoluted mythology to digest? The answer may well determine whether the show lives or dies.
The premise involves a global event that shuts down all electricity permanently. We then fast forward 15 years to a new world of crossbows, militias and walled townships, where plucky siblings Charlie (Tracy Spiridakos) and Danny (Graham Rogers) search for some bit of computer magic their father left behind which might hold the key to turning the lights back on.
It’s perfectly possible that they could pull something off here, and early reviews have been positive. But post-apocalyptic overkill has definitely set in (we also have Falling Skies, The Walking Dead, Last Resort and recently cancelled shows like Jericho and Battlestar Galactica), and Revolution’s insistence on making everyone look like they just stepped off the catwalk into Thunderdome implies a lack of seriousness that immediately sets our teeth on edge. We’ll give it a chance, but the leash is short… and if NBC misses, it’s a long way down.
Revolution premieres Monday night at 10:00 PM on NBC.
Revolution (NBC, 10:00 PM EST)
NBC debuts a new series about life after the lights go out. See the top of the article for more.
Alphas (Syfy, 8:00 PM EST)
Rosen decides what to do with the mole, while John gets to meet Rachel’s parents. I’m not certain that the two are connected.
Warehouse 13 (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
That rust in West Virginia is apparently affecting more than just the cars, sending Bering and Latimer to check it out. Elsewhere, Artie finally breaks down and reveals his deep dark secret.
Nanny McPhee (ABC Family, 9:00 PM EST)
Emma Thompson loves Mary Poppins so much, she found an alternate magical nanny of her very own to play.
Apollo 13 (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
I would hesitate to call Ron Howard’s collected work a “canon,” but if it is, then this superb dramatization of the Apollo 13 crisis stands at the very top.
Max Payne (FMC, 8:00 PM EST and 10:00 PM EST)
Amazingly enough, Mark Wahlberg escaped this debacle intact. Well done, Mark!
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (Showtime, 8:00 PM EST)
Still the goofiest title of all time? You can certainly make a case for it.
Spider-Man 3 (7:00 PM EST and 10:30 PM EST)
It’s too long, there’s too many villains… but I’ll defend Thomas Haden Church’s Sandman to the death.
Face Off (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
Kevin Smith serves as the guest judge as contestants create make-up effects for superhero characters.
Hot Set (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
A new series premieres, doing for movie sets what Face Off does for make-up artists. I’m not going to complain: they could have gone much, much sleazier.
Tombstone (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
You can love Val Kilmer here all you want; he’s still a douche.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (FX, 7:00 PM EST)
Wait, is this the one where Megan Fox is slathered in too much make-up or the one where Shia LaBeouf makes us all embarrassed for him?
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (HBO, 8:00 PM EST)
Oh Andy Serkis… is there anything you can’t do?
Fight Club (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
We’re going to follow the first rule of Fight Club and move on. If you have to ask…
The Crazies (Spike, 7:00 PM EST)
How can Spike be allowed to add 70 minutes to a 100-minute movie? We’re rapidly approaching the level of more commercials than content… which is one of the reasons I don’t like covering Spike on this column.
The Last House on the Left (Spike, 9:50 PM EST)
This is the adequate remake rather than the low-budget original. Not that it matters since, you know, Spike…
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Starz, 9:00 PM EST)
Hard to believe it’s been nine years since Johnny Depp single-handedly reinvented the swashbuckling genre, isn’t it?
Ghost Hunters (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
The team investigates the site of a deadly fire located in New Orleans.
Paranormal Witness (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
The show checks out a home in Connecticut that used to be a funeral parlor. So, you know, nothing to see here…
Knight and Day (Cinemax, 8:50 PM EST)
Okay, so Tom Cruise belongs to a cult. He’s still charming as hell when he wants to be.
The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
Credit American Movie Classics with actually programming something that could be construed as a classic: an amiable family comedy starring Don Knotts as a reporter who spends the night in a haunted house.
Speed (Cinemax, 8:00 PM EST)
In retrospect, this bad boy has aged like fine wine.
Underworld (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
This one hasn’t, but Kate Beckinsale in that catsuit makes up for a lot of flaws.
Death Wish (Sundance, 10:10 PM EST)
Charles Bronson wreaks havoc on the scum of New York in the classic revenge flick from 1974.
Freaky Friday (Starz, 6:45 PM EST)
Lindsay Lohan was really, really good once. Really.
An American Werewolf in Paris (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
Talk about squandering the potential of a great original…
Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
You know, I’d actually go with this one – commercials and all – over the uncut original over on Cinemax.
Haven (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
Season Three opens with the search for Agent Parker, even as the town experiences a new rash of general weirdness.
Troy (Cinemax, 7:15 PM EST)
Eric Bana plays Hector… who, along with Henry VIII and The Hulk, pretty much nails down the H’s for him.
Melancholia (Showtime, 8:00 PM EST)
A despondent couple tries to get on with their lives while a meteor gets ready to wipe out all life on Earth.
Clash of the Titans (BBC America, 8:00 PM EST and 10:30 PM EST)
It’s the brilliant 1981 version, so nobody panic.
Unknown (HBO, 8:00 PM EST)
The big reveal’s a bit of a letdown, but who doesn’t love watching Liam Neeson bust some heads?
Doctor Who (BBC America, 9:00 PM EST)
The Doctor prepares for an invasion that apparently consists of little black cubes. Awesome blogger Marcia Franklin has it all covered at Confessions of a Neowhovian
(http://www.neowhovian.com), and we’ll have full reviews here on Mania.
Ratatouille (ABC Family, 7:00 PM EST and 9:30 PM EST)
Brad Bird earns his second Oscar with another entry in Pixar’s brilliant canon of films.
Shanghai Noon (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
Jackie Chan heads West with Owen Wilson, and the two deliver a fantastic good time in the process.
Final Destination 5 (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
Seriously, it’s not bad.
A Thousand Words (HBO, 8:00 PM EST)
This Eddie Murphy misfire about a father who will die if he speaks 1,000 more words is now on HBO. In other news, I now hate everyone associated with HBO.
Hostel Part III (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
The imbecilic torture porn franchise officially moves into straight-to-video territory, as guests at a bachelor party are abducted by sadists who kill them in incredibly messy ways.
Open Water (IFC, 10:00 PM EST)
A couple goes SCUBA diving and gets left behind in another of those wretchedly nihilistic horror efforts from the early 2000s.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Showtime, 8:00 PM EST and 10:10 PM EST)
I’m obligated to mention them. Moving on…
Underworld: Awakening (Starz, 9:00 PM EST)
It’s official: Kate Beckinsale has touched bottom.
Starship Troopers (Syfy, 6:00 PM EST)
Paul Verhoeven’s shtick starts to wear a little thin in this generally well-regarded adaptation of the famous science-fiction novel.
Camel Spiders (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
I’m vaguely offended by the title, which refers to Middle Eastern spiders brought back to the US, where they begin killing everyone they see. Beyond that… it’s Syfy…
Thir13en Ghosts (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
I have a soft spot in my heart for this slick remake of the William Castle original.
The Mist (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
Frank Darabont takes a great Stephen King novella and finds a way to make it even bleaker. Yay!
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (BBC America, 7:00 PM EST)
Kevin Costner: bad. Alan Rickman: fan-freaking-tastic. Whose side are we on again?
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Cinemax, 6:35 PM EST)
Sean Connery just had to kick us in the nuts on his way out, didn’t he?
The Prestige (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
Hugh Jackman has never been better and Christian Bale isn’t far behind him in this brilliant tale of rival magicians who take their conflict way too far.
Real Steel (Showtime, 6:50 PM EST)
Jackman’s not as good here, but he elevates the material in ways he never had to with The Prestige.
National Treasure (TBS, 8:00 PM EST and 10:35 PM EST)
God bless Nick Cage’s crazy ass.