TV Wasteland: Happy Turkey Day! (Mania.com)

By:Rob Vaux
Date: Monday, November 19, 2012

It’s Thanksgiving, and ABC is celebrating by axing a couple of underperformers. The Last Resort and 666 Park Avenue will finish their 13-episode runs and be done… a harsh blow to the fans, but certainly one that they could see coming. Both shows struggled from the outset, bleeding viewers every week and failing to find a foothold in an increasingly competitive market. Neither will be hugely missed, though those who adhered to them will at least have a few weeks to accept the loss. Such is network television. Such is life. We only hope they give fans some closure.
The rest of Thanksgiving is dominated by movies, as regular series take the week off to enjoy some turkey. Let’s have a look!
 

Monday

Revolution (NBC, 10:00 PM EDT)
We’re heading for Monroe and Independence Hall, where a throwdown will presumably commence. There’s certainly worse places for it.
 
Jack Frost (ABC Family, 9:00 PM EDT)
Michael Keaton comes back to life as a snowman in one of the creepiest family films you’ll ever see.
 
Highlander (Sundance, 7:00 PM EDT)
Christopher Lambert is not, in any sense of the word, Scottish, but the rest of the movie is so cool that we’ll forgive him pretty easily.
 
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (Syfy, 7:00 PM EDT and 10:00 PM EDT)
The aborted Chronicles of Narnia series gets a solid second outing, as the Pevensie kids return to battle an evil king.
 
The Lake House (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
This time-travel romance starring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves isn’t great, but it’s certainly better than its reputation suggests. That’s going to be a theme this week, it seems.
 
The Princess Bride (AMC, 10:00 PM EDT)
Even those tough guys over on ESPN know how cool this movie is.
 
The Grudge (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
So we’ll just avoid scary little Japanese kids for the rest of our lives now, right?
 
The Princess and the Frog (Disney, 8:00 PM EDT)
Disney returns to the princess genre with solid results, thanks to beautiful animation and one of the best villains they’ve ever conceived.
 
Spider-Man 3 (FX, 7:00 PM EDT and 10:30 PM EDT)
Much maligned and certainly far from brilliant, Sam Raimi’s farewell to Spidey still has lots to recommend it… particularly a wonderful performance from Thomas Haden Church.
 
Red Dawn (Spike, 7:00 PM EDT and 9:43 PM EDT)
It was only a matter of time before this showed up. WOLVERINES!!!
 

Tuesday

Up (Disney, 8:00 PM EDT)
Only Pixar could make a movie about an old guy in a house floating on giant balloons and turn it into one of the most heartbreaking romantic adventures ever conceived.
 
Freddy vs. Jason (Starz, 7:15 PM EDT)
It’s everything you’d expect from the title… for better or worse.
 
John Carter (Starz, 9:00 PM EDT)
Branded as a major bomb, this sci-fi epic proves to be terrific fun… especially for those who know and love the source material.
 
Frequency (FMC, 8:00 PM EDT and 10:30 PM EDT)
Another time travel story, this one about a man who can communicate with his late father living 30 years in the past. They drop the ball in the final ten minutes, but the rest of the movie is surprisingly solid.
 
Punisher: War Zone (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Of all the Punisher movies ever made, this comes closest to the spirit of the comics. That’s not saying much, but there it is.
 
Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (IFC, 10:15 PM EDT)
Tobe Hooper is nowhere to be seen in this limp sequel that basically just plays out the string.
 
Reservoir Dogs (Showtime, 8:15 PM EDT)
Tarantino movies age like fine wine…
 

Wednesday

American Horror Story: Asylum (FX, 10:00 PM EDT)
Someone leaves a girl at Briarcliff without even providing a return address. Punks.
 
Ghost Hunters (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
Hallowed institutions of higher learning make a great place for ghosts… as tonight’s episode at Western Kentucky University may prove.
 
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (ABC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Though it ranks on the lower end of the Peanuts holiday specials, it still provides plenty of entertainment, as Charlie Brown is forced to host a makeshift Thanksgiving dinner. It repeats tomorrow night at the same time.
 
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (ABC Family, 6:00 PM EDT and 8:30 PM EDT)
Look at them back to back and see for yourself how heart and enthusiasm can trump a giant A-list budget.
 
The Man With the Golden Gun (BBC America, 8:00 PM EDT)
James Bond hits a major bump in Roger Moore’s second outing… wasting the great Christopher Lee in the villain’s role.
 
Chronicle (Cinemax, 9:00 PM EDT)
Three Seattle teens gain superpowers, and it doesn’t go the way anyone expects in a rather brilliant take on traditional comic book movies.
 
The Rocketeer (Cinemax, 10:30 PM EDT)
Captain America director Joe Johnston shows why he was the right man for that job with this perky and refreshingly old fashioned 30s comic book fable.
 
X-Men: The Last Stand (FX, 8:00 PM EDT)
Brett Ratner ruins everything for everyone… though frankly speaking , this isn’t nearly as bad as it could have been.  Hugh Jackman carries it all on his shoulders, as usual.
 
The Mummy (G4, 8:00 PM EDT and 10:30 PM EDT)
Brendan Fraser squares off against an ancient evil in this fun-filled remake of the venerable Boris Karloff classic.
 
Transporter 3 (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT and 10:15 PM EDT)
I’m willing to forgive Jason Statham a lot, but this is pushing it.
 
Arrow and Supernatural are off for the holiday.
 

Thursday

Batman Begins (G4, 7:00 PM EDT and 10:00 PM EDT)
Christopher Nolan may not have saved DC’s movie endeavors, but at least he delayed their demise… single-handedly, I might add.
 
Stargate (Sundance, 8:00 PM EDT)
It’s not a classic, but it’s sure a lot of fun. There are definitely worse ways to spend your Thanksgiving night.
 
Shrek Forever After (FX, 8:00 PM EDT and 10:00 PM EDT)
The big green ogre with the heart of gold bows out in a serviceable but otherwise unremarkable fourth entry.
 
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (MTV, 9:30 PM EDT)
And then nobody saw it… and our faith in humanity was crushed.
 
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Showtime, 6:55 PM EDT)
Just in case you can’t get enough insipid whining from your family.
 
The Three Musketeers (Showtime, 9:00 PM EDT)
It’s Paul W.S. Anderson; what did you expect?
 
Tomorrow Never Dies and The World is Not Enough (Syfy, 6:30 PM EDT and 9:00 PM EDT)
Because nothing says “Thanksgiving” more than a middling pair of Pierce Brosnan Bond films.
 
The Big Bang Theory, The Vampire Diaries and Beauty and the Beast are reruns. The Last Resort and Burn Notice are off.
 

Friday

Constantine (AMC, 7:30 PM EDT)
No, it’s not the comic book, but it’s pretty good nonetheless.
 
Conan the Barbarian (BBC America, 7:00 PM EDT)
It’s apparently John Milius Week, since they’re busy fucking up one of his other films in theaters right now. Enjoy His Arnoldness!
 
The Living Daylights (BBC America, 9:30 PM EDT)
Finally, one of the better Bonds shows up.
 
How to Train Your Dragon (FX, 8:00 PM EDT and 10:00 PM EDT)
Dreamworks’ animated winner runs all night on FX.
 
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (Spike, 7:00 PM EDT and 10:25 PM EDT)
Anyone  for Star Wars prequels? Anyone at all…? Hello…?
 
Quantum of Solace (Syfy, 10:00 PM EDT)
You know, after Skyfall, this one just doesn’t measure up.
 
Fringe, Grimm, Nikita and Haven are off for the holiday.
 

Saturday

Dungeons & Dragons: Wrath of the Dragon God (Syfy, 6:30 PM EDT)
It’s an evening of straight-to-cable D&D adaptations on Syfy.  Frankly, they’ve done worse.
 
Dungeons & Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
This is a new one, featuring a brave hero out to save his father and the world along with it. Critical hits will abound, no doubt.
 
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (NBC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Come on! It’s not that bad…
 
V for Vendetta (BBC America, 10:00 PM EDT)
In its attempt to be topical, this 2006 adaptation of Alan Moore’s groundbreaking comic ends up dating itself quite badly.
 
Resident Evil: Apocalypse (Cinemax, 7:20 PM EDT)
Alice is back to stick it to the Umbrella Corporation in one of an increasingly interchangeable series of sequels.
 
Alice in Wonderland (Disney, 7:30 PM EDT)
It’s not the Tim Burton film, but rather the charming animated version from the 1950s.
 
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (FMC, 8:00 PM EDT and 10:30 PM EDT) 
And just like that, another franchise bites the dust.
 
The Spirit and Sin City (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT and 10:15 PM EDT)
IFC sets out to demonstrate why Frank Miller is better on the page than on the screen.
 
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (Spike, 7:30 PM EDT)
Greedo shoots first, but what are you gonna do? Oh right, wait for Disney to release the theatrical versions…
 
Reign of Fire (Spike, 10:45 PM EDT)
The dragons vs. gunships element leaves a lot to be desired, but look: Gerard Butler!
 
Finding Nemo (Starz, 9:00 PM EDT)
Who doesn’t love those sweet little fishies?
 
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Sundance, 10:20 PM EDT)
The much maligned movie precursor to the cult classic TV show does better than you’d think. Paul Reubens steals the show.
 

Sunday

The Walking Dead (AMC, 9:00 PM EDT)
Someone new arrives at the prison, forcing Rick to make a heavy choice. And really, he’s not in the right frame of mind to be deciding anything these days.
 
Dexter (Showtime, 9:00 PM EDT)
Dexter tries to hunt down Isaak while the Ukrainians start to turn against each other.
 
Once Upon a Time (ABC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Enjoy that Sunday night ABC show that didn’t just get canceled, as Cora plots to steal the compass from Emma and Mary Margaret.
 
666 Park Avenue (ABC, 10:00 PM EDT)
Jane vanishes mysteriously, only to reappear in the middle of Times Square. Kind of like the show itself, only without the Times Square part.
 
The Golden Voyage of Sinbad and Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (TCM, 8:00 PM EDT and 10:00 PM EDT)
Ray Harryhausen’s awesome effects highlight these delightful versions of the famous fairy tale. God bless TCM!
 
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (Spike, 7:30 PM EDT)
Best Star Wars movie ever? Yes. Yes it is.
 
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (Starz, 10:50 PM EDT)
Idris Elba deserves better than this.
 
Die Hard 2 (Cinemax, 8:00 PM EDT)
They’re playing this one a lot lately. Not sure why, but it’s not too bad, so we shouldn’t complain.
 
Mr. and Mrs. Smith (FMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
AKA The One Where Brad Pitt Ended His Marriage.
 
National Treasure: book of Secrets (Syfy, 6:30 PM EDT)
It means so well and tries so hard, but it’s still goofy as shit.
 
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
I prefer to think of it as a hit-and-miss series of ten-minute vignettes rather than an actual movie.
 
Ice Age (TBS, 8:00 PM EDT and 9:45 PM EDT)
It’s a cute little film that nevertheless didn’t deserve an entire franchise. 
 
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
 


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