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TV Wasteland: The Merriest
Happy holidays from the Wasteland!
By Rob Vaux
December 24, 2012
© Mania/Robert Trate
Christmas is here! That means mostly movies in a schedule bereft of first-run shows.
Shrek the Third (ABC, 9:00 PM EDT)
Seriously ABC? This is what you’re going with on Christmas Eve? Okay… It’s preceded by Shrek the Halls at 8:30 PM EDT.
It’s a Wonderful Life (NBC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Much better, NBC.
Miracle on 34th St. (AMC, 7:00 PM EDT and 9:15 PM EDT)
You too AMC. Keep up the good work. (This is the 1947 version of the film for those keeping score at home.)
Disney’s A Christmas Carol (Disney, 8:00 PM EDT)
Jim Carrey has made a habit of biting off more than he can chew with Christmas stories. This one, thankfully, doesn’t turn out too badly.
A Christmas Carol (TNT, 9:00 PM EDT)
On the other hand, Jim Carrey isn’t Patrick Motherfucking Stewart. Dickensians, your choice is clear.
Fantastic Four and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (FMC, 8:00 PM EDT and 10:00 PM EDT)
I won’t be tuning in, but they’re still a better option than Shrek the Third.
How to Train Your Dragon (FX, 8:00 PM EDT and 10:00 PM EDT)
If you’re sick of Christmas but still need something to watch with the family, this one’s a pretty solid bet.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (HBO, 8:00 PM EDT)
Michael Caine will apparently still whore himself out for money. You let us down Mike…
In Time (HBO, 10:15 PM EDT)
Justin Timberlake stars in an intriguing (and unjustly maligned) tale where time literally is money. Again, if you’re not feeling Christmas-y, this is one for you.
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (Syfy, 6:30 PM EDT)
The original crew says good-bye in this reliable but not overwhelming Trek entry.
Starship Troopers (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
Without the ultraviolence, it is nothing.
Doctor Who (BBC America, 9:00 PM EDT)
The annual tradition of Doctor Who Christmas specials continues, as the Doctor and his new companion battle an army of evil snowmen. As always, Our Girl Marcia Franklin will cover it all over on Confessions of a Newhovian: http://www.neowhovian.com/.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (ABC, 8:00 PM EDT and 8:30 PM EDT)
ABC starts with the wonderful Chuck Jones cartoon, then follows it with the hideous Jim Carrey film just to remind us how awesome Jones really is.
Horton Hears a Who (NBC, 8:00 PM EDT)
You lose this round NBC. Better luck tomorrow.
K-9 Marathon (Syfy, 10:00 AM EDT)
Syfy celebrates Christmas with a children’s series based on Doctor Who’s lovable robot dog. I have no idea how good it is, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intrigued.
Superman (Cinemax, 7:30 PM EDT)
There will never be another Man of Steel like Christopher Reeve, starring in the greatest comic book adaptation of all time.
Avatar (FMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
James Cameron celebrates Christmas with a few heavy-handed metaphors and overrated special effects. Thanks Jim.
Shrek Forever After (FX, 8:00 PM EDT)
Just wrap the franchise up while you still have your dignity.
Kung Fu Panda (FX, 10:00 PM EDT)
I’m still trying to figure out why this works so well.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits (Starz, 7:30 PM EDT)
The Aardman crew does it again with a marvelous fractured tale of not-so-scary pirates hoping to win the coveted Pirate of the Year award.
The Princess Bride (Sundance, 7:45 PM EDT and 9:30 PM EDT)
Can’t go wrong with a little twu wuv this Christmas.
G.I Joe: The Rise of Cobra (USA, 8:00 PM EDT)
Well here’s a little lump of coal for everyone.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (USA, 9:52 PM EDT)
There’s never a bad time for Indiana Jones and Company.
Merry Christmas everyone!
Ghost Hunters (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
The search for unquiet spirits doesn’t take a break for the holidays. At least they find comfy surroundings: the Friars Club in New York City.
Spy Kids (Disney, 8:30 PM EDT)
Someone please tell me why everybody thought this was so good.
The Revenant (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
When an ex-soldier becomes a vampire, he turns to crime-fighting to get the blood he needs. Sounds reasonable to me.
Escape From LA (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT)
They can keep playing this all they like. It’s not going to get any better.
The Punisher: War Zone (IFC, 10:15 PM EDT)
I’ll say this much for it: Ray Stevenson is the only on-screen Punisher who actually looks the part.
Arrow and Supernatural are reruns this week. American Horror Story is off.
Happy New Year, Charlie Brown (ABC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Definitely second-tier, but a Peanuts special is a Peanuts special.
Universal Soldier: Regeneration (Spike, 10:00 PM EDT)
A new brand of solider tries to take over Chernobyl while Van Damme’s Luc Devereaux is tasked to stop him. Trust me, it’s even worse than it sounds.
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (Sundance, 10:15 PM EDT)
If you haven’t seen this little slice of awesome – starring Forest Whitaker as a modern day hitman who lives by the ancient code of bushido – you owe it to yourself to take a look.
Jeepers Creepers and Jeepers Creepers 2 (Syfy, 7:00 PM EDT and 9:00 PM EDT)
Syfy delivers a surprisingly effective pair of horror stories about a demon who arises once every 23 years to feed.
The Big Bang Theory, The Vampire Diaries, Beauty and the Beast and Elementary are reruns this week. Last Resort is off.
Alien: The Director’s Cut (Cinemax, 8:00 PM EDT)
It’s actually shorter than the original cut, and screws up James Cameron’s contributions to their physiology to boot. Even so, I think it’s a better version of the classic sci-fi horror story.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Schwarzenegger returns to his most famous role, this time as the good guy protecting young John Connor from an evil pool of mercury.
Batman Returns (BBC America, 6:30 PM EDT)
There’s a lot of good things in Tim Burton’s sequel, but that doesn’t make it a good movie.
District 9 (BBC America, 9:00 PM EDT)
Thankfully, the BBC follows it with one of the best science fiction films of the last few years.
Reign of Fire (FX, 8:00 PM EDT and 10:00 PM EDT)
No, the dragons don’t fight gunships. Deal with it.
Scary Movie 2 (IFC, 8:15 PM EDT)
The same numbskulls are going to try this shit again with a Paranormal Activity parody. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Beastly (Showtime, 7:15 PM EDT)
Alex Pettyfer stars in a fair-to-middling update of the famous fairy tale.
Fright Night (Showtime, 9:00 PM EDT)
Colin Farrell steps into Chris Sarandon’s shoes as the vampire next door in a smart update of the 1985 horror movie.
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Episode II: Attack of the Clones (Spike, 6:00 PM EDT and 9:00 PM EDT)
They’re on. That’s all we’re sayin’.
Underworld: Awakening (Starz, 7:30 PM EDT)
Turns out Kate Beckinsale likes big checks too.
Christine (Sundance, 8:00 PM EDT)
John Carpenter adapts the famous Stephen King novel about a possessed Plymouth Fury and its hapless teenage owner.
The Dead Zone (Sundance, 10:00 PM EDT)
Christopher Walken gives the best performance of his career as Stephen King’s troubled psychic.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (Syfy, 10:00 PM EDT)
The crew of the Enterprise lightens up in a charming adventure sending them back to 20th century San Francisco in search of humpback whales.
Arrow and Nikita are reruns. Fringe and Grimm are off.
Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire (ABC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Shit gets real as Harry competes in the Tri-Wizard Tournament and Lord Voldemort finally returns.
First Blood and Rambo: First Blood Part 2 (AMC, 7:00 PM EDT and 9:00 PM EDT)
The original is actually pretty good, even though the shitty sequel got all the press.
Green Lantern (Cinemax, 6:30 PM EDT)
I’d say “try again” DC, but you’re running out of chances at bat.
Chronicle (Cinemax, 8:30 PM EDT)
Great, just rub DC’s nose in it with a fantastic superhero story that doesn’t involve any of their characters.
Asylum Blackout (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
It’s crazies vs. kitchen staff when a lunatic asylum loses electrical power. Good times.
Ratatouille (Disney, 8:00 PM EDT)
Do you know why The Simpsons started sucking after Brad Bird left? Take a look and see.
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (FMC, 7:00 PM EDT and 9:00 PM EDT)
Not a great film, but they recovered quite well for the third one.
The Faculty (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT)
I’m willing to forgive Robert Rodriguez a lot for his terrific sci-fi thriller about high school teachers possessed by aliens from outer space.
Cursed (IFC, 10:15 PM EDT)
Try again Wes Craven. Werewolves just ain’t your thing.
RED (Showtime, 10:30 PM EDT)
Can we all just agree not to mess with Bruce Willis, especially when Helen Mirren is backing him up?
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (Spike, 8:00 PM EDT)
Someday, we’re going to see Han shoot first again. That day is not today.
Constantine (Syfy, 6:30 PM EDT)
Keanu Reeves rolls with the punches and delivers an engaging reworking of the famous Vertigo Comics character.
The Omen (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
Sometimes, remakes just suck.
Gladiator (TNT, 8:00 PM EDT)
Russell Crowe won an Oscar for this fun but slightly overrated sword-and-sandals epic. (Best Picture? Really?)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (ABC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Imelda Staunton steals the show as the thoroughly horrible Delores Umbridge in the solid fifth entry of the Harry Potter franchise.
The Green Mile (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Frank Darabout directs a decent but way too long version of Stephen King’s supernatural drama.
Kingdom of Heaven (BBC America, 8:00 PM EDT)
Ridley Scott’s epic story of the Crusades has its adherents. I’m just not one of them.
X-Men: First Class (Cinemax, 7:45 PM EDT)
James McAvoy is Charles Xavier. Michael Fassbender is Magneto. And just like that, the X-Men franchise feels brand new.
Batman Begins (FMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
It’s a good night for comic book movies, I’ll give it that.
Real Steel (Showtime, 6:45 PM EDT)
Hugh Jackman can go a long way on charm, can’t he?
Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood and Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (IFC, 6:45 PM EDT and 8:45 PM EDT)
Even for Friday the 13th movies, these two are pushing it.
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (Spike, 7:00 PM EDT and 10:00 PM EDT)
Yes, they have the crappy new material, but still… Star Wars!
The Truman Show (Sundance, 10:15 PM EDT)
Jim Carrey scores a solid win in an eerily prescient tale about a man whose entire life is being secretly broadcast.
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (Syfy, 8:00 PM EDT)
The second entry in the Narnia series finds the Pevensie children returning to the magical kingdom after 1,000 years.
Transformers (TNT, 8:00 PM EDT)
Why do we hate Michael Bay? Because he put piss jokes in a Transformers movie.
Enjoy the holidays everyone!