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TV Wasteland: And Now... Playoffs!

Football dominates as mid-season replacements begin.

By Rob Vaux     January 07, 2013

 January arrives, and with it comes midseason replacements, trickling in between the fever of NFL playoff games. Here’s a look at which ones are coming up!

 

Monday

The Green Mile (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
AMC has ladled love on Frank Darabont’s well-regarded adaptation of the Stephen King story… probably as a half-assed apology for canning him from The Walking Dead.
 
The Da Vinci Code (FMC, 8:00 PM EST)
Also known as the moment when America fell out of love with Tom Hanks.
 
Hancock (FX, 8:00 EST and 10:30 PM EST)
This isn’t a great film, but it gets credit for taking a very different take on superheroes. 
 
The Rundown (HBO, 7:15 PM EST)
Nice to see Dwayne Johnson in a movie that doesn’t suck. 
 
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (Showtime, 9:00 PM EST)
Angelina Jolie gives Jan De Bont’s directorial career a last flickering bit of life before it vanished forever.
 
Dawn of the Dead (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
Zack Snyder put his name on the map with a solid reboot of the George A. Romero zombie classic.
 
Revolution is off this week.
 

Tuesday

Iron Man 2 (FX, 7:30 PM EST)
When that scene at the race track hit, I thought “this is their Dark Knight.” And then somewhere along the line, it lost that magic. It repeats Wednesday night at the same time, Thursday at 8:00 PM EST, and Sunday at 8:00 PM EST and 10:30 PM EST.
 
I’ll also note that Iron Man 2 is followed by the season premiere of Justified, one of television’s great pleasures these days.
 
Troy (Cinemax, 7:15 PM EST)
It features Brad Pitt in a loincloth and Sean Bean surviving through the final reel.  Take it for what you will.
 
Fast Five (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
What, exactly, is The Rock sweating out of his pores here?
 
The Lion King (Disney, 8:00 PM EST)
Everyone talks about the dazzling animation here, and yet it’s actually a surprisingly sloppy technical production. Overrated? You betcha!
 
Puss in Boots (HBO, 8:00 PM EST)
Antonio Banderas collects another paycheck. Zap! Kapow!
 
Spy Kids 3: Game Over (Starz, 7:30 PM EST)
I hate picking on Stallone, but he makes it so easy sometimes.
 
Shutter Island (Syfy, 8:00 PM EST)
The screenwriter’s name is Laeta Kalogritas. Her other works? Birds of Prey, Alexander, Pathfinder and the Bionic Woman remake. This woman should never be allowed near a typewriter again.
 

Wednesday

American Horror Story: Asylum (FX, 10:00 PM EST)
Monsignor Howard needs to shut Sister Jude up. Good luck with that...
 
Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (FMC, 8:00 PM EST and 10:00 PM EST)
Fox officially owns Dreamworks now, allowing them to crank out this sloppy franchise for as long as lazy parents need a babysitter.
 
Unknown (HBO, 7:00 PM EST)
Liam Neeson wakes up from a coma only to find that his wife doesn’t recognize him. There’s an answer, but it’s far less interesting than watching him beat up the entire city of Berlin looking for it.
 
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (HBO, 9:00 PM EST)
Serkis. Oscar. Now.
 
Friday the 13th: A New Beginning and Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives (IFC, 8:00 PM EST and 10:00 PM EST)
The franchise touches bottom after first trying to get along without Jason Voorhees, and then resurrecting him in the silliest and most jokey manner possible.
 
The Pirates! Band of Misfits (Starz, 7:20 PM EST)
It’s a mark of national shame that the original title – The Pirates! In An Adventure with Scientists! – was changed for the U.S. release because some corners of this country think “science” is a dirty word.
 
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (Starz, 9:00 PM EST)
Marvel still makes bad movies. Or in this case, unspeakably awful ones.
 
Arrow and Supernatural are reruns this week.
 

Thursday

The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8:00 PM EST)
The boys head to a comic book convention, while the girls try to figure out the appeal of comic books. Way to play to gender stereotypes guys!
 
Elementary (CBS, 10:00 PM EST)
Moriarty’s in the house, y’all!
 
Last Resort (ABC, 8:00 PM EST)
Sam questions his loyalty to Chaplin, even as the crew forges a series of unusual alliances.
 
Signs (AMC, 8:00 PM EST and 10:01 PM EST)
Revel in this fascinating look at Mel Gibson back before everybody hated him.
 
My Babysitter’s a Vampire (Disney XD, 7:00 PM EST)
Syfy isn’t the only station with get-to-the-point movie titles. 
 
Tangled (Disney, 8:00 PM EST)
Disney scores a winner with their latest (and apparently last) princess movie: a fun and witty version of Rapunzel. 
 
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (FMC, 8:00 PM EST)
Brad Pitt ages in reverse… and we get to feel every. single. second of it.
 
The Incredible Hulk (FX, 10:30 PM EST)
Mark Ruffalo kind of stole his thunder, but Edward Norton still does quite well in a decent-but-not-fantastic version of the Marvel Comics staple.
 
The Last Legion (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
Colin Firth and Ben Kingsley pay the rent in a bargain-basement fantasy retelling of the Arthur legend.
 
Escape from LA (IFC, 10:15 PM EST)
Jeez, change the record IFC! It’s not that good!
 
Underworld: Awakening (Starz, 9:00 PM EST)
Oh Kate. We love you and yet you hurt us so.
 
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (Starz, 10:35 PM EST)
If you want to stay up late, Starz has you covered with the triumphant conclusion to the greatest fantasy movie series of all time.
 
Ghost Storm (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
The unquiet dead discover lightning bolts, and wacky mayhem ensues.
 
The Mist (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
Frank Darabont nails it with one of the scariest – and most disturbing – Stephen King adaptations of recent years.
 

Friday

Fringe (Fox, 9:00 PM EST)
Walter takes a spin in the sensory deprivation tank as the series barrels towards its big finale next week.
 
Merlin (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
The two-part season premiere concludes as Mordred and Morgana threaten new trouble for the kingdom.
 
The Fugitive (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
Tommy Lee Jones may earn another Oscar for Lincoln, adding to the one he earned for his sterling work in this first-rate action thriller.
 
District 9 (BBC America, 8:00 PM EST and 10:30 PM EST)
BBC America gives the entire evening over to this high-water mark for recent sci-fi, about alien refugees and the corrupt bureaucrat who finds himself reluctantly joining their cause.
 
Scream 3 (Bravo, 9:00 PM EST)
Because this is completely appropriate for a station called “Bravo.” 
 
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Cinemax, 7:50 PM EST)
That was a nice franchise they had there for a minute.
 
Safe House (HBO, 8:00 PM EST)
Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds play spy games in a fair-to-middling thriller from early 2012.
 
Inglourious Basterds (TNT, 8:00 PM EST)
Quentin Tarantino’s soggy but effective World War II mash-up probably doesn’t benefit from the basic cable treatment. 
 
Nikita and Arrow are reruns this week.
 

Saturday

Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (TCM, 8:00 PM EST)
If you have a taste for the weird, check out Bette Davis and Joan Crawford as a pair of show biz sisters, one of whom has decidedly gone ‘round the bend.
 
The Bourne Identity (TNT, 9:00 PM EST)
Matt Damon reminds James Bond how it’s done, and in the process creates quite a reliable little spy franchise of his own.
 
Starship Troopers (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
All hail Neil Patrick Harris and his death ferrets!
 
Cowboys & Aliens (Cinemax, 6:45 PM EST)
Hope this ends its premium cable run soon. It was born to be on the Superstation.
 
Iron Man (FX, 8:00 PM EST)
Tony Stark really was a second-tier hero until Jon Favreau and Robert Downey, Jr. put him on top of the world.
 
Green Lantern (HBO, 10:00 PM EST)
Watch Iron Man, then tune in here for clear evidence of why Marvel is winning.
 
Scream (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
For better or worse, it defined horror movies in the 1990s. 
 
Strangeland (IFC, 10:30 PM EST)
Dee Snider of Twisted Sister fame made a brief comeback with this poorly-received slasher film that fades as quickly as it arrived.
 
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part I (Showtime, 8:00 PM EST)
It sucks on toast, but unlike Part II, something actually happens here. 
 
Metal Tornado (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
You’d think the title was a metaphor for something. You’d think that, wouldn’t you?
 
Super Cyclone (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
It’s here to save us from wicked witches and flying farmhouses everywhere! Okay, no it isn’t, but with a title like that you’d understand the confusion.
 

Sunday

Once Upon a Time (ABC, 8:00 PM EST)
Mr. Gold tests out a new type of magic on an unwilling victim as a part of his search for Bae.
 
The Silence of the Lambs (Cinemax, 9:00 PM EST)
One of the best horror movies ever made returns to premium cable for a prime-time curtain call.
 
Despicable Me (ABC Family, 7:00 PM EST and 9:00 PM EST)
Steve Carrell headlines an amiable animated comedy about a super-villain stuck with a trio of orphaned girls. Not as good as Dreamworks’ Megamind, but an honorable effort nonetheless.
 
Cloverfield (FMC, 8:00 PM EST and 10:00 PM EST)
Pack your Dramamine, because shaky-cam is in the house tonight!
 
Gone in 60 Seconds (AMC, 8:00 PM EST and 10:30 PM EST)
Still not the worst movie Nicolas Cage has ever made.
 
Kick-Ass (Spike, 8:00 PM EST)
Okay, this movie is just too damn cool to be on Spike.
 
The Bourne Ultimatum (TNT, 8:00 PM EST and 10:30 PM EST)
Matt Damon exits the Bourne franchise the same way he entered it: kicking ass and taking names.
 
John Carter (Starz, 6:45 PM EST)
Keep going little movie! Your audience is out there, I know it!
 
Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Nemesis (Syfy, 6:30 PM EST and 9:00 PM EST)
Syfy ends the week with the yin and yang of TNG movies.
 
Have a great week everyone. Go Niners!
 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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Wiseguy 1/7/2013 4:59:47 AM

The Mist is so good. I'd venture to say that I liked it better than the book and that's a rarity. If there's a message folk should take from this is to never loose hope

Niners? They sealed their fate when they benched Smith. Playoff time is when it'll become obvious

fenngibbon 1/7/2013 5:40:30 AM

 "Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Nemesis (Syfy, 6:30 PM EST and 9:00 PM EST)
Syfy ends the week with the yin and yang of TNG movies."

 

I'd have to say Star Trek:  Insurrection is the yang.

 

And First Contact is an interesting film for reasons that most people don't seem to notice.  It fundamentally changed the nature of the Borg from an absolute communist society where every individual had no existence than as a part of a greater whole into a fascist society where the entire Collective exists to embody the will of one leader.  And in making this change, I think it illustrates something fundamental about human nature, namely, that we are so wired to think about social arrangements in which there are leaders that even those whose job is to think about imaginary worlds and societies have a hard time breaking out of that conceptual box.  

karas1 1/7/2013 5:49:26 AM

I read The Mist in college and had nightmares for 3 nights running.  I've been scared to see the movie.  Is that silly or what?

goldeneyez 1/7/2013 6:03:35 AM

fenngibbon, I thought a lot of Trekkies had issues with the idea of the Borg Queen.  At least I did.  It kind of made the idea of Locutus Borg unnecessary.  I think it had more to do with people wanting to up the ante in the film format and thought the idea of a Borg Queen would do that as opposed to human nature in the respect you relate it too.  If there's a human nature component, I think it's that "suits" don't necessarily get certain things about science fiction and would rather pander to a wider audience by dumbing things down.  Anyway, just my .02 cents.

jackwagon 1/7/2013 6:09:11 AM

 Does the SyFy Channel seem to think the only kinds of "original" production movies worth airing are disaster, zombie, and monster flicks?  Aside from airing big movies like the Star Trek films and other classics, that is.

Wiseguy 1/7/2013 6:20:04 AM

That new syfy series Defiance looks promising

karas you need to challenge yourself to overcome that fear

Walker 1/7/2013 7:26:23 AM

 @fenngibbon

I think you are overthinking the symbloism of First Contact. The problem was that the writers needed to introduce a single point of failure to make the Borg beatable. The fully distributed Borg could only be beaten by a complete take down of the whole system at once. And the hokey deus ex machina of Best of Both Worlds (A feedback loop? Really?) could only work so many times.

The Borg were a victim of their own success. They should never have been made a reoccurring enemy. It was a demotion.

isgrimner 1/7/2013 10:34:59 AM

Doubt I'll be watching much TV this week.  Will be busy reading A Memory of Light (last book of WOT) which comes out tomorrow.     Started the series Christmas day of 1990, so it will be strange to finish it.

violator14 1/7/2013 11:22:37 AM

 Does anybody else watch the new TMNT series on Nick? That show rocks!!

fenngibbon 1/7/2013 2:58:23 PM

 goldeneyez,

I agree that the Borg Queen makes the whole Locutus plotline unnecessary.  

 

Walker,

That kind of makes my point:  the writers couldn't figure how to do the story without a single villain to focus on.  It's a failure of imagination rooted in the fact that we're just not designed to think in terms of that sort of collective decision making system. 

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