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TV Wasteland: Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore
Syfy Tries to Sneak In a New Wonderland Before The Tim Burton
By Rob Vaux
November 29, 2009
Syfy tries to take the TV Wasteland into Wonderland also.
© Bob Trate
December begins with the much-hyped Alice miniseries on Syfy, promising an "all new" take on the Alice in Wonderland tale. Lewis Carroll's surreal masterpiece has already undergone enough permutations to render any claims of originality irrelevant, and with Tim Burton's big screen version waiting in the wings, Syfy's not-quite-a-sequel rendition has an air of afterthought to it. It features a brunette Alice (Caterina Scorsone) transported into a new version of Wonderland, which has developed into a modern society in the 150 years since the original Alice popped in.
The early impression stems from the fact that the creative team also produced 2007's Tin Man--which produced huge ratings for Syfy, though its reach far exceeded its grasp in the quality department. Admittedly, their take on Wonderland holds enough intrigue to justify a look, especially with the likes of Tim Curry, Kathy Bates, Matt Frewer and Harry Dean Stanton in key roles. (Curry isn't playing the Mad Hatter, however, which earns the casting director forty whacks with a wet noodle.) Even so, the previews smack of grand ideas without the budget to back it up, and with Tin Man writer/director Nick Welling returning to helm this effort, the same difficulties with plot and pacing may return to haunt this new endeavor. We'll all find out together starting this Sunday December 6 at 7:00 PM EST on Syfy.
Heroes (NBC, 8:00 PM EST)
More fun and games with Samuel (Robert Knepper) this week as his plans move closer to fruition. Plus HRG (Jack Coleman) entertains some unexpected visitors.
John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars (Cinemax, 8:15 PM EST)
Seriously people, it's not that bad! I mean… just look at… hey, where are you going?
Star Trek: 25th Anniversary (Biography, 8:00 PM EST)
Biography spends the evening examining the Star Trek phenomenon and all the wonders and horrors it holds. I'm flush with a fresh viewing of the awesome J.J. Abrams movie, so I'll forego my usual "it's just a TV show" snarking. Followed by a similar special, Star Trek: Captain's Log, at 10:00 PM EST.
Ghost Lab (Discovery, 10:00 PM EST)
The show takes a look at a couple of alleged hauntings in Texas this week.
Aftermath: Population Zero (National Geographic, 8:00 PM EST)
National Geographic is rerunning a two-hour special positing what would happen to the planet if every human being suddenly disappeared one day.
Live Free or Die Hard (FX, 7:00 PM EST)
A little something from the "this could have been a lot worse" department, courtesy of Bruce Willis and the guy who directed Underworld.
Eastwick (ABC, 10:00 PM EST)
If ever one needed help from the devil, it's when your mother pays a visit, as Roxie (Rebecca Romijn) learns to her dismay.
Ghost Hunters (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
The team sets its sights on Hartford, Connecticut, former home of world-class crank and prominent dead man Mark Twain. Perhaps he'll appear and inform them in cutting, acerbic terms how crappy the afterlife really is.
Ghost Hunters Academy (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
Squabbles break out among the Ghost Hunters' JV squad during an investigation of Buffalo Central Terminal.
Nostradamus Effect (History, 9:00 PM EST)
As far as I know, the Pyramids of Giza were built well before Nostradamus put pen to paper, but the show has something to say about them anyway.
MysteryQuest (History, 10:00 PM EST)
They don't get much more mysterious than Stonehenge, as druids and fans of Spinal Tap have attested for centuries. MysteryQuest heads off to Merry Olde England for a look.
Pixar Short Films (ABC Family, 7:00 PM EST)
Twenty of the best cartoons you'll ever see--courtesy of the best movie studio in the business--are collected for your edification and amusement on ABC Family tonight. The entire program reruns at 9:00 PM EST.
FlashForward (ABC, 8:00 PM EST)
Time to hunt down that chick who told Agent Noh (John Cho) that he was going to die.
Fringe (Fox, 9:00 PM EST)
Sweatshop slaves have it bad enough without serving as hosts for unspeakable alien parasites, as the gang learns when a ship full of infected Chinese immigrants runs aground.
The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai, Across The 8th Dimension (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
Wherever you go, there you are… especially if you're watching IFC tonight.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (Syfy, 8:00 PM EST)
Yet another better-than-average Part 2 which diminished in stature after being shackled to a truly abysmal Part 3. Also, exactly what part of Walt Disney's happy dream involved ravens plucking men's eyes out of their sockets?
The Vampire Diaries and Supernatural are reruns this week.
Dollhouse (Fox, 8:00 PM EST)
The bad news: the show is sunk. The good news: Fox is burning off the rest of the season in double doses. Tonight entails both halves of a two-parter, in which Echo (Eliza Dushku) targets Senator Perrin (Alexis Denisof) for threatening to blow the whistle on the Dollhouse. Summer Glau guest stars, so get it while it's hot Whedonites.
Ghost Whisperer (CBS, 8:00 PM EST)
A dead teenager claims that a cop killed him, prompting Melinda (Jennifer Love Hewitt) to investigate.
Medium (CBS, 9:00 PM EST)
Allison (Patricia Arquette) works to stop a terrorist attack in a concept which would have been fresh around 2002 or thereabouts.
Stargate Universe (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
The first half of the inaugural season comes to a close with a possible turncoat onboard the Destiny and Colonel Young (Justin Louis) ceding command to that nice Ming-Na woman.
Sanctuary (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
No supernaturally inspired TV show would be complete without a trip to Louisiana sooner or later. Dr. Magnus (Amanda Tapping) and Zimmerman (Robin Dunne) head to the bayou to help out a sea-bound abnormal this week.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Cartoon, 8:00 PM EST)
We got brain parasites kids, and when they start dropping the hammer on the Jedi, it gets awfully ugly. Pick your least favorite character and see if he gets a lightsaber through the throat!
Smallville is a rerun (it's the Metallo episode), as is Iron Man: Armored Adventures. No Brave and the Bold either, although Cartoon Network likes playing sneaky tricks on us.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (ABC Family, 8:00 PM EST)
The most controversial of the six Harry Potter films runs on ABC Family, featuring a new Dumbledore (Michael Gambon), a very cool hippogriff and a director who I feel deserves a lot more slack than he gets.
Taken (HBO, 9:00 PM EST)
Revenge porn doesn't get any pornier than this 2008 potboiler, which contains the delicious prospect of watching Liam Neeson make good on all his icy promises to the assorted dregs of humanity.
Men in Black II (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
Listen Syfy, if you're going to broadcast crap, at least make sure it's original crap. That's really all you have going for you.
National Treasure (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
Things don't improve much on Syfy, save for those trying to understand the exact point where Nicholas Cage went wrong.
Dexter (Showtime, 8:00 PM EST)
Debra (Jennifer Carpenter) inadvertently threatens to expose Dexter's (Michael C. Hall) secret life, which will probably all end in tears and hurt feelings.
Alice (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
The first part of the new miniseries starts tonight. See the top of the article for more.
The Fifth Element (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
…is love. That is all.