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TV Wasteland: Another Farewell for Richard Matheson

Take the time to say good-bye on the 4th.

By Rob Vaux     July 01, 2013

 It’s the week of July 4th, and you know what that means: Syfy continues its marvelous tradition of running The Twilight Zone all day. This year is particularly poignant because it marks the recent death of Richard Matheson who, after Rod Serling himself, gave the series much of its iconic spirit. Matheson had a hand in 16 of the show’s episodes, either writing the scripts directly or writing the stories on which the scripts were based.  Syfy is running 44 episodes on the 4th, six of which are based on Matheson’s work. We’ve singled them out below if you want to set your DVR. The rest of the marathon – which includes such classics as The Howling Man, The Monsters are Due on Maple Street and Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up? – runs from 8:00 AM EDT on July 4th until 6:00 AM EDT on July 5th on Syfy.

Nick of Time (2:30 PM EDT)
Third from the Sun (5:00 PM EDT)
The Invaders (5:30 PM EDT)
Nightmare at 20,000 Feet (9:30 PM EDT)
Night Call (2:30 AM EDT, July 5th)
Little Girl Lost (4:00 AM EDT, July 5th)


Under the Dome (CBS, 10:00 PM EDT)
What happens when a house catches on fire inside a giant impenetrable dome? We all get to find out this week!
Teen Wolf (MTV, 10:00 PM EDT)
Scott takes time to reminisce on a lengthy bus trip. Apparently, it involves people getting killed.
Defiance (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
An accident occurs just before a key election, putting Nolan’s position in danger.
Warehouse 13 (Syfy, 10:00 PM EDT)
Claudia has been bronzed and the team only has a short period of time to reverse the condition.
King Kong (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
AMC used to stand for “American Movie Classics.”  They don’t like emphasizing that because this is the not-classic Peter Jackson version rather than the indisputably classic RKO version.
Enchanted (Disney, 8:00 PM EDT)
Amy Adams gets this one about 80% of the way home. The remainder can’t quite make up the difference.
Battle: Los Angeles (FX, 8:00 PM EDT)
Okay, I admit it: part of me just gets a cheap thrill out of watching Santa Monica get destroyed.
Battleship (HBO, 6:45 PM EDT)
Someone tell HBO it’s not going to get any better no matter how many times they screen it. It repeats on Sunday at 6:45 PM EDT, so clearly they’re not listening.
The Hills Have Eyes II (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT)
It’s cannibals vs. the National Guard in a disgusting-for-all-the-wrong-reasons sequel.
Hostel (IFC, 10:00 PM EDT)
I have yet to forgive Eli Roth for this. It’s just… awful.


The Mummy (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT and 10:45 PM EDT)
Stephen Sommers’ loose updating of the Boris Karloff classic – with a big chunk of Indiana Jones thrown in – soars on its unpretentious and energetic atmosphere.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
It just occurred to me how much I’m willing to forgive James Franco for, just for appearing in this hot slice of awesome.
The Watch (HBO, 8:00 PM EDT)
No one in this film will ever be forgiven. Period. Repeats on Friday at 8:15 PM EDT.
V for Vendetta (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT and 10:45 PM EDT)
It’s ultimately a failure, but how perfect is Hugo Weaving in the lead?
Hotel Transylvania (Starz, 9:00 PM EDT)
It doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel, but with Adam Sandler, we’ll take our pleasures where we can find them.


Ghost Hunters (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
The legendary mission at San Juan Capistrano falls under the team’s watchful eye.
Futurama (Comedy, 10:00 PM EDT)
Bender runs into his idol, which we suspect is some kind of future version of Woody Guthrie.  Consider yourself warned.
Batman Begins (Spike, 8:00 PM EDT)
Spike needs to program this one more often. It easily stands as the equal to its celebrated follow-up, The Dark Knight.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (FX, 8:00 PM EDT)
Oh God, it just sucks on hot toast!
Wrath of the Titans (HBO, 8:00 PM EDT)
I just hope everyone associated with this enjoys their checks.
The Mummy Returns (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Not as much fun as the first one, but worth a look if you find yourself out of options.
Underworld: Awakening (Starz, 10:25 PM EDT)
If you listen closely, you can hear the thud of this franchise crash-landing for good. Repeats on Sunday at 10:50 PM EDT. 


Twilight Zone Marathon (Syfy, 8:00 AM EDT)
Once again, Syfy celebrates all things Serling with a rousing 4th of July marathon. See the top of the article for more.
Star Trek: The Next Generation Marathon (BBC America, 8:00 PM EDT)
BBC America counters with a pretty awesome marathon of its own.
The Walking Dead Marathon (AMC, 1:00 PM EDT)
It seems like a number of folks have picked up on Syfy’s example. Huzzah!
The Dark Knight Rises (HBO, 8:00 PM EDT)
As I’ve said before, “disappointing” is still a long way from “not awesome.” Especially where Christopher Nolan is concerned.
Looper (Starz, 9:00 PM EDT)
There are worse ways to spend the 4th than with the best science fiction movie of 2012.
Identity (Sundance, 10:00 PM EDT)
The twist is kind of forced, but there’s still a lot to like in this psychological mind-bender about a group of strangers trapped in a hotel together.
Avatar (FX, 8:00 PM EDT)
It really doesn’t deserve its reputation. Really.
Independence Day (A&E, 8:00 PM EDT)
Well, they aren’t going to win points for originality, but you can’t deny the appropriateness of the date.
National Treasure (ABC Family, 8:00 PM EDT)
As with ID4, it’s goofy, but tough to argue with the timing. Repeats on Saturday at 6:30 PM, followed by the sequel at 9:30 PM EDT.
The Fast and the Furious (TNT, 8:00 PM EDT)
It’s just so hard to stay mad at this series…
Burn Notice is off for the holiday.


Continuum (Syfy, 10:00 PM EDT)
Kiera snaps, which activates a hidden program in her CMR. Wacky mayhem doubtless ensues.
Cult (The CW, 8:00 PM EDT)
They’re burning off two episodes a night, so stay frosty.
Stargate (BBC America, 9:00 PM EDT)
I’ll put up with a lot of goofiness just to hear Kurt Russell say “shoot anything that comes down that ramp.”
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (FX, 7:00 PM EDT and 9:30 PM EDT)
The Chronicles of Narnia franchise comes to an ignominious close with this milquetoast third entry. They could have fought better Howard.
Men in Black (Spike, 6:00 PM EDT)
As is so often the case, the first turns out to be the best.
Return of the Jedi (Spike, 8:30 PM EDT)
I was beginning to wonder whether Spike had gone ‘round the bend: they haven’t run a Star Wars film in a week or so! Repeats on Saturday at 8:00 PM EDT.
The Scorpion King (Bravo, 7:00 PM EDT)
The Rock’s first starring role, um, isn’t exactly his best.
Unbreakable (Bravo, 9:00 PM EDT)
Shyamalan was still considered a genius when he helmed this not-at-all-bad thriller about a man who may be a living superhero.


Zero Hour (ABC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Hank and Laila head to France in search of the next clue, while Arron and Rachel suspect that the feds may have a turncoat in their ranks.
666 Park Avenue (ABC, 9:00 PM EDT)
Jane joins forces with a group dedicated to battling the forces of darkness, which we suspect makes them especially interested in the Drake.
Do No Harm (NBC, 10:00 PM EDT)
In order to see Olivia, Ian has to pretend to be Jason at a formal banquet.
Sinbad (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
Sinbad must battle a monster created by Taryn for the express purpose of destroying him. I imagine this kind of thing happens to him all the time.
Primeval: New World (Syfy, 10:00 PM EDT)
Dinosaurs run amuck on campus! Kind of like Monsters U, only with crappier visual effects.
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (Cinemax, 7:15 PM EDT)
It barely beats Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life for silliest title ever. Also, Jennifer Love Hewitt’s breasts are bouncy.
The Island (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
Michael Bay’s big flop is actually one of his better films. Ironic.
Star Trek (FX, 10:00 PM EDT)
Everyone relax. The Star Wars sequels are in good hands.
Cowboys and Aliens (HBO, 9:45 PM EDT)
They’d better be, because Harrison Ford has got to get off the schnide. 
Resident Evil: Retribution (Starz, 9:00 PM EDT)
Well, this entry in the Milla Jovovich zombie franchise definitely could have used a little pep.
The Bourne Identity (A&E, 8:00 PM EDT)
Who doesn’t love Matt Damon kicking ass and taking names as Jason Bourne?
GoldenEye (BBC America, 8:00 PM EDT)
Best of the Brosnan Bonds? I’m going to say “yes.”
Percy Jackson & the Olympians (Cartoon, 7:00 PM EDT)
I’m still kind of surprised that this film is actually pretty good.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (Showtime, 9:00 PM EDT).
No, no, I didn’t say they were bad. I said they were morally reprehensible!


True Blood (HBO, 9:00 PM EDT)
Sookie asks Ben to dinner, while Eric plots a new tactic against Burrell and Bill gets involved in the True Blood business. That last one is rather unsettling…
Dexter (Showtime, 9:00 PM EDT)
Dr. Vogel asks for Dexter’s aid, even as police continue the search for the Brain Surgeon.
Falling Skies (TNT, 10:00 PM EDT)
Lourdes works on developing an ominous new medical procedure, while Hal finally shows us what’s going on in his head.
Jaws (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
A little something to class up the joint after a long holiday weekend.
Gremlins (Nickelodeon, 9:00 PM EDT)
Joe Dante’s anarchic horror-comedy is still a hell of a lot of fun.
The Incredible Shrinking Man (TCM, 8:00 PM EDT)
The Jack Arnold classic, based on Richard Matheson’s novel, arrives to give the late master a proper send-off.
The Devil Doll (TCM, 9:30 PM EDT)
Dracula and Freaks director Tod Browning helms an awesome little horror movie about an escaped prisoner who runs a doll shop populated by shrunken humans.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (IFC, 10:15 PM EDT)
Martin Freeman is pitch-perfect as Arthur Dent. The rest is just window dressing.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (ABC Family, 8:00 PM EDT)
It was universally loathed, but I thought this fourth entry really gave the series a shot in the arm.
The World Is Not Enough (BBC America, 7:30 PM EDT)
They tried. They really, really tried. But God, Denise Richards…
Taken (FX, 8:00 PM EDT and 10:00 PM EDT)
Does Liam Neeson have any real-life daughters? Because I don’t think any of them are going to get dates until they’re forty.
Brave (Starz, 7:20 PM EDT)
Not a disaster, but Pixar really needed to do better on this one.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (Syfy, 6:30 PM EDT)
The one where the franchise jumped the shark.
Resident Evil: Afterlife (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
One of the better Resident Evil films, as Milla Jovovich’s Alice searches for survivors in a zombie-infested Los Angeles.
Enjoy your 4th everybody!


Showing items 1 - 8 of 8
Iridan 7/1/2013 5:21:51 AM

I still don't understand the hate on Terminator 3. I loved it.

fenngibbon 7/1/2013 6:07:05 AM

 "Also, Jennifer Love Hewitt's breasts are bouncy."

Anyone wondering how Jennifer Love Hewitt has had a fairly successful career as an actress, there is your answer.

Also, what does it say about Michael Bay that "one of his better films" is a remake of an MST3K-able film called "Parts:  The Clonus Horror"?

lusiphur 7/1/2013 6:14:36 AM

 Trust me.  The visual effects on Primeval:  Lost World are leaps and bounds better than the ones from the first season of its parent show.  Some of those were completely dreadful.  But I guess they would be considered worse than a CGI movie.


karas1 7/1/2013 9:25:07 AM

The FX from Primeval: Lost World may be better than the original (It's been 10 years, they'd better be) but the scripts and characters are not.  I'm somewhat disappointed, but I'm hanging in there.  The new show is not BAD, but it's a show about people chasing monsters around, not about the scifi concepts behind time travel like the first one was.  Still, the characters are likeable and the action is interesting so I'll continue to watch.

jackwagon 7/1/2013 10:29:38 AM


I absolutely hated T3.  I thought it was a complete rehash of the first Terminator movie, with none of the interesting character development or plot that T2 had (e.g. Sarah going after Miles Dyson, and the group blowing Cyberdyne the hell up).  The only good thing about T3 was its ending.  That was an ending with balls.  But a good final 10 minutes does not make up for a crappy 110 minutes leading up to it.

Iridan 7/1/2013 11:22:53 AM

JW, while I liked T2, the kid almost ruined it for me. A better actor and better writing could have made that movie a classic for me. I loved the ending of T3, and I didn't mind what came before it. Oh well, differences of opinion.

I still think we got shafted by The Sarah Connor Chronicles getting canceled. After the lull in season 2, it really picked up, and I would have loved to see a conclusion.

NDorado 7/1/2013 1:45:39 PM

Iridan, good points, but in my opinion Terminator 2: Judgment Day WAS and always will be a CLASSIC.  :)  I can't wait for James Cameron to get his hands back on the franchise.

blankczech 7/2/2013 8:04:38 PM

Notice several new commenters (or is it commentators) on Mania recently...which is a good thing...I wish my eyes were better or I could click on the avatars and they would appear I could see what the heck they are.  For instance, I'm having a hard time making out Jackwagon's and Iridan's avatars.



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