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TV Wasteland: Being Human… Again

Syfy unveils yet another remake

By Rob Vaux     January 16, 2011


U.S. remake of Being Human enters the TV Wasteland(2011).
© Syfy/Bob Trate

 

Syfy is premiering the American remake of Being Human--originally a BBC production--this Monday. We haven’t seen it yet, so we’ll withhold judgment. The trend, however, continues Hollywood’s distressing tendency to cannibalize earlier works rather than come up with anything original. That isn’t to say it can’t work: BSG and The Office are just two examples of remakes that equaled or surpassed the original. But the lack of truly original programming out there can get old after a time, and sadly, we the fans are partially to blame.
 
Science fiction and horror are often dodgy prospects on television, and our need for comfort and familiarity makes it much easier to stick with a recognizable brand rather than chance something new. However, an hour or two of our time isn’t too much to ask if it means letting a genuine creative voice change the game a little bit. Being Human features an appealing cast and an interesting concept--and we’re hoping for good things from it--but as the year goes on, we’d like to see a little less of that and a little more of the legitimately new. That won’t happen unless the audience makes the effort to check in.
 
Being Human premieres January 17 at 9:00 PM EST on Syfy.
 
Monday
Chuck (NBC, 8:00 PM EST)
New episodes of Chuck return with the dubious charms of The Cape to back them up. Chuck (Zachary Levi) tries to hunt down a vital piece of technology in the French countryside while simultaneously planning a romantic getaway with his squeeze.
 
The Cape (NBC, 9:00 PM EST)
The John Wesley Shipp vibes are strong with this one… Anyhoo, the Cape (David Lyons) has to defend his circus friends from an old acquaintance of theirs, who means to claim his costume for his own.
 
Being Human (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
Syfy reinvents the BBC series about a trio of supernatural roommates--one vampire, one werewolf and one ghost--who try to make their way through life. See the top of the article for more.
 
F/X (IFC, 7:30 PM EST)
This mid-80s thriller holds up fairly well, delivering a nifty little story about a special effects technician (Bryan Brown) inadvertently sucked into a government conspiracy when he agrees to fake an assassination for them.
 
Percy Jackson and the Olympians (HBO, 9:00 PM EST)
Though it wears its Harry Potter influences on its sleeve, this teen adventure story scores plenty of points on its own, thanks largely to its understanding and respect for Greek mythology.
 
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (TCM, 8:00 PM EST)
Fans of the Olde Tyme Fantasee should tune into TCM, which is running the classic adaptation of Mark Twain’s novel about a blacksmith (Bing Crosby) transported to medieval times.
 
Camelot (TCM, 10:00 PM EST)
The most fun you can have with singing knights that doesn’t involve the line, “I have to push the pram a lot.”
 
The Chronicles of Riddick (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
I may be the only human being on Earth actually interested in seeing a follow-up to this.
 
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (FX, 8:00 PM EST)
Oh God, are they putting this turkey back into circulation? Let’s all just hold our breath until it passes.
 
Tuesday
No Ordinary Family (ABC, 8:00 PM EST)
Jim (Michael Chiklis) has to come to the precinct’s rescue when a band of thugs takes over the squad room.
 
V (ABC, 9:00 PM EST)
Ryan (Morris Chestnut) is sent off after Agent Malik (Rekha Sharma), who turns out to be a Visitor in disguise.
 
The Walking Dead (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
AMC is rerunning all six episodes of the first season, for those of you who missed it. If you did, set your TiVos now. Now!
 
Wednesday
Ghost Hunters International (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
A German castle may house the unquiet spirit of a knight’s philandering wife. The team checks it out.
 
Clash of the Titans (HBO, 8:00 PM EST)
The director promises that Part 2 will be better. Like that’s saying a whole lot.
 
Hancock (FX, 8:00 PM EST)
Much reviled but better than its reputation suggests, this Will Smith vehicle returns to FX for a spell.
 
Iron Man (FX, 10:00 PM EST)
Having said that, it’s probably best to end the evening with this proven winner rather than Smith’s debatable also-ran.
 
Human Target is riding the scheduling whirlwind, thanks to the arrival of American Idol. They’re saying it’s on Mondays now. We’ll keep you posted on new episodes.
 
Thursday
The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8:00 PM EST)
Howard (Simon Helberg) has to deal with his girlfriend’s ex… played by former Laker Rick Fox. I don’t know if it’s great casting, but it’s certainly fascinating casting. Also, Howard? Kind of short. So there’s that.

Once Upon a Time in Mexico (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
It has its charms, but director Robert Rodriguez has, in fact, been better.
 
Demolition Man (AMC, 10:00 PM EST)
Stallone is stalwart and Wesley Snipes is a hoot, but watch a very young Sandra Bullock sneak in and steal the show out from under everyone’s nose.
 
Joy Ride 2: Dead Ahead (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
You stay classy, Syfy.
 
The Hitcher (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
This 2007 remake of the 1986 original isn’t strictly awful; just tired and by the numbers. Sean Bean does the best he can with pretty weak material as the titular killer.
 
The Vampire Diaries and Nikita are both reruns this week.
 
Friday
Medium (CBS, 8:00 PM EST)
The series finally, mercifully, comes to an end this week. Let’s just leave it at that.
 
Merlin (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
Merlin (Colin Morgan) inadvertently unleashes a goblin who takes control of the court physician (Richard Wilson) and wreaks all manner of havoc.
 
Spartacus: Gods of the Arena (Starz, 10:00 PM EST)
By Jupiter’s howling testicles, the biggest guilty pleasure in the history of television returns! This six-episode prequel provides a marvelous curtain called for John Hannah and Lucy Lawless, as the owners of the gladiator academy which set Spartacus on his path to greatness. Revel in the tits and bloodletting with no shame! (On a completely different note, best wishes to Andy Whitfield for a full recovery.)
 
Young Justice (Cartoon, 7:00 PM EST)
The first all-new episode arrives with the team beginning their tutelage under Red Tornado. Here’s hoping they can maintain the high standard set by the pilot.
 
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Cartoon, 8:30 PM EST)
The three-part all-villain throwdown comes to a head tonight, as the Nightsisters execute their scheme against Count Dooku. Tasty-good stuff!
 
Gods and Monsters (Sundance, 8:00 PM EST)
Genre fans of any stripe should set time aside for this marvelous 1998 effort, depicting the last days of the original Frankenstein director, James Whale. A showboating Italian stole the Oscar that rightfully belonged to Ian McKellan in the lead role. Not that I’m carrying a grudge or anything…
 
Swordfish (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
The title refers to an old Marx Brothers routine about the password to a speakeasy. The movie is a tawdry bit of sleaze featuring Hugh Jackman, John Travolta, and Halle Berry’s nipples. All of them deserve better.
 
Smallville and Supernatural are reruns. Brave and the Bold is off for the time being.
 
Saturday
Primeval (BBC America, 9:00 PM EST)
There’s mayhem in a public school when a man-eating dinosaur gets loose in the halls; every rebellious teenager’s dream come true…
 
The Fly (FMC, 8:00 PM EST)
One of the best remakes of all time--and a top-tier horror movie to boot--stars Jeff Goldblum as a brilliant scientist who pulls one of those “playing in God’s kingdom” numbers and ends up paying the price.
 
 The Punisher (FX, 6:00 PM EST)
And it’s… the Thomas Jane version! Eep.
 
Alien (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
These IFC screenings got a lot less cool since they started adding commercials. It’s not uncut if we’re getting shaving ads in the middle of the film, guys! Having said that… it’s still Alien.
 
Ginger Snaps (IFC, 10:30 PM EST)
A truly great werewolf film from north of the border is again undone by IFC kow-towing to the god of commerce.
 
Category 7: The End of the World (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
Syfy reaches into its vaults to deliver a four-hour disaster flick about a giant storm that threatens to kill everybody.
 
The Dark Knight (TNT, 8::00 PM EST)
It’s finally on basic cable, for what that’s worth.
 
Sunday
Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (Disney XD, 10:30 PM EST)
Kang is back, and he brought his friends… a whole lot of friends. It’s up to the Avengers to stop the invasion.
 
Total Recall (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
Why, for the life of me, can I never refrain from saying “Git your ass to Mars!” in my half-assed Schwarzenegger voice every time I see the title for this film?
 
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
The first is still the best. ‘Nuff said!

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