The premise holds its share of shopworn clichés, from the Lex Luthor-style bad guy (played by James Frain) to the Lois Lane-style reporter (Summer Glau) who becomes “The Cape’s” unlikely ally. It smells of corporate aping, created by people who study comic book stories in an attempt to get the details right, rather than people who really love superheroes and have an idea of their own to share. Having said that, they still have a few tricks up their sleeve… notably in the supporting cast, which includes Vinnie Jones as a snake-like villain and Keith David as The Cape’s mentor. No Ordinary Family looked just as bad, and while it hasn’t exactly overwhelmed anyone, it’s established a reasonably entertaining baseline on which to draw. Here’s hoping The Cape proves more of a Smallville than a Birds of Prey. It premieres this Sunday at 9:00 PM EST on NBC before moving to Monday nights at 9:00 PM EST starting January 17.
V Marathon (Syfy, 8:30 AM EST)
Syfy is running the original 1980s series and miniseries all day. It doesn’t hold up especially well, but the retro charm is fully intact.
The Legend of Hell House (FMC, 8:00 PM EST)
This silly knock off on The Haunting of Hill House boasts a fine British cast—including Michael Gough, Roddy McDowall and Clive Revill--who deserve better.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
“The Black Knight always triumphs!” Just sayin’.
Swordfish (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
Are they editing out Halle Berry’s breasts? Yes? Then what’s the bloody point of screening it at all?!
Chuck is a rerun. The Event is off.
No Ordinary Family (ABC, 8:00 PM EST)
Ricky Schroder and the Little Redheaded FBI Agent from 24 drop in to welcome No Ordinary Family back from hiatus. They play a rescued couple who may be hiding things from the Powells.
V (ABC, 9:00 PM EST)
The season premiere of the latter-day V opens with day four of the red sky, prompting riots below on Earth. Hope they can pick things up quickly, or the “V” will stand for “vacating the airwaves.”
Caprica (Syfy, 6:00 PM EST)
Syfy burns off the last five episodes of Caprica tonight. (They’re already available on DVD if you miss them.) Wave good-bye and hope that Blood and Chrome fares better than it did in the ratings department.
Demolition Man (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
Though badly dated in many ways, this remains one of the better efforts in both Sylvester Stallone’s and Wesley Snipes’ resumes (which, admittedly, isn’t saying much). Its tongue-in-cheek tone rescues it from action movie burnout, and Sandra Bullock gives a fine pre-star turn as the leading lady.
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (FX, 8:00 PM EST)
Considering the material and the presence of director Guillermo Del Toro, this really should have been better than it was.
Human Target (Fox, 8:00 PM EST)
Human Target delivers a double dose of episodes tonight as Chance (Mark Valley) risks his standing with Ilsa (Indira Varma) in order to save a former girlfriend.
Ghost Hunters International (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
The new season opens with an investigation into Denmark’s Kronborg castle, inspiration for Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Push (Showtime, 7:00 PM EST)
Largely derided as a cheap X-Men knock-off, this little genre exercise actually turns out to be quite good fun, so long as you check your expectations at the door.
The Book of Eli (HBO, 8:00 PM EST)
This similarly derided film is actually a bit better than Push… provided, again, that you keep your expectations low.
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is a rerun, but scroll down to Sunday for its new night and time.
The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8:00 PM EST)
BBT returns with Leonard (Johnny Galecki) designing a keen new SmartPhone app that drives Sheldon (Jim Parsons) up the wall.
The Quick and the Dead (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
Sam Raimi’s wild west mash-up is just about the only other genre program on tonight.
Carrie (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
Sorry, spoke too soon.
The Vampire Diaries and Nikita are both reruns.
Medium (CBS, 8:00 PM EST)
I’m sure everyone out there has been breathlessly awaiting Medium’s return, and I’m sure it won’t be a ridiculous half-baked bit of pseudo-scientific twaddle the way it’s been for most of the season. Not at all.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Cartoon, 8:30 PM EST)
New episodes of The Clone Wars begin with a falling out between Dooku and Asajj. We don’t know who’s going to lose between them (well, okay, we kind of do), but damn it’s going to be fun to watch.
Young Justice (Cartoon, 7:00 PM EST)
Cartoon Network reruns the premiere of this very promising new series about DC’s junior superheroes (don’t call them sidekicks).
Merlin (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
The new season of Merlin begins tonight on Syfy, with Morgana (Kate McGrath) returning to Camelot and everyone’s second-favorite boy wizard (Colin Morgan) keeping a close eye on her activities.
The Happening (FX, 8:00 PM EST)
Irrefutable proof that M Night Shyamalan has lost his shit can be found in this disastrous joke of a horror movie. Seriously, I’ve seen scarier episodes of Sesame Street.
The Village (IFC, 8:45 PM EST)
Wow, we’re just getting the Shyamalan stink bombs one-two tonight. Somebody somewhere must have lost a bet.
Smallville and Supernatural are both reruns. Batman: The Brave and the Bold is off.
Primeval (BBC America, 9:00 PM EST)
A giant crocodile is terrorizing the local docks, prompting Connor (Andrew Lee Potts) to team up with an old friend and track it down.
Clash of the Titans (HBO, 8:00 PM EST)
The director claims that Part II will be better. You’ll pardon me if I stick with Harry Hamlin.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Showtime, 8:00 PM EST)
Sorry, I brought it up. I’m just the messenger.
Punisher: War Zone (Showtime, 10:15 PM EST)
Look at the other options tonight and then tell me you’ll be skipping this one.
Feardotcom (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
Hollywood really doesn’t understand the Internet, does it?
Ghost Ship (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
The money shot that opens this creaky haunted boat thriller is truly awesome, but it’s really all downhill from there.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (USA, 8:00 PM EST)
On some level, I think Schwarzenegger ran for governor just to change the subject away from this mediocre addition to the once awe-inspiring franchise.
The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes (Disney XD, 10:30 PM EST)
Kang the Conqueror arrives and tries to take over the world by killing Captain America, as the superhero series returns on a new night and time.
The Cape (NBC, 9:00 PM EST)
I’m giving this a chance for the supporting cast, chock full of thundering engines of cool like Keith David and Vinnie Jones. But don’t ask me to hold my breath waiting for it to get good. See the top of the article for more.
Avatar (HBO, 8:00 PM EST)
I’ve shit-hammered this film sufficiently to refrain from doing so again. Enjoy!
Star Trek: Generations (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
Tell Bill Shatner that we’re very sorry, but Leonard Nimoy’s death scene eats his death scene for breakfast and then asks for seconds.
Star Trek: Nemesis (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
When they said this was a “dark” Star Trek film, they meant it literally. And while Tom Hardy makes a great villain (keep an eye on him in the future), the rest of the film is so flat and tired that it almost killed the franchise for good.