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TV Wasteland: In Brightest Day

Green Lantern: The Animated Series hopes to save the hero from this summer’s dark night.

By Rob Vaux     November 06, 2011

 

Any time you put the words “Bruce Timm” and “Animated Series” in the same sentence, it’s bound to attract some attention. Timm served as one of the principal movers and shakers on the groundbreaking Batman: The Animated Series and its subsequent slew of terrific DC Universe shows. Now he tries his hand at resurrecting Hal Jordan with Green Lantern: The Animated Series, and we gotta say it looks like a pretty good fit.
 
The problems with the show are not entirely of its own making. It was put in motion on the assumption that the Green Lantern live-action movie would be a hit, thus ensuring multi-media symmetry and stacks of cash rolling into Warner Bros’ coffers. The movie turned out to be one of the biggest disappointments of the year, and now the series sits all alone and vulnerable to our collective scorn.
 
The CG animation doesn’t help its case either. While the overall look matches Jordan well, the movements are quite crude and the show can’t shake a basic clunkiness that smacks of a limited budget.
 
Timm and his colleague, however, prove more than able to make up the difference. They’re deeply steeped in DC lore for starters, and their knack for good dialogue hasn’t slipped a bit. They also know how to characterize their hero, with the right amount of nonchalance and recklessness that saves him from two-dimensional blandness. The series premiere throws him against the Red Lantern Corps, a good choice after the amorphous idiocy of the villain in the Ryan Reynolds film. It’s enough to make the preview clips marvelous fun, and with a little luck, that can translate into a Green Lantern deserving of some attention. We can all find out this Friday November 11, when it premieres at 7:00 PM EST on the Cartoon Network.
 
Monday
Terra Nova (Fox, 8:00 PM EST)
A meteor crashes just as the Sixers plan an invasion. You know, considering that this is the late Cretaceous period, meteors really should wait until the series finale…
 
The Rite (HBO, 7:00 PM EST)
We know Anthony Hopkins has more or less given up, but does he have to give up this much?
 
Crank (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
TV Guide describes this as a “generic actioner.” Rude, lewd and unspeakably offensive maybe –and if you’re a fan of this film, you know those are all good things – but never “generic.”
 
Monty Python’s The Life of Brian (IFC, 9:45 PM EST)
Would you like to see Graham Chapman’s penis? No? That’s okay, the rest of the movie is pretty good too.
 
Tuesday
Strange Days (FMC, 8:00 PM EST)
Kathryn Bigelow’s millennial apocalypse tale bears the hallmark signs of mid-90s sci-fi, but like most genre classics, transcends its dated trappings with a serious exploration of ideas.
 
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (IFC, 10:30 PM EST)
This one is worth staying up for: a one-of-a-kind gangster saga about a hit man (Forest Whitaker) who lives by the ancient code of bushido.
 
Hulk (Starz, 6:45 PM EST)
It’s not perfect, but it does make some serious efforts to get to the psychological core of the character.
 
Troy (Syfy, 8:00 PM EST)
This one isn’t perfect either, but how many summer blockbusters leave you wondering whether the right side won?
 
Wednesday
American Horror Story (FX, 10:00 PM EST)
Ben makes a breakthrough with a new patient while Constance and Violet work together to deal with Tate.
 
Ghost Hunters (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
The team returns to Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, KY, which boasted an unusually high death rate when it was in operation.
 
Taken (FX, 8:00 PM EST)
Note to self: never try to kidnap Liam Neeson’s daughter and/or sell her into white slavery. It would be bad.
 
Thursday
The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8:00 PM EST)
Sheldon is afraid of birds – who knew? – while Leonard and Penny try to spend time together platonically. Best of luck, kids.
 
Burn Notice (USA, 10:00 PM EST)
Michael has a score to settle when an old childhood friend is murdered by gangsters.
 
The Vampire Diaries (The CW, 8:00 PM EST)
It’s the night of the big homecoming dance and… okay, everybody out of the pool. Vampires officially don’t give a shit about the big homecoming dance, and any who do get blackballed from all the cool vampire parties forever.
 
The Secret Circle (The CW, 9:00 PM EST)
Cassie is wondering why some of her powers are unconnected to the circle, so she starts delving into the old family history to find out.
 
30 Days of Night: Dark Days (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
The follow-up to the original 30 Days of Night finds a survivor of the Alaska massacre hunting the vampires responsible in Los Angeles.
 
Jeepers Creepers 2 (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
For a seemingly throwaway sequel, this actually turns out to be a lot of fun, as basketball players on a broken-down bus find themselves under assault by a black-skinned demon.
 
Friday
Fringe (Fox, 9:00 PM EST)
Stephen Root guest stars as an electrical engineer who lends a hand in addressing a series of cause-effect time anomalies. This was originally supposed to run last week, but Fox apparently swapped episodes.
 
Chuck (NBC, 8:00 PM EST)
Morgan’s head may be getting too big for his own good, which Chuck realizes just before an important mission.
 
Grimm (NBC, 9:00 PM EST)
A flash mob produces a corpse while Nick delves further into his monster-hunting roots.
 
Nikita (The CW, 8:00 PM EST)
Michael heads off to save Cassandra while Alex makes a move to get rid of Semak for good.
 
Supernatural (The CW, 9:00 PM EST)
Dean teams up with another hunter in the midst of preparations for a Winchester family wedding.
 
Sanctuary (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
A pair of flying Abnormals seek out Dr. Magnus while Will suffers from temporary blindness.
 
Young Justice (Cartoon, 6:30 PM EST)
That sentient sphere hanging out in headquarters undergoes a surprising transformation.
 
Green Lantern: The Animated Series (Cartoon, 7:00 PM EST)
The new CGI show doesn’t have a hit movie to count on. Here’s hoping it doesn’t need one. See the top of the article for more.
 
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Cartoon, 8:00 PM EST)
The 501st goes against orders by attacking a Separatist supply ship. They’ve been kind of taking it in the face from their superiors lately, so I can’t say as I blame them.
 
ThunderCats (Cartoon, 9:30 PM EST)
The Cats arrive at an enchanted forest, filled with all manner of hidden dangers as well as a secret school.
 
Surrogates (FX, 9:00 PM EST)
This 2009 Bruce Willis vehicle -- about a future society in which people conduct all business through virtually controlled robots – is high on concept and social commentary, but low on an interesting storyline to carry us through.
 
300 (TNT, 9:00 PM EST)
If Immortals doesn’t end up thrilling you, you can go back to the source with Zack Snyder’s deliriously awesome fever dream.
 
Saturday
Primeval (BBC America, 9:00 PM EST)
Season 5 opens with an underground monster on the loose, with the team called in to deal with it.
 
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (HBO, 8:00 PM EST)
The underwhelming third entry in the Chronicles of Narnia saga finds Edmund and Lucy travelling across the Narnian seas in the titular ship, accompanied by Prince Caspian and their horrible cousin Eustace.
 
Battle: Los Angeles (Starz, 9:00 PM EST)
Aaron Eckhart headlines a very serviceable alien invasion story about Marines holding out against monsters from outer space on the streets of Santa Monica.
 
Behemoth (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
A monster living in a volcano comes to life and wreaks all kinds of shitty CGI havoc.
 
Rage of the Yeti (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
It’s set in the Arctic instead of the Himalayas, which already causes serious problems if it’s about a Yeti. I’m guessing Syfy doesn’t care.
 
The Matrix (TNT, 8:00 PM EST)
Somewhere in the Warners vaults, I bet there’s a version of this film where Keanu Reeves takes the blue pill and the movie ends after half an hour.
 
Sunday
The Walking Dead (AMC, 9:00 PM EST)
Daryl runs into trouble with walkers in the woods, while possible romance blooms between Glenn and Maggie.
 
Once Upon a Time (ABC, 8:00 PM EST)
Rumplestiltskin causes all manner of mischief in both the real and fairy tale worlds this week.
 
Dexter (Showtime, 9:00 PM EST)
Dexter travels to Nebraska to deal with the past, while Debra’s promotion causes problems with a murder investigation.
 
Prey (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
Despite appearing on Syfy, the film actually involves some very mundane lions on a rampage. Damn…
 
Primeval (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
It’s a giant crocodile in this one, which is a little better than Prey I suppose.
 
Big Trouble in Little China (FMC, 8:00 PM EST)
The pinnacle of cinema as an art form is here!
 
Highlander (FMC, 10:00 PM EST)
This isn’t quite as awesome as Big Trouble in Little China, but it’s still pretty awesome.
 
The Shining (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
It’s a little late for Halloween, but we won’t complain.
 
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (TNT, 8:00 PM EST)
Might as well go out with a winner. Have a great week everybody!

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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xenomorph 11/7/2011 4:30:47 AM

I liked Green Lantern. And I don't care what anybody else thinks.

karas1 11/7/2011 4:38:05 AM

Primeal fans prepare for confusion.  On Saturday BBC America is premiering season 5 (which was excellent) while on Sunday Syfy seems to be premiering season 3.  Everybody got your score cards?

Actually, season 3 sucked so the fact that Syfy never showed it after showing seasons 1 & 2 a few years ago didn't bother me too much.  But there were a lot of signifigant cast changes during season 3 so the curious might want to check it out.  And while the scripts were trash, there were a few good moments tucked in here and there and some rocking CGI creatures too.  Highlights include a giant T-Rex attacking a jet plane and a heard of prehistoric rhinos running down an obnoxious gang of idiots on ATVs.  Low points include a Mideval knight wandering through present day London and, um, mushroom people.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader was always my favorite of the Narnia books and I thought the movie was great fun.  Whether or not that's the nostalgia talking is a matter for debate.

fenngibbon 11/7/2011 5:22:09 AM

 There was a movie called Primeval involving a giant crocodile in Africa.  I really don't remeber too much about it other than I think it involved a news crew and had I think his name is Orlando Jones in it.

They didn't swap episodes of Fringe; the schedule got pushed back a week due to one of the games of the World Series being called on account of rain, which meant they had to make it up on a Friday.

karas1 11/7/2011 6:01:46 AM

The Primeval movie had nothing to do with the Primeval TV series.  They are totally unconnected.  Though one of the episodes of the TV series does involve a giant prehistoric crocodile.  And ancient Egyptian Gods.

redhairs99 11/7/2011 7:38:33 AM

I too thought the GL movie was entertaining.  Is it the best comic movie ever? Hell no...is it the worst?  Hell No!  It's entertaining enough for me to want to see a sequel anyway.  

And how was Voyage of the Dawn Threader "underwhleming?"  It was heads above that crappy Prince Caspian film, though not as good as The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.  I quite enjoyed it and cousin Eustace was hilarious!!

Tried watching the pilot of Grim this weekend.  I deleted it and the second episode from my DVR after the first 10 minutes of the pilot.  It just didn't grab me at all.

millean 11/7/2011 8:09:19 AM

I think this new Green Lantern series looks like it is going to be really good.  It looks like most of the action is going to be taking place away from Earth, and to me that just seems to be the perfect setting for CGI as opposed to traditional animation.  I'll take the look of this series any day of the week and twice on Sundays before having to watch that horrible Japanese anime style.  (Yeah, I know a lot of you wan't agree with that, but that's this man's opinion).

As far as Taken, Rob and I have about the same thoughts.  I made the comment to several of my friends that the moral to that story is to never kidnap the daughter of a Jedi Knight.  Just a bad idea.

Is Grimm any good?

millean 11/7/2011 8:10:18 AM

Hey, look at that.  redhairs answered my Grimm question before I even asked it!

dalgoda 11/7/2011 8:58:27 AM

Terra Nova has been better than expected, especially for a Fox show.  The wife and I watch it every week.

gauleyboy420 11/7/2011 9:01:24 AM

millean, I feel differently about Grimm, it's pretty cool...

goldeneyez 11/7/2011 9:45:33 AM

Rob, I disagree with your take on the CGI.  What you see as clunkiness looks more like artistic choice to me and makes me think of what Batman: TAS would look like in CGI format.  I think the show will be great because Bruce Timm has yet to disappoint me yet.

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