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The TV Wasteland Continues

Another Quiet Week on the Boob Tube

By Rob Vaux     August 08, 2010


A Bleak TV Wasteland this week..
© Bob Trate

 

When you find yourself eyeing that CMT encore performance of Captain Ron, you know that the TV schedule has touched rock bottom. We shall endeavor to persevere, however, ferreting out what tiny bits of genre nourishment are available and presenting them to you as succinctly as we can.
 
Monday
Monsters Vs. Aliens (HBO, 7:15 PM EDT)
Dreamworks’ homage to 50s-era monster movies remains clever, energetic and charming, even when it isn’t in 3D. Stupid 3D…
 
The Fifth Element (Syfy, 7:30 PM EDT)
I’d love to see a poll stating which things about this movie people find most annoying. I bet Chris Tucker wins hands down.
 
Ran (TCM, 10:00 PM EDT)
If foreign films don’t scare ya, you could do worse than Akira Kurosawa’s epic samurai retelling of King Lear. A LOT worse.
 
Tuesday
Warehouse 13 (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
Tia Carrere guest stars as a beauty from Lattimer’s (Eddie McClintock) past who may seduce him into betraying the team.
 
Unnatural History (Cartoon, 8:00 PM EDT)
It’s still Tuesdays? Are we sure? Because TV Guide… oh, never mind. Henry (Kevin G. Schmidt) hunts a cursed ruby before it can get into any serious mischief.
 
I Sell the Dead (Showtime, 6:45 PM EDT)
Anyone who’s missed this little-seen homage to Hammer horror movies--starring Lost’s Dominic Monaghan as a Victorian-era grave robber who battles zombies and fellow ne’er-do-wells in an effort to earn a dishonest buck--is missing a real treat. Set your TiVos and prove me wrong.
 
The Rundown (FX, 8:00 PM EDT)
This one doesn’t have nearly the charm of I Sell The Dead, but it retains its sense of fun, and may actually be The Rock’s best starring effort to date.
 
Mad Max (IFC, 8:25 PM EDT)
Remember when Mel Gibson didn’t make your skin crawl? IFC does and is willing to share.
 
Jennifer’s Body, (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
It’s still playing. Just sayin’.
 
Wednesday
Ghost Hunters International (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
We’re off to Central America, where the jungles of Nicaragua hold evidence of spectral intrusion (possibly related to the revolution of the 1970s--Syfy is still being skimpy on the details).
 
Blowout (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Brian De Palma hauls himself out of derivative hackery just often enough to let his supporters excuse all manner of cinematic abominations he has perpetrated. Blowout is one of his best: a top-notch thriller starring a terrifyingly young John Travolta as a sound effects engineer who inadvertently records a murder.
 
The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl (Disney, 8:00 PM EDT)
Robert Rodriguez scores much more often than De Palma does, but when he misses, hoooo boy! Case in point: this misbegotten would-be children’s story featuring a pre-hunk Taylor Lautner and a number of third-tier actors who should really know better.
 
The Unborn (HBO, 7:30 PM EDT)
With all the creepy kids running around the movies these days, one wonders why people keep having them.
 
Thursday
Burn Notice (USA, 9:00 PM EDT)
Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) needs to sneak into prison to keep a well-meaning inmate safe. Be sure to pack your toothbrush shiv, big guy.

Futurama (Comedy, 10:00 PM EDT)
A planet full of robots puts Darwin’s theories to the ultimate test. Mmmmmm… sacrelicious.
 
Moonlight (The CW, 9:00 PM EDT)
Josh (Jordan Belfi) falls victim to a crime kingpin, whose underlings didn’t brief him on the whole “my girlfriend knows a vampire detective” thing.
 
The Universe (History, 9:00 PM EDT)
Solar storms serve as the focus this week, along with all the apocalyptic possibilities they entail.
 
Stan Lee’s Superhumans (History, 10:00 PM EDT)
Stan the Man takes a look as quick-draw experts, warrior monks and someone referred to as “the World Sauna Champion.” I’m betting Kitty Pryde could take the whole lot of them.
 
Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files (Syfy, 10:00 PM EDT)
In addition to the usual UFO sightings, Fact or Faked takes a look at a spot in Texas where cars roll uphill.
 
The Devil’s Rejects (IFC, 8:45 PM EDT)
Rob Zombie’s sequel to his odious House of 1000 Corpses may be the best thing he’s done… though that still isn’t saying much.
 
X-Men: The Last Stand (FX, 8:00 PM EDT)
I liked the film, and even I want to drive a busload full of burly dockworkers over to Brett Ratner’s house and take turns punching him in the junk.
 
Mary Knows Best has apparently been pulled from the schedule. Did you see that coming, psychic lady?
 
Friday
Eureka (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
Carter (Colin Ferguson) and Kevin (Trevor Jackson) go camping… and will presumably return alive, despite the no-doubt bizarre circumstances which accompany them.
 
Haven (Syfy, 10:00 PM EDT)
Haven’s weird storylines wore out their welcome a long time ago, and yet the viewership remains high. Where the hell were you people when Caprica needed you?!
 
Saturday
Being Human (BBC America, 9:00 PM EDT)
George (Russell Tovey) struggles to keep his more canine features under wraps, while Annie (Leonora Crichlow) runs into an enigmatic fellow spirit.
 
Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island (Syfy, 7:00 PM EDT)
Patrick Stewart stars the this adaptation of the classic science-fiction novel, which may mitigate Syfy’s usual amounts of Maximum Suck. On the other hand, Russell Mulcahy directed it, so maybe not.
 
The Princess Bride (FMC, 7:00 PM EDT and 9:00 PM EDT)
Fox Movies has an entire evening of twu wuv, with a side order of “inconceivable!” to wash it all down.
 
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (HBO, 9:00 PM EDT)
I defy you to determine which robot is which during the copious fight scenes. Also, you’ll need to explain why Michael Bay hates women so much.
 
Ghost Rider (FX, 8:00 PM EDT)
Nicolas Cage is a nutty, nutty cat. That is all.
 
Sunday
True Blood (HBO, 9:00 PM EDT)
The Magister is missing and Fangtasia is the focus, presumably putting Eric (Alexander Sarsgard) on the hot seat.
 
The Gates (ABC, 10:00 PM EDT)
Callie (Kiele Sanchez) treats a patient who may be mixed up in a murder case.
 
King Arthur (Syfy, 6:30 PM EDT)
Come for Clive Owen in Shouty Man mode, stay for Keira Knightley in that strappy leather number.
 
Eregon (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
Author Christopher Paolini really likes himself… and really hates us if he allowed this piece of crap to ever hit theaters.
 
X2: X-Men United (FX, 8:00 PM EDT)
AKA The Really, Really Good One.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 15
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Jetro 8/8/2010 3:48:26 PM

So basically nothing on this week....

 

fatpantz 8/8/2010 6:59:50 PM

If anyone else has caught it, there is an amazing BBC series airing right now called Sherlock.  It takes the old stories and characters and adds a modern twist to it....from Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss.  Moffat did the cool 2007 series Jeckyll with the aewsome James Nesbitt and very sexy Michelle Ryan

redhairs99 8/8/2010 11:32:14 PM

Might have to check into that show, fatpantz.  I like Moffat's work on Doctor Who.

karas1 8/9/2010 12:47:47 AM

***********Eureka Review************

Wherein: Things from 1947 keep appearing in Eureka and Fargo has a special visitor.

The Plot: Henry and Grant are still working on the Bridge Device, attempting to do research on wormholes. Their fiddling with the device causes things from 1947 to start appearing in Eureka, trees, airplanes, nuclear missiles. An airplane tracer round materializes inside Jo’s chest.

The magnet which is drawing these things to 2010 is Grant, and having exotic particles materializing inside him is killing him. Allison and Henry devise a treatment which purges the particles from his system. This not only saves his life but cuts off the flow of the particles from the past and sends all the temporally displaced articles back to 1947.

Meanwhile, Claudia from Warehouse 13 pays Eureka a visit. There are lots of sparks between her and Fargo, especially when they are trapped in a minefield together and have to stay really still, nose to nose.

Also, Grant is very obviously courting Allison, much to Sherriff Carter’s dismay. Grant even lets her treat him to help him stop smoking…

Last week I predicted that due to the crossover event, Grant and his temporal displacement would be pushed to the back burner again. I was wrong. Grant finally got an interesting storyline and James Callis made the most of it. I have to admit I really dig his gravely voice (complete with Midwestern accent). He seems to be adjusting to life in 2010 pretty well, catching up with modern music and slang.

I like the character though having Grant chase Allison is a little disappointing. First we had Allison, Carter and Stark, 2 guys and 1 girl. Then we had Carter, Allison and Tess, 1 guy and 2 girls. Now it’s back to the 2 guys and 1 girl scenario. Wouldn’t it be Eureka without a romantic triangle featuring Carter and Allison? This plot device is beginning to feel a little tired.

But the romance between Fargo and Claudia is cute as can be. Nobody took Fargo seriously for 3 seasons, he was comic relief, but the character is really coming into his own. And this romance is being played straight as opposed to his prior relationship with a stalker geek girl. Not that Claudia isn’t geeky, but she is a well rounded character and a pretty good match for Fargo. I find myself looking forward to future crossovers where we can see the two of them together again.

And Henry has finally come to grips with his feelings about Grace. He was uncomfortable with having a wife whom he didn’t remember marrying and he was keeping her at arms length while he got to know her. But Grace didn’t know why he was acting so strangely and was very hurt. As Henry grew to love her, he was in danger of losing her. But he seems to have made the decision to embrace his new present. A good decision due to she is a good match for him.

Next week we get malfunctioning AIs. Given all the AIs in Eureka this could be dangerous.

 

jppintar326 8/9/2010 4:39:30 AM

Does anybody else think of Mel Gibson's character in the Lethal Weapon movies when you hear those audio tapes of him arguing with his girlfriend?  I know I do.  Go to  www.radaronline.com if you to hear them in uncensored versions.  I think I will be able to watch Mel Gibson's movies despite all of this because I will be able to separate Mel Gibson the actor from Mel Gibson the man.

Great shout out to Blow Out.  What an underrated gem this is .  I love the ending.

I agree the love triangle in Eureka is wearing thin.  I wish the writers would just get those two together and playing around.  I'm one of those who thinks sexual tension without payoff is overrated.

redhairs99 8/9/2010 7:22:07 AM

I agree that the love triangle thing is wearing thin on Eureka.  However, the problem with getting Carter and Allison together would be that the show will be cancelled a year later.  That's pretty well how all "will they, won't they" relationships work on tv shows.  Maybe not all end up that way, but most do.  I would have like to have seen Carter continue his relationship with Tess for at least another season.  I thought they worked well together and I liked the actress who played Tess (another Sci-Fi alum from SG: Atlantis).

As for Fargo and Claudia, it's not that they don't work together, but I felt as though their relationship was being forced upon us.  I would have preferred a little build up to them instantly falling in love.  I know we had the episode of Warehouse 13 earlier last week, but even there it felt awfully quick.  I suppose it's a result of crossing over two shows.  You can't have the proper build-up because each show is building up to it's own season finale storyline. 

Speaking of season arcs, what happened to HG Welles on Warehouse 13.  I know every show has filler episodes, but the characters should still be concerned that she's out there.  There seems to be hardly any mention of her the last few episodes.  Same with Leena, but in her case, I'm cool with that.  I wish they'd just kill off Leena since they botched the only interesting thing they'd done with the character at the end of last season.

jppintar, those tapes do make me think of Riggs in Lethal Weapon.  He was quite insane and apparantly Mel is too.  I do kind of feel bad for Mel though.  I think he was set-up.  Don't get me wrong he's WAY CRAZY, but that chick either a) was able to remain calm because she knew she was recording the conversations and/or b) re-recorded her side of the conversation later in an actual recording studio.  Mel's audio is all garbled and sounds like it was recorded from a phone conversation, but her audio was obviously recorded in a studio either during or after the fact.  It's way too crystal-clear to have been recorded through the phone itself.  If you've ever heard tapes of 911 call, you know what I mean.  Both parties sound like a garbled phone message, which is why we always have to subtitle that sort of thing on the news.

LittleNell1824 8/9/2010 7:26:34 AM

I'm really tired of the triangles. Why wouldn't it be interesting to take the characters' lives to the next level? They don't have to live boringly ever after. This is Eureka. Life will be just as complicated if Allison & Carter get together.

I do like that we're seeing more of Henry this year. And, they're letting Fargo grow which is cool. I still think it's hilarious that he used his own voice for Sarah. He is a great character.

(jppintar326: I listened to an interview where a hypnotist friend of Gibson speculated that a character can get into an actor's head, much like a hypnotic suggestion can get into a persons head. Gibson did played the Lethal Weapon character a lot.  I didn't listen to the tape myself. Too depressing and sad.)

Rob, still no love for Persons Unknown? It's a fun show. It's very Prisoner-like but with more characters. Mysterious organization, brain-washing, conspiracies. And, it's what many of us have been asking for. The series ends at the end of the summer - all questions answered.

karas1 8/9/2010 7:53:21 AM

I agree with you Little Nell.  I think getting Allison and Carter together would be a good idea.  It doesn't have to happen quickly, at least half a season of courting would ba appropriate.  But even if they got married, they are both bringing children and complicated careers to the table.  I doubt it would be dull.

And it's not as if the love triangle is a huge part of the show.  As far as I'm concerned, Eureka is about the wacky science and the entire ensemble cast, it's not just about Carter any more.

As for Mel Gibson, I always try to seperate an actor's work from his personal life.  Jack Nicholson can attack other people's cars with a golf club and Tom Cruise can be a wierd religious nut, I don't care.  But Gibson was never a really great actor to begin with.  He lost me when he did Hamlet.  The wages of hubris.

LittleNell1824 8/9/2010 9:57:09 AM

I used to think I didn't like Tom Cruise's work because of his religious evangelism, but then I realized that I really like some of his films, just not the romantic ones.  That's a personal thing. I personally feel creeped out when he's acting like he loves someone, it doesn't look real to me, but I think he's brilliant when he plays someone disfunctional.

I guess you can compare it to trying to watch a romantic Richard Gere vehicle right after watching his 1990 Internal Affairs film. (Don't try it, if you love romantic Richard Gere) In my mind, Cruise is typecast as a selfish user with a helping of crazy on the side. That's the way I love him. Same with Gibson. Love his action movies, not really interested in any of his other stuff. Definitely not interested in watching his life unravel.

Eureka. The non-triangle example that keeps coming to mind is Bewitched. Anyone here old enough to have caught reruns on TV and liked it? That couple had plenty of tension, there was all kinds of crazy going on, they didn't need to be  kept apart. In fact, watching them try to stay together in spite of the all crazy was a big part of the tension.

redvector 8/9/2010 11:13:08 AM

I just don't get the attraction of Being Human especally the whimpy, whining werewolf dude. The vampire guy or the ghost need to grab a shotgun and blow his head off.

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