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TV Wasteland: The Dog Days Are Here

TV Wasteland sees summer programming start to wrap up.

By Rob Vaux     July 31, 2011

 

August arrives amid heat waves, political gridlock and summer cable shows preparing to finish up their runs. What’s on tap this week? Let’s have a look.
 
Monday
Eureka (Syfy, 8:00 PM EDT)
A bank robbery results in a new danger to the town in some vague and undefined way. Carter is on the case.
 
Warehouse 13 (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
Pete’s ex shows up to remarry… and considering that the team lives in an unincorporated town, she must be doing it solely to rub his little nose in it. Bitch.
 
Alphas (Syfy, 10:00 PM EDT)
The team takes down a Red Flag hideout, even as a new terrorist threat looms large.
 
Teen Wolf (MTV, 10:00 PM EDT)
Allison’s poking into her family background, while Scott struggles to keep those close to him safe. Neither sounds like a sensible plan.
 
The Day the Earth Stood Still (FX, 8:00 PM EDT)
They could at least have the decency to air the original one… you know: the one that doesn’t suck?
 
 
Tuesday
How to Train Your Dragon (Cinemax, 8:15 PM EDT)
This delightful effort from Dreamworks gets better with each progressive viewing… as well as featuring Gerard Butler in a role that doesn’t actively squander his stardom.
 
Sky High (Disney, 9:00 PM EDT)
Horrible remix of “I Melt with You” notwithstanding, this very Disney mash-up of high school movies and superhero movies is loads of fun.
 
Planet of the Apes (FX, 8:00 PM EDT)
FX just won’t let go of the crappy remakes, will they? Tim Roth’s evil chimp is a revelation, but the rest of the film is too limp, too unfocused, and nowhere near as powerful as the original.
 
Category 6: Day of Destruction (Syfy, 7:00 PM EDT)
Syfy enjoys rerunning this four-hour disaster flick about a giant storm that eats Chicago a lot. I’m still trying to figure out why.
 
Wednesday
Ghost Hunters International (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
We’re off to Merry Olde England for reports of ghost sightings at Castle Rising. English castles? Ghosts? I don’t buy it.
 
Wanted (FX, 7:30 PM EDT)
Angelina Jolie’s weight is really beginning to worry me. That said, she’s still awesome here… as is James McAvoy, playing a wimpy accountant turned bad-ass assassin.
 
Monty Python’s The Life of Brian and Monty Python and the Holy Grail (IFC, 8:00 PM and 10:05 PM EDT)
A night of lunacy from six of the funniest people who ever lived. Get it while it’s hot.
 
Machete (Cinemax, 8:00 PM EDT)
It still sucks. But it’s on.
 
Thursday
Burn Notice (USA, 9:00 PM EDT)
A father abducts his sick little boy from a secure compound, with Michael and Sam hot on his trail.
 
Futurama (Comedy, 10:00 PM EDT)
Leela goes all Ahab on us while hunting a whale that can travel through time.
 
Ugly Americans (Comedy, 10:30 PM EDT)
Callie clones Mark in an effort to win a bowling tournament. I’m sure it all goes off without a hitch, as most cloning schemes do.
 
Big Trouble in Little China (FMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
If you have to ask, you’re never going to know… unless you TiVo this movie immediately.
 
Batman (BBC America, 9:00 PM EDT)
Tim Burton became a directing superstar after helming this big-budget adaptation of the Caped Crusader that swooped down in the summer of 1989 and took all our money with it. It’s deeply flawed, but damn it looks good.
 
The Core (Syfy, 8:00 PM EDT)
You’d think that, as often as Syfy is airing this these days, that it would actually be worth watching. Not so much.
 
Friday
Torchwood: Miracle Day (Starz, 10:00 PM EDT)
The source of Miracle Day is finally discovered… just as Death makes a triumphant return to the surface of the Earth. For those who have hung in there with this show, it promises to be quite a bombshell this week.
 
Haven (Syfy, 10:00 PM EDT)
Electrical charges result in several deaths, even as Nathan probes deeper into the town’s hidden secrets.
 
Thundercats (Cartoon, 8:30 PM EDT)
What are people’s thoughts on the new ’Cats? Word is that it’s much different than the original. In any case, Lion-O and his comrades battle pirates on the Sea of Sand this week.
 
The Descent (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Pacing is key in a movie like this which, presented uncut, is one of the best horror films in recent years. But it needs to maintain its relentless claustrophobia throughout, and once you throw in commercials, it’s pretty much sunk. Are you listening, IFC?!
 
Batman Forever (BBC America, 9:00 PM EDT)
We were so surprised when Joel Schumacher crapped all over the Dark Knight in Batman and Robin. We should have known better.
 
War of the Worlds (TNT, 8:00 PM EDT)
Steven Spielberg attempts to reinvent the H.G. Wells classic, with mixed but admittedly fascinating results.
 
Saturday
Outcasts (BBC America, 9:00 PM EDT)
Forthaven is struck by a deadly virus, which may or may not stem from the ACs. Anyone watching the show care to enlighten the rest of us on what the hell that means?
 
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
*Checks*. Yup. Still awesome.
 
Predators (HBO, 8:00 PM EDT)
Nimrod Antal delivers the first Predator sequel that actually stands up well in comparison to the original.
 
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (ABC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Saturday night is often Potter night on ABC; the fourth entry in the series is par for the course, which means it’s pretty damn good.
 
The Manhattan Project (FMC, 10:00 PM EDT)
John Lithgow heads up an intriguing bit of 80s paranoia about a high school genius who invents an atomic bomb.
 
Transformers (TNT, 8:00 PM EDT)
There are some very good moments here… which makes the bad ones all the more painful.
 
Dawn of the Dead (Syfy, 6:30 PM EDT)
Remember when Zack Snyder didn’t scare the Warners brass to death? Those were good days…
 
The Hills Have Eyes II (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
It’s ugly, it’s painful, and it’s not only a sequel, but a sequel of a remake. Approach with caution, if at all.
 
House of Wax (MTV, 10:00 PM EDT)
It’s just a night of horror remakes, isn’t it? This one isn’t wretchedly bad, but it still fails to capitalize on its central gimmick. And somebody tell MTV to put the damn music videos back up NOW.
 
Sunday
Falling Skies (TNT, 9:00 PM EDT)
Falling Skies posts back-to-back episodes tonight, wrapping up the season with a slam-bang assault on the alien fortress.
 
True Blood (HBO, 9:00 PM EDT)
Marnie kicks into overdrive, forcing Bill to adopt some drastic measures in order to keep his kind safe. Bet Sookie is more than happy to have cut him loose at this point.
 
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (Syfy, 8:00 PM EDT)
I like it. I won’t defend it, but there it is.
 
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (BBC America, 8:00 PM EDT)
This one I don’t like. At all. Neither does Alan Moore… or anyone else who’s seen it.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 10
1 
Kaziklu 7/31/2011 3:10:30 PM

I saw the new Thundercats, it was really well done. It feels like a Rebooted Sequel which is great because it allows them take it some place new but not alienate the orginial fans.

doublec 7/31/2011 4:04:48 PM

You keep right on plugging Sky High, Rob! Maybe we'll get that well-deserved seguel somehow...
Siffee keeps running Category 6 for exactly one reason: it's CHEAP!
On what planet is the '89 Batman flawed, much less deeply?
And I'm glad there's at least two of us who like Prince of Thieves! And all of you who make fun of Costner's accent: You make fun of  THAT, but NOT the mullet?
 

karas1 7/31/2011 8:20:50 PM

Falling Skies was really good tonight.  This series has gotten more exciting with every episode.  The more we learn about the aliens, the better it gets.

fatpantz 7/31/2011 9:44:06 PM

I spit upon TLoEG...I spit a thousand times.  Hollywood if you are listening, this is one remake that would make sense if done right.  The source material is already there, now give me my opium addicted Allan Quartermain and school girl raping Invisible Man!!!

fenngibbon 8/1/2011 12:23:28 AM

Over at Comics Alliance there's a couple of writers who have been going over all the Batman movies starting with Burton's 1989 version, and they make a pretty persuasive argument that Burton's Batman films aren't any better than Schumacher's. 

 

Also, it's not mentioned here for some reason, but has anyone watched Legend Quest on Syfy?  It's spectacularly awful.  The host, whose name eludes me, has ADHD or some sort of condition along those lines, makes speculations that the people who show up on Ancient Aliens would think were nuts and apparently doesn't own a device capable of accessing the internet (he was hyperventilating over the signifcance of some holes in the floor of a cathedral; it took me all of 2 minutes to find out those holes were the result of vandalism during the French Revolution).  He also has an obsession with the Templars that would make Dan Brown say, "Dude, lighten up" (e.g., every time he finds a cross of any design he concludes that the Templars were involved) and is apparently unaware of the approximately 10 gajillion images of the Madonna and Child floating around, given his reaction to coming upon one in a church in one episode (I know:  a Catholic church having a painting of the Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus within its walls!  Shocking!  And proof that his harebrained theories are right!)

goldeneyez 8/1/2011 6:03:29 AM

The new Thundercats was great.  It took the original concept and updated it with a more sophisticated story that older and younger audiences can appreciate.  I just hope it gets good ratings so CN doesn't cancel it.

hanso 8/1/2011 6:59:06 AM

No mention of the greatest week of the year?  Shark Week is upon us!!!

lusiphur 8/1/2011 8:21:06 AM

 I really liked the new Thundercats.  I liked that the original voice actor for Lion-O voiced his father in this one.  And when I heard him say "Thundercats HO!", I peed a little.

@fenngibbon - I watched one episode of Legend Quest (the Holy Grail/Mayan Cross episode).  I spent the whole hour (I actually watched the whole thing) yelling at the TV.  My wife asked me what was wrong.  After explaining it to her, she replied "You're watching a reality show on SyFy.  What do you expect?"  Horrible show.  Even the addition of the hot girl dressed like Lara Croft didn't help it one bit.  I've seen enough to be able to recommend NO ONE watch this program.

@doubleC - The mullet was expected for the late '80s.  The accent wasn't.  I enjoyed the movie, but I don't think it was great.

LadyBrowncoat 8/1/2011 9:19:46 AM

 Best description of League EVER.

xenomorph 8/1/2011 6:14:15 PM

My thoughts on Thundercats.

I loved the animation and the updated story, much better than the 80's cartoon. But I just could not get behind the cats. From the beggining we're shown the thundera is ruthless kingdom, who have enslaved, imprisoned, and possibly tortured the the lizards. One lizard, who was arrested for stealing, said he only did so because thundera has opressed his people so much that they can't even grow their own food. If anything, Mumm-Ra is a savior who led the lizards to freedom. It sort of reminded me of the Haitian revolution, with the lizards being the Haitians, and thundera being France.

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