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TV Wasteland: Falling Skies and Dinosaurs
What this week's schedule tells us about the Big Four
By Robert Vaux
June 11, 2012
Summer really used to be a TV wasteland. The new shows debuted in September – a date originally chosen to coincide with the release of the new car models which drove their advertising revenue – and ended in May. Summer was left to the movies, or to copious reruns which were a lot more important in the dark days before VCRs. We're a long, long way from those days, and what was once a barren season for television has become quiet little gold mine. True Blood premiered last week and this week it will be joined by Falling Skies on Sunday nights, one of the more pleasant surprises from last year. Burn Notice also premieres this week, and we have Warehouse 13 and Futurama (among others) to look forward to in the coming weeks.
What's notable about these shows is that none of them appear on major networks: only cable stations. The former rulers of the airwaves continue to wallow in the same programming choices they've made for fifty years. While cable bursts with bold choices and unique programs, the networks settle into realty shows, reruns and the occasional burn-off of an already doomed series. Some would point out that the big four can do that since they still own a fair chunk of the market. But that chunk is eroding by day and with the very nature of how we access our entertainment undergoing a fundamental shift, the networks' outmoded decision making suggests that they're little more than dinosaurs waiting around for the asteroid. Not that any of us will notice when they go… we'll be too busy downloading a rich bounty of Awesome from Hulu.
Falling Skies premieres this Sunday, June 17th at 9:00 PM EST on TNT. Burn Notice runs Thursday, June 14th at 9:00 PM EST on USA.
Eureka (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
Carter and Allison run afoul of a submarine, prompting Jo to attempt a most unusual rescue.
Lost Girl (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
A friend of Trick's loses track of a husband, prompting the gang to lend a hand.
Teen Wolf (MTV, 10:00 PM EST)
Derek's out creating new werewolves and Scott has to find a way to stop him.
Inception (Cinemax, 6:00 PM EST)
As someone once noted, Christopher Nolan may be going places.
Death Race (FX, 8:00 PM EST)
Mmmmm… it tastes like sleaze…
Toy Story 3 (Starz, 9:00 PM EST)
Not only is it a true masterpiece, but it managed to close out the Toy Story saga while still leaving room for those delightful shorts that Disney has been running in front of their features.
Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
We head south of Mason-Dixon to examine the veracity of a haunted Mississippi graveyard before heading north to a Missouri truck stop that supposedly carries ghosts of its own.
The Day the Earth Stood Still (FMC, 8:00 PM EST)
You know, you could try running the good one, FMC. Just for laughs.
X-Men: The Last Stand (FMC, 10:30 PM EST)
Still the weakest of the X-Men films, though it carries its share of charms.
Tooth Fairy (FX, 8:00 PM EST)
I know Dwayne Johnson loves us, but why does he hurt us so?
Cursed (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
Wes Craven could have done better, as could everyone else involved in this waste of a perfectly good werewolf idea.
Tormented (IFC, 10:00 PM EST)
Know why you don't bully the other kids in school? Because one of them may come back from the dead to seriously ruin your day. Just sayin'.
Haunted Collector (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
Dammit, the week is too damn short to avoid this one… the crew scours various antiques at a New York inn and a house in Florida.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
We're not going to stop talking about Andy Serkis, AMPAAS. Just get used to it.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Starz, 9:00 PM EST)
The fourth entry in the durable Pirates franchise weathered critical scorn despite a number of thoroughly enjoyable elements.
Burn Notice (USA, 9:00 PM EST)
The fan favorite returns for a sixth season , as Michael chases down Anson and Fiona gets the third degree from an old adversary. See the top of the article for more.
Jumper (FMC, 7:30 PM EST)
Sam Jackson scares the fuck out of me, even with that ridiculous blonde 'do.
Sin City (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
Robert Rodriguez's adaptation of the Frank Miller comic book is a textbook case of what happens when you adhere too faithfully to the source.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Showtime, 6:55 PM EST)
Soon, the nightmare will end.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Syfy, 6:00 PM EST)
Man, Syfy needs to start running more actual, you know, science fiction movies sometimes.
Signs (Syfy, 9:08 PM EST)
Despite the presence of pariah Mel Gibson and too-big-for-his-britches director M. Night Shyamalan, this tale of an alien invasion has a lot to recommend it.
Godzilla (TCM, 8:00 PM EST)
Relax, it's the 1950s original, not the 1990s remake… albeit with bad dubbing and Raymond Burr added just for the hell of it.
Rodan (TCM, 9:45 PM EST)
TCM's monster mash continues: easily the best time you'll have in front of the boob tube tonight.
The Exorcist (BBC America, 9:00 PM EST)
We can always count on the BBC to class the joint up.
Dragonball: Evolution (FMC, 8:00 PM EST)
You know what this uniquely Asian story needs? A white kid…
Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li (FMC, 10:00 PM EST)
Chris Klein…. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY, CHRIS KLEIN!!!
Cars (ABC, 8:00 PM EST)
ABC gears up the perennial runt of the Pixar litter, just to let you know they're not infallible after all.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Cinemax, 6:30 PM EST)
The series definitely got better, though Chris Columbus's opener still helped establish the right mood.
Green Lantern (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
We're not angry because it was bad, only because it shows us how good it should have been.
Star Trek (FX, 8:00 PM EST)
This one, on the other hand, needs no such quibbling: it just rocks.
The Prestige (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
I'm going to say it: Nolan's best film. Period.
Hostel Part II (IFC, 10:45 PM EST)
This isn't anyone's best anything. Unless "pile of misogynistic shit" has a "best."
Anaconda (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
"The snake, she is like a woman…"
Piranhaconda (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
Where would the purveyors of shoddy CGI be without Syfy?
Sherlock Holmes (TNT, 8:00 PM EST)
Robert Downey, Jr. was born to play this role. Why couldn't the sequel have been even half as cool?
The Indiana Jones Saga (USA, 12:27 PM EST)
USA is running all four Indy films in order, starting at noonish and going late into the night. Come as you are; fedoras and bullwhips are optional.
Falling Skies (TNT, 9:00 PM EST)
Pope makes a move for power within the Mass 2nd , while Tom faces some understandable suspicions after he returns from the aliens as Season Two premieres. See the top of the article for more.
True Blood (HBO, 9:00 PM EST)
Bill and Eric answer some uncomfortable questions at the Vampire Authority headquarters, while Pam flashes back to her initial meeting with Eric. That alone may be worth tuning in for.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (ABC Family, 7:30 PM EST)
We love you Jake. Just not with your shirt off.
Beetlejuice (ABC Family, 10:00 PM EST)
Back when Tim Burton still had original ideas.
The World Is Not Enough (BBC America, 7:00 PM EST)
The BBC is running Pierce Brosnan Bond movies all day. These are just the prime-time examples. You might want to hold out for one that doesn't involve Denise Richards.
GoldenEye (BBC America, 10:00 PM EST)
Like this one for example.
King Arthur (IFC, 8:15 PM EST)
I confess a soft spot in my heart for this ludicrous bit of pseudo history featuring Clive Owen as a supremely shouty King Arthur.
Edward Scissorhands (Syfy, 6:00 PM EST)
Again with the Tim Burton and the original ideas.
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (Syfy, 8:30 PM EST)
They could have fought better Howard.