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TV Wasteland: Fireworks and Weenies
TV Wasteland ramps to the 4th
By Rob Vaux
June 26, 2011
True Blood Enters the TV Wasteland
© HBO/Robert Trate
We’re leading up to the 4th of July, and most new shows are waiting until afterwards to start their runs. The exception is Comedy Central’s comparatively quiet Ugly Americans, which kicks off a second season backed by the dependable Futurama. The show is often a mixed bag, but its animation is truly unique and when it hits, it hits them out of the park. You can check it out this Thursday at 10:30 PM EDT on Comedy Central. Beyond that, the summer season has officially begun and there’s plenty to cover between now and Independence Day. What, exactly? Let’s have a look.
Teen Wolf (MTV, 10:00 PM EDT)
Oooh, it’s gritty and dark! Not at all like the Michael J. Fox film where he played basketball in a shag rug! The darkness gets even darky-er this week when Derek (Tyler Hoechlin) finds himself confronting the werewolf hunters on his own.
Hostel (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT)
For better or for worse, Eli Roth’s excursion into xenophobia, violence and jackhole fratboys embodies the torture porn horror movement.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Showtime, 8:00 PM EDT)
Edward (Robert Pattinson) doesn’t want to turn Bela (Kristen Stewart) into a vampire until they’re married. If you have to ask what’s wrong with this equation, you are exactly, precisely the sort of person Stephanie Meyer is writing for. Please show yourself out before we set the dogs on you.
Casino Royale (Syfy, 8:00 PM EDT)
It’s science fiction. Really.
Inception (HBO, 9:00 PM EDT)
There’s a lot to praise about Christopher Nolen’s multi-layered head trip. This week, I think I’ll focus on Lee Smith’s editing, which somehow keeps it all clear even as the metaphysical backflips become far too numerous to count. Way to go, dude!
Hostel, Part II (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT)
The extreme horror phase mercifully hit a “stop” sign with Roth’s uninspired follow up that proves even more unpleasant than the original.
Terminator Salvation (Cinemax, 8:00 PM EDT)
The elements were all there. They just didn’t measure up to a decent whole.
The World is Not Enough (Syfy, 6:30 PM EDT)
Please try to refrain from laughing whenever Denise Richards pronounces “nuclear.”
Tomorrow Never Dies (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
Pierce Brosnan was always a great Bond; his Bond movies just weren’t all that great. At least this one has Michelle Yeoh.
I will not mention The Nine Lives of Chloe King on this column. It doesn’t exist in my world.
Haunted Collector (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
Ghosts from various wars make their presence known as the team investigates a purportedly haunted Civil War bullet and a student claims to have spotted a spirit from the Revolutionary War.
Die Hard (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
“The Nakatomi Building” still stands in Century City, and every time we drive by, it’s hard not to be reminded of just what a terrific movie this is.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (Starz, 9:00 PM EDT)
Jake Gyllenhaal recovered nicely from this misfire with the very cool Source Code. It’s still a misfire, unfortunately.
Burn Notice (USA, 9:00 PM EDT)
Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) takes aim at human trafficking when a woman asks for his help.
Wilfred (FX, 10:00 PM EDT)
Wilfred (Jason Gann) may be a dog, but he’s also kind of a dick. Witness this week’s episode, when he convinces Ryan (Elijah Wood) to take him to the beach… even though dogs aren’t allowed there.
Futurama (Comedy, 10:00 PM EDT)
Bender finally buys the farm… but his programming lives on and presumably does all kinds of disturbing things to the system in which he’s trapped.
Ugly Americans (Comedy, 10:30 PM EDT)
The second season begins as Mark sets up a summer camp and demons infiltrate a secret organization of wizards. See the top of the article for more.
The Blob (TCM, 8:00 PM EDT)
Steve McQueen is way too old to play a teenager, but the cheesy effects aren’t affected a bit in this cult classic horror movie from 1958.
The H-Man (TCM, 9:30 PM EDT)
TCM pairs The Blob with a Japanese outing from the same year, in which radiation turns normal humans into monsters. It’s kind of fun in exactly, precisely the same way that The Blob is.
Sky High (Disney, 9:00 PM EDT)
High school angst and superhero movies don’t have to be downers, as this surprisingly fun live-action cocktail proves.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
Hopefully, you’ll watch this after taking in Dark of the Moon in order to marvel at how much the series has improved.
Shrek Forever After (HBO, 8:00 PM EDT)
Presumably the end of the series – poor old Shrek certainly shows it – but with Hollywood, you never know.
Sin City (IFC, 8:03 PM EDT)
Few comic book adaptations look better or more stylish than Robert Rodriguez’s version of the Frank Miller classic, yet somewhere along the way, the soul gets lost.
Resident Evil: Afterlife (Starz, 7:15 PM EDT)
Say what you will about Mila Jovovich; she’s knows what she’s good at.
Waterworld (Cinemax, 8:45 PM EDT)
Kevin Costner’s stodgy post-apocalyptic epic certainly isn’t great, but it’s actually a lot more enjoyable than the bad press would have you believe. Dennis Hopper helps a great deal in that regard: seemingly the only actor onscreen who’s actually in on the joke.
The Hills Have Eyes II (AMC, 10:30 PM EDT)
This, on the other hand, is a crass and joyless attempt to cash in on the success of the (much better) Hills Have Eyes remake. It faded quickly, and for good reason.
Crank (IFC, 8:15 PM EDT)
See “pleasures, guilty.” Also, Jason Statham could piss on a wall and make it cool. Don’t believe us? Keep watching.
I Am Legend (TNT, 8:00 PM EDT)
Way to fumble the ball at the goal line, you simps.
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (TNT, 9:45 PM EDT)
Ah, back when Angelina Jolie looked healthy and beautiful, instead of a painfully exhausted woman on the verge of collapse. Come back to us Angelina. Skinny does not equal beautiful…
Outcasts (BBC America, 9:00 PM EDT)
Forthaven suffers a devastating storm, forcing the colonists to fight for survival.
Batman (FMC, 10:00 PM EDT)
This is the immortal Adam West version, featuring the Caped Crusader and his stalwart sidekick defending nuns, baby ducks and the United World Security Council against the four most fiendish members of their rogues’ gallery.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
Full props for Jackie Earle Haley, but strictly speaking, there’s only one actor who gets to wear that razor glove.
The Twilight Sage: New Moon (Showtime, 7:50 PM EDT)
Someday, it will all be over. We promise.
The Devil’s Advocate (Syfy, 6:00 PM EDT)
God bless you, Al Pacino. And screw you, Syfy, for editing out all his curse words.
The Hills Have Eyes (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
If you were unfortunate enough to watch the sequel last night, you can heal your wounds by watching Alexandre Aja’s much better original on Syfy tonight. (Granted it’s actually a remake, but what are ya gonna do?)
Scream (TBS, 9:45 PM EDT)
Wes Craven’s smash-hit send up of slasher films actually feels quite shallow and mean-spirited… especially in regards to its own ostensible fan base.
True Blood (HBO, 9:00 PM EDT)
The local witches prose a challenge to the vampires, forcing Bill (Stephen Moyer) to warn Eric (Alexander Skarsgaard) about the threat.
Falling Skies (TNT, 10:00 PM EDT)
The aliens may not be the scariest things out there after all, as the team learns when they embark upon a mission to recover a set of motorcycles.
The Twilight Zone (Syfy, 9:00 AM EDT)
Syfy kicks off Independence Day celebrations with its traditional airing of the Rod Serling classics. The terrific “Rip Van Winkle Caper” leads the way.
King Kong (TCM, 8:00 PM EDT)
It’s the 1933 original… still the king after all these years.
Mighty Joe Young (TCM, 10:00 PM EDT)
This is the 1949 original, not the feckless remake. It’s basically a rehash of King Kong but with a much more comedic demeanor.
The Lord of the Rings (TNT, 4:45 PM EDT)
TNT is celebrating the 4th of July! And what could be more American than a New Zealander’s adaption of a book written by a South-African-born Englishman? Oh fuck it, it’s still cool. The Two Towers precedes it at 1:00 PM EDT.
The Devil’s Rejects (IFC, 8:45 PM EDT)
Rob Zombie sure knows how to scuzz up his cast, doesn’t he?
The Road Warrior (BBC America, 10:00 PM EDT)
You’re still an Anti-Semite Mel, but we gotta admit this film is cool.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Starz, 8:10 PM EDT)
This film is much, much less cool, but thanks to an engaging turn by Jay Baruchel and the canny deployment of some CGI effects, it turns into a reasonably entertaining ride.