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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.


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karas1 6/26/2011 7:19:54 PM

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.

No, This movie was every bit as bad as you remember it being.  Yeah, Dennis Hopper tried to save the film but even he couldn't do it.  Nobody could have.

Wiseguy 6/27/2011 7:53:54 AM

 I've decided to drop True Blood, I was flirting with catching up but it's not happening plus I was growing tired of Sookie anyway. I'll catch up with Falling Skies later on.

I'm just waiting for Breaking Bad to begin season 4, that's the only thing that I'm interested in right now. After Game of Thrones and The Killing I need a respite anyway. Good tv, really good tv is exhausting :)

Hobbs 6/27/2011 8:38:25 AM

Isn't Breaking Bad on a long hiatus?  I thought i read that somewhere or if it's not that one it's one of the other AMC shows....not Walking Dead.

Wise, did you like the season final of Killing?  I gave up on the show but I was reading people were pissed at how it ended with a cliffhanger.  The thought was that it should have ended and started up next year with a new case.  Curious what you thought.  For me, this is the reason I gave up on the show.  It was dragging and dragging...

Anyone watch Wilard?  I have no desire to see that show but I'm curious what my fellow Maniacs thought of it.

hanso 6/27/2011 9:29:49 AM

 the killing finale was apparently so bad that one of the top guys at amc had to speak on the issue.  ive read and heard from numerous people that they wont return t the show for season 2.

hobbs the amc show you are referring to is mad men.
Butchman 6/27/2011 9:58:47 AM

Waterworld - I agree with Rob and found this very enjoyable.

The Nine Lives of Chloe King is actually an OK show ... not great but watcheable. Switched at Birth not a genre show .. but definitely the better ABC Fam show for their new shows


doublec 6/27/2011 11:31:15 AM

I liked Waterworld too. No classic but a fun popcorn movie, and Rob is right about Hopper seeming to be the only person who wasn't trying to make "art".

Haven't seen Chloe King, but what the hell, there's so much genre programming out there we just don't need to mention it. In fact, when even halfway decent shows like No Ordinary Family and V come out we can just slam them mercilessly week after week and then, when they're cancelled, turn around and complain about the "bloodbath" that just occured. Well, there's always Asylum Classics on Siffee...


TheMovieGuy28 6/27/2011 12:13:43 PM

Remember how everyone balked at the pricetag of Waterworld? I actually dug the set pieces the most, they were the truly impressive parts of the film.


and did anyone watch True Blood last night? I was really, really disappointed in it. They've changed so many things so quickly, and I may only give it two more episodes this year. Why can't they recapture season 2's magic, pun intended

hanso 6/27/2011 1:28:07 PM

I watched True Blood, and I liked it.  When you say they change so much do you mean from the book or the changes due to the time jump?  I haven't read the books so if they make changes on that it never bothers me.  I kind of dug the time jump myself and look forward if they explain it.  Definitely interested in the witch who brought the bird back to life, that was cool.

Btw, HBO Go has episode two available for online viewing.

Wiseguy 6/27/2011 4:22:00 PM

Hobbs, let me just say that I thought The Killing was fantastic overall. But yes, I was a bit disappointed with the way it ended. I was counting on a 1 and done sort of series (one case perseason). So I'm having mixed feelings in that I hope it isn't being stretched for the sake of a season 2 but the show was so good overall that I can forgive them this 1 time.

One of my biggest peeves with tv series is when they stretch stories to fill a season but I've read that it isn't too different from the original in that sense. Anyway I find the characters so interesting and rich that I can see going a little deeper into them, even the Larson family. So I'll be there come season 2.

And by Wilard I assume you mean Wilfred :) I thought it was ok but I'll have to give it longer to see if it grows on me.

Breaking Bad is back on 7-17, can't wait. It was on a very long hiatus so you probably read it right but is over in a couple of weeks

fatpantz 6/27/2011 10:15:43 PM

Breaking Bad returns mid July....I found the final episode of The Killing to be less powerful that the 2nd last episode, but it def wrapped things up for me.  If they do the 2nd season, i assume it will just be the 2 main characters with a new crime to solve like the Dutch series is.  The premier of Wilfred was awesome and kept the feel of the original, it is catching a ton of criticism, but I really enjoyed it.

I think I am one of the few people that watches Ugly Americans and damn is it hilarious...I am a sucker for animated comedies though.  Cant wait to see the new season!

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