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TV Wasteland: Happy Holidays
TV Wasteland Celebrates the Season
By Rob Vaux
December 18, 2011
The Simpsons enjoy the Christmas spirt in the TV Wasteland
© Fox/Bob Trate
The holidays are a traditional dead zone for television – save for a few Christmas specials and thematically appropriate films – and that’s fine by us. There’s still plenty of good viewing for genre fans out there.
Terra Nova (Fox, 8:00 PM EST)
The two-hour season finale finds the 11th Pilgrimage arriving at Terra Nova, even as the Phoenix Group plans its big move. The show has a decent shot a renewal, despite a hefty price tag and middling ratings. We’ll keep an eye on it over the winter; fans can keep their fingers crossed.
A Christmas Carol (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
AMC is hitting the terrific George C. Scott version pretty hard this holiday season. It’s well worth a look, and it’s running all week.
The Book of Eli (Cinemax, 8:00 PM EST)
Oh, you wacky post-apocalyptic warlords with your blind ladies and your library fetishes and your fucking with Denzel Washington’s shit. Shame on you!
Beauty and the Beast (Disney, 8:30 PM EST)
I can’t say whether the upcoming 3D version will be any good; I will say that the version as it stands is still the best animated movie ever made.
I Am Number Four (Showtime, 7:00 PM EST)
Number Four? It’s more like Number Two. Bwah! Do you see what I did there? Because it’s not a great film and… right, I’ll just shut up now.
House of Wax (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
This is one of those movies that really has no function if you don’t watch it uncut.
The Haunting in Connecticut (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
Virginia Madsen’s family is assaulted by an evil spiritual force… all in the name of paying Virginia Madsen’s rent.
Scrooge (TCM, 10:15 PM EST)
Albert Finney plays Scrooge in a musical version of the holiday classic. George C. Scott is better, but this one has more dancing.
Red Riding Hood (HBO, 8:00 PM EST)
It’s not a great film, but if your dialogue includes the phrase “what big eyes you have,” you really need Amanda Seyfried on the payroll.
The Green Hornet (Starz, 6:50 PM EST)
The more I see of this film, the more I miss Bruce Lee.
The Postman (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
It just. Doesn’t. Stop.
Daredevil (HBO, 6:30 PM EST)
More people judged this on Ben Affleck’s overexposed image at the time than on the film itself, which is actually pretty damn good.
The Final Destination (HBO, 8:30 PM EST)
Death really is Rube Goldberg. They’ve made five movies explaining it as such, and the movies never lie…
Twilight (FX, 7:30 PM EST)
*Checks* Yup. Still hate it.
Inglourious Basterds (Showtime, 7:00 PM EST)
A glorious 90 minutes of Tarantino cool… torturously drawn out to 150 minutes.
Rubber (Showtime, 9:35 PM EST)
A tire blows up people’s heads with its mind. Yes really.
Tangled (Starz, 7:10 PM EST)
Disney scores a palpable hit with its new version of Rapunzel, featuring a roguish con artist to match wits with the long-haired maid.
Prince Caspian (Syfy, 6:00 PM EST)
Syfy seems to like this one and for good reason. A pity The Voyage of the Dawn Treader wasn’t nearly as good.
Batman Forever (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
We should have seen Batman and Robin coming. We really, really should have.
The Big Bang Theory, The Vampire Diaries and The Secret Circle are all reruns this week.
Chuck (NBC, 8:00 PM EST)
Chuck and Sarah spend the holidays hunting down a guy trying to destroy Carmichael Industries. Stan Lee wins the guest star raffle this week.
Sanctuary (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
The first half of a two-parter finds Magnus working out a peace between Caleb and the surface world… even as Tesla reappears to cause more mischief.
Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (FX, 7:00 PM EST)
That title is far too long for a forgettable bit of piffle such as this.
Gulliver’s Travels (HBO, 7:30 PM EST)
Every one of the talented people involved here should be absolutely ashamed of themselves.
Seed of Chucky (MTV, 10:00 PM EST)
I *know* why John Waters is in this. What’s everyone else’s excuse?
Piranha (Showtime, 10:00 PM EST)
Seriously and without hyperbole: this is the best genre film on tonight.
A Christmas Carol (TNT, 9:00 PM EST)
Whoop, I stand corrected. This is the Patrick Stewart version of the tale: a pretty darn good one.
Fringe, Grimm and Star Wars: The Clone Wars are all reruns tonight.
Doctor Who: Best of the Christmas Specials (BBC America, 8:00 PM EST)
BBC America assembles the highlights of previous Doctor Who holiday episodes, for those in need of a Tardis fix.
It’s a Wonderful Life (NBC, 8:00 PM EST)
The holiday classic helps those so inclined to celebrate Christmas Eve.
Red Planet (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
Because nothing says Christmas more than a mediocre Val Kilmer movie.
The Fifth Element (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
*Checks* Yup. It’s still love.
Toy Story 3 (Starz, 8:00 PM EST)
This is the first year in a long while in which Pixar is not favored to win the Best Animated Feature Oscar. Toy Story 3 lets us look back on last year’s winner and reflect on their amazing streak.
On a holiday-related note, TBS is showing A Christmas Story all weekend. Ralphie on the double!
Doctor Who (BBC America, 9:00 PM EST)
The annual Doctor Who Christmas special finds the good Doctor apparently riffing on C.S. Lewis while he aids a family who escaped from the Blitz.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (8:00 PM EST and 8:30 PM EST)
ABC is thoughtfully airing the awesome Chuck Jones animated cartoon followed by the hideous live-action Jim Carrey vehicle, just to remind us how badly the former kicks the latter’s ass.
Megamind (Cinemax, 8:15 PM EST)
He’s right: it’s all about presentation.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
Of all the films they could play on Christmas night, they choose this one?
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Disney, 9:00 PM EST)
Tim Burton scores big on visuals, but short on story, while Danny Elfman delivers a surprisingly mediocre version of all those great Roald Dahl poems in an overstuffed take on the famous children’s story.
Syfy is running a marathon of its reality series Face Off starting at 3:00 PM EST for those so interested.
Happy Holidays everyone!