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TV Wasteland: Happy Holidays

TV Wasteland Celebrates the Season

By Rob Vaux     December 18, 2011

 

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. 
 
Monday
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.
 
Tuesday
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.
 
Wednesday
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.
 
Thursday
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.
 
Friday
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.
 
Saturday
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!
 
Sunday
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!

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 15
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fatpantz 12/19/2011 2:06:07 AM

Checked out the sneak peak of Showtime's House of Lies with Don Cheadle and really enjoyed it.  Some good TV coming back soon too with the US Shameless, Californication, Spartacus and US Being Human all returning in a few weeks.

A very interesting finale to Dexter this season, looks like they are finally going to head a bit in the direction of the books.

Wiseguy 12/19/2011 4:36:26 AM

Rob how can you forget to mention the American Horror Story season finale on Wednesday. Yeah it's an all out tug of war for a baby between the dead and the living.

I've mostly enjoyed AHS but all the drama between the dead inhabitants of the house has left with mixed feelings. But I'm definitely catching the finale and see if the payoff is worth it.

After AHS there's nothing for me til Justified and Archer next month as must see tv

karas1 12/19/2011 4:36:30 AM

Saw the muppets version of A Christmas Carol yesterday.  With Michael Caine and Kermit the frog what's not to love?

Everybody loves Beauty and the Beast and I agree it's a good film but I still like The Little Mermaid and Aladdin better.

The Postman has two things going for it.  It has a cameo by Tom Petty and it's better than Waterworld.  Of course, almost ANYTHING is better than Waterworld but you have to take what you can get.

jppintar326 12/19/2011 4:44:06 AM

The Postman has a few unintentional laughs.  Beauty and the Beast beats Aladdin and Little Mermaid, hands down. 

Hobbs 12/19/2011 5:32:55 AM

My little girls do not like Beauty and the Beast and Little Mermaid even less but they love most of the pixar movies and Shrek.  I think it's an animation thing, kids growing up with pixar then trying to watch those old toon movies...it has to be like us watching silent movies today.

Postman was better than advertised...it got lost in the Titanic shuffle and of course that ending to the Postman didn't help it.

redhairs99 12/19/2011 7:31:19 AM

 Hmmm, no box office report yet, so I guess I'll just post this here.

One of my biggest questions about Nolan doing another Batman flick was how do you top flipping an actual 18-wheeler front first on a city street?  Well, the Dark Knight Rises managed to answer that question in only 6 minutes.  HOLY CRAP THAT PROLOGUE WAS AWESOME!!  And now 8 months more months was waiting...DAMN IT!

NDorado 12/19/2011 7:41:44 AM

I liked Beauty and the Beast, but greatest animated movie ever made?  I beg to differ.  Have you seen Lion King?  The Incredibles?  Iron Giant?  Princess Mononoke?  Akira?

karas1 12/19/2011 8:28:39 AM

Hobbs, the difference between traditional animation and the computer animated stuff isn't like the difference between sound films and silent.  It's a difference in style, but traditional animation isn't less.  It is easily as entertaining as the computer generated kind.

Hobbs 12/19/2011 9:13:47 AM

kara, my kids would disagree with you as far as the old disney movies being as entertaining as the pixar type movies.  You are looking at them with adult eyes.  Just like Star Wars blew everyone away in the 70's yet generation today watching it is like what's the big deal?  Though those horrible prequels probably didn't help that case, lol. 

hanso 12/19/2011 10:44:04 AM

 redhairs, i like ur style sir.

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