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TV Wasteland: Labor Day Dulls

Last week before new shows start

By Rob Vaux     August 29, 2010

A pile of Meh in TV Wasteland
© Bob Trate


Labor Day marks the end of our long drought. Next week brings the premiere of Nikita, so we’ll finally have something new to talk about!
X-Men: The Last Stand (FX, 8:00 PM EDT)
A pair of sub-par sequels highlights Monday night… though some are more sub-par than others.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (HBO, 9:00 PM EDT)
So is the even crappier follow-up to a fairly crappy original (like this one is) more disappointing than the merely mediocre follow-up to a pretty damn good original (like the X-Men movie)? The debate continues.
Warehouse 13 (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
HG Wells (Jaime Murray) returns as the team ventures to Russia to stop someone using artifacts from Artie’s (Saul Rubinek) past.
Unnatural History (Cartoon, 8:00 PM EDT)
A Viking artifact may hold the key to exonerating Henry’s (Kevin G. Schmidt) uncle, if only he can find it in time.
The Mummy (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Commercials are the devil, especially when they’re stuck in the middle of feature films. That said, this 1999 Brendan Fraser vehicle remains a ripping good time… if only we could sic the mummy on that new ShamWow guy who keeps interrupting.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
It’s on. Again. That is all.
A Fistful of Dollars (TCM, 8:00 PM EDT)
Is there anything sweeter than watching Clint Eastwood flash that six-gun from under his poncho and blow some greasy-haired bandit straight out of his boots? I think not.
Ghost Hunters (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
The Philadelphia Zoo is apparently a hotbed of supernatural activity. What haunts its walkways and exhibits? The ghosts of children struck by flung monkey poo? The disembodied hand of zookeeper “Lefty” Schultz, who was a bit slow feeding the tigers that one time? You’ll have to tune in to find out.
True Lies (AMC, 10:00 PM EDT)
I don’t care how many people like it, the damn thing still gives me the creeps.
Futurama (Comedy, 10:00 PM EDT)
The show celebrates its 100th episode as Leela takes her mutant underground movement to the streets. Devo guest stars, so be ready to whip it good.
The Universe (History, 8:00 PM EDT)
This week focuses on asteroids and the possibility of them colliding with the Earth. Some sources state that this will begin at 9:00 PM, so check your local listings if you want to watch it.
Stan Lee’s Superhumans (History, 10:00 PM EDT)
Surprisingly, this is a fairly entertaining little show if human oddities are your thing. The week delivers a man who lives with wolves and a free diver who can withstand crushing depths without a suit.
Return to Pandora (FX, 10:00 PM EDT)
FX gets back on board the Avatar train to cheerlead the re-release of James Cameron’s blockbuster. Because it clearly didn’t make enough money the first time.
Final Destination (FX, 8:00 PM EDT)
This is the original, in which a group of teens who cheat death are menaced by what appear to be elaborate Rube Goldberg devices. Ali Larter is a standout, but the remainder is typical horror film piffle.
Stephen King’s “The Langoliers” (Syfy, 7:00 PM EDT)
A crappy novel turns into an even crappier miniseries, presented here in its entirety and largely unwatchable despite strong performances from David Morse and Bronson Pinchot.
Burn Notice is off until November. Moonlight is off in perpetuity.
Human Target (Fox, 8:00 PM EDT)
If you missed this fun action show last year, Fox is re-running the pilot. Check it out, if only to worship at the altar of Jackie Earle Haley.
Smallville (The CW, 8:00 PM EDT)
Smallville re-airs its Season 9 finale, pitting Clark (Tom Welling) against General Zod for control of the planet. New episodes will begin later in the month.
Supernatural (The CW, 9:00 PM EDT)
The world ends with Season 5, as the CW re-runs its big season finale in preparation for new episodes.
9 (HBO, 7:00 PM EDT)
A flawed but fascinating animated feature about a band of living dolls fighting to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.
Stephen King’s “The Tommyknockers” (Syfy, 7:00 PM EDT)
Everything I said about The Langoliers goes double for The Tommyknockers, only there aren’t any good performances in this one.
Eureka and Haven are off for the holiday weekend.
Stephen King’s “The Stand” (Syfy, 3:00 PM EDT)
Finally, a good Stephen King adaptation! 
From Dusk Till Dawn (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT)
If you need to get the manky taste of Machete out of your mouth, tune in to Robert Rodriguez’s 1995 gem about a pair of criminals who stop at a strip bar run by vampires. He has the good sense not to preach anything here.
The Gates (ABC, 10:00 PM EDT)
Claire (Rhona Mitra) and Dylan’s (Luke Mably) background is revealed in the search for a kidnapped Emily .
Superman II (BBC America, 8:00 PM EDT)
This is the Richard Lester version, without Marlon Brando. I happen to think it’s the better version, but take a look for yourself and see.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Cinemax, 7:15 PM EDT)
A first-rate adaptation hopefully sets up the grand conclusion to the Harry Potter saga.
Silent Hill (Syfy, 7:00 PM EDT)
This has been on Syfy’s rotation for a few weeks, and we’re still trying to figure out why.
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
This cancerous afterbirth of a film ranks as one of the worst comic book adaptations ever made, and explains why Alan Moore stomps around cranky all the time. It also looks to be the last screen appearance of Sean Connery: an ignominious finale to an otherwise marvelous career.
True Blood is off for Labor Day.


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xenomorph 8/29/2010 6:46:44 PM

Rob, the only reason you think the Richard Lester version is better than the Richard Donner cut is because you clearly have brain damage. I mean, you like x-men origins: wolverine, but hate Avatar? Where you dropped on your head as a child, then while wiggling on the floor ate led paint chips?

karas1 8/29/2010 7:45:27 PM

The best Stephen King miniseries were The Stand and IT.  Both had stellar casts and they did good books the justice they deserved.  I also kind of liked Storm Of The Century.

The Langoliers, well, watch the final 15 minutes where the actual Langoliers appear and that's cool.  The rest of the miniseries, not so much.  Not even with Dean Stockwell.

Never actually seen The Tommyknockers and not feeling the lack...

redhairs99 8/29/2010 10:21:11 PM

"IT" is by far my favorite of the Stephen King mini-series...except the ending.  That sucked.  But Tim Curry was BRILLIANT!!

I'm kind of on the fence with regards to which Superman II is better.  I liked the Donner Cut, but it's got a few flaws that bother me.  First, the turning the world back on it's axis.  Granted, this was the original ending that Donner wanted, but the studio fired him before finishing the first film and decided to have it as the ending to the first film.  I didn't really like it in the first movie and I liked it less in the second.  Second, Superman gets his powers back at the end of the movie and he goes to that diner in Alaska or wherever and beats up that guy.  Now, didn't Supes just turn back time?  That means that he was never in that fight with the dude at the diner when he didn't have powers.  Therefore, Supes is just a jackass and bully? 

I think there were a couple other things that kinda bugged me with the Donner Cut, but I haven't watched it in a while, so I don't remember exactly what they were.

jppintar326 8/30/2010 6:34:20 PM

Richard Donner's version of Superman II was talky and the ending was rather lame (Superman flying around the Earth again?  It was lame in the first movie.  It was even more lame the second time.)  Having more of Marlon Brando mumbling so he could get a paycheck was ridiculous.  Richard Lester's version had great action and humor.  Everybody wants to put down Lester because he also directed Superman III.  The problem with Superman III was the script and shoehorning Richard Pryor into a Superman movie.

redhairs99 8/30/2010 10:06:13 PM

I think most people put down Richard Lester's Superman II because of the kiss that magically makes Lois forget Clark is Superman.  Other than that, I really liked Lester's version.

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EvilMonkey 8/31/2010 6:53:13 AM

Hmmm no Eureka review from Kara ?  how diappointing

redhairs99 8/31/2010 6:56:42 AM

Forgot to add to my earlier post...

The other reason why people knock on the Lester version of Superman II is the big cellophane "S" that Supes throws. 

For me, besides the cellophane "S" and the kiss that makes Lois forget, Superman II is pretty darn good.

redhairs99 8/31/2010 6:59:20 AM

And Evil Monkey, I agree.  I've been waiting for Kara's review as well.

karas1 8/31/2010 9:31:10 AM

Sorry guys, I've been busy.  I'll get it up.

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