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TV Wasteland: Look to the Skies
Falling Skies kicks off the summer TV season
By Rob Vaux
June 12, 2011
Falling Skies arrives this Sunday amid a level of anticipation unseen since… well actually, since the last batch of event sci-fi shows bombed like the Enola Gay. Buzz has slowly been building throughout the spring, but fans have been burned quite a bit on similar hype over the past few years. What makes Falling Skies any different?
Ultimately nothing, perhaps. But then again, something here feels like it might be up for the challenge. Perhaps it’s Steven Spielberg’s name on the credits – listed as a producer but, by the showrunners’ own admission, playing a much larger role than one might otherwise suspect. Then there’s the premise: envisioning humans as paramilitary resistance fighters in an occupied Earth following an alien invasion. That has all kinds of cool written on it… especially since a TV show allows the concept to develop in ways that a feature film wouldn’t. Early word is quite good, and while the field isn’t as bereft of competition as it might be, TNT is throwing it out against HBO’s True Blood: a sign that they have some real confidence in it. (Either that, or they’re trusting in people’s ability to operate their DVRs.) We’ll have a special advance review of the first episode later this week, and you can see for yourself this coming Sunday, June 19th at 9:00 PM EDT on TNT.
Sanctuary (Syfy, 10:00 PM EDT)
It’s alternate reality time, as Magnus (Amanda Tapping) and Will (Robin Dunne) end up living ordinary lives in the suburbs. The series will henceforth focus on their relentless quest to find a Starbuck’s that doesn’t put too much latte in their mocha cappuccinos.
The Devil’s Advocate (Syfy, 7:00 PM EDT)
If you look closely, you can actually spot flecks of Al Pacino’s spittle on the surrounding scenery.
Devil (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
Smarty pants comments aside, The Devil’s Advocate is way better than this misbegotten M. Night Shyamalan vehicle that Shyamalan was actually too good to direct.
The Matrix (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Couldn’t they have just taken the blue pill before making the sequels?
Suspiria (FMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
One of the high points in 1970s horror comes to us, courtesy of Dario Argento and some really potent mushrooms.
Predator 2 (FMC, 10:00 PM EDT)
Behold, the majesty that is Morton Downey Jr.!
The Day The Earth Stood Still (FX, 8:00 PM EDT)
Damn, it’s the remake. Okay, moving on…
Silent Hill (Syfy, 6:30 PM EDT)
You will believe that a bad video game adaptation can vanish without a trace.
The Amityville Horror (Syfy, 9:00 pM EDT)
Given that the entire “based on true events” claim is total hogwash, and given that Syfy is clearly airing this just to capitalize on star Ryan Reynolds high profile this week, this is actually the best film with the word “Amityville” in the title you’re likely to find.
Avatar (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
Blue people! On birds! Shooting down gunships! It’s SOOOOOO BEAUTIFUL!!! Oh wait, that’s right: I think it’s overrated piffle. Carry on.
Haunted Collector (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
The team travels to New Mexico to examine the veracity of several supposedly haunted Indian artifacts.
Night of the Hunter (TCM, 8:00 PM EDT)
Robert Mitchum has never been weirder – or better – than his turn as a would-be preacher chasing a pair of children for a stolen cache of money.
The Mummy (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
There’s something to be said for delivering a fun-filled bag of popcorn with no fuss and no muss… exactly like this 1999 Brendan Fraser movie does.
Iron Man (FX, 8:00 PM EDT)
Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau turn the B-list Marvel superhero into an A-list attraction with this winning blockbuster from 2008.
Voltron Force (NickToons, 8:30 PM EDT)
NickToons slaps a new coat of paint on the animated 80s stalwart about a group of heroic pilots and the giant ass-kicking robot they love.
Attack of the 50-Foot Woman (TCM, 8:00 PM EDT)
TCM stretches the boundaries of the term “classic” with this well-known but actually quite dreadful giant-chick-run-amuck movie.
Village of the Giants (TCM 9:30 PM EDT)
And it doesn’t get much better on TCM tonight. Do yourself a favor: wait for the MST 3K version of this to arrive on DVD. It eases the pain.
Seven (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
In retrospect, it would probably be better for everyone involved if we just didn’t find out what was in the box.
Drag Me to Hell (Cinemax, 6:45 PM EDT)
Sam Raimi proves he hasn’t lost that Evil Dead touch with this terrific little gorefest about a bank officer (Alison Lohman) targeted by a gypsy curse.
Vampires Suck (Cinemax, 8:30 PM EDT)
Look, I’m not saying Twilight doesn’t have it coming, but when the inevitable send-up comes from the same guys who did Meet the Spartans, we aren’t exactly moving in the right direction.
Predators (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
God, I love this movie. Don’t ask me why.
Syfy is running a marathon of American Ninja Warrior – a reality series that proves who’s the ninja-est of them all – starting at 3:00 PM EDT.
The Dark Knight (TNT, 8:00 PM EDT)
So awesome… so very, very awesome…
Quantum of Solace (USA, 8:30 PM EDT)
So not-nearly-as-awesome-as-it-should-have-been… but not bad…
Alien 3 (BBC America, 10:00 PM EDT)
Hard to believe David Fincher could rebound from this turkey as well as he did, but talent always finds a way.
Outcasts (BBC America,9:00 PM EDT)
BBC America fills the slot vacated by Doctor Who with a short-running series about the trials and travails of an off-world colony in the year 2040.
Inception (HBO, 8:00 PM EDT)
Only Christopher Nolan could take this concept – a convoluted disaster waiting to happen – and turn it into another of his seemingly-endless string of modern classics.
Mega Python vs. Gatoroid (Syfy, 7:00 PM EDT)
Do not fear the crappy CGI. Rather, embrace it and—through embracing it—eliminate its power to harm. Note that former pop stars Tiffany and Debbie Gibson are not, in fact, CGI here.
2010: Moby Dick (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
The classic novel gets a modern twist by placing a modern-day Ahab (Barry Botwick) in charge of a submarine pursuing the monster that crippled him. Also, it will suck.
The Return of the King (TNT, 8:00 PM EDT)
It’s one of the greatest films ever… though considering its length and TNT’s penchant for commercials, don’t expect to get to bed any time before midnight.
Game of Thrones (HBO, 9:00 PM EDT)
The first season comes to a climax with tragedy, shared visions and an attempted escape from King’s Landing. Fans can rest easy over the summer, knowing that a second season has been assured.
Falling Skies (TNT, 9:00 PM EDT)
TNT premieres its new series from executive producer Steven Spielberg, about a Massachusetts community struggling to fight back in the wake of alien occupation. See the top of the article for more.
Cars (Disney, 7:00 PM EDT)
The closest thing to a weak link in the Pixar pantheon arrives before the sequel possibly eclipses it. Swell.
Hancock (FX, 7:00 PM EDT)
Will Smith scores a modest hit in this underrated story of a superhero who’s really kind of a dick. It reruns at 9:00 PM EDT in case you miss it the first time.
Troy (Syfy, 8:00 PM EDT)
It ain’t Shakespeare, but how many summer blockbusters do you see where you aren’t sure if the right side won?
Transformers (TNT, 6:00 PM EDT)
Prefacing Falling Skies. For those so interested.