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TV Wasteland: Medals and Madness
It's a five-ring circus in the Wasteland.
By Rob Vaux
July 30, 2012
The Olympics dominates television for the next two weeks -- and once again, please take every opportunity you can to tell NBC how much their coverage blows -- leaving other networks to hold the course rather than unleashing anything new or notable. Here's how the upcoming week breaks down:
Warehouse 13 (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
Claudia may have gone over to the dark side, but Bering and Latimer can't focus on that while an artifact is out there creating random mobs of murderous people.
Alphas (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
The team has to take on a speedster who uses his powers for evil. C. Thomas Howell plays said speedster, for those so interested.
Teen Wolf (MTV, 10:00 PM EST)
The gang is being held hostage at the sheriff's station, and may need a little help from Allison to bust out.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (Starz, 9:00 PM EST)
You can tell the original from the remake with the spelling. Tobe Hooper spelled his The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The remake is spelled as above.
National Treasure: Book of Secrets (Syfy, 6:30 PM EST)
I don't know about you, but I'm strangely comforted by the idea of Bruce Greenwood as the President of the United States.
The Forbidden Kingdom (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
White kids make everything better. Oh wait, no they don't.
Valhalla Rising (IFC, 10:00 PM EST)
Mads Mikkelsen is a mighty slab o' man, isn't he?
Destination Truth (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
This week's dodgy claims include Mayan ruins and a purported sea monster in Fiji.
Haunted Highway (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
The title is apparently "Louisiana Swamp Woman." Wait long enough and Syfy will produce an original movie with that exact same title.
Dream House (Cinemax, 8:30 PM EST)
A haunted house movie starring the likes of Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz really shouldn't suck quite as badly as this one does.
Galaxy Quest (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
This brilliant 1999 riff on Star Trek hasn't aged a day, thanks to a brilliant premise and fine performances from the entire cast.
The Brothers Grimm (IFC, 10:15 PM EST)
You'd think that a Terry Gilliam movie positing the titular brothers as con artists who run afoul of an actual witch would be an absolute delight. You'd think that…
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Starz, 6:40 PM EST)
Johnny Depp returns to his most famous role on a quest for the Fountain of Youth. Save for an unfortunate outbreak of Penelope Cruz, this ship sails far truer than the critical response suggests.
TRON: Legacy (Starz, 9:00 PM EST)
Jeff Bridges plays cyber-messiah in a brilliant second take on the TRON scenario.
Anaconda (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
Jennifer Lopez was a star once. See?
Futurama (Cartoon, 10:00 PM EST)
The crew heads to Oktoberfest where Fry gets involved in an unfortunate sausage-making accident.
Haunted Collector (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
"Octagon Haunting?" Could you be a little more cryptic, Syfy? I don't think we're sufficiently baffled here.
School Spirits (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
This week's ghost inhabits a frat house at Slippery Rock University. Please feel free to fill in your own joke using the terms "frat house" and "slippery rock."
From Hell (BBC America, 9:00 PM EST)
Alan Moore can get cranky about a lot of movie adaptations of his work, but not this one.
Scream 4 (Showtime, 8:00 PM EST)
The Scream franchise officially becomes what it beholds in this miserable rehash that embodies everything the series was presumably created to decry.
Contagion (HBO, 8:00 PM EST)
It's weirdly appropriate that Patient Zero turns out to be Gwyneth Paltrow. (Not a spoiler, in case you're concerned.)
Burn Notice (USA, 9:00 PM EST)
Sam takes on a horrible loan shark, while Michael and Fiona track down whoever's been harshing Michael's mellow of late.
X-Men: First Class (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
Michael Fassbender, ladies and gentlemen!
I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (FMC, 7:00 PM EST)
And we still know that title is goofy beyond our ability to express.
Max Payne (FMC, 9:00 PM EST)
Yes, there was in fact a Max Payne movie. Mark Wahlberg was in it. It sucked.
Lost Girl (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
Bo goes undercover as a school teacher while Lauren settles in after her vacation. I'm guessing neither situation turns out as expected.
Jurassic Park III (BBC America, 9:00 PM EST)
Why don't they just listen to Sam Neill?!
RED (Showtime, 8:00 PM EST)
It's certainly not the worst movie you'll ever see, but considering the pedigree, it's a big disappointment.
Priest (Starz, 7:00 PM EST)
Someday, the gods will see fit to deliver unto us whatever parts of this movie got lost on the cutting room floor.
Tarzan the Ape Man (TCM, 8:00 PM EST)
If you feel like a little old-school adventure, TCM is playing Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan flicks all night, starting with the very first one here. Yes, it's dated, but my God did that man know how to swing from a vine.
The Science of Doctor Who (BBC America, 9:00 PM EST)
I'm betting certain concepts get a little dodgy, but this new look at the principles behind the long-running BBC series is apt to send fans into fits of delight.
The Nerdist (BBC America, 10:00 PM EST)
Following The Science of Doctor Who, The Nerdist explores great stories of scientific discovery in its usual off-kilter way.
Puss in Boots (HBO, 8:00 PM EST)
I realize I'm the only person in the world who thinks this movie sucks used kitty litter. Doesn't mean I'm wrong.
Malibu Shark Attack (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
The trouble with Syfy's original movies is that the title is all they've got going for them. This 2009 effort is pretty thin soup after you get past the general premise.
Shark Week (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
An evil madman forces a group of ordinary people to survive multiple shark attacks on his sinister island fortress. This, I confess, sounds a little more interesting than normal.
Godzilla (Showtime, 6:30 PM EST)
Please explain to me how screening a poorly regarded remake from 15 years ago is somehow preferable to screening the much better original from 55 years ago.
Piranha (Showtime, 9:00 PM EST)
The same principle that applies to Godzilla would apply here, except that this remake is actually a lot of fun.
Hanna (HBO, 9:30 PM EST)
HBO airs a brilliant thriller about a young girl trained from birth to be an assassin, and what happens when the government decides it doesn't want her in the picture anymore.
Inglourious Basterds (TNT, 8:00 PM EST)
Michael Fassbender, ladies and gentlemen! Again!
The Exorcist (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
The greatest horror movie ever made? Still debatable, but it's definitely on the short list.
Saw 2 (IFC, 10:45 PM EST)
Because the cash-grab sequel to an inexplicably popular slasher film epitomizes what independent film is all about.
True Blood (HBO, 9:00 PM EST)
The vampiric crusade begins, creating a backlash of anti-supernatural feeling that puts Sookie and others in her circle at risk.
Falling Skies (TNT, 9:00 PM EST)
The 2nd Mass continues towards Charleston, even as the wounds of recent losses continue to fester.
The Invisible Man (TCM, 8:00 PM EST)
James Whale's 1933 classic about a mad scientist who discovers the secret to invisibility still holds up in this era of CGI and high-tech effects.
Hancock (FX, 8:00 PM EST)
FX just won't let this one go, will they?
Sunshine (IFC, 6:30 PM EST)
Danny Boyle, who directed the opening ceremonies to the London Olympics, delivers an unusually smart sci-fi thriller marred by a hard-to-swallow ending.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (IFC, 8:45 PM EST)
This amiable adaptation of an amiable sci-fi comedy classic goes about its job, um, amiably.
Shrek (TBS, 8:00 PM EST)
Hard to believe this uproarious fractured fairy tale came out over a decade ago.
Blade Runner (Syfy, 6:30 PM EST)
Syfy offers a change of pace with an actual science fiction masterpiece for us. I didn't know they were still allowed to do that.
The Fifth Element (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
All together now: what is it?