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TV Wasteland: Schwarzenegger is Here to Save Us!

With Conan coming, TV may offer an alternative.

By Rob Vaux     August 14, 2011


Schwarzenegger is Here to Save Us in the TV Wasteland(2011).
© Robert Trate

 

So they’re really going ahead with this Conan remake aren’t they? Man, that’s so depressing I could just about die. Maybe TV can assuage the pain… let’s see what’s on.
 
Monday
Eureka (Syfy, 8:00 PM EDT)
Cancelled?! I know it’s been said before, but you suck, Syfy. They’re not even expounding on this week’s episode: just the title (“Of Mites and Men”) and a big blank spot. You really suck, Syfy
 
Warehouse 13 (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
And no, renewing Warehouse 13 doesn’t make it all right (though it’s a nice move regardless). In any case, Bering and Latimer have to throw a lifeline to Fargo, who gets trapped in a video game based on the Warehouse.
 
Alphas (Syfy, 10:00 PM EDT)
Bill and Gary have an excellent adventure. More than that, Syfy is unwilling to say.
 
Teen Wolf (MTV, 10:00 PM EDT)
I snicker at this show a lot, but at least it delivers plenty of juicy details about each episode… like how there’s a war brewing between werewolves and werewolf hunters with Scott stuck in the middle.
 
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (TCM, 8:00 PM EDT)
The great Lon Chaney delivers a stunning silent rendition of Quasimodo in this 1923 version of the Victor Hugo book.
 
The Phantom of the Opera (TCM, 10:00 PM EDT)
In point of fact, this celebrated 1925 version of the story isn’t all that great… except for Chaney, delivering his single greatest performance as the haunted, misshapen Phantom. The big reveal of his character’s face remains one of the most shocking moments in all of moviedom (and the inspiration for a future article).
 
Armageddon (FX, 8:00 PM EDT)
Considering its status as the ultimate Michael Bay movie, it’s surprising how many big stars showed up here before we knew who they were. And damn if there aren’t a couple of Oscar winners in there!
 
Ginger Snaps (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Werewolves never found the traction that vampires did, which is a shame because this marvelous film from north of the border easily puts the Twilight idiocy to shame.
 
Lake Placid (IFC, 10:15 PM EDT)
This, on the other hand, is all kinds of silly: a David E. Kelley joint about a giant crocodile in a Maine lake. But the cast is good and giant crocs are pretty cool, so we’ll let it go. (Just tell the producer to keep his hands off our superheroines.)
 
Tuesday
Jennifer’s Body (Cinemax, 8:15 PM EDT)
Maligned reputation aside, this horror-esque satire of high school life does much better than it has any right to. Megan Fox does not get naked, however.
 
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (Syfy, 8:00 PM EDT)
The second entry in the Pirates franchise is pretty good, if a tad too Lovecraftian for the Happiest Movie Studio on Earth.
 
Wednesday
Ghost Hunters International (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
We’re still in New Zealand, with a look at the allegedly haunted Napier Prison.
 
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Tina Turner in chainmail. Hot damn…
 
Predator 2 (FMC, 9:30 PM EDT)
Danny Glover does not look as good as Tina Turner – even when he’s wearing chainmail – but he leads the cast in a not-bad follow up to the Schwarzerrific original.
 
Apocalypto (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Mel Gibson is a sick fuck, isn’t he?
 
TCM is airing The Maltese Falcon at 8 tonight. It’s not genre; it’s merely awesome.
 
Thursday
Burn Notice (USA, 9:00 PM EDT)
Michael and Sam work on tracking down Max’s killer, while Fiona and Jesse take on a surveillance job that’s more than it appears.
 
Futurama (Comedy, 10:00 PM EDT)
The crew uncovers evidence of a secret mission Dr. Zoidberg conducted many years ago. I’m guessing that shellfish and creepy sexual innuendos are involved.
 
Ugly Americans (Comedy, 10:30 PM EDT)
The show riffs on Little Shop of Horrors after Randall is infected by the spores of a mysterious plant. Anyone for a rousing rendition of “The Dentist?”
 
Wilfred (FX, 10:00 PM EDT)
A double dose of Wilfred finds Ryan’s crazy mother moving in and Wilfred making efforts to get Ryan to socialize.
 
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (IFC, 8:05 PM EDT and 10:05 PM EDT)
For reheated leftovers, they’re not bad. At least the first one isn’t. The second one… okay yeah, it blows.
 
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (Syfy, 8:00 PM EDT)
Look, nobody cares whose side everyone is on. Would y’all shut up and start shooting monkeys out of cannons already?!
 
Batman Forever (BBC America, 9:00 PM EDT)
Among its other sins – which I could spend the entire column recounting – it ruined a perfectly good Seal song.
 
Conan the Barbarian (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT)
AKA, The Real One.
 
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (Cinemax, 10:0 PM EDT)
This rousing adaptation of a bestselling young adult novel never quite caught on the way it should have. I blame poor marketing.
 
Friday
ThunderCats (Cartoon, 8:30 PM EDT)
Okay, I never watched the original show. Was there ever a mystic element called “Thundrilium”? Because there is here, and that’s kind of awesome.
 
Torchwood: Miracl Day (Starz, 10:00 PM EDT)
It’s all about Gwen this week, as she learns far more about the Miracle than she ever wanted to know.
 
Haven (Syfy, 10:00 PM EDT)
Audrey gets caught up in a rehash of Groundhog Day when the same 24 hours keeps repeating over and over.
 
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (BBC America, 9:00 PM EDT)
If you have to explain who Mina Murray is and why she never takes off her scarf, it ruins the freaking gag! Stupid Hollywood…
 
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (IFC, 7:45 PM EDT)
A classic it’s not, but in the “Dear God don’t screw this up” department, it passes with flying colors.
 
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Showtime, 7:55 PM EDT)
I love watching the stars of this series show up at press conferences with that “please don’t judge us, we’re trying to have a career” look on their faces. The films suck kids, but we won’t hold that against you if you follow them up with something awesome.
 
Saturday
Doctor Who (BBC America, 9:00 PM EDT)
The BBC’s retrospective on the Matt Smith years continues with a look at the coolest monsters from last season.
 
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (Cinemax, 6:45 PM EDT)
Sam Neill is missed but the rest of the film does all right for itself.
 
Deep Blue Sea (Syfy, 7:00 PM EDT)
God bless Sam Jackson. That is all.
 
Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
Okay, did these two monsters show up on previous Syfy features or not? And do the winners of these showdowns get more shitty movies made about them as a reward? So many questions…
 
Watchmen (TNT, 8:00 PM EDT)
I love this film, but it’s not the shortest movie ever made and padding it out with commercials? That’s just sadistic.
 
Sunday
True Blood (HBO, 9:00 PM EDT)
Marnie sets her sights on a vampire tolerance festival in Maine, while Bill and Eric continue to mend fences. Also, boobs.
 
Clash of the Titans (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
Someday, they’re going to stop airing this. That will be a good day.
 
The Devil’s Advocate (Syfy, 8:00 PM EDT)
If you look closely, you can actually see Al Pacino’s forehead veins plotting a mad escape from his skull.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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BunyonSnipe 8/15/2011 3:54:23 AM

"So they’re really going ahead with this Conan remake aren’t they?"

The term 'remake' is more than a little misleading and could make people think that the 1982 film was the genesis of the character and that he should be played that way...

Arnie was great in later films, when he found his feet, but was really the weak link in the first Conan movie, everyone around him did a great job, but he was just reading the lines out loud!

Sandal Bergman is still my favourite warrior woman.

Redshirt1 8/15/2011 4:45:56 AM

About Percy Jackson, don't blame poor marketing.  The marketing actually inspired me to find out more about the series and read the books before I saw the film.  And thank God they did!  The movie was a pale comparison to the book in the extreem.   This really surprised me because the director was Chris Columbus.  A director who handled another child hero book adapted to film.  It was a little bit piece called Harry Potter.  Yet while Columbus managed to handle that one pretty well, Percy Jackson was pretty much crap.  He left out several essential characters, including the big bad guy who is the main enemy throughout the five books.  To compare it to Harry Potter, its as if Columbus were to have left out Voldamort.  So do not blame it on marketing.  Blame it on crappy screen writers and inept story telling on the part of the director.  He wasted a lot of very big name actors tallent and a lot of viewers time.  

NDorado 8/15/2011 6:41:56 AM

They should do a retrospective on the ENTIRE Doctor Who saga, not just the bloody Matt Smith years (less than a handful!)  I said bloody not because I'm British or anything, it just sounded good.

isgrimner 8/15/2011 6:59:01 AM

"Say what you want about Mel Gibson, but the son of a b!tch knows story structure."  - Southpark

 

I think I'm about to give up on Wilfred.  I've watched every episode and its just not doing it for me. 

karas1 8/15/2011 7:18:52 AM

I saw Percy Jackson on HBO and it wasn't a bad film.  But I don't think it would have made a lot of sense if you weren't well versed in Greek Mythology.

I'm going to really miss Eureka but we have new episodes for next summer and a holiday special so I guess we can't complain TOO much.  We didn't expect it to last forever did we?  It got 5 good seasons (6 if you count season 4, twice as long as it's other seasons, as two seasons).

I'm not decided whether or not I'll see the new Conan film.  I wouldn't go, but it stars Jason Mamoa who I liked on Stargate.  I might go to see him.

lusiphur 8/15/2011 7:22:43 AM

 I never realised that Redshirt1.  I haven't read the books, but I was entertained by the movie.  I didn't feel my time was wasted as much as some who read the books.  

I have to agree with BunyonSnipe.  I just watched Conan the Barbarian again and it wasn't nearly as good as I remember.  It was fun, but sort of a letdown.  I early await the new one in a couple of weeks.

NDorado - That would be really cool.  They could do it as a mini-series style documentary and then release them on dvd.  I would watch all of them, having only seen about half of the Doctors over the years.

I'm really enjoying the new Thundercats.

Oh, and Rob ... heheh ... you said boobs. 

Wiseguy 8/15/2011 8:59:22 AM

Really, I still love Arnie's Barbarian. I think the movie holds up rather well too. Destroyer on the other hand sucked then and sucks now even if I still get a miniscule sense of entertainment watching it.

I enjoyed Percy Jackson a lot. And I believe they've greenlit a sequel too, so good.

Watched The TexasCM remake last week again and I still hold that it is better than the original. And Jessica Biel is just mouth watering

Yesterday we got rained out and spent almost the entire day watching syfy, Total Recall is still an over the top bloody classic, The 5th Element must be one of the most underrated sci/fi flicks in a long time and then Blade Runner, what an effing masterpiece. I loved this film when I saw it as a kid in theaters and it has lost nothing in almost 3 decades. I can't believe it wasn't well received back then and this will always remain my #1 argument against giving critics' opinions much weight

LadyBrowncoat 8/15/2011 9:08:35 AM

 Ah, to remember our Governator in his glory days.

Jakester 8/15/2011 10:07:17 AM

The thing about the new Conan movie, or more specifically, Jason Mamoa, is that he played Khal Drogo as such a complete badass in Game of Thrones that his Conan seems like a total wimp comparatively, at least in the commercials. I'll go see it because, as I said, i liked him in GoT, and he seems like a nice guy IRL. Plus I'm hoping for Rachel Nichols nudity.

jetpackjesus 8/15/2011 3:46:35 PM

I still don't get how positive things are said about The Lost World.  The only two positive words I can think of associated with that film are Jeff Goldblum.  

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