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TV Wasteland: Submitted For Your Approval
Happy New Year!
By Rob Vaux
December 31, 2012
We ring in 2013 with a return to new scripted shows and a Syfy tradition that never gets old.
The Twilight Zone Marathon (Syfy, 8:00 AM EST)
Syfy’s annual ode to Rod Serling makes every New Year just a little better. Highlights include “A Nice Place to Visit” (2:00 PM EST), “The Shelter” (4:00 PM EST), “It’s a Good Life” (5:00 PM EST), “Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up” (7:00 PM EST), “Eye of the Beholder” (7:30 PM EST), “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet (10:00 PM EST) and “The Masks” (11:00 PM EST). We’ll pick up the January 1 episodes under Tuesday’s entry.
Doctor Who Marathon (BBC America, 8:00 AM EST)
BBC America responds with a marathon of their own, mostly featuring David Tennant’s celebrated run as the Doctor.
Star Wars Marathon (Spike, 4:00 PM EST)
Spike runs back-to-back showings of The Empire Strikes Back, then finishes the evening with back-to-back showings of Return of the Jedi.
Enchanted (NBC, 8:00 PM EST)
NBC rings in the New Year with an amusing not-quite-parody of Disney Princess movies. Amy Adams carries it a long way on sheer charm. It repeats Wednesday on the Disney Channel at 8:00 PM EST.
The Goonies (ABC Family, 8:30 PM EST)
Alternately, you can let Chunk, Sloth and the gang welcome in 2013 with you.
The Fifth Element (AMC, 6:00 PM EST)
Luc Besson goes off the deep end in his out-there tale of 23rd century Earth.
Despicable Me (Disney, 8:00 PM EST)
Disney apparently doesn’t have any animated features of their own, so they need to crib someone else’s…
Avatar (FMC, 8:00 PM EST)
Giant tree Smurfs to the rescue! Doesn’t sound so cool now, does it?
The Twilight Zone Marathon (Syfy, 12:00 AM EST)
The Rod Serling love continues all day, with highlights including “Hocus-Pocus and Frisby” (10:30 AM EST), “People are Alike All Over” (1:30 PM EST), “Number Twelve Looks Just Like You” (5:00 PM EST), “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” (7:30 PM EST), “The Howling Man” (8:00 PM EST), “Time Enough at Last” (8:30 PM EST) and “The Rip Van Winkle Caper (12:00 AM EST).
Mad Max Trilogy (AMC, 8:00 PM EST, 10:01 PM EST and 12:02 AM EST)
AMC unveils Madman Mel and his post-apocalyptic buddies as they battle for supremacy across the Australian Outback. These true science fiction classics are not to be missed.
Cowboys & Aliens (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
Be honest: wouldn’t it be better just to catch another screening of Skyfall instead?
Girl vs. Monster (Disney, 7:00 PM EST)
You certainly can’t accuse them of being subtle with the title.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (FMC, 8:00 PM EST and 10:30 PM EST)
In case you want to prep before the new movie in July, but don’t want to actually buy it.
Edward Scissorhands (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
Tim Burton cemented his status as an auteur with this surprise hit about a boy with some serious problems picking things up.
Idiocracy (IFC, 10:15 PM EST)
I still don’t understand why Fox abandoned this social satire.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Showtime, 8:00 PM EST)
I hate to say it, but this is probably the best of the bunch.
The Shawshank Redemption (Spike, 8:00 PM EST)
Still the best Stephen King adaptation of all time.
The Haunted Mansion (Starz, 7:20 PM EST)
As bad as the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise can be at times, it’s nothing compared to this lazy and inept effort to cash in on another theme park ride. Eddie Murphy defines phoning it in as the hapless father who moves into the ubiquitous mansion.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On stranger Tides (Starz, 9:00 PM EST)
This one’s the real E-ticket. Trust me.
American Horror Story: Asylum (FX, 10:00 PM EST)
The Devil’s in the house and Monsignor Howard is ready for a throwdown.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (ABC Family, 6:00 PM EST and 8:30 PM EST)
The first one proves that you don’t need a big budget and special effects to make a heartfelt classic. The second one proves that a big budget and special effects still can’t buy a soul.
I, Robot (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
It’s pretty good. It’s just not Isaac Asimov.
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (HBO, 9:00 PM EST)
Similarly, this has very little to do with H.G. Wells. Unlike I, Robot, it sucks.
Machete (FX, 8:00 PM EST)
They’re making a sequel… for the love of God, they’re making a sequel!!!
Friday the 13th, Part III and Friday the 13th: the Final Chapter (IFC, 8:00 PM EST and 10:00 PM EST)
These two actually comprise some of the key elements of the series: namely, Jason donning his hockey mask and Tommy Jarvis finally confronting him. They still suck, but you knew that.
Underworld (Spike, 8:00 PM EST)
Any day’s a good day for Kate Beckinsale killing werewolves!
Jurassic Park (Starz, 6:50 PM EST)
Steven Spielberg’s mega epic about dinosaurs brought to life holds up incredibly well, thanks to the fast-moving action and brilliant special effects.
John Carter (Starz, 9:00 PM EST)
Trust me, it’s a lot better than some have suggested.
Arrow and Supernatural are reruns this week.
The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8:00 PM EST)
Sheldon is accused of sexual harassment, which could cost everyone their job. We always suspected it would come to this.
Elementary (CBS, 10:00 PM EST)
Holmes investigates the death of a hotel manager apparently killed in a washing machine.
Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (FMC, 8:00 PM EST and 10:00 PM EST)
Last week, I called The Nutcracker in 3D the worst movie I’ve ever seen. This one was in the running.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits (Starz, 7:20 PM EST)
Hugh Grant headlines the vocal cast of another charming piece of Aardman stop-motion fun.
Outlander (Syfy, 6:30 PM EST)
Jim Caviezel stars as an alien from outer space who helps a tribe of Vikings fight off a monster.
Repo Men (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
It was only a matter of time before this cut-rate Jude Law vehicle ended up on Syfy.
The Vampire Diaries and Beauty and the Beast are reruns. Last Resort is off.
Merlin (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
The British import returns to Syfy for an all-new season of Arthurian mayhem.
Creature from the Black Lagoon (TCM, 8:00 PM EST)
There’s some great genre movies on tonight, but once again Turner Classic is the station to beat. They have a whole night of Jack Arnold monster movies, starting with Universal’s classic about a monster lurking in the waters of the Amazon. Julia Adams can still stop traffic in that swimsuit.
Tarantula (TCM, 9:30 PM EST)
Okay, so this isn’t quite as good as Creature from the Black Lagoon, but it’s still a lot of goofy fun as a giant spider wreaks havoc in the Southwest. Look for a brief cameo from a then-unknown Clint Eastwood playing a fighter pilot.
The Incredible Shrinking Man (TCM, 11:00 PM EST)
A smart existential story compliments solid special effects in another 1950s classic, about a man who keeps getting smaller and smaller.
It Came from Outer Space (TCM, 12:30 AM EST)
Jack Arnold night ends with a 3D spectacular involving a silly rubber monster that may not be everything it seems.
Enter the Dragon (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
Because nobody kicks ass like Bruce Lee.
Shanghai Noon (AMC, 10:30 PM EST)
Okay, this is kind of an awesome double feature. Well played, AMC.
Tangled (Disney, 8:00 PM EDT)
Disney’s latest princess movie makes the canny decision to reframe the story of Rapunzel as a screwball comedy. The results are endlessly charming.
Fantastic Four (FMC, 8:00 PM EST and 10:30 PM EST)
This one is much less charming… and hopefully, Marvel has left its ilk behind for good.
Unknown (HBO, 9:00 PM EST)
The end is a bit of a letdown, but that Liam Neeson sure can kick ass, can’t he?
Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Spike, 7:00 PM EST and 9:30 PM EST)
The immortal action classic and its less immortal sequel make for a terrific one-two punch over on Spike.
Nikita and Arrow are reruns this week.
Signs (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
Both director and star have slipped quite a bit in public esteem, but this fun (if slightly wonky) piece of sci-fi terror still holds up.
Hannibal (AMC, 10:30 PM EST)
I’m glad they departed from Thomas Harris’s awful novel, but that still doesn’t make this a good movie.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (Cartoon, 6:30 PM EST)
On Cartoon Network? Really? Okay…
Hot Tub Time Machine (Comedy, 10:00 PM EST)
John Cusack headlines a fun-filled goof about a group of friends sucked back into the 80s by a malfunctioning Jacuzzi. Brainless, but fun. It repeats on Sunday at 6:45 PM EST.
Bolt (Disney, 8:00 PM EST)
Another amiable entry, this one from Disney and concerning a canine TV star who mistakenly believes he has super powers.
Taken (FX, 8:00 PM EDT and 10:00 PM EST)
More fun and games with Liam Neeson. Just remember to duck when he pulls out that gun.
Escape from LA (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
Seriously IFC, do you have anything else you can air?
Rambo 4 (IFC, 10:15 PM EST)
No, this doesn’t count.
Scary Movie 3 (MTV, 10:00 PM EST)
It’s hard to believe that the once-great David Zucker directed this piece of shit.
Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade (Spike, 5:00 PM EDT and 8:30 PM EDT)
Spike has officially declared an Indiana Jones weekend. We’re good with that.
Resident Evil and Resident Evil: Afterlife (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST and 9:00 PM EST)
The first and fourth Resident Evil films actually turn out to be the best… and a decent enough distraction if you don’t mind turning off your brain. Afterlife repeats on Sunday at 7:00 PM EDT.
Once Upon a Time (ABC, 8:00 PM EST)
Emma reluctantly comes to Regina’s help when the former queen is accused of a crime she may not have committed.
District 9 (BBC America, 7:00 PM EST and 9:30 PM EST)
Aliens land in South Africa in one of the best science fiction films of the last decade.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Cinemax, 7:30 PM EST)
Sirius Black escapes from prison, potentially threatening Harry and his friends in the third entry to the popular series.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (HBO, 8:00 PM EST)
You cannot stop Andy Serkis. You can only hope to contain him.
Open Water (IFC, 7:15 PM EST)
It’s skillfully made, but nihilism is nihilism.
House of 1000 Corpses (IFC, 9:00 PM EST)
And I say again, there’s a difference between “scary” and “relentlessly unpleasant.”
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (Spike, 8:00 PM EST)
Spike concludes its Indy weekend with the much maligned fourth film in the series.
The Dead (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
Our week comes to a close with a fairly indifferent zombie mash-up.
Happy new year everyone!