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TV Wasteland: Summer in the City
TV Wasteland hits the beach as temperatures climb.
By Rob Vaux
July 09, 2012
Olivia Wilde arrives in TRON: Legacy
© Walt Disney
We’re all full of barbecue from various 4th of July celebrations, and another week of television beckons us forward. Let’s have a look!
Eureka (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST) The broken SmartDust unit wreaks all manner of havoc on the town’s communications system. Lost Girl (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST) Bo and Dyson set out in search of an artifact that can free Lauren from her enslavement. I suspect there may be a wrinkle or two before it all ends. Teen Wolf (MTV, 10:00 PM EST) Lydia starts to put two and two together as far as her bite from Peter goes, which gives Scott and Stiles a whole new set of headaches. The Thing (Cinemax, 8:15 PM EST) Mary Elizabeth Winstead is cuter than Kurt Russell, but her plucky turn in this 2011 prequel can’t save the film from a serious case of the reruns. The Adventures of Robin Hood (TCM, 8:00 PM EST) Swashbuckling legend and raging anti-Semite Errol Flynn dons the green tights in the definitive big -screen adaptation of the legendary outlaw. The Three Musketeers (TCM, 10:00 PM EST) Gene Kelly heads up a fantastic cast in a 1948 adaptation of the Alexandre Dumas novel. Well worth a look. Destination: Truth (Syfy, 8:00 PM EST) Syfy’s reality series about the search for evidence of the supernatural returns. No, not that one. Or that one. Or that other one. It’s… look there’s two episodes tonight, featuring a Vietnamese bigfoot and a goblin in Belize. I’m sure they’ll differentiate themselves from all the other Syfy reality shows soon. Haunted Highway (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST) This doesn’t make it any easier for me, you know. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (FX, 8:00 PM EST) I defy you to tell me one memorable thing about this second sequel in the increasingly irrelevant Ice Age series. How to Train Your Dragon (HBO, 7:15 PM EST) If you’re in a mood for CG animation, this stellar effort does much better than Ice Age. The Prestige (IFC, 8:00 PM EST) Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale square off as rival magicians whose growing obsession with each other leads them down the path to damnation. Some cat named Nolan directed it. Haunted Collector (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST The other other Syfy series about the search for the supernatural premieres with an investigation into a haunted silo in Ohio. That sound you hear is the bottom of the barrel being scraped. School Spirits (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST) Excuse me, I stand corrected. Futurama (Comedy, 10:00 PM EST) Zapp Brannigan starts dating Leela’s mother… proving that this show can always find new and entertaining ways to creep us out. Dark City (FMC, 7:00 PM EST) Alex Proyas directed a minor masterpiece of science fiction noir, featuring a city trapped in eternal midnight and occupants who seem to change identity without warning. It got buried by Titanic at the box office, but has since emerged as a well-deserved cult classic. Hollow Man (FMC, 9:00 PM EST) Paul Verhoeven just can’t help being sleazy, even when he’s having fun. Great effects highlight an otherwise lurid update of The Invisible Man. Final Destination 5 (HBO, 8:30 PM EST) Seriously, it’s not bad… if random acts of carnage are your thing. Burn Notice (USA, 9:00 PM EST) Sam is kidnapped while working in the Everglades, leaving Michael and Jesse to spring him before his mighty chin is damaged. The Forbidden Kingdom (IFC, 8:00 PM EST) You know, if you’re going to tell a story about ancient China – featuring both Jet Li and Jackie Chan to boot – you might not want to ruin things by sticking a contemporary white boy in the middle of it. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (Syfy, 8:00 PM EST) Though a box office disappointment, this second entry in the Narnia series proves to be the best of the lot. The Green Hornet (Starz, 10:30 PM EST) Seth Rogen and comic book movies should never mix. ‘Nuff said. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (ABC Family, 6:30 PM EST and 8:30 PM EST) ABC Family is giving us a chance to compare the two Willy Wonka adaptations… and perhaps realize that piles of money and a huge star still can’t buy the Tim Burton version a soul. Scary Movie (AMC, 10:00 PM EST) I’m contractually obligated to mention this. That is all. The Day the Earth Stood Still (FMC, 7:30 PM EST) Keanu Reeves and Jennifer Connelly star in the most boring lecture you will ever hear about what wasteful creatures we are. The X-Files: I Want to Believe (FMC, 10:00 PM EST) I’d say this movie destroyed The X-Files’ credibility, but that assumes it still had some credibility when production began. Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (FX, 8:00 PM EST) Better than the third one, but still not a great film. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (HBO, 9:30 PM EST) Harry’s final battle with Lord Voldemort constitutes a pitch-perfect conclusion to the popular fantasy series. Christine (Spike, 7:00 PM EST) John Carpenter’s adaptation of the Stephen King bestseller is sporadically successful, but nails enough great moments to make the experience worthwhile. Cujo (Spike, 9:30 PM EST) I never warmed to this tale of a rabid St. Bernard and the young mother it menaces. King’s been better and the adaptation is loyal, but not particularly compelling. Stake Land (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST) Syfy delivers a surprisingly astute choice: a terrific low-budget horror film about the survivors of a vampiric apocalypse. True Bloodthirst (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST) And like that, all that good karma gets flushed straight down the toilet. Stay classy, Syfy. Edward Scissorhands (ABC Family, 7:30 PM EST) Tim Burton, back when he had his own ideas. Maybe he’ll find his way back there someday. Alice in Wonderland (ABC Family, 9:30 PM EST) I enjoy Burton’s take on the famous Lewis Carroll story solely for the visuals. Eragon (Cartoon, 7:00 PM EST) This woebegone effort to capitalize on The Lord of the Rings’ success was doomed from the get-go, largely because the book it was based on was so utterly crappy. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (FX, 8:00 PM EST) Chris Evans does better as Captain America; let’s leave it at that and move on. In Time (HBO, 8:00 PM EST) Justin Timberlake was quite good in this unjustly maligned science-fiction film about a future where time literally is money. Scream 3 (IFC, 8:00 PM EST) Self-parody doesn’t count kids. Trust me on this one. Diary of the Dead (IFC, 10:30 PM EST) George A. Romero turns the found footage format on his ubiquitous zombie apocalypse, with only mixed results. The Shining (Spike, 8:00 PM EST) Maybe she should have checked Jack’s manuscript a little earlier. Just sayin’. TRON: Legacy (Starz, 6:50 PM EST) I love it and I won’t apologize for it. Also, Olivia Wilde looks damn good in a unitard. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Starz, 9:00 PM EST) Jack Sparrow sets sail for the Fountain of Youth as the seeming indestructible Pirates series rolls on. Clash of the Titans (TNT, 8:00 PM EST) It’s never going to get better, is it? True Blood (HBO, 9:00 PM EST) Time’s run out on Bill and Eric’s little scheme, as the Authority cuts a deal with Russell and leaves them out in the cold. Falling Skies (TNT, 9:00 PM EST) A pair of children’s bodies pop up with the harnesses taken away, and Weaver grows ill at a critical moment. The Thief of Baghdad (TCM, 8:00 PM EST) Once again, TCM comes to the rescue with an extravagant version of the famous Arabian tale. The Boy and the Pirates (TCM, 10:00 PM EST) TCM follows it up with an entertaining yarn about a boy sent back in time, where he encounters real pirates. Alien vs. Predator (AMC, 8:00 PM EST) I’d say it sucks, but one look at the follow-up tells you how much worse it can get. Jurassic Park (BBC America, 8:00 PM EST) Steven Spielberg dishes up the best use of dinosaurs in the movies since the original King Kong. Planet of the Apes (FMC, 7:00 PM EST) Someone please tell FMC that the 1968 version is better. A lot better. 28 Weeks Later (FMC, 9:30 PM EST) This follow-up to the terrific 28 Days Later has a few things to recommend it, but can’t compete with the power of the original. Pan’s Labyrinth (IFC, 6:00 PM EST) Guillermo Del Toro’s masterpiece hasn’t missed a beat in the six years since its release. The Brothers Grimm (IFC, 8:30 PM EST) Terry Gilliam squanders a tremendous opportunity in his imagining of the titular brothers as monster-hunting con artists. Heath Ledger shines, but Matt Damon is badly miscast. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (Syfy, 8:00 PM EST) Easily the worst of the Pirates franchise, compounded by Syfy’s… you know, Syfyisms.