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TV Wasteland: Summer Swings
TV Wasteland sends greetings from the sultry Midwest
By Rob Vaux
August 07, 2011
© Bob Trate
Greetings from Indianapolis, where the world’s biggest convention for those antiquated curiosities known as “pen-and-paper games” continues in full swing. The TV schedule is fairly busy too, as we’ll soon see!
Eureka (Syfy, 8:00 PM EDT)
Jo and Zoe run across a significant danger while trying to straighten out the whole business with Zane.
Warehouse 13 (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
H.G. Wells is back to help Bering and Latimer stop an artifact from killing a crowd at a baseball game.
Alphas (Syfy, 10:00 PM EDT)
The team becomes part of DCIS, who send them off to Pennsylvania to find the cause of some mysterious deaths at a local high school.
Teen Wolf (MTV, 10:00 PM EDT)
Scott tries to keep his friends safe lest any undue bloodshed ruin the Midwinter Ball. I don’t know… a little of the old ultraviolence at the school dance might really spice things up.
Superheroes (HBO, 9:00 PM EDT)
This HBO documentary chronicles “real life superheroes”: people who dress up in outfits and try to help those in need (presumably without beating up muggers … because you could really get hurt doing that).
Face/Off (Cinemax, 7:30 PM EDT)
John Woo never did better in the United States than with this over-the-top hootenanny about an FBI agent and a master criminal who switch faces and identities.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
An aimless bassist dreams of vanquishing his girlfriend’s evil exes in Edgar Wright’s fantastic comedy.
Also, while it isn’t genre, you may want to check out The Third Man – one of the greatest movies ever made – on TCM starting at 8:00 PM EDT. They’re following it with a little thing called Citizen Kane, which wasn’t too shabby either.
Beauty and the Beast (Disney, 9:00 PM EDT)
Disney’s take on the classic fairy tale was the first animated film ever to be nominated for Best Picture. (It lost to Silence of the Lambs, and seriously, who can even form a basis of comparison between those two?!) It may also be the best animated movie ever made.
Predators (HBO, 8:30 PM EDT)
And now for something completely different… no Oscars here, just a damn good time as Adrien Brody and friends try to survive on an alien planet full of the titular hunters.
The Final Destination (FX, 8:00 PM EDT and 10:00 PM EDT)
FX has chosen an interesting way to air this otherwise unremarkable horror sequel: the 8:00 PM showing is in 2D and the 10:00 showing is in 3D. Funky.
The Cave (Syfy, 7:00 PM EDT)
It’s a Syfy Saturday night craptacular… on a Tuesday! Bet you didn’t see that coming…
The Hills Have Eyes II (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
Double the crap! Genius!
Also, TCM has another good one tonight: the original Scarface from 1932. Fans of old-time gangster movies, and the Al Pacino remake, should check it out. It starts at 8:00 PM EDT.
No, I am still not acknowledging The Nine Lives of Chloe King. But thanks for asking.
Ghost Hunters International (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
The team finishes up their tour of Great Britain, then heads for New Zealand for a look at a famously haunted hotel. Guillermo del Toro has a great story about that hotel; I hope they include it.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (HBO, 6:15 PM EDT)
One of the better entries in the Harry Potter series is keeping the flame alive now that Deathly Hallows is over and done with.
Crank (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT)
I love this brazenly over-the-top guilty pleasure, though the filmmakers let me down with the horrendous Gamer. I wonder which side of the equation their Ghost Rider sequel will fall into…
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (IFC, 9:45 PM EDT)
This is the remake… not actually all that bad, if you don’t hold the original against it.
Futurama (Comedy, 10:00 PM EDT)
Fry becomes a mother to an unspeakable monstrosity when he cares for a seemingly harmless alien egg.
Ugly Americans (Comedy, 10:30 PM EDT)
Randall and Callie plot to sell Mike’s soul, while Grimes may have discovered the next big thing in pop music. I’m not sure which idea is scarier.
Wilfred (FX, 10:00 PM EDT)
When Ryan reminisces about his childhood dog, Wilfred urges him to find out the cause of the pooch’s death. Nestor “Batmanuel” Carbonell guest stars.
Burn Notice (USA, 9:00 PM EDT)
Unscrupulous mercenaries trap Michael and Jesse on a tropical island, where they will no doubt cobble together some Gilligan-esque contraption out of coconuts to escape. Or not.
Clash of the Titans (Cinemax, 8:15 PM EDT)
They keep saying that the sequel to this 2010 reboot will be better… it needs to be Citizen freaking Kane to make up for this one.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EDT)
Granted, this won’t knock Schindler’s List off the top of Spielberg’s resume anytime soon, but as popcorn filler, it’s not bad.
Around the World in 80 Days (FMC, 7:30 PM EDT)
This isn’t the misbegotten Jackie Chan version, but rather a much more faithful (and entertaining) adaptation starring Pierce Brosnan and Eric Idle.
Underworld Evolution and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (Syfy, 7:00 PM EDT and 9:00 PM EDT)
The second and third entries of the vampires vs. werewolves franchise air back-to-back on Syfy. The third is actually better, though it lacks the sole saving grace of the second (i.e., Kate Beckinsale).
Mighty Joe Young (TCM, 8:00 PM EDT)
Ray Harryhausen handled the effects in this comic updating of the King Kong story, about a giant ape who comes to Hollywood.
ThunderCats (Cartoon, 8:30 PM EDT)
The team is targeted by reptilian assassins. If you’ve ever seen a cat with a lizard, you know how this is going to turn out.
Torchwood: Miracle Day (Starz, 10:00 PM EDT)
Jack needs to seek out the source of the conspiracy as the rest of his team is left scattered to the winds.
Haven (Syfy, 10:00 PM EDT)
Members of a wedding reception find themselves trapped in a remote locale as the latest batch of the Troubles closes in.
Despicable Me (HBO, 7:15 EDT)
Though eclipsed by the much better Megamind, this amiable CG comedy about a supervillain saddled with three orphaned kids is still quite charming.
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (IFC, 7:45 PM EDT)
Kevin Smith delivers one of his most self-indulgent films to date… though he can still bring the funny like nobody’s business.
Halloween (MTV, 10:00 PM EDT)
Credit MTV with some class here: they’re running the John Carpenter original, not the Rob Zombie remake.
Men in Black II (TBS, 8:00 PM EDT)
Proof that you should never start a sequel without a good script ready.
Doctor Who (BBC America, 9:00 PM EDT)
This new special looks back at the career of the eleventh Doctor, played by Matt Smith.
Category 7: The End of the World (Syfy, 5:00 PM EDT)
Randy Quaid, Gina Gershon and Shannen Doherty pay the rent in this supremely silly Syfy original movie about a giant storm.
Doomsday Prophecy (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
The silliness doesn’t end on Syfy, as an editor and an archeologist try to warn everyone about the end of the world.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (ABC, 8:00 PM EDT)
With the school year looming on the horizon, aren’t we due to revisit Delores Umbridge: worst teacher ever?
The Road Warrior and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (AMC, 8:00 PM EDT and 10:00 PM EDT)
The terrific Mad Max sequels get pared down and edited for television. Thanks AMC!
The Dark Knight (TNT, 8:00 PM EDT)
With Dark Knight Rises tidbits filtering in, it’s time to remember why we’re so excited about it in the first place.
True Blood (HBO, 9:00 PM EDT)
Bill throws down with Marnie at last… and gains the unlikely support of Eric and Sookie in the process. Yay, Team Love Triangle!
The Fifth Element (Syfy, 6:30 PM EDT)
I’m at Gen Con this weekend and I saw a muscle-bounded guy dressed up in a very good Leeloo costume. It currently haunts my nightmares, and will continue to do so for some time.
Blade Runner (Syfy, 9:00 PM EDT)
Is that a genuine science fiction masterpiece on Syfy? Wow, who fell asleep at the switch there?
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (USA, 6:22 PM EDT)
Though much maligned, the fourth Indiana Jones film still has a lot to recommend it: something those “George Lucas raped my childhood” folks conveniently ignore.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (10:0 PM EDT)
The wussiest vampires ever aren’t losing any of their wuss in the third entry to the truly insipid Twilight books.