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TV Wasteland: The Walking Dead Returns
But where does it go after yet another show runner leaves?
By Rob Vaux
February 04, 2013
Sunday night’s the place to be for genre programming this week. Syfy is finally airing the aborted sequel to Battlestar Galactica, Blood and Chrome… which hard-core fans have probably already caught online and elsewhere. Of far more interest is the return of The Walking Dead. With the midseason cliffhanger leaving the gang in deep trouble behind enemy lines, fans have been chomping at the bit to see what happens next.
This season isn’t the concern; I’m sure the remaining episodes will be spectacular. The concern is the continuing behind-the-scenes drama, as another show runner was dismissed from the series a few weeks ago. Glen Mazzara, who replaced Frank Darabout midway through Season Two, has been handed his walking papers. His replacement is Scott Gimple, and speculation already runs rampant on how long he’ll last.
Fans have good reason to worry about the impact on this revolving door of personnel. When Darabont left, it took almost half a season to recover, and there’s no way of telling whether this new change will be any different. Presumably, The Walking Dead can bounce back again, but how many sudden changes before the dips in quality become permanent? The show’s a huge hit for AMC, and the constant changes suggest micromanaging in the extreme. That’s cause for concern… especially when you’re talking about one of the best shows on TV. Settle down AMC, and let your team do its job. They clearly know how.
The Walking Dead returns this Sunday, February 10, on AMC at 9:00 PM EST. Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome runs at the same time on Syfy.
The Following (Fox, 9:00 PM EST)
One of Carroll’s followers falls under the team’s attentions as they try to anticipate his next move.
Continuum (Syfy, 8:00 PM EST)
Kiera and Carlos hunt the murderer of a man on the verge of an energy breakthrough.
Being Human (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
Sally and Aiden come to words over his recent behavior, while Josh accompanies Nora on a family visit.
Lost Girl (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
Bo makes a vow to stop feeding, which I’m sure won’t cause her problems in any way.
The Shawshank Redemption (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
Frank Darabont has things other than The Walking Dead on his resume. Like this modern classic, for instance. It repeats Tuesday and Wednesday at the same time.
Contagion (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
The super plague is here and only Jude Law can stop it. Or something.
Ratatouille (Disney, 8:00 PM EST)
This is why we never worry when the phrase “directed by Brad Bird” shows up.
The Simpsons Movie (FMC, 8:00 PM EST and 10:00 PM EST)
The Simpsons actually do better than anyone thought with their own movie. Call it a brief reprieve from their inexorable decline.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (FX, 8:00 PM EST and 10:30 PM EST)
Three movies in and Kristen Stewart still can’t deliver a real character.
The Dead Zone (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
If you haven’t seen David Cronenberg’s sterling adaptation of the Stephen King novel, you owe it to yourself to set your DVRs. Christopher Walken gives one of the best performances of his career as a troubled, sensitive man granted psychic powers after a car accident.
RED (Showtime, 10:45 PM EST)
After all these years, Bruce Willis still knows how to shoot people.
Face Off (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
The artists must make candy monsters using real candy as make-up. No word on whether Willy Wonka will serve as a guest judge.
Troy (Cinemax, 7:15 PM EST)
Brad Pitt in a loincloth: what could go wrong?
Die Hard with a Vengeance (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
Expect to see various flavors of Die Hard showing up on the schedule in the next week or so… like this one, the solid third entry in the franchise.
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (FMC, 8:00 PM EST and 10:00 PM EST)
No one knows how to milk an animation franchise like Dreamworks.
Fight Club (IFC, 8:00 PM EST)
David Fincher’s modern classic has lost none of its power or sense of outrage over the years.
The Woman in Black (Showtime, 8:00 PM EST)
Daniel Radcliffe deftly sheds Harry Potter in a first-rate ghost story from Hammer Studios.
Arrow (The CW, 8:00 PM EST)
A violent criminal is released from prison and vows to kill the Green Arrow before taking over the city.
Supernatural (The CW, 9:00 PM EST)
Sam and Dean encounter a golem: a Jewish automaton made from clay.
Ghost Hunters (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
The team investigates a New York mansion once owned by businessman Chester F. Wickwire.
Gattaca (BBC America, 8:00 PM EST)
This fascinating film from the late 1990s – about a world where naturally born humans are second-class citizens and genetically engineered people run things – sets a standard for thoughtful and intelligent sci-fi.
The Silence of the Lambs (Cinemax, 9:00 PM EST)
One of the best horror movies ever made. Enough said.
TRON: Legacy (FX, 7:30 PM EST)
Jeff Bridges returns to the world inside the computer, with dazzling results. It replays Thursday at 6:30 PM EST and Friday at 7:30 PM EST.
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 (Showtime, 7:00 PM EST)
No wedding you have ever been to can possibly be as agonizing as the first half hour of this movie.
The Big Bang Theory (CBS, 8:00 PM EST)
Leonard finally has enough of Sheldon’s shit and moves across the hall to live with Penny. About time.
Elementary (CBS, 10:00 PM EST)
The daughter of Holmes’ former drug dealer is kidnapped, which threatens to send him toppling off the wagon if he finds her.
The Vampire Diaries (The CW, 8:00 PM EST)
Shane’s search for a cure leads him to a remote island, while Tyler and Klaus throw down back in Mystic Falls.
Beauty and the Beast (The CW, 9:00 PM EST)
Cat crashes an intimate vacation between Vincent and Alex, which is probably all kinds of awkward.
King of the Nerds (TBS, 10:00 PM EST)
The contestants vie for supremacy over a superhero trivia quiz.
Die Another Day (Showtime, 6:15 PM EST)
The ignominious end to the Pierce Brosnan Bond era has been getting far too much playback for comfort these days.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Starz, 8:20 PM EST)
I’m not saying I enjoy watching someone kick a dildo into a rapist’s ass, but I’m glad it’s David Fincher showing it to me.
Hard Candy (Sundance, 8:15 PM EST)
David Slade’s superior thriller about a little girl and the pederast she tortures is a definite must-see.
The Dead (Syfy, 6:30 PM EST)
Just to be clear: this is the silly zombie The Dead not the thoughtful John Huston The Dead.
The Hills Have Eyes (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
Alexandre Aja proves that not all horror movie remakes are bad.
Demolition Man (AMC, 8:00 PM EST)
Stallone can be quite funny if you let him. And no, that’s not a criticism.
Constantine (AMC, 10:31 PM EST)
Okay, so they depart from the source. It’s still a fun ride.
Cars (Disney. 8:00 PM EST)
This was the first real sign that Pixar might eventually turn in something besides a work of genius.
The Running Man (Cinemax, 8:15 PM EST)
There is no book so good that Hollywood can’t fuck it up. Case in point…
Die Hard 2 (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
Renny Harlin helms a could-be-worse entry in the Die Hard franchise, pitting John McClane against a band of mercenaries crashing planes at Washington’s Dulles airport. Talk about a topic you could never do after 9/11…
X-Men: First Class (HBO, 6:15 PM EST)
I wouldn’t quite call this a reboot, but it certainly gave the series a jolt of adrenaline.
Chronicle (HBO, 8:30 PM EST)
This makes for a solid double bill with First Class, a smart exploration of what might happen if teenagers in the real world gained super powers.
Nikita (The CW, 8:00 PM EST)
Nikita heads for Kosovo, undertaking a risky mission that could devastate Division.
Spartacus: War of the Damned (Starz, 9:00 PM EST)
In order to secure food, Spartacus has to play ball with a gang of pirates… and he is not happy about the prospect.
Merlin (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
Gwen is captured by Morgana, and Arthur heads out to rescue her. Trust me when I say there’s more to this than it seems.
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (Starz, 7:05 PM EST)
We’re not getting Part 2 right afterwards, but that’s okay. There’s still plenty of Crazy 88s to butcher.
Anaconda (AMC, 8:00 PM EST and 10:00 PM EST)
Jennifer Lopez vs. bad CG snakes. Are you excited yet?
Alien vs. Predator (Cinemax, 8:15 PM EST)
And just like that, the coolest sci-fi concept in decades gets pissed away.
Wrath of the Titans (HBO, 8:00 PM EST)
I’m hardly Sam Worthington’s biggest fan, but I give him credit for trying.
Batman and Robin (IFC, 7:15 PM EST)
The king of comic book disasters arrives on IFC, presumably as an expression of irony, since they don’t get any less independent than this.
The Punisher (Spike, 8:00 PM EST)
It’s the Thomas Jane version, as if that distinction makes a difference.
The Bourne Identity (TNT, 8:00 PM EST)
Not a lot of good movies out there tonight (not unless you count Uma Thurman and her Hanzo sword), but don’t worry. Matt Damon’s coming to save the day.
Tasmanian Devil (Syfy, 7:00 PM EST)
I concede that they’re scary little buggers. Or scary big buggers in this case.
Heebie Jeebies (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
Somebody check on that chimp who comes up with new movie titles for Syfy. I think it had a brain seizure.
Battleship (HBO, 8:00 PM EST)
One of the worst movies of 2012 probably doesn’t get any better on the small screen. It repeats Sunday at 6:45 PM EST.
Twilight (ABC Family, 7:00 PM EST and 9:30 PM EST)
The one that started it all….curse its sorry carcass. It runs again on Sunday at the same times.
Ice Age (Cartoon, 7:00 PM EST)
Given the increasingly sad state of this franchise, it’s surprising to remember that the first film wasn’t too bad.
I, Robot (Cinemax, 7:00 PM EST)
Will Smith stars in a fair-to-middling riff on the classic Isaac Asimov novel. As long as you can forget that last part, it does okay.
Dragon Eyes (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
Cinemax closes the night with a little-seen kung-fu epic starring some familiar faces (including Jean-Claude Van Damme and Peter Weller).
The A-Team (FX, 8:00 PM EST)
I’m still trying to figure out exactly how Bradley Cooper got an Oscar nomination. Oh right, because Harvey killed someone.
The Bourne Ultimatum (TNT, 8:00 PM EST)
More fun and games with Matt Damon’s put-upon superspy. Don’t shoot at him. He really hates that.
Con Air (TNT, 10:30 PM EST)
Guilty pleasure? You’re soaking in it!
The Walking Dead (AMC, 9:00 PM EST)
We pick up where we left off, as Rick tries to rescue Daryl (and possibly Merle) from their death match at the Governor’s place. See the top of the article for more.
Once Upon a Time (ABC, 8:00 PM EST)
David runs into a giant brought to Storybrooke and looking to get even.
Outlander (Syfy, 6:30 PM EST)
If you haven’t seen it yet… well, you’re probably pretty smart. It’s not like Syfy has skimped on the opportunities though.
Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome (Syfy, 9:00 PM EST)
The aborted Battlestar spinoff finally arrives on Syfy. Up against The Walking Dead. Nice going there guys.
Event Horizon (IFC, 6:30 PM EST)
The Hellraiser franchise called. It wants its gimmick back.
Sin City (IFC, 8:30 PM EST)
The sequel is apparently a go. And it only took them seven years.
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Cinemax, 10:00 PM EST)
I’m guessing there won’t be another sequel to this one.
Sherlock Holmes (TNT, 8:00 PM EST and 10:30 PM EST)
If you can stand the commercials, this first Downey Holmes film is much better than the second.