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Zombies Ate My Column!
A TV Wasteland Abbreviated by the Fangoria Convention
By Rob Vaux
April 20, 2009
Two zombies, seen at this weekend's Fangoria Convention, could be the culprits behind the missing TV Wasteland
© Rob Vaux
This week's TV Wasteland is being kept short and sweet, since your intrepid columnist is busy covering the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors in LA. Full-bore snark will return next week. For now, here's a run-down of genre programming for the next seven days.
24 (Fox, 9:00 PM EDT)
Dude, Hodges (Jon Voight) has a hot blonde to bust him out of the hoosegow. How do I get me one of those?
Chuck (NBC, 8:00 PM EDT)
NBC's Monday-night block enters its penultimate week (and hopefully, the bigwigs will be smart enough to renew more than just Heroes). Chuck (Zachary Levi) is still on the hunt for his dad (Scott Bakula), with a helping hand from Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) who goes rogue along with him in an effort to bring the old man home safe.
Heroes (NBC, 9:00 PM EDT)
Hiro (Masi Oka) and Ando (James Kyson Lee) plan to destroy Building 26 (wait, Hiro and Ando?! Really?! Um, okay…), while Sylar (Zachary Quinto) undergoes yet another one of his tedious identity crises.
Medium (NBC, 10:00 PM EDT)
Medium's season closes with a two-parter, the first half of which airs tonight. Allison (Patricia Arquette) has visions of a fanatic stalker, whose plans for her seem decidedly less than healthy.
Knights of Bloodsteel (SciFi, 9:00 PM EDT)
Prophesies will likely be fulfilled and destinies no doubt met in the conclusion the SciFi's two-part swords-and-sorcery epic. Comedy Central is countering with a rerun of Kröd Mändoon… which may not be better, but at least is shorter and certainly aware of its own foolishness.
Fringe (Fox, 9:00 PM EDT)
Olivia (Anna Torv) has front-row seats to a suicide in Grand Central Station… which would be plenty freaky even if she weren't in Boston at the time. Scurrilous hack Akiva Goldsman (who penned the screenplay for Batman and Robin, among others) writes and directs tonight's episode. Fairly warned thee be says I.
Deep Blue Sea (BET, 7:30 EDT)
Best. Surprise Death. Ever.
The Mentalist is a rerun this week.
Lost (ABC, 9:00 PM EDT)
Not strictly a rerun this week, but one of those retrospectives designed to keep you up to date before the final sprint through the remainder of the season. Tune in if you're confused. Otherwise, this might be a good night to wash your hair.
MonsterQuest (History, 9:00 PM EDT)
It's "sea creatures off the coast of Florida" this week. Anyone got a bead on what they may be referring to? Anyone? (Maybe it's Missing Link from Monsters vs. Aliens…)
UFO Hunters (History, 10:00 PM EDT)
If there's anything cooler than bizarre theories involving UFOs, it's bizarre theories involving Nazis and UFOs. And they said Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was far-fetched…
Ghost Hunters (SciFi, 9:00 PM EDT)
Do you know that they stuck an episode of this show on the new Caprica DVD? Why, SciFi?! Why would you do that?! Haven't you pissed in our faces enough?! What kind of cynical creeps make such a heavy-handed cross prom- oh right, the show. The team checks out a haunted inn in New Hampshire this week. Neat.
Smallville (The CW, 8:00 PM EDT)
The good news: Smallville's back. The bad news: this episode turns Lois (Erica Durance) into a superhero. Because pulling that stunt with Lana (Kristin Kreuk) earlier in the season wasn't quite painful enough.
Supernatural (The CW, 9:00 PM EDT)
Supernatural's back from hiatus too, and will hopefully do better than its lead-in as the Winchesters run into a boy claiming to be their long-lost brother.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS, 9:00 PM EDT)
Henry Thomas guest stars as a convicted murderer who claims to be innocent. Insert "my alibi phoned home" joke here.
Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire (Comedy, 10:00 PM EDT)
This week's certified wackiness centers around a bisexual cyclops known as a Biclops. Get it? Because it's bisexual and yet it… okay, let's just move on.
RoboCop (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT)
Paul Verhoeven's ultraviolent social satire is still a colossal hoot, despite its twenty-year shelf date. Plus it has a bevy of great character actors--including Kurtwood Smith, Ronny Cox and Miguel Ferrer--strutting their stuff in supporting roles.
Ghost Whisperer (CBS, 8:00 PM EDT)
A soap opera production arrives in Grandview and draws the attention of a pesky poltergeist in the bargain. Jennifer Love Hewitt steps in to ensure that Bronco and Montana's forbidden love is filmed in a timely manner.
Dollhouse (Fox, 9:00 PM EDT)
Tick-tock, Whedonites. There's just a few episodes left as Adelle (Olivia Williams) imprints Echo (Eliza Dushku) with the personality of a murdered friend in order to track down the killer.
Iron Man: Armored Adventures (NickToons, 7:00 PM EDT)
NickToons unveils its new animated series, featuring a teenage version of the hard drinking, hard living, hard-as-nails armored superhero. Here's hoping it's not nearly as lame as it sounds.
Primeval (SciFi, 10:00 PM EDT)
You know why I don't own a pool? Because you never know when prehistoric monstrosities are going to drop in for a swim. The bathtub just seems like a safer option.
For once, there's a full slate of genre programming on Saturday, thanks to a bevy of interesting movie options.
Kings (NBC, 8:00 PM EDT)
David (Christopher Egan) accompanies King Silas (Ian McShane) to Garth in order to ratify the new peace treaty. Check it out while the checking's good, because NBC is burying this puppy in the deepest, darkest hole it can find.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (ABC, 8:00 PM EDT)
This second entry in the Harry Potter film franchise is possibly the best of the lot, thanks to a dark, moody tone and a scene-stealing turn from Kenneth Branagh as Gilderoy Lockhart.
The Prophecy (IFC, 8:00 PM EDT)
The joys of cult films have rarely found a more apt embodiment than Christopher Walken's gloriously loopy performance as the archangel Gabriel in this thriller inspired by Milton's Paradise Lost. Watch for a pre-Aragorn Viggo Mortensen near the end.
Journey to the Center of the Earth (HBO, 8:00 PM EDT)
On the other end of the cool scale is this noisy, pointless remake of the Jules Verne classic, which has absolutely nothing to recommend it besides the 3-D effects (effects which presumably won't be ported over from your local IMAX theater).
Snakes on a Plane (F/X, 8:00 PM EDT)
Though it was hopelessly crushed beneath the unfounded hype which preceded its 2006 release, this tongue-in-cheek Samuel L. Jackson thriller remains an ideal film to get stinking drunk to. I challenge you to watch the hapless passengers building a mighty wall of duffel bags to keep the snakes out of first class and not feel a little flutter of joy.
Carny (SciFi, 9:00 PM EDT)
Step right up and take a gamble on SciFi's Saturday night premiere. It's got Lou Diamond Phillips and a murderous creature escaped from a nearby traveling carnival. Gloriously awful or depressingly bad? Spin the wheel to find out. All it costs is a single wasted Saturday evening!
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (TCM, 10:15 PM EDT)
We'll close with the clear winner of the bunch: Rouben Mamoulian's classic 1932 version of the Robert Louis Stevenson novel. Fredric March won the Oscar for his portrayal of the titular character(s)--the only actor to do so in a horror film until Anthony Hopkins in 1991.
100 Feet (SciFi, 9;00 PM EDT)
Sunday night is much less competitive for SciFi's ubiquitous weekend movie crap-o-rama. This time, it's poor Famke Janssen in the hot seat as a battered wife sentenced to house arrest after murdering her husband… only to discover that the man's ghost is ready to get even.