I'm going to try something a bit different starting with this week's TV column. Instead of just telling you what's on TV and letting you make up your own mind, I'm going to recommend stuff. I'm going to explain to you why Kyle XY really is a better show than you ever realized, and why it's time to give Smallville another chance. And why several thousand of your friends should be watching Jericho. Advocacy, and preview clips from Jericho, Smallville and Lost, below the fold.
Monday night now has a Sarah Connor-shaped hole. (And a Heroes-shaped hole, and (sigh) a Journeyman-shaped hole too.) But there's still Kyle XY on ABC Family at 8, for another couple of weeks, and I'm going to explain to why this show is way better than you give it credit for. For one thing, it does the teen-with-superpowers thing better than any show since Buffy. And you can tell the characters care about each other. Plus, even though it's supposedly family friendly, it actually gets pretty raunchy, as in one recent episode where Kyle's stepsister Lori had to deal with her ex-boyfriend wanting to still have the occasional booty call. And this season features a female version of Kyle named Jessi XX, who is crazy and sadistic. Last week, she made Kyle's stepbrother do pushups with an evil leer on her face. But mostly, you should watch for Ally Sheedy, who just started playing Jessi's mom. We featured an awesome clip of Ally in action the other day. Ally Sheedy! I would watch her in anything.
Also today, the Sci Fi Channel is showing a marathon of the underrated show Odyssey 5 all afternoon. Probably right now, as you read this. Ditch work and go home to check it out. It features a car in space. And it did mental time-travel long before Lost.
And FX is showing The Day After Tomorrow at 5:30 PM, in case you saw 10,000 B.C. and want another hit of Emmercrack right away. And there's a new episode of Modern Marvels called "Strange Weapons" on the History Channel at 8 PM. Strange weapons are definitely the best kind.
Tuesday, there's a new episode of post-apocalyptic drama Jericho on CBS at 10 PM. As you can see from the five-minute preview clip below, it picks up right where last week's shocking episode left off. The military contractors that were put in charge of running the plucky town that survived a nuclear attack are openly treating Kansas like Iraq now, and acting as though they're above the law. It's hard to believe there are only two more episodes left after this one — and they may be the last, unless you can convince a few million people to tune in. Check out the first five minutes of the episode, and then start bugging your friends:
Right before Jericho, there's a new episode of The Universe on the History Channel at 9 PM. It's called "Colonizing Space," and it sounds pretty fucking trippy. It explains how we will grow food on Mars, and how we will recycle wastewater (read: drink our own pee) and introduce greenhouse gases to "revive" the red planet. It sounds totally demented, and I bet there will be CGI animations showing how greenhouse gases will make Mars semi-terraformed.
Also on Tuesday/Wednesday at midnight, there's Cherry 2000 on Encore. Robot sex, plus Melanie Griffith doing Mad Max. Come on, you know that's better than sleeping.
Wednesday, ABC Family is showing Pleasantville, which is sort of slipstream, except it's not all that great. But it does feature Joan Allen masturbating and causing a nearby tree to spontaneously combust. Plus Reese Witherspoon is the school slut! (Somehow I doubt ABC Family will show this film uncut.) There's also a rerun of UFO Hunters on History at 10 PM.
Thursday at 8, there's a new Smallville on The CW. The show's back after a brief hiatus, and Pete Ross returns for a guest appearance. Remember him? Clark's best friend? And now he's got superpowers from — I wish I was kidding about this — meteor-laced chewing gum. It's that extra flavor stripe that gives you the power to stretch and sort of teleport your hands, apparently. Actually, I'm not clear on what Pete's superpower is, but it seems to involve a weird noise. Here's an unfinished preview clip from the episode:
And then at 9, there's a new Lost on ABC. If you average out the quality of "The Constant" and "The Other Woman," you get a pretty good couple of episodes. In general, the consensus seems to be that the show's improved a lot this season. And this week, you get to find out who the last two members of the Oceanic Six are (which should surprise nobody.) We also deal more with that "pregnant women die on the island" thing, which always weirds me out. Here's the trailer for the episode, and check out the two preview clips we posted on Friday:
Or if you're over Smallville and Lost, you can watch 12 Monkeys on Encore at 8, and daydream about the days when Terry Gilliam was still great.
Thursday/Friday at 3:00 AM, there's a TV movie called Alien Abduction on Sci Fi. A woman gets abducted by aliens and then winds up in a mental institution. Where the quality of the anal probes is much lower.
Friday night, there's a rerun of a House episode about a boy who claims that he's been abducted by aliens, and he has a tracking device in his neck. Is he right? Are alien abductions going to become part of the ongoing storylines in the hospital? I won't give away the twist ending, but someone on IMDB calls this the "worst House episode ever." Based on the full synopsis, the episode is definitely science fiction in any case.
Also, the Disney Channel has Sky High at 8 PM. Sci Fi has a couple of Stargate: Atlantis reruns at 9 and 10, and Encore has the original Alien at 9:50.
Saturday, there's a new Torchwood at 6 and 9 on BBC America. I'm not sure which episode we're up to in America, but it scarcely matters. The major character who died a while back is still dead, and angsting about it. That goes on for about three episodes in a row, and you may not actually be able to tell them apart even while watching them. Here are our recaps of the most recent episodes. Actually, Torchwood was doing a lot better for a while there, and the main reason to keep watching is to hope it pulls back up again.
Also, on Saturday morning, there's back-to-back Legion of Superheroes and Spectacular Spider-Man, starting at 9:30 AM on The CW. And then at 1 PM, The CW is showing Solaris, the Soderbergh/Clooney remake. At 3:10 on TMC, there's Free Enterprise, the weird movie about Star Trek fans that helped turn William Shatner into the self-mocking figure he is today. And Disney has The Incredibles at 9 PM.
Sunday evening, G4 is showing a bunch of reruns of Wired For Sex, which is worth checking out if you haven't seen it. Find out about that whole cybersex thing the kids are into.