If you had a robot butler scheduling your TV viewing (and maybe showing programs on a Teletubbies-style belly screen) he would have an upbeat lilt in his synth-voice when describing this week's TV options. There are actually some worthwhile items, on days other than Thursday and Friday. For instance, might we suggest mutant ghetto rats and robot apes (not actually appearing in the same show)? Plus, Darth Vader wants to cheat you out of all your money. (Daddy needs a new Death Star!) Oh, and there are new episodes of Lost, Smallville, Doctor Who, Sarah Jane, Ben 10, Transformers, Spider-Man and Battlestar. Listings (with minor spoilers) below.
The special two-hour Star Wars episode of Deal Or No Deal airs at 8 PM. According to the official Star Wars blog, it features models dressed in the famous Leia slave-girl outfit from Return Of The Jedi, plus Carrie Fisher herself in the audience. Chewbacca and R2D2 are there to provide moral support to the two Star Wars fans competing for money. Oh, and Darth Vader takes place of the "villainous banker." (Why is the banker villanous? Is this some kind of Bear Sterns reference?)
Tonight's Letterman features Gwyneth Paltrow promoting Iron Man. Expect pithy quotes about how her Pepper Potts is a new type of comic-book-movie heroine. And tomorrow night, Robert Downie Jr. is on Letterman promoting possibly the same movie.
And early Tuesday morning, TMC has Aeon Flux at 1 AM and Encore has the original Robocop at 2:30 AM.
On the History Channel at 9 PM, The Universe gives major spoilers, with an episode that reveals "the future of the universe." Who lives? (Nobody.) Who dies? (Everybody.) Here's the blurb:
The Universe as we know it is condemned to death. Space, matter and even time will one day cease to exist and there's nothing we can do about it. Harsh realities are revealed about the future of our Universe; it may collapse and burn or it might be gripped by a galactic ice age. Either of these scenarios might be a long way off. However, our Universe could suddenly be destroyed by a "random quantum fluctuation", a bubble of destruction that can obliterate the entire cosmos in the blink of an eye. No matter how it ends, life in our Universe is doomed.
And on Wednesday morning at 2:00 AM, BET is showing Hood Rat, about a swarm of super-intelligent mutant rats that go around killing people in a housing project. It's sort of a remake of Willard, except that instead of training them, I think Isaiah Washington's character just sort of befriends them and they turn out to be super-rats. Ice-T is the comic relief in this film. And it features a scene where rats "come out of a toilet to devour a crackhead's anus." This either just got on your must-see, or your must-avoid list, depending on your taste in bizarre horror films.
This has nothing to do with science fiction, except tangentially, but the worst pain from last winter's writers' strike is yet to come. The proof comes in the form of a new reality TV series which premieres tonight on The CW, called Farmer Wants A Wife. It's about a farmer. Who wants a wife. Suddenly Flash Gordon is sounding really great right now.
Speaking of which, Sci Fi is showing another Flash Gordon marathon all day, allowing you to experience the greatness of croptops, hairgel, hawk people and castrating amazons if you missed it the first time.
Also, the History Channel brings us yet another new UFO Hunters at 10 PM, about a UFO sighting at a U.S. military base.
Tonight's Smallville is the 150th episode, and it's directed by star Tom Welling. Clark visits an alternate reality, where
Buffy never came to Sunnydale Clark never came to Smallville. In this alternate reality, as in all right-thinking universes, Lex is president of the United States. Here's a pretty great scene from the episode, which airs at 8 on The CW (sorry about the sound quality):
And then there's a new Lost at 10 PM on ABC. Jack's doing poorly, and hovers on the brink of nasty death. Meanwhile, Sawyer, Claire, Aaron and Miles try to make their way to the beach, but something goes horribly wrong. We featured two clips from the episode on Friday.
At 7 PM, Sci Fi is re-running Warbirds, its TV movie about pterodactyls in World War II.
You face an impossible choice on Friday morning at 3:00 am: AMC is showing the original Species, while Sci Fi is showing Decoys 2: Alien Seduction. I would advise watching (or taping) Decoys 2 instead of Species. Sure, Species features the super-hot Natasha Henstridge as a human-alien hybrid who's desperate to find someone to reproduce with. But Decoys 2 features a whole squad of alien women who transform themselves into college boys' naughtiest fantasies so they can seduce them and implant their alien eggs inside them. It's like Species mashed up with Alien mashed up with a weird teen sex comedy. We featured a clip from it a while back.
At 7 PM, NickToons is premiering a 90-minute "TV movie" of Speed Racer: The Next Generation. It's basically the first three episodes of this cartoon series mashed up together. The movie is also getting a DVD release on Tuesday, May 6. In this new series, the son of Speed Racer studies to become a race-car champion and rebuilds the Mach-5. Racer X is the new Speed Racer's brother, and his uncle is the school's headmaster. Oh, and Chim Chim is a robot monkey. The TV movie is written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti, who wrote the fluffy but fun Heroes For Hire comic among others. Here's a clip:
At 8 PM, Sci Fi has two episodes of Doctor Who's kid-friendly spin-off The Sarah Jane Adventures. She polishes off those evil nuns, and then squares off with an alien army that's recruiting teenage humans through a sort of laser-tag arcade. The second episode features my favorite Sarah Jane scene of all time, where she builds a weird energy-detector machine out of bits and pieces, wearing a badass welding mask. You go, Sarah Jane!
And then at 9, there's easily the best episode so far of the current Doctor Who season — the Doctor visits Pompeii right on the eve of its destruction by a volcano. His new companion Donna asks some tricky questions about where the Doctor draws the line on interfering with history, and the Doctor has to struggle with his answers a bit. Here's our recap, including a clip from the episode.
And at 10, there's another new Battlestar Galactica. "A possible truce with rebel Cylons leads Starbuck to put her trust in an old enemy." It looks like Starbuck and Leoben are reunited, and it feels so fine. Here's the trailer:
Sci Fi is showing episodes of Stargate SG-1 all day, in case you need to catch up.
There are two episodes of Spectacular Spider-Man at 9:30, including one new episode at 10 AM: "Reaction" introduces Doctor Octopus to the cartoon universe, and also brings back the Green Goblin.
And also at 10 AM, the Cartoon Network has a new Ben 10: Alien Force. Ben and Gwen start to trust Kevin 11 — but then he steals the Rustbucket and tries to trade it for alien technology.
And then at 10:30 AM, the Cartoon Network has a new Transformers: Animated, called "Mission Accomplished." (Is this some kind of subtle dig at George Bush?) Here's the episode description: "Convinced there are no Decepticons left on Earth, the Elite Guard prepares to take Optimus Prime and his crew back to Cybertron — unaware of the increasing Decepticon activity taking place under their very noses." They're not called Decepticons for nothing.
And at 1 PM, The CW has Virus, featuring Jamie Lee Curtis and one of the Baldwins versus an alien disease.
At 2 PM, TNT is showing The Tuxedo, which isn't in the top 100 Jackie Chan movies but does have a few great scenes, most notably the "pants-only mode" scene, when Jackie is only wearing the super-suit's pants — so only his legs are super-agile. It's not a bad thing to watch on a slow Sunday afternoon. Oh, and then there's this bit, where Jackie Chan knocks out James Brown and has to take his place, complete with a moment of weird ass-fetishism.
Sci Fi is showing horror movies all day, starting with Children Of The Corn at the churchgoing hour of 9 AM, and ending up with Final Destination 2 at 9 PM. I don't think any of those films are actually science fiction.
Oh, and at 8 PM, FX has the sort of scifi-ish Mr. And Mrs. Smith, while Spike is re-running Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith. If you flip back and forth, you could mash them up into one totally awesome movie called Mr. And Mrs. Sith.