Play "Spot The Star Trek Actor" On This Week's Shows

It's when times are lean that you need a really good tracker — someone who can scout through the barren underbrush of the TV schedule and forage for programs worth watching. We're still on a severe diet, thanks to last winter's writers' strike. But there are some worthy programs out there. We have two preview clips from Thursday's all-new Lost episode, plus looks ahead at new episodes of Smallville, Doctor Who, Sarah Jane, Spectacular Spider-Man, Transformers and Ben 10. Plus the Sci Fi Channel finally breaks the cheese-ometer. Listings, with minor spoilers only, below the fold.

Tonight

Another slow Monday in scifi-land. FX is showing Elektra at 9 PM, just in case you want a yardstick to compare Iron Man to. And Sci Fi is showing a ton of Star Trek: Enterprise episodes, which means there's an even chance you'll see Jolene Blalock decontaminating herself if you watch all of them.

Robert Downey Jr. is on Jay Leno tonight at 11:30 on NBC, probably gloating about how many truckloads of cash Iron Man made over the weekend, and making completely random predictions about the storyline of Iron Man 2.

And at 1 AM Tuesday, AMC has The Cell, in case you want to fantasize that it's your disturbed unconscious that J.Lo is wandering into.

Tuesday

The History Channel has a new Mega Disasters at 9 PM, with an episode called "Hypercane." Somebody offered me some Hypercane at a party recently, but I heard that stuff eats away at your sinuses. Actually, here's the blurb:

65 million years ago a massive asteroid crashed into Mexico's Yucatan peninsula. 75% of all life on earth vanished; but could a single asteroid have been the lone killer? Theories about what happened after the impact have been speculated on by the entire scientific community. Ranging from global warming to lethal worldwide firestorms, ideas have been put forth—but none have been proven. Then in 1995 a new theory claimed that a powerful mega storm known as a Hypercane caused the extinction. The Hypercane allegedly reaches 20 miles into the stratosphere and has wind speeds of up to 700 miles per hour. 3-D computer animations will reveal how this storm could have brought down nearly all life on the planet.

FX is showing Batman Begins at 8 PM, in case you want to refresh your memory before The Dark Knight comes out.

And at midnight, Encore has the original Alien.

Wednesday

The History Channel has another new UFO Hunters at 10 PM, featuring analysis of NASA's actual UFO footage. If it comes from NASA, it must be real, right?

Encore has Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me at 8, and Waterworld at 9:40.

Emile Hirsch is on Letterman, talking up Speed Racer, which comes out Friday.

Thursday

There's a new Smallville on Sci Fi at 8 PM. Robert Picardo, the holographic doctor from Star Trek: Voyager, takes some time out from his role on Stargate: Atlantis to play a funny monk guy who has a whole serve-the-Traveler thing for Clark. Here's the trailer:

And then there's a new Lost at 10:02 PM, "Cabin Fever." Things heat up on the freighter, and meanwhile we learn a whole lot of new stuff about Locke. Here are a couple of preview clips:

Sci Fi has the first two Resident Evil movies at 7 and 9 PM.

And at 4 AM Friday morning, AMC has 1958's Earth Vs. The Spider, about hot-rodding teens who have a run-in with a giant arachnid. But is one of that motorcycle-riding kids named Mutt?

Friday

Sci Fi has another unstoppable Friday night lineup. At 8 PM, Sarah Jane Adventures has two more episodes, the end of "Warriors Of The Kudlak" and the first half of "Whatever Happened to Sarah Jane?" "Kudlak" has a somewhat disappointing revelation that you can see coming a mile off, but still features some great ass-kicking Sarah Jane moments. And "Whatever Happened" is basically pure win, making you realize quite what a dire place the world would be without our hero.

And at 9 PM, there's a new (to Americans) Doctor Who episode, "Planet Of The Ood." It's the return of those subservient wormy-faced slave creatures from season two's "Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit," now with more nonsensical exobiology. The episode in general doesn't make much sense, but it does feature some good moments between the Doctor and Donna. You can read my recap here. And here are the first 10 minutes of the episode:

And at 10, there's the sixth episode of Battlestar Galactica season four, which means we're halfway through the 2008 episodes already. This is the episode featuring Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Nana Visitor as another cancer patient, and that means you can expect to see lots of President Roslin battling her own cancer. I wonder which book the Admiral will read to her from this week. Here's the trailer. Poor Gaeta:

Also, at 8:30 PM, TCM has 1959's On The Beach, one of the earliest post-apocalyptic movies ever, where survivors of a nuclear war wait in a submarine off the New Zealand coast for the radiation to reach them.

Saturday

There are two Spectacular Spider-Man episodes starting at 9:30 on The CW, including a new episode featuring the Green Goblin and John Jameson, the astronaut son of newspaper editor J. Jonah Jameson. And another classic Spider-villain may make an appearance.

The Cartoon Network has a new Ben 10: Alien Force at 10, followed by a new Transformers: Animated at 10:30. Transformers features "the debut of Wreck-Gar as well as the return of the Angry Archer."

IFC is showing the scifi-ish Human Nature at 9 PM — it's one of the lesser known Charlie Kaufman scripts, but still very worth checking out for its weird neuroscience and mice learning to eat salad with a knife and fork.

And the Sci Fi Channel has B-movies all day from 9 AM to 5 AM, including quite a few Sci Fi Original Movies. I want to list all the titles, just because they make me giggle: RAPTOR ISLAND, CARNOSAUR, CARNOSAUR 2, CARNOSAUR 3: PRIMAL SPECIES, PTERODACTYL, ROCK MONSTER, AZTEC REX, SABRETOOTH, and RAPTOR. I think Aztec Rex is appearing for the first time ever, at 9 PM and 1 AM. Somebody is excited, to the point of making a celebratory LOL-dinosaur.

Sunday

At 7 PM, Sci Fi has the movie Hybrid. It's either the 1997 movie about people who go into a dark, scary lab and get chased by a half-something, half-something else monster. Or the 2000 movie about the guy in the 1930s who was obsessed with creating a new breed of corn. Or maybe... it's a hybrid of the two! Anyway, whichever hybrid it's about probably won't lurch out of the bath and blather about Kara Thrace causing the apocalypse, sadly.

And FX is showing I, Robot at 8 PM.