Even in the midst of the summer lull, there are a few TV programs that are well worth checking out — and which could actually change your life. The Sci Fi Channel is finally showing Charlie Jade, the Blade Runner-esque show about evil corporations and alternate universes. There's a new documentary series about how NASA converted a missile into a quick-and-dirty spaceship. And you can find out which would be worse for Earth: a meteor strike, or a comet shower. And there are new eps of Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica, Spectacular Spider-Man, Ben 10 and Transformers: Animated. Details, and minor spoilers, below.
It's no coincidence that Prince's cousin started using heroin in the month of June, because there's just nothing on television. It was probably even worse back in 1987, before we had the Sci Fi Channel.
The Sci Fi Channel has started showing Star Trek: The Next Generation on Monday nights, with four episodes in a row focusing on the bland life and tragic death of Tasha Yar: "The Naked Now," "The Big Goodbye," "Arsenal Of Freedom" and "Skin Of Evil."
There are two episodes of Mega Disasters on the History Channel at 8 PM Tuesday night — a rerun about a possible asteroid impact on the Earth, and a new episode about a "Comet Storm." Basically if you want to spend two hours feeling total panic about stellar objects smashing into your backyard and giving us the dinosaur treatment, then it's a date. (With no president Morgan Freeman or oil-rigging Bruce Willis to distract you.)
There's a new MonsterQuest on Wednesday at 9 on the History Channel. "Vampire Beast" tracks down the truth about a beast that could be more than human. Or not. Here's the description:
In the fall of 2007, residents of Bolivia, North Carolina started losing pets and farm animals to an unknown creature. Is it the same mystery predator with a taste for blood that preyed on goats and dogs in Bolivia more than 50 years ago?
The Day After Tomorrow also airs on Wednesday at 5:30 on FX.
Also, John Cho is on Last Call With Carson Daly. Will he let slip some Star Trek spoilers?
I'm sorry. I'm so terribly sorry. There is a Smallville rerun in which Clark's super-cousin Kara tries out for a beauty pageant, if that helps. I know, not really.
Sci Fi Channel has the U.S. premiere of Charlie Jade, a Canadian/South African show about a detective who sees alternate universes, at 8 PM Friday. I haven't yet seen any episodes, but this site says it's very very noir, with a strong Blade Runner/Frank Miller element going on. In a nutshell, a detective named Charlie Jade (my almost-namesake) discovers that there are three different Earths: the corporate-dominated dystopia he lives on, a perfect unspoiled paradise, and "our" world. The corporate-dominated world wants to ravage the unspoiled one, and ours just gets caught in the crossfire.
And then at 9 PM, Sci Fi is showing another new (to Americans) episode of Doctor Who, "The Doctor's Daughter." Humans are stuck in an endless war against bubbly fish people, and the Doctor has a daughter. (It's not a spoiler if it's the title of the episode. I think.) It's a fun episode, but ultimately falls a bit short because it's trying to juggle too many ideas. Our recap is here. Here's a piece of the episode:
And then at 10 PM, there's a new Battlestar Galactica: "The Hub." If the spoilers we ran for this episode a while back turn out to be true, this could be a pretty explosive one that changes everything forever. In any case, we find out what happened to Roslin, and Xena is back.
Saturday at 10, there's a new Spectacular Spider-Man on The CW. It's called "Intervention," and it deals with the Venom symbiote, which is trying to take over Spidey. Meanwhile, Aunt May is in the hospital, and Pete's friendship with Eddie is ruined.
At exactly the same time, on the Cartoon Network, there's a new Ben 10: Alien Force, "What Are Little Girls Made Of?" Ben and Gwen discover that their grandmother is an alien. And Gwen has to make a tough decision. And at 10:30 on Cartoon, the new Transformers: Animated has an awesome title: "S.U.V.: Society Of Ultimate Villainy," which we posted spoilers from before. Here is a clip, from its earlier airing in Dubai:
Saturday night, Sci Fi has two different original TV movies: Dog Soldiers and Bloodsuckers.
The Discovery Channel has the first two episodes (four hours worth) of When We Left The Earth: The NASA Missions. It's a bizarre history of NASA's first 50 years, featuring new footage in HD quality. Witness the first ever spacewalk, and the hair-raising challenges of converting an intercontinental ballistic missile into a vessel capable of carrying humans up into space.
Also, the Cartoon Network has new episodes of Venture Bros. and Metalocalypse at 11:30 and midnight, as part of its "Adult Swim" lineup. The Venture Bros. episode, "The Doctor Is Sin," shows what happens when a deal with General Manhowers falls through. Dr. Venture may have to sell the Venture Compound — unless he can turn it into a super-efficient science machine. And then the Metapocalypse episode, "Dethgov," is about Nathan Explosion serving a temporary term as governor of Florida. (Thanks Lampbane!)