This Week's TV: The Best Pilot We've Seen in Years. Plus the Most Insane Syfy Movie Ever, Starring Mark Sheppard!S

The Walking Dead comes back this week, and the show's creators are promising the fast-paced action you've been craving. But that's not all television has in store for you — there's also the series premiere of The River, a unique horror series from the creator of Paranormal Activity. Find out why we thought The River's first episode was the best pilot we've seen in ages.

But also, there are two new TV movies, in which Mark Sheppard plays Captain Nemo, and Jamie Kennedy plays the messenger of Cupid! And we meet Jake's Dad on Adventure Time. And much, much more. After the jump, there are brand new clips from Walking Dead, Vampire Diaries, Fringe, Adventure Time, Clone Wars, Alcatraz, Being Human, The River, Supernatural and the reunion of Mark Sheppard with his father, W. Morgan Sheppard. Television is your friend!

Today:

Adventure Time is back once again at 7:30 PM, on Cartoon Network. In "Dad's Dungeon,"

Jake's Dad appears in a holographic message with a mysterious challenge for Finn and Jake.

Here's a clip, featuring Jake's Dad! And that's followed at 8 PM by a brand new Regular Show, and a new Mad at 8:30.

Also at 8, there's a new House, in which House's unconventional methods are questioned. Shocking, I know.

And at 8:30 PM, Nicktoons has a brand new Supah Ninjas.

Then at 9 PM, there's a brand new Alcatraz on Fox, "Guy Hastings." And this time, the "returnee of the week" is a guard! Should be a piece of cake, right?

Guy Hastings, an Alcatraz guard, reappears. Although a good man, Hastings is being asked to do bad things and will come face-to-face with an old acquaintance.

Here's a sneak peek.

Also at 9 PM, there's another new episode of Being Human on Syfy, "(I Loathe You) For Sentimental Reasons."

Sally meets a kindred spirit; Josh runs with a new pack of wolves; Aidan is sucked back into his old life.

Syfy has a brand new (to Americans) episode of Lost Girl at 10 PM, "Faetal Attraction." There's absolutely no way that episode title could be misconstrued as something extremely icky, whatsoever. Nope. None at all. Anyway, here's what Syfy wants you to know about the preview clip at left:

Dyson investigates what happened to Olivia and asks if she was seen with the weapon or the head and Bo finds herself in the hot seat. He asks her why she brought them back to her place and she states that her last meal left her unsatisfied, speaking of her last encounter with Dyson. Tune-in to an all new episode of Lost Girl on Monday, February 6th @ 10/9c and watch as Bo faces the wrath of a fury scorned and deals with rejection from Dyson.

Also at 10, there's a brand new Castle on ABC.

Tuesday:

At 7:30 PM, Cartoon Network has a new episode of The Amazing World of Gumball, "The Car." That's followed at 8 PM by a brand new Level Up, "Wyatt Presents: Avatar in 3D." And then at 8:30 PM, there's the season finale of Looney Tunes Show.

And then at 9 PM, there's the two-hour premiere of The River, the "found footage" horror TV show by Paranormal Activity director Oren Peli. We reviewed the first of those two hours several months ago, and at the time we felt it was the best new TV pilot we'd seen in years. Here's how ABC describes the two-hour premiere:

In the first hour, "Pilot," Dr. Emmet Cole, beloved adventurer and television personality goes missing deep in the Amazon. After a fruitless search for him, his family and friends abandon hope and hold a memorial service to commemorate his amazing life. His grieving wife, Tess, reluctantly tries to face the reality that her husband is gone, while her son, Lincoln, is more than ready to bury his past. Six months later Emmet's location beacon mysteriously begins to relay a signal. Tess persuades Lincoln to join her and Emmet's film crew on a journey through the Amazon to find him, a journey on which horrifying and almost mythical events will push them to their limits.

In the second hour, "Marbeley," when the spirit of Dr. Emmet Cole mysteriously enters Jahel, the message is clear — go home! Instead, Tess determines to go into the jungle to find clues to Cole's whereabouts. While on their mission, they discover a tree draped in children's dolls that they suspect is there to ward off the "spirit of the abandoned girl" who drowned in the river. Then, when a member of the crew goes missing, the group realize they'll have to endure a nightmare in order to appease an angry spirit and get their loved one back.

Above is a clip from the first hour.

Also at 9 PM, National Geographic has the premiere of a new show, Doomsday Preppers, which "explores the lives of otherwise ordinary Americans who are preparing for the end of the world as we know it. Unique in their beliefs, motivations, and strategies, preppers will go to whatever lengths they can to make sure they are prepared for any of life's uncertainties. And with our expert's assessment, they will find out their chances of survival if their worst fears become a reality." Check out a chunk of it at left.

At 10 PM, CBS has the return of Unforgettable, the show about the cop who has a supercomputer in her brain that lets her freeze-frame and zoom and enhance all of her memories. This time:

A serial killer with knowledge of Carrie's memory abilities taunts the Queens PD as his list of victims grows.

And Jane Curtin joins the cast as a medical examiner. Yay!

At 10 PM, Science has a new Monster Bug Wars, "Ultra Violence."

Wednesday:

At 7:30, Cartoon Network has a new Johnny Test, "Mush, Johnny, Mush":

Johnny is challenged to a dog sled race to Porkbelly Peak by bratty rich kid Monty Butterworth III. Bling Bling, Black & White and Mr. Mittens also join the competition to determine the dogsled champion of the world. First they have to survive the ice plateau that's come loose and is hurling them down the mountain.

That's followed at 8 PM by a new Ninjago.

And at 8 PM, there's another new Dragon Ball GT on Nicktoons, "The Last Oracle of Luud." That's followed at 8:30 by a new Supah Ninjas.

At 9 PM in most markets, PBS has a new episode of Nova, "Separating Twins".

Follow the amazing story of Trishna and Krishna, girls born joined at the head, as surgeons prepare to separate them.

Thursday:

There's a new Vampire Diaries at 8 PM on The CW, and it's called "Dangerous Liaisons." There hasn't been a gruesomely violent formal dance in Mystic Falls for almost a month, so it's time for another one!

SOME ENCHANTED EVENING - Elena (Nina Dobrev) is surprised to receive an invitation to a formal ball, and when Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Stefan (Paul Wesley) hear the party is being hosted at Klaus's newly renovated mansion, they both insist on attending the event with her. Caroline (Candice Accola) and Matt (Zach Roerig) also receive invitations to the ball from unexpected admirers. At the elegant party, Elena learns of a horrifying plan that could lead to numerous deaths and she must decide who she can trust with her her new information. Caroline discovers a side of Klaus (Joseph Morgan) no one would have suspected. Finally, after an evening of violence and dashed hopes, Damon finds a new way to cope.

Check out a sneak peek above!

Also at 8 PM, there's a new episode of The Big Bang Theory on CBS, "The Vacation Solution."

And a third option at 8 PM: There's another new Dragon Ball GT, "The Man Behind the Curtain."

And then at 9 PM on the CW there's a new Secret Circle, "Valentine".

VALENTINE'S DAY IN CHANCE HARBOR BRINGS SLUMBER PARTIES, SURPRISE HOOKUPS AND VENGEFUL WITCHES - In honor of the holiday, Faye (Phoebe Tonkin) and Melissa (Jessica Parker Kennedy) throw a girls only anti-Valentine's Day slumber party for themselves and fellow witches Diana (Shelley Hennig) and Cassie (Britt Robertson). But the night gets wilder than expected when Melissa offers Diana some mood altering "Devil's Spirit" and the first person Diana loosens up around is Lee (guest star Grey Damon), who crashes the party to help Faye achieve her own power. Meanwhile, Cassie is forced to turn to Adam (Thomas Dekker) and Jake (Chris Zylka) after she becomes haunted by the spirits of some vengeful witches.

Also at 9 PM, there's a new Person of Interest on CBS, "Wolf and Cub." Here's what to expect:

The Machine identifies Darren, a teenager whose brother was just murdered, as the next POI. Meanwhile, Finch is growing concerned that the son of his former business partner is dangerously close to finding out about The Machine.

At 10 PM, FX has another new Archer, "Drift Problem":

Archer's surprise birthday present – a high-tech, souped-up spy car – leads to all sorts of other surprises. None of which are good.

Friday:

Cartoon Network is showing another new Secret Mountain Fort Awesome at 4:30 PM.

At 8 PM, The CW has another new Nikita, "Rogue":

PERCY THREATENS TO KILL NIKITA'S MENTOR - Percy (Xander Berkeley) continues his plan to take back Division by threatening to kill Nikita's (Maggie Q) mentor Carla (guest star Erica Gimpel, "Fame"), the woman who took Nikita off the streets when she was a junkie. Determined to get to Carla before Percy, Nikita uses Madeline (guest star Alberta Watson) to send her a message. Percy intercepts the message and it's a race to see who can get to Carla first. Meanwhile, Amanda (Melinda Clarke) tells Alex (Lyndsy Fonseca) it's time for her to take back Zetrov and reveal to the world that Alexandra Udinov is alive.

Check out a sneak peek!

Also at 8 PM, there's a new episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on the Cartoon Network, "Crisis on Naboo." Yes, we return to your favorite planet and mine, just in time for the 3D re-release of Phantom Menace. Here's what it's about:

The Chancellor travels to Naboo to preside over a public ceremony, guarded by Jedi Knights. Dooku and his bounty hunters — including an undercover Obi-Wan Kenobi — launch their kidnapping plot.

And here's a clip!

And at 8 PM, there's also the return of A Gifted Man on CBS, in which the medical storylines get weirder and weirder. This week, it's all about the famous "tumor defense," which leads to a hostage crisis:

A distraught woman takes the Clinica staff hostage after Michael testifies for a former patient who he believed suffered uncontrollable urges due to a brain tumor.

At 8:30 PM on Cartoon Network, there's a new Generator Rex, "A Brief History of Time." Yes, it's the long-awaited animated Stephen Hawking crossover. Also at 8:30 PM, Disney has two episodes of Phineas & Ferb, "Monsters from Id" and "Gi-ants."

And at 9 PM, The CW has another Supernatural, "Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie":

CLOWNS, UNICORNS AND SHARKS, OH MY! - Sam (Jared Padalecki) is forced to confront a childhood fear when a case takes him and Dean (Jensen Ackles) to Kansas to investigate Plucky Pennywhistle's Magical Menagerie, a local pizza chain that hosts children's birthday parties. Sam and Dean discover that the victims' children had recently been to the restaurant and drawn a picture of their worst fear, which then came to life to kill their parent. While Dean confronts the man behind the magic, Sam is left to deal with some very angry clowns.

Check out a sneak peek above.

Meanwhile, at 9 PM, Fox has a new episode of Fringe, "Welcome to Westfield." And this appears to be the zombie rampage episode. More importantly, Walter is leaving the lab! Hurrah! Here's the blurb:

Peter, Olivia and Walter come face to face with a mysterious and terrifying Fringe event as they get trapped in a town that there's no escaping from.

And we have a sneak peek, at left.

A third option at 9 PM: a new Grimm on NBC, "Tarantella." It guest stars Amy Acker, and here's the scoop:

Nick (David Giuntoli) and Hank (Russell Hornsby) find themselves on the hunt for a deadly heartbreaker leaving behind a web of dead bodies. Meanwhile, Nick's growing recognition among the creature world is starting to threaten not only his safety but Juliette's (Bitsie Tulloch) as well, and it may be time for him to take action to keep her safe.

At 10 PM, Syfy has a new (to Americans) episode of Merlin, "Servant of Two Masters."

Also at 10 PM: another episode of the pornstorical drama Spartacus: Vengeance on Starz.

At 11 PM, G4 has a new (to Americans) episode of Blade Anime, "The Island of Fire."

Saturday:

Ben 10: Ultimate Alien airs at 9 AM on Cartoon Network, with "The Enemy of My Frenemy."

At 8 PM, the Hallmark Channel has yet another one of its totally ludicrous fantasy TV movies, which are an endless source of fascination and wonderment. This one is called Cupid, and here's the scoop:

An uptight TV talk show host is lonely and looking for love just days before Valentine's Day when she gets a visit from a mysterious stranger who claims to be a love expert. He tasks her with a mission from Cupid to help other couples find true love, and she will be surprised with her own. But soon after she starts playing matchmaker, she finds her own true love has been within reach all along.

And yes, that's Jamie Kennedy as the minion of Cupid. For reals.

So you might remember that Journey 2: The Mysterious Island comes out this weekend. And apparently someone at Syfy decided that there would be a huge audience of people who were desperate to see The Rock face giant birds, but couldn't afford the movie tickets. Or maybe those people might have seen the movie on Friday night, but they find themselves still craving more Jules Verne action on Saturday night. Either way, Syfy is here for that tiny population of people, with the Syfy original movie, Jules Verne's Mysterious Island. The one saving grace? It stars Mark "Pure Awesomeness" Sheppard. Plus his dad, Morgan W. Sheppard. Here's the blurb:

In Jules Verne's Mysterious Island, premiering Saturday, February 11 at 9PM (ET/PT), a group of travelers become stranded on a mysterious island. Confronting vicious pirates, terrifying creatures and an active volcano, they must find a way to escape.

Above is a trailer, in which we learn that the people stranded on the island are Civil War veterans who've been swept forward in time and they're facing flesh-eating swamp creatures and a giant octopus creature. Basically, this TV movie has everything. Below is a sneak peek, featuring both Sheppards playing Captain Nemo, plus an insane amount of technobabble. Plus a behind-the-scenes video and one more promo:



Also at 9 PM, BBC America has episode five of The Fades, in which we finally find out why that kid is so doggone special, and just what it is that he can do. It's pretty great when you finally see it happen.

Sunday:

Fox has its usual animation bloc starting at 7:30 PM, with The Cleveland Show, The Simpsons, Napoleon Dynamite, Family Guy and American Dad. And The Simpsons is guest-starring Adam and Jamie from MythBusters!

Marge and Lisa's mother-daughter Valentine's Day plans take a turn when Lisa meets Nick (guest voice Michael Cera), an intellectual romantic who shares the same passion for culture, history and literature. Lisa and Nick fall head over heels for each other in a fairytale romance and make a secret getaway to Mulberry Island to profess their eternal love. Meanwhile, Bart and Milhouse are inspired by the hosts of "MythCrackers" (guest voices Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage) to "crack" Springfield Elementary's own legends.

ABC has a brand new Once Upon a Time at 8 PM, "Skin Deep":

After Mr. Gold's house is robbed, Emma keeps a close eye on him when it looks like he wants to track down the criminal and dole out some vigilante justice as payback, and Valentine's Day finds Mary Margaret, Ruby and Ashley (Jessy Schram, "Falling Skies") having a girls' night out. Meanwhile, in the fairytale land that was, Belle (Emilie de Ravin, "Lost") agrees to a fateful deal to give up her freedom in order to save her town from the horrors of the Ogre war.

And at 9 PM, there's the midseason premiere of The Walking Dead, with "Nebraska".

Rick and the others try to restore order in the aftermath of a terrible discovery. Hershel takes up an old habit and disappears, Rick and Glenn must follow him into town.

Check out four sneak peeks below:





At 10 PM, there's the debut of a new reality TV show on AMC, Comic Book Men, in which Kevin Smith runs a comic-book store.

And finally, there's a new Mary Shelley's Frankenhole on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim at 12:15 AM, "Bram Stoker's Loud Mouths!"

Sources: Futon Critic, MSN TV, TV Guide, and various TV studio press releases.