Don't panic! Yes, there's no new Battlestar Galactica, Lost, Doctor Who or Spectacular Spider-Man this week. (And UK viewers are without new Who as well.) But we'll get through this somehow. I promise. There are some science documentaries, some cool movies — including a super-weird thriller about a computer programmer who gets ensnared in a freaky conspiracy involving empty packages, a robot head, and a virtual reality sex game. Television hasn't abandoned you yet.
The History Channel is re-running a special called Star Wars Tech at 8 PM.
Take a look at the technology shown throughout the six Star Wars films and examine their viability through the eyes of cold hard science. Could a Death Star really be built? Can you build an army of clones? What is 3-D imaging, and where can you get a Light Saber? Travel to a galaxy far, far away to answer all of these questions and more.
There's a new Nova on PBS: "Lord Of The Ants." Which makes me think of Michael Flatley and a bunch of ants in spangly tops clogging really quickly to some celtic folk-rock. But it's actually about the Mofu people of Cameroon, and their "unlikely alliance" with giant killer ants. Plus biologist E.O. Wilson's theories about ants. Check your local listings for times.
If you're ditching work, you have to choose between two movies, both
airing at 10 AM: Not Of This Earth on Sci Fi and Starship Troopers on TBS. What will you do? You may have to go to the office just to avoid the dilemma.
Also, Harrison Ford is on Letterman talking up the new Indiana Jones movie. Hopefully he'll look a little less embarrassed than he did on Good Morning America last Friday. Lost's Matthew Fox is also on Jimmy Kimmel Live, where he will probably try not to talk about Speed Racer.
PBS has a two-hour special called Depression: Out Of The Shadows, which I'm expecting to delve into some pretty science fictional themes, including the widespread use of brain-altering drugs by the population. Plus brain scans, and maybe electro-shock therapy. But yes, it will be somewhat depressing and feature wailing music. Here's a trailer:
If you're that rare person who A) cares about Lost and B) hasn't been keeping up with Lost, ABC is showing two recent episodes at 8: "Something Nice Back Home" and "Cabin Fever." And ABC Family is showing the 1998 U.S. version of Godzilla at 7 PM. It's got Matthew Broderick — how bad can it be?
And Harrison Ford continues his talk-show sweep, hitting Conan O'Brien.
The History Channel has another new Mega Disasters, "Volcanic Winter," at 9 PM. Here's the damage:
The largest volcanic eruption of the past two million years occurred on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, 75,000 years ago. The impact from the super volcano Toba decimated the local habitat, but gas, ash and debris from Toba made their way around the planet and formed a shield in the atmosphere that deflected the sun's warming rays. Temperatures plummeted and the planet was thrown into a volcanic winter and may have even pushed the planet into an ice age. 3-D computer animation will recreate the storm and unveil how this one volcano could have brought humanity to the edge of extinction.
Also, the CW has a Smallville rerun, "Bizarro," at 8 PM.
AMC is showing science fiction movies pretty much all day, with Beneath The Planet Of The Apes at 9:15, The Lost World (the 1960 movie about dinosaurs and hot-pink dresses) at 11:15, The Thing at 1:15, The Day The Earth Stood Still at 3:30, Planet of the Apes at 5:30 and Jurassic Park at 8.
At 7:15, TCM has a documentary, Spielberg On Spielberg, followed by Close Encounters of the Third Kind at 9. And at 10 AM, TBS has Batman and Robin — which I think you guys voted the worst science fiction movie sequel of all time.
Guess who's on Regis And Kelly? Harrison Ford! Somebody is really nervous about whether people will come out to see Indiana Jones.
Why is the Sci Fi Channel taking a week off from its unstoppable Friday night block? I don't know, but they are. Instead, they're showing their usual diet of crappy movies: Meltdown: Days Of Destruction, Solar Attack, Scorcher, Fire Serpent... Aaaaa!
But fear not. IFC is showing the award-winning Icelandic film Paranoia 1.0, otherwise known as One Point Oh, starring Jeremy Sisto, Deborah Kara Unger and Lance Henriksen. A young computer programmer named Simon starts receiving weird empty packages in his apartment. He investigates, and discovers that stuff going on in his building includes an artificially intelligent robot head named Adam, a virtual reality sex game, and an evil company that may be conspiring against him. Simon's grip on reality gets more and more tenuous, and his craving for fresh milk increases. Creepy! That's at 9 PM.
Harrison Ford is on The View, and this time he's got Karen Allen (Marion Ravenwood) with him. That could actually be sort of interesting. And Battlestar Galactica's Tricia Helfer is on The Late Show With Craig Ferguson.
At 12:20 Saturday morning, Cinemax has a movie with the intriguing title of Super Ninja Bikini Babes. You pretty much know, after reading that title, whether this is your type of movie. Apparently a coed discovers an alternate universe. A universe... of bikinis.
Both Spectacular Spider-Man episodes on The CW starting at 9:30 are reruns. Sorry. And so is this week's Ben 10: Alien Force on the Cartoon Network.
But at least there's a new Transformers: Animated: "Rise Of The Constructicons." Finally, we're getting somewhere. A couple of construction vehicles get brought to life by the Allspark. Bulkhead makes friends with them, but the Decepticons want them to help with a new construction project. (It's a patio, I bet.) That's at 10:30 on the Cartoon Network. Also new (to Americans) is an episode of French cartoon Robotboy at 11:30 on Cartoon.
Sick of Harrison Ford yet? A&E is re-running his Biography episode at 7 AM, followed by Shia LaBoeuf's at 8 AM.
And there's a rerun of another Star Wars documentary, Star Wars: Empire Of Dreams, on A&E at 11 AM. It's followed by Sphere and Alien: Resurrection.
Spike has the original Predator, with Arnold Schwartzenegger versus an invisible hunter-killer alien, at 3:30 PM. FX is showing League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen at 5 PM, if you're feeling masochistic.
At least next week, there'll be stuff again. Lost will have its two-hour season finale, and Battlestar Galactica will be back. And A&E will be showing its four-hour Andromeda Strain miniseries on Monday and Tuesday nights at 9. Hang in there.