There's a lot of great stuff on TV this week, if you know where to look. For one thing, there are more attempts to cash in on Bat-fever with some fun-sounding Batman shows. For another, The Middleman is finally clearing up all your nagging questions about boy bands. Doctor Who cranks it up to 11 for the first half of its season finale, and the son of Speed Racer faces possibly his final challenge. Cartoon mechanics create a destructo-robot, plus there's a new Venture Bros., and suburban conformity threatens to destroy Superman. Plus, there's some very radical hairstyling over on Stargate Atlantis. And that's just a taste of this week's surprisingly exciting television options. Click through to find out more.
As usual, The Middleman is your main reason for owning one of those televisual devices. This time around, M.M. and his sidekick/protagonist Wendy Watson deal with a boy band that may actually be from another planet. And the tween girl who's obsessed with them. It's on ABC Family at 10 PM, and here's a trailer:
The History Channel is trying to cash in on your lingering Bat-mania from the weekend of the Bat, showing a new documentary called Batman Tech, all about "Batman's amazing array of gadgets":
Since his debut in DC Comics in 1939, Batman has dazzled readers with an amazing array of bat gadgets. Viewers will go deep inside the Batcave to examine these incredible tools—many of them inspired by amazing real-life military developments. Discover just how close they come to real-life technology.
That's at 9 PM, and it's followed by reruns of Batman Unmasked: The Psychology Of The Dark Knight, and Star Wars Tech. Also you probably have Batman Begins on Blu-ray now, but just in case you don't, FX is showing it from 5 to 8 tonight.
Movies: Encore is showing Contact, featuring Jodie Foster and her creepy space dad, at 12:45 Tuesday morning. And then at three in the morning, Sci Fi is showing Aberration, a TV movie about reptillian predators with a taste for human flesh. Mmm mmm crispy.
The Sci Fi Channel is having a marathon of Level 9 during the day. It's a whole show about that band, the one that sang "There must be something about you, Ooooh baby, so right...." Oh no wait, it's about a secret government agency that investigates spooky stuff. On the Interwebz.
And Gillian Anderson is on the Tonight Show, plugging the new X-Files movie.
Movies: At three A.M. Wednesday morning, TCM is showing The Man From Planet X, about a corrupt scientist who wants to use an extraterrestrial visitor against Earth. That's followed at 4:30 by Riders To The Stars, about scientists who want to snare a meteor to study cosmic rays.
Your TV screen pretty much belongs to PBS on Wednesday night: First there's a new Nova ScienceNow, that anthology series which tackles a bunch of scientific issues in one hour. This time, topics include "the wonderful world of leeches," the search for extraterrestrial intelligent life (SETI), embryonic stem cell research without embryos, and marine bioluminescence deep in the ocean. And here's a video podcast about SETI:
And then after that, there are a couple of new episodes of Click & Clack's As The Wrench Turns, one of the most bizarre radio spin-offs in history. It's an animated version of NPR's cult Car Talk show, about mechanics who diagnose car problems over the phone. It's been critically panned, but you know critics are always wrong anyway. And storylines include the guys creating a robotic car-repair machine, which eliminates repetitive labor but also consumes so much energy it causes a blackout in the Northeast. Here's a clip, which honestly doesn't look that promising. But hey, it's the guys from Car Talk!
The Sci Fi Channel is having an Outer Limits marathon all day. But I have a feeling it'll be the 1990s and 2000s Limits, not the classic version.
Movies: Encore is showing the original Mad Max at 2:15. If the fourth Mad Max ever finally gets made, you'll want to have fresh memories of the movie that made Mel Gibson sort of cool.
Brandon "Superman" Routh stars in a new episode of horror anthology series Fear Itself on NBC at 11. It's directed by Mary Harron (American Psycho) and written by Kelly Kennemeier. It's called "Community," and here's the synopsis:
When a young, married couple find the perfect house in the perfect neighborhood, their lives seem to be following the "American Dream". The dream slowly turns into a nightmare when they discover their new neighbors would go to any extreme to make sure the happy couple complies with their twisted sense of conformity.
There's a new Burn Notice at 11 PM on USA. Michael tries to stop a con man by posing as the perfect mark in this spy-gadget show, featuring Bruce Campbell and Tricia Helfer.
Get ready for X-Files: I Want To Believe by watching a marathon of X-Files episodes all day on the Sci Fi Channel. And then in the evening, Sci Fi has four episodes of Jeremiah, J. Michael Straczynski's short-lived Showtime series about a post-apocalyptic world where almost everybody has been wiped out by a plague.
Also, David Duchovny is on Letterman Thursday night, possibly plugging an upcoming movie. We want to believe it'll be interesting.
Movies: At 11 PM, Sci Fi has an original movie called Alien Apocalypse. Catchy title, hey? And then stay up until 4:30 Friday morning, and you'll be rewarded by seeing The Brain Eaters, about hairy creatures from the center of the Earth that latch onto people's necks. Yeah! That's on AMC.
The Sci Fi Channel has its usual unbeatable Friday night lineup. First at 9, there's the penultimate episode of time travel soap comedy Doctor Who's fourth season, "The Stolen Earth." Without giving too much away, the planet Earth has gone somewhere else, and it ties in to the warning the Doctor received at the end of last week's episode. And there are some familiar faces (friendly, unfriendly and in-between) coming back. Here's a clip:
And then at 10 PM, there's a new Stargate Atlantis, "Broken Ties," which centers around Ronon, and leads to the loss of his signature dreadlocks. (Noooo!) Oh yeah, and he goes through a horrific ordeal. Here's a trailer, which shows off some of Ronon's amazing acting skillz:
Also, there's the season finale (and maybe series finale?) of Speed Racer: The Next Generation, the latest in a long line of attempts to update the classic cartoon. In "Honor Code," Speed, Jr. faces expulsion from the race-car driver school, because it appears he's cheated. (On a car test??) It's on NToon at 7 PM. Has anybody actually been watching this show?
Movies: At three A.M. Saturday morning, Sci Fi has Spiders 2, about a mad doctor breeding giant arachnids aboard a ship. Did you miss the original Spiders? Somehow I bet this movie will make just as much sense in either case.
It doesn't look like there's a new Ben 10: Alien Force, or any other cartoons, on Saturday.
Movies: At 9 AM, Spike has GoldenEye, one of the most science fictional James Bond movies of all time, about a killer satellite. TBS is showing Men In Black II twice, at 8 PM and 9:45 PM. And all day and all night, the Sci Fi Channel is showing movies with titles like King Cobra and Komodo Vs. Cobra and Snake King and Anaconda 3. It's snake day!
There's a new Venture Bros. episode at 11:30 PM, "Now Museum, Now You Don't." As usual, there's not much info available about the episode in advance, but you can tune into the Cartoon Network to find out more.
The Sci Fi Channel is showing a marathon of Eureka all day, to get you ready for the show's third season, debuting Tuesday, July 29. Refresh your memories of the town full of zany science geniuses.