This week's Fringe may be the funniest yet, judging from a preview clip. There's a new Avengers cartoon, plus a new live-action Scooby Doo movie. Plus we examine the ratings for The Event, Supernatural, Caprica, Chuck and No Ordinary Family.
For this week's TV column, since we're about a month into the fall season, we're doing something slightly different. In addition to including all of the usual TV listings, we're also taking the temperature of some of the biggest genre shows on TV right now, to see how they're holding up so far this year. Which shows are thriving and which are imploding? Find out below!
Scooby Doo - Mystery Inc. at 7 PM on Cartoon Network, "Mystery of the Secret Serum," followed by a new Johnny Test at 7:30 PM, "Johnny's Got A Wart!"
There's a new Chuck on NBC at 8 PM, in which "Morgan starts a forbidden romance." Which sounds very, very promising, especially if it leads to apopleptic Adam Baldwin.
Ratings watch: The show's most recent episode got about 5.36 million viewers, almost as bad as the tail end of season three — which means maybe you shouldn't necessarily count on too much more Chuck.
There's also a new House on Fox at 8 PM.
At 8 PM, there's the second season premiere of Adventure Time, barely a few weeks after the first season ended, on Cartoon Network. There's also a new Regular Show at 8:15, Mad at 8:30 PM, and then Total Drama World Tour at 9 PM.
And then there's a new episode of The Event at 9 PM on NBC, in which Collier discovers Vicky's secret life. Which sounds promising.
Ratings watch: The show's ratings are in a pretty serious slide, down to about 7.76 million last week. But if it stabilizes in the next few weeks, the show could still get a full season. Here are an amazing six sneak peeks:
HBO has Land of the Lost at 4:45, followed by Men In Black II at 6:30 PM. Encore has Field Of Dreams at 6:10 PM, followed by Groundhog Day at 8 PM. The Incredibles is on Disney at 8 PM. Shadow of the Vampire is on IFC at 9 PM. At 5 AM Tuesday morning, IFC is showing William Shatner's classic Kingdom Of The Spiders, for some amazing Shatnerian spider-dancing.
There's a new No Ordinary Family, on ABC at 8 PM:
After Stephanie's ring is stolen during a robbery at a high-end wedding, Jim and George become wedding crashers in an attempt to catch the thugs. Meanwhile, after learning that assistant Katie misguidedly used her own blood to cover for Stephanie's company physical exam - fearing that the results would reveal her powers - Stephanie is forced to use her powers in order to retrieve the blood sample from a secure lab; against her parents' wishes, Daphne wants to tell her friend Megan about her telepathic abilities after she inadvertently reads her mind and blurts out what she heard; and JJ asks Daphne to scan the mind of a cute girl to find out if she has feelings for him.
Ratings watch: The show dipped to about 9 million viewers in its second week, but probably hasn't found its level yet — and apparently it's doing abnormally well among adults 18-49, so that's a plus.
There's a new Stargate Universe on Syfy at 9 PM, "Awakening." The crew encounters a ship remarkably similar to Destiny, which may hold the key to their returning home.
Ratings watch: The move to Tuesdays seems to have been really bad for SGU, which reaped only about 1.07 million viewers last week, down 9 percent from the season opener.
Caprica is back again, and here's what happens:
Lacy botches an operation launched by Barnabas, and the Adama brothers begin a campaign of coercion against Daniel's former colleagues while Amanda tries to cope with her losses.
Ratings watch: The first episode of the second half of season one was watched by just 889,000 viewers, an all-time low for Caprica.
Syfy is showing weird monster movies all day — yet again. And this time, they include Grizzly Rage and Bloodmonkey. Yeah, really. At 8 PM, Disney is showing Casper Meets Wendy, while E! is showing Evan Almighty. At 9 PM, IFC is showing Evil Dead 2, followed by This Night I'll Possess Your Corpse. And at 10 PM, Cinemax is showing The Dead Zone. At midnight, Oxygen is showing Halle Berry's (Razzie) Award-winning Catwoman. It's Oprah-approved.
In a new episode of J.J. Abrams' Undercovers on NBC at 8 PM, an important hard drive goes missing.
Ratings watch: This show is dropping fast, hitting around 6.24 million viewers last week. I wouldn't get too attached to Undercovers.
Also at 8 PM, there's a new MythBusters: Buster's Cut on Discovery, followed by a new MythBusters at 9 PM. The latter is a crossover with Discovery's Storm Chasers, which airs afterwards:
This special episode of MYTHBUSTERS is quite literally a perfect storm. That's because Adam and Jamie are putting tornados to the test with the help of Discovery's very own STORM CHASERS, Reed Timmer and Sean Casey. The awesome foursome kicks things off in style, putting the STORM CHASERS' super chariots to the test. Reed's "Dominator" and Sean's "TIV2" have survived wind speeds of up to 155 miles an hour in the past, but can these vehicles survive a tornado? Adam and Jamie aim to find out using the craziest means available – a 747. The 747 becomes the ultimate tornado simulator as the guys line up Reed and Sean's vehicles directly in the jet stream of the massive plane. Will they fly away or pass with flying colors? The result is 100% spectacular.
And at 8:30 PM, there's a special presentation on Disney XD of a new show, The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, with the episodes "Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D./This Monster, This Hero/My Brother, My Enemy/The Isle of Silence." Here's a taste:
And at 10 PM, there's a new episode of Sci-Fi Science: Physics Of The Impossible, featuring "Black Hole Odyssey," on the Science channel.
At 10:30 PM there's another new episode of Comedy Central's Ugly Americans, "Kill, Mark, Kill."
It's all cheesy spider movies, all day on Syfy. At 11:30, Encore is showing Starship Troopers. And AMC is showing Unbreakable at 2:30, so you can contemplate how great the abortive sequel might, or might not, have been. At 8 PM, Disney is showing The Little Vampire, which actually sounds sort of intriguing, and Cinemax has John Carpenter's The Thing. Encore has Signs at 8 PM followed by Starship Troopers at 9:50 PM. And at 10:35 PM, IFC has Awakening of the Beast.
No new The Vampire Diaries or Nikita this week — although as far as ratings go, The CW was very happy to announce in a press release that both shows had a ratings spike last week. They're both doing great by CW standards.
At 8 PM, there's a new The Big Bang Theory on CBS.
Ratings watch: This show continues to kill, getting 12.49 million viewers last week.
At 9 PM on Fox, there's the last Fringe we'll get until Nov. 11, thanks to baseball. And it seems like "Do Shapeshifters Dream of Electric Sheep?" will be a pivotal episode for Fauxlivia. "A shapeshifter is called into action; Walter finds himself in a dangerous situation during an investigation at Massive Dynamic."
Ratings watch: The show actually went up a tick in key demographics last week, which is very welcome news considering how much it's been struggling. But it's still down quite a bit from last year's ratings, and I wouldn't count on much more Fringe unless it shows more improvement. Here's a sneak peek that will have you clawing your face off with excitement to see this episode. Walter takes the Massive Dynamic kids to school:
At 10 PM, National Geographic has a special, Morays: The Alien Eels.
And in an... interesting choice, Syfy is showing the season finale of Beast Legends, "Bird Monster," at 1 AM. Yes, you read that right. Somehow, I don't think we should hold our collective breath for Beast Legends season two.
Today's Syfy movies include Beowulf, Grendel and Cerberus. At 12:30, Encore is showing My Stepmother Is An Alien, so you can understand just how Dan Aykroyd came to be selling vodka out of an RV. At 3 PM, HBO has Men In Black II followed by Anaconda. Starting at 6:45, Cinemax is showing all three Darkman movies, followed by Minority Report. At 10:45, AMC is once again showing The Terminator.
At 1:30 in the morning, TMC is showing the unrated movie The Hills Have Thighs. Really? The Hills Have Thighs? Is that what it's come to? Does this include atomic mutant cannibalism? Check out the movie's opening sequence:
There's a new Batman: The Brave and the Bold at 7 PM on Cartoon Network, called "The Mask of Matches Malone" — which I believe is the one where the Birds of Prey sing about Aquaman's unfortunate endowment. That's followed by a new Ben 10: Ultimate Alien at 7:30 PM.
It's the 200th episode of Smallville, on The CW at 8 PM. Apparently this is a "pivotal moment" in Clark's journey to become Superman, and also a journey into Clark's past as well as his future. "Clark attends his high-school reunion and is visited from the future by Brainiac. He reveals truths about Clark's past, present and future, including the real circumstances surrounding Jonathan's death, Clark's relationship with Lois and his role as a superhero. Meanwhile, Lois is perturbed that no one remembers her short stint as a student."
Ratings watch: Not that it matters, since it's the final season anyway, but the show is hanging in there, with 2.37 million viewers for its latest episode, down from about 3 million at the start of the season.
Here's an extended preview, via TV Guide:
There's also a new Medium on CBS at 8 PM. Ariel is going off to college, but she has to deal with her siblings' reactions to her imminent departure. And meanwhile, Allison discovers a possible link between a girl's disappearance and Scanlon's late brother, in "How to Kill a Good Guy."
At 8 PM, Genndy Tartakovsky's Sym-Bionic Titan on the Cartoon Network ("Roar of the White Dragon"), followed by a new Generator Rex ("Gravity") at 8:30 PM. Finally, at 9, there's a new Star Wars: The Clone Wars, where hopefully there'll be fewer scenes in the Senate than we've had lately.
Also at 9 PM, there's a new Supernatural on The CW. "Weekend at Bobby's" is a big deal for a few reasons — it's a Bobby-centric episode. It features the return of Crowley (Mark Sheppard). And it's directed by star Jensen Ackles. Plus it looks like it's going to rule.
Ratings watch: This show is also hanging in there on Friday nights, getting about 2.28 million viewers last week, down from about 2.9 million for the season opener.
Here's a sneak peek:
And then at 10 PM, there's the return of Sanctuary on Syfy, with "Kali Part 3." Here's a sneak peek:
AMC has Spaceballs at 10:15 AM, followed by The Terminator at 2:45 and The Mummy at 5:35. Also, FX has Austin Powers at 10:30 AM. And at 4 PM, HBO is showing Spider-Man 2. TMC is having non-stop Mummy movies all evening, starting at 5 PM. And at 5:15, AMC has a bloc consisting of The Mummy, Deep Blue Sea and Ghost Ship. At 9 PM, IFC is showing Near Dark, with Adrian Pasdar!
At 12:30 AM on AMC, there's Virus, the movie that star Jamie Lee Curtis recently called "the worst piece of shit I've ever seen." And then at 12:45, there's The Gate on IFC. And it wouldn't be an early Saturday morning without a screening of Alien Sex Files 3: She Alien on Cinemax.
At 7 PM, the Cartoon Network has the world premiere of a new Scooby Doo movie, Scooby Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster. It's a follow-up to last year's Scooby Doo! The Mystery Begins, which got the highest ratings in Cartoon Network's history. And it's live action!
Syfy is showing undead movies all day long. Meanwhile, at 11 AM, the Cartoon Network has Jon Favreau's Zathura, followed by Spy Kids 2, Monster House and Shrek. At 2:30 PM, TMC is showing Dark Storm, starring Stephen Baldwin. At 5:30, AMC is once again showing Deep Blue Sea, followed at 8 PM by Predator.
Cinemax is upholding its usual fine standards by showing Bikini Jones and the Temple of Eros at midnight — watch a clip from that fine movie here. But then Cinemax has an abrupt change of direction, showing Denzel Washington in Virtuosity at 1:20 AM. Also, Superman II is on Encore at 12:40 AM and Predator is on AMC at 1 AM.
It's basically a wasteland here — all I can offer is that the season finale of Mad Men is called "Tomorrowland," which makes me think there's going to be some retro-futuristic theme-park weirdness going on. That's on AMC at 10 PM.
There's no Fox animation bloc tonight, thanks to (wait for it) baseball. You could always watch Jerseylicious ("Oh No She Didn't!") or Bridezillas, which seem like they come from some kind of dystopian alternate universe.
At 9 PM, A&E has the season premiere of Paranormal State, which chronicles "the case files of the Paranormal Research Society (PRS)... who delve into other worlds to solve the most severe client cases ranging from the bizarre to the demonic." Or you could just stab yourself in the face.
And then at 11:30 PM, there's another awesome new Venture Bros. on the Cartoon Network at 11:30 PM. ("Assisted Suicide.") That's followed at 12:30 AM by a new Metalocalpyse ("Dethzazz").
Syfy is showing ghost movies all day long, as part of its Halloween movie focus throughout October. TBS is showing The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen at 9:30 AM, followed by the Matrix trilogy starting at 11:30 AM. Cartoon Network is showing animated Scooby Doo movies all day, starting at 11:30 AM. Return from Witch Mountain is on TCM at 3 PM. RoboCop is on G4 at 5 PM. TBS has Ang Lee's Hulk at 8 PM.