A Virtual-Reality Racetrack Turns Into A Death Trap For Speed Racer Jr.

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This week on TV, ummm... well, maybe we should all Netflix the same things and then discuss them as if they were newly televised. No, wait. Actually, it's not that bad. Among the things that may keep you from killing your TV this week: Batman meets his inspiration, Doctor Who follows Steven Moffat into a weird dreamland, Speed Racer's kid gets trapped on a virtual track... and we learn the terrible truth of the Supergator — is he a tort lawyer who got bitten by a radioactive Writ of Mandamus and got awesome litigation powers as a result? You'll never find out unless you click through.

Because one person demanded it, I'm going back to the "days of the week" format for now. I reserve the right to experiment with it again at some point. And since it's the summer doldrums, I may occasionally have Wednesday's entry just be a LOLcat or something.


Pretty much the only new thing on TV this week — aside from shows that previously aired overseas — is the second episode of The Middleman, ABC Family's show about a straight-edge, milk-drinking superhero who battles the forces of suckitude. And tonight's episode (at 8) features the Terracotta warrior rampage you've heard so much about. And in case you missed the first episode (You fool!) they're showing it again at 7 PM. Here's a shiny clip!

Also tonight at 8, the Disney Channel is showing Minutemen, the original TV movie about a group of kids who develop a time machine and use it to go back and rescue other kids from social disasters. Over time, they realize that they've upset the natural order of the cosmos, because the now-disaster-free nerds are getting too big for their own britches. Oh, and there's a whole in the space-time continuum, yadda yadda. I watched this movie last time it was on, and it's just as dumb as it sounds, but sorta cute in a disturbing way. Here's a trailer:

Right now, as you read this, the Sci Fi Channel is having a daytime marathon of Threshold, the short-lived alien-invasion show from Star Trek's Brannon Braga and starring Brent "Data" Spiner. (It's also produced by Batman Begins scribe David S. Goyer.)


And tonight at 1 AM, TBS is showing Eight-Legged Freaks, the actually quite decent film about spiders terrorizing a small town.


Tonight at 10, the History Channel has the most thrilling-sounding episode of Mega Disasters ever, called "Glow Train Catastrophe." Tell me you wouldn't go see a band with that name, without even knowing what type of music it played. Here's the synopsis:

The U.S. Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission plan to transport 77,000 tons of nuclear waste to a permanent storage facility 950 feet below Nevada's Yucca Mountain. If the plan goes through, much of the cargo will travel through Las Vegas, making an accident there a very disturbing possibility. If history has taught us anything, it's that transporting dangerous goods can sometimes have catastrophic results. Take a look at the potential disaster that such a rail accident would have in Las Vegas.


If Vegas was full of radioactive mutants, would anybody notice?

Sci Fi is continuing its tribute to canceled-too-soon shows by showing a ton of episodes of John Doe, the Fox show about an amnesiac guy who knows the sum total of all human knowledge.



Tonight, PBS has the premiere of a new show, Nova ScienceNOW, which seems to have a sort of "magazine" format. Tonight's episode deals with new findings on dark matter, recovering your lost memories, digital forensics, and the wisdom of crowds. Check your local listings for time. Here's a

And for those of you who are unemployed, sick or working out of your homes, Encore has a double feature of Bio-Dome and RoboCop, starting at 11 AM. The contrast between the two movies should be... interesting. Meanwhile, AMC is competing by showing The Day The Earth Stood Still, followed by Species, starting at 1:30 PM.



FX has The Mask Of Zorro at 5 PM, followed by Batman Begins at 8. Since Zorro was one of Batman's main inspirations, it would be interesting to watch them back to back and see how they present their respective heroes' backstories. Plus, Antonio Banderas and Christian Bale!


Today's daytime Sci Fi marathon covers Stargate: SG-1.


Tonight is possibly the last time the Sci Fi Channel will show South African/Canadian dimension-hopping show Charlie Jade at a reasonable hour, at 8 PM. We learn more about 01 Boxer, the only person who can jump dimensions without any help, and his mysterious conspiracy. I have to admit one sad thing about these long-canceled foreign programs appearing on Sci Fi (like Odyssey 5 last year) is that you know in advance how many episodes there will be. At least in the case of Jade, apparently, the season ends with a fairly satisfying resolution, although some questions are left dangling.


And then at 9, there's another foreign import, but one which shows no signs of going away — Doctor Who has the second part of its Steven Moffat haunted-library story. After a very cohesive first part, the story sort of scatters in many directions for part two, with Donna's storyline barely intersecting with anyone else's. Here's my writeup of the episode — many, if not most, people seemed to like it a lot better than I did. Here's a big chunk of the episode to get you warmed up:

Also this evening, AMC has Escape From New York at 8 PM and E!TV is showing the Will Smith Hollywood Story at 9. And you can see Smith in action in Men In Black, on TNT at 8.


Also, the Sci Fi Channel is showing a passel of Dark Angel episodes while you're at work.


On the Cartoon Network at 10:30, there's a new Transformers: Animated, "Sari, No-one's Home":

When the Autobots are away fighting Blitzwing, Sari must defend the Autobots' home base from the invading Constructicons.


And here's about half the episode, thanks to an overseas airing:

Supergator airs at 7 on the Sci Fi Channel. Sorry, I sort of misled you: it has nothing to do with torts or corporate litigation of any kind. It's purely about a really, really big alligator stalking some people in Hawaii. From some of the same people who brought you Carnosaur, Mansquito, Mastodon and so many other great Sci Fi Channel original films. Here's a clip:


Speed Racer: The Next Generation seems to be showing new episodes again on NickToons, even though TV Guide says it's a rerun. I'm pretty sure this episode, "The Fast Track part 2," has never aired before. Strange events at the Redwood Rally startle Speed, and he begins to suspect that someone is tampering with the virtual track. Then Speed and Annelise get trapped on the virtual track together. That's at 9:45 PM.


And there's a new Venture Bros. on the Cartoon Network at 11:30. It's called either "Enter The Bad Seed" or "Dr. Quymn, Medicine Woman," depending on whom you believe. And it's followed, at midnight, by a new Metalocalypse. "Nathan's attempts to date again are ruined by the band."