Tuesday, April 10, 2007

No Pain, No ...

Painkiller Jane Friday 4.13 (Sci-Fi) Series Debut: Before Heroes’ indestructible cheerleader, there was Painkiller Jane in comic book and 2005 Sci-Fi Channel movie form. The cheap-o latter sucked, but the hyper-stylized new series is surprisingly good—and not just better. Chalk it up to a slightly bigger budget and new star Kristanna Loken, whose portrayal of death-proof super agent Jane Vasko plays with the right balance of tough-chick swagger and WTF? disbelief in her own powers, and even a sense of humor. All Emmanuelle Vaugier brought to the movie was a pout and a bad haircut. In the near future (as per the thumping electronic soundtrack), Vasko is recruited by a secret government agency (they’re always cooler) to help contain the threat of “Neuros,” destructive crazies with unchecked telekinetic powers. Why? Wait for it … Vasko may be one of ‘em. She could also probably take out that crybaby cheerleader—crossover, anyone?

Notes From the Underbelly Thursday 4.12 (ABC) Series Debut: None of ABC’s recent sitcom experiments—remember Big Day? Help Me Help You? The Knights of Prosperity? In Case of Emergency?—have panned out, and not one comedy currently on the network has been picked up for next season. Notes From the Underbelly is among the funnier ABC shots at a smart, no-laugh-track half-hour, which probably means even fewer people will bother with it than that Donny Osmond abortion (coincidentally, a great ‘80s punk band). A too-cute young couple (Kissing Jessica Stein’s too-cute Jennifer Westfeldt and some too-cute guy) decide to have a baby; everyone around them decides to dispense advice—including the ever-logical “just don’t do it!” That would be goddess to the geeks Rachael Harris, aka the snarky hot-blonde-with-glasses from Best Week Ever, delivering some deliciously chilly urbanite one-liners. She may keep this dingy afloat … for at least a week or two.

Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis Friday 4.13 (Sci-Fi) Season Premieres: Refresh my memory—these are different shows, right? Couldn’t resist; haven’t had any sci-fi hate mail in a while.

Drive Sunday 4.15 (Fox) Series Debut: Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Serenity) stars in Cannonball Run: The Next Generation. Or The Amazing Fastlane. Or Lost on Wheels. Since Fox didn’t bother to send the Drive preview screener I requested months ago, that’s about all I can—or even feel like—telling you. Thanks, Fox. Maybe give me a call when that karaoke show finally crashes, OK?

Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School Sunday 4.15 (VH1) Series Debut: This trend of the kicked-off losers of reality shows getting their own reality shows (a disease almost exclusive to MTV and VH1) has to come to an end sometime, if there’s even an ounce of truth in those Wikipedia links on inbreeding and natural selection I just spent a whole five minutes skimming through. Anyway, 13 of Flavor Flav’s discarded skanks are dumped into another one of TV’s “reality” houses (what’s the resale on those things, anyway?) and schooled by Mo’Nique. Oh, like anything could top Oxygen’s Bad Girls Club …

Paradise City Sunday 4.15 (E!) Season Finale: Pretty, vapid idiots “working” to “make it” in Las Vegas, executive-“produced” by pretty, vapid idiot Ryan Seacrest—how could it not be a hit? By not even being half as interesting as faux-reality cousins Laguna Beach and The Hills. Seriously, how is anyone supposed to get a good hate-on for … who are they? Jenner? J.J.? These aren’t even real “fake” names, and Paradise City isn’t even a decent insult to Guns N’ Roses. Insert Velvet Revolver joke here.

Beneath Still Waters
A ghost town submerged below a man-made lake has come back to life—and it’s sucking in hot bikini girls! Well, at least for the cover. LionsGate.com

Bobby The 1968 assassination of Robert Kennedy … makes a convenient backdrop for a pretty bunch of less-interesting characters. WeinsteinCo.com

The Breastford Wives It’s The Stepford Wives, but naked. You know it’s better than that other remake with Nicole Kidman, so shut up. SecretKeyMotionPictures.com

Payback: Straight Up The original version played like a slightly-less-stupid Lethal Weapon; this director’s cut has the intended grit and balls. Go Mel! Paramount.com

Phantasm One of the greatest horror movies ever, straight outta 1979 with re-release extras. Love them killer chrome balls. AnchorBayEntertainment.com

Scooby-Doo: Season 3 The final season of Scooby and the gang keepin’ it real, before the advent of Scrappy-Doo, Dynomutt and Velma’s coming out. WarnerBros.com

More New DVD Releases (4.10) Life of the Party, Rebelde: Season 2, Steven Wright: When the Leaves Blow Away, The Streets of San Francisco: Season 1, Teen Titans: Season 3

Sad Kermit
If there’s anything more disturbing than a smack-shooting Kermit the Frog covering Johnny Cash’s cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt,” bring it on. It’s been that kind of a week.