Chicago Sun-Times
We're watching TV. You're watching TV. Let's get on the same channel.

July 2010 Archives

'Rubicon'
Three and a half stars
7 p.m. Sunday on AMC

AMC was a sacred channel to me at a very impressionable age. If AMC deemed it an "American Movie Classic," that was good enough for me.

It was where I could find Gloria Grahame noir movies, or gems like 1965's "Ski Party" (Frankie Avalon! Lesley Gore! James Brown!). You could leave the channel on all day and be a better person for it.

But around 2002, commercials started to seep into the programming, along with questionable selection such as "Rambo: First Blood Part II." No one was more heartbroken than me to discover just how broad their definition of a "classic" was.

I still have mixed feelings about the channel - I haven't yet forgiven them for the hours I lost on their bewildering remake of "The Prisoner" - but you can't deny that AMC is emerging as an influential tastemaker with "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men." This is TV of film quality, and that's a compromise I can embrace.

SATURDAY

"Best Food Ever" marathon (6 p.m., TLC): Even if you can't commit to all the episodes, don't miss 9 p.m.'s tribute to cheese from coast to coast.

"Grease" (7 p.m., ABC Family): I can't help it; I love to watch how they edit the dirty parts out. Followed at 9:30 p.m. with the far superior "Grease 2."

"Lies Between Friends" (8 p.m., Hallmark): Gabrielle Anwar is an art authenticator who investigates the murder of her former roommate with the local sheriff (Craig Sheffer). I will be watching for subtext -- Anwar and Sheffer are exes who have a daughter, Willow, together.

"Strait-Jacket" (9 p.m., WCIU-Channel 26): Joan Crawford is an axe murderess who swears she's been rehabilitated in this 1964 schlockfest. "Joan still gets in product placement for Pepsi," notes host Svengoolie. "In fact, she also got the vice president of Pepsi into the cast as her doctor - without consulting director William Castle."

SUNDAY

"This Week With Christiane Amanpour" (9:30 a.m. on WLS-Channel 7): Let's give the new host a nice Sunday-morning welcome.

"Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated" (4:30 p.m., Cartoon Network): You owe it to yourself to sample the 11th incarnation of the classic series. With Matthew Lillard voicing Shaggy, Casey Kasem shifts to voicing Shaggy's dad. More disturbing: Shaggy and Velma are now dating.

"Freshwater Seas" (6 p.m., WTTW-Channel 11): Learn about the history and future of the Great Lakes. Part one of two.

"Rubicon" (7 p.m., AMC): Look for my review for the three-and-a-half-star conspiracy thriller in the Sunday paper. With back-to-back episodes and "Mad Men" at 9, make sure you stretch your legs occasionally to prevent blood clots.

'Jersey Shore'
Three stars
9 p.m. Thursday on MTV

If someone asked me, "What's wrong with America?," I would probably answer, "Snooki Polizzi." It was around the time that Snooki was Twittering with John McCain about Obama's evil tanning tax that I realized things had gone too far.

In a just world, the cast of "Jersey Shore" should not wield this much influence. But there's no turning back now, and I'll admit it: God, I've missed them.

SATURDAY

"Jack's Family Adventure" (8 p.m., Hallmark): A workaholic ad man (Jonathan Silverman) learns important life and family lessons from a cowboy (Peter Strauss). Is the Hallmark Channel recommended by the Vatican yet?

"Powering the Future" (7 p.m., Discovery): Back-to-back episodes of a new documentary series.

"Curb Appeal: The Block" (8:30 p.m., HGTV): Owners of brick ranch homes, this one's for you.

"The Abominable Dr. Phibes" (9 p.m., WCIU-Channel 26): Enjoy the horrific stylings of Vincent Price, Joseph Cotton and Hugh Griffith in this 1971 tale of vengeance. Carolyn Munroe plays Phibes' dead wife by "lying perfectly still and not having to memorize any lines," notes Svengoolie.

"Pit Boss" (9 p.m, Animal Planet): In a new episode, the crew investigates whether a pit bull is involved in dogfighting. Shorty to the rescue!

SUNDAY

"Hannah Montana" (7 p.m., Disney): There's really no reason to miss guest star Ray Liotta as Hannah's school principal.

"Revenge of the Bridesmaids" (7 p.m., ABC Family): Raven-Symone and JoAnna Garcia serve as bridesmaids, but only to sabotage the wedding. Fun fact: Garcia ("Privileged") has been a bridesmaid herself five times, and is planning her own wedding to New York Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher.

"Leverage" (8 p.m., TNT): Trekkers and good ol' boys, rejoice! Jonathan Frakes directs guest star John Schneider.

"Strange Sex" (9 p.m., TLC): Freaks, rejoice! It's now a series, kicking off with a 73-year-old woman and her 33-year-old date. Followed by an episode titled "Unusual Orgasms."

"Chicago Stand-Up Project" (9:30 p.m., WTTW-Channel 11): Featuring Olympic speedskater Shani Davis and meteorologist Amy Freeze.

SATURDAY

"The Bridge" (7 p.m., WBBM-Channel 2): The two-hour premiere of a crime series from Canada. But don't let that stop you.

"The Hooters 2010 International Swimsuit Pageant" (8 p.m., Spike): I am desperately hoping there's not a talent portion.

"Torture Garden" (9 p.m., WCIU-Channel 26): Burgess Meredith operates a sideshow where you can get a glimpse of your future - and it's not too bright. Svengoolie notes that the 1967 classic features Beverly Adams, who was "Lovy Kravezit" in Dean Martin's "Matt Helm" movies, married to Vidal Sassoon - and engaged to Erik Estrada.

SUNDAY

"Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch" (8 p.m., VH1): That's quite a billing to live up to, but the charmer does have some brand-new ballroom skills. In the opener, he conducts a dating training camp with 85 - 85! - women, and then narrows the field to 17 with the help of the NFL's Bernard Berrian.

"Kate Plus Eight" (8 p.m., TLC): Plus chickens!

"Poirot: Murder on the Orient Express" (8 p.m., WTTW-Channel 11): David Suchet is back in this "Masterpiece Mystery!" update -- featuring Barbara Hershey.

"The Glades" (9 p.m., A&E): A Chicago cop is exiled to Palm Glade, Fla., where he displays his prowess at crime fighting and golf. My review is in the Sunday paper.

"Children's Hospital" (9:30 p.m., Adult Swim): Rob Corddry's web hit makes the jump to TV with lots of familiar faces: Henry Winkler, Megan Mullally, John Cho, Ed Begley Jr. and more. Warning: scary clown makeup.

"The Garry Meier Special" (10:30 p.m., WCIU-Channel 26): The WGN host invites some of his close personal friends to stop by: George Wendt, Tim Kazurinsky, Brian Dennehy, Richard Lewis, Bill Zehme and Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper.

Pages

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from July 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

June 2010 is the previous archive.

August 2010 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.