Cat. 8 (Reelz, Monday at 8:00pm)
A scientist, intent on creating a beam to destroy things heading towards earth, harnesses the power of the sun. Great idea, except that it sets off a series of solar flares that threaten the very existence of earth. A lot of running around, shouting, heroes saving the day. In other words, the usual television disaster movie.
The Cheshire Murders (HBO, Monday at 9:00pm)
A documentary about the horrible murders of the Petit family in 2007 in Cheshire, Connecticut. As difficult as it must have been, the filmmakers manage to present a very balanced picture of what happened. Yes, the two men did despicable things and need to be locked away in a very dark dungeon, but this film takes the time to try to explain how they could have reached this point. I found it very interesting, but it may be too intense for some.
Supermarket Superstar (Lifetime, Monday at 10:00pm)
Nine groups of three amateur cooks compete to get their products onto supermarket shelves. They are mentored by a chef and a marketing expert and then pitch to a buyer. The nine individual winners come back at the end to compete to have their product put into a chain. Standard competition show, but I did like the marketing bit as it was an insight into how the packaging we don’t notice has been obsessed over by others.
Dallas Car Sharks (Velocity, Tuesday at 8:30pm)
I don’t get this channel, but the description on the channel’s website tells us that “[a]s a 66-year-old woman, Martha Davis is an unlikely competitor in the Dallas car-flipping scene, but she’s no underdog. She brings 30 years of experience to the fight to buy, clean, repair and then sell cars for a profit, and she doesn’t let anyone get in her way — not even her son, JD Cole.” All I can say is thank goodness I didn’t have to sit through this.
Power Broker (HGTV, Tuesday at 9:00pm)
The same guy who judges Brother vs. Brother that I reviewed last week is the self-professed Power Broker. He finds distressed properties for people, gets the best deal he can for them and then helps them renovate the property into their dream home. Exactly like every other show on this channel. Some of us are interested in these shows; some of us are not.
Who Do You Think You Are? (TLC, Tuesday at 9:00pm)
Celebrities learn about their ancestry. In the episode I saw, Kelly Clarkson discovered that her great-great-great-grandfather fought in the Civil War. He was captured and escaped. This is a rather interesting idea for a show in that we get a fair amount of history sprinkled in with what Clarkson discovered. Not one I will continue with, but it did make me wonder if I have someone cool in my family tree.
The Vineyard (ABC Family, Tuesday at 10:00pm)
I have lost all patience for reality television. This one is about ten pretty twenty-somethings spending their summer on Martha’s Vineyard. Five minutes in, the girls were being bitchy and the guys were choosing among them which girls they would sleep with (they put it a little less politely). I politely hit the delete button.
Spell-Mageddon (ABC Family, Wednesday at 9:00pm)
A game show in which contestants have to spell words while undergoing a series of challenges. Entertaining, but nothing special.
Joe Rogan Questions Everything (Syfy, Wednesday at 10:00pm)
Rogan travels around the country investigating unexplained mysteries and paranormal happenings. In the episode I saw, he was looking for evidence of Bigfoot. I like how Rogan approaches things; he is not cynical, but nor is he overly willing to believe what he is told by all those with whom he speaks. An interesting enough hour, but not enough to continue with the series.
Sanya’s Glam & Gold (WE, Thursday at 10:00pm)
A reality series based on the life of Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross in which we see that she is driven (no kidding, one would have to be to win a gold) and that her family is cashing in on her success. The usual horror.
Hidden Away (Lifetime, Saturday at 8:00pm)
A movie about an abused wife who escapes her husband only for him to find her again ten years later. Yes, you’ve already seen this movie and this one adds nothing to the story.
Second Chances (Hallmark, Saturday at 9:00pm)
A standard schmaltzy rom-com. I like schmaltz and I like rom-coms, so I liked this. If you do not, I suggest you keep far away. This will certainly not be for you.
Animation Domination High-Def (Fox, Saturday at 11:00pm)
A rotating list of short (15 minute) animated comedies. The two I watched were Axe Cop (co-created by a five year old and, wow, does it show) and High School USA! (perhaps the single worst 15 minutes of television I have ever subjected myself to). If you are an adolescent, perhaps (and that’s a big perhaps) you will find this witty. Otherwise, don’t bother.
Inside the American Mob (National Geographic, Sunday at 9:00pm)
Absolutely fascinating account of Italian organized crime. Told over several episodes, the first is about the mob in the ‘70s. The series takes an interesting slant as it tells the story of two men; one within the mob, one within law enforcement (the real Donnie Brasco). The Godfather this is not. It is a vicious, highly dangerous life filled with fascinating characters. If you are at all interested in true crime or modern history, check this out.
Total Divas (E!, Sunday at 10:00pm)
A reality series about five women who wrestle for the WWF. This might have been interesting as I am sure these women have some wonderful stories to tell about the rise of women in such a testosterone fueled world. But no, it was the usual women being bitchy stuff. I gave it a chance. That is to say, I watched five minutes.
This final show put me over the edge. Moving forward, you will notice a change in this column. I will no longer be reviewing reality TV shows that deal with people being nasty to each other as I can't take them any more. I will list them so that you can find them if you are interested, but I have run out of adjectives, patience, and time. Forgive me.