Lionsgate steps forward to fill the void left by the completed Harry Potter series with this adaptation of the best-selling young adult novel by Suzanne Collins. The Hunger Games envisions a post-apocalyptic world where one boy and one girl from each district of the nation of Panem are selected by lottery as “tribute.” As punishment for an earlier rebellion against the ruling Capitol city, the children must compete in a televised battle to the death known as…well, you can probably guess. The novel’s story continues in Catching Fire and Mockingjay, so if this film does as well as expected you’ll be seeing both of those adapted in coming years as well. By all accounts this particular teen phenomenon is more Harry Potter than Twilight, as Suzanne Collins can actually write, lead actress Jennifer Lawrence appears capable of portraying more than one emotion, and the story will likely appeal to people who aren’t teenage girls. You can check out a review of The Hunger Games over at our sister site, Cinema Blend.
Alcatraz (Fox, 9/8c) — “Webb Porter”
The team pursues a serial killer whose trip from the past seems to have made him even more violent. It’s probably because of all the violent video games.
Battle Royale (Blu-Ray/DVD)
If you’ve been following all the hype leading up to the release of The Hunger Games, you’ve almost certainly heard it compared to Battle Royale. If you’ve never seen BR, now is the perfect time, as it’s getting a snazzy new Blu-ray release. Watch it before Hunger Games so you can gauge the differences yourself!
The River (ABC, 9/8c) — “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”
The show reaches its season finale as the crew of the Magus chart a course for their final destination, only to be thrown into chaos when one of them is found shot dead. Given the show’s low ratings, this is likely to be the last we’ll see of Dr. Emmet Cole and company. If you’ve been a fan of the show, here’s hoping they go out with a bang.
“The Zombie Autopsies: Secret Notebooks from the Apocalypse” by Steven C. Schlozman
Agonized by the long wait for more Walking Dead after last night’s epic season finale? Craving more brain eaters in your life to fill the void? The Zombie Autopsies is presented a “real” notebook of one neuroscientist trying to find a cure for ataxic neurodegenerative satiety deficiency syndrome — otherwise known as the “zombie virus.”
Awake (NBC, 10/9c) — “Kate Is Enough”
I’m tempted to skip over <I>Awake</I> this week as punishment for that awful pun title, but fortunately the show is good enough that I’ll forgive it. This week the differences between Britten’s two worlds become even more apparent after he encounters Ben’s ex-babysitter and discovers her to be two very different people in either reality.
Touch (NBC, 9/8c) — “1+1=3”
Fox actually offered a sneak peak at this new series starring Kiefer Sutherland a while back, and you can still watch that pilot episode online. Sutherland stars as a single father struggling to raise an autistic son who appears to be able to see patterns that can help people in trouble. Sutherland is effective, even though it’s hard to see him in a decidedly non-Jack Bauer role, and the premise is compelling so long as you don’t mind a little touchy-feely “we are all connected” New Age spirituality. Touch was created by Tim Kring, who previously gave us Heroes, a show that also premiered solidly before cratering into incoherence over the following seasons. Fingers crossed…
Fringe (Fox, 9/8c) — “A Short Story About Love”
Fringe is back! With the show’s fate still up in the air, fans will want to tune in for what could be the show’s final episodes, leading up to the May 11th season — or series — finale. With only eight episodes left, Peter’s attempts to return to his own reality become more desperate, and Olivia continues to struggle with her feelings for Peter.
Mad Men (AMC, 9/8c) — “A Little Kiss”
The hit show takes an unexpected turn when Don Draper discovers he’s the lost son of Darth Vader, and Kyle Reese arrives from the future to save the life of Peggy Olsen. That doesn’t sound right? Well, it makes as much sense as AMC’s “If you like The Walking Dead, you’ll love Mad Men!” ads. Nevertheless, you really ought to tune in.
Mythbusters (Discovery, 9/8c) — “Duct Tape Island”
The show returns for its tenth-season spring premiere with Jamie and Adam dumped on a deserted island armed only with duct tape.