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Archive for Saturday, March 26, 2011

Tune In: ‘Scream of the Banshee’ SyFy’s 200th Saturday night shocker

March 26, 2011

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A curious professor opens an ornate box, unleashing the “Scream of the Banshee” (8 p.m., Syfy). And that can’t be good. “Scream” also happens to be the 200th made-for-Syfy shocker to air on Saturday nights since 2002.

Has it only been 200? I stopped counting after “Dinocroc.” Or was it “Mansquito”? “Frankenfish”? “Sharktopus”?

On a recent “Modern Family,” Phil and Claire celebrate their decidedly lowbrow tastes by sneaking off to the mall to catch something with a title suspiciously close to “Sharktopus.” Not to quibble with a sitcom over realism, but you really can’t see bad movies made this cheaply in the theaters anymore. They all go straight to DVD, or straight to Syfy. Sadly, the grade Z shocker genre — once referred to “exploitation movies,” and later appreciated as psychotronic parables filled with peculiar messages and meanings — has been relegated to a tiny niche. Much as Weird Al Yankovic devoured the once-diverse novelty-song market, Syfy seems to have the grade Z monster-movie business all to itself.

l It’s hard to tell if Norm MacDonald is more famous for being on “Saturday Night Live,” or for being fired from “Saturday Night Live.” Tonight he challenges his old show head-on with “Norm MacDonald: Me Doing Stand-up” (10:30 p.m., Comedy Central). This serves as a warm-up of sorts for his new Comedy Central series “Sports Show with Norm MacDonald” debuting on April 12.

Tonight’s other highlights

• NCAA Basketball Tournament (5:40 p.m., CBS).

• A new crew appears on “Dancing with the Stars” (7 p.m., ABC).

• Fans of “Mildred Pierce” (7 p.m., TCM) can put themselves in the mood for the HBO version on Sunday with the 1945 adaptation starring Joan Crawford.

• George attends his father’s funeral on “Being Human” (8 p.m., BBC America).

• Scheduled on “48 Hours Mystery” (9 p.m., CBS): A father struggles to clear his son’s name.

• Stephanie envisions the end of the line on “No Ordinary Family” (9 p.m., ABC).

• Helen Mirren and Emily Blunt appear on “The Graham Norton Show” (9 p.m., BBC America).

• Russell Brand hosts “Saturday Night Live” (10:30 p.m., NBC), featuring musical guest Chris Brown.

Cult choice

If Todd Haynes can re-adapt “Mildred Pierce” why can’t Jonathan Demme remake “The Manchurian Candidate” (7 p.m., AMC)?

Series notes

An old beau needs help on “Harry’s Law” (7 p.m., NBC) ... On back-to-back episodes of “Cops” (Fox), Nevada (7 p.m.), Texas (7:30 p.m.) ... Murder in D.C. on “Criminal Minds” (8 p.m., CBS) ... Cult-related on “Law & Order: Los Angeles” (8 p.m., NBC) ... John Walsh hosts “America’s Most Wanted” (8 p.m., Fox) ... A corpse in a fountain sprouts clues on “Law & Order: SVU” (9 p.m., NBC).

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