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Archive for Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Let’s do the time warp

September 19, 2012

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“Big Brother” (8:30 p.m., CBS) wraps up its 14th season as “Survivor: Philippines” (7 p.m., CBS) begins a new adventure. Gosh, a night of television featuring reality shows and talent contests starring Julie Chen, Jeff Probst and Simon Cowell (“The X Factor”). And the chance to watch a rerun of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (8 p.m., NBC)! If you close your eyes, it could be 2002.

In fact, I dug up my old column for Sept. 19, 2002, and it reveals that “Survivor: Thailand” debuted that night, the fifth installment of the reality game. And the 10th guest departed on “Big Brother 3.” The first season of “American Idol” had wrapped up on Sept. 4 of that year, and “SVU” wasn’t on that Thursday night. But “CSI” was. And while Jamie Kennedy hosts “Oh Sit!” (7 p.m., CW) tonight, back in 2002 he was the star of “The Jamie Kennedy Experiment” on the old WB. If you stayed up late 10 years ago, you had a choice of Jay, Dave, Conan and Jon Stewart, as you do now. Just don’t go looking for Craig Kilborn.

The hype for advancing technology (iPads and iPhones, etc.) offers us the illusion of breathless change. We clamor for shiny new gadgets, perhaps to distract us from the distressing fact that the “product” they deliver — be it music, movies or television — remains remarkably, frustratingly static.

• In a world reduced to preindustrial squalor, a teenage heroine manages to maintain lovely tresses straight out of a shampoo commercial on the repeat pilot of “Revolution” (9 p.m., NBC).

‘‘Revolution” also features Aaron (Zak Orth), a former computer whiz adrift in a world without electricity. He used to work on something called “Google.” As he explains, “I have 80 million in the bank, and I’d give it all for one roll of Charmin.”

And that’s not all he shares in the TMI department. After a long hike, he complains not about blisters or sores, but “chafing.” Like Hurley on “Lost,” this hefty guy is supposed to be a source of comic relief. We have to wonder how he manages to maintain those extra pounds in a future dystopia fraught with shortages.

Tonight’s other highlights

• Auditions continue on “The X-Factor” (7 p.m., Fox).

• The cast (Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver and Alan Rickman) of a popular science-fiction show are enlisted by real space aliens to save their race from evil monsters in the superior 1999 comedy “Galaxy Quest” (8 p.m., HBO Family).

• A beach volleyball player’s ailments force Hank to take a personal inventory on the season finale of “Royal Pains” (8 p.m., USA).

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