All hail cheap knockoffs! While others celebrate the release of Disney’s new and expensive big-screen variation on “The Wizard of Oz,” let us praise “Flying Monkeys” (8 p.m. Saturday, Syfy).
A young woman from Gale, Kan., receives a pet monkey that turns out to have special and malevolent powers. As the title implies, it can fly. But it’s also an evil shape-shifter, and nobody likes that in a house pet. (OK, some cat owners may beg to differ.)
This low-budget offering is not without cult movie connections. It stars Electra Avellan (“Grindhouse”), who, according to dreadcentral.com, happens to be director Robert Rodriguez’s niece-in-law. It pays to have connections. “Flying Monkeys” is also director Robert Grasmere’s first feature.
Sam Raimi, the director of the 3-D “Oz the Great and Powerful,” released this weekend, is no stranger to bargain-basement budgets. The “Spider-Man” director won acclaim for the no-star, no-frills classic “The Evil Dead.” With his example to follow, there’s no telling how high the talents behind “Flying Monkeys” can soar.
• Speaking of TV movies steeped in cheap exploitation, Timothy Busfield (“Thirtysomething”) stars in the 2013 potboiler “Restless Virgins” (7 p.m. Saturday, Lifetime).
Turmoil engulfs a posh prep school when the school newspaper’s editor publishes an explicit video featuring five members of the school lacrosse team. Based on a book by Abigail Jones and Marissa Miley.
Saturday’s other highlights
• Carroll wants a change of scenery on “The Following” (8 p.m., Fox).
• An old secret distracts Reid on “Ripper Street” (8 p.m., BBC America).
• Scheduled on “48 Hours” (CBS): A holiday tragedy (8 p.m.), a very cold case (9 p.m.).
• Jude Law, Mila Kunis, Dame Judi Dench and Olly Murs appear on “The Graham Norton Show” (9:15 p.m., BBC America).
An all-star cast (Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, John Barrymore, Wallace Beery, Lionel Barrymore) checks into the 1932 melodrama “Grand Hotel” (8 p.m. Saturday, TCM).