Showdown at Area 51 Saturday, Dec. 15 (Sci-Fi)
The tale of two alien armies ravaging the Earth in search of something called the Omega Seed (eeewww) while the few remaining humans race against time to deactivate a hovering obelisk that’s threatening to erase mankind is perfectly plausible—until it’s revealed that the last line of defense may be a weapon left by aliens decades ago at the site of the Roswell crash, which this film insists is “better known as Area 51.” Hold the fuck up! Roswell is in New Mexico, and everyone knows that Area 51 is in Nevada! What happened to the science in science fiction? Worst. Research. Ever.
Survivor: China Sunday, Dec. 16
Season Finale: Utah’s own gay Mormon, Todd Herzog, is still in the Survivor game and could very well win this thing—so where’s the breathless local media coverage? Aside from a few obligatory mentions at the beginning of the season, he’s been virtually frozen out while endless airtime and ink has been wasted on Utah-linked but inevitable reality-show losers like Marie Osmond and Mitt Romney. Is it because he’s … a flight attendant? A Spice Girls fan? The only Details subscriber in Pleasant Grove?
Extras: The Extra Special Series Finale Sunday, Dec. 16 (HBO)
Special/Series Final: Exactly as he did with the original Office years ago, Ricky Gervais is shutting down Extras after two seasons with a semi-Christmas-related farewell special—“special,” as in 90 minutes long instead of 60. When we last saw hapless film extra Andy (Gervais), he’d finally scored a high-profile leading role … in the worst British TV sitcom imaginable. Now, he’s trapped in catchphrase hell, his best friend Maggie (Ugly Betty’s Ashley Jensen) is jobless and drifting away, his agent (Stephan Merchant) is as inept as ever and his old extra-nemesis is scoring co-starring roles in major films. Sound like a bummer? A good chunk of The Extra Special Series Finale is, eschewing the usual comic rhythm to allow Andy and Maggie to hit their respective rock bottoms painfully—which makes the comedy even sweeter: Andy snaps and quits the sitcom, and his fame (and his—believe it or not—action-figure deal) disappears overnight, forcing him to take parts on Dr. Who and Celebrity Big Brother, the latter setting up a scathing commentary on the pathetic death-stench of “celebrity” reality shows. Guest stars like Clive Owen playing a hysterically pompous movie-star version of himself and George Michael as a gay-park cruiser ratchet the comedy back up, and yes, there is a happy ending for Andy and Maggie. HBO, however, has lost another great series.
Dexter Sunday, Dec. 16 (Showtime)
Season Finale: Somehow, the second season of Dexter has managed to top the first, mostly by keeping our serial-killer hero (Michael C. Hall) barely one step ahead of being caught in practically every episode instead of just saving it for the finale. His stress has been compounded by the dogged surveillance of Miami Police colleague Doakes (Erik King) and the love-gone-batshit-dark of Lila (Jaime Murray, possibly the hottest villainess ever), neither of whom meet the end you quite expect here. How the story of a pathological murderer who slays and disposes of criminals has evolved into such a rich relationship drama (with a whole lotta blood, of course) is amazing—but not as amazing as the proposed idea of Showtime parent company Viacom editing and repurposing Dexter for broadcast TV, because CBS prez Les Moonves actually thinks the series “fits with our crime shows.” WTF? Are the networks really that low on post-writers-strike options?
Clash of the Choirs Monday, Dec. 17 (NBC)
Series Debut: Yeah, guess they are …