Monkeys fly, teen trouble and 'Army Wives' returns
TODAY'S FEATURES SUNDAY'S FEATURES CRITIC'S CHOICE TODAY'S SERIES SUNDAY'S SERIES BY KEVIN McDONOUGH
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" (9 p.m. today, Syfy, TV-14).
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.
n Speaking of TV movies steeped in cheap exploitation, Timothy Busfield ("Thirtysomething") stars in the 2013 potboiler "Restless Virgins" (8 p.m. today, 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.
n More than 30 years in the public eye, Brooke Shields joins the cast of the cable drama "Army Wives" (9 p.m. Sunday, Lifetime, TV-PG) as the popular series enters its seventh season. Over the years, she's transformed from the precocious child model and actress ("Pretty Baby") to television star ("Suddenly Susan"), while maintaining a good deal of public affection.
Shields, who has recently played a not-so-nice neighbor on "The Middle," joins "Army Wives" as Air Force Col. Katherine "Kat" Young, a strong-willed woman who flies C-17 transport planes and plays second fiddle to no man. Needless to say, she raises eyebrows the second she touches down on the base.
n The miniseries "The Bible" (8 p.m. Sunday, History, TV-14) covers stories in the Old Testament, from Joshua and the battle of Jericho to the construction of Solomon's Temple. Not unexpectedly, this series attracted a very healthy cable audience last Sunday.
History Channel's "Vikings" (10 p.m. Sunday, TV-14) was also a success. Tonight, Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) and his ragtag gang venture into dark and mysterious waters and chance upon a land of deep faith and rich plunder.
n In a tweet heard 'round the world last week, actress Olivia Wilde ("House, M.D.," "The O.C.") advised Justin Bieber to "put your (expletive) shirt on." She apparently thought that the 19-year-old pop star needed to look -- and act -- his age.
I wish somebody would send 34-year-old actress Jennifer Love Hewitt a similar missive. She stars in "The Client List" (10 p.m. Sunday, Lifetime, TV-14), now entering its second season. For the uninitiated, Hewitt plays a recently dumped Texas wife and mother who takes a job at a massage parlor, only to be shocked that some clients want something "extra."
This allows Hewitt's character to strut around in skimpy outfits and flimsy lingerie while engaging in heart-to-heart conversations with really good-looking men who pay her for her "company."
The former "Party of Five" star already had a reputation for showing off her obvious assets before this silly, sleazy show debuted. Now it just seems sad. Lady, grow up. And put a shirt on.
n The four-part special "Kingdom of the Oceans" (8 p.m. and 9 p.m., Sunday, Nat Geo Wild, TV-G, concludes next Sunday) kicks off with "fish out of water" stories. We meet marine iguanas that are the only lizards to dive, swim and feast on the bottom of the ocean. There are fish that return the favor, spending as much as a half-hour on "dry" land. There are also cormorants that have adapted so well to swimming, diving and bottom feeding in the ocean that they have abandoned the ability to fly. Apparently, the algae are always greener on the other side.
Carroll wants a change of scenery on "The Following" (9 p.m., Fox, r, TV-14).
An old secret distracts Reid on "Ripper Street" (9 p.m., BBC America, TV-MA).
Scheduled on "48 Hours" (CBS): A holiday tragedy (9 p.m., r), a very cold case (10 p.m., r).
Jude Law, Mila Kunis, Dame Judi Dench and Olly Murs appear on "The Graham Norton Show" (10:15 p.m., BBC America, TV-14).
Justin Timberlake hosts and performs on "Saturday Night Live" (11:30 p.m., NBC, TV-14).
Scheduled on "60 Minutes" (7 p.m., CBS): tainted injections linked to meningitis; Barcelona's unfinished cathedral; Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.
Flanders' beatnik parents prefer Homer on "The Simpsons" (8 p.m., Fox, TV-PG).
Dark magic on "Once Upon a Time" (8 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
The devil you know on "The Good Wife" (9 p.m., CBS, TV-14).
A business trip to Orlando on "All-Star Celebrity Apprentice" (9 p.m., NBC, TV-PG).
Hannah feels editorial pressure on "Girls" (9 p.m., HBO, TV-MA).
Details change at the last moment on "Red Widow" (10 p.m., ABC, TV-PG).
"Loiter Squad" enters its second season on "Adult Swim" (midnight, Cartoon Network, TV-14).
An all-star cast (Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, John Barrymore, Wallace Beery, Lionel Barrymore) checks into the 1932 melodrama "Grand Hotel" (8 p.m. today, TCM).
Off the grid on "Person of Interest" (8 p.m., CBS, r, TV-14) ... Obstacles abound on "American Ninja Warrior" (8 p.m., NBC, TV-PG) ... Two helpings of "Cops" (8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., r, Fox, TV-PG) ... Sharper images on "Once Upon a Time" (8 p.m., ABC, r, TV-PG).
Cruz control on "Chicago Fire" (9 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14) ... "Saturday Night Live" (10 p.m., NBC, r, TV-14).
"The Amazing Race" (8 p.m., CBS, TV-PG) ... "Dateline NBC" (8 p.m.) ... A new best friend on "The Cleveland Show" (8:30 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
Lois phones it in on "Family Guy" (9 p.m., Fox, TV-14) ... Emily doubles down on vengeance on "Revenge" (9 p.m., ABC, TV-PG) ... Mothers of invention on "Bob's Burgers" (9:30 p.m., Fox, TV-PG) ... Lorelei returns on "The Mentalist" (10 p.m., CBS, TV-14).