The televisionist, July 23 



7 p.m. Friday, July 24

Turner Classic Movies


Ah, the 1980s. It was a simpler time, wasn't it? A pair of acid-washed jeans on every butt, a synthesizer in every song and a semi-lucid geriatric with his finger on the nuclear button in the White House. Nothing like the good old days. Given that this writer grew up in the age of big hair and Wham!, it's no surprise that I've got a soft spot for the movies of that era. It was kind of a golden age: After all the dreary realism and big mustaches of 1970s cinema, but before all the hyper-violence and Will Smithification of the 1990 flicks. Well, get on your leg warmers and break out that six-pack of New Coke you've got hoarded in the basement, kiddies, because TCM is offering up this three-fer of 1980s teen flicks. First up is 1984's “Karate Kid.” Then it's the better-than-you-remember-it look at early computers and nuclear annihilation, “WarGames.” The trio rounds out with the 1986 roman-a-clef classic, “Stand By Me.” Frankie says: Relax, and have some popcorn.



8 p.m. Friday, July 24

The Travel Channel


Yeah, I know I've picked this show in the past, but I can't overstress how much I love watching “Ghost Adventures,” and I want you, my loyal readers, to know love as well. In the history of reality TV, this might be the greatest example of unintentional comedy the genre has ever produced, and that's saying a lot.  Every week, Zak, Nick and Aaron, three over-hair-gelled frat boys — who use the word “dude!” as often as they use the word “the,” and who seem to have fallen down and hit their heads a few too many times — go looking for ghosts in spooky old buildings. The result is like an episode of “The Three Stooges” filmed in night vision. For example: Because of their perplexing insistence that no visible lights be used while they're filming (it's night vision only, which usually leaves them feeling their way along in pitch darkness, using only the tiny screens attached to their camera to guide them) you could make a damn fine drinking game out of the number of times they poke each other in the eye alone. This week, Larry, Moe and Curly visit Britain's Ancient Ram Inn.



9 p.m. Saturday, July 24

BBC America


I've puzzled on it a good bit, but beyond the whole “let's exchange bodily fluids” thing, I don't really know what to make of this country's recent fascination with vampires. After 9/11, we got obsessed with the Living Dead in film and TV for awhile, which was understandable: insidious members of our own species who followed a crazed ideology and who wanted to destroy us at all costs, yadda, yadda, yadda. But our seemingly newfound rediscovery of bloodsuckers is a bit perplexing to me. Maybe it has something to do with Dick Cheney. While I've been less than impressed with most of the recent incarnations of the Undead – both the “Twilight” series and HBO's “True Blood” haven't exactly staked me to the ground, if you know what I mean – if there's anybody who can do vampire drama right, it's probably the BBC. An overnight sensation when it appeared in Britain last year, “Being Human” follows the fortunes of a 20-ish vampire (Aidan Turner), werewolf (Russell Tovey) and ghost (Lenora Crichlow) who decide to bunk together in a house. Sounds like “The Real World: Transylvania,” but we're gonna give it a shot.  


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