TV Tonight, July 19: Tut premieres on Spike

19 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Sharknado 3,’ ‘Dating Naked’ and ‘Tut’ top this week’s must-see TV.

Back to the Future: Hard to believe, but it’s been 30 years since a twenty-something Michael J. The most advanced archaeologists would have a hard time proving that pyramids ever existed in Orono, Minn., but that didn’t deter Michael Vickerman from digging up inspiration in his hometown for a King Tut movie. It doesn’t hurt that since there’s very little known about the boy king’s actual life, the show gets to have fun turning his tale into a soapy three-night sand and sandal epic. “It’s so different from playing a contemporary historical figure because in those situations you have written or video accounts to study,” says Avan Jogia, who plays the famed pharaoh who died mysteriously when he was just 19. “With this, no pun intended, it was more like an archeological dig,” says Jogia. “I had to study what Egpyt was like at the time, the political climate and what kind of religious structures were in place.” What is known about Tut or Tutankhamun, is mostly derived from artifcats found in his tomb. He is something to see, Sir Ben, with his shaven pate and Egyptian-drag eyeliner, peering through the undulating bodies of dancing girls with conniving menace.

AMC is showing the original twice on Sunday, but if you’re looking for something to do while you stay inside to beat the heat you can watch all three films, including the 1989 and 1990 sequels, starting at 11 a.m. (AMC at 6:30 p.m.) Mighty Ships: Calling all armchair adventurers: this Canadian-made series that explores some of the world’s largest watercraft is back for an eighth season. The nearly intact burial chamber was discovered in 1922 by Howard Carter and George Herbert and turned Tut — a minor king during his life — into an international superstar more than 3,300 years after his death. “The idea was to start looking at kings who had destiny and fate thrust on them, so I spent most of my time focused on the more modern account of leaders who were forced to deal with this kind of tense political structure,” he says. I thoroughly have enjoyed this spooky show about a bizarre town where you truly can’t trust anybody, and if someone DOESN’T have a secret agenda, then they REALLY must be hiding something. There’s a scheming priest, a murderous general and a young queen wandering about in reproductive anxiety and sheer Egyptian frocks held together with a few amulets. He also studied Richard III and the Shakespeare’s classics “King Lear” and “Hamlet.” Given his age, it is believed that he had at least two powerful advisers: Vizier Ay, who made many of the kingdom’s administrative decisions in Tut’s name, and General Horemheb, the head of the pharaoh’s mighty military.

The pair’s thirst for power is a big part of the miniseries and in “Tut” each one (Ay is played by Ben Kingsley and Horemhebby Nonso Anozie ) is not subtle about their desire to rule. Everything, in fact, that you’ve come to expect from a tale swaddled in the cradle of civilization except Liz Taylor in a fright wig or Anne Baxter moaning “Moses, Moses, Moses.” What is it about ancient Egypt that makes cinematic storytellers just lose their minds? Other members of the cast include the stunning Sibylla Deen (Tut’s wife and half-sister Ankhe), Kylie Bunbury as his lover, Suhad, and Peter Gadiot as his back-stabbing best friend. With his abundance of riches, both literal and narrative, King Tut is such a perfect subject for a miniseries that it’s hard to imagine what took them so long. Meanwhile, forces conspire against him, including his own top general (Nonso Anozie), the high priest and his adviser, the Grand Vizier (Ben Kingsley, whose painted-on eyebrows look disturbingly like they are about to take flight).

To do so, the vessel has to submerge her deck and slip under the rig before expelling her ballast to lift her cargo. (Discovery Canada at 7) Welcome to Sweden: As this comedy returns for its second season, one aspect might trigger bad memories for Canadians: the fact it’s set in “a cold and dark and snowy” Stockholm winter, as star Greg Poehler told The Associated Press. Other stars include Alexander Siddig as Egypt’s scheming high priest Amun and Iddo Goldberg as Tut’s pal Lagus. “Tut” was filmed over the course of four months in Morocco last year, around the same time that other, more biblically-themed projects were underway in the area. Hopefully other factors will atone for that, including Greg’s sis Amy in a recurring guest role and other guest stars, including Jack Black, Paul Simon, Neve Campbell and Jason Priestley. True to the tour’s title – “Innocence + Experience” – the set list snaked from the former perspective to the latter, kicking off with “The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone),” a song which recalls the band’s wide-eyed reverence for that storied New York punk during their own formative years. He became king at age 9, had a coterie of advisors (no doubt scheming), married his half sister, with whom he could not produce an heir, and had, apparently, religious issues.

No one expects historical accuracy here; it’s no worse than watching rock music channel MTV do a historical drama. (For the record, it’s called Reign, about Mary Queen of Scots). Greg’s character, having moved to Sweden with his girlfriend in Season 1, gets a job as a liaison to visiting American celebrities and decides to propose. (NBC at 8) Tut: Egypt’s boy king gets the miniseries treatment in this swords-and-sandals production, which begins Sunday and continues Monday and Tuesday. They used their opener as a muscular springboard into a few songs from their scrappiest days, including the barreling “The Electric Co.” and the first U2 single ever to impact the charts, “I Will Follow.” The arc these songs set in motion gave the two-and-a-half-hour show the thematic purpose and flow of a play.

When he died “mysteriously” at 19 (malaria is the most commonly cited cause), he was buried in golden glory beneath a faceplate that miraculously survived the centuries to make Tut one of the most instantly recognizable figures in history. Jogia wears the same constipated, model-on-a-catwalk stare whether he’s dealing with treason in his own home — often in the form of his jealous sister Ankhe (Sibylla Dean, doing some sub-Joan Collins thesping) — or preparing to do battle with the massing armies of the neighboring Mittani tribe. Canadian actor Avan Jogia has received some good notices for playing Tutankhamun and of course there’s Oscar winner Sir Ben Kingsley as his duplicitous adviser Ay. Many historians believe that Tut’s imperfect skeleton made him unfit for battle, but the “Tut” writers make his ailments more metaphorical; Tut (Avan Jogia) is perceived as weak because he’s actually humane. Produced by Montreal’s Muse Entertainment, which gave us The Pillars of the Earth and The Kennedys, it looks set to deliver on the mandate to widen the audience.

The Star’s Tony Wong called it “the glory of Tut reimagined straight out of a boy band” and gave it two stars out of four. (Spike at 9) Robin Williams Weekend: The Sony Movie Channel remembers the comedian and actor, who committed suicide last August, with a couple of his movies. The series opens with the prince as a child watching his father, who has been poisoned, order the torture and death of the poisoner, as well as his wife and child. You might be best to skip RV at 9, which has a mere 23 per cent Rotten Tomatoes rating, but 1984’s Moscow on the Hudson, in which Williams plays a Russian musician who defects in Bloomingdale’s in New York, has a more encouraging 89 per cent rating. (Sony Movie Channel at 10:40) Nonso Anozie is commanding as Tut’s allegiance-shifting military commander and Kylie Bunbury is very alluring as the peasant woman who wins the young king’s heart (and ill-fatedly carries his child). In adulthood, Tut is just as gentle (and twice as pretty), allowing his buddy Ka (Peter Gadiot) to not only best him in swordplay but also make eyes at Queen Ankhe (Sibylla Deen).

The dialogue by Brad Bredeweg, Peter Paige and Michael Vickerman is laughably, often entertainingly, overheated: Describing the plight of women in Thebes, Ankhe intensely observes that they are “at the fickle whim of a man’s cock.” She also asserts her authority at one point by hissing “I am the Queen of Egypt!” Oh snap, girl! It helped that the band performed these songs, and their better-loved ones, with an intensity and a sense of momentum rarely in evidence on their recent tours.

Having caught a show on every U2 tour since they first played New York in 1980, I’d rank the new one just below their storied performances of the “Joshua Tree” era. Like a certain Disney princess with similar identity issues, Tut slips out of the palace to learn about his kingdom and finds his spirit and a true friend.

Instead of mounting the video screens in static positions behind the stage, they ran a two-sided contraption lengthwise through the arena, letting the images bisect the core of the building. The sometimes amateurish fighting scenes can never hope to approach the grandeur of Westeros, but remember, this is from the station that gave you Wildest Police Videos. But the franchise has been granted new life on Family Channel in Canada (and on Netflix in other countries around the world), where a new version will be titled Degrassi: Next Class.

The set-up proved especially effective in a song of nascent yearning like “Cedarwood Road.” Here, the contemporary Bono wandered down animated recreations of the streets he walked as a boy. To say more would spoil the fun, and there is fun to be had from “Tut,” which gallops from sex scene to battle scene to soulful close-up with remarkable rapidity. In “Song For Someone,” the screens filled with cartoon renderings of Bono in his teenage bedroom with posters of The Clash and Kraftwerk on the walls. Kingsley may not be enjoying himself quite as much as he did in “Iron Man 3,” but the man could play a scheming grand vizier in his sleep, with or without the kohl — and Jogia does the best he can to humanize the man behind the world’s most famous mask. Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, this sees unsuspecting people being approached at their front doors with chances to win cash prizes, meet celebrities or turn their big dreams into realities.

From there, the band dipped into hits and favorite tracks, setting up an interesting irony: While the most recently-written songs addressed the band’s innocent years, those penned when the band were younger brought them into the world of experience. In “City Of Blinding Lights” they directly dealt with the ever-changing nature of perception. “The more you see the less you know/the less you find out as you go,” Bono sang. He said it was fine, but then asked, ‘Is this the rule or the exception?’ He told me that he prepares two weeks ahead of time. ‘The reason I’m here,’ he said as he patted the script, ‘Is this. The legendary cast of SCTV once said that no matter how corny they made their spoof of Three’s Company, it just looked like a regular episode of that show.

They teased touchstones from Stephen Sondheim’s “Send In The Clowns” to Talking Heads’ “Burning Down The House” to Paul Simon’s “Mother And Child Reunion” (during a spot about mother-to-child transmission of AIDS). By making old and new songs bond on themes of time and perspective, this aging, embattled band found a new way to make themselves relevant, yet again.

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