TV Review: 'Sharknado 2: The Second One' offers more polish, slightly less charm
Credit: Syfy

TV Review: 'Sharknado 2: The Second One' offers more polish, slightly less charm

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Ian Ziering and Tara Reid return, with a slew of cameos

I know I've thought it and said it and probably even written it, but there's something vaguely condescending about the notion that the "Sharknado" franchise is somehow review-proof or review-immune or however you'd prefer to view it. 

Just because something is designed to be a guilty pleasure doesn't mean that it can't achieve its goals with more or less craft.

And just because something isn't necessarily meant to be taken seriously doesn't mean that those aspirations can't be achieved with more or less success.

Because the desire to be taken seriously or viewed as legitimate is hardly an argument to be reviewed or acknowledged in the case of utter ineptitude. 

For example, look at CBS' "Under the Dome." It has a literary pedigree, some respectable creative auspices, a cast of familiar TV faces, a position of some prominence in CBS' lineup and a reputation as a summertime success, even if that reputation hasn't been supported by recent ratings.

And "Under the Dome" is awful. It's as inert and inept a show as there is on TV, a showcase for shoddy effects, leaden pacing, dead-ended plotting and a slew of performances that run the full gamut from wooden to petrified wooden. 

No matter the patina of frivolity that coats Wednesday's (July 30) premiere of "Sharknado 2: The Second One," there's almost no level on which this Syfy original movie is inferior.  

Unlike "Under the Dome," "Sharknado 2" has a sense of playfulness that infuses its variably successful effects shots, its sometimes stumbling momentum and its unflagging commitment to delivering ridiculously audacious set-pieces. And unlike "Under the Dome," every one of the actors on-screen in "Sharknado" clearly wants to be there and even if that's because they're aware they couldn't be doing anything else, why is that so bad? 

This isn't to say that "Sharknado 2" is some great piece of made-for-TV art. In improving its empirical quality, the sequel has absolutely lost some of its ephemeral charm. But it's absolutely a thing that is capable of being evaluated objectively, as more than just an "It is what it is" or an "If you liked the first one you'll like this one" level.

So let's do that, eh?

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<p>&quot;America&#39;s Got Talent&quot;</p>

"America's Got Talent"

Credit: NBC

TV Ratings: 'America's Got Talent,' rising 'Food Fighters' lead NBC Tuesday

'Celebrity Wife Swap' posts a small dip for its season finale

Fast National ratings for Tuesday, July 29, 2014.

"America's Got Talent" topped Tuesday night in all measures, while "Food Fighters" rose from last week's premiere, allowing NBC to dominate primetime.

With NBC doubling up the competition among young viewers and cruising overall, there weren't many other Tuesday notables, though ABC's "Extreme Weight Loss" was up a hair and "Celebrity Wife Swap" dipped a hair in its season finale.

On to the numbers...

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<p>Allison Williams</p>

Allison Williams

Credit: Evan Agostini/AP

'Girls' star can fly in NBC's 'Peter Pan Live!' title role

No, Lena Dunham isn't joining Christopher Walken in NBC's musical

There has been a long history of girls playing the title role in "Peter Pan," so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that NBC's "Peter Pan Live!" has found its leading lady on HBO's "Girls."

NBC announced on Wednesday (July 30) morning that Allison Williams will play Peter Pan in the network's second live musical, which will air on December 4.

Williams will appear opposite Christopher Walken, who was previously cast as the nefarious Captain Hook.

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<p>Jim Gaffigan</p>

Jim Gaffigan

Credit: Comedy Central

'Gaffigan' in, 'Kirstie' out at TV Land

Ashley Williams, Adam Goldberg and HOT POCKETS! co-star

In a changing of the self-titled comedy guard, TV Land announced on Tuesday (July 29) that it has given a series order to "The Gaffigan Show," while also confirming that "Kirstie" has been cancelled after only one season.

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TV Ratings: Low 'Bachelorette' finale leads ABC Monday, while NBC's 'Ninja' rises
Credit: ABC

TV Ratings: Low 'Bachelorette' finale leads ABC Monday, while NBC's 'Ninja' rises

'Running Wild With Bear Grylls' has an OK start for NBC

Fast National ratings for Monday, July 28, 2014.

ABC's finale for "The Bachelorette" was far below last summer's "Bachelorette" finale and was barely up from last week's installment, but the three-hour telecast lit season highs anyway and led ABC to Monday wins in all key measures.

Other Monday notables saw "Under the Dome" stabilize among young viewers (but dip overall), FOX's "MasterChef" drop a hair, NBC's "American Ninja Warrior" continue its summer charge and "Running Wild With Bear Grylls" premiere to decent numbers.

On to the numbers...

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TV Ratings: 'Big Brother' leads CBS Sunday, while 'Rising Star' drops again
Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'Big Brother' leads CBS Sunday, while 'Rising Star' drops again

'Unforgettable' and 'Reckless' also win overall

Fast National ratings for Sunday, July 27, 2014.

"Big Brother," "Unforgettable" and "Reckless" were all steady for CBS, leading the network to Sunday victories in all key measures.

Animation repeats put FOX in second overall (and first in the 18-34 demo), while ABC was second overall, as "Rising Star" continued to lose steam after a couple seemingly encouraging weeks.

On to the numbers...

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Guillermo del Toro brings 'The Strain' to Comic-Con: Live-Blog
Credit: FX

Guillermo del Toro brings 'The Strain' to Comic-Con: Live-Blog

Guillermo del Toro, Carlton Cuse and company lead the last Hall H panel of Comic-Con 2014

After live-blogs for "Sons of Anarchy" and "The Following," it's time for the final Hall H panel of Comic-Con 2014.

It's Guillermo del Toro and company taking the stage for FX's "The Strain," which will be preceded by a screening on Sunday (July 27) night's episode, which was one of my favorites so far, featuring some jaw-droopingly gross moments, as well as a hilarious sequence for Corey Stoll's wig.

Apparently this is the first TV show ever to be paneled in Hall H during its first season.

Who knew?

Click through for the highlights...

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'Sons of Anarchy' comes to Comic-Con for the last time: Live-Blog
Credit: FX

'Sons of Anarchy' comes to Comic-Con for the last time: Live-Blog

Kurt Sutter and the SAMCRO team come to Hall H for the last time

Well, we all survived "The Following," which wasn't a bad panel, even if the crowd ran out of questions very early. My full "Following" live-blog is here.

Now it's time for "Sons of Anarchy." We did a "Sons of Anarchy" panel at TCA press tour less than a week ago, so we'll see what new details we get today...

We've got an hour of this and then "The Strain."

So let's get our "Sons of Anarchy" on...

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'The Following' scares up Season 3 hints at Comic-Con: Live-Blog
Credit: FOX

'The Following' scares up Season 3 hints at Comic-Con: Live-Blog

Kevin Bacon and Kevin Williamson hit Hall H on Comic-Con Sunday morning

It's Comic-Con Sunday. Woo!

On Saturday, I live-blogged WBTV's Night of DC Entertainment, "True Blood" and "The Vampire Diaries."

Sunday is TV Day in Hall H and I'll be live-blogging panels for "Sons of Anarchy" and "The Strain."

But first? Kevin Williamson and Kevin Bacon return to see if people are actually interested in what's in store for Season 3 of "The Following"... 

Follow along... [See what I did there?]

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Ra's al Ghul is coming to 'Arrow' and EP Marc Guggenheim offers details
Credit: DC Comics

Ra's al Ghul is coming to 'Arrow' and EP Marc Guggenheim offers details

Check out the DC Comics supervillain in an 'Arrow' Season 3 trailer

The "Arrow" Season 3 tease that played at Saturday's (July 27) Warner Bros. Television Presents a Night of DC Entertainment in Hall H was identical to the teaser that played before the Ballroom 20 panel on Friday.

Well, not in ALL ways. 

As Night of DC Entertainment MC Stephen Amell teased easier, the only difference in the sizzle reel was the last 15 seconds.

And what a difference those 15 seconds made, as they set up this "Arrow" season's big DC Comics' addition, noted League of Assassins frontman Ra's al Ghul, a character best known to the widest audience from Liam Neeson's performance in "Batman Begins." The character was name-dropped repeatedly last season on "Arrow" and his daughter Nyssa made several appearances tied to the origin story of Sara Lance as Black Canary.

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