Appointment Viewing: Revisit MTV’s Early Days and Will “American Ninja Warrior” Finally Crown a Winner?

It’s time to look at ahead at a week of Appointment Viewing and you’ve got plenty of ways to fill your DVR, including a look back to the days before The Real World changed MTV, Morgan Spurlock‘s picks for the most important documentaries and the biggest American Ninja Warrior season yet.

Friday brings the debut of a trio of animated series that I think might grab your interest. First off, Cartoon Network’s update of ThunderCats. Kids of a certain age certainly remember the camptastic syndicated 80s cartoon with its charming mix of sword & sorcery, sci-fi and cat people, along with an early Pokemon prototype of a mascot. (Snarf taught Pikachu something branding reinforcement by constantly repeating one’s name.)

When the original ThunderCats aired, animated series were usually episodic and each episode ended with Lion-O and Mumm-Ra back at the point they started. Since then, shows like Avatar and Teen Titans have opened up animation to longer story arcs, which should create some interesting possibilities for this reinvention of ThunderCats.

Meanwhile, G4 is debuting a couple of anime-influenced takes on Marvel superheroes Iron Man and Wolverine. In addition to taking inspiration from the Japanese style of animation, these series actually take their heroes to Japan– at least for the opening chapters. Iron Man features Adrian Pasdar as the voice of a contrite Tony Stark, looking to make amends for making his fortune off of manufacturing weapons. His first act is to build a nuclear power plant in Japan, only to have the Zodiac organization decide they want the reactor for themselves.

The Wolverine anime has Milo Ventimiglia as the gruff mutant with the complicated past. Unsurprisingly, Logan‘s love of Mariko brings him back to Japan when she disappears, presumably at the hand of her crime-lord father. Both series come under the guidance of  comic writer Warren Ellis (who earned quite a few gay fans when he created Apollo and Midnighter in the pages of StormWatch and The Authority). Ellis has certainly come up with interesting new takes on familiar concepts in the past. Will these new series add to his hits or his misses?

Friday also brings a new episode of Haven where… er, the “town docks” starts attacking people? Surely there’s a typo in that episode description, as it sounds strange even for Haven. Meanwhile, the Torchwood team heads to California to investigate drug company PhiCorp. Gwen gets to try and thwart a biometric lock.

IFC has a major challenge for Rhett & Link: Commercial Kings when they’re asked to create an ad for a colonic facility. With a product that doesn’t exactly sell itself, they end up turning to 80s singer Richard Marx for help.

Also, HBO has a new Real Time with Bill Maher with Eliot Spitzer and Bryan Cranston on the guest list.

Finally, Bravo has a new Platinum Hit.

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