'The Hunger Games': PopWatch Planner
The Olympics are almost finished, but archery’s greatest heroine is set to return this week when The Hunger Games arrives on home video. Jennifer Lawrence helped the first installment of the dystopian franchise split the box-office bulls eye, cashing in more than $400 million, and the blockbuster gets a special Saturday Blu-ray release. With midnight purchase parties, it could conceivably hurt the movies actually opening in theaters and make them… Expendable.
SUNDAY, AUG. 12
Olympics closing ceremonies and men’s basketball final, NBC
The closing ceremonies are notoriously a pot-luck affair, with the host nation dusting off every native-born international star who missed the cut for the opening act. Muse, the Who, George Michael, and the Spice Girls seem like sure things as London hands the torch to Rio de Janeiro, but don’t be surprised if Queen, the Kinks, and Annie Lennox pop in for a medley of some sort to celebrate five decades of British music. (The Rolling Stones are not expected, which somehow makes me respect them more.)
For American sports fans who annually look forward to getting up for Breakfast at Wimbledon every July, set your alarms for just before 10 a.m. ET for Breakfast with The King. That’s King LeBron James and the U.S. men’s hoops team, which faces Spain in the gold-medal game today, a rematch of the final four years ago in Beijing, where the U.S. took the gold, 118-107.
MONDAY, AUG. 13
The Closer, series finale, TNT, 9 p.m.
It’s closing time for Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) after seven seasons as one of television strongest, most complex female characters. Titled “The Last Word,” the finale brings back Johnson’s nemesis, guilty-as-sin lawyer Philip Stroh (Twilight‘s Billy Burke), as a suspect in a series of grisly murders. Fans can take solace that the Sedgwick-less Closer spinoff, Major Crimes with Mary McDonnell, debuts immediately after.
TUESDAY, AUG. 14
Universal 100th Anniversary Jaws Blu-ray
Yes, it happens to be Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, so what better way to celebrate the occasion than to dive back in to the original blockbuster that started our cultural obsession in the first place. Even if you’ve seen Steven Spielberg’s classic 326 times — and already own three previous incarnations of it on DVD — this is the must-have version, especially because of the new 100-minute documentary, The Shark is Still Working, which celebrates the film’s rich legacy.
WEDNESDAY, AUG. 15
The Forsyte Saga Collection, on DVD
For me, Damian Lewis will always be Richard Winters, the level-headed major who led HBO’s Band of Brothers through France in World War II. But Homeland fans might feel differently after an amazing season that culminated in an Emmy nomination. The Brit also made an impression in The Forsyte Sage, a Downton Abbey forebearer that aired on PBS’s Masterpiece Theatre in 2003-4. A new collection arrives on DVD on Tuesday, but it will take at least 702 minutes to watch two complete miniseries, so pencil it in for Wednesday, instead.
THURSDAY, AUG. 16
The Next: Fame is at Your Doorstep, series premiere, The CW, 9 p.m.
When you’ve got talent, sometimes all you need to make it big is a little boost from someone who’s already scaled that mountain — and is looking for a place to crash for a few days. Enter The Next, which pairs up on-the-verge singers with established stars like Joe Jonas and Gloria Estefan. They spend 72 hours dissecting the lives of the show’s contestants and try to steer them towards stardom.
FRIDAY, AUG. 17
The Expendables 2 out in theaters
For what it’s worth, if this film had been attempted in 1987, the budget would have been approximately $976 million to accommodate all the star salaries. In 2012, however, Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Bruce Willis (and Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme and more!) all get to elbow each other for screen time and deadly quips. My favorite part-time Expendable? Novak Djovovic. Yes, apparently the tennis star has a license to kill — with his backhand!!
SATURDAY, AUG. 18
The Hunger Games Blu-ray and DVD
What better way to recover from Olympic withdrawal then to watch young athletes go toe-to-toe against each other in an arena of death. (Enough of this gold, silver, bronze crap!) Practically everyone knows by now about Katniss and the rest of our heroes’ fates, but Lionsgate parachutes in some essential bonus features: An eight-part(!) documentary that digs behind-the-scenes, and the full-length “Propaganda Film” that flashed all too briefly during the film’s Reaping scene.
SUNDAY, AUG. 19
Oprah’s Next Chapter, with Rihanna, OWN, 9 p.m.
Oprah is promising a “get-down conversation” after spending time with Rihanna at her digs in Barbados, and an early clip teases the singer addressing her relationship with Chris Brown.