Vegas on TV

Here’s where to catch Vegas on your TV, Oct. 4-10

All listings are subject to change, and are Pacific time. Also check for listed programs on streaming and on-demand services:

IN THE SPOTLIGHT:

• Bugsy (Oct. 5 @ 10:15 p.m. and Oct. 6 @ 6:40 p.m. on EPIX): First, the minuses: You won’t see much of honest-to-goodness Las Vegas in director Barry Levinson’s 1991 gangster epic that purports to chronicle Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel’s rise in our town and his “creation” of the Flamingo hotel-casino. For one thing, it was mostly shot in California, where a full-scale, time-warp replica of the Flamingo was built near Palm Desert and La Quinta. And for another, the mob dynamo gets more credit than history allows by the film never mentioning Willam Wilkerson, who actually conceived of and built the resort, and owned nearly half of it (Siegel only got involved as it neared completion). We know — details, details.  But Bugsy remains a triumphant piece of film-making, thanks largely to the towering lead performances of Warren Beatty as Siegel and Annette Benning as gal pal Virginia Hill. And Siegel’s embrace of Las Vegas (and checkered life) has helped fuel the mystique of Vegas to this day. An old expression applies here: “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” And film it, too.  

Now You See Me (Oct. 8 @ 4:30 p.m. and Oct. 9 @ 1:30 p.m. on FX): Gallop along with a bunch of magicians known as The Four Horseman, as they pull off mid-performance bank heists and bestow the money on their audiences. Liberally sprinkled with stars — including Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Michael Caine, and Morgan Freeman — this 2013 thriller features a cool Vegas travelogue of scenes filmed the at the Golden Gate hotel-casino, the Fremont Street Experience, the Aria hotel-casino and the Lloyd D. George U.S. Courthouse. Oh — and scenes shot at the Neon Boneyard didn’t make the final theatrical cut, but do show up on the DVD.

Fright Night (Oct. 9 @ 11:45 a.m. on SYFY): Don’t be fooled. This 2011 remake of the 1985 comedy-horror flick does use Vegas for its plot: A teen (Anton Yelchin) from a Vegas suburb realizes his neighbor (Colin Farrell) is a vampire and enlists a local magician (David Tennant) to rid the world of the bloodsucker before he sucks Vegas dry. And it was all filmed in … New Mexico. Yes, there’s the Hard Rock Hotel-Casino — wrongly placed on the Strip in the flick, and actually lensed at a New Mexico Hard Rock. However, if you’re not from Vegas or are a regular visitor, you won’t know the difference. Hey, it’s Vegas, baby — even if it’s not!

BIG-SCREEN VEGAS THIS WEEK:
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Oct. 4 @ 12:05 p.m. and 11:30 p.m., Oct. 7 @ 2 p.m. and Oct. 9 @ 12:55 p.m. on TMC): Need a break from reality? Perhaps some cinematic hallucinations and a thoroughly fractured (if entertaining) perception of Las Vegas is in order as Johnny Depp channels Hunter S. Thompson and Benicio Del Toro is along as his wingman in this drug-saturated adaptation of Thompson’s landmark (and whacked-out) 1971 novel. Ellen Barkin and Gary Busey are among the high-octane cameos. [RELATED: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: Behind the Camera
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (Oct. 4 @ 12:30 a.m. on IFC): In this 2013 Strip-magicians-at-war comedy, marquee prestidigitators played by Steve Carrell and Steve Buscemi (and partially based on Siegfried & Roy) take on an aggressive, hipster challenger practicing a danger-brand of street magic, played by Jim Carrey (partly based on Criss Angel). MGM magic maven David Copperfield served as a film advisor and shared a few confidential secrets with the filmmakers —for which they had to sign secrecy contracts. Look for scenes shot at Bally’s Las Vegas, Caesars Palace, Paris Las Vegas, Fremont Street, Binion’s Gambling Hall and exterior shots up and down both the Strip and Downtown Las Vegas.
2012 (Oct. 4 @ 10 a.m. on FX) and Godzilla (Oct. 5. @ 2 p.m. on Spike): What did we ever do to tick off Hollywood? They destroy us twice this week. In 2009’s 2012, we get leveled by an earthquake, then we get stomped by an eight-legged creature called a MUTO (“Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism”) in the 2014 reinvention of Godzilla. Hey Hollywood, go pick on someone else — Washington, D.C. perhaps. They haven’t had a good movie wipeout since Independence Day. Actually, scratch that — D.C. is doing a pretty stellar job of blowing itself up these days.
The Hangover (Oct. 6 @ 6:50 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. on Comedy Channel and Oct. 8 @ 7:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Paramount): Cinematically speaking, our city is still hung over from The Hangover, the raucous 2009 comedy about a missing groom and a bachelor party gone off the rails that is a veritable Vegas smorgasbord. Bradley Cooper, Zack Galifanakis and and Heather Graham (as a stripper/escort, of course) topline this Strip joyride that gives us such sights as a tiger in a bathroom, a chicken in a living room, a baby in a closet, a mattress impaled on a Caesars Palace statue and a naked man in the trunk of a Mercedes. … Oh, and Mike Tyson. More, you say? Read BEHIND THE CAMERA: Caesars Palace, Lindsay Lohan’s boo-boo and an embarrassed actor part of ‘The Hangover’ legacy
The Great White Hype (Oct. 8 @ 5:55 p.m. on MOMAX): The MGM Grand gets a major promotional workout, albeit in a flick that reviewers and audiences were more inclined to think of as The Great White Tripe. This limp, 1996 wannabe sports-comedy stars Samuel L. Jackson (as a Don King caricature named Rev. Fred Sultan) and Damon Wayans (playing a boxer named James “The Grim Reaper” Roper). And it’s the MGM that plays host to the doofus boxing matches between characters played by Wayans and Peter Berg. Satirical points about racism miss their targets and hit the comedy canvas with a resounding thud, but some fun is to be had thanks to contributions from Jeff Goldblum as an anti-boxing crusader and Jon Lovitz as a PR toady.

VEGAS HERE, THERE, EVERYWHERE:

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (Oct. 4-9 @ 6 a.m. on USA)
Flipping Vegas (Oct. 5 @ 7-10 a.m. on A&E and Oct. 10 @ 1-5 p.m. and 8 p.m. on FYI)
Top This Party: Las Vegas (Oct. 5 @ 10 a.m. on LRW)
Barrett-Jackson Live 2019 Las Vegas Car Auction (Oct. 5 @ 3 p.m. on Discovery)
Modern Family: Las Vegas (Oct. 7 @ 6:30 p.m. on USA)
Drugs, Inc: High Stakes Vegas (Oct. 9 @ 8 a.m. on NatGeo)
Friends: The One in Vegas (Part 1: Oct. 9 @ 1 p.m.; Part 2: Oct. 9 @ 1:30 p.m., both on TBS)
Property Brothers: Vegas for Good (Oct. 9 @ 9 p.m. and Oct. 10 @ midnight on HGTV)
American Ninja Warrior: Las Vegas Finals (Oct. 9 @ 10 p.m.-midnight and Oct. 10 @ 6 a.m. and 8-10 p.m. on NBCSN)
Pawn Stars (Oct. 10 @ 7:30-9 a.m., 9:30-10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.-noon on HISTw)
Mecum Auto Auctions, Muscle Cars & More: Las Vegas Live (Oct. 10 @ 10:30 a.m. on NBCSN)
Futurama: Viva Mars Vegas (Oct. 10 @ 11:10 a.m. on Comedy Channel)

— Steve Bornfeld

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