Vegas Rat Rods (Sept. 17, 7, 8 and 9 a.m., DSC): Working out of a garage on the outskirts of the Strip are — as IMDB.com describes them — “Steve Darnell and his band of oddballs and misfits” who are “the Picassos of automotive fabricators.” How high-falutin’. Anyway, in this mini-marathon, the oddballs make a rod out of a 1979 Peterbilt, redesign a Chevy truck into a “bat out of hell” for a pair of bodyguards, and “transform a gutless work truck into a mountain-taming monster.” What, pray tell, is a “gutless truck”?
Dog the Bounty — Vegas or Bust (Sept. 17, 8 a.m., A&E): Our main man handles a pair of cases, then is the keynote speaker at the Professional Bail Agents Convention in town. You go, dawg.
Now You See Me (Sept. 17, 3:30 p.m., FX): Gallop along with a bunch of magicians known as The Four Horseman, as they pull off mid-performance bank heists and bestow the purloined loot 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 at the Golden Gate hotel-casino, the Fremont Street Experience, the Aria hotel-casino and the Lloyd D. George U.S. Courthouse. Scenes shot at the Neon Boneyard didn’t make the final theatrical cut, but do show up on the DVD.
Con Air (Sept. 17, 6:30 p.m., Sept. 18, 3 p.m., AMC): You’ll wait for the grand finale set piece, but this 1997 actioner is worth it when homebound con Nicolas Cage and his not-so-merry band of airborne miscreants (including John Malkovich, Dave Chappelle and a comically creepy Steve Buscemi) crash their plane on the Vegas Strip, shearing off the famed guitar atop the Hard Rock sign. As con/pilot Swamp Thing (M.C. Gainey) declares during their uncontrolled vertical dive: “Buckle up, ladies, we’re going for a night out in Vegas!”
Leaving Las Vegas (Sept. 18, 2:30 a.m. and Sept. 22, 11:40 p.m., SHO2): Downbeat but poignant — and featuring an Oscar-winning performance from Nicolas Cage — this 1995 drama finds Ben Sanderson (Cage), an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter, arriving in town for an intentionally fatal bender. Along his drunken path, he connects with Sera (Elisabeth Shue), a sympathetic prostitute, forming a sad but unique bond. Famously intense in his acting approach, Cage reportedly prepared for his role by filming himself drunk to study his inebriated speech patterns. Whether that constitutes method acting or a weird way to pick up bar hookups is up for debate.
Rush Hour 2 (Sept. 18, 1:05 p.m. and Sept. 21, 6 p.m., MAX): Cop cutups Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker somehow wind up in our town (don’t ask how) at the “Red Dragon” hotel-casino to solve a counterfeit money laundering scam in this 2001 martial arts laugher-sequel. Guess who played the Red Dragon? The now-defunct Desert Inn, which had already closed before filming began, but was all dressed up in a Chinese-palace theme.
The Hangover Part III (Sept. 18, 8 p.m., TNT): All hail the return of the Wolfpack in this 2013 trilogy-ender in which the gang (Bradley Cooper, El Helms and Justin Bartha) try to get off-his-meds Zack Galifianakis back on track with a road trip to You-Know-Where. Bring on the mayhem, dudes.
American Ninja Warrior: Las Vegas Finals Night (Sept. 19, 9 a.m.-noon, NBCSN): In the Las Vegas National Finals, ridiculously toned athletes face off for our entertainment and amusement.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation — Viva Las Vegas (Sept. 20, 10:30 a.m., SYFY): You might ask how this series could ever NOT feature Vegas. After all, it’s based here. However, this episode is particularly Vegas-centric, as our intrepid forensics team investigates four deaths — a man shot in a nightclub, a stripper’s body found in a hotel room and a gambler dead in a bathroom. Oh, and what could possibly be an alien that is found in a shallow grave at Area 51. Just another night on the town, huh?
Flipping Vegas (Sept. 20, 1-3 p.m. and Sept. 22, 7-9 a.m. FYI; Sept. 22, 7-9 a.m., A&E): In the FYI episodes, catch Scott Yancey and his Flipped-out crew take on an unfinished mansion and a moldy house. Then on the A&E entries, the team focuses on a private detective’s home, a house with fire damage and a renovation project with “unworldly problems.” What does that mean — it’s on sale on Saturn?
The Hangover (Sept. 21, 2:50 a.m., MOMAX): 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 Heather Graham (as a stripper/escort, of course) topline this Vegas 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.
The New Adventures of Old Christine: What Happens in Vegas Is Disgusting in Vegas (Sept. 22, 5 a.m., TVLAND): Well that title is rather rude, don’cha think? In this installment of the series starring the relentlessly delightful Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “new” Christine (Emily Rutherfurd) gets a Vegas bachelorette blowout that unlocks a wild side she didn’t know she had. So we have to ask: Isn’t that what Vegas is for?
Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (Sept. 22, 10:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., BRAVO): Calling this 2005 Sandra Bullock vehicle “silly” is over-praising it (Rotten Tomatoes bestows an abysmal 15 percent approval rating on it). But Vegas clichés at least get a good workout in this slight sequel, especially when William Shatner (at his winking, self-mocking best) is kidnapped and stashed at the ship at Treasure Island, and Bullock, Regina King and Diedrich Bader wind up at a drag club hollering out Tina Turner tunes. We question whether that would make Proud Mary proud.
Vivica’s Black Magic — Ready for Vegas (Sept. 22, 5 and 9 p.m., LRW): Foxy Ms. Fox (as in Vivica) continues her cherished quest to shepherd her Black Magic male revue, trying to persuade a promoter to catch their act, but problems arise (naturally) when a feud erupts amid the group. That Ol’ Black Magic Has Us In Its Spell …
Modern Family — Las Vegas (Sept. 22, 11 p.m., USA): One of this series’ funniest episodes finds the Pritchetts and the Dunphys in town for a stay with deluxe accommodations, but — of course — miscommunications and misunderstandings lead to riotous results. Let’s just say it includes a bathtub rendezvous, dorky magicians and Sofia Vergara in a sexy maid’s outfit.
Monk — Mr. Monk Goes to Vegas (Sept. 23, 10 a.m., WE): Our favorite neurotic detective comes to town to investigate the suspicious death of a casino owner’s wife. James Brolin guest stars. We wonder if Monk will solve it. … No, actually we don’t wonder at all. This one is (if you’ll excuse the expression) a sure bet.
Vegas ER (Sept. 23, 1-3 p.m., DSC LIFE): Docs treat Vegas patients. Hopefully, you’re not among them.
— Steve Bornfeld
Dates, times and channels provided by TVguide.com. All times are Pacific, check your local listings for your time zone and channel guide.