News Column

New channel, same 'Sunny' gang

August 30, 2013

YellowBrix

New channel, same 'Sunny' gang

Charlie, Mac, Dennis and Sweet Dee are coming back to Paddy's Pub on Wednesday night, but you won't find them on FX.

The new season of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" premieres next week on FX's new offshoot, the confusingly named FXX. (No, I'm not kidding.) The gut-busting, eyebrow-raising sitcom anchors the new channel's only night of original programming at 9 p.m., followed by fellow FX castoffs "The League" and "Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell." You can find the channel number for the new network at .

"It's Always Sunny" promises 13 episodes in its ninth season, including one written by "Game of Thrones" showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Guest appearances from Conan O'Brien, Josh Groban and Seann William Scott also are on tap.

Conveniently, you can catch up on the show's eighth season Tuesday on Blu-ray and DVD. You also can download the "Sunny Apps" at -- play the Flipadelphia flip-cup game on Android and iOS devices and check out soundboards full of funny quotes from the show.

Cheap tricks

Also new to Blu-ray, DVD and video on-demand on Tuesday is the sleeper summer hit "Now You See Me," a caper with a great premise and an even better cast.

Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher and Dave (brother of James) Franco play four magicians who put their talents to use in a series of onstage heists. Mark Ruffalo plays the FBI agent on their tail, Morgan Freeman plays a skeptic who works to debunk their seemingly impossible feats of thievery, and Michael Caine pops up as a wealthy ne'er-do-well.

I felt a bit cheated by the film, which dazzles you quite literally with smoke and mirrors, but I suspect it will play better on the small screen where the likability of its performers will be more important than the spectacle. (Perhaps the extra 16 minutes of footage added to the Blu-ray director's cut will help matters.

If magicians aren't your thing, perhaps a "Sharknado" will do?

The already infamous SyFy original movie that lit up Twitter last month is coming to Blu-ray, where you can enjoy the terrible visual effects, Tara Reid's expressionless face and Ian Ziering's stubble in beautiful high-definition clarity.

In case you're unaware of this minor phenomenon, here's the plot of "Sharknado": A hurricane strikes off the coast of Los Angeles, sweeps up an absurd number of killer sharks, and drops them all over the city. At one point, the heroes commandeer a helicopter and throw bombs into the "sharknadoes" to stop them. Don't ask me how that works.

Perhaps Tuesday's best bet for Blu-ray collectors and lovers of bad movies is the 1996 cult classic,

The big-screen version of the beloved TV show has Mike Nelson and his robot pals joking and riffing while they watch "This Island Earth," a 1955 sci-fi yarn about balding aliens with pointy heads not named Beldar. The new release includes deleted scenes and a documentary containing new interviews with the cast and crew.

Sadly, I'm still waiting for the commercial release of my favorite MST3K episode, "Agent for H.A.R.M."

"Here's eye in your mud!"

* Sean Stangland is a Daily Herald copy editor, a tireless consumer of pop culture, and a hopeless nerd. Follow him on Twitter @SeanStanglandDH.

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