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Best bets: The Visitors of 'V' return

The lizard people continue to invade Earth as the sci-fi show launches its second season. Also this week: "The Biggest Loser" returns for Jillian's final season; "Machete" and "Howl" come to DVD.
/ Source: TODAY.com

TV
It seems so long ago that we were all excited about the remake of "V," that classic 1980s miniseries with half-lizard babies and guinea pig snacks. The show aired its first-season finale in May, and season two comes along this week. The hybrid child has been born and you just know evil Visitor leader Anna has nefarious plans for it, and for humanity. (First season DVDs are out if you need a refresher.) (Jan. 4, 9 p.m., ABC.)

Sneak peek: 'V' season two

A whole generation grew up loving 1966's "Born Free," the true story of Joy and George Adamson and the lion cub, Elsa, they raise and then release back into the wild. Even President Barack Obama told Entertainment Weekly it was one of his favorite movies, and that he remembers tearing up while watching. Now PBS will air "Elsa's Legacy: The Born Free Story," telling the true and tragic story that goes beyond the original film. Both Adamsons were tragically murdered in separate crimes, she in 1980, he in 1989. (Jan. 9, 8 p.m., PBS.)

Watch a preview of "Elsa's Legacy"

Didn't "The Biggest Loser" just end? It's back again, with a whole new crew of people — couples this time — who desperately need to lose weight. This is trainer Jillian Michaels' last season. She's already announced she plans to look into new adventures, including possibly adopting a child. The contestants will be given the choice of working with Jillian, Bob Harper, or two unknown trainers. Also, Olympic gold-medal wrestler Rulon Gardner will be one of the weight-loss hopefuls. As a wrestler, he's surely used to cutting weight, but this may be a more healthy way to go about it. (Jan. 4, 8 p.m., NBC.)

NBC is offering up a new midseason superhero drama, "The Cape." Australian actor David Lyons (he played Dr. Simon Brenner, the doctor who was molested as a child on "ER") stars as the hero, a cop who was framed for murders he didn't commit and is believed to be dead. He's now taken on the role of his son's favorite comic-book character to both fight crime and clear his name. (Premieres Jan. 9, 9 p.m., NBC.)

Movies
Face it: It's the inevitable post-holiday weak movie week. The only new film being released nationwide is Nicolas Cage's "Season of the Witch," featuring Cage as a 14th-century knight transporting a suspected witch to a monastery. Unless you're obsessed with the Crusades, skip it. Instead, seek out some of the smaller, critically acclaimed films that are just now starting to trickle into more theaters. and are already mentioned as Oscar favorites.

DVD
"Machete"
began life as a fake trailer for a juicy-looking 1970s-style revenge drama, shown only during Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino's "Grindhouse" in 2007. It became a full-length film directed by Rodriguez, including much of the same footage seen in the trailer, and starring scar-faced Danny Trejo as a Mexican federale turned renegade. Critics differed on whether the full-length film delivered on the trailer's promise, but Richard Roeper called it "warped, violent, dark, funny, sexy." (Out on DVD Jan. 4.)

Danny Trejo's scarred and lined face doesn't scream "Hollywood star." But there are plenty of actors who don't look like Botoxed Barbie dolls these days.

A Hollywood film about a poet? "Howl" explores the 1957 obscenity trial of Beat poet Allen Ginsberg, with James Franco as Ginsberg and "Mad Men" star Jon Hamm as Jake Ehrlich, his defense attorney (and supposedly the real-life inspiration for "Perry Mason"). gave it three stars, and notes that it correctly captures its era, a time when Ginsberg himself was young and bold and not yet the counter-culture legend he could become. "It’s possible to forget that 'Howl,' now a standard, was illegal to sell for a time, and that Ginsberg’s own sexuality was against the law in many states," Ebert writes. "It took some courage to be Allen Ginsberg." (Out on DVD Jan. 4.)