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The CW's twisted thriller 'Cult' premieres Tuesday

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The CW premieres "Cult," its twisty new 13-episode murder thriller, at 9 p.m. Tuesday, and I'm quite curious about it.

It's about a journalist, Jeff Sefton (Matt Davis, "The Vampire Diaries"), who is investigating the possible link between his brother's disappearance and the rabid fans of a hit TV show called "Cult." (Yes, the show and the show-within-the-show are both called "Cult.")

It also stars Robert Knepper (aka "Prison Break's" T-Bag) as the show-within-a-show's cult leader, Alona Tal ("Supernatural") as the former cult member-turned-cop out to get him and Jessica Lucas ("Melrose Place" remake) as a researcher for the fictional show who teams up with Jeff on the case.

All of this sounds intriguing, but I'm also interested for a different reason: I want to see how my memory matches up with it.

See, the CW is one of the few networks that still sends advanced screener copies of its shows, and sometimes those screeners are very advanced. After the upfronts in May, when the networks announce their fall schedules, the CW sends out rough cuts of the new shows it's just announced.

In last year's batch, I was very interested in two -- "Arrow" and "Cult" -- and mildly interested in a third, "Beauty and the Beast." I had them at my house when my friend invited me to hang out, so I said, "I've got some new shows that sound like they could be good."

We watched "Cult" first.

It was the first time, I think, that I've watched a press screener with someone else, and I have to say, it wasn't a great start. Throughout the episode, I kept thinking, "Please get better, or she's never going to let me suggest anything again!"

It's been at least eight months since we watched it, so I don't remember specifics. I do, however, remember a huge sense of disappointment and a general terribleness about the show.

Since it has been so long, though, maybe I'm misremembering. Or maybe they've had time to tweak it. That happens to a lot of shows, especially ones that debut midseason. I haven't gotten a new copy, so I don't know.

That's why I'll be tuning in again Tuesday, and watching it with fresh eyes. As I said, the concept is interesting and could be creepy (the new trailer makes it look so), plus Robert Knepper plays evil fabulously, so I'm hoping for the best.

•••

Scripted series premieres: "Zero Hour," 8 p.m. Thursday, ABC (global conspiracy drama starring Anthony Edwards); "Wendell & Vinnie," 8 p.m. Saturday, Nickelodeon (Jerry Trainor basically reprises his "iCarly" role as a goofy bachelor raising a precocious child); "Cult," 9 p.m. Tuesday, CW (mystery thriller).

Series premieres: "Freakshow," 9:30 p.m. (life in the Venice Beach Freakshow) and "Immortalized," 10 p.m. (taxidermy competition) Thursday, AMC; "Big Rig Bounty Hunters," 10 p.m. Thursday, History (pursuing missing cargo trucks); "Failosophy," 10:30 p.m. Thursday, MTV (outrageous online misfortunes); "Bear Grylls' Wild Adventure," 9 p.m. Tuesday, BBC America (the survivalist takes celebrities outside their comfort zones); "Ultimate Soldier Challenge," 10 p.m. Tuesday, History (combat challenges with soldiers from across the globe); "The Jeselnik Offensive," 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, Comedy Central (skewering pop culture); "Pot Cops," 9 p.m. and "Weed Country," 10 p.m. Wednesday, Discovery (exploring all sides of the marijuana black market).

Sneak preview: "The Moment," 11 p.m. Wednesday, USA (Kurt Warner-hosted reality show that gives people a second chance to pursue their calling). Show set to premiere in April.

Season premieres: "Ridiculousness," 10 p.m. Thursday, MTV; "The Amazing Race," 8 p.m. Sunday, CBS; "Fast n' Loud," 9 p.m. and "The Devil's Ride," 10 p.m. Monday, Discovery; "La La's Full Court Life," 10 p.m. Monday, VH1.

Rescheduled season premiere: "Body of Proof," 10 p.m. Tuesday, ABC (pushed back from Feb. 5, part one of two).

Returning: "Comic Book Men," 9 p.m. Thursday, AMC; "Degrassi," 9 p.m. Friday, Teen Nick; "See Dad Run," 8:30 p.m. Sunday, Nickelodeon.

Season finales: "Downton Abbey," 9 p.m. Sunday, PBS; "Total Blackout," 10 p.m. Tuesday, Syfy; "Ghost Mine," 9 p.m. Wednesday, Syfy; "Necessary Roughness," 10 p.m. Wednesday, USA; "Top Chef," 10 p.m. Wednesday (part one of two).

Specials: "Sports Illustrated: The Making of Swimsuit '13 - 7 Continents, 17 Wonders," 8 p.m. Sunday, Travel; "Hot Hotel Sets," 9 p.m. Sunday, Travel (hotels featured prominently in famous films); "Oprah's Favorite After-the-Oscar Moments," 9 p.m. Sunday, OWN (behind the scenes of past ceremonies); "After Newtown: Guns in America," 9 p.m. Tuesday, PBS; "Welcome to Coalwood," 10 p.m. Tuesday, PBS2 (a history of the town, filmed at the October Sky Festival); "20/20: Mad About Oscar," 10 p.m. Tuesday, ABC (Katie Couric explores the history of the ceremony).

Historical specials: "Lincoln's Secret Killer," 9 p.m. Friday, National Geographic (investigating the possibility he was dying of a rare form of cancer when killed); "Stories from the Road to Freedom," 8 p.m. Saturday, History Channel (the history of black culture in America); "Killing Lincoln," 8 p.m. Sunday, National Geographic (Tom Hanks-narrated drama starring Billy Campbell, adapted from Bill O'Reilly's book).

Of note: Josh Groban performs a tune on "CSI: NY," 9 p.m. Friday, CBS; beloved children's author Judy Blume is interviewed on "Rock Center," 10 p.m. Friday, NBC; "Saturday Night Live in the '90s: Pop Culture Nation," 9 p.m. Sunday, NBC; "Castle" begins a two-part episode, 10 p.m. Monday, ABC; "American Idol" semifinal performances begin, 8 p.m. Wednesday, Fox.

Preemption: UK basketball preempts NBC primetime from 8 to 10 p.m. Wednesday.

W.Va. alerts: Although it will likely be heavily edited, the horror film "The Collector," starring Webster County native Josh Stewart, makes its TV debut, 9 p.m. Saturday, Syfy. Also on Syfy, Bobby Campo (born in Wheeling but raised in Florida) has a recurring role as Sally's love interest, Max, on "Being Human," 9 p.m. Mondays.

Reach Amy Robinson at flipside@wvgazette.com.


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