Everything you need to know about this week's sci-fi TV

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Dec 14, 2012, 4:09 PM EST

It looks like we've got what appears to be a kind of Hot Ladies thing going on this week with Angel's Charisma Carpenter (House of Bones), Ghost Whisperer's Aisha Tyler (Archer), BSG's Tricia Helfer (Human Target), Angel's Amy Acker (Dollhouse), Star Trek: Voyager's Jeri Ryan (Leverage) and Charmed's Alyssa Milano (Castle).

Here's what we have to look forward to on sci-fi, spy and paranormal TV this week.

Archer (FX), Thursday at 10 p.m. ET/PT

Series premiere

Think James Bond a la Adult Swim. This oh-so-adult animated half-hour series follows master spy Sterling Archer (voiced by H. Jon Benjamin), whose code name is "Duchess." Archer works for the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS) which meets espionage and global crisis head-on, as long as it doesn't get in the way of this dysfunctional ISIS team of super spies and their efforts to confuse, undermine, betray and screw with each other. The team consists of Archer's domineering mother and boss, Malory (voiced by Jessica Walter), his hot ex-girlfriend, Agent Lana Kane (voiced by Aisha Tyler), his aging-but-loyal butler, Woodhouse (voiced by George Coe), ISIS comptroller and Lana's new boyfriend, Cyril Figgis (voiced by Chris Parnell, and Malory's lovesick secretary, Cheryl (Judy Greer). Archer is from creator Adam Reed, who was also behind Adult Swim's Sealab 2021.

And in other animated series this week: the Cartoon Network's Batman: The Brave and the Bold (Friday, 7:30 p.m.) gets a visit from the Justice Society of America asking for a little bat-help when Per Degaton strikes in "The Golden Age of Justice," and Ben 10: Alien Force (Fridays, 8:30 p.m.) features a trip to Primus for Ben, Kevin and Gwen where they meet Vilgax and the Omnitrix's power source in "Primus."

Better Off Ted (ABC), Tuesday at 8:30 and 9:30 p.m.

Goes up against Fox's Death Star, American Idol

It's another double Better Off Ted evening, and fortunately for Ted fans, everyone who was going to tune in to the American Idol for its premiere will instead say, "Forget the William Hungs of the world! We're watching Better Off Ted!" Yes, we live in a fantasy world. In the 8:30 p.m. episode, a typo in a memo about inappropriate language wreaks havoc for Veridian Dynamics when employees are told they must use offensive language in "The Impertence of Communicationizing." And in the 9:30 episode (which should do even better without Idol... and, yes, we believe in the Easter Bunny too!), when a rival develops an identical project to the one Ted's team is working on, he decides to take the high road. Veronica, on the other hand, thinks sabotage might be the better route in "The Long and Winding High Road." Sadly, next week will be Ted's last of the season... and perhaps the last ever.

Chuck (NBC), Monday at 8 p.m.

Timeslot premiere

Did you enjoy Sunday's double Chuck premiere? Well, how about an Awesome episode to follow up on Monday? Armand Assante guest-stars in "Chuck Versus the Angel of Death," which has Chuck (Zachary Levi) dragging Awesome (Ryan McPartlin) into a caper where Chuck has to protect a dictator who is targeted for assassination.

According to executive producer and co-creator Chris Fedak, Assante plays the Castro-like dictator of a small Latin American country. "We were really concerned, because we needed someone charming and enigmatic, and just someone who conveys that kind of charisma, and he came in and did such a wonderful job. It is the epitome for us bringing in guest stars [who] bring so much history and story with them that it really helps the show."

As for Awesome, keeping Chuck's secret from his new wife, Ellie (Sarah Lancaster), is adding a "fun wrinkle" to their relationship, said Fedak. "Awesome, he's a guy who loves excitement, loves adventure, and now he's looking at Chuck Bartowski, this ne'er-do-well brother-in-law and kind of thinking this guy is living the life."

Demons (BBC America), Saturday at 9 p.m.

We'll learn more about Galvin's motivations in "Episode 3." It's the return of his wife's murderer, the half-man/half-rat Tobias Tibbs (Kevin McNally), that drives Galvin (Philip Glenister) down a dark path that leads the demon hunter to face a group of half-lives. And Ruby (Holliday Grainger), who we're thinking doesn't have a lot bomb-stopping abilities, ends up in a race against time to defuse a bomb.

Dollhouse (Fox), Friday at 9 p.m.

Road trip! Echo and the team head to Arizona to take out Rossum Corporation's mainframe in "The Hollow Men." We're guessing there will be more surprises for the team, especially considering last episode's return of Caroline and the surprises concerning Dr. Saunders and Boyd Langton (Harry Lennix). Pretty much since Fox gave up on Dollhouse, it's gotten great. So you can expect all-out war when Echo (Eliza Dushku) runs into Dr. Saunders (guest star Amy Acker) in Arizona. With only one original episode left in the series after this episode, is anyone else feeling sad that Dollhouse didn't get its act together sooner—and alternately glad that it finally did at the end?

Fringe (Fox), Monday and Thursday at 9 p.m.

Special Monday episode!

For the first time Fringe takes on NBC's Heroes, and Fox has found a special episode that never aired from the first season to do the job. Actually, the network claims the episode just might be from an "alternate universe." In the episode, a teenage girl who is believed to be brain-dead is taken off life support. However, when the doctors begin working to remove her organs, the girl wakes up screaming an alphanumeric code in "Unearthed." And then the girl begins speaking Russian and uttering classified information that only a high-ranking solider would know. As the girl's condition deteriorates, Walter (John Noble) hypothesizes the "unthinkable" and sends Olivia and Peter off to investigate. This episode actually has Charlie (Kirk Acevedo) in it (who died earlier this season), so it will be interesting to see how or whether this episode fits into the timeline.

And then Fringe goes back to this universe and Thursdays for "Johari Window," an episode that got a last-minute name change from Fox. In the episode, the team heads to a town called Edina to dig into a possible cover-up. What they find, however, is a hostile local population, many of whom are disfigured, and who have a big secret.

Ghost Hunters International (Syfy), Wednesday at 9 p.m.

It's off to Argentina and Australia for the GHI team in an episode called "Silver Shadow." First the team investigates the Eden Hotel, a 19th-century luxury resort in La Falda, Argentina, that once welcomed the likes of Albert Einstein. With apparitions of a little girl, disembodied voices, cracking noises and slamming doors and windows, things have gotten so bad that employees for the company doing restoration on the hotel are scared to death to finish the job. Then the team heads to the Monte Cristo Homestead in Junee, Australia, a Victorian manor that claims seven spirits appear in the house and on the grounds.

Ghosts, ghosts and more ghosts

On A&E's Psychic Kids: Children of the Paranormal (Tuesday, 9 p.m.), 17-year-old Alexandra helps 15-year-old Tammy face the "Demon in the Mirror," a spirit that torments her nearly every night. In Paranormal State (Tuesday, 10 p.m.), the team heads to the former West Virginia State Penitentiary in Moundsville, W.Va., which is believed to be haunted. Then, on the Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures (Friday, 9 p.m.), their team gets locked in the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, W.Va., a former psychiatric hospital believed to be one of America's most haunted locations. And on Animal Planet's The Haunted (Friday, 9 p.m.), a family has challenges when they move into a new home.

Ghost Whisperer (CBS), Friday at 8 p.m.

Melinda (Jennifer Love Hewitt) finds herself drawn to a new family that's moved to Grandview in "Blessings in Disguise." "There's something a little off about this family," said executive producer P.K. Simonds. "They seem to be hiding something or hiding from something. Ned [Christoph Sanders] is involved with the daughter in this family, and it turns out there's a ghost. ... You care about this family very deeply, and you care because Ned cares so much, but at the same time you know they're hiding something, and it looks like they're maybe hiding something very, very wrong that they've done."

Heroes (NBC), Monday at 9 p.m.

Timeslot premiere

Heroes finally makes it back to its old timeslot, only to end up against a special episode of Fringe. In tonight's episode, "Close to You," HRG (Jack Coleman) and Matt (Greg Grunberg) attempt to take down Samuel (Robert Knepper), and they use Samuel's long-lost love, Vanessa, to do it. According to executive producer Adam Armus, "Everything that Samuel's doing, everything that he's planning, everything that he wants to do in his life is about making a life for her." Kate Vernon, who played Ellen Tigh in Battlestar Galactica, plays Vanessa.

Meanwhile, Hiro (Masi Oka) and Ando (James Kyson Lee) try to save Suresh (Sendhil Ramamurthy), and Peter (Milo Ventimiglia) introduces Emma (Deanne Bray) to his mother, but Angela (Cristine Rose) sees a grim future ahead.

House of Bones (Syfy), Saturday at 9 p.m.

Charisma Carpenter hunts ghosts!

Angel's Charisma Carpenter and Stargate SG-1's Corin Nemec team up in this film about a ghost-busting team with a nationally syndicated television show who run into a spirit-laden joint they should have left alone. In House of Bones the ghost hunters' latest investigation leads them into the mysterious "Wicker House" in New Orleans, which was the site of some grisly murders. When one of the ghost hunters gets sucked into the walls by a supernatural force, they: (a) scream and run away like little girls, or (b) work together to find their missing colleague ... well, which do you think? The correct answer is (a), but they do (b) anyway, because otherwise the movie would be over. And (b) leads them to investigate the secret of the house as the team members start to fall victim to its visual trickery and ghostly manifestations. Oh, well, all that death and carnage should at least be good for the ratings.

Human Target (Fox), Sunday at 8 p.m. and Wednesday at 9 p.m.

Series premiere!

This fun new show from Fox is completely not sci-fi, but who cares? We're claiming it anyway, since it's based on the popular DC comic book and graphic novel. In the series, Christopher Chance (Fringe's Mark Valley) is a private security expert who becomes a human target by integrating himself into his clients' lives. "It's gonna be big. It's gonna be fun. It's gonna be something we think—we hope—that you have never seen on TV before," says creator and executive producer Jon Steinberg.

In the pilot episode, Battlestar Galactica's Tricia Helfer guest-stars as an executive who is the target of an assassin. Danny Glover also has a "bit of a cameo that for us was just too good to pass up for the fun," said Steinberg. Then Human Target moves to its regular night, Wednesday, for an episode called "Rewind." In the episode, Chance takes a job protecting someone on a plane. The only problem is, he doesn't know what his client looks like. When the plane catches fire, "our solution to figure out how to put that fire out is something I've never seen in an airplane show—or movie, for that matter. For us, part of the fun is 'How do you take a model for a story that's probably been done dozens of times and then find the one fun twist on it that makes it different?'"

Legend of the Seeker (Syndicated), Whenever

Everything will change for Richard and the his group of heroes when he faces a power he can't control, an enemy he can't see and the wrath of Denna (Jessica Marais) in "Light."

"Richard is going to be in pursuit of Denna," said executive producer Kenneth Biller. "He is going to find himself suffering some very painful symptoms which turn out to be a result of burgeoning powers that he is realizing he has, as a result of the two powerful bloodlines from which he is descended. In order to save his life he is forced to go off to a place he's never been before, the old world, toward the palace of the prophets with a magical order of women called, The Sisters of the Light."

Medium (CBS), Friday at 9 p.m.

The wonderful Miguel Sandoval, who plays District Attorney Manuel Devalos, gets a Devalos-heavy episode this week. In "Dear Dad ...", on the anniversary of his daughter's suicide, Devalos is plagued by the memories. However, when Allison begins dreaming about it, she learns there may be future consequences to the events of the past.

MonsterQuest (History), Wednesday at 9 p.m.

How about a MonsterQuest marathon delving into killer jellyfish, a swamp beast, Birdzilla and Mega Jaws? And it all leads up to "Monster Sharks," which explores why the ocean's deadliest killers are swimming closer and closer to our beaches and why sharks are gaining a taste for humans.

Sanctuary (Syfy), Friday at 9 p.m.

Two-hour season finale!

It's hard to believe we're at the end of Sanctuary's second season already. But at least the season is ending with what creator Damian Kindler believes are "two of the most original episodes Sanctuary has ever done." In "Kali, Parts 1 and 2," when all the abnormals in the world begin to behave irrationally, it leads to an ancient abnormal who could destroy billions of lives if left unchecked. The episodes are "completely outside the box," said Kindler. "You will see monster and creature design on a scale we've never attempted before. 'Kali, Parts 1 and 2' are really about a global threat, and we take the audience places they've never been, and we show footage we shot in Tokyo when we were there. And then we take you to our version of Bombay, the ocean depths, the middle of the Indian Ocean. In part two there is, believe it or not, an amazing Bollywood dance by Will Zimmerman." Beyond the dancing Zimmerman, Syfy announced it's picked up Sanctuary for a third season.

And two non-sci-fi/fantasy shows with a sci-fi/fantasy connection ...

Castle (ABC) Monday at 10 p.m.

Alyssa Milano guest-stars

Castle and Beckett are called to a wedding and it's murder in "A Rose for Everafter." The murder of a bridesmaid, to be exact. And one other little detail causes things to get very interesting ... the bride is an old flame of Castle's. When emotions start to bubble up, solving the case may be the least of Castle's worries.

Leverage (TNT) Wednesday at 10 p.m.

Jeri Ryan joins the con!

Leverage has its midseason premiere, and Star Trek: Voyager's Jeri Ryan pops by to fill in for Gina Bellman's Sophie (because the actress is on maternity leave). In her first episode, Ryan poses as an Italian fashion designer.

So what are you looking forward to this week on TV?

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