Fans of "Battlestar Galactica" scribe Ron Moore will get a look at what might have been when Fox airs "Virtuality" tonight at 8 p.m.
It's in the form of a two-hour movie, but really, it's the backdoor pilot to a series that is 99 percent unlikely to ever get picked up.
The story involves a future spaceship on a 10-year mission from Earth. The crew, which includes the likes of Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Clea Duvall, has a virtual reality device on board that allows them to pass the time away. But a glitch in the system causes the crew to face danger.
Some have compared this to the "Star Trek" episodes set on the holodeck, the virtual reality system the Trek crews used in the various spinoff systems for entertainment. Those episodes tended to vary in quality -- some were top-notch and clever, others just plain silly -- but it shouldn't be a surprise that Moore, a former "Trek" writer, might continue to explore the subject.
Certainly, it plays a huge part in the "BSG" prequel, "Caprica," to a jarring effect, in fact. (If you haven't gotten the DVD version, definitely watch it on that platform, because when Sci Fi airs "Caprica" next year, the pilot will have to be heavily edited for TV).
With social networking, "The Sims," avatars and so forth, virtual reality is coming to be a big part of our every day lives, so it's interesting to see what Moore -- who manages to incorporate the real world into his sci-fi writing better than anyone out there -- does with it.
On Saturday, US audiences finally get to see the "Doctor Who" Christmas special "The Next Doctor" seven months after their UK counterparts. The Doctor (David Tennant) meets a man (David Morrissey) who calls himself "the Doctor," complete with a companion, a sonic screwdriver and a TARDIS. Is he a future incarnation of the Doctor? Or is there something else going on? A popular "Who" group of villains also return. The 90-minute special airs on BBC America at 9 p.m., after a new "Primeval."
R.I.P. MICHAEL JACKSON: The pop star, who died of a heart attack Thursday, was 50. I can't say I was a Michael Jackson fan, especially not of his daily life, but there's no denying that he is one of the most influential pop acts of all time. With him dying the same day as Farrah Fawcett, that's a big chunk of my childhood right there.
WEEKEND'S BEST BETS: Speaking of Fawcett, NBC is rerunning the special documentary on her final days from 9-11 p.m.
ABC airs new episodes of "Surviving Suburbia" and "The Goode Family" from 8-9 p.m.
On Saturday, NBC burns off another "Kings" at 8 p.m. while ABC does the same with an unaired "Eli Stone" at 10 p.m.
On Sunday, HBO unveils a new series, "Hung" at 10 p.m. after a new "True Blood." It stars Thomas James as a down-and-out gym teacher who is, well, physically gifted in one area and uses his equipment to earn money as a gigolo. Jane Addams ("Frasier") plays his pimp. The comedy/drama has gotten mixed reviews thus far, but I think is worth a look.
ABC airs the conclusion to the miniseries "Impact" at 9 p.m., about the moon crashing into the Earth, while NBC adds to the fantasy-filled weekend with two more episodes of "Merlin" from 8-10 p.m.
PBS airs another Hercule Poirot mystery at 9 p.m.
On cable, Lifetime airs a new "Army Wives" at 10 p.m. while "In Plain Sight" (USA, 10 p.m.) is new as well.