Fans of the show 24, this week marks your last chance to see Jack Bauer in action again, at least until Fox can lull him back in with another fat contract. The season finale of 24: Live Another Day is the highlight of the TV week, outside of those who are pumped for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. If you timed your summer getaway to Florida right, you can check out a new Harry Potter-themed attraction at Universal Studios, and if it’s a staycation you’ve got in mind, there are a pair of new releases starring sexy ladies to check out on home video. Gamers will get their first crack at Halo developer Bungie’s multiplayer opus, Destiny, in a beta that launches this week.
Here are the 12 best reasons why this week won’t suck.
K’nex Videogame-based Sets
If you’re looking for something to set on your desk that will wow the ladies, stay away from the latest round of gaming-obsessed K’nex sets, which will only reveal the truth that you are just an overgrown adolescent. Instead, keep it to yourself that you are whiling away your off hours snapping together brightly-colored construction projects based on the likes of New Super Mario Bros., Plants vs. Zombies and Titanfall. The sets range from the $30-$40, and dominate the heck out of Lego sets because of their moving parts and mechanical functionality.
Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida
The newly-opened expansion to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has muggles broomsticking in bunches to Universal Studios Formula, where they can geek out with other Potterheads on all things Rowling. Finally you can lurk in back alleys dressed in full warlock garb without the risk of being arrested. If it’s possible to get drunk on butterbeer, we will find a way.
NBA Summer League Las Vegas
After a stint in Orlando, the NBA wannabes take the show to Vegas, where they are throwing down in a tournament on UNLV’s campus. While most of the participants are bound for the D-League or Euro clubs, this is the best place to check out new draft picks, as well as catch a glimpse of the next journeyman-turned-star like Jeremy Lin. Check out the NBA Summer League site for schedules and coverage.
National Nude Day
Most days, hopefully begin with getting dressed. But that doesn’t have to be the case today, when you are OK to forgo clothes and let everything air out all the way until midnight, provided you don’t venture out in public. Pity your roommates, or passers-by if you leave your windows open.
24: Live Another Day Season Finale
(Monday 9 p.m. EST, Fox)
Jack Bauer finishes up another sleepless day of sneaking, snarling and killing in the name of saving the world from terrorists and providing Fox some sorely needed summer Nielsen ratings boosts. With misfortunes such as bullet wounds, capture and even death not able to keep him down in past seasons, we wouldn’t bet against him this time around.
MLB: Gillette Home Run Derby
(Monday 8 PM EST, ESPN)
Arguably the most exciting event during MLB All-Star’s festivities is the Home Run Derby. This year features a new bracket-style format which will make the Gillette Home Run Derby a lot more competitive. Our money is on Puig–but so is everyone else’s.
Weird Al’s New Album
The king of the parody song is still hard at work making the 80s last forever with his new album, Mandatory Fun. Checking out the song names on the set list alone, you can just imagine the laughs ‘sploding out of your inner 8-year-old. Now That’s What I Call Polka, Lame Claim to Fame and Word Crimes are sure to be crammed with puns, wacky asides and cornball references.
Orphan Black: Season 2 on Blu-ray/DVD
Stunning Canadian Tatiana Maslany plays a con artist who is thrust into the dark recesses of society after she witnesses the suicide of her doppelganger. In the sophomore season, the heroine hunts for her missing daughter. The BBC drama packs enough gritty street angst to wash away the prim properness of Downton Abbey. If you remember Dark Angel fondly, give this one a shot.
Under the Skin on Blu-ray/DVD
In one of Scarlett Johansson’s most sultry roles to date, she plays the female projection of a shape-shifting alien killer who stalks the streets of Scotland, picking up dudes to victimize. Toeing the line between rowdy sexploitation cinema and sci-fi think piece, the film stays engrossing thanks to the starlet’s commanding presence. A making-of featurette is the lone notable extra in the Blu-ray/digital copy combo.
MLB All-Star Game
(Tuesday 8 p.m. EST, Fox)
All the best players in the game — plus Derek Jeter, who gets to start by default because he’s old, used to be good and is retiring after this season — take to Target Field in Minneapolis for some real-life fantasy baseball. Expect lots of pitching changes, gratuitous mid-game dugout interviews and disgruntled marginal all-star position players who don’t get an at-bat.
Bungie’s first post-Halo project has designs on reshaping the multiplayer landscape. Fans get a taste of the planet-hopping first-person shooter mechanics with the free beta, which comes for free to those who preorder the game and will be used by the developer to iron out kinks in gameplay code and server capacity. Each beta registration comes with three codes, so if you’ve got a friend who preordered the game, hit them up to see if you are one of his two besties. If you’ve got a code, redeem it here.
Mobb Deep Free Summerstage Concert
(Thursday at Queensbridge Park, NYC)
One of rap’s premier duos returns to their home in Queens this Thursday with a free show in Queensbridge Park (presented by the Lyricist Lounge show). If you’re in the area and have no plans as of yet, make your way there for an unforgettable night.