A tentative thumbs up for the two new shows SyFy launched this season, Helix and 12 Monkeys. I didn't expect much of either of them because they both have the same cliché subject matter, finding a way to stop a virus that has wiped out most of the human race. Helix is a straightforward story of a small group of shipboard survivors searching for a medical solution, but it's being treated like a journey of discovery, of encountering unexpected things along the way. 12 Monkeys is the series version of the Bruce Willis movie, mixing time travel with cure-hunting. The hero is sent back in time to kill the man who developed the virus (a plot that first aired as an Outer Limits episode back in the 60s). It's the slicker of the two series, fast-moving and filled with a sense of urgency. Obviously these shows are no innovators, but the dialogue in both of them is a tad above average. In the way of SF on TV, they'll probably crash and burn, or maybe just fizzle out, but right now they're worth watching.

My newest Guilty Pleasure: Galavant, the "medieval musical" on ABC. It's just goofy enough that you don't mind the occasional vulgarity too much. Timothy Omundson is giving a bang-up performance as King Richard; nothing I've ever seen him do before indicated he had this kind of talent.