Sci-fi and family films highlight this week on television

Movies on Demand brings a couple of the biggest sci-fi/action films of 2014: “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and Tom Cruise’s “Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow,” as well as a pair of excellent family films, “Million Dollar Arm” and the charming “Mr. Peabody and Sherman.”

New on Video on Demand

Live. Die. Repeat.Live Die Repeat: Edge of Tomorrow
Tom Cruise stars in this first-rate science fiction film about a reluctant soldier who finds himself reliving a battle (and his death) against alien forces. It’s sort of a twisted version of “Groundhog Day” – but with much deadlier consequences. Co-star Emily Blunt, as a tough-as-nails veteran warrior, almost steals the movie. Available now.

Million Dollar Arm
The latest in Disney’s amazing run at inspirational sports stories (Miracle, Dreamer, Invincible) does not disappoint. “Mad Man” star Jon Hamm plays a sports agent who stages a nationwide contest in India to recruit future major league baseball players. It’s a fish out of water tale that has all the elements you come to expect – laughs, life lessons and redemption. A great movie for the entire family. Available now.

Mr. Peabody and ShermanMr. Peabody and Sherman
Well done animated flick follows a brilliant dog and his adopted son as they race to fix a time rift. It’s sweet and amusing and educational, yet witty and clever, making it enjoyable for both kids and adults. Available October 14.

X-Men: Days of Future Past
The latest X-Men film is one of the best, mixing a crackerjack (and large) cast with a wildly entertaining story centered around Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) going back in time to save the world. Director Bryan Singer expertly weaves a complex story with action, humor and genuine human drama. Available October 14.

The Purge: Anarchy
The sequel to the surprise 2013 hit film, “The Purge,” manages to top its predecessor in just about every way. It’s nastier, darker and more twisted. Underneath the darkness is a searing social commentary that viewers may or may not care about. “The Purge: Anarchy” is a disturbing film, and not for everyone, but fans of gritty, dark action will appreciate it. Available October 21.

TV Highlights

Jane the VirginJane the Virgin
Charming and very funny screwball comedy about a 26-year old woman who finds herself accidentally artificially inseminated. The show nicely blends whimsy with wit. Gina Rodriguez is adorable as the bemused Jane. Monday, October 13, CW.

Star Wars Rebels
“Star Wars” fans can rejoice with the introduction of this new animated series set 14 years after “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” and 5 years before “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.” Monday, October 13, Disney XD.

Marry MeMarry Me
This romantic comedy scores because of the presence of Ken Marino and Casey Wilson, two talented actors that you generally see in supporting roles in TV and films. The plot, about a longtime couple who can’t quite make that final leap, is nothing special. But sharp writing and endearing performances make this worthwhile. Tuesday, October 14, NBC.

The Knick
Check out the finale for this critically acclaimed medical drama set in a New York hospital in the early 1900s. One of the best shows of 2014. Showtime, Friday, October 17, Cinemax.

World Series
Major League Baseball wraps up its season with the 110th World Series. This year it will be either St. Louis or San Francisco from the National League, and either Kansas City or Baltimore from the American League. Game One is scheduled for Tuesday, October 21, on Fox.

Television News

Twin Peaks“Twin Peaks” is back. The cult television series will return in 2016 on Showtime as a nine episode mini-series. It will be written and directed by Peaks’ creators David Lynch and Mark Frost. “Twin Peaks” originally debuted in 1990 to great acclaim – as well as low ratings. It lasted only two seasons, but its reputation and following have only grown over the past 25 years.

A-list movie star Scarlett Johansson has signed up for an eight-episode TV series based on the Edith Wharton novel, “The Custom of the Country.” Wharton’s 1913 novel follows an ambitious young woman as she climbs the ranks of New York society.

“The Walking Dead” will be back in 2016. AMC has already renewed the zombie-apocolypse series for its sixth season.

About Matthew Breen

Based in Colorado, but from Madison, Wisconsin, Matt likes to blog about travel, auto, gadgets, food and entrainment. Follow author Matt Breen on Google + or read his recent stories on Pursuitist.

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