Saturday, October 19, 2019

Around the Tubes: October 19, 2019

I have gotten a plethora of cool press releases have been flooding my inbox recently that you may find interesting. This post will include blurbs on Dollface, Lord Huron, Hero The Band, Keb’ Mo’, Evie Irie, KIANA LEDÉ, Great Performances, Celeste Barber: Challenge Accepted, Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber, In Concert With CMS, Britain in Color, and A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish

- Kat Dennings stars as a young woman who, after being dumped by her longtime boyfriend, must deal with her own imagination when she literally and metaphorically re-enters the world of women, in order to rekindle the female friendships she left behind. The series also stars Brenda Song, Shay Mitchell, and Esther Povitsky. All episodes of Dollface will be on Hulu November 15.

- Having just wrapped up an 18-month tour in support of their album Vide Noir in Calgary, AB last week, Lord Huron and director Ariel Vida have announced today they are further exploring the world of Vide Noir with a feature-length film of the same name. By no means a mere visual album, Vide Noir is a neo-noir mystery film set in late-Sixties Los Angeles, chronicling a surreal, nocturnal journey through the lens of a space-and-time-bending drug. The film was directed by Ariel Vida and written by Lord Huron’s Ben Schneider, and features a score by the band with new arrangements of their music throughout. Lead by newcomer Victor Mascitelli and NOS4A2 and The Goldfinch star Ashleigh Cummings, the film will be released in early 2020 and serve as both a stand-alone exploration of and the final chapter in the story of Lord Huron’s Vide Noir.

- Decateur, GA’s very own Hero The Band reveal their new EP Back To Myself today via LAVA Records/Republic Records—listen HERE! The EP features title-track “Back To Myself” released earlier this summer, as well as new single “Trouble In My Mind” alongside four new songs. See the full tracklist below.

- With an iconic career spanning over a quarter of a century, four-time GRAMMY Award-winning contemporary blues and Americana artist, Keb’ Mo’ has released his first-ever holiday album, Moonlight, Mistletoe & You, via Concord Records. The 10-track album, produced by Keb’ himself and recorded by Zach Allen at Stu Stu Studio in Franklin, TN, is now available here.

- Sixteen-year-old Sydney-born singer/songwriter Evie Irie releases the official music video for “The Optimist” today. Watch HERE.

- Averaging 3 million monthly listeners on Spotify, breakthrough R&B starlet and one of 2019’s fastest rising artists, KIANA LEDÉ returns with a brand new single entitled “Easy Breezy” today. Get it HERE via Republic Records.

- Sam Moore and Dave Prater – the groundbreaking duo, Sam & Dave, who brought their gospel roots to Soul music, were one of the primary chart stars at the Stax and Atlantic labels in the '60s. Bringing the passion of call and response to their wailing soul side, the duo were honored by The Recording Academy™ as one of the recipients of the Special Merit Awards, The Lifetime Achievement Award in May in Los Angeles. As previously announced, in collaboration with PBS' Great Performances series, the Recording Academy™ presents "GRAMMY Salute To Music Legends ®," the fourth annual all-star concert offering a prime-time spotlight for the Academy's 2019 Special Merit Awards recipients. Recorded at the Dolby Theatre, the event premieres nationwide Friday, Oct. 18 at 9 p.m. on PBS (check local listings), and the PBS Video app.

- Celeste Barber comes to Showtime for her first network comedy special, Celeste Barber: Challenge Accepted, premiering Friday, November 1 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. In the hour-long special filmed at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City, Barber, hailed by Vogue Australia as “The Funniest Woman on Instagram,” exposes the stories behind some of her most famous Instagram celebrity parody images, her new relationships with famous people, the pitfalls of being married to someone so much hotter than her and what it’s like to be an Anti-Influencer.

- Showtime has announced the development of a new untitled limited series based on the bestselling book Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber, written by Mike Isaac. Brian Koppelman and David Levien (BILLIONS) will executive produce and write the series, as part of their overall deal with SHOWTIME. Isaac will co-executive produce the project. The limited series will be produced by Showtime. The announcement was made today by Gary Levine and Jana Winograde, Presidents of Entertainment, Showtime Networks Inc. Pivoting on Travis Kalanick, Uber’s hard-charging CEO who was ultimately ousted in a boardroom coup, the Showtime limited series will depict the roller-coaster ride of the upstart transportation company, embodying the highs and lows of Silicon Valley. Even amid the radical upheaval generated within the global tech capital, Uber stands out as both a marvel and a cautionary tale, featuring internal and external battles that ripple with unpredictable consequences.

- ALL ARTS is happy to announce a new weekly series titled In Concert With CMS that will premiere this Sunday, October 20 and air weekly on the ALL ARTS broadcast channel and be available to stream on the ALL ARTS app and website. The series was created in partnership with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, in celebration of its 50th anniversary season.

- This November, Smithsonian Channel will transform decades of black and white, bringing figures like Winston Churchill, Queen Victoria and Frank Sinatra – and events like the Hindenburg disaster – into the full-color world they lived. The network today announced the season three premiere of the critically lauded and audience-beloved series America in Color, as well as the launch of a new series, Britain in Color. Deeply researched to ensure accurate colorization, the six new episodes of America in Color explore rich themes that still resonate today, from the changing roles of the American worker to immigration and the enduring values of small-town America. The three-episode season of Britain in Color brings to life the full glory of the British Empire and the royal family as well as the iconic Prime Minister. America in Color returns on Sunday, November 17 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, and the season premiere will be available to stream on the network’s YouTube page beginning Sunday, November 10. Britain in Color premieres on November 17 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

- Break out the mistletoe and holly. The day is here - and it feels just like Christmas morning. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is excited to bring you the music and the magic of the holidays with the release of A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish – Available NOW on Digital, and on Blu-ray and DVD on October 29. Check out this exclusive clip from the film that will get you excited to relive the timeless tale of Cinderella with a modern-day, holiday twist! Iconic to the characters, the clip reveals Kat’s step-family making her feel unwanted, in true Cinderella fashion!

Friday, October 18, 2019

Previewing Looking for Alaska

The cast of looking for Alaska

Aww nostalgia, when we sit and reminisce about the good old days by blocking from our minds of all the horrible things that happen in our youth and just focus on the pop culture we loved. And I am all for the nineties nostalgia that is in full swing right now which I believe was started when Anna Kendrick reminded us how great a song No Diggity was (then in the second Pitch Perfect featured an entire 90’s Hip-Hop Jamz category during the Riff-Off). Since then Dave Matthews Band were an integral part of a critically acclaimed movie, a Lauryn Hill sample topped the Billboard charts, Friends is the most popular show on Netflix, Wonderwall has been on Spotify’s most streamed for eighty percent of the last year, most of the Roseanne cast is back on television while The X-Files and Twin Peaks saw new seasons recently, Hootie and the Blowfish has reunited and is touring with Barenaked Ladies.

But Hulu is really trying to start a 00’s nostalgia trend. Earlier this year they rebooted Veronica Mars and now they are launching a new series set a year after Veronica Mars launched on something called UPN. But now that I think about it, now that the nineties nostalgia is bringing back Beverly Hills 90210 and Billy Ray Cyrus has the biggest song of the year with a gay country rapper who samples Nine inch Nails and Nirvana while taking his name from one of the greatest rappers of the nineties, maybe it is time to start a 00’s nostalgia trend.

In 2005, a Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage were two years from essentially launching The CW as we now know it with Gossip Girl and now they are back together for another take on a literary work, Looking for Alaska based that year. And their new show looks like something that could have also fit in during those early days of the young network. Well, if The CW had a much bigger budget, better casting agent, and more money for bigger and better songs. After a teaser of what is to come, the show essentially opens with All These Things I’ve Done. What a great song, I am warming up to the 00’s nostalgia. There is also a bizarre Milkshake cover I did not even realize it was the song until it was over. They do seem to bounce between originals and modern covers from the era on this show mostly for the better.

In a measure of full disclosure, I have not read the John Green the book Looking for Alaska is based on or any of his books, or seen The Fault in Our Stars or Paper Town, the two movies that were based on his other books (a third is coming to a Hulu competitor later this year). I did scroll the non-spoilery parts of the Wikipedia page and was surprised how many accusations of pornography were leveled at the book as the show is something that could have very well aired on The CW aside from a couple naughty words and bizarrely an incident with a tube of toothpaste, but even then the camera cuts away really quick before becoming too graphic. In fact there is a scene in the first episode where a guy is told “You can let go now” which is very much like a PG-13 version, new millennium version of “You can blink now.” And since both Green and Swartz (who wrote the first episode) are my around my age, I am convinced whichever of those two wrote the line was influenced by Doc Hollywood.

Looking for Alaska stars Charlie Plummer (Boardwalk Empire) who plays the kind of kid who back in 2005 has no one but his parents show up to his birthday party, probably knowing copious amounts of famous last words is the greatest conversation starter. So he convinces his parents to send him to a boarding school in Alabama (though it took me about half the first episode thinking this was a summer camp). And wouldn’t you know it, he is able find plenty of friends there. There is Denny Love (Empire), his roommate that introduces himself as “The Coronal” (and dubs the new guy Pudge because… irony?), and his buddy Jay Lee (American Vandal). Dude even manages to catch the eye of a recent Romanian immigrant Sofia Vassilieva (My Sister’s Keeper). The Coronal also has a girlfriend played by Landy Bender (who I was surprisinged to learm she is played by the fowl-mount little girl with too much make-up in the criminally forgotten Jonah Hill comedy The Sitter) but I never quite understood that relationship. Oh yeah, and then there is Alaska.

Kristine Froseth plays the titular character. The only thing I had seen her in previous was The Society where she was pretty forgettable. Granted everyone on that show was pretty forgettable. It took me about four or five episodes to realize there were two douchebags with perfectly coifed hair. Then there were three or four brunette chicks that just blended together too. But as Alaska, Froseth is enigmatic; you can tell why clerk would sell her beer with a crappy ID or why Plummer would be so obsessed with her even though he can easily hook up with a cute Romanian.

There also two adults in the show both expertly played when they could have easily come off as clichés. Timothy Simons (Draft Day) plays the Dean of Students but manages to not come off as the completely buffoon who returns to the school he once attended nor an evil authoritarian, but plays the role with the right amount of strictness and empathy. Ron Cephas Jones (Mr. Robot) is the one lunged theology teacher who the perfect people to be around the end of the series.

Not knowing much about the show with a pretty unknown cast based on a book whose author I have never read but base his work, basically only wrote The Fault in Our Stars as a sad sack kids dying in love story based on the trailer. But Looking for Alaska is a witty coming of age story with an abundant amount of pranks between Plummer and the Weekday Warriors (basically the rich kids who go home to their big houses on the weekend) with a homicidal swan terrorizing anyone who comes near him. Looking for Alaska is a fun show about young love and school pranks… until it isn’t.

It is not a spoiler to say something bad ends up happening; the show starts off with a car crash and though the first few episodes are mostly light and low stakes as the pranks get more elaborate, there is a slow creeping dread that seeps into the show thanks to the place card at the end of each episodes that tells the number of days before… presumably the car crash. This ramps into top gear when “1 day before” starts an episode and then ends with one of the main character driving away angry. The next episode starts off with someone saying, “Something terrible has happened” and minutes later we see the place card that simply says, “After.”

Had they adapted the book when it came out, it likely would have been a movie. Thankfully the rights languished in development hell for a decade and a half, long enough for the proliferation of television outlets, some that are not afraid of shows that will not run for two-hundred episodes. So instead of a two hour movie, an hour dedicated “Before” an hour dedicated “After,” Looking for Alaska gets to sprawl to almost eight hours letting up live with characters, and the show is much better for it. Looking for Alaska is an expertly crafted show that touches on every bit of emotion you could possibly want from a television show. If you do cry sometime “After” (or three) or laugh hysterically during the one final prank, I worry for your soul.

If I have one complaint is that Looking for Alaska is only a limited series with these eight episodes being all the time we get with these characters. Had this gone multiple seasons (and the “After” does not happen until late in the run), Looking for Alaska could have gone down a one of the great high school dramas. I actually would not mind if Hulu pulls a The Handmaid’s Tale and go past the book (with one big retcon preferably). Instead it will just have to go down as one of the best limited series in the history of television.

All episode of Looking for Alaska are on Hulu today.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

57 Channels and Only This Is On: October 13, 2019

Supergirl: Somehow it seems like Brainiac 5 got more annoying in between seasons. But anyway. I seems like the show is going to just rip off the most recent season of Young Justice with people being brainwashed with VR. And did Lena already get brainwashed? It seems weird how upset she was that Kara did not tell her about Supergirl, Kara finally tells her, pulls the story about at the last minute, but then still seems mad? Huh? And did Lena send the new owner another story or just nothing at all? If Lena always keeps her promises, and then reneges to the new owner, she is just doing what Kara did to her.
You can download Supergirl on iTunes.

The Walking Dead: So were are just under a decade into the apocalypse and a Russian satellite is just now falling to earth? Not bad craftsmanship. Other than that, kind of a boring premiere.

The Affair: Gee, Whitney is getting married and yet, we get to see the set-up from Noah’s point of view even though the only thing he did without her was get poison ivy and visit an empty house. Though as we see future Joanie, I have been wondering what her relationship to the Soloway’s is and here we at least see Noah try to see her. And as we have seen very different versions of the same events, we actually her two people talk about one of them, Whitney says her mother save her sister while Noah thought it was Alison. But that was the very first episode and I vaguely remember it happened let alone what Noah and Alison’s versions played it out. Then we got a definitive answer of what happened to Alison, her boyfriend did kill her. Admits it to but then claims she is crazy… should have taken him up on the whole killing him offer.

Mr. Robot: Last season during the one shot episode, I felt this building dread that Angela was not going to make it out of the building. Once she did, I thought it would be smooth sailing for her especially after turning out to be the powerful dude’s daughter… and then she gets her brains blown out first thing in the last season. But what a weird scene, for a while I thought that was still part of the “Previously On” because I vaguely remember old dude telling Angela she was his daughter in a place like that but then the scene just kept going making me realize a minute later, oh, this is new.

But is Angela really dead? Eliot is not the best narrator. We have seen him shot in the head before during the season where he had been in prison without telling us for almost half the season. Darlene did see her, sure in a coked up haze. Or maybe she is dead-dead but she pops up in Darlene’s head much like Eliot sees Mr. Robot. Then there is a way she comes back in the way White Rose promised Angela that she could see her mother ago with the machine she was building. Either way (or even the fourth way where she is dead-dead and we never see her again), I am kind of dreading the finial season the way I dreaded the final season of Game of Thrones)
You can download Mr. Robot: on iTunes.

Wu-Tang: An American Saga: Thankfully they put the real music video in the end credits to save me a trip to YouTube afterward. Goodness that was bad, I cannot imagine a Denise Williams sample would have made it much better. Having that song flop may have been the best thing that could have happened to RZA. Also, kudos, to the description maker of the episode that simply read, “Industry Rule #4080…” To the kiddies unaware, that is a line from A Tribe Called Quest which finishes, “record people are shady.”
You can watch Wu-Tang: An American Saga on Hulu.

Survivor: Island of Idols: I am not sure what was dumber, the girl alliance who got rid of Vince who was a solid number for them or Vince not using his Idol even though it was only good for two weeks. Probably Vince because he just followed countless others who think playing their Idol is a sign of weakness. But everyone thinks you have an Idol because you went to the mysterious Island of Idols, you can only play it twice (and who knows if you are going back the next week), you play it just in case people are trying to flush it.

But the women were pretty dumb to. In modern Survivor, voting to keep your Tribe physically strong is dumb. One, puzzles are the great equalizer now. Two, you are three weeks in, there is a swap coming soon, maybe next week. You have to think to yourself, who would I rather be swapped with, Vince, or one of the other three dudes you are wary of?
You can download Survivor: Island of the Idols on iTunes.

The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2: Good riddance Bear, please never come back.
You can download The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2 on iTunes.

Almost Family: Thankfully that found a much better shade of red for Brittany Snow this week. And I laughed pretty hard when Roxy said she would look after her father. That should end badly.
You can download Almost Family on iTunes.

Stumptown: I did not care too much for the first couple episodes because I was unsure what the show wanted to be. But if the show ends up being Dax following around Donal Logue, I would enjoy that show. Unfortunately it does not look like it will be that.
You can download Stumptown on iTunes.

The Good Place: So who was the hooded figure at the end? My first thought was death. But selfishly I hope it is The Real Eleanor.
You can download The Good Place on iTunes.

Titans: So all that to have Superboy save Jason Todd even though everyone even vaguely familiar with the comics knows he is going to die eventually? Meh, but I did like Krpto (even though he basically killed a dude) and the drunken lady doctor. If only Cadmus Labs on Supergirl had anyone as entertaining as her.

The Blacklist: So Lizzy’s mother is moving next door. But doesn’t Red visit regularly? Seems like she should be caught soon.
You can download The Blacklist on iTunes.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Around the Tubes: October 12, 2019

I have gotten a plethora of cool press releases have been flooding my inbox recently that you may find interesting. This post will include blurbs on Krypton, Desus & Mero, The Swan Princess, The Avett Brothers, Charlie’s Angels, Phantogram, BENEE, Memphis Bell in Color, Battle of Midway: The True Story, Marvel’s Helstrom, Couples Therapy, and The President Is Missing.

- Watch as the battle to free Krypton from Zod begins! Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the action-adventure hit series Krypton: The Complete Second & Final Season on Blu-ray and DVD on January 14, 2020. From executive producers David S. Goyer (Man of Steel, The Dark Knight Trilogy) and Cameron Welsh (Constantine, The Last Ship), Krypton tells an entirely new story in the mythology of DC’s iconic Superman universe! Fans can purchase the sets with all 10 exhilarating episodes from season two plus two bonus featurettes including, “The Fate of Superman” and “Villains: Modes of Persuasion.” Krypton: The Complete Second & Final Season is priced to own at $24.98 SRP ($30.99 in Canada) for the DVD and $29.98 SRP ($39.99 in Canada) for the Blu-ray which includes a Digital Copy (US Only). Krypton: The Complete Second & Final Season is also available to own on Digital via purchase from all major digital retailers. Krypton: The Complete Series, which includes both seasons of Krypton will also be available for fans to own on Blu-ray and DVD for $54.97 / 44.98 SRP ($63.99 / $52.99 in Canada). Order due date for both releases is December 10, 2019.

- Desus & Mero will return from its summer hiatus with all-new episodes airing every Monday and Thursday at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT, starting on Monday, October 14. Desus & Mero features the duo chatting with guests at the intersection of pop culture, sports, music, politics and more, as well as giving their take on the day’s hot topics in their signature style in front of a small live studio audience from New York City. Upcoming guests include DaBaby (on October 14), Taraji P. Henson, Forest Whitaker and Ta-Nehisi Coates.

- In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Golden Globe®-nominated animated classic The Swan Princess, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is making the fan-favorite available in brilliant high definition for the first time ever with a collectible anniversary edition Blu-ray and in 4K HDR on digital, both available on October 29th. The Swan Princess, a magical, musical animated adventure based on the classic fairy tale "Swan Lake" has captured the hearts of audiences around the world. The winner of the Film Advisory Board Award of Excellence and the Parents' Choice Award, it's the heartwarming story of the beautiful princess Odette, who is transformed into a swan by an evil sorcerer's spell. Held captive at an enchanted lake, she befriends Jean-Bob the frog, Speed the turtle and Puffin the bird. Despite their struggle to keep the princess safe, these good-natured creatures can do nothing about the sorcerer's spell, which can only be broken by a vow of everlasting love. The Swan Princess is bursting with color, dazzling animation, beautiful music and the vocal talents of Jack Palance, John Cleese, Steven Wright, Sandy Duncan and Michelle Nicastro. The 25 anniversary Blu-ray release includes an all-new featurette entitled “A Look Back, Tease Ahead,” plus a variety of additional archival features.

- The Avett Brothers: Tell the Truth on The Tonight Show:

- Republic Records and Sony Pictures Entertainment unlock the pre-order for the year’s biggest and most-anticipated soundtrack album, Charlie’s Angels (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack). The star-studded tracklisting to the soundtrack has been revealed and includes four new songs from co-executive producer and Grammy-winner Ariana Grande. New Grande songs include another triple threat anthem “Bad To You” featuring Normani and Nicki Minaj, “Nobody” with the legendary Chaka Khan, “Got Her Own” with Victoria Monét as well as Grande’s own solo song “How I Look On You.” The soundtrack also includes tracks from Anitta and Danielle Bradbery as well as the infamous Donna Summer. See full track listing below! Pre-order Charlie’s Angels (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) HERE.

- Hot off the heels of their North American headline tour, Phantogram releases their new single, “In A Spiral,” from their highly anticipated upcoming project, today—listen HERE!
Of the inspiration behind “In A Spiral,” Sarah Barthel of Phantogram says, “‘In A Spiral’ started from a beat that Josh had in his back pocket for quite some time, which I had gravitated to immediately and written some vocal ideas for. But the song was waiting for the right moment to reveal itself to us... We threw it on at the last minute while we were preparing to go record in Joshua Tree at the magical Rancho de la Luna with our friend Boots, and once we got out there everything started to fall into place.”

- Buzzing 19-year-old indie pop phenomenon BENEE shares her new single “Find An Island” – listen HERE! “Find An Island” charms listeners with its chantable hook, “Find an island, far away from me, a shipwreck lost at sea…nobody knows but me.” Of the alternative bop, BENEE says “Howdily doodley! This is a song I wrote about my best bud because sometimes ya hate your friends, but you always love them.”

- The Circus: Inside the Wildest Political Show on Earth takes stock of this political moment in a new episode titled “Desperate Times, Desperate Measures,” airing on Sunday, October 13 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Co-hosts John Heilemann, Alex Wagner, and Mark McKinnon are joined by contributor Jennifer Palmieri, an alumna of the Clinton and Obama administrations and a Hillary Clinton campaign veteran, as the show tracks the escalating desperation of the White House, whistleblowers and 2020 candidates. For a preview of this week's episode, go to:

- Smithsonian Channel continues its annual initiative honoring Veterans Month with two all-new specials to air this November. Memphis Bell in Color tells the story of the famed Memphis Belle – a B-17 bomber plane that became a symbol of the Allies’ desperate fight against the German Luftwaffe during WWII – with vibrant color footage of the iconic aircraft in combat. Turning toward the Pacific theater, Battle of Midway: The True Story revisits one of the most pivotal battles in United States naval history – a decisive victory that turned the tide in the United States’ punishing fight against Japan. Memphis Bell in Color will premiere on Sunday, November 10 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, and Battle of Midway: The True Story will premiere on Monday, November 11 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel.

- Showtime announced it has picked up a second season of the acclaimed docu-series Couples Therapy, from Sundance Award winning filmmakers Josh Kriegman, Elyse Steinberg and Eli Despres. The second season will also feature world-class therapist Dr. Orna Guralnik. Described as “raw and delicious” by the The New York Times, “addicting” by GQ and “compulsively watchable” by Jezebel, Couples Therapy has received critical praise from press and viewers alike, and is currently airing on Fridays at 10 p.m. ET/PT. To watch a first look from this week’s episode, visit:

- Marvel Television and Hulu have announced casting for Marvel’s Helstrom - the live-action series based on the popular Marvel comic book. The series will mark Marvel’s first foray into terror and is slated for debut in 2020. In Marvel’s Helstrom, Daimon and Ana Helstrom are the son and daughter of a mysterious and powerful serial killer. The siblings have a complicated dynamic as they track down the terrorizing worst of humanity — each with their attitude and skills. Tom Austen (“Grantchester,” “The Borgias”) as Daimon Helstrom - A professor of ethics who moonlights as an exorcist, Daimon has no illusions about saving a world he has no patience for; he just hopes he can help a few of the people closest to him. In his battle against a hidden world, Daimon is determined to root out demons as they arise, and will not stop until they're vanquished. Sydney Lemmon (“Succession” “Fear of The Walking Dead”) as Ana Helstrom - By day, Ana runs a successful auction house and suffers no fools, but her true interest lies in hunting down those who hurt others. Traumatized by her father as a child, Ana is driven to rid the world of those like him, even as she secretly worries her father will return. Elizabeth Marvel (“Homeland,” ”The Meyerowitz Stories”) as Victoria Helstrom - Plagued by demons both real and imagined, Victoria has been institutionalized for twenty years. While she struggles to be herself, she hopes to repair her relationship with her children. Robert Wisdom (“Ballers,” ”Watchmen”) as Caretaker - Caretaker is a guardian of knowledge of the occult. He uses his knowledge and his relationship with Ana to help keep demonic forces at bay. June Carryl (“Mindhunter,” “Dead Women Walking”) as Dr. Louise Hastings - A psychologist with a strong faith but an open mind, Hastings is head of the psychiatric hospital where Victoria is being monitored. She has watched over the Helstrom family for years, caring for them as best she can. Ariana Guerra (“Raising Dion,” “Insatiable”) as Gabriella Rosetti - A woman balancing logic and faith, Gabriella arrives from the Vatican to help Daimon and Hastings uncover cases of demonic possession. She wants to save everyone she can, including Daimon. Alain Uy (“The Passage,” “Paper Tigers”) as Chris Yen - Yen is Ana's business partner and her closest friend -- some would say surrogate brother. He carries out the bulk of the auction house's responsibilities and assists Ana with whatever she needs.

- Showtime has announced that Emmy and Golden Globe nominee David Oyelowo (Selma) will play the title role in the drama series The President Is Missing. The network has ordered a pilot, which is currently in pre-production and scheduled to shoot in 2020. Academy Award® winner Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects), Anthony Peckham (Invictus), Heather McQuarrie and Oyelowo will executive produce the series. Peckham is writing the adaptation. The announcement was made today by Gary Levine and Jana Winograde, Presidents of Entertainment, Showtime Networks Inc.

- Trump Administration revisions to the federal Lead and Copper Rule, announced today, fail to protect people and communities from toxic lead contamination. The National Wildlife Federation views the move as yet another instance where the Trump Administration is failing to protect the nation’s drinking water and public health. “Justice delayed is justice denied—and the sad truth is that this rule will not help the vast majority of the millions of America’s living right now with the injustice of toxic lead in their water,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Lead is a neurotoxin. It poisons kids’ blood and brains. EPA had the perfect opportunity to adopt a science-based approach and to accelerate the replacement of lead pipes across the country, but instead it opted to retain the current unsafe approach and allow unsafe pipelines to continue poisoning residents until the residents make investments first (regardless of whether they can afford it). It’s not just a missed opportunity — it’s a betrayal of our public health. We call upon Congress to step up to protect our drinking water and our communities.”

Sunday, October 06, 2019

57 Channels and Only This Is On: October 6, 2019

The Affair: After being completely missing last week we get a complete episode of just Joanie this week. Plus we got a confirmation of the timeline; Allison does not die for another two years. So we are three years until Noah’s movie gets made? They have taken some big time jumps on the show so it is nice that someone is paying attention. We also got Cole’s second wife in the future and a Noah mention, but I still wonder if she will ever run into the guy who raised her for a couple years or even the Soloway children. And if Cole was in his seventies when he died, is the army guy who killed Allison still alive to pay for his crime? All I know is I want more of that reporter.

Fear the Walking Dead: Well they finally took my advice to clear out the ghost town, but only after Ginny was on her way. Oh, and it turns out she evilly killed all those people. But how very Bond villain of her to just walk away and let Morgan die without seeing him actually die. Almost as silly of Grace not having radiation poisoning, but instead turned out to be pregnant.
You can download Fear the Walking Dead on iTunes.

Wu-Tang: An American Saga: Wait, Method Man played lacrosse? I kind of want a Method Man playing lacrosse spin off. Can we resurrect Rock ‘n’ Jock for a lacrosse game with Method Man and other celebrities we would have never guessed played the sport.
You can watch Wu-Tang: An American Saga on Hulu.

Survivor: Island of Idols: Last week’s premiere was a giant ball of flaming shirt. But I have softened on this season a little this week because Kellee is just content gold this week. And much like the lone bright spot of last season Lauren (not be confused with this season’s Lauren the killjoy), Kellee also played colligate soccer. But even Kellee could not do much to improve the borefest that is the Island of Idols. And unfortunately, unlike the lone bright spot of last week, they did not vote the annoying dude this week. Meh.
You can download Survivor: Island of the Idols on iTunes.

The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2: I had no idea until they went against each other this week that Nicole and Jenny were two separate people. And it was kind of lame that TJ let people sit out of trivia. Make everyone go at least once, that made no sense especially when people were going twice.
You can download The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2 on iTunes.

Almost Family: I did not have much expectation for this show considering the premise was so absurd, but I have to say the three sisters really made this show compelling. Though it is kind of silly that the black chick stole the chick with the bad redhead dye job’s boyfriend only for her to turn out to be a lesbian. But I will still watch every episode.
You can download Almost Family on iTunes.

Stumptown: Oh, so this is going to be a P.I. show? They kind of completely dropped the ball telling the viewer what exactly the show was going to be in the promo and the first episode.
You can download Stumptown on iTunes.

The Good Place: Oh wow, we learned a new curse word this week. And I have already called five different people deckheads so far since. But the sad day we all feared all summer finally happened this week, Jason learned the Jags cut Blake Bortles. Now if only he can meet Gardner Flint Minshew II.
You can download The Good Place on iTunes.

Titans: I think we all knew Jason Todd would die eventually, but is he really going to be killed by Deathstroke? And if that fall kills him, don’t you have to bring in Batman at that point, having his apprentice die?

The Blacklist: Oh yeah, Red got stabbed at the end of last episode. Could have used that in a “Previously On: instead of a flashback in the middle of the episode. I have trouble remembering things I watched last week let alone what I watched four months ago. But I guess we do learn around the same time Red does.
You can download The Blacklist on iTunes.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Around the Tubes: October 5, 2019

I have gotten a plethora of cool press releases have been flooding my inbox recently that you may find interesting. This post will include blurbs on Castle Rock, Marvel's Runaways, Reprisal, Huluween, The Kingmaker, Get a Clue, The Life of Earth, The Avett Brothers, Nova Miller, and Apple Music.

- We are excited to share the official trailer for the new season of Hulu Original Castle Rock. Castle Rock season two premieres Wednesday, Oct. 23 with the first three episodes. New episodes stream weekly on Wednesdays only on Hulu.

- Just in time for New York Comic Con, Hulu has shared the official teaser for the newest season of Marvel's Runaways. Marvel's Runaways will return for season three on Friday, December 13th with all 10 episodes.

- Hulu released the official teaser for upcoming drama series Reprisal from the executive producer of The Handmaid’s Tale. The series stars Abigail Spencer, Rodrigo Santoro, Mena Massoud, Rhys Wakefield, Madison Davenport, Gilbert Owuor, David Dastmalchian, W. Earl Brown, Craig Tate, Wavyy Jonez, Shane Callahan, and Rory Cochrane. Reprisal will premiere all episodes Friday, December 6th only on Hulu.

- A month’s worth of scary programming heads to Hulu with its annual “Huluween” celebration starting this week. Viewers can head to Hulu’s personalized, Halloween-themed hub for a bone-chilling selection of popular Halloween TV episodes and movies, featuring 800 premium Halloween titles and more than 5,000 episodes of new and library TV series. The curated experience will also bring fans exclusive, new content throughout the month, including seven spooky short films from up-and-coming filmmakers, selected in collaboration with Sundance Institute, and the premieres of returning Original series Castle Rock, Light as a Feather, and Into the Dark and the highly anticipated Hulu Original Films Little Monsters and Wounds.

- Showtime Documentary Films announced that The Kingmaker, the new film from Emmy® winning director Lauren Greenfield (The Queen of Versailles), will open in theaters in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, November 8. Showtime is teaming up with Greenwich Entertainment, which released last year’s Academy Award-winning documentary FREE SOLO, for theatrical distribution and will open The Kingmaker at The Quad in New York City and Laemmle’s Royal Theater in Los Angeles. The Kingmaker, recently named to the DOC NYC Short List, debuted at the Venice Film Festival in August and traveled the festival circuit to sold out houses with premieres at the Telluride Film Festival, TIFF and Camden International Film Festival. The film will continue to play at festivals across the country before this theatrical run begins.

- Game Show Network, the leader in game shows and competitive entertainment, has greenlit Get a Clue, its new word-guessing game show hosted by actor Rob Belushi (“How I Met Your Mother”). The new half-hour series will premiere in early 2020 and will air Monday through Friday. Get a Clue is a fast-paced, high energy clue game in which two teams compete to see who can successfully guess the most answer words before time runs out. In each round, teams will receive a list of answer words they get to play. The fun starts as the first player gives clues to the second player until they guess the correct word, then the second player gives clues to the third player, and so on, until the team either guesses all the words in the category or runs out of time. The team with the most points advances to the bonus round to play for $10,000. They’ll have 60 seconds to guess eight words but the entire team has to stay on their toes because the clue givers, and guessers, change randomly with every new word.

- Since the dawn of humanity, we’ve wondered – how did our world come to be? Today, thanks to hundreds of satellites orbiting the planet, science is uncovering the full, epic story – including clues to our own role in its future. Travel through eons of fire and meteor storms – from the arrival of oceans and freezing global ice sheets to volcanic eruptions and mass extinctions – to discover The Life of Earth. Combining spectacular visuals, pioneering research and exciting expeditions, a new two-hour series from Smithsonian Channel reveals fresh evidence to age-old questions. The Life of Earth premieres Sunday, November 3 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel.

- Yesterday Grammy Award®-nominated collective The Avett Brothers release their tenth full-length album, Closer Than Together [American/Republic Records], in stores and at all digital retailers. Check out The Avett Brothers Closer Than Together Here!

- Nova Miller takes listeners on a time travel with her bop “Do It To Myself” - listen here. The single, which is about one recognizing their own toxic behavior, showcases Nova's retro pop sound. Although the message may be perceived as dark, Nova see's her musical purpose as positive and is determined to be the 'anti emo' disrupter in the pop space today. The track features The Mama's & The Papa’s Sample 'California Dreamin' and is produced by The Monsters and the Strangerz, the production team behind Zedd’s “Middle” featuring Maren Morris, Grey, and Ariana Grande.

- Apple Music proudly announces the launch of R&B Now, the new home for the vanguard of R&B music, formerly known as The A-List: R&B. The signature playlist cover artwork for R&B Now will feature a different artist each week and that artist's latest release will receive the highly coveted #1 spot on the playlist. R&B Now premieres today with rising-star Atlanta singer Summer Walker and features her brand new track "Come Thru"-a sexy duet with Usher about late-night urges off her official debut album Over It. This sultry song bridges two generations of Atlanta royalty and represents the present and future of the genre. The song even samples Usher's 1997 hit "You Make Me Wanna..

Monday, September 30, 2019

Ready for a Story About Superheroes? Or, What if I Told You This Was Actually a Story About Super-Zeroes?

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this blog post. The opinions I share are my own.

Doom Patrol: The Complete First Season

Disney+ made big waves by saying you can stream their service in 4K compared to Netflix which costs an extra three dollars. None of this really matters to me because I do not have a 4K TV. And even if I did, I am not sure I would be able to stream in 4K because I sometimes have trouble streaming in 1080p. One of the secret big disadvantages of the streaming era is that broadband in America kind of sucks. Other nations pay less for much better speeds. So if you want to watch something in the best quality, the be best to watch is to purchase the physical copy so you do not have to worry about buffering or internet outages.

Case in point, Doom Patrol. I watched earlier this year on DC Universe, which also offers 4K streaming at no extra cost, but like I said earlier I do not have a 4K TV. Not that I could watch on my HD TV either because DC Universe did not have an app for my Playstation or Android TV (it has since released one for the latter) so I was stuck watching on my laptop. I have to say, re-watching the season on the Blu-ray looks so much better. You have not lived until you have seen a horde of butt with teeth in glorious HD.

Okay, watching Doom Patrol on a laptop with a mediocre connection was still pretty good, it did top my list of the Best Television Shows of 2018-19. The group was introduced in the best episode of the first DC Universe show Titans and there were some tweaks to their own show from that episode (the Chief got recast, Negative Man got moodier, Beast Boy got forgotten), it was still mostly the same weirdness that made the Titans episode so good.

Timothy Dalton (Penny Dreadful) plays the Chief who hosts this group of outcasts in his mansion. Elasti-Girl has been there the longest after the actress who has trouble controlling her body and April Bowlby (The Slammin’ Salmon) is great with a pithy comment when one is needed. Then came Negative Man, who has some sort of negative energy with a mind of its own living inside of him. The latest addition (not counting Beast Boy) is Robotman, voiced and played in flashbacks by Brendan Fraser (Encino Man), as a former race car driver who was save by the Chief after a car accident where only his brain was save and put into a robot body, natch.

Returning to the mansion after a decade’s long hiatus is Crazy Jane and her sixty-four personalities, each one weirder than the next with their own abilities. Diane Guerrero (who voiced Jessica Cruz in Justice League vs. the Fatal Five) is great as all of them and it is a shame that could not get a whiff of attention at this year’s Emmy. Granted it took Tatiana Maslany three seasons to get nominated for Orphan Black and did not win until the fourth. Rounding out the group of heroes is Cyborg who was never in the Doom Patrol in the comics yet was a founding member of the Teen Titans, a show he did appear on.

Of course every superhero needs a good supervillain and Alan Tudyk (Firefly) chews all the scenes he can fit in his mouth as Mr. Nobody who is also the show’s de facto narrator. There are plenty of other Doom Patrol rouges gallery and allies that pop up throughout the show like Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man (be sure to always watch the background for more on him), Danny the Street (a living sentient street) Joshua Clay, Beard Hunter (who, um, hunts beards... so I guess his name is self-explanatory), the Bureau of Normandy, Willoughby Kipling (a Constantine rip-off because DC would not let Doom Patrol use Constantine in their comics so they made their own), Cult of the Unwritten Book, Lodestone, Flex Mentallo (who can alter reality with his flexing leading to one of the weirdest scene on the show which is saying a lot). Oh yeah, and Butts with Teeth.

As superhero fatigue slowly creeps (or much faster for some people) in as we keep seeing the same themes over and again, Doom Patrol is the cure because you have never seen anything like this team on the big or small screens. And as Disney dominates with the PG-13 shows and movies, Doom Patrol is very R. Sure I am not sure I needed to see Brandon Frasier naked but we do get to hear Crazy Jane’s most vulgar personalities in their most profane (really, the episode where we go inside her mind may be the best of the season). Oh, and did I mention the Butts with Teeth? This show is awesome.

Doom Patrol: The Complete First Season comes with all fifteen episodes across three disks (five per disk). The Blu-ray also comes with about fourteen minutes of deleted scenes. All deleted scenes are put of the disk with its corresponding episode, but you cannot watch them individual, they are grouped together on the disk. The final disk also has two bonus features, both about five minutes each. Firsts is a gag reel and boy, do the actors on this show like to break out into dance. The other is “Doom Patrol – Come Visit Georgia PSA about scouting locations for the show. The Blu-ray also comes with a digital copy (I know a started this review complaining about streaming) but keep in mind the code that came with my copy expires 12/31/2020.

Own Doom Patrol: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray and DVD October 1!