Saturday, February 17, 2018

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 2/17/2018



The Chi: Who would have guessed an End the Violence block party in Chicago would actually end with no violence. Unless you count the two solitary gunshots (which, being from the suburbs, my first inclination was those were firecrackers). We had some uncomfortable moments at the party

The Alienist: So we got what I believe was the first good look at the murderer. Actually two views. One in the middle where he weirdly is squeezing himself into women’s gloves. Then at the end where he looks like a regular businessman, well until he flashes his silver smile and calls a group of young boys “girls.” And that preceded a creepy scene when he let the Alienist and his crew know he know they are on to him and wants to let them and the whole world know he does not violate his vitems. But was he there? Or was he at the diner saying hi to the “girls”?
You can download The Alienist on iTunes.

The Challenge: Vendettas: It still amazes me how everyone after all these years still let Johnny Bananas run things. Really, no one seemed to care that he just anointed the Troika will little debate? And am I supposed to be intimidated by the new Invaders? They are not exactly CT using Johnny Bananas as a backpack intimidating.
You can download The Challenge: Vendettas on iTunes.

The Path: So Mary did kill her father, or at least she thinks she did. A couple episodes she gave some drugs to him in what looked to be an attempt to get him to overdose. Of course since we never saw the body he is likely not dead yet. But for a travel episode, a lot happened. Mary and Mira bonded and not look to be teaming up to fight Eddie for control of Meyerism. Mira then learned more about he mother and her as the scar on her back was from her mother. But what does Cal know about it, he did glare at that scar awhile. Then you have Sarah who somehow was able to access Lilith’s memories. Maybe that European dude should start his own religion. Then back in America Hawk is becoming gayer.
You can stream The Path Hulu.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Around the Tubes: 2/16/2018


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 Word Is Bond, Hard Sun, Barry White, Noah Kahan, UB40, Vic Mensa, Shot in the Dark, Kidding, Ball Street, Twenties, and Deadlier Than the Male.

- In honor of Black History Month, Showtime will premiere the documentary, Word Is Bond, on Friday, February 16 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on-air, on demand and over the internet. Directed by Sacha Jenkins (Burn Motherf*cker, Burn!, Fresh Dressed) the film explores the transformative power of lyrics in the world of hip-hop. What was born on the streets of the South Bronx has now taken root globally, and the young poets of New York have helped to spawn regional dialects everywhere.


- Check out the trailer for Hulu's upcoming Hard Sun. The full six-episode season launches on Wednesday, March 7th.


- From his hitmaking '70s heyday until his untimely passing in 2003, Barry White set an unmatched standard for sexy, seductive, soulful R&B. As a vocalist, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist, White created music that was unmatched in its sonic and romantic intensity, highlighted by lush, widescreen arrangements and the artist's deep, dark baritone voice. Over the course of his remarkable career, two-time Grammy Award–winner Barry White scored 106 gold albums worldwide, with 41 of those attaining platinum status, along with 20 gold and 10 platinum singles, with worldwide record sales of over 100 million records. He remains one of the best-selling recording artists of all time. On April 13, Mercury Records/UMe will release the first of a series of catalog releases of Barry White's classic work, in a yearlong celebration of the 45th anniversary of White's first release on 20th Century Records. New collections feature such White solo hits as “Can't Get Enough Of Your Love, Babe” and “You're The First, The Last, My Everything,” along with hits by female trio Love Unlimited ("Walkin' In The Rain With The One I Love," "I Belong To You") and the 40-piece Love Unlimited Orchestra ("Love's Theme," "Satin Soul"), both of which benefitted from White's distinctive songwriting and production skills.

- With over 45 Million streams on Spotify and a rapidly climbing single on the Triple A charts, rising singer and songwriter, Noah Kahan recently released his debut EP, Hurt Somebody. Produced by Joel Little (Khalid, Lorde), the five song EP includes Kahan’s most recent single and title track, “Hurt Somebody” featuring two time Grammy nominated artist JULIA MICHAELS. Kahan, who has previously performed and toured with Anderson East, The Strumbella’s, Milky Chance, and Ben Folds, was recently announced as one of Bandsintown’s “Top 5 Fastest Growing New Artists” and will be hitting the road again this month with LP – dates listed below.


- A Real Labour Of Love is the new album from UB40 Featuring Ali, Astro & Mickey, to be released March 2nd on UMe. As founding members of Britain's biggest reggae band UB40, singer Ali Campbell, second vocalist Astro and keyboardist Mickey Virtue topped the UK singles chart on three occasions and sold 70 million records as they took the ir smooth yet rootsy musical blend to all corners of the globe. Now with 'A Real Labour Of Love' the trio give us a fresh take on the legendary series of albums, putting the focus primarily on reggae tracks from the 1980s.

- une in Friday, February 16 to watch the broadcast premiere of the concert special Vic Mensa on AT&T* AUDIENCE Network via DIRECTV Ch 239, AT&T U-verse Ch 1114 and streaming on-demand through DIRECTV NOW. Airing at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT the one-hour concert with was shot on location at AT&T AUDIENCE Network’s studio in Los Angeles, CA.

- FOX Sports Films is excited to announce the premiere of Shot in the Dark, February 24, 2018 on FOX. This second film in the MAGNIFY documentary series is produced by Los Angeles Media Fund, executive produced by Dwyane Wade and Chance the Rapper and directed by Dustin Nakao-Haider for Bogie Films, and in association with ZZ Productions. “Shot in the Dark” is scheduled to air at approximately 4:30 p.m. Eastern following Villanova vs. Creighton basketball.

- Showtime has announced that Judy Greer (Married) has been cast as a series regular in the upcoming Showtime half-hour comedy Kidding. Greer joins Golden Globe® winner Jim Carrey, in Carrey’s first series regular role in more than two decades, along with Oscar®, Emmy® and Golden Globe nominee Catherine Keener (Get Out) and Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon). Greer will play Jill, Jeff’s estranged wife who has recently hit a rebellious streak.

- Regina Hall (Girls Trip) and Paul Scheer (The Disaster Artist, The League) are set to join the cast of the Showtime half-hour comedy pilot Ball Street. Starring Emmy® nominated and Golden Globe-winning actor Don Cheadle (Avengers: Infinity War) and two-time Tony Award nominee and Grammy® winner Andrew Rannells (Girls, The Intern), Ball Street is directed and executive produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. The pilot, which has also added Kurt Braunohler (The Big Sick) and Eugene Cordero (Kong: Skull Island), is created by David Caspe (Happy Endings) and Jordan Cahan (My Best Friend’s Girl), who also serve as executive producers and showrunners. Casey Wilson (Happy Endings) will guest star as Tiff, Blair’s (Rannells) girlfriend who appreciates the finer things in life that Blair’s new job may not provide. Reuniting with Happy Endings and Marry Me producers Caspe and Cahan, Wilson will recur if the show goes to series. Production is scheduled to begin in Los Angeles this week. The pilot is a co-production of Showtime and Sony Pictures Television Studios.

- On the heels of her Emmy® win for Best Comedy Writing and the launch of her series The Chi, TBS has picked up writer and Master of None star Lena Waithe’s project Twenties to pilot. Twenties is a single-camera comedy that follows the adventures of a queer black girl, Hattie, and her two straight best friends, Marie and Nia, who spend most of their days talking shit and chasing their dreams. It's a show about friendship, finding love, and messing everything up along the way. Twenties is created, written, and executive produced by Waithe through her production company Hillman Grad Productions and executive produced by Andrew Coles, her manager, for The Mission Entertainment.

- Turner's TNT has given a series greenlight to Deadlier Than the Male (working title), an intense, morally complex thriller about three damaged people trying to start over. Lily Rabe (American Horror Story), Enrique Murciano (Without A Trace), Hamish Linklater (Fantastic Four), Chiara Aurelia (Pretty Little Liars) and Amy Brenneman (The Leftovers) star in the suspense drama. The series is being produced by Bruna Papandrea's Made Up Stories and Turner's Studio T, and executive-produced by Bruna Papandrea (Big Little Lies); Harriet Warner (Call the Midwife, Mistresses), who wrote the script; and Casey Haver of Made Up Stories. Houda Benyamina (Divines) directed the pilot. The series will begin production this summer in New Orleans.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Previewing Cardinal: Season Two



Netflix used to be the place where you could catch up on television and movies. Breaking Bad was even credited with becoming a hit basically out of nowhere in its last season because people were apparently binging on it with Netflix. But now Netflix is more interested in becoming a content creator. In the half year alone they have ponied over a half a billion dollars for Ryan Murphy and Shonda Rhimes to create new programming. While their original programming grows even larger, their acquired library keeps shrinking with basically Disney and The CW being basically their only major contracts left with the former saying they will not be renewing their contract when it is over.

Quietly Hulu is becoming the go to place for classic programming. The recently landed ER’s first streaming rights along with plenty other television shows from your childhood. Sure if you want to watch the Fuller House reboot, you need Netflix, but if you want to watch the original series, you need a Hulu subscription. And though they may not have much original programming, The Handmaid’s Tale has swept every major television award in the past year, including Best Drama at the Emmys, besting three Netflix series in a category Netflix has never won.

Aside from old shows, Hulu has also been amassing a growing foreign catalogue too. Want to watch the original Shameless? Hulu’s got it. Want to watch Real Humans which the AMC show is based on, Hulu’s got it. The original The Bridge? Yep, on Hulu. And, oh my goodness, the original Australian The Slap is also on Hulu. Hulu even has a bunch of international shows not (yet) bastardized by American networks yet.

Last year Hulu acquired the right to the Canadian show Cardinal and tomorrow the entire second season premieres on Hulu. It was another murder mystery show that benefitted from international schedules allowing shorten seasons with Cardinal only being six season. Ten to twenty-two episodes t solve a crime on American television is way too long.

As you would expect, the second season of Cardinal starts off with a scared woman running through the wood, falling, hitting her head to her death. Except, the big twist of the season is the girl shows up a couple scenes later in a bar without her memory. Oh, and after a medical examination Red (named for the color of her hair and because Jane Doe is usually for dead chicks; apparel they do not watch Blindspot) also has a bullet in her brain that essentially lobotomized her. Then the episode ends with some weird and creepy ritualistic killing that it is safe to assume ties into Red’s memory loss.

Cardinal may not be a profound show or reinvent the wheel, but it has proven to be a compelling bit of mystery television crammed into an easy to consume six episodes. And for people looking for something to do when everything on television is on an Olympic hiatus, here is something worth trying out.

You can stream the second season of Cardinal on Hulu starting tomorrow, season one available now.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Previewing Word Is Bond



For me, Ice-T’s The Art of Rap is the quintessential rap documentary. Of course when you are Ice-T, you can open up your digital Rolodex and get every living MC, past and present, you would possible want to talk about the craft. And being a rapper himself, Ice can steer the conversation to make sure you got all the important information out of the subjects.

So Work Is Bond has a lot to live up too. First off, director Sacha Jenkins (Fresh Dressed) does not get the names Ice-T did. This documentary is top-lined by Nas, Rakim, and Big Daddy Kane. But the thing is, the guy found some rappers not big enough for the Ice-T one that still had some fascinating insight like Brother Ali, Flatbush Zombies, and the Run the Jewels guys.

There were a few oh yeah, I remember those guys. Seriously, anyone remember Peedi Crakk? Then there is a segment on Rhymefest who is apparently still working and recently added an Oscar as a co-writer on Glory to his Grammy he won for Jesus Walks. While Freeway has noticeably lost a lot of weight since he was Roc-A-Fella’s next big thing about a decade ago and sadly we learn why as he is dealing with a serious health issue.

Okay, not all the talking heads are winners. Is anyone really that interested in hearing J. Cole’s thoughts on anything? Most of the interviews focus mostly on each rappers experiences and influence, but there is a fascinating discussion in the middle of the documentary where everyone is asked their stance on ghostwriting in rap, and oh, boy, there are a lot of strong, varying thoughts on the subject.

Word Is Bond premieres Friday at 10:00 on Showtime.

Monday, February 12, 2018

I Want My Music Television - 2/12/2018



Capital Letters - Hailee Steinfeld and BloodPop®


I always feel queasy when the new soundtrack to a 50 Shades movie comes out because I just feel bad for everyone involved. Seriously how much money do you have to pay Taylor Swift to be featured on someone else’s song on the soundtrack? Like most Hailee Steinfeld songs, this is moderately catchy but still wish she would stick to acting which she is much better at. But at least the video does not feature any corny 50 Shades footage.


Fix Me - Beck


Fix Me - Beck, babies, and dogs. Three minutes well spent.


Rose Colored Boy – Paramore


Speaking of dogs, Paramore put one in a tin foil hat while Hayley Williams made her hair up like Aimee Mann in the Voices Carry music video for no apparent reason than the eighties. Still no apparent reason for the Bill O’Reilly reference.


Don't Make Me Wait - Sting and Shaggy


No seriously, not only did Sting and Shaggy made a song together, they made an entire album.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 2/10/2018



Supergirl: Seriously Mon-El, Saturn Girl was an upgrade, why are you still pining over Supergirl? You are truly the worst. Maybe they should get a divorce and then just give Saturn Girl her own spin-off.
You can download Supergirl on iTunes.

The Alienist: Well that was a bit anticlimactic. We left the guy drugged at an underage male brothel as a cliffhanger and all that happened to him was getting dumped in the alleyway to start the next episode. I was hoping for something more life threatening.
You can download The Alienist on iTunes.

The Challenge: Vendettas: Well that was a pretty generous draw Bananas. I wonder just how random the draw was. And how do you come on a competition show like this and not move a ring an inch? You gotta train people. Even LeRoy, a historically bad swimmer moved it a little.
You can download The Challenge: Vendettas on iTunes.

The Path: Exactly, is Hawk gay now? Dude was pretty girl crazy the first two seasons. Now he is kissing dudes. Oh yeah, and Hank died. And Mary’s father too? I am just guessing she gave him more heroin in hopes of an overdose. Though if we did not get conformation this week, he probably survived to terrorize some more.
You can stream The Path Hulu.

Knightfall: So after a full season of searching for the Grail, Landry tried to use it on the Queen and when it fails, smashes it against a tree… kind of feels like a waste. Well except someone knew to cut open the base for a secret message. Though he promptly ate it. But the biggest letdown was we never got to learn why the Pope spared Landry’s life. The Pope said he would tell Landry when he returned the Grail (which Landry was not going to do anyway) but he never went back.
You can download Knightfall on iTunes.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Previewing Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars



There was a time in my life had you asked me who my favorite artist was, I would have told you Eric Clapton. We spend most of our first decade on this planet basically listening to whatever the radio told us to listen to or just what your parents do. Then comes the time when you discover that there was actually music released before you were born and even stuff, good stuff being released that did not even get radio airplay.

This time for me just so happened to coincide with a career resurgence of Eric Clapton whose Tears in Heaven was his first top five single since the seventies and first in my lifetime. That was quickly followed by his installment of MTV Unplugged which most would consider one of the top two episodes ever (other people can argue if Nirvana’s was better) which would sweep that year’s Grammy’s and introduce a whole new generation to what most would consider one of the top two guitarist of all time (though some may argue Jimmy Hendrix).

Now at seventy-two, hopefully it is time for another generation to discover the greatness of Clapton even though you rarely even hear a guitar on pop radio today unless it is a quick sample. For those looking for a quick recap of his life and career, look no further than Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars, an expansive look at the guitarist career. Or really, his sixties career as over half of the two plus hour documentary focuses on that time in his career.

And that decade is jam packed of action as Clapton bounced around from band to band. Clapton was a fickle musical, spending two years with The Yardbirds, John Mayall and The Bluesbreakers, three years with Cream, two years with Blind Faith, and two years with Derek and The Dominos, before finally going solo in 1970. But his solo work is mostly just an alcoholic haze and really the music during the seventies and eighties basically just get a one minute montage treatment.

This is my biggest complaint of the documentary. Slowhand, one of the greatest album ever made is barely mention other that hoe Clapton does not like listening song from that era because he can tell just how drunk he was while listening to those songs. The quick montage through this time comes to an abrupt end with the birth of his first child Connor whose tragic death at four inspired Tear in Heaven. But after all the Grammy’s were won, we get another quick montage to modern day. For a two hour and eighteen minute more time could have been spent from the seventies to now. Still Life in 12 Bars is a good primer on the artist life and would a look for music fans of all ages. And for those youngsters not that familiar with his work, I would recommend starting with The Cream of Clapton and his Unplugged album and go from there.

Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars premieres tonight on Showtime at 9:00.