Sunday, October 04, 2015

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 10/4/15

Once Upon a Time: Seriously, who brings a baby into a twister bound restaurant to another land? But anyway. I kind of liked the ending even though it probably means for the first part of the season we will probably get split story lines from present day and six months ago.

Ray Donovan: So the pop Armenian singer did not work? Maybe I should have guessed that you should not trust Armenian gangsters to keep their word. I was a bit surprised that the FBI guy did not come back at all, Ray did shoot and left him by the side of the road. Maybe next season. Instead we had to spend too much time with Bridget and her teacher who, yes, crossed the proverbial line, but did not do so with two feet. But they did go back to the priest whose storyline was dropped halfway through the season, but no Arayians who were dropped around the same time. But I am guessing Ray going back to the Lord will not last by the time season four comes around.

Fear the Walking Dead: Wait, are the two step siblings going to hook up. That is kind of ew. And why trash the house, just live there? It is much nicer than the one you are living in and the owners are not coming back. And why do I care more about some silly throwaway scene more than the revelation that they are going to "humanely" kill off the civilian population.

Masters of Sex: Oh wow, Bill gave up on Virginia. So does that mean the Little Brown Man (when Betty first said this I was like "oh my" as I did not know that Little Brown was a publishing house) goes nuclear at the press party telling the press about Bill's legal trouble? It it plausible with how the show does time jumps that Bill could spend some time in prison (like the last two summers I am going to stay away from the spoiler zone that is his Wikipedia page). Then there are the questions of the state of his marriage, whether Virginia marries the scent king, and Bill's legal troubles. It actually may be harder not to look at spoilers this time around.

The Strain: I would not all be disappointed if the show devolved into the Gus and Angel show. It would be better than bring back the rat that sits on Eph's head. And it was a different wig to. I wonder if Corey Stoll burned the anime looking original wig and when it came time for the flashback the costume department just had to grab a random one off the rack. I joked earlier this season that they were not going to kill someone off right after including an opening credits sequence (which aired just that one time randomly) but someone has to die next week, right? With everyone descending on the Luman it is hard to think all the players get out alive. Sadly I think it may be the Nazi Vampire (who would have guessed three years ago I would be sad someone killed a Nazi vampire?).
You can download The Strain on iTunes.

Quantico: When I saw the previews I wrote that best case scenario it was going to be Homeland season four; worst case scenario: Homeland season three. After one episode it looks much more like season three. Actually it may be worse, it may be more like some crappy Shonda Rhimes show where absurdly attractive professionals have sex with each other in between twists upon twists even if those twists are extremely obvious or make little to no sense. Really the only twist I liked from the premiere (even though it fell into the makes no sense category) was the Muslim twins. I also do not like the storytelling devise of flashing back to the first days of Quantico mixed with a blown up building. Why not tell a linear story of the first days of the FBI and then blow up the building in the season or mid-season final? But I will continue to watch. And let me go ahead and predict the FBI trainer guy is the one setting up the hot Indian chick. Either him or "Taylor Swift" because it will either be the most obvious or one that makes little to no sense.
You can download Quantico on iTunes.

Gotham: So the big new from the show this week was that Jim Gordon and Leslie Thompkins are having a kid. Well not on the show but the actors are in real life. Alright. I wonder if that will be written into the show or she will be hiding behind medical tables soon or maybe she will be kidnapped in the second half of the season. As for the actual show, so a bunch of cheerleaders are about to be set on fire but no one thought to go out the fire door?
You can download Gotham on iTunes.

The Voice: The first couple seasons were mostly enjoyable, I made it through the whole season for the first and third seasons (I have to skip the disastrous second season finale). Since then I usually am out sometime around the time the show goes live. I usually fault this on the lack of good singers because in those first three seasons the openly recruited seasoned professionals but since has been more of American Idol type show with mostly armatures (seriously who are there some many teenagers with braces this season?). In the first three seasons there were about twelve different singers on the show who were already in my music library before they auditioned by since that number is one (and she was montaged off the show).

Then this week I was kind of bored again with the same old mediocre teenagers doing boring and bland karaoke versions of songs. And then they introduced another rocker nanny, which we have seen a few times on the show (remember the good old days when Alicia Keys backup singers were the cliche; have we run out of Alicia Keys back up singers?). But then rocker nanny mentioned she used to be in a band called Sleeper Agent. Wait, what? Not only were they in my music library, their song Get Burned was #22 on my list of The 100 Best Songs of 2012. Okay so her Blind Audition was not great, but if she makes it around to the Knockout Round maybe they will actually let her perform Get Burned.

Last week I mentioned how the Blind Auditions bring out some awesome song selections (before devolving into the same overused catalog in the Battle that get more tired the closer to the finale) and this we got first ever songs on the show from Cheap Trick, Mountain, Cameo, Andrew McMahon In the Wilderness, oh yeah, and someone auditioned with the Rollergirl theme song. That was definitely the most random song choice since someone sang The Jeffersons Theme Song.

Blindspot: Well that is and interesting plot that Lady Sif may be someone from the FBI's past (whom his father was accused of kidnapping and murdering). I do fear this may play out like The Blacklist where there was overwhelming evidence that Red is Lizzie's father only for Red to deny it for two seasons. I am guessing the DNA match will come up negative next week but still tease that that is what happen. The show would be much interesting if it turns out FBI guy's dad did actually kidnap Lady Sif and was the one who trained her.
You can download Blindspot on iTunes..

Castle: Wait, what just happened, is Kate leaving the show or are we getting two separate story lines every week, case of the week and Kate looking for the real killers? I mentioned last week offhandedly I would not mind if the show switched into a Veronica Mars, father daughter PI dynamic with Castle and Alexis but I did not actually think it might happen.
You can download Castle.

Marvel's Agents of S.I.E.L.D.: So over their summer vacation Fitz went from brain damaged to Indiana Jones. Alrighty. While I have spent all summer trying to figure out what happened to Gemma and a black hole portal that bends space and time never once crossed my mind. Hopefully the end of this storyline is not as bad as the ending to Intersteller. But anyway. I am not that familiar with Marvel comics so I am not entirely sure where she is and even though cinematic characters rarely show up, I will be slightly disappointed if we do not see one of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Hey, Bradly Cooper has shown willingness to show up on crappy televised versions of his movies. I would even be content with the cosmonaut dog or even Howard the Duck.I was interested in the clock counting down until the Inhumans reach one hundred percent but there are no Marvel movies coming out February 2017 (assuming my math is right) but the next movie after that is the second Guardians movie, not that Gemma will still be around by then (unless this is like the Intersteller water planet where hour equaled like five Earth years). Plus we are still four years away from an Inhumans movie. Speaking of which, the new big bad is effectively scary in a Buffy monster of the week kind of way.
You can download Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.

Survivor: Second Chances: After thirty season, Survivor has become a well oiled machine that I can recognize every beat that it hits. But that last segment was a weird one. When Varner teased before the break that Shirin and Spencer sealed their fate, I have been conditioned to think either 1) his plan will go horribly wrong or 2) the show will may think think someone is going to flip but ended up towing the line. So when Abi Maria actually told Shirin she was probably going home I though, uh oh, you never tell someone that, now those two will scramble to get someone out. So when they talked to Wooooooooooooo I thought we would get Wooooooooooo saying that maybe he should weigh his option, but no, he shut them down right then. So when they walked to Tribal Council I thought, okay, Abi is going to go full crazy Brazilian chick and get people to turn on them. But no. The dominate alliance did not even mess up splitting the vote. So not only is the show playing with the contestants this season (two twists in the premiere and the promos spoiling another big one next week) they are playing with the viewer's expectations too. And I kind of like it.
You can download Survivor: Second Chance on iTunes.

Nashville: I wonder why they did not kill Deacon's sister last week but I guess they just waited a week.
You can download Nashville on iTunes.

The Blacklist: This show really needed a previously on package. It is hard enough for me to remember last week let along what happen three or four months ago. But, oh my, blonde Lizzy.
The Blacklist on iTunes.

Friday, October 02, 2015

Around the Tubes: 10/2/15

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 Gorongosa Park: Rebirth of Paradise, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, Neighborhood Sessions, VH1 Best Music of 2015: You Oughta Know, Tay Beckham, The Last Man On Earth, Showtime, Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER, Skee TV, Jo Frost: Nanny on Tour, Skin Wars: Fresh Paint, and Heroes Reborn: Enigma.

- On Oct. 6 at 8 pm EST, PBS will air the final episodes of Gorongosa Park: Rebirth of Paradise. Titled“Battle Lines” and “Roaring Back,” these episodes follow Joyce Poole as she makes a breakthrough with the elephants in Gorongosa, while her brother Bob spends a night chasing a group of crop-raiding elephants. A new lion arrives, sparking a conflict among Gorongosa’s dominant lions. Then, after many sleepless nights, the team is relieved to find a pair of lion cubs that had gone missing. These two are the future of lions in Gorongosa.

- Hailed as one of the most innovative and intimate documentaries of all time, experience Kurt Cobain like never before in the only fully authorized portrait of the famed music icon in Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck. Acclaimed filmmaker Brett Morgen expertly blends Cobain’s personal archive of art, music, never-before-seen movies, animation and revelatory interviews from his family and closest friends. Wildly creative and highly praised, the documentary follows Kurt from his earliest years in this visceral and detailed cinematic insight of an artist struggling to come to terms and make sense of his place in the world. Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, will be released by Universal Music Enterprises in multiple formats, including the Super Deluxe Edition as well as in Blu-ray, DVD and digital video formats. The soundtrack album, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings will also be released on CD and digitally on November 13, 2015. A 2LP vinyl edition of Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck: The Home Recordings will follow on December 4, 2015. In addition, a 7-inch Single featuring “And I Love Her” and “Sappy (Early Demo)” is also scheduled for release on November 20th.

- Toby Keith is heading to TBS this fall as part of Neighborhood Sessions, an ongoing series of music specials created by State Farm. The televised event will include an intimate performance that Keith gave to remarkable neighbors in his hometown area of Moore, Okla. in September. It will pair footage of the chart-topping star's rollicking local performance with powerful stories of perseverance and community from the neighbors who continue to impact his life and career. Neighborhood Sessions featuring Toby Keith marks the second special in the Neighborhood Sessions series, which gives the biggest names in music a chance to thank the neighbor s who inspired them, and who continue to inspire greatness in their communities every day. The special is slated to premiere on TBS on Friday, Oct. 16, at 10, in the midst of the network's Major League Baseball postseason coverage.

- VH1 will bring its entire 2015 You Oughta Know class of artists together on one stage for an unforgettable night of music with VH1 Best Music of 2015: You Oughta Know event live from The Armory Foundation in New York on Thursday, November 12 at 9:00. Since its launch in 2005, VH1’s “You Oughta Know” franchise has introduced talented new artists on the rise and serves as a barometer for what and who’s hot on the music scene today. The VH1 Best Music of 2015: “You Oughta Know” artists taking the stage live include: Hozier, Ella Henderson, George Ezra, Tori Kelly, James Bay, Nate Ruess, Rachel Platten, Elle King, Miguel and X Ambassadors.

- This week, The Voice alum Tay Beckham celebrated her 20th birthday with the release of her debut single Excuses – a sultry and soulful break-up anthem bringing a millennial singer/songwriter’s take on love and heartbreak. Think: Tori Kelly meets Alicia Keys.

- In a new deal with Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution, Hulu this week announced that it has acquired the streaming rights to all past episodes of FOX’s hit series, The Last Man On Earth. All existing episodes of the series are available to stream exclusively on Hulu now.

- This week, Showtime Networks announced that Amazon and Google are the newest platforms to launch the Showtime stand-alone streaming service available on Amazon Fire devices including Fire tablets, Fire TV, Fire TV stick, and Android devices, including Android phones and tablets and Android TV. Showtime has also added Android, iOS and web Chrome browser support for Chromecast, as well as other Google Cast-enabled streaming devices. The arrival of Showtime on Amazon, Android and Cast devices is in advance of the highly-anticipated season premieres of the Emmy® and Golden Globe®-winning series Homeland and the Golden Globe-winning series The Affair this Sunday, October 4th. Amazon and Android users are able to subscribe to SHOWTIME through the SHOWTIME app anywhere in the U.S., for one monthly price of $10.99, and new subscribers will be offered a 30-day free trial at sign-up. The announcement was made today by David Nevins, President, Showtime Networks Inc.

- There is no such thing as a boring day at Dr. Susan Kelleher’s exotic animal E.R. in South Florida, where she and her skilled staff treat every animal that will fit through the door, from big cats to hedgehogs, birds, reptiles, rabbits and every other animal imaginable. Everything but a dog or house cat! Follow the unusual and heartwarming stories these doctors face every day on Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER, premiering Saturday, October 3 at 9:00 on Nat Geo WILD.

DJ Skee is back! On the season premiere of Skee TV, tonight at 10:00 on Fuse, DJ Skee sits down with “White Iverson” rapper Post Malone, actor Josh Peck from the new Fox show “Grandfathered,” and rising rap star Super Duper Kyle, whose new album “Smyle” drops Friday. Post Malone and Super Duper Kyle perform for a live audience at the historic Ivar Theatre in Hollywood, and SKEE TV presents an exclusive look at Ernest Baker, the NYC party legend who has been called “the last rockstar writer left” and who Drake recently credited for naming his new mixtape with Future.

- When it comes to fixing families in distress, only one expert has gained the respect of parents across the globe: Jo Frost. Now, Frost’s Nanny Jo Productions is teaming up with UP TV to produce a new original series, Jo Frost: Nanny on Tour, that will help families evolve through all stages of parenting from newborns and toddlers to tweens and teens. In the series, Jo will address many 21st century parental concerns, such as video game addiction, cyber-bullying, single parent stress, blended family feuds, and much more. Based on her highly successful international format, production has commenced in cities across the U.S. on ten one-hour episodes that will premiere on UP during the first quarter of 2016.

- GSN, the leader in game shows and competitive entertainment, plans to expand upon the popularity of its hit series Skin Wars, greenlighting an eight-episode order of the new one-hour series, Skin Wars: Fresh Paint, to be hosted by master of transformation, RuPaul Charles, who also serves as a judge on Skin Wars.

- Heroes Reborn: Enigma, the first of two HEROES REBORN games that immerse fans into the universe created by Tim Kring, will be available for mobile and tablet devices (iOS and Android) on Oct. 8, entertainment studio and game publisher Imperative Entertainment announced today. Serving as a prequel for the HEROES REBORN event series, HEROES REBORN: Enigma is a first person action puzzle game that has players become Dahlia, an evolved human with incredible powers, seeking to escape the clutches of a secret government facility known as The Quarry. Dahlia has to solve a series of brain-teasing puzzles in complex environments. Featuring stunning visuals from Unreal Engine 4, the game is produced by multi-platform studio Imperative Entertainment and developed by Phosphor Games.

Previewing The Affair: Season Two

There has been a trend recently to give each new season a new subtitle. The first time I remember this happening was with Spartacus which officially changed its title every year. Some network do it to re-brand shows like Gotham: Rise of the Villains. Others are just unofficial cheat attempt at social marketing (#BlackSwan). The new season of The Affair might as well have a new name because the titular affair is now out in the open they might as well call the new season The Affair: The Divorce.

The first season of The Affair was maybe the weirdest non-sci-fi series in the history of television though I am not sure if that is a good thing or not. Really my best recollection of the first season was when Bill Simmons (formally of The BS Report and soon to be host of The Bill Simmons Podcast) who countered a dissenter of The Affair saying "you are watching the wrong way." But even as the first season ended, I still was not sure I was watching the show the right way.

At its core, The Affair is an interesting concept with two different points of view which sometime slightly very and other times are completely different. Who is right and who is wrong? We may never now. And to make things more interesting or complicated depending on how you watch the show, the episodes ended sometime in the future with the police investigating a murder. It at first seemed like the two stories were being told to the police but that no longer seems like the case. The ended of the season ended with us learning that Noah and Alison were married with a child just before he was hauled away by the police in the murder of her former brother-in-law, the very one who knocked up his teenage daughter in present day and did not even bother to show up for the abortion.

If you did not like the duel storytelling of the first season, I got some really bad news for you (mild spoiler alert but the premiere is already online and On Demand if you want to watch it, and you may want to watch the TV-14 version on YouTube because the TVMA version features full frontal male nudity) because not only do we get the stories of Noah and Alison, the twist of the new season is after Noah's story, the second story is not Alison but of Helen, Noah's soon to be ex-wife. Like last season, they have slightly different versions of their run in with each other: he thinks their mediator is a overzealous douchebag and she sees him as a slimy douchebag.

And as you guessed it, the second episode starts off with Alison before we get Cole's point of view. So if this holds up, we may only get six days told four ways instead of two stories told twelve ways. But unlike Noah and Helen's slight difference, Alison and Cole's sole run in next week diverges quite differently. Who is telling the truth? I am beginning to think no one is and maybe the only thing we can believe as fact is the future scenes where we finally get to see future Helen and Cole for the first time.

I started to believe that none of the storytellers were being truthful in the first season because each person made themselves look better than they probably were. Noah viewed himself as the stoic superdad seduced by a temptress while Alison viewed herself as the grieving mother who finally gave into the advances of a cad. But this season, all four storytellers portray themselves as pretty horrible people. And they are all clearly kind of horrible people. So maybe this is the season where all the characters realize just how horrible they are and can finally admit it. But who they are admitting it to, nobody knows.

The Affair airs Sundays at 10:00 on Showtime.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Previewing Homeland: Season Five

The first time Carrie Mastiston and Saul Beariston see each other in season five of Homeland, which takesd place two years after the attack in Islamabad which seems to be around the last time the two talked, Saul tells Carrie, "You're being stupid and naive, two things you haven't been before." What? WHAT?!?!? Sure Carrie was the only one who correctly predicted that Brody was a terrorist back in season one, but since then she has only been stupid and naive, choosing her terrorist lover over her country and whose decisions led to the embassy being overrun last season.

But since Saul sold her out last season, Carrie has left the CIA to become the head of security for a millionaire in Berlin who Saul claims to be on the other team because his family made their fortune during World War II. And continuing the flip from last season, Saul is back in the CIA, but not as the head as he blames Carrie's bad recommendation as his being overlooked. Of course in the waning two years Quinn has been in Syria killing terrorists.

With the new setting is some new faces. Miranda Otto (I, Frankenstien) plays the Berlin Bureau chief, Sebastian Koch (A Good Day to Die Hard) is the guy who hires Carrie to protect him, while Sarah Sololovic is another American who works at the foundation. Alexander Fehling (Inglourious Basterds) is the legal council there and starts the season cohabitation with Carrie and Baby Brody (thankfully she finds herself back stateside early in the season).

The Foundation and the CIA naturally find themselves intertwined after a hacker attacks the Berlin Bureau's computers whose information shows up in the (virtual) hands of Sololovic. This brings Saul to Berlin and Quinn of course tags along to kill German terrorists. And before you think Homeland is morphing into a Mr Robot hacking show, Carrie and her boss travel to Syria where of course things start blowing up.

After three seasons of riding on the wildest roller-coaster ride possibly in the history of television with some of the highest highs, but lowest lows, Homeland managed to course correct with a more even keel with less mind blowing, and mind numbing, plot twists. That seems to continue in season five as the show does continue a more traditional pace. Though for those that do miss the early glory days, Carrie does go off her meds in episode three and it is awesome. And yes the crazy picture wall is back.

Homeland airs Sundays at 9:00 on Showtime.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 9/27/15

Masters of Sex: Andy Greenwald of Grantland has a yearly column where he "trades" characters from one show to another to make stale shows better. It is fun if not a little silly but I could not help but think of his column during this episode. Specifically can they trade drunk Judy Greer to Masters of Sex and Married can get back Libby (who I thought actually might be leaving the show until late in the episode when she realized she could not leave Bill after the accusations made this week). Greer was just on fire this week compared to Married where she seems stuck on a show like her character is stuck in the marriage. And while I am doing fantasy casting, how about Bill recruiting the woman's bathroom attendant to work for him back in Missouri? But back to the accusation, I do see both sides, yeah that is a bit weird what Bill did, but he is a doctor who specializes in the reproductive system so who better than him to talk about those issues? Being the time I have a feeling that Bill will be reprimanded to some extent, just what is the real question.

Ray Donovan: Wait, there is still another episode left because that felt like a season finale. finally dispatched Al Swearagen, Micky weaseled his way into staying in California. I guess this means something is really going to blow up in the actual season finale. Is Ray going to regret not killing former FBI guy? Is he going to kill Bridget's math teacher? Though they have not been mentioned for half the season, there are still Arayians out there that are still mad at Terry for killing one of their brothers in the beginning of the season.

The Strain: So the Nazi vampire loved a Jew. Who would have guessed. But kind of an uneventful episode. I was a bit surprised they were able to save Dutch, once she ran into the literal brick wall, I figured she was a goner. Gus's long goodbye was boring and what was not surprising was that the dude with the limp would stay and fight. Then the search for the book jut went around in circle when the owner would not give the old Jew the book only to sell it to the guy the old Jew has a deal with. But I guess the black dude will up his price when the old Jew comes collecting.
You can download The Strain on iTunes.

Gotham:That is two straight days where a show opened up with an ironic use of Perfect Day in a montage. Weird coincidence. I wonder if anyone at Fox watched Fear the Walking Dead and thought, frack, maybe we should change our premiere. But anyway. The big surprise of the new season is that Barbra is actually kind of enjoyable after being completely useless last season. And is Tigress building a Suicide Squad for the bad guys? If so I am guessing they will not call it that because of the movie.
You can download Gotham on iTunes.

The Voice: The Blind Audition is again proving it is the best part (and quickly becoming the only watchable stage) as we actually get some interesting song selection. Just in the firs four hours we get singer performing Blues Traveler, The Jeff Healey Band, Janelle Monáe, Cage the Elephant, Mute Math, Tegan and Sara (albeit via montage), and Hootie & The Blowfish for the first time ever on the show as well as the first Sarah McLachlan song not titled Angel (which is hopefully retired from the show). Okay, most of those performances were not good even though some inexplicably got all four coaches to push their buttons. But there was one audition that did actually catch my ear and, excuse my Carson Daly level of hyperbole, may be the most surprisingly great song choice in the history of the show (or at the very least since Lindsey Pavao turned a Trey Songz song into a haunting alt-rock song). Seriously Ellie Lawrence to the cheesily great eighties abstinence classic We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off into a sweet and sweeping Adele type ballad. Just give her the crown now. Of course she will probably have her Battle Round montage before losing to someone horrible in the Knockout Round. I have no faith in Gwen who had a disastrous first season (Ryan Sill: never forget). Maybe it would be best if Gwen dumps her because I would much rather see her on Blake's team, who surprisingly did not hit his button even though that is exactly the kind of artist he usually goes for.
You can download songs from this week on iTunes using the widget at right.

Life in Pieces: I was not expecting much from this show but it still somehow managed to slither under the low bar I had for it. It is trying way too hard to be Modern Family but fails massively because 1) four distinct family story lines is too many, 2) none of the characters are remotely likeable (there is huge problem when the ex fiance of the youngest brother is the best character), 3) sure Modern Family is rarely laugh out loud funny, but this was not even head laugh funny and downright disgusting in some of their "joke" (like any of the post-pregnancy stuff or the dad loosing his virginity), 4) Modern Family recruited Al Bundy and Carol Vessey, Life in Pieces has a bunch of actors who clearly have no idea how to act funny (seriously, did Colin Hanks not watch Busom Buddies as a child?), 5) and most importantly, there is no hot daughter.
You can download Life in Pieces on iTunes.

Castle: After watching The Walking Dead for so long, I have been mostly desensitized to television violence but holy frack the spider bag on the head scene freaked me out more than anything Hannibal ever did. I am shivering just thinking about it. But anyway. Holy Jackie Jorner Kersey sighting! Nice to see someone from The Neighbors can still find work. And I really liked her interactions wqith Alexis. Actually, I would like the show better if they shift away from NYPD and pull a Veronica Mars with Castle and his daughter working as private investigators.
You can download Castle.

Survivor: Second Chances: Twists galore! And I actually liked both of them. First they finally switched up the Hidden Immunity Idol which has been way too was to find going back about ten seasons now. This time around it is hidden at the reward challenge and I actually was beginning to think Kelley (not to be confused with Kelly; but who knew Kelley, with the extra E, was actually entertaining, I barely remember her from her season) was actually not going to go back for even even though everyone was focusing on the lock challenge. Though I do suspect the editors fudged that scene a little. I am too lazy to go back and watch but I am pretty sure the recycled her looking back multiple times making it seemed like she took longer to decide than she did.

The other big twist is that Probst went straight from Immunity Challenge to Tribal Council. This is something I thought they should have done for a very long time now especially in cases when the low person on the totem pole actually wins Individual Immunity. I am not sure how much effect this had on the voting as only two people got votes and I believe Varner even said it was likely everyone had already made up their mind. But in the end the right person went home because I am not sure I could watch any more of Vytas in his underwear. Seriously, how that not get blurred? I was actually thinking about switching over to my standard definition channel.

And though I think he made the right decision for my eye balls, I think Varner, who I assume was the swing vote along with Pei Gee, made the wrong decision. Instead of going with the hard workers, he sides with the strategists. The "Old Schooler" would have been easier to manipulate (and would be easy targets after the merge) where the New Schoolers will turn on him as soon as he is the only old guy left. Then you have the other tribe that is a bit more interesting. Jeremy is building his Alpha Male alliance but only has four people so far. Can he get two more? Keith may not be hard but who is number six. Or can Fishback, who got a really bad (but funny) edit in the premiere but his brains and get rid of the Alpha Males?
You can download Survivor: Second Chance on iTunes.

The Goldbergs: It is going to be a really rough season if we have to hear Adam's voice change the whole time. His squeaky voice in the first two seasons was annoying enough.
You can download The Goldbergs on iTunes.

Nashville: Yeah, it was obvious that the thing that went wrong in the season finale was not that Deacon died but it was his sister that was having the problems (I did like that they stalled the credits so the actor's name did not show up until after we learned he was still alive). Though I was a bit surprised that they did not kill of the sister. I really though there was going to be a code red moment when Scarlett started making out with the doctor right in front of her.
You can download Nashville on iTunes.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Around the Tubes: 9/25/15

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 American Crime Story, The Goldbergs, Breakthrough, Air Supply, The Cringe, and Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll.

- The trial of the century. As you’ve never see it before. American Crime Story: The People v. OJ Simpson starring John Travolta, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Sarah Paulson premieres February on FX.

- This week, it was announced that Hulu has acquired the exclusive subscription video on-demand rights to The Goldbergs. Through the new deal with Sony Pictures Television, Hulu will:
- Become the exclusive streaming home to all existing episodes of the series
- Be the only streaming service to offer current season episodes of The Goldbergs the day after they air on ABC
All episodes of the series are now available to stream for Hulu subscribers for $7.99 per month with limited commercials, and $11.99 per month with no commercials.

- In an unprecedented partnership, National Geographic Channel and GE present the new series Breakthrough, produced by Imagine Entertainment and Asylum Entertainment. Breakthrough kicks off on Sunday, Nov. 1, at 9:00. Executive produced by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Steven Michaels, Jonathan Koch, Mark Dowley and Kurt Sayenga, Breakthrough is a revolutionary new series about scientific explorers from leading universities and institutions and how their cutting-edge innovations and advancements will change our lives in the immediate future and beyond. The series intends to bring to life the stories, people and technology behind these breakthroughs, and show how they are changing our world. Each hourlong episode is directed by a Hollywood visionary — Angela Bassett, Peter Berg, Paul Giamatti, Akiva Goldsman, Ron Howard and Brett Ratner.

- To paraphrase the titles of Air Supply's ( latest singles, fans continue to want and adore them! The hitmaking duo of Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock is still going strong on a year-long tour celebrating their 40th Anniversary, but their 2015 is far more than an exercise in nostalgia. Building on their legacy with inspiring new chart success, their latest single "I Want You" hits #35 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart for the week ending September 26, 2015.

- Fresh off an enormously successful summer outing, New York City rockers The Cringe have announced they will rejoin Mötley Crüe on "The Final Tour" this fall, alongside very special guest Alice Cooper. Once again reprising their support slot, the band recently wrapped 25+ dates on "The Final Tour" earlier this summer and previously joined the tour during the fall/winter run in 2014. The Cringe will kick off the 11 date tour run in support of their new studio album Blind Spot to be released October 16 on Listen Records. Recently, the band premiered the electrifying debut single "Anything You Say" exclusively at and performed a stripped down live version of the track at Guitar World Acoustic Nation. Fans pre-ordering the new album at iTunes will receive an instant download of the song. For up-to-date information, please visit The Cringe online:

- ong live Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll! FX Networks has ordered a second season of the FX comedy Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll created by and starring Denis Leary, it was announced this week by Eric Schrier and Nick Grad, Presidents of Original Programming, FX Networks and FX Productions. The 10-episode second season of Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll will return in 2016 with stars Leary, Elizabeth Gillies, John Corbett, Elaine Hendrix, Robert Kelly and John Ales. In addition to creating Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll, Leary also serves as a writer, composer and a director, as well as an Executive Producer along with Jim Serpico. Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll is produced by FX Productions and Fox 21 Television Studios.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fall 2015 Music Preview

It is a sad, sad day here on the 9th Green. For years I have been ending my seasonal music preview list by saying, "this may be the quarter that Dr. Dre actually drops Detox." No Dre did not actually let us hear Detox but announced the album was actually dead and released a completely different album Compton. Hurmph. I started out mocking Chinese Democracy and then moved to Detox when Alx rose finally stopped tinkering on his album. For years I planned if Detox actually got released I would move on to D’Angelo's long simmering album, but he had to go and surprise and release his album last Christmas. So I am left with nothing to mock at the end of this column because nothing really sticks out as being long delayed, at least not with a title (wow, has it really been seven years since Chinese Democracy). But then again just because Dr. Dre says Detox is dead does not mean we will never get to hear those songs. Just last year Bob Dylan did release The Basement Tapes almost fifty years later so maybe Detox does get released eventually, it may just take another thirty-five years.

All year I have talked about how bleak the releases are and assumed everyone was holding the biggest releases until fall. Well it is fall, and wow, the albums with release dates are still kind of unimpressive. The only two album that I am actually anticipating to come out before Christmas drop this week. First up is Ryan Adams track for track remake of Taylor Swift's 1989 in the style of The Smiths which I am more excited for than I was Taylor's originals which came out yesterday and it is awesome. Also out this week but on the new traditional Friday is the sophomore album by Chvrches which of the three prereleased tracks sounds as good as their debut.

This is not to say there will not be any big albums out this fall. Kanye West, Adele, and Rihanna have been teasing fans all year while Coldplay and Ariana Grande have names to for their next albums but now release dates yet. I have been theorizing it for the last two years but I think it is official that the Beyonce approach of just airdropping your album instead of a three month launch is now the new normal which is probably better for the consumer because I contend few things live up to the hype so just give it to us as soon as you can, but unfortunately it will make my music previews as about as boring as below. To pre-order the album, click its name to be taken to Amazon; click on the artist's name to go to iTunes.

September 25
1989 - Ryan Adams
Every Open Eye - Chvrches
Dodge and Burn - The Dead Weather
Music Complete - New Order
Cass County - Don Henley
Servant of Love - Patty Griffin
Once Again It's Christmas - Kenny Rogers
Better Nature - Silversun Pickups
b'lieve i'm goin down... - Kurt Vile
Phantasmagoric - Grace and Tony

October 2
Show Me Your Fangs - Matt Nathanson
Unbreakable - Janet Jackson
See What You Started By Continuing - Collective Soul
All Across This Land - Blitzen Trapper
Zipper Down - Eagles of Death Metal
This Is War - Emily Kinney

October 9
Revival - Selena Gomez
Florasongs EP - The Decemberists
If I Should Go Before You - City and Colour
Live In No Particular Order: 2009 - 2014 - Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros

October 16
Fading Frontier - Deerhunter
Get Up - Get Up - Bryan Adams
Today Is Christmas - LeAnn Rimes

October 23
Storyteller - Carrie Underwood
Another Country - Rod Stewart
Liberman - Vanessa Carlton
That Would Be Me - Harry Connick, Jr.

October 30
Wiped Out! - The Neighbourhood
It's A Holiday Soul Party - Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings
So Familiar - Steve Martin and Edie Brickell
Def Leppard - Def Leppard

November 7
7 - Seal

November 13
Heart Blanche - CeeLo Green
First Comes The Night - Chris Isaak

The Last Zulu - Q-Tip
Swish - Kanye West
Moonlight - Ariana Grande
A Head Full of Dreams - Coldplay
Return of the Tender Love - Babyface
Better - Brian McKnight
The Band Perry
Hailee Steinfeld
Kings of Leon
Meat Loaf

And of course maybe this is the quarter when Dr. Dre finally releases Detox.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Previewing Blindspot

NBC like to takes other people's ideas and then beat them into the ground. Last decade after the success of Lost NBC started airing similar sci-fi shows like Surface and The Event (The Event was another Earth!!!!!!!!! which they did not bother to reveal until the end of the season which was probably why it was also the end of the series too). This decade the network has been trying to chase political thrillers in the mold of Homeland with shows like Crisis and American Odyssey. They actually found success when they took that Homeland format and made it into a procedural with The Blacklist. Since The Blacklist has been its lone scripted success in recent years it is no surprise NBC is trying the political thriller in a procedural again this season with the premiere of Blindspot which also features an FBI agent assigned to babysit an unconventional asset.

Of course the concept of Blindspot predates even The Blacklist because when that unconventional asset the FBI is working with is covered with tattoos it is hard to to think of Memento, the pre-Batman Christopher Nolan movie about a person who tattoos clues to his wife's murder because he cannot remember what happened as the same event left him without any short term memory. When I first saw the Blindspot trailer I thought brilliant, why hasn't anyone made a televised version of Memento before, it is a perfect format for the small screen using each episode to figure out what another tattoo means.

Really, the only way to make it more perfect is to flip the lead character's gender and cast Jaimie Alexander (Marvel's Lady Sif) as the tattooed amnesiac. But unlike Memento Jaimie's Jane Doe has no memory at all to who she is, she does retain basic human skills so she still knows how to walk, eat, and speak English or whatever language her former self knows (her knowledge of Chinese comes in handy in a scene that invokes another NBC show Chuck; and just like that titular character of that show, Jane Doe is surprised to learn she also knows kung-fu).

On Blindspot, the FBI brought in to babysit Jane Joe is Sullivan Stapleton (300: Rise of an Empire) who is stuck with her basically because his name is one of the tattoos that appears on her body. It is actually, as far as I can tell, the largest on on the canvas. Rounding out the team assigned to Jane Doe include Marianne Jean-Baptiiste (Robocop) as an assistant director of the FBI and Ashley Johnson (yes, that is Chrissy Seaver all grown up) as the head of the forensic science division tasked to figure out what all the tattoos mean. There are a couple more of team members but none of them made much of an impression in the first episode.

There in lies the biggest problem with the Blindspot premiere, I came away not particularly caring about anyone on the show. That kind of includes Jaimie Alexander who spends most of the episode playing a scared little girl. Obviously what she goes through is traumatic, but we do learn that Jane Doe used to be a Navy Seal so it would not be out of the question that she could quickly adapt to her new situations without moping around. It also does not help that multiple times in the first episode the FBI tells Jane Doe to stay out of harms way only for her to demand to go with them, which of course she ends up winning the argument.

Going even deeper into the cast, you can also see clear parallels to The Blacklist, the white bread FBI agent who has to do everything by the book, the stoic FBI chief, the kind of interesting but not utilized enough teckie. But the one thing Blindspot is severely missing is a Reddington type character to spice things up. Sure James Spader can sometime chew too much of the scenery but he makes sure his show is never boring. Sure Alexander can be that for her show but she needs to do much less moping and more beating dudes up. The best part of the premiere is when she realizes she can fight and just goes to town on a couple of bad guys.

Coming out of Upfronts, Blindspot was number one on my most anticipated list and though the premiere did not meat my hefty expectations, there was enough in the first episode to made me think that with some small tweaks (most importantly find some comic relief) that it can get there sometime before the Christmas break. There did do a good job setting up the overall mystery of just who is Jane Doe. There is a shadowy figure who pops up a couple times in the episode as well as a flashback the ends the episode that reveals a big chunk of the mystery so this will not be The Event when you have to wait until the end of the season for any clues to what The Event (two Earths!!!!!!!!!) is going to be. Of course I knew I was going to be watching every episode the moment the cast Lady Sif in a Memento ripoff.

Blindspot airs Mondays at 10:00 on NBC. You will be able to download Blindspot on iTunes.