Saturday, September 04, 2010

57 Channels and Only This Is On vol. CXLVI


Quote of the Week: I'm glad you are as confused as I am 'cause when I first heard it I thought it was a big number. You know after a jillian come pavilion. (Sean, Rescue Me)

Song of the Week: Whatever Hot Chip song they played on Rubicon, but I am just not gay enough to know the name of the song. You know is gay enough? Apparently Cale’s rent boy. Didn’t see that coming.

Big News of the Week: TV Fall Season Kicks Off: FX will be getting a jump of its network counterparts with the premieres of three show next week. Here is the schedule of what I will be watching this fall and the date of when they return:

Mondays
8:00 - Chuck (September 20)
8:00 – How I Met Your Mother (September 20)
9:00 – The Event (September 20)
10:00 – Castle (September 20)

Tuesdays
8:00 – No Ordinary Family (September 28)
10:00 – Sons of Anarchy (September 7)
10:00 – Parenthood (September 14)

Wednesdays
8:00 – Survivor: Nicaragua (September 15)
9:00 - Friday Night Lights (October 27)
9:00 – Modern Family (September 22)
10:00 – Terriers (September 8)
10:00 – The Challenge: Cut Throat (October 6)

Thursdays
8:00 – The Big Bang Theory (September 23)
8:00 – Community (September 23)
9:30 – Outsourced (September 23)
11:00 – I Love Money 4 (September 16)

Sundays
10:00 – The Walking Dead (October 31)


Leverage: Finally back to the overarching plotline of getting that dude who the Italian chick sprung him from jail for. I almost forgot about that whole storyline. And even more back story in the process when we learn that Sophie may actually be royalty. You can stream recent episodes on TNT.tv. You can also download Leverage on iTunes.

Rescue Me: Assuming that Damien really isn’t faking, is Tommy now hallucinating the living know? Did Damien die right there? But last week would have been the better end to the season. You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Rescue Me on iTunes. You can also check out my season review: He Wasn't Bulletproof and Neither Are Any of You.

Covert Affairs: My biggest complaint about the show is: are we really supposed to believe that Annie really fell that deeply in love after one meeting? And how exactly does the agency know about the tryst and even think anything of it? You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Covert Affairs on iTunes.

Persons Unknown: Weren’t we promised an actual ending? That seemed like a pretty big cliffhanger to me. Like what is with the cages the editor and the ambassador were put in? Just too many things that were not explained are not well enough explained for my liking. And the last episode seemed so rushed and seemed to be missing major scenes and just jumped to the end because they were out of time. At least the elevator took them up to a church where patchy explained that the town was a place they created so they could meet up in some other dimension. You can also download Persons Unknown on iTunes.

Free Download of the Week: NFL Follow Your Team (iTunes): The new NFL season kicks off this week and iTunes has released 2009 highlights fall all thirty two teams to remind you how your team did last season.

Deal of the Week: 100 Albums for $5 (Amazon MP3): This deal includes albums by John Mayer, Pink Floyd, Sara Barielles, and The Avett Brothers.



Video of the Week: In a story I broke last month, Friday Night Lights hits syndication on ABC Family this Tuesday and will air weeknights. So if you missed it the first time around, or just want to watch it again from the beginning, here is your chance. Below is a promo:

video


Next Week Pick of the Week: Terriers, Wednesday at 10:00 on FX: Forget AMC and all their pretentious shows, FX has the best dramas on basic cable. They landed three shows on my list of the Best Shows of 2009-10 and they may increase that total on next year’s list with their latest program Terriers. Look out for a full review later this week.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Around the Tubes vol. LXV

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 Undercovers, The Office, My Trip to Al-Qaeda, Parenthood, Two and a Half Men, Bones and United States of Tara.

- For those that love high concept / low reward television shows, J.J. Abrams has a new show coming to NBC this fall and you can watch the premiere in style by entering the Undercovers - Get a Room Private Screening contest. Click the contest link and fill out the form before September 6 and you could win receive an all-expense-paid trip for two including round-trip transportation, a romantic dinner for two at the Gordan Ramsay restaurant, a pampered hotel stay at the posh London hotel complete with spa services and other amenities, and a chance to get under the covers while watching Undercovers in a private in-room screening.

- For those that like entreting contest by do not have a significant other for a romantic dinner, try entering The Office contest where you can win a $3000 VIP trip to Universal Studios for two. Runners-up will win 1 of 4 collections of NBC TV DVD sets worth $250 each. Follow these four easy steps to enter:

1. Select a date to hold an Office-inspired party and invite as many friends and colleagues as you want to celebrate the release of The Office Season 6, on Blu-ray and DVD September 7!

2. Host your Office Season 6 marathon viewing party and take lots of pictures -- the more creative, fun and Office-like, the better!

3. Go to The Office Facebook page on or after Tuesday, September 7th to register and create your Ultimate Office Party gallery.

4. Spread the love. Get your friends to view your entry and wait for recognition, praise and winnings!

- Next Tuesday at 9:00 is the premiere of HBO’s latest documentary My Trip to Al-Qaeda by Academy Award winner Alex Gibney. Below is the trailer.



- Parenthood is getting a jump start to the fall season returning a week earlier than most shows Tuesday September 14 at 10:00. Here is a sneak peak.

Pac-Man?


- Have nothing better to do Labor Day? FX is running a twelve hour Two and a Half Men Marathon starting at noon. Also at noon is the start of the Bones Marathon over on TNT that with run eight hours and will be followed by new episode of The Closer and Rizzoli and Isles.

- Production will begin on the new season of The United States of Tara later this month and showing up for work will be Eddie Izzard who will be guest starring.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

I Want My Music Television vol. XCI


There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I thought I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.


Mine - Taylor Swift



What a striking difference between the last two lead videos from Taylor Swift. Love Story was all about princesses and fairytales, while Mine is strikingly real, warts and all. Though after Valentine’s Day, someone should have told Taylor that it is not a good idea for her to run on camera.


(Expletive Deleted) You – Cee-Lo



Apparently if there was one thing Cee-Lo learned from Kick-(Expletive Deleted) it is that ten year old’s swearing is thoroughly entertaining. There is word on the street that Green is releasing a version to the radio called Forget You. Song unheard, this is a bad idea, you never want to cram two syllables into where only one should be. Too bad he isn’t a Battlestar Gallactica fan because Frak You would have been better. But if I were making the decision I would have went the ironic root and change it to Thank You.


The Bike Song – Mark Ronson and Business Intl



Well Mark Ronson is continuing his theme of futuristic-retro Japanese talk show videos for better or worse.


The Catalyst – Linkin Park



I have no idea what is going on during this Linkin Park video and song, but I just watched it about ten times straight.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Hey Yo Kids: Remember When I Used to Be Dope?


Judgment Night Soundtrack

This may come to a surprise to some, but on the rare occasion I do completely forget about song. Such was the case while I was browsing Popeaters’s list of Hip Hop’s Most Unlikely Collaborations I spotted a lost gen I long forgot about, Fallin’ by De la Soul and Teenage Fanclub. And there is a reason I forgot about it, despite playing out the song in my youth, when I scanned my iTunes library it was nowhere to be found. Then my copy of the Judgment Night Soundtrack managed to not be in my primary or secondary CD collections but buried in a box that probably hasn’t been opened since I graduated college. Popping th album into my computer to be ripped, it is surprising how much the album still stands up with most of the songs finally making their way onto my iPod.

Since it slipped my mind, here is a little reminder far those that can’t remember themselves. Judgment Night is was a movie in released in 1993 featuring Emilio Estevez (in between Might Ducks movies), Cuba Gooding Jr. (fresh off A Few Good Men), Stephan Dorff (what happened to this guy, he used to be the next big thing but the most memorable thing he did last decade was appear in a Britney Spears video), and Jeremy Piven (a year away from PCU) as friends who get lost in gang territory and witness a murder, The big catch being it was an white Irish gang (juxtaposed against a black antagonist) led by Denis Leary (in his first big role that was launched by his MTV commercials) who want to kill off the loose ends. Needless to say, I doubt the movie has held up as good as the soundtrack.

With all the crappy rap-metal hybrids that popped up in the late nineties, it may be easy to forget how revolutionary the Judgment Night Soundtrack was. Rage Against the Machine was still a buzz band back in 1993 and other genre mashing was few and far in-between. But the album brought together some of the best rappers of the era and had their music backed by their hard rock counterpoints.

To get an idea of what the album was all about, there is nothing better than the opener which joined the forces of Helmet and House of Pain (Everlast appeared in the movie as a Leary lackey) where they trade verses between sung and rapped, managing to sound both like one of their own songs individually for Just Another Victim. Then Ice-T, who had just released his own rap-metal album with Body Count, joined up with thrash legends Slayer on Disorder. And in an only in the nineties would we have groups like Faith No More and the Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. (who really need to appear in a Where Are They Now segment) and here they are on the same track, Another Body Murdered. The Onyx and Biohazard like their collaboration on Judgment Night they even teamed later on a remix of Slam.

But it was all about hard rock. The stand out track on the album was between backpack rapper De la Soul and British alternative rockers Teenage Fanclub and even went the extra mile by sampling Tom Petty for Fallin’. And of course Cypress Hill could get mellow on a track by Sonic Hill for the not so subtle I Love You Mary Jane. Cypress Hill was the only group on the disk with two songs but their song with Pearl Jam was kind of a dud considering they were the two biggest acts in their genre at the time.

Weirdest combination had to go to booty king at the time Sir Mix-a-Lot getting down and dirty with fellow Seattlians Mudhoney Freak Momma. Another standout pairing was Missing Lionk by Dinosaur Jr. providing a funky bass line for De the Funky Homosapien who is no stranger to the rock world by working Gorillaz. Sure bands like Limp Bizkit came along and ruined the rap-rock genre, but bands and rappers on Judgment Night show that it can be done right and is why it is this month’s induction into the Scooter Hall of Fame.



Tuesday, August 31, 2010

It Just Takes Some Time, Litttle Girl You're in the Middle of the Ride


The Middle on DVD

Last fall, Modern Family got a lion share of the attention, and its was much deserved, but there a couple other new sitcoms that debuted that were worth some attention. Community on NBC was a weird zeitgeist of pop culture that weirder and better as the season progressed. Then there was the show that aired right before Modern Family, The Middle which put a modern spin on nineties sitcoms. Here is a synopsis:

Patricia Heaton stars as Frankie Heck in this warm and witty single-camera comedy about raising a family and lowering your expectations. Frankie Heck is a superhero. Well, no, not an actual superhero - but sometimes it seems to Frankie as though getting her kids out the door for school every morning is a superheroic act. Middle aged, middle class and living in the middle of the country, this harried wife and working mother of three uses her wry wit and sense of humor to try to get her family through each day intact.

Own it on DVD which is out today, The Middle may star Patricia Heaton (Everbody Loves Raymond), but the secret weapon on the show is her TV daughter Eden Sher (Weeds) who is an eager beaver who seems to fail at everything from show choir to a tennis ball girl and most hilariously trying to make the no-cut cross country team in the season finally. She even fails at boys too, even the ones she can get, including a witless recurring boyfriend who may have other interests even if he hasn’t realized it yet. All the while she manages to do all the failing with a smile on her face, a braces enhanced smile.

The other main breakout character comes in the form of Neil Flynn (Scrubs) as Heaton’s other half, a man of few words, but the few he does say tend to be brutally true. Even when he tries to more outgoing, his at being socially acceptable conversation ends humorously. Flynn’s dry wit is good for multiple laughs every episode.

The other guys, both named to make them cool, in the family tend to hit or miss and usually more of the latter. The problem with elder Axl (Charlie McDermott, Frozen River), is he is too authentic as the apathetic teen that thinks everything suck and only cares when it comes to sports and girls. He was at his best when he actually managed a girlfriend (Alexa Vega, Sleepover). Then there is the precocious Brick (Atticus Shaffer, Hancock), who for whatever reason routinely repeated everything, whispering to himself. This joke paid off when he entered the Spelling Bee, but otherwise got old quick.

There are a few worth wild bit characters that pop up during the show. Brian Doyle-Murray (Bill’s older brother, you will know him when you see him) is Heaton’s curmudgeoned boss at the car dealership she works at. The family’s aunt’s dog, which has been resigned to a cart and oxygen mask due to years of second hand smoke, always provides a good sight gag whenever he shows up. And what would 2010 be without an appearance from Betty White as a librarian who harasses Brick when he has failed to being back thirty books at the end of the school year.

The DVD spreads the twenty-four first season episodes across three disks, six of which come with deleted scenes, though most of them last less than thirty seconds. But it is nice that they the scenes easily accessed next to the individual episodes on the menu instead of one lump option. The set also comes with three special features, your run of the mill “making of” feature Raising a Sitcom Family that runs around twelve minutes. There is a short feature Sue’s Best Shots where the cast share (verbally) some of their worst picture day shots and there is also a short Gag Reel.

There is plenty of time to catch up on season one of The Middle before the second premieres Wednesday, September 22 at 8:00 on ABC. Check out the official site.



Full Disclosure Notice: This DVD was given to me on behalf of Warner Brothers Entertainment for the purpose of reviewing the television show.

Monday, August 30, 2010

He Wasn't Bulletproof and Neither Are Any of You


Rescue Me

If there is one theme that shows up more than 9/11 on Rescue Me, it is alcoholism. The disease cost Tommy Gavin his family, caused him to visualize everyone from his dead cousin, to people he was unable to save on the job, even Jesus, and his son, who of course was killed by a drunk driver. The show has kicked up the alcoholic theme for the final season (technically split into two seasons, the first ending tomorrow, so FX could air the final season to coincide with the tenth anniversary of 9/11).

It was thanks to the sauce that we started this season with Tommy heading to the hospital after his uncle shot him, blaming Tommy for the death that died while driving drunk herself off of some booze provided by Tommy. But staying clean and sober never goes well for Tommy and it doesn’t help that upon her twenty-first, his daughter takes up drinking and quickly competes for the title of drunkest Gavin. Dealing with your own addiction is tough, and having witness his daughter’s pushed him over the edge by baptizing her in a pool of liquor. But who am I to judge, it actually worked (for now).

Tommy was not the only one dealing with addiction this season and Lou’s penchant for eating too much has finally caught up to him leading to multiple heart attacks over the course of the season. His doctor tells him that his heart is only working at fifty percent and he only has two options, retire or die (why changing his diet isn’t mention, I do not know). Option B led us to the cliffhanger of the last episode before the season finale where his inability to breathe puts himself, and this time, his crew in danger as the episode goes to black with himself and Damien underneath debris.

One wonders why FX didn’t use that cliffhanger as the season finale; sure the final scene in tomorrow’s finale is shocking, but it doesn’t leaving you wondering what will happen next as much as the pervious episode. As the finale picks up two months after the fire, we do learn the fates of Damien and Lou fairly quickly, one before the title sequence and the other shortly after, one of which should led quite the storylines going into the finale season. We also get satisfying resolution to the fallen cancer patient storyline which results in a humorous discussion between Garrity and Mike on what a Pavilion is. And the guys stoop to an all-time low in picking up women (not to say I didn’t laugh especially when Needles joins in).

So that leads only nine episodes left for Rescue Me to air sometime next year. As long as the show didn’t happen to take place in a purgatory where all the firefighters meet up in after they die or that Tommy actually died on 9/11, it should be satisfying finish to a stellar series.

Rescue Me 6.x gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.




Sunday, August 29, 2010

Previewing Border Wars

Border Wars

It is pretty clear that something needs to be changed about our current immigration policy, but naturally groups are wide apart on what should be done. But you do not hear these arguments on Border Wars. The officers just do their jobs as currently assigned without any complaint.

Tonight you can see a sneak peek of the new season at 9:00 on National Geographic Channel. This time around the crew follows officers in Falfurrias, Texas which brings into play a more interesting border because instead of an invisible line across the land, in Falfurrias the countries are divided by the Rio Grande. And some of the people do not make it across the river like someone the officers discover some floating (naturally viewer discursion is advised to the graphic nature). Also tonight the officers raid a safe house, and discover a different type of immigrant, a snail in a produce shipment that has the ability to destroy thousands of acres of farmland if not found.

Border Wars settles into its usual timeslot Wednesday at 9:00 with a new episode featuring an eighteen wheeler with over 1,000 pounds of marijuiana, a four hour chase at night and some smugglers that drive their truck into the Rio Grande after being discovered by Border Officers. Here is a preview: