Saturday, January 08, 2011

Best of the Week - 1/8/11

Quote of the Week: You have learned a lot here at Cyprus-Rhoades, one would hope. Just one reminder: there are no refunds. I thought it was funny. (Dean Cameron, Greek)

Song of the Week: Shout (Pts. 1 & 2) – The Isley Brothers (Greek)

Big News of the Week: Winter Season Starts Already: I am really not ready for the winter season start up, but about half of the shows popped up this week. Here is a full rundown of what I intend to watch while avoid going outside in the cold and when they return / premiere.

8:00 – Chuck (1/17)
8:00 - Pretty Little Liars (1/3)
8:00 – How I Met You Mother (1/3)
9:00 – Greek (1/3)
9:00 – The Cape (1/9) / The Event (2/28)
10:00 – Castle (1/3)
10:00 – Parenthood (3/7)

8:00 – No Ordinary Family (1/4)
10.00 - Parenthood (1/4)
10:00 – Lights Out (1/11)

8:00 – Survivor (2/16)
9:00 – Modern Family (1/5)
9:30 – Mr. Sunshine (2/9)
10:00 – Justified (2/9)

8:00 - The Big Bang Theory (1/6)
8:00 – Community (1/20)
8:30 – Perfect Couples (1/20)
10:30 – Outsourced (1/20)

The Killing (4/3)

New Album Release of the Week: Showroom Of Compassion - Cake

New DVD Release of the Week: Greek: Chapter Five - The Complete Third Season

Free Download of the Week: Last week I posted the 100 Best Songs of 2010, and more than a few of them I got for free (legally, because stealing bad, mmmkay) and fourteen of them you can still download for the low, low price of nothing. Please note that some are remixes and live versions and not the original, but again, they are free and legal.

4. Power (Remix) – Kanye West (Kanye West)
15. In Sleep (Live) - Lissie (Spinner)
24. Release Me – The Like (RCRDLBL)
28. Got Nuthin’ – Spoon (Amazon MP3)
36. Dog Days Are Over (Breakage Remix) – Florence + the Machine (RCRDLBL)
42. Gimme Sympathy – Metric (Amazon MP3)
45. Home – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero (RCRDLBL)
59. All Summer – Kid Cudi, Best Coast and Vampire Weekend (Converse)
63. He’s Not a Boy – The Like (RCRDLBL)
66. Dear God 2.0 – The Roots featuring Jim James of Monsters of Folk (RCRDLBL)
68. Infinite Guitars – Sleigh Bells (RCRDLBL)
71. Stylo (Chiddy Bang Remix) – Gorillaz featuring Bobby Womack and Mos Def (RCRDLBL)
80. Written in Reverse – Spoon (Amazon MP3)
85. Working This Job – Drive By Truckers (Spinner)
90. People Say - Portugal the Man (Spinner)
98. Heaven and Earth – Blizten Trapper (Spinner)

Deal of the Week: Over 1,000 Albums for $5 Each: Amazon MP3 has an overabundance of cheap albums to download this month, many that were on my list of the 25 Best Albums of 2010 including Cee Lo Green, Lissie, Sara Bareilles, and Broken Bells.

Video of the Week: In a story I broke earlier this week, Greek season 3 hits shelves this week (see The Truth Is You Can’t Go Back so Enjoy it While You Can) including all twenty episode, here is a promo for the set.

Greek: Chapter 5, Season 3 – DVD Trailer

Next Week Pick of the Week: Lights Out, Tuesday at 10:00 on FX: I already declared the show one of the 11 Events That Will Make 2011 Awesome, check back later this week for a full review.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Around the Tubes - 1/7/11

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 Unlikely Animal Friends, Alaska State Troopers, Hoarders, Merlin, British TV on DVD, and The Cape.

- I am sure if you are on the internets, you have seen videos of strange animal pairings like a monkey riding a pig. If you cannot get enough of those, you will want to tune into the National Geographic Channel tonight at 9:00 for Unlikely Animal Friends 2 where you can see a sheep befriend an elephant. In other NGC premiere news, Alaska State Troopers returns Sunday for a new season at 9:00. Until then, here is the sheep and elephant.

A Match Made in Africa

- As new season begins, others are ending like the season finale of Hoarders this Monday at 10:00 on A&E. The episode features Glen who “hoarding” has pushed him out of his house and into his shed. The stuff that has overrun his house: 2500 rats. Animals are also part of the second half of the finale; Lisa has taken in thirty cats that may get her evicted.

- Next Wednesday is the return of Merlin for its third season on Syfy. Here is a sneak peak:

Merlin - "The Tears of the Uther Pendragon Part 1"

- Fans of British television should be content that twenty show will be released her stateside over the next two months including “Garrow’s Law, a riveting new courtroom period drama seen on BBC; Single-Handed, following a lone cop fighting crime and corruption in rural Ireland; New Tricks, Season 3, the smash hit UK crime series; Murphy’s Law, BBC’s undercover cop series starring James Nesbitt (Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit); Murder Investigation Team, the realistic procedural crime drama in the vein of CSI; Napoleon & Love, starring Ian Holm (The Lord of the Rings); Fresh Fields starring Julia McKenzie (Marple) and Anton Rodgers; Man in a Suitcase, a stylish, action-packed 1960s spy series; Pie in the Sky starring Richard Griffiths (Harry Potter); Dirty Tricks starring Martin Clunes; The Guilty starring Michael Kitchen (Foyle’s War); Discovering Hamlet (Athena) featuring Kenneth Branagh and Derek Jacobi in a behind-the-scenes look at Hamlet, narrated by Patrick Stewart; Midsomer Murders Set 17, four new episodes available to U.S. audiences for the first time of Acorn’s top-selling series; Blue Murder: The Complete Collection, called “The most fascinating British female cop since Jane Tennison” (San Francisco Chronicle); as well as more from Bill Moyers with In Search of the Constitution and World of Ideas-Writers."

- The Cape premieres Sunday before settling in at its regular timeslot Monday, here are some behind the scenes interviews with stars David Lyons and Summer Glau:

Behind the Cape

Thursday, January 06, 2011

11 Events That Will Make 2011 Awesome

Listening to DJ Earworm’s United State of Pop 2010 (Can’t Stop the Pop) I came to the realization that last year kind of sucked. But fret not, pop culture is looking up for 2011 because we need to party it up before the world ends next year (or so the Mayans and John Cusack would have us to believe). Here are eleven events to look forward to next year.

11. Detox – Dr. Dre: Sure we have been waiting for Detox to be released for most of the last decade, but a single, Kush, and accompanying video was released late last year singling that me may actually get the whole thing sometime in the next twelve months and as soon as February. But much like Chinese Democracy, I’ll believe it when I see it in iTunes. I’d suggest Dr. Pepper speed up the process by giving everyone a free can if Detox drops this year, but I still haven’t received my free promised when Axl Rose deliver his album on time (yes I am still bitter).

10. Lights Out: FX debuted the two best new shows of 2010 (Justified and Terriers) so hopes are high that their boxing drama will carry on that tradition. Lights Out premieres next Tuesday at 10:00.

9. The Avengers: No, not the movie that features all of the superheroes, that won’t be released until next year, but two members will get their own vehicles this year. Thor will be released in May while Captain America: The First Avenger is set to hit theaters in July. Now I am more of a DC guy, but I was never really was a fan of Green Lantern or of Ryan Reynolds for that matter and the trailer really didn’t get me excited. While the Thor trailer did pique my interest and I have a curiosity of how Captain America can translate to children of the 21st century because the goody two shoes acts didn’t work very well for the Superman reboot.

8. Watch the Throne – Kanye West and Jay-Z: If a drunken Kanye is to be believed, we can expect this collaboration next week, but I have a feeling we may have to wait a bit longer. Maybe next week we will just get another sneak peak (possibly a G.O.O.D. Friday track) to add to the already leaked, La Roux infused That’s My (Expletive Deleted).

7. Your Highness: Can the guys that made action movies hilarious with Pineapple Express do the same for a historical movie? The trailer looks like that will be a resounding yes. And Danny McBride, James Franco and director David Gordon Green will be joined by Natalie Portman in her first comedic role since, um, does the Walmart baby movie count? Your Highness arrives in theaters April 8.

6. 2012 Elections: Sure we will have to wait until November of next year to learn the results, but the primary campaigning will start any day night. And we may get the odd situation where the Tea Party and liberals will be rooting for the same candidate: Sarah Palin. She and none of the other Republican front runners have officially thrown their hats into the ring but also-rans Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and Ron Paul are likely to take on popular governors Haley Barbour (Mississippi), Mitch Daniels (Indiana), and Tim Pawlenty (of Minnesota who famously shaved off his mullet only not to get picked by McCain as his running mate). Oh and Donald Trump wants to run. Also registered Democrat and former the Rent Is Too Damn High Party candidate Jimmy McMillian has announced he will be seeking the Republican nomination. More interesting will be if any Democrat challenges Barack Obama. As much as the far right likes to label him a socialist, he has governed very far to the right than the liberals that elected him over Hilary Clinton had hoped for: he continued Bush’s foreign policy, and arguably has been more aggressive. And the much maligned health care reform looks like it was written more by insurance companies than a Kennedy, and looks a lot like the reforms that Romney enacted in Massachusetts and Bob Dole proposed in the nineties. No matter who runs, here’s hoping for a full stale of YouTube debates this year.

5. Falling Skies: Forget that his other sci-fi show hitting this year, Terra Nova that will be either in Fox’s death slot and / or canceled by 2012, the Steven Spielberg show to keep your eye out for this year is TNT’s Falling Skies. Sure Noah Wiley may make for the most unrealistic action hero since, I guess Adrian Brody in Predators wasn’t that long ago, but the promo makes the show look epic (even if it blew is load too early by letting us getting a good look at the invading aliens). Falling Skies is set to debut in June.

4. Beastie Boys: Hot Sauce Committee pt. 1 was supposed to drop in 2009 but was delayed to Adam Yauch’s battle with cancer. MCA is doing better now and not only will we likely see part 1 this year; part 2 is actually scheduled to be released sometime this spring.

3. U2: Two Beastie Boys albums in one year don’t wet your pallet enough. How about the possibly of three U2 albums this year? First there is Songs of Ascent featuring songs from the No Line on the Horizon which was supposed to be released back in 2009 but keeps being pushed back. The band is also working with Danger Mouse for new songs which should be awesome and is slated to be out the first part of this year. They are also working on a dance album similar to the u2 Remixes of the 90’s which may also see the light of day this year.

2. Sucker Punch: How can Zach Snyder possibly outdo the testosterone awesomeness of 300 and Watchmen? Continue the comic book look to his films but switch out buff dudes for hot chicks. Snyder describes Sucker Punch as “Alice in Wonderland with machine guns.” I can’t wait. You can expect the movie on March 25.

1. Friday Night Lights: The best show returns to terrestrial television sometime this summer (hopefully sooner).

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Previewing Are We There Yet? 2.x

The cast of Are We There Yet?

For those that are wondering where did all the situation comedies you grew up go? Well they have gone to TBS. The one they isn’t brought to you by Tyler Perry, Are We There Yet? returns tonight for a second season with back to back episodes starting at 10:00 (and will probably be a better lead in for Conan than The Jay Leno Hour was, at least he won’t have to compete with them for guests).

Unlike the movie, the “There” in the title is metaphorical and the Kingston—Persons clan is still trying to get there. They may get closer with Nick’s new job as a sports reporter, but thoughts of interviewing Pete Carroll are quickly dashed when he gets his first assignment. And a wretch gets thrown in when Charlie Murphy (Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories) returns as Suzanne’s ex-husband. Also returning tonight is Ice Cube as her black ops brother who needs help throwing maybe the funniest bachelor party ever.

In the second episode tonight, the kids find Nick’s old box of VHS tapes and amazed to learn they actually let black people on network television in the eighties. The final scene includes the funniest scene you will see all week. Also showing up later this season is Sandy “Pepa” Denton, Wayne Brady, Toccara Jones, Michael Strahan, Lil JJ, and David Rasche who will know better as Sledgehammer! (And if you have never seen Sledgehammer! we cannot be friends).

Are We There Yet? airs Wednesdays at 10:00 and 10:30 on TBS.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

You're Living in a Cartoon World

Some might wonder what purpose does The Ricky Gervais Show on television serve. Well first it is for those fans of Gervais that have yet discovered the wonders of the internet or just think you must have an iPod to listen to a podcast. Then there are people like me that listen to their podcasts while exercising and looks like a fool enough doing that, adding in laughing out loud randomly would actually make me look worse.

For those unaware of the podcast or the subsequent HBO animated version, Ricky Gervais (who also serves as his own person laugh track )and his The Office and Extras collaborator Stephen Merchant basically just make fun of radio producer Karl Pilkington, his absurdly bizarre theories and perfectly round head. This includes regular features where Merchant reads straight from Karl’s diary and Monkey News where Karl retells a story about monkeys doing amazing (and likely made up like being a winning horse jokey) things that then Ricky taunts Karl for believing.

If you listened to the podcast, the animated series doesn’t add much as it just takes the podcast and put it to quite literal animation with Karl looking like an adult Charlie Brown, Ricky looks like a modern day Fred Flintstone (both of which get mention, the latter mostly because Karl starts to believe The Flintstones was based on historical fact). But it is a find for anyone who missed the podcast or is just a Gervais fanatic. The DVD features all thirteen HBO episodes across two DVD. There isn’t much in the way of special features, there is a bonus Gala animation and you can view one of the episode storyboard.

The second season of The Ricky Gervais Show premieres January 14 at 9:00 on HBO. Below is a synopsis of The Ricky Gervais Show The Complete First Season which you can own it on DVD starting today (1/4):

From the creators of the smash-hit series The Office and Extras and based on the original record-breaking podcasts, comes the new animated comedy series, The Ricky Gervais Show. The series is an animated version of the original podcasts that earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most downloads. It is voiced by Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, and colleague and friend Karl Pilkington whose offbeat musings inspire many of the storylines which include the merits of 20th century inventions; Karl’s suggestion for population control; how philosophy has evolved through the ages and not forgetting Karl’s perfectly round head!

Full Disclosure Notice: This DVD was given to me on behalf of Warner Bros. for the purpose of reviewing the season.

Monday, January 03, 2011

The Truth Is You Can't Go Back so Enjoy it While You Can

Tonight sees the return of Greek for its fourth and final season on ABC Family. For those that are behind or just want to relieve it, Greek Chapter Five (which is the complete third season) is being released next Tuesday for your viewing pleasure. Chapter Four left off with the epic End of the World party which Rusty blew off his studies to attend, Casey poured her heart out to Cappie and even Dale attended.

I will not go into detail reviewing the individual episodes because I have already done so when the they originally aired (click the Greek Tag to get my thoughts) but season three did features some of the shows finest episodes including the Gotcha game (which aired ten months before the other show of higher learning Community’s paintball episode), Song-Fest and its fiery ending, and Father’s Day featuring Dwayne Wayne, Dr. Harold Abbott, Dr. Michael Mancini, and it took me a while to figure out who Papa Cartwright was until I realized he has since gone on to be Playstation 3 spokesmen.

This season even got some fresh blood, most notable Katherine, the Pan Hellenic president who was a thorn in Casey’s side turned confidant. Though it is weird rewatching the season now knowing that the actress playing the uppity task master is actually the accordion player for the hippie enclave Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zero. But still doesn’t take away from her great one liners and her being shot with Cupid’s arrow (quite literally) in the Valentine’s Day episode). This was also a breakout season for Laura be it her expletive rants against her Pan Hellenic partners, commandeering the karaoke machine during sober weekend, or her secret torrid love affair (which hopefully get reignited next season). This season also featured cameos from Olivia Munn and an absurdly hot townie and Lea Thomson as Cappie’s mom.

The DVD itself features all twenty episodes from the third season with three of them getting the audio commentary treatment. Season premiere The Day After features executive producers Shawn Piller and Lloyd Segan. The Half Naked Gun gets chatted about by series creator Patrick Shawn Smith, Dilshad Vadsaria (Rebecca), Scott Michael Foster (Cappie), and Johanna Braddy (Jordan). While the season finale All Children… Grow Up is discussed by Smith, Foster, Amber Stevens (Ashleigh), and Aynsley Bubbico (Laura, who oddly enough doesn’t even appear in the episode).

Other extra includes a Gotcha featurette where the cast play their own game on the set, an interview with Nora Kirkpatrick (Katherine), a Hip Hop Music Video (so odd that it may actually be worth the price of admission), and two separate gag reels where you can see just how bad a putter Jake McDorman is.

Greek airs Mondays at 9:00 on ABC Family.

Full Disclosure Notice: This DVD was given to me on behalf of Shout Factory for the purpose of reviewing the season.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

You're in Everyone I See so Tell Me Do You See Me?

The Spirit Room - Michelle Branch

I am not much into making niche lists, but if I were to make a list of the best pop albums of last decade, The Spirit Room by Michelle Branch would have topped that list. Not since Hootie and the Blowfish’s Cracked Rear View was there an album full of radio ready gems from start to finish. But I didn’t make such a list, so instead it will have to settle for number five on my list of The 100 Greatest Albums of the 00’s and this month’s induction into the Scooter Hall of Fame.

Even though every track on The Spirit Room was pop goodness, Everywhere still stood out as the best the album had to offer. With an acoustic intro, crunchy guitars and pseudo religious undertones, the song had a chorus that just screamed to be screamed along with whenever the song came on the radio (possibly with the windows up if you were a dude). Another standout was the token power balled Goodbye to You which was great by itself, but will forever be linked to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer scene Branch cameod in for me.

Though the same age as Taylor Swift when she recorded her first album, Michelle doesn’t suffer from the high school sophomore poetry class lyrics that stricken Taylor’s first (and second) album. Sure songs like You Get Me (which was the theme to the underappreciated Sorority Life) bordered on girly cheesy with lines like “You’ve seen my secret garden where all of my flowers grow,” but most songs like Everywhere were wise beyond the seventeen years she had lived up to that point. Like Something to Sleep To, is a billowing song about longing that would have sounded less moving in the hand of others her age.

With most of The Sprit Room of the purely pop persuasion, it does end on a different not with Drop in the Ocean which sounded more like something that would be championed on an indie blog these days than a pop album in the early 00’s. At the time I was hoping that would be something we would hear more from Branch, but after one more album, she went country in the middle of the decade. Here’s hoping she finds her way back to her roots sometime this decade.