Saturday, May 03, 2014

Best of the Week: 5/3/14

Quote of the Week: You have stiff competition but I believe you to be the most dishonest person I have worked with. (Jim Cutler, Mad Men)

Song of the Week: It Must Be Done – Pete Townshend and Nathan Barr (The Americans)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: Donald Sterling Straight up Racist that Sucker Is, Simple and Plain: It is a not very well kept secret that Donald Sterling is a horrible person and probably a racist. The guy has been in and out of the courtroom for years with whispers of horrible treatment of his Clippers team, which should thrive in the second biggest city in the country but has been in the playoffs less times in his tenure than fingers in my left hand.

So it did not come as a shock when a tape allegedly of the owner popped up on the internet when he chided his girlfriend for posting pictures of Magic Johnson on her Instragram page. Sure she could have slept with him, according to Sterling, just not broadcast it on the internet or bring black people to his games (even though he employs a majority of them on his team).

Of course outrage followed even though all the sportswriter and players probably already knew Sterling thought things like this. But then something surprising did happen, Sterling got banned from the NBA for life and will likely be forced to sell his team; so much for Tony Kornheiser calling commissioner soft on Pardon the Interruption every week.

Sure what Sterling said was horrible, but a lifetime ban seemed a little harsh. I would have preferred to let the market play out, let the sponsors drop the Clippers, let season ticket holders not renew their tickets, have free agents refuse to go there until the team was so devalued Sterling would be forced to sell that way. Now he gets to sell to a buyers’ market instead of trying to unload a devalued team. So Roger Sterling will likely profit handsomely from his racism (he bought the team in the millions and will likely sell it in the billions). But the morel of the story kiddies and old people alike: nothing is private anymore and you may want to act like someone is recording you because likely someone is.

Preview Picture of the Week:

“Right Place, Right Time” Melissa and Joey, Wednesday at 8:00 on ABC Family

Free Download of the Week: World Café – Noisetrade EP – Kaiser Chief (Noisetrade)

New Album Release of the Week: Sheezus - Lily Allen

New DVD Release of the Week: The Veronica Mars Movie

Video of the Week: We Came Together may have the best logline ever for a movie poster: “Ed Helms will star opposite of Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler! –” but I have to wonder if the rom-com parody can actually last an entire movie. I got sort of tired of it just watching the trailer.

Next Week Pick of the Week: NFL Draft, Thursday-Saturday on ESPN: When your team only has one playoff appearance in fifteen seasons the NFL Draft becomes your Super Bowl. Now the Browns are on their countless new regime since returning to the league and will likely draft a quarterback with one of their two first round pick (or maybe use them both to move up in the draft) to extend their lead of most starting quarterback in the last decade and a half (currently twenty, two more than the Dolphins; seventeen more than the Patriots). Only Tim Couch started all sixteen games in one season. So sorry to Johnny Football, Teddy Bridgewater, or whatever sap that the Browns end up taking. But when you battling with Brian Hoyer, Vince Young, and Tyler Thigpen, for the starting job, it should not be hard to become starter twenty-one.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Around the Tubes: 5/2/14

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 Penny Dreadful, The Hotwives of Orlando, Eric and Jessie: Game On, Home and Family, The Strain, Michael W. Smith, Masters of Sex, and a slew of Syfy news including, yes, a Sharknado 3.

- Showtime is offering viewers nationwide a chance to sample its highly-anticipated new drama Penny Dreadful across multiple platforms in advance of its series premiere in two weeks. The series premiere can be accessed now across multiple platforms including YouTube, on the Showtime website, via a number of television providers' free On Demand channels and websites, and on Showtime on Demand®. The premiere episode is also available for free via Showtime AnytimeE on any computer, iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phones and tablets, Kindle Fire™, Roku and Amazon Fire TV streaming players anywhere in the U.S., on Hulu, and on the Showtime Preview app on Smart TVs from Samsung, LG, Vizio, Panasonic and Sony. Additionally, as a special treat for its subscribers, Showtime will debut the series’ second episode on Showtime Anytime immediately following the series premiere on Sunday, May 11th at 10:00.

- The Hotwives of Orlando, a Hulu Original Series, will premiere on Tuesday, July 15. From Paramount Digital Entertainment, Hotwives is produced by Emmy© award-winning producer Jonathan Stern and Emmy© nominated producer Paul Scheer. Paramount Digital Entertainment is the studio behind the outrageous Emmy© nominated comedy "Burning Love." All episodes will be available on Hulu Plus on July 15; the first two episodes will be available on, with a new episode releasing each week after that. Season one is a laugh-out-loud parody of the phenomenon that is reality housewives shows. With an all-star cast that includes the Hotwives Casey Wilson as The Trophy Wife ("Happy Endings"), Angela Kinsey as The Religious Zealot ("The Office"), Kristen Schaal as The Drug Addled Former Child Star ("Flight of the Conchords"), Tymberlee Hill as The Entrepreneur ("Drunk History"), Danielle Schneider as The Bankrupt Overspender ("Upright Citizens Brigade") and Andrea Savage as The Cougar ("Step Brothers"), and Paul Scheer (“The League”) who plays the Enthusiastic TV producer Matty Green.

- The Season Finale of Eric & Jessie: Game On is here! With two weeks left to go in the pregnancy, Eric and Jessie start prepping for their move to NY and the baby surprises them with an early arrival. Watch as Vivian Rose Decker makes her debut this Sunday at 10/9c on E!.

- Hallmark Channel is proud to announce its original Daytime Emmy®-nominated show, Home & Family, has earned a third season renewal. The fun and informative two-hour lifestyle program, currently in its second season on the network, is co-hosted by Emmy® Award nominee Mark Steines and TV personality and bestselling culinary author and expert Cristina Ferrare. From its start in 2012, the show has been the ultimate destination for helping viewers live their best lives, showing audiences helpful “how-to” segments on everything from cooking tasty recipes to crafting the perfect DIY décor, finding the best bargains, discovering the newest at-home gadgets and learning weight-loss tips, all while incorporating top entertainment in the form of celebrity guest interviews and musical performances. Home & Family airs weekdays at 10am ET/PT, 9C.

- His army will rise this summer. The Strain. Only on FX.

- Charity Buzz, which offers one of a kind experiences with celebrities and other people of interest to benefit various charities, is offering a chance for one fan and a guest to be the winning bidder for a VIP Trip to Puerto Rico to meet Michael W. Smith and Natasha Owens; a genre innovator and a rising star on the Christian Pop landscape who are together once more for a string of dates which culminate in this special event to benefit the charity Stepping Stone Support, an organization helping men & women affected by cancer and infertility. The bidding is open now for this one of a kind VIP meet & greet with Grammy award winner Michael W. Smith & Christian Pop newcomer Natasha Owens at their May 24, 2014 Concert in Puerto Rico - bid here:

- Emmy-winning comedian and actress Sarah Silverman is joining the cast of season two of the acclaimed Showtime drama series Masters of Sex. Silverman will recur in the guest starring role of Helen. Production on season two is currently underway in Los Angeles, and will premiere on Sunday, July 13th at 10:00 on Showtime.

- Syfy released a slew of news this week, here are the highlights:

They announced that it will develop as longform programming Pax Romana, Jonathan Hickman’s graphic novel about a time traveling clash of ages and arms, and Ronin, based on Frank Miller’s (300) comic book series, about an avenging samurai.

Pax Romana is about a Special Forces team that travels back in time on the eve of World War III to “fix” the future by altering the past. Their destination: Ancient Rome. Roman legions battle modern day attack helicopters, tanks and soldiers, while thought-provoking themes are explored as the leaders of the expedition fight over their vision for civilization. Writers: Matthew Federman & Stephen Scaia (Jericho, Warehouse 13, Human Target). Co-executive producer: Jonathan Hickman. Executive producers: David Alpert of Circle of Confusion (The Walking Dead), Federman and Scaia. A production of Universal Cable Productions.

In Ronin, published by DC Entertainment, eight centuries after a Japanese Ronin samurai failed to protect his master from a demon, he awakens in a futuristic, nihilistic New York in the body of Billy, a medical experiment. Now Billy/Ronin is chasing the demon, which has reawakened. Both parties want control of a sword with magical properties and will stop at nothing to get it back. Studio: Warner Horizon.
Building on the momentum of Syfy’s growing slate of cutting edge, provocative original programming, Syfy this week announced it was developing adaptations of the graphic novels Clone, from Robert Kirkman and David Alpert (The Walking Dead) and Letter 44, from Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3), as well as the popular novels The Magicians, based on the book series by Lev Grossman.


Clone – Based on the best-selling graphic novel. When retired soldier Luke Taylor investigates a break-in at his house, he never expected who the burglar would be: A clone of himself. Drawn into a vast government conspiracy when his wife is kidnapped, Luke must use all his combat skills and network of military contacts to get to the bottom of the secret biotech program that is responsible and the hidden agenda that goes all the way to the top levels of power. Writer/Executive Producer: David Schulner (Dracula, Ironside). Executive Producers: Robert Kirkman of Skybound Entertainment (Creator, EP, Writer of The Walking Dead) and David Alpert of Circle of Confusion (The Walking Dead). Studio: Universal Television.

Letter 44 – Based on the graphic novels of the same name. It is tradition for the preceding President to leave a letter for the newly elected President on the desk of the Oval Office. In this letter, new President Stephen Blades learns this stunning secret: seven years earlier, NASA discovered an alien construction project in the asteroid belt. A crew of heroic astronauts was sent to investigate and they're nearing the conclusion of their epic journey.
Executive Producer/Writer/Director: Jonathan Mostow (Terminator 3). Executive Producers: Eric Gitter (Scott Pilgrim vs the World) and Peter Schwerin (The Flock, Scary Movie 2) from Closed on Mondays. Executive Producer: Renee Echevarria (4400, Terra Nova). Studio: A co-production of Universal Television and Universal Cable Productions.

Magicians – Based on the book series, The Magicians, by Lev Grossman, the one-hour drama follows a group of 20-somethings in New York who study magic and discover that the magical fantasy world they read about as children is real and poses a grave danger to Earth.

Syfy this week announced a new unscripted series, the comedic docuseries Town of the Living Dead (WT), which follows a small Alabama town trying to complete their own independent zombie movie – which has been six years in the making.

In Town of the Living Dead, premiering Tuesday, October 7 at 10PM, the colorful folks of Jasper, Alabama are determined, once and for all, to complete their zombie movie,Thr33 Days Dead… now six long years in the making. Based on a town urban legend, their film centers on a group of friends trying to survive a zombie apocalypse in rural Alabama. The series will follow the intrepid and motley crew of amateur filmmakers as they struggle against every obstacle imaginable to get to a final cut of their film…which could someday become a movie!

Continuing a major expansion of its scripted primetime programming schedule, Syfy this week announced a new 10-episode space adventure drama series, Killjoys, which will premiere in 2015.

From the producers of Orphan Black (Temple Street Productions) and the creator of Lost Girl (Michelle Lovretta), Killjoys follows a fun-loving, hard living trio of interplanetary bounty hunters sworn to remain impartial as they chase deadly warrants throughout the Quad, a distant system on the brink of a bloody, multiplanetary class war.

Syfy today announced that Tricia Helfer, who played the humanoid Cylon “Number Six” in the iconic award-winning series Battlestar Galactica, will star in the channel’s new original, six hour event series Ascension.

Helfer will play the beautiful, manipulative and dangerous “Viondra Denniger.” Viondra regards herself as a not-so-secret power broker aboard the Ascension. As the Captain’s wife, Viondra is afforded a position of power and privilege, which she leverages as the Ship’s Chief Steward.

In 1963, the U.S. government launched a covert space mission sending hundreds of men, women and children on a century-long voyage aboard the starship Ascension to populate a new world. Nearly 50 years into the journey, as they approach the point of no return, the mysterious murder of a young woman causes the ship’s population to question the true nature of their mission.

And yes, there will be a Sharknado 3. As a reminder, Sharknado 2: The Second One, starring Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Vivica A. Fox, Mark McGrath, Kari Wuhrer and Judah Friedlander, and directed by Anthony C. Ferrante, will premiere on Syfy Wednesday, July 30 at 9:00.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

My First Album Had No Famous Guest Appearances, the Outcome: I'm Crowned the Best Lyricist

Illmatic - Nas

We live in an era of overnight success. Since the nineties, record labels have put millions of dollars launching new artists making it hard not to get at least one minor hit with enough promotion. Back in the day, even some of the biggest stars took a while to hit; Bruce Springsteen did not have a top fifty album or top one hundred single until his third album. Billy Joel’s first album did not even crack the top one hundred. Even Prince needed five albums to hit the top ten on either Billboard chart.

Even though we live in an era of instant fame, most of those overnight successes are lucky to have more than two good songs on their debut albums. It is very rarely that any artist comes out the gates with a five mic album but Nas did that with Illmatic, this month’s induction into the Scooter Hall of Fame. In a time when rap was moving to the west coast, Nas reminded everyone where the genre was birthed bringing the focas back to the east coast with the help of Wu-Tang Clan and The Notorious B.I.G..

Ten tracks, not a weak or skipable one among them or even a misplaced lyric in the forty minutes. Illmatic is one of the rare albums you ripped to your computer as a whole in a time before iTunes. Nas had the laid back delivery of A Tribe Called Quest with the street knowledge of KRS-One. And the production was on point, from Gang Starr’s DJ Premiere on New York State of Mind (which has been gone on to be sampled more times to count) to the Human Nature sampling It Ain’t Hard to Tell.

After Illmatic, Nas spent the next twenty years chasing the next classic. He created some better songs like If I Ruled the World and came close with Stilmatic but never a finer album he created than Illmatic. But of course his debut is one of the best in history, not just rap but of all music.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I Wanna Be the Guy Who Breaks All the Rules

Supernova - Ray LaMontagne

Before Mumford and Sons ushered in the folk rock earlier this decade, Ray LaMontagne was having modest success with his straight from a log cabin in New Hampshire esthetic. And he managed to find that success with minimal promotion. It seemed like Ray would release an album, go on tour, perform on the occasional late night talk show, and then go back to the woodland of New Hampshire until the next album. The only other promotion I have ever seen him do was VH1 Storytellers during his last album cycle.

For his fourth album, it seems like Lamontagne is gunning for the mainstream as he just released his first music video and brought in a big name producer for Supernova in Dan Aurbach who won the Producer of the Year, Non-Classical Grammy last year (if 2013 was the year of Pharrell, hopefully 2014 turns into the year of Auebach between this, Lana Del Rey, and his own The Black Keys album). The first single and title track was his poppiest song to date. But the thing is, it is pop in seventy’s pop rock radio from the seventies kind of was. It sounds like it would fit in between Steve Miller Band and Bob Seger on seventies AM radio, not between Adele and The Lumineers today. Ojai follows that trend sounding like it was heavily influenced by Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Lodi.

As a whole Supernova is Ray’s weirdest album to date. Sure there are those seventies pop rock ditties, but he also goes psychedelic many other tracks. The album opens with Lavender which sounds like something out of Haight-Ashbury in the late sixties. And that hippie vive continues on songs like Airwaves, Pick Up Gun, and No Other Way with its lyrics about flowers will inspire images of the ultimate hippie ode: San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers In Your Hair) while Smashing sounds like less adventurous Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd.

But the best track on Supernova is probably the most contemporary. She’s the One is a pure modern day rock song which sounds like what it may sound like if Ray did front The Black Keys as a trio. The song has the same dirty blues the duo is known for and it goes really well with Ray’s gritty voice. The closest Lamontagne gets to his folk rock is Drive-In Movies which closes out the album, and just like the subject, it is hard to reminiscence over his old sound after sitting through a mostly psychedelic album.

Song to Download – She's the One

Supernova gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I Want My Music Television: 4/29/14

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.

Sheezus – Lily Allen

Lily Allen’s new song is cool in a M.I.A. kind of way with a freaky music video, but Lily, no one wants to hear about your period. No one.

Marilyn Monroe - Pharrell Williams

Oh Pharrell, the hat was a good way to grab attention at the Grammy’s, but after you sold it to Arby’s, that should have been it, going with different colors of the same hat is being to be a bad look. And what is with the random Kelly Osbourne sighting in the video?

First Things First – Neon Trees

I was thoroughly underwhelmed by the latest Neon Trees album as a whole. First Things First did not stand out when I listened to it in the context of the album, but now hearing it outside the context of the album, I like it much more than the other singles released from it. Plus the video does a really god job creating a connection with the band.

Hello Kitty - Avril Lavigne

Just last week I was mentioning that if something if someone claims something is not racist, I am inclined to go into it assuming that it is racist. Avril Lavigne set off an internet firestorm with accusations of racism with her new video so much that it was actually pulled for a short time. Stupidly someone put it back up, not because it is overtly racist (she is not doing anything that Gwen Stefani did a decade ago for a whole album cycle) but because the video, racist or not, and song may be the most embarrassing someone posted this year.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Previewing Fish Tank Kings: Season Two

In a bit of synergy, Caesar Millan will be appearing on the new season of Fish Tank Kings when he commissions Living Color to build something at his Dog Psychology Center. But Caesar does not want them to build a tank; he wants them to build a pond… in the desert. Yep, Caesar wants an aquatic oasis koi pond with no viable water source for miles. How the Kings find water dates back long before you would think technology would come up with a better technique.

Caesar does not show up until the May 12 episode but before then there are a couple more jobs that the Fish Tank Kings are tasked to do that they have never done before. Tonight’s premiere features a guy who wants the Kings to build the largest private aquarium they have ever done. Oh, and he wants it done on the second floor office space. And he wants sharks.

Also this season, fish expert Francis heads to the frigid waters off the coast of Vancouver for an octopus while the boys back home have to design an aquarium to make sure the octopus, an animal that likes to hide in cracks and crevices, can be seen at all times for the new Rosamond Gifford Zoo exhibit. Another client wants crystal instead of coral in his fish tank which causes some problems because the coral is usually where they hide the filtration system. The Kings also try to design a tank so elaborate it will trick the client into thinking the whole house was built around it.

Fish Tank Kings airs Mondays at 9:00 on Nat Geo Wild.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 4/27/14

Orphan Black: (Please not this is a review of last week's episode) I watched the first season over the course of about a week last summer and it is always a little weird when you switch from marathoning to weekly watching. I was ready to watch a new episode the next day but alas, that is not an option when you watch it like. I need my soccer mom fix. Much like the first season, Alison stole the premiere with the three most entertaining scenes: using her mace and rape whistle, her community theater production, and getting a piece for Sarah (and how she delivered it to her).
You can download Orphan Black on iTunes.

Once Upon a Time: So Cora orchestrated her daughter to be married to a dude she used to be engaged to? Eww. Maybe that séance should have taken place on Springer. And I am starting to think the Wicked Witch’s spell is going to succeed, just not the way she wants. I predicted that they will go back far enough to save Neil, but not far enough for the Wicked Witch to kill Snow White’s mother.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Once Upon a Time on iTunes.

Mad Men: Last week it seemed like Don was still on his indefinite hiatus but the partners make it seem that he was fired but still on the payroll. Are they keeping him around just to keep him from going anywhere else? And just when you thought Don’s life could not get any more depressing, he gets fully dressed at 8:00 just to meet with his secretary who he has spying for him.
You can download Mad Men on iTunes.

Crisis: Ever since it was hinted that the kidnappers had an overall noble endgame (show the CIA’s evil super-soldier program) I figured it was only a matter of time before they would team up with the FBI. I am guessing the ending is the start of that where they help each other out and slowly turn the CIA into the bad guys.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Crisis on iTunes.

The Voice: Yep, I am pretty much done with this season. Hopefully they find some actual interesting singers next season. But as the last three seasons have played out, I get the sence the show is not interested in those types of singers anymore.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu.

The Blacklist: After he promos, I was expecting a better fight between Mr. and Mrs. Keen than that. You could even see Tom check himself whe hitting Lizzie with the chair.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download The Blacklist on iTunes.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: When agent Ward turned heel, I had a sinking suspicion that he would eventually turn out to be a triple agent and he just stunned Agent Hand and all the others he “killed.” That I getting less likely after wiping the blood of Agent Koenig from his strangling wire. But why bring in Patton Oswaltt only to kill him a week later. Oh well, at least next week has Robin Scherbatsky!
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.

Survivor: Cagayan: After teasing it about a month ago, we finally learned what “special powers” the new Idol has and it is extremely stupid. Basically Tony can play the Idol even after the votes are read. Now we know Tony will not be voted off because he calls pull out his Idol even after the votes have been read ruining all suspense. At least with the regular Idol there is the suspense of will someone use it or not, if they give it away, will they give it to the right person, a lot of different scenarios. Now we know if Tony is targeted, he is safe no matter what. This is so stupid. They have rolled out plenty of stupid ideas on Survivor, but "Special Idol" may overtake Redemption Island as dumbest of all.
You can stream recent episodes on You can also download Survivor: Cagayan on iTunes.

The Americans: Yeah, communist going to church went about as well as I expected it to. But I did not think Philip actually went to the church to actually beat up the minister, I thought he was just going to steal the money back. But the minister calling him out for his anger issues actually worked.
You can download The Americans on iTunes.

Bad Teacher: Dick Casablancas, Antoine Meriwether, and Dr. Dre deserved better than this.
You can download Bad Teacher on iTunes.

The Challenge: Free Agents: I stopped watching The Real World circa Las Vegas, the first one, but I do listen to Grantland’s The Right Reason’s podcast so I had high hopes for “Hurricane” Nia. Unfortunately she was not even a high wind warning. Even during the After Show she seemed like the normal one next to Jasmine. This has to be the biggest bust since Jamarcus Russell. At least she gave us a good quote on her way out, “You don’t go for 85 minutes and not wimp out. That is over an hour and a half.”
You can download The Challenge: Free Agents on iTunes.

Hannibal: This is the best looking show on television, but that whole home invasion scene just came off as clunky, it just never felt very well paced. The season itself has seemed to hit a lull after Will was released from prison and now we wait until Jack confronts Hannibal from the season premiere flash forward.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Hannibal on iTunes.