Saturday, February 21, 2015

Around the Tubes: 2/21/15

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 The Great British Baking Show, Killing Jesus, Simple Minds, Barely Famous, Killer IQ: Lion vs. Hyena, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Adam Ruins Everything, Sharknado 3, Walk of Shame Shuttle, Hot GRITS, and Backstreet Boys: Show ’Em What You’re Made Of.

- Viewers will feel the palpable tension as the four bakers enter the semi-finals in the critical hit series The Great British Baking Show on PBS. Last week, contestant Richard was named “Star Baker” for the record-breaking fourth time, while 17-year-old Martha was sent home. In this week’s episode “Patisserie,” the bakers showcase their creative design and time management skills as never before. Episode nine airs on PBS Sunday, February 25 at 8:00, before Downton Abbey. (Show times may vary, please check local listings in your market). First, the semi-finalists are challenged with a Signature baklava. Next is a most demanding Technical task — making the tricky German schichttorte, cooked in stages under a grill to create 20 layers. Judges Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry check by counting the individual layers! The Showstopper raises the bar even higher: the final four work non-stop to create two elegant entremets.

- It’s a story nearly the whole world knows, with more than 2.2 billion people around the globe following the teachings and principles of Jesus of Nazareth. But the intimate historical details of his life and the political collusions that led to his brutal demise bring intriguing context to the familiar story. This spring, National Geographic Channel’s Killing Jesus, produced by Scott Free Productions and based on the New York Times best-selling book by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, dives deep inside the historical story of how Jesus’ message and preachings led to his persecution and execution by a group of conspirators who saw him as a threat to their power.
Killing Jesus, a three-hour television event, will premiere on Palm Sunday, March 29, at 8:00 on National Geographic Channel.

- Following the recent release of Big Music Universal Music Enterprises will release a four-disc digital box set of Simple Minds’ Sparkle in the Rain on March 31st. It will be the first time the entire back catalog of this era has been collected together. Originally released in February 1984, SSparkle in the Rain (title taken from a line in ‘Book Of Brilliant Things’) was Simple Minds’ sixth studio album and, following 1982’s crossover album New Gold Dream, the one to cement their commercial success.

- VH1’s series Barely Famous features sisters Erin and Sara Foster (multi-hyphenate producers, actresses and writers and daughters of Grammy Award-winning producer David Foster) offering a tongue-in-cheek perspective on reality TV and life in the Hollywood fast lane. In Barely Famous, Erin and Sara portray sisters who navigate the treacherous LA waters of career and dating, all while trying to maintain their picture perfect image. The series highlights the most obvious and outlandish conventions of reality TV by centering around two sisters who say they would never do a reality show, but are being filmed by a camera crew. The sisters are followed through their awkward celebrity encounters and efforts to book their next big gig and when things go horribly wrong - as they tend to do – the ladies prove that living the Hollywood lifestyle isn't easy, even if you're born into it. Take a peek at the Supertrailer here:

- “Lion whisperer” Kevin Richardson and some of the world’s leading wildlife biologists set up a series of remarkable experiments designed to unravel the mysteries of two apex predators and arch rivals in a new two-part series. Killer IQ: Lion vs. Hyena premieres March 4th and March 11th at 8:00 on Smithsonian Channel. Nicknamed the ‘lion whisperer’ by his global fans, Richardson has forged an incredibly close bond with these formidable carnivores – interacting with them as one of the group.

- Hulu has acquired the exclusive subscription video on demand (SVOD) rights to all previous seasons of CBS’s award-winning, critically acclaimed crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, it was announced today by Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins, and Scott Koondel, Chief Corporate Content Licensing Officer for CBS Corporation. All episodes will be available for streaming on Hulu with a Plus subscription beginning early April.

- truTV has ordered a pilot for Adam Ruins Everything (working title), a half-hour investigative comedy starring comedian Adam Conover, from Los Angeles-based production company Big Breakfast. In Adam Ruins Everything, Conover explores topics and ideas many people take for granted and dispels widespread misconceptions through a combination of comedy, history, and science. A perfect blend of comedy and enlightenment, Adam Ruins Everything is inviting, fast-paced and, above all, smart. Adam is like that friend who knows a little bit too much about everything and is going to tell you about it whether you like it or not. By employing sharp humor, mock experiments and on-the-spot comedy reporting, Adam Ruins Everything isn't just fun to watch, but addictively informative—it's everything you didn't want to need to know.

- Now Florida will know what it feels like to be hit by a Sharknado! The eagerly anticipated Syfy and The Asylum production Sharknado 3 will shoot key scenes at Universal Orlando Resort, it was announced today. Featuring stars Ian Ziering, Tara Reid and Cassie Scerbo, Sharknado 3 will premiere on Syfy in July, causing mass destruction in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., before roaring down the Eastern Seaboard and into Florida. Ziering and Reid will reprise their roles as Fin and April, respectively, while Cassie Scerbo will play Nova, her character from the original 2013 Sharknado movie.

- Rise and shine! Spring is coming and VH1 brings you a dose of raucous humor and supersize personalities to shake off those winter blues. It all starts as the network takes hangover humor on the road with Walk of Shame Shuttle, premiering Wednesday, March 18th at 9:00. In this all-new series, VH1 takes an uninhibited ride with hard-partying merrymakers rehashing the previous night’s escapades in the harsh daylight of the following morning. The following week, on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 8:00, tune in for the premiere of Hot GRITS a revealing look at the lives of seven girls looking to shake things up south of the Mason Dixon line.

- VH1 will commemorate the best-selling boy band of all time’s 20th anniversary with the VH1 Rock Doc Backstreet Boys: Show ’Em What You’re Made Of. The documentary will make its world television premiere on Friday, April 3rd at 9:00. The film was directed by Stephen Kijak (Stones in Exile, Scott Walker: 30 Century Man) and stars original group members Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell, AJ McLean and Kevin Richardson, all of whom were producers on the film along with Mia Bays.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Previewing Cesar Millan: Viva Las Vegas! and Cesar 911

Cesar Millan: Viva Las Vegas!

For about a decade, Cesar Millan has been coming into our homes to train our dogs. The reason he has stuck around so long on television is that not only is he a dog trainer, he is also a showman. So with that knowledge it should not be all that surprising to learn he now has his own stage show which he recently brought to the place all showmen dream to headline: Las Vegas. Of course he brought some cameras along for his new two hour special airing tonight Cesar Millan: Viva Las Vegas!

Sure he rehabilitates some dog in his show but it is really more of a comedy show with Cesar stalking around the stage like he is Chris Rock, but instead of jokes about race, these jokes are family, and dog friendly. The stop at the Palms Casino Resort was actually the only American stop on his world tour.

Next week Cesar leaves the stage behind and returns to his day job on Cesar 911 where family members, neighbors, and friends call on the dog whisperer to help their loved ones and their best friend. In the season premiere Cesar receives a call from someone who was bit by a neighborhood Great Dane and an expecting mother who fears her kid will be bitten by her sister’s dog because of the number of times the Maltese mix has bitten her.

Later this season, Cesar is called on to help someone who was banned from the weekly family barbecue three years ago because of his German Shepard, a duo that has already been kick out of one apartment complex because of their unruly dogs and is close to getting kicked out of their current one, an American bulldog that is driving his owners towards a divorce after he bit the family’s toddler.

Cesar Millan: Viva Las Vegas (watch a preview) premieres tonight at 9:00 on Nat Geo Wild. Cesar 911 (watch a preview) airs Fridays at 9:00 on Nat Geo Wild starting next week.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Previewing Vikings: Season Three

Vikings season three

Conventional wisdom says that the cable model of only ten to fourteen episodes per season is better because it is easier to write that many good episodes then twenty-two in one year. That is clearly true but the one downfall is that instead of a three month break, you have to wait nine to ten months in between seasons. So you could have gotten impregnated of the night of the second season finale of Vikings and delivered your kids with time to spare before the third season started.

It seems that in between season, Ragnor has done some procreating of himself, though I am not entirely sure because I do not remember how big his brood was when the last season ended, it could very well be the same. But as the season starts it seems like all the men are having some lady problems as they wait to return to Essex to do some farming. One is going through a seven year itch, another has too many baby momma, another does not want to be tied down, while another in the clan who does want to be tied down but want to do so with someone who only wants to fight.

But do not worry, once Ragnor and his crew make it back to Wessex, they will not just be sitting around and farming their new land. If you may remember, there was a hot brunette last season who uncle and brother took the land that she thinks is rightfully hers and manages Ragnor to help her get it back. And o course there are plenty of people who will conspire against him that will Ragnor from his field and on the battlefield all season. And with the boys away, the girls play with a new mysterious man who turns out to be more than he seems.

Vikings airs Thursdays at 10:00 on History.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I Want My Movie Trailers

Pitch Perfect - May 15

The first domestic trailer did very good job to get excited for the sequel; the group doing the Cups song from the original, Anna Kendrick making fart noises. The Super Bowl spot gave up an a capella version of Before He Cheats and the Green Bay Packers covering Bootylicious. The latest trailer brings the funny (...because of World War II... boom). We got some new musical performances: Wrecking Ball.. yawn. But the Germans pick things up with an eerie snippet of Muse and a funny take on Bell Biv DeVoe. Then something that is giving me pause about the second movie happened: Rebel Wilson giving her take on the A Tribe Called Quest / Leaders of the New School classic collaboration. Hopefully that turns out better than the trailer would have me believe. I would be much more confident if Anna Kendrick had taken lead on that one after she crushed No Diggity in the first film. Maybe they are saving her for the epic Busta Rhymes part which is so great you have to spend money to see it, they just will not give away something that good during a free trailer.

Aloha - May 29

News broke last year that Cameron Crowe was filming a new movie in Hawaii with Emma Stone, Bill Murray, Rachel McAdams, and Danny McBride. Just the casting and with Crowe writing and directing I was almost ready to call it the greatest movie in the history of cinema. I probably would have if they cast Ryan Gosling instead of Bradly Cooper. Last week we finally a title (Aloha) and a trailer. It was not as great as I was hoping (though I cannot confirm nor deny I have already watched it over twenty-five) most it falling on me being disappointed that it stars Cooper instead of Gosling and Stone as an Air Force liaison (with that said if she were cast in a female reboot of Top Gun, I would start camping out at my local multiplex tomorrow). But of course there are some good times in the trailer: "You're gonna wear this like Flavor Flav wears a clock," the dude from The Office saying "a lot," the best Cold War Kids song in their catalogue, the scene with Emma covering her face with her hands (if I was a fourteen year old girl with a Tumblr I would gif the crap out of that, granted if I were a fourteen year old girl, I would probably be giffing Cooper rolling his eyes at Emma playing guitar instead; wait Emma Stone plays guitar in this movie? Why is this not out yet?); and most importantly the triumphant return of Rachael McAdams who has not been in a watchable movie since maybe Morning Glory five years ago.

Trainwreck - July 17

After popularizing the beta male bro comedy genre ten years ago, Judd Apatow seems to be trying to get the female version of the genre off the ground. He produced Bridesmaid and now the first film he has ever directed but not write looks to continue that beta female route with Trainwreck. The movie was instead written by star Amy Schumer. I am a little iffy about the trailer because I am one of the few Clevelanders still hates LeBron James. But hey, there is Brie Larson (if Amy is Seth Rogan, does that make Briw Paul Rudd?) And it seems clear LeBron is playing himself, does that mean John Cena does too? Either way I do not think I could lookm at him the same way ever again.

Hot Pursuit - May 8

When I heard Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergarra were in a trailer together for a female buddy comedy I though it was a fake one for Funny or Die. After seeing it and learning it is a real movie, I am still suspicious that it may really end up being fake. Maybe Reese was right to stop making comedies and should have continued to take serious roles.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

I Want My Music Television: 2/17/15

Style - Taylor Swift

When you listen to Taylor Swift, her lyrics are so direct and to the point, you can see the music video play out in front of you, and when she finally puts her own visuals to her music, it is pretty much what you expect it to be as they are usually acted out versions of her lyrics. This is the first time that I can think of that Taylor went very abstract with her music video which look like something you would expect to have seem on 120 Minutes (well if she would have wore less stylish clothes and pick a less attractive co-star) instead of TRL.

Black Son - Death Cab for Cutie

Death Cab for Cutie announced their new album along with the departure of guitarist Chris Walla, usually credited with creating the sound of the band though he still contributed to most of the album. Their first song since comes off as a little more menacing than anything the band has done before. If Codes and Keys was about Ben Gibbard's dissolving marriage, is this another album of something breaking up? I am not optimistic it will be better just from the first single.

Pray to God - Calvin Harris featuring Haim`

I was a big fan of Haim's first album, but I really do not need a crappy EDM / Calvin Harris version of their music. Much like I was hoping (and got) an acoustic Aloe Blacc version of Wake Me Up, I do kind of want to hear Haim play this song by themselves. And maybe they can do it without the coven outfits and random animals.

Champagne Kisses - Jessie Ware

I wanted to like Jessie Ware's first album more than I actually did but her sophomore outing was a vast improvement (Say You Love Me cracked the top ten of my 100 Greatest Songs of 2014), the latest single is alright but the video is messing with my mind. I really want whatever that director was taking.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 2/15/15

2015 Grammy Awards: I had a feeling 2014 was not a very good year for music when I was making my best of the year list and watching this year's Grammy's verified that after seeing Sam Smith and Beck win the top four awards especially considering they were basically the best in very weak fields (well I would have given Haim the Best New Artist Award). But usually in weak musical years, the show can produce great once in a lifetime duets, but all of those fell flat. Really, a week later nothing really stands out to me this year except how boring it was.

The Walking Dead: Hold ghosts of Tyrese past! I have to admit I have enjoyed this season significantly more that the earlier ones, but why oh why had the show killed off its two most entertaining characters in back to back episodes yet Carl is still alive (thee third, Bob literally bit it earlier this season two).
You can download The Walking Dead on iTunes.

Pretty Little Liars: Oh Spencer, you are a moron. Did she really think that some college hired the dude to make a mural and to do it with spray paint at night? But I really could care less about these girls personal lives, just stick the the overly complex murder mystery of someone who probably is not even dead.
You can download Pretty Little Liars on iTunes.

Mavel's Agent Carter: Whoa, they were actually able to catch Peggy, I was a assuming as soon as she went on the lamb she would stay there until she was able to clear her name. And even more shocking it was a kiss from a Russian spy that brought her down. But the most shocking was the Russian scientist ended up being in cahoots with the spy. All this intrige should make for an interesting final two episodes.
You can download Marvel's Agent Carter om iTunes.

Justified: Watching this episode and the previews for next week was a greatest hits of recurring characters past (Loretta McCreary! Dicky Bennett!! Constable Bob!!! Elmore Limehouse!!!!) and that pretty much sums it up because I think the rest are either dead or in jail. Jake Busy is already on the dead list after just one episode with yet another memorable death scene on the show. I laughed through the entire commercial break. But it was nice to see Loretta outsmart Dicky one more time, not that it very hard thing to do.
You can download Justified on iTunes.

The Challenge: Battle of the Exes II: It is time for the annual annoying "To Be Continued" episode. Usually this comes right before the final elimination challenge. So we have to wait a week to see who goes home. But this has been two straight sad challenges. Last week TJ had to admonish all the guys who were too scared to jump out the surfboard contraption challenge and this week half of the teams could not even finish at all and had to institute a mercy rule. Even more sad, Jonna's puzzle was extremely embarrassing (Zach was right to compared it to something a third grader put together which was his second best comment of the evening after his almost correct reference to Of Mice and Men) and Brittany somehow did worse than her.
You can download The Challenge: Battle of the Exes II on iTunes.

Hindsight: Of course the show eventually worked in the famous Say Anything boombox scene, but this definitely the first time anyone thought to use KWS as the soundtrack. And it only got better when the batteries ran out.
You can download Hindsight on iTunes.

The Americans: Yawn, another near miss by the FBI. At least there was that bizarre and random scene with Paige finding a picture of their neighbor in a bikini in her brother's room.
You can download The Americans on iTunes.

Nashville: Of course his niece was not a match and his sister does not want to give hers (okay that was a bit of a serve, I just thought she would not be a match), it is beyond obvious that Deacon is going to have to get a new liver from his daughter. I wonder how long they will stretch this until he asks (or more likely she offers).
You can download Nashville on iTunes.

King of the Nerds: Whoa, Moby really takes his nerd culture seriously. But you have to side with him because it is really stupid for someone to pick a fight with a judge.
You can download King of the Nerds on iTunes.