Friday, July 01, 2016

Around the Tubes: 7/1/16

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 Marvin Gaye, Dreamers, VH1 Live!, The Unknown Flag Raiser of Iwo Jima, Guerrilla, and Turner Classic Movies.

- UMe marks 45th anniversary of Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On with a special What’s Going On 10” vinyl EP that features a duet version featuring with new Motown artist BJ The Chicago Kid, available June 24.

- When DREAMERS—Nick Wold (vocals/guitar), Nelson (bass), and Jacob Wick (drums)—talk about its debut LP This Album Does Not Exist, they assume a collective tone of considerate existentialism. They seek to counter the crassness of pop, the snobbery of jazz, and the pretention of indie that zaps the fun out of any music with meaning. Yet, they want to draw you in, indiscriminate of taste, style, or ideology. This Album Does Not Exist due August 26 via Fairfax Recordings.

- VH1 this week announced a new late night talk show entitled VH1 Live! debuting Sunday, July 17th at 10:00. CNN commentator and BET News host Marc Lamont Hill will anchor the weekly series delivering VH1’s pop culture spin on the hottest entertainment news and gossip.

- Academy Award winning actor Gene Hackman has signed on to narrate Smithsonian Channel’s The Unknown Flag Raiser of Iwo Jima, airing July 3 at 9:00. The one-hour special, produced by Lucky 8 TV, provides new evidence and analysis proving that U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. and Purple Heart recipient Harold Schultz was one of the flag raisers in Joe Rosenthal’s iconic Iwo Jima photo on Mount Suribachi. This evidence led the United States Marine Corps to correct the historical record.

- Screen Actors Guild® Award winner Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) has joined the cast of the new six-part limited series Guerrilla in the lead role of “Jas Mitra.” Set to air on Showtime and Sky Atlantic next year, GUERRILLA centers on a couple, “Jas” and “Marcus” (casting to be revealed soon), whose passion propels them into making the leap from political activism to radical militancy. Academy Award® winner John Ridley (American Crime) will write, direct and executive produce the limited series. Golden Globe® winner Idris Elba (Luther, Beasts of No Nation) will co-star and serve as an executive producer through his Green Door Pictures. Ridley will write the majority of the episodes and will direct the first two episodes and the finale, with Emmy Award nominee Sam Miller (Luther, No Good Deed) directing the other episodes.

- Turner Classic Movies (TCM) pays tribute the oldest film genre, and perhaps most classically American, with Shane Plus A Hundred More Great Westerns, a month-long programming special featuring more than 100 of the greatest Western movies ever made. Hosted by acclaimed actor and Academy Award® winning songwriter Keith Carradine, programming begins July 5th and airs from sun-up to sundown every Tuesday and Wednesday in July.

Shane Plus A Hundred More Great Westerns will feature themed programming including:

The Early Years (July 5) – in addition to The Great Train Robbery (1903), these pioneer Westerns include The Squaw Man (1914), the first producing-directing effort by the legendary Cecil B. DeMille
John Wayne/John Ford (July 5) – takes a look at the partnership of the quintessential Western star and director which encompassed 14 films ranging from Stagecoach (1939), the pairs first collaboration, to The Searchers (1956), which many consider the team’s greatest masterpiece
Directed by Sam Peckinpah (July 6) – provides examples of the iconic director’s work including Ride the High Country (1962) and The Wild Bunch (1969), which was noted for taking the Western into unprecedented levels of violence
Epic Westerns (July 12) – includes the Kirk Douglas vehicle The Big Sky (1952) and MGM’s How the West Was Won (1962), a multi-part, star-heavy epic originally filmed in Cinerama
Singing Cowboys (July 13) – a staple of the 1930s and ‘40s in a series of modest and innocently entertaining Westerns, many of them starring Gene Autry or Roy Rogers
Spaghetti Westerns/Clint Eastwood (July 19) – includes two TCM premieres - A Bullet for Sandoval (1970) and Red Sun (1971) - and overlaps with the “Starring Clint Eastwood” theme, which includes Sergio Leone’s spaghetti western classics A Fistful of Dollars (1964) and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1968)
Western Comedies (July 26) – ranging from Go West (1925), starring Buster Keaton, to Hearts of the West, starring Jeff Bridges, as a writer who becomes a star of B Westerns
Great Barroom Brawls (July 26) – highlighting the legendary and elusive Shane (1953), directed by George Stevens and starring Alan Ladd
True Stories? (July 27) – includes far-fetched accounts of Western legends such as Billy the Kid (1941) and Annie Get Your Gun (1950)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Previewing Barely Famous: Season Two and Dating Naked: Season Three

Jessica Alba and Erin Foster on Barely Famous

When Barely Famous premiered I heralded a changing at VH1. After year of being an trashy urban reality show channel, they seemed to be switching coarse going back to it musical roots with the nineties nostalgia Hindsight which fit in perfectly at the channel that used to run I Love the 90’s about fifty hours a week. Then there also were staking a claim in faux reality show based around eighties heavyweights Lionel Richie and David Foster’s daughters. Then there was a changing of the guard at the channel and they quickly decided to cancel Hindsight because the second season started filming and then greenlit more trashy reality shows including a Black Ink Crew spin off and a The Game dating show with an Amber Rose talk show coming next month. I got excited for a moment when it was announced VH1 was bringing back Hip Hop Honors after a six year hiatus

But hey, they still have Barely Famous and Dating Naked, both returning tonight as their lone none-trashy urban reality shows (and possibly Candidly Nicole and Twinning which may or may not be canceled; and really, no big loss if they are). The first season Was a fun summer diversion which was wisely keep to a short and easy six episodes. Another sic episodes are coming your way this summer but even though the new season is short and sweet, it really just seems like a rehash of last season.

Sara and Erin are back and it is basically just a continuation of last season where the sisters commiserate with each other on their social staus while desperately trying to move up the ladder. That shtick was wear thin even after six episodes las season and is stretch even thin this season. The season premiere sees Sara trying to extend her brand (okay, try to create one) with an energy drink while Erin tries to get on Jessica Alba’s new show’s writing staff. Also tonight, there is a second episode where VH1 sends the duo to Orlando for a vacation episode where they run into the fourth most successful former NSync member at Universal Studios.

Later in the season, there will be more celebrity cameos including Kate Hudson, Zach Braff, Kate Upton, Cindy Crawford, Brooke Burke, Dr. Phil, Ali Larter, and Lauren London. But all these cameos fall into one of two categories much like the ones last season. There are just there to look down on the barely famous sisters and be indignant of being around a reality show or play completely opposite of their public person like when Alba drunkenly twerks at a karaoke bar (I am kind of depressed that Microsoft Word recognizes “twerk” as a real word). Upton is the best of the bunch as a brain surgeon on Sara latest crap movie.  It just really feels like VH1, and everyone who used to watch the channel, is just waiting four more year so they can finally do I Love the 10’s. And that is if they even wait, they did premiere I Love the New Millennium in 2008.

Barely Famous airs Wednesdays at 10:00 on VH1.

Speaking of that other non-urban housewife show, Dating Naked also returns tonight. The first season of the show was cheesy fun. Sure I did not watch a single episode in its entirety, basically just channel surfed upon it and kept surfing when it went to commercial. It is probably why in the second season the show made a more continuous switch to two permanent daters to keep people from going in and out on the show. Okay that did not work with me because I ended up watching the show less.

There will be two permanent daters again this season, dancer Natalie and former college basketball player David who is the first minority main contestant on a dating show. The only big change to the third season is there is a new host who is about as forgettable (and fully clothed) as the last one. Except the more the new host talks, the more she sounds like Fran Dresher. After dating themselves, Natalie and David find themselves on two more dates, one of which they pick to be their “keeper” who will show up next week. It is pretty obvious who both pick this week as one dud clearly had adult ADHD and one chick thinks the guy should come to her even though he is the one doing the picking. The “This season on” montage is not very inspiring either other than there being what will likely be the oldest naked dude in the history of television (hard pass on that episode) and a chick who kind of looks like Sara Bareilles. I watched less of season two of Dating Naked than season one and based on the first episode I will likely watch less of season three.

Dating Naked airs Wednesdays at 9:00 on VH1.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

The Twelfth Scooter Television Awards

Welcome to the 12th Annual Scooter Television Awards honoring show that aired a majority of their season between July 2015 and June 2016. Without further ado, here are the winners of the 2016 STA's:

Best Scripted Show: Mr. Robot

Best Sitcom: Angie Tribeca

Best Sci-Fi Show: Orphan Black

Best Comic Book Adaptation: Marvel's Agent Carter

Best Period Show: Masters of Sex

Best Animated Show: Star Wars Rebels

Best Reality Show (Competition): Survivor, Season 31: Cambodia - Second Chance

Best Remake, Reboot, or Adaptation: Ash vs. Evil Dead

Best Educational Program: Brain Games

Best Talk Show: Pardon the Interuption

Best New Show: Mr. Robot

Guiltiest Guilty Pleasure: Supergirl

Best Musical: Grease Live!

Worst Show I Made Though an Entire Season Of: Quantico

Best Awards Show: 2016 Grammy Awards

Best Hour of TV: – Mr. Robot

Best Half Hour of TV: Weird Al – The Goldbergs

Biggest Shocker: They actually killed Norma on Bates Motel

Best Line: “You made the jury.” - Abi-Maria Gomez (Survivor: Second Chances)

Worst Idea: Reimagining The Muppets as a faux reality show as a late night talk show

Worst Moment: Even more agro sexist moments on Survivor

Biggest Disappointment: Quantico being more political Grey’s Anatomy and less Homeland: Freshman Year

Best New Title Sequence: Into the Badlands

Best Character: Elliot Alderson (Mr. Robot)

Best Recurring Character: Hugo Strange (Gotham)

Best Guest Appearance: Jack White on The Muppets

Best Duo: Alison and Donny Hendrix (Orphan Black)

Most Entertaining Reality “Star”: Abi Maria Gomez (Survivor: Second Chance)

Most Annoying Reality “Star”: Kyle Jason (Survivor: Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty II)

Show That Should Be Brought Back: Marvel’s Agent Carter

Most Anticipated New Show of Next Season: The Good Place

Biggest Question for 2016-2017: Will I bother to watch Supergirl now that it’s been demoted to The CW?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Previewing Ray Donovan: Season Four

The cast of Ray Donovan

I am sure someone like Ray Donovan has woken up in some weird places, but where he starts off the fourth season of the show named after him may be his weirdest yet: in an unknown room with a blind priest reading what I presume to be a braille Bible in what I presume to be Latin. He got there after last season getting shot in the gut during a shootout with Armenian gangsters and instead of a doctor, when to a church and collapsed.

We quickly flash forward to a time in the future where Ray is back to work, Bridget has still not come home but at least is on talking status with her family, Bunchy’s lucha wrestling bride is about to pop a baby out any day. Then there is Micky, last seen leaving California as part of a deal with Ray for taking care of his Armenian problem, actually has a new job on an Indian reservation. That is not to say he still is not up to his old tricks, because, as always with Micky, he has an angle.

Back in California, Ray met a boxer during his sabbatical in the church, and now in present time, the boxer of course needs Ray’s services when cops are called during a shouting match at a cheap motel. No, it is not what you think, the woman in question is the boxer’s sister (welcome back Lisa Bonet) who may be the most difficult person Donovan and associates have ever had to deal with, and that says a lot from the lowlife he has run into the past three seasons.

Ray Donovan airs Sundays at 9:00 on Showtime.