Friday, December 02, 2016

Around the Tubes:12/2/16

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 Nashville, Fitz and The Tantrums, Joshua Bell's Seasons of Cuba, Gutxi Bibang, L.E.J., Risky Drinking, A-Bombs over Nevada, Running for His Life: The Lawrence Phillips Story, FilmStruck, and The Alienist.

- Hulu is excited to announce that Nashville fans will get an early glimpse into the new season just in time for the holidays! The highly-anticipated season five of Nashville may officially launch on Hulu January 6th, but the first hour of the two-hour premiere will now be available to stream early on December 16th. Need a refresh? Hulu is also the exclusive destination for fans to catch up on all episodes of Nashville and relive their favorite moments of the series anytime, anywhere. Simply head to Hulu to stream seasons 1 - 4 of Nashville now.

- une in to the AUDIENCE Network concert special Fitz and The Tantrums airing Friday, December 2 at 9:00 (DIRECTV Ch 239/U-verse Ch 1114). On this episode, Fitz and The Tantrums' Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs sit down withhost Ted Stryker in Los Angeles foran in-depth interview spanning their musical history as well as the inspiration for group's latest self-titled studio album, out now via Elektra Records.

- The PBS ARTS Fall Festival continues with Joshua Bell's Seasons of Cuba, an event featuring renowned musicians from America and Cuba connecting cultures and artistry with beautiful music. The national air date for Joshua Bell's Seasons of Cuba​ is Friday, December 16 at 9:00, but we encourage you to check local listings as stations may be airing other special programming over the next several weeks.

- Gutxi Bibang is an unlikely candidate to carry the rock n’ roll torch, a second-generation African from the Basque region of northern Spain. He begins that journey today sharing the single "System Of A Gun" via French indie label OSKAR Recordings. His family emigrated to the tiny coast town of Algorta outside of Bilbao, but native son Gutxi Bibang has more in common with larger-than-life musical icons than he does his Basque countrymen. Even his unique moniker speaks of his cultural clash heritage – Gutxi, a common nickname in his Basque homeland, and Bibang, from his roots in Africa. With his distinctive manner and impeccable style, Gutxi Bibang exudes charisma - not just a reminder of when rock was a socio-cultural force for change in the ‘60s and ‘70s, but a glimpse into the music’s global future. System of a Gun has an attitude straight out of Gutxi’s primal influences, with lyrics wrenched from watching the evening news. “We deal with violence, poverty, unrest, racism and sexism in our music. We believe in the spirit of the ‘peace and love revolution.’”

- Today, classically-driven French pop trio L.E.J. [Elijay] release their very first holiday EP, Christmas Hors D’oeuvre [Republic Records], at all digital retailers. Get it HERE.

- Nearly one-third of adults in the U.S. engage in problem drinking at some point in their lives. Health professionals assess drinkers at risk on a spectrum ranging from low-risk to an alcohol use disorder that can range from mild to severe. This holiday season, HBO and the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism present Risky Drinking, which challenges viewers to recognize when their drinking may be putting them at risk and offers information that could help millions of Americans lead healthier lives. The cautionary documentary debuts Monday, DEC. 19 (8:00-9:30 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

- In post-WWII America, the nuclear bomb was a national obsession. But in one corner of Nevada, it was a cottage industry, a daily entertainment and cultural phenomenon like no other. A new Smithsonian Channel hour-long special, A-Bombs over Nevada, uses remarkable contemporary footage to capture the extraordinary period in the 1950s and 60s when hundreds of atomic bombs were dropped over the Nevada Test Site. The race to create bigger and better bombs led scientists to push the limits and turned a sleepy desert town into a theater of the absurd. A-Bombs over Nevada premieres Monday, December 5th at 9:00 on Smithsonian Channel.

- Running for His Life: The Lawrence Phillips Story, a powerful documentary examining the cycle of domestic violence that plagued two-time NCAA Division I college football champion Lawrence Phillips and the personal demons that led to his death in January, will premiere on Friday, Dec. 16 at 9:00 on Showtime.

- Iggy Pop, in collaboration with Brian Burton (Danger Mouse), GOLD director Stephen Gaghan, and GOLD composer Daniel Pemberton, created an original song for the film GOLD — the adventure drama starring Matthew McConaughey. The song, also titled “Gold,” is director Stephen Gaghan’s songwriting debut. GOLD, inspired by actual events, is the epic tale of one man’s pursuit of the American dream and everything he’ll do to keep it from falling apart. Oscar© winner Matthew McConaughey stars as Kenny Wells, a man raised in the mining business and desperate for a lucky break. He teams up with a mythic geologist and sets off on an amazing journey to find gold in the uncharted jungle of Indonesia. When they make the largest gold find in history, Kenny realizes his dream was only the beginning of the adventure, battling corrupt politicians, Wall Street tycoons and law enforcement, all of whom want to take it from him. Directed by Oscar© winner Stephen Gaghan, the film stars Oscar© winner Matthew McConaughey and Golden Globe© nominees Edgar Ramirez and Bryce Dallas Howard.

- FilmStruck, a new streaming movie service for film aficionados, is now available on Apple TV. FilmStruck offers the largest streaming library of contemporary and classic arthouse, indie, foreign and cult films and is the exclusive streaming home to the Criterion Collection. Film fans can now stream on Apple TV 4th generation devices as well as Amazon Fire TV, web, iOS and Android devices. FilmStruck can be accessed in the Apple App store, as well as online at and via Google Play for Android users.

- Daniel Brühl (Rush, Inglorious Bastards, Captain America: Civil War) and Luke Evans (The Girl on The Train, The Hobbit trilogy, Dracula Untold) have been cast in TNT's The Alienist, the eagerly anticipated series based on the Anthony Award-winning New York Times bestseller by Caleb Carr. Brühl will play forensic psychologist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, while Evans will play reporter John Moore, who are both called upon to investigate a series of brutal murders in New York during the Gilded Age.

- Main Street business owners brace for the impact of President-Elect Trump’s latest cabinet nominee Steven Mnuchin, a Wall Street insider whose success has been built at the expense of small business owners and their communities. As one of the architects of the financial crisis, Mnuchin engaged in extractive business tactics that crippled the economy and forced countless small businesses to close their doors. After amassing a small fortune during his tenure with Goldman Sachs, Mnuchin led OneWest Financial, a predatory financial institution that had no significant branch presence in communities of color, rarely lent to small businesses, and has been accused of discriminatory lending practices. Given the very real challenges small business owners of color face in accessing and securing loans, it is profoundly disheartening that someone with Mnuchin’s track record would be offered this appointment. Mnuchin even managed to pocket more than $3 million from the Madoff-led Ponzi scheme that cost investors more than $65 billion.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Previewing Vikings: Season Four, Part Two

One of the big advantage of cable shows (other than the lack of FCC regulation) is the shorten season. When you only have eight to thirteen episodes a year to fill than the network standard of twenty-two, you storyline can be more concise and can easily trim the fat. But for some reason, occasionally cable channels expand their shows episode number (okay, that reason is obviously money). The worst in memory was when Rescue Me went from thirteen to twenty-two one season and the show cratered creatively. It quickly went down to ten the next season.

So I am a little worried to hear History has boosted the number of Vikings episodes this season from ten to twenty. Okay, they did have a seven month break between episode ten and eleven. The voice over for the intro even says, “Last season on Vikings,” even though it is still technically still season four. But no matter how you cut it, there will be twenty episodes of the show that air over twelve months.

There was a very specific break in between blocks this season as the first half ended with Ragnor being humiliated in Paris only to desert his land. A teaser at the end of the last episode jumped ahead about a decade with a returning Ragnor placing his sword in the ground that as surrounded by a crows and shouted, “Who wants to be king?” Welcome back Ragnor.

The new half of the season starts with the same question that ended the last. Sorry to anyone hoping to learn what happed between Paris and the return, no flashbacks in the premiere? Instead we get reintroduced to Ragnor’s grown sons including Gimpy who has grown into a son that only Donald Trump could love. Seriously, that kid is all sorts of horrible even though he cannot use either of his legs but still manages to crawl everywhere to watch people have sex.

As you can expect from a half season that starts with a dude striking the ground with his sword, there is plenty of conflict this season. Ragnor wants to go back to England while in his absence, Bjorn has found a map of the Mediterranean with plenty of Roman outposts to plunder. Granted this path goes through France which means permission from Uncle Rollo. And while the guys are away, the women back home will play, and not nice as Lagertha seems to want her throne back. Here is hoping this is enough storyline to keep the show from dragging on now that it has doubled its yearly episode output.

Vikings airs Wednesdays at 9:00 on History.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 11/27/16

Shameless: Oh Fiona, you really missed out on a great opportunity, a laundromat with a whirlpool and 4K Smart TV? That would have done great business.

The Walking Dead: It seemed obvious Maggie not dead, but why lie to Negan about it? Clearly he will find out sometime and it is a silly lie.
You can download The Walking Dead on iTunes.

Gotham: I cannot decide I like crazy Barbra or not. Clearly she is not a good actress, but still, sometime it is entertaining, other times it is annoying. Maybe the key would be to keep her to small doses. And just go ahead and reveal the comic book character she is portraying because I think most peole have figured that out by now.
You can download Gotham on iTunes.

Supergirl: Ugg, Supergirl should have just ley let Mon-El die, he is completely worthless anyway. And if it was not obvious before, it is now very clear Mon-El was brought in to be a love interest to Kara. Meh, they should have brought me on for that role. Sure Mon-El may be able to fly all through the night, but can he rock a party 'til the early light? Mon-El can't satisfy Kara with his little worm, but I can bust her out with my super sperm.
You can download Supergirl on iTunes.

Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen. X: Somehow Jay made it through two tribal without using his Idol or getting voted out (okay, one of them he had Immunity). And the second Tribal he could just sit back and laugh while stupid people drew rocks. I think you are better of switching your vote. You have a fifty-fifty chance one of you alliance is going home anyway and a one in six chance it is you. Flip and with nine people still in the game, there are plenty of chances of getting back into the game, draw the rock and you have no chance.
Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen. X on iTunes.