Friday, November 13, 2015

Around the Tubes: 11/13/15

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 FX(X) Winter Premieres, The Spymasters, Live from Lincoln Center, The Art of More, The Carol Burnett Show, Disneynature marathon, First You Dream − The Music of Kander and Ebb, Quiet Riot: Well Now You're Here, There's No Way Back, and Rebel Geeks.

- FX Networks has set the premiere dates for new and returning series on FX and FXX this winter, including the new comedy series Baskets (Thursday, January 21 at 10:00) starring Zach Galifianakis and the new limited series American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson (Tuesday, February 2 at 10:00), it was announced this week by Chuck Saftler, President of Program Strategy and COO, FX Networks. FXX will also welcome back It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Wednesday, January 6 at 10:00), the longest-running series in FX history, for Season 11, and Man Seeking Woman ((Wednesday, January 6 at 10:30) for Season 2. The Peabody Award-winning drama The Americans will return with its fourth season in March on FX.

- For the first time in history, all 12 living directors of the CIA will be interviewed in The Spymasters – CIA in the Crosshairs, a two-hour documentary premiering Saturday, November 28 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME across all platforms. Narrated by Emmy® and Tony® winner Mandy Patinkin (Homeland), the film offers a remarkable inside look into the spy agency’s controversial conduct in the war on terror – marked by the use of brutal interrogation techniques, secret prisons and lethal drone warfare. Written by Chris Whipple (The President’s Gatekeepers), The Spymasters is directed by Jules and Gédéon Naudet (the Emmy, Peabody® and DuPont® award-winning 9/11) in a joint SHOWTIME and CBS News production. Executive producers are Jules and Gédéon Naudet, Chris Whipple, Susan Zirinsky and David Hume Kennerly.

- The PBS Arts Fall Festival continues with Live from Lincoln Center – “Act One” on Friday, November 13, airing from 9:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. ET (check local listings). Few have captured the magic of the theatre better than Moss Hart, a poor kid from the Bronx who went on to become a lion of Broadway. The writer of classic comedies with George S. Kaufman including “You Can’t Take it With You” and “The Man Who Came To Dinner,” and the director of the original production of “My Fair Lady,” Moss’s memoir (“Act One”) has captivated theater lovers for over 50 years. In this Tony Award-nominated Best Play from Lincoln Center Theater, James Lapine has fittingly re-imagined this memoir for the stage, creating a world as vivid and transformative as the stage itself. “Act One” features a first-rate cast led by Tony Shalhoub, Andrea Martin and Santino Fontana.

- Sony’s Crackle officially has entered the original drama field with its first hourlong series, The Art Of More, starring Dennis Quaid. Christian Cooke (Magic City) has been cast as the co-lead opposite Quaid in the project, which has received a 10-episode straight-to-series order from the digital network. Kate Bosworth (Still Alice) co-stars.

- Time Life, creator and direct marketer of unique music and home entertainment products, today announces the launch of The Carol Burnett Show Official YouTube Channel. Burnett's beloved series officially comes to streaming video consumers as the Carol-approved, complete home for The Carol Burnett Show on YouTube. The channel will launch with more than twenty full-length sketches featuring the whole gang - Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, Vicki Lawrence, and Lyle Waggoner - in "Tudball & Wiggins," "The Family," "Carol and Sis" and "The Oldest Man," with hilarious crack-up moments throughout. Additionally, fans will be treated to celebrity interviews and more at Each week throughout the holiday season, Time Life will offer the gift of laughter with new full-length sketches and custom content posted on Carol's #FavoritesFridays.

- Nat Geo WILD’s Thanksgiving celebration is an epic lineup of animal adventures that will keep the whole family glued to the couch for 10 days straight. Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 26, kicks things off at 1/12c with a best of Disneynature daylong marathon, featuring heartwarming and inspiring films. Big Cat Week follows as the anchor event, featuring Cougars Undercover, a groundbreaking special that reveals the private life of a secret predator, premiering Friday, Nov. 27, at 9:00. The week also features three straight nights of Safari Live, beaming the wilds of Africa directly into your living room in real time, premiering Friday, Nov. 27, at 11:00. Wild Yellowstone, an award-winning two-hour spectacle, rounds out the WILD holiday with an innovative special that pushes the boundaries of wildlife filmmaking, offering audiences some of the park’s most spectacular views and intimate wildlife stories ever captured on film, premiering Sunday, Dec. 6, at 9:00.

- The PBS Arts Fall Festival continues with PBS’ First You Dream − The Music of Kander and Ebb, which airs Friday, November 20, 2015, at 9:00 p.m. ET (check local listings). The one-hour special, based on the musical revue conceived by stage director Eric Schaeffer and music director David Loud, features some of the greatest and best-known Broadway songs ever written. First You Dream features a stellar cast of Broadway veterans singing the duo’s songs, including Norm Lewis (Phantom of the Opera, Porgy & Bess, Les Miserables), Heidi Blickenstaff (The Little Mermaid, The Addams Family, Something Rotten), Kate Baldwin (Finian’s Rainbow, Big Fish, Thoroughly Modern Millie), Julia Murney (Crimes of the Heart, First Lady Suite, Evita), Matthew Scott (Sondheim on Sondheim, Jersey Boys, A Catered Affair) and James Clow (Peter Pan, Wonderful Town, Company, She Loves Me)

- Following its screening at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, Quiet Riot: Well Now You're Here, There's No Way Back, the year’s funniest heartbreaking rock documentary about the seminal heavy-metal band Quiet Riot, releases on DVD on Thursday, November 19 and contains over an hour of bonus features. The first 500 pre-orders of the award-winning documentary will receive an autographed copy signed by Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali and director Regina Russell. The film is also available via streaming, video-on-demand with an hour of bonus features, deleted scenes and extended interviews. For more information, and to see the trailer, visit

- Al Jazeera’s new seven-part documentary series Rebel Geeks, premiering 16th November at 2230GMT profiles those techies who are turning away from the corporate mainstream and using their skills to question surveillance, empower activists, and challenge existing power structures. With services like email and social media, Amazon and Apple Pay, health, diet and even sleep-tracking, technology is pushing ever deeper into modern lives. This is good, say Silicon Valley tech giants like Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook, for the more technology is embraced the more efficiency and personal empowerment it can deliver.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I Want My Music Television: Cheesy Pop Songs Edition

We may be living in the greatest era for cheesy entertainment since the heyday in the eighties. On television, Supergirl is pure cheesy fun and The Librarians is not far behind (and word on the street is they are rebooting the cheesy eighties classic Greatest American Hero). Then on the radio music is fun again. Here are four songs that I am not so secretly jamming out to in the shower.

Focus - Ariana Grande

Leading the new era of cheesiness is Ariana Grande. I know I should hate everything she does, but I cannot stop listening to her music (well that is until her duet partners start rapping, she has done some horrible collaborations). Sure her new single Focus is just a Problem retreat except instead of someone whispering the chorus there is some annoying fake Mystikal dude shouting it. But hey, there is no Iggy Azalea to completely ruin the song. Where the song may be lacking, the video is golden cheesy. There is maybe the least sensual lip licking ever filmed and whenever Ariana tries to dance it is never not entertaining.

Stand By You - Rachel Platten

Ariana Grande may had made a last second pitch, but the cheesiest great song of the year will likely go to Rachel Platten's Fight Song (of course it was used to perfection in the Supergirl trailer). The follow up may not be as great (it kind of rips of the stacatto piano notes in the chorus that Katy Perry's Roar ripped off from Sara Bareilles's Brave), but that does not mean I was not singing along by the second listen.

Your Type - Carly Rae Jepsen

When historians look back and try to figure out when pop music when from the annoying Katy Perry / Lady Gaga / Ke$ha era to the current annoyingly catchy era, most will probably point to Taylor Swift but I would argue it was the release of Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen. She followed that up with I Really Really Really Really Really Like You which was somehow more annoying and more cheesy than her first hit. But here is the thing, the rest of her new album is kind of, sort of, almost... not bad. And Your Type may be my favorite in a cheesy version of Chvrches kind of way. Just do not ask me what the weird trashy Cinderella music video is about.

Same Old Love - Selena Gomez

Back during the dark ages when Katy Perry was ruling the pop world, Selena Gomez was actually making some fun and cheesy pop-rock songs with her band The Scene. Last album she went solo and recorded a bunch of half baked Rihanna leftovers. Her new album was a little better, though the first single Good For You came across as an overly sexualized version of a Lorde song. The best song off the album is this one even if it songs like a Charli XCX leftover (because basically it is, Charli XCX wrote it). Still, I wished she would get back to her cheesy pop-rock roots.

Monday, November 09, 2015

The Voice Season Nine Knockout Round Power Rankings

Scooter Update: Like I wrote a couple posts ago, I wrote this whole post before learning of the Coaches Comeback twist. Since we no nothing (as I write this) other that four singers that did not win their Knockout Round or got Stolen I decided not to update what I had already written other than this addendum up front. Before we go to my Power Rankings I will say I hope the four that are given a reprieve are Andi & Alex, Ellie Lawrence, Sydney Rhame, and Krista Hughes (all of which would be in my top seven below). Now to what I wrote before learning anyone was coming back.

At the start of the Knockout Round, Pharrell said he was looking for "other" to fill his team. Yet now that the Knockouts are over, somehow he ended up with the most boring team. Instead of picking Amy, Siahna, or even country singer Morgan who would have been other to him, Pharrell ended up with two interchangeable RnB dudes, a bland pop-rocker with Madi being the only interesting person left on his team, but still not as interesting as Amy. Then for his Steal where he could have had unique talents like Andi and Alex, Ellie, Blind Joe, Koda, or even the blued hair country singer Summer who may not have been great but was at least interesting, he instead stole back the bland Riley who undoubtedly will be gone by Wednesday.

But I guess boring is better than bad which is what Gwen's team is and is one of the top five worst teams going into the Live Shows in the history of The Voice. Braiden Sunshine is the worst person to ever make the Live Show not named Nic Hawk. Her Steal of Viktor was just as uninspiring as Pharrell's Steal (sadly where the boring but hot chick will be booted Wednesday, the boring but hot dude will probnably still be around by Thanksgiving). Jeffry and Regina are just complete fodder but somehow either one of them or Braiden will have to make the Top 12. To think her team could have been Ellie, Koda, Korrin, stole Andi and Alex instead of Viktor, and stole Lyndsey Rhame instead Riley or Regina in the Battles, those five would have been one of the best teams in the history of The Voice, instead she has one of the worst.

I actually think there is a good chance Blake and Adam will have the top six singers this season. Seriously who on Gwen or Pharrell's teams are getting more votes than Jordan, Amy, Shelby, Barrett, Zach (who rivels Viktor in the model's looks department) and which country blonde chick makes it out of the Live Playoffs. Of course Adam will probably screw up in the Playoffs and saddle one of those front runners with the Preston Pohl Memorial for Worst Song Choice from a Coach. While Blake has yet to save a country singer (not counting the Swon Brother because he had nothing but country singers that season) so he may save Ivonne who seems like fodder. Will will have to wait until Wednesday to find out. Until then, here is my favorite singers coming out of the Knockout Round and shockingly for the first time in five seasons there are multiple singers I am actually rooting for.

1. Amy Vachal (Team Pharrell Adam): There are no five words scarier on The Voice then when Adam says "I know what to do (with that voice)." How many times has Adam said that only for the person he says that to goes home the very next round? I fear Amy is the prime candidate for the Preston Pohl Memorial. Watch Adam try to give Amy something mordern like Ariana Grande's Focus. I am seriously dreading what Adam will do with that voice.

2. Madi Davis (Team Pharrell): Poor Madi, she get montaged in the Battles beating out one of my favorite Blind Auditions Sydney, then she gives one of the best Knockout performances this season, except Adam paired her with the person who gave the best. And if Pharrell gave balladeer a dance version of a Joni Mitchell song a couple years ago, I am kind of worried about what Pharrell will be choosing for her too.

3. Morgan Frazier (Team Blake Pharrell Blake): First off I have to be pretentious music snob and point out Even if it Breaks Your Heart was originally done by (and better by) Will Hoge even though Morgan credited the song to the more popular version by the Eli Young Band. But anyway. Another female sang this song as her Blind Audition a couple seasons ago it is clear that the song starts out way too low for the female voice. But the song hits such a crescendo it all but makes up for the rough start. And Morgan added a layer of vulnerability that the other versions do not have, it is as if you can hear her heart break while singing, you just cannot teach that.

4. Korin Bukowski (Team Gwen): Wait, has that always been the daughter from Nashville this whole time? But anyway. Korin broke the Cardinal Rule of The Voice: If you are going to sing a song that has already been recently sung on the show you best be better or at the very least different. So after the shock of realizing that Korin and the daughter from Nashville are the same person, I spent the most of the time thinking Deanna Johnson did this song much better last season.

5. Barrett Baber (Team Blake): Colder Weather is one of my favorite country songs of the past decade but I was mostly bored by this performance. Barrett may have been the better singer, but I never was bored when Blind Joe was performing. Oh my, top five and I am already complaining, this may get ugly quick.

6. Shelby Brown (Team Adam): Shelby had one of the most buzzed about Blind Auditions (I just thought it was alright) and seems to be on a downward trajectory ever since and that is not the way you want to be headed going into the Live Shows. Much like Morgan, I think Shelby may want to go back to countrifying pop and rock songs.

7. Regina Love (Team Adam Gwen): She is good and all, but it is going to be hard for older RnB women on a show like this and she certainly is not good as Sisaundra. So she probably will not get America's vote and Gwen will undoubtedly save one of the boys instead (Ryan Sill: never forget).

8. Mark Hood (Team Pharrell): The great thing about Stand By Me is its simplicity, Mark kind of ruined it.

9. Evan McKeel (Team Pharrell): Last round I mentioned how the promos seem to position Evan as Pharrell's front runner but he still needed a breakout performance in the Knockout Round. It did not happen.

10. Ivonne Acero (Team Pharrell Blake): Sometimes the coaches care more about a story than actual talent (or the producers who are manipulating), but it is hard to think Ivonne was one of the five best singers Blake had this season.

11. Emily Ann Roberts (Team Blake): This was fine and all but I actually preferred Nadjah in their head to head match up.

12. Blaine Mitchell (Team BlakeAdam): Oh Adam, why did you dump the best selling act this season for a bland rocker?

13. Keith Semple (Team Adam): Speaking of bland rockers, he is just going to do the Terry McDerrmott playbook every week because I do not think he will go as far especially with Adam's dominant top three.

14. Riley Biederer (Team Pharrell Gwen Pharrell): Sure the Battle Round was not her choice, but she should really stay away from RnB because it just is not a good look for her. But I think at this point there really is not much she can do to advance.

15. Jordan Smith (Team Adam): There is one thing that promo monkeys do better than anything and that is beat something into the ground until you are completely sick of it. I heard Jordan screech "set firrrrrrrrrrrrrre toooooooooo the raaaaaaaaaain so many times; before. every. single. commercial. break. that by the time his Knockout was actually aired in its entirety I was out. I am sick of Jordan. They over promoted him in the Battle Rounds too. I am out. At this point I really hope he gets added to the Preston Pohl Memorial plaque.

16. Darius Scott (Team Pharrell): His vocal gymnastics got old real quick.

17. Viktor Király (Team Adam Gwen): Ugg, it is going to annoying when he continues to advance on his looks rather his talent.

18. Jeffery Austin (Team Gwen): The Voice started at the height of Adele and in those first couple season there was a steady stream of big voiced chicks trying to out-Adele Adele which was always a losing proposition with only one performance I actually liked (Mathai's Rumour Has It). Now that she is back I guess that is going ton start up again (I wish there was somewhere I could bet Hello will close out tonight's show), but how were there two guys who picked an Adele song before the album was even announced (all the pre-Live rounds were taped back in the summer). Neither of them make me update my list of Adele covers that do not suck massively.

19. Zach Seabaugh (Team Blake): How bad do you have to be to get the dreaded lone Knockout Round montage win?

20. Braiden Sunshine (Team Gwen): If he advances, I will riot.

Yeah I started complaining around the top five, but actually four singers I do not hate is rare in recent seasons and one on each team, now if only all of them make the Top 12. This is basically the last time teams matter as anyone can go home starting next week so here is a last look at how strong each team is based on my rankings.

Adam: 58
Blake: 57
Pharrell: 56
Gwen: 39

Wow, it is the tightest ever among the three boys, but Gwen on the other hand is kind of disastrous. Maybe she should not gone with the picking who she thinks is the cutest strategy (and yes, I do realize two of my top three are fairly attractive). But who cares what I think, here is how each artist charted on iTunes since the start of the Knockout Round.

1. Amy Vachal (31)
2. Jordan Smith (42)
3. Madi Davis (46)
4. Braiden Sunshine (54)
5. Korin Bukowski (72)
6. Viktor Kiraly (85)
7. Blaine Mitchell (91)
8. Jeffery Austin (105)
9. Keith Semple (106)

10. Andi and Alex and Chance Pena (125)
11. Evan McKeel (136)
12. Regina Love (154)
13. Barrett Baber (155)

14. Amy Vachal - Dream a Little Dream (158)
15. Ivonne Acero (162)
16. Emily Ann Roberts (174)
17. Riley Biederer (194)
18. Shelby Brown (195)
19. Morgan Frazier (204)

20. Ellie Lawrence - We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off (222)
21. Jordan Smith - Chandelier (235)
22. Darius Scott (282)
23. Mark Hood (303)
24. Zach Seabaugh (373)

25. Jordan Smith and Regina Love (443)
26. Andi and Alex - Thank You (503)
27. Barrett Baber and Dustin Christensen (509)
28. Amy Vachal and Jubal and Amanda (530)
29. Chase Kerby and Korin Bukowski (582)
30. Korin Bukowski - Cecilia and the Satellite (780)
31. Cassandra Robertson and Viktor Kiraly (978)
32. Celeste Betton and Mark Hood (1035)
33. Morgan Frazier - I Want You To Want Me (1302)
34. Blaine Mitchell and Blind Joe (1348)
35. Ellie Lawrence and Tim Atlas (1416)
36. Viktor Kiraly - What's Going On (1431)
37. Barrett Baber - Angel Eyes (1485)
38. Deanna Johnson - All I Want (1489)
39. Jeffery Austin - Lay Me Down (1495)

So Andi and Alex and Chance Pena, all three who were eliminated this round, still managed to chart higher over the past two weeks than over half, eleven, of the singers that are going to the Live Playoffs. Even worse, Ellie Lawrence's month and a half old Blind Audition song charted higher than three people who are advancing. That is never a good look even though it seems to happen every season. Also looking over this list you have to make Amy and Jordan as all three of there songs are still going strong, followed by Korin, Viktor, and Barrett who also saw all three of their song creep back on the list at some point over the past two weeks, even if barely. If you take each artist and average their highest peak in each round, here is how they stack up:

1. Jodan Smith (58.6)
2. Amy Vachal (82.3)
3. Barrett Baber (93.6)
4. Korin Bukowski (209)
5. Morgan Frazier (218.6)
6. Viktor Kiraly (260)
7. Blaine Mitchell (308.6)
8. Emily Ann Roberts (319.3)
9. Keith Semple (329.3)
10. Mark Hood (388.6)
11. Shelby Brown (433.3)
12. Zach Seabaugh (455.6)
13. Evan McKeel (463)
14. Ivonne Acero (479)
15. Madi Davis (549.6)
(the last four missed the top 1500 once and here is if they ranked the one that charted and use 1500 as the non chart-er)
16. Regina Love (584)
17. Braiden Sunshine (596.3)
18. Jeffery Austin (672.3)
19. Riley Biederer (730)
20. Darius Scott (1091.6)

It should be noted that those bottom three were all montaged once (Regina and Braiden's Blind Auditions did not chart despite being shown in full) but then again so were Madi and Zach but still managed to chart all three rounds. Also it looks like Shelby, Ivonne and Madi were really hurt by their poor song choices in the Battle Round, if you just take the average of the Blind Auditions and Knockout Round numbers, Shelby goes from eleventh to third, Madi goes from last among people who charted every round to sixth followed by Ivonne who jumps seven spots. It should also be noted that Amy, who had the highest charting Blind Audition and Knockout Round songs obviously would jump over Jordan on that list. Lets see if any of those four can overcome bad song selections if their coaches are picking in the Playoffs, personally I would not trust Adam at all. Here is how the teams stack up if you rank each singer based on the iTunes average:

Adam: 75
Blake: 63
Gwen: 44
Pharrell: 28

Oh Pharrell, you let go of the the second highest average in the Knockout Round and replaced her with the second worst. Oh yeah, you already had the worst on your team who you kept instead of the fifth best average. What exactly was this guy thinking? Every member of Team Adam is above every member of Team Pharrell. It may be time to bring back Cee-Lo. Now it is prediction time, here is how I predict what will happen on Wednesday before even one note is sung:

America Saves: Jordan, Amy
Coach Saves: Keith

America Saves: Barrett, Zach
Coach Saves: Morgan

America Saves: Viktor, Korin
Coach Saves: Braiden Jeffery

America Saves: Mark, Evan
Coach Saves: Madi

Finals: Barrett beats out Jordan and Morgan

Scooter Update: Okay the prediction above is kind of mute depending on who comes back. But really there are very few people that got sent home that I think even have a chance of making the Top 12. It seems obvious if they already got dumped by their coach, they will not you their Coach Save on them so they are going to need America's Save to do so. I do wonder if being the coach Comeback would help or hurt. They could get extra votes for being the underdogs or maybe some people just do not vote for them on principal thinking it is not "fair" to the top 20. Andi and Alex are the only ones that could challenge Jordan and Amy for Adam's spot, but I still think they would fall short. On Gwen I would replace Ellie for Korin (sadly Gwen will probably still save Braiden). I think Blind Joe could easily bumb Zach from the America's Save, maybe Krista with a showstopping performance. Pharrell is the trickiest, sure he has a weak team (look at those iTunes numbers above), but none of his also-rans look very strong (unless of course the coaches can poach other teams' losers). I like Lyndsey the most but I do not see her getting more votes than the RnB dudes or Evan. So in the end, I pretty much stand by my predictions above unless Gwen brings back Ellie (or Pharrell is allowed to poach Andi and Alex or one of Blake's country leftovers), while the other Coach Comebacks will be watching from their couch next week.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Previewing Agent X

When Democrat John Kerry was running for president it was rumored that his top choice for vice president under him was Republican John McCain. When asked about the possibility, McCain laughed it off by saying that the only job the VP has was to check on the health of the president every day. Funny but not entirely off because basically the only job the Vice President has is the President of the Senate where he breaks ties and is usually the one that is stuck going to weddings and funerals of foreign dignitaries. But being the tie breaking vote in the Senate rarely happens anymore and may never happen again thanks to the rise of the fillerbuster in recent years. Current Vice President Joe Biden has yet to break one tie yet. Granted Dick Cheney did get to cast eight votes which puts tied for eighth all time (keep in mind the Senate was split fifty-fifty his first two years in office), no VP since 1900 has had more (first Vice President John Adams broke the most ties at twenty-nine).

Since they really have nothing much other to do, besides check on the health of the president, who better to run an off the books clandestine operation? That is the premise behind Agent X. Sharon Stone plays the latest VP. It is unclear how exactly she got the job, it seems like the president has already been office so I am unsure if this is a Richard Nixon situation who picked a new Vice President when running for reelection, or maybe the last one died, or something else I missed entirely. On the first day of the job, she finds a secret passage in her new home that leads her to the real Constitution that has a fifth section of Article 2 not seen by the general public laying out the extra job by the Vice President. And wouldn't you know, the FBI director's daughter was just kidnapped and taken to the future spot of the new Russian embassy (which is still considered Russian soil even though the building is still under construction); a job perfect for Agent X.

The titular character is played by Jeff Hephner (Boss) who comes across like an Americanized version of James Bond. Gerald McRaney (Major Dad) is the Chief Steward of the Vice President's Residence who stewards Stone into her hidden duties. John Shea (The Trouble with Truth) is the one person in Stone's way to becoming the president and likes to be blissfully unaware of the Agent X program for plausible deniability. Third in line for the president is Mike Coulter (Jessica Jones) whom you will learn more about in the third episode. Jamey Sheridan (who was once a vice president on Homeland, but his secret was an easy to manipulate pace maker) plays the the FBI director who wants to know more about the mysterious man who may or may not have saved hid daughter in the first episode. James Earl Jones also pops up a couple times as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Homeland really set the tone for current governmental agency shows on television, which is to say dark and gritty and everything very high stakes. Agent X is slightly lighter though does not go as light as the National Treasure movies that also had our Founding Fathers hiding secrets from us. I actually wished this show would go a little more sillier (epecially considering it comes after The Librarians which knows how to have fun). And the show does seem to get darker as it goes along as most of the comic relief in the first two episodes comes from the hot Russian contortionist spy and the show get more serious after she rides off into the sunset (um, spoiler alert, the hot Russian contortionist spy does not die) hopefully to be seen again and soon as she is much more interesting than Agent X's ex-girlfriend who we meet in episode three.

Agent X airs Sundays at 9:00 on TNT.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 11/7/15

Homeland: Wait, wasn't the guy Berlin Bureau Chief was meeting with the same guy who killed the hacker guy and took the information taken from the CIA server? So is she a deep undercover Russian operative or or does she think what she is doing is for the greater good of America? And who is Quinn's guardian angel?

The Affair: So the hot illegal nanny is the chick Cole marries, right? It just seems very obvious and I doubt it was this week's booty call. The bigger question is does he do it for love Oh my, what is going on there? Is she a secret Russian spy oris she just teaming up with them for what she thinks is the greater good for the country or is he is he just helping her get a greencard? And I am with future lawyer, maybe it is Cole who killed Scotty, but I have a different reasoning. With all the drunk driving he does, Cole is bound to kill somebody at some point.

Supergirl: Poor Supergirl, not only is she stuck with a demeaning childish name, her cousin gets his own Fortress of Solitude in the arctic and she is stuck communicating with her ancestors in a remodeled broom closet in a government facility. And why is Aunt Astrid not at all worried about Superman? Does she really think if she would try to take over the world he would have just sat by idly as long as she did not cross the Metropolis city borders?
You can download Supergirl on iTunes.

Gotham: I do not like to talk ill of minors on account that they are just children, but goodness that tea party was dreadful to sit though. I was hoping Alfred would stop by and slap some acting skills into all of them.
You can download Gotham on iTunes.

The Voice: To pull back the curtains on the 9th Green a little bit, I write a lot of things days and sometimes even weeks in advance. So I was updating my Knockout Round Power Ranking as the show went along and was finished last Tuesday, ready to publish it on Monday. But when I hopped on the internets Wednesday, it turned out that the promo for the Live Playoff aired in the Tuesday clip shows announced a new twist: The Coach Comeback where each coach will bring back one eliminated singer. Awesome. I have actually been advocating this going back to season five.

When Holly Henry was erroneously dumped in favor of Nic Hawk I suggested that at the at the start of the Playoffs, Carson should address the coaches, "if you have been on the internet lately you have notice there was a lot of chatter about you coaches cutting fan favorites and many of them deserve to be brought back. Well so did (insert another singer; back then I suggested Miranda Lambert and how great would it be if they added her to the stage now) and they have chosen five singers that you let go of and agreed to coach them and they are now officially back in the running to be named The Voice."

Unfortunately they are not doing that... I think. It it very unclear what is going to happen as I am writing this (they may very well release the rules after I am done writing again) other than four people who did not win their Knockout or got Stolen will be brought back next week. Obviously the first two names that come to my mind are Ellie Lawrence along with Andi & Alex. Both dominated iTunes, the later had the second best charting Blind Audition and the best selling Battle. Except we do not know how they are brought back. The most fair would base it on iTunes and / or the silly app they keep promoting (I read somewhere that 8 of the top 10 most voted for Blind Auditions on the app did not make the top twenty while half of the highest charting iTunes Blind Auditions are still in; ouch these coaches are really out of touch with the public). But if it completely up to the whim of the coaches, can we really trust Gwen or Adam to do the right thing. I actually think Adam dumped his duo because he thought they poised a threat to his favorite Jordan Smith (I am also interested in the actually Knockout sequencing, maybe Adam stole Amy Vachal and thought, well, I do not need Andi and Alex any more). Then Gwen really likes her cute boys so maybe she chooses someone like Chase over Ellie.

In my estimation, Blake has a decision on his hand, he should really bring back either Krista Hughes or Blind Joe (or option three: he says he has enough country and picks someone completely different). But who does Pharrell bring back? Looking at his castoffs is kind of meh. I would like him to bring back Sydney Rhame who I thought gave the best Blind Audition on his team (she also was his highest charter on his team), but then she lost her Battle via montage. Of course this is all on the assumption that they are bring back their own cast-off, maybe they can choose anyone. I would like to see Andi and Alex go to Team Blake, Ellie to Team Pharrell, then Gwen can pick whatever cute boy she want and Adam can pick whatever fodder (what him bring back a montaged contestant) he does not think will challenge his front runner.

As excited as I was at the possibly of Andi and Alex, Ellie, Sydney, and Krista returning, the fact is whenever The Voice introduces a new twist, it turns out to be an epic fail. The idea of The Steal was great, but for every Amanda Brown there are twenty-five Nic Hawks who are gone as soon as people start voting. Anyone saved by Twitter is back in the bottom the next week and when it goes terribly wrong we get Ryan Sill (nevrr forget). There was a wildcard round a couple seasons ago except the last person voted out was the person who ended up winning that any way. So I will not be holding by breathe that the coaches will bring back the right people (it does help that three of the four rumored Coaches Comeback are head scratching and will probably be back home this time next week..

Blindspot: So Chrissy Seaver's boyfriend is not a spy. That may be the most shocking twist on the show so far in that he was not a twist at all.
You can download Blindspot on iTunes..

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.L.D.: Bad promo monkeys, you spoil that May's ex-husband was dead last week and the very first scene we see him very alive being rolled to a doctor for medical care. It also turned out that he was Lash. Now this begs the question just how much does he know? He he fully aware that he has a Mr. Hyde living in him or does he just wake up not knowing what happened? Can he trigger Lash or is it just like the Hulk and he Lashes out when he is angry? It does seem like he knows something and that is probably why he has not gone after Daisy yet.
You can download Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.

Wicked City: The show still sucks but there was something entertaining about Joe Walsh directing a fake Def Leppard music video.
You can download Wicked City on iTunes.

Survivor: Second Chances: In a season of multiple swaps and new twists, now we get the largest merge ever!!!!!! I am surprised how the alliances broke down going nine four. Especially with Stephan, who was literally crying a week or two ago about the thought of losing to another alpha male. I am really shocked that he and Spencer sided with the alpha male alliance. You would think Joe winning Immunity would be a wake up call to get out these stronger players now. Sure they are volatile and could very well stab you in the back, but I still think siding with Kass and Abi Maria would have been the smart move now because that is an easy win if you are in a finale two or three with them.
You can download Survivor: Second Chance on iTunes.

The Blacklist: That dud is really going to be mad when he wakes up only to find that your thumbs have been cut off, those are really something you could need. Of course by the time he thaws out, they may have found a way to regrow body parts by then. Then the big news is that they are already promoting the mid-season finale. I guess there are not going to be any episodes post-Thanksgiving.
The Blacklist on iTunes.

Friday, November 06, 2015

Around the Tubes: 11/6/15

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 Angie Tribeca, Saints and Strangers, Cyberchase, Search Party, Big in 2015, 11.22.63, The Breakthrough Prize, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, Close to You: Remembering The Carpenters, and MC100.

- TBS has already renewed its upcoming series Angie Tribeca for 10 all-new seasons well before the curtain even rises on the future Emmy® winner. TBS will introduce viewers to its first-ever police procedural with a massive, international multiplatform launch on Sunday, Jan. 17, giving subscribers the opportunity to binge on all 10 episodes of season 1 commercial-free through a 25-hour on-air marathon (Sunday 9 p.m. – Monday 10 p.m. ET/PT), as well as through TBS's VOD, digital and mobile platforms. Then on Monday, Jan. 25, TBS will begin rolling out season 2-11, each of which consists of one episode, giving viewers a season premiere and season finale in one really tight package. The new seasons will launch weekly across TBS platforms each Monday at 9:30 p. m. (ET/P T).

- On November 1620, after 66 days at sea, the Mayflower arrived in New England’s Provincetown Harbor with 102 men, women and children aboard. The brutal journey across the ocean on a vessel never intended to carry passengers had left many sick, hungry and dying. And though the sight of land brought great relief to the travelers, little did they know their journey had only just begun. National Geographic Channel’s two-night movie event Saints and Strangers, premiering Nov. 22-23 at 9:00, goes deep inside the familiar historical account of Thanksgiving, revealing the trials and tribulations of the first settlers at Plymouth and their complex relationship with the Native Americans.

On November 9, a new season of PBS Kids’ Cyberchase -- which features the voices of Christopher Lloyd and Gilbert Gottfried -- will premiere on PBS stations across the country. For a sneak peek of the series more than a week before the premiere, families can watch two full length episodes online and on the PBS KIDS Video app.

- TBS has given a greenlight to Search Party, a dark comedy about a group of four self-absorbed 20-somethings who come together when a former college acquaintance mysteriously disappears. Led by Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development), the cast of Search Party features an ensemble of young comic actors, including John Early, John Reynolds and Meredith Hagner. The pilot was written and directed by Sarah-Violet Bliss and Charles Rogers, whose credits include the 2014 SXSW Film Festival Grand Jury Award-winning feature film Fort Tilden and Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, and overseen by Michael Showalter (Hello, My Name Is Doris, Wet Hot American Summer). Tony Hernandez (Broad City, Inside Amy Schumer, Louie) and Lilly Burns (Broad City, Difficult People, Younger) will serve as executive producers, alongside Showalter, Rogers and Bliss.

- VH1 and Entertainment Weekly, the brands that help define pop culture, are teaming up to toast and roast the people who entertained us the most all year long at “VH1 Big In 2015 with Entertainment Weekly” premiering Monday, December 7, 2015 at 9:00 on VH1. This year’s bash will feature quadruple threat Amy Schumer and “Empire” star Taraji P. Henson as they are honored by the people who know them best -- their “squads.”Hollywood powerhouse Elizabeth Banks and the breakout cast from the most successful music biopic of all time, “Straight Outta Compton” -- O’Shea Jackson, Jr., Corey Hawkins and Jason Mitchell -- have been added as honorees. On that night, VH1 and Entertainment Weekly, the brands that help define pop culture, are teaming up to toast and roast the people who entertained us the most all year long.

- Hulu Original series 11.22.63 is a thriller in which high school history teacher Jake Epping (James Franco) travels back in time to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy — but his mission is threatened by Lee Harvey Oswald, falling in love and the past itself, which doesn’t want to be changed. Also starring Chris Cooper, Josh Duhamel, T.R. Knight, Cherry Jones, Sarah Gadon, Lucy Fry, George MacKay and Daniel Webber. The nine-hour limited event series based upon the New York Times best-selling 2011 novel written by Stephen King premieres Presidents Day, Feb. 15, 2016, on Hulu. J.J. Abrams, Stephen King, Bridget Carpenter and Bryan Burk serve as executive producers. Academy Award®-winning Director Kevin Macdonald (Last King of Scotland, State of Play, Black Sea) directs and executive produces the first two hours.

- Conan O'Brien, host of TBS's late-night series Conan, will join First Lady Michelle Obama next week on a trip to visit U.S. military personnel stationed at the Al Udeid Air Base in Doha, Qatar. There, O'Brien will entertain the troops with a show while the First Lady highlights the valuable work of Joining Forces, an initiative that supports service members, veterans and their families. As with his other recent excursions abroad, O'Brien's trip to Qatar with the First Lady will be taped to appear as part of an episode of Conan airing later this year. "It's an honor to accompany the First Lady on a trip to Qatar to entertain our troops," O'Brien said. "I know they will be thrilled to see Mrs. Obama and delighted to hear my vocal rendition of Kanye's entire Yeezus album." This will mark the second time O'Brien has travelled abroad to perform for the men and women of the United States military. In May 2003, O'Brien visited Kuwait and Bahrain on a USO tour. It will also mark his fourth adventure this year. He recently returned from Armenia, where he shot an episode that will premiere across TBS's television, digital and mobile platforms on Tuesday, Nov. 17, at 11:00.

- The Breakthrough Prize today announced that ten-time Grammy Award winner Pharrell Williams will perform at its third annual Breakthrough Prize ceremony, held to honor the world’s top scientists and mathematicians, on Sunday, November 8 in Silicon Valley.

- The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto: A Musical Companion will be released on Friday, November 6th and accompanies Mitch Albom’s forthcoming release The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto, out November 10th. PRE-ORDER the soundtrack HERE.

- On Saturday December 5th, the public television series My Music will present Close To You: Remembering The Carpenters, airing on PBS and Public Television stations nationwide. A look back at the lives and musical arc of the beloved brother-and-sister songwriting duo, the film stands as a testament to their enduring musical legacy. Featuring rare performances and extensive archival footage, this remastered documentary celebrates the timeless appeal of the Carpenters' unique sound, from Karen's warmly expressive voice to Richard's diverse talents as arranger, producer, pianist and composer. During their spectacular career, the duo was the recipient of three Grammy Awards, including Best New Artist of 1970, an American Music Award and over 20 gold records. Remembrances from friends and colleagues Herb Alpert, Burt Bacharach, Petula Clark and Paul Williams are also included.

- - Music Choice will countdown the top 100 music videos of 2015 with the multi-platform video and music network's 4th annual, special called MC 100. For the first time ever, the special will be broken up into four consecutive nights with each part being one hour long. The full catalog of this year’s biggest hits from today’s hottest artists like Taylor Swift, Fetty Wap, The Weeknd, Ed Sheeran, Beyoncé, Selena Gomez, and Rihanna will be revealed. “MC 100” will air on Music Choice Play starting November 24th and run through the 27th at 8/7c, before being made available on Music Choice’s Audio Channels, On Demand and on the app—in its entirety—on November 27th. America’s Next Top Model: British Invasion winner and host of Music Choice’s “The Weekend Countdown,” Sophie Sumner, will serve as the host of this year’s show.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Previewing Legends: Season Two

When TNT started promoting Legends last summer I got excited thinking that it could very well could be a Taken prequil where we learn just exactly how Liam Neeson got his particular set of skill but with Ned Stark playing the main role. When it actually premiere it ended up being a mediocre show where Ned would go deep undercover yet still manage to solve the case in one to three episode despite real deep cover operations taking months to years. Basically it was just a slightly grittier version of what you would expect from a CBS procedural.

At the end of the first season, one of Stark's alias, Martin Odum was set up for killing the head of the FBI. If this was a CBS procedural we could expect Martin to clear his name by the second episode and back going undercover by episode three. But apparently TNT and the producers found the first season as lackluster as I did because season two because the are switching things up. And by switching things up, I mean they are gong the hard reboot route like I do not remember any series before doing

Going into season two, the season has jettisoned the entire cast besides Ned Stark as he who is now on the run in England. Morris Chestnut does show up in the first the very least in the first three episodes but is now listed as "Very Special Guest Star." Now season two looks much less CBS procedural and more cable international spy show like Homeland and The Americans but with many more title cards. There is an infinite increase of title cards because this will flip between current day London, 2001 Prauge when Martin had taken on a Legend of a ruthless Russian drug lord, and even goes all the way back to 1975 to visit a young Martin in school. By the third episode things move to France while we even get another character's flashback in Lithuania.

The modern day England plot follows Martin as he avoids both international and local police but I find the modern day and flashback scenes in Prague much more interesting. Fourteen years ago FBI agent Curtis Ballard was investigating a murder and Dmitry Petrovich (Odum's alias) was on the top of the list. Clearly the case effected him and has left him less of a man, in more ways than one, ever since. After seeing Odum's picture splashed across the present Ballard heads back to the city to figure out how this ruthless Russian mobster he chased a decade and a half ago turned out to be one of his colleagues.

Of course Martin's time in England has ties to this case to as he runs into a woman from his Petrovich past with a teenage daughter (once you do the math in your head it is easy to make an assumption; you will learn if the assumption is true or not by episode two) who just learned her mother is Chechen and decides to practice the faith of her ancestors.

I mentioned that I do not remember any television doing such a hard reboot as Legends is doing for its second season. This is probably because you run the risk of alienating your main audience and those that did not like the original concept will be extremely hesitant to give it a second chance. But I do appreciate TNT and the show taking a risk because the show is significantly better if you give it a chance. And TNT seems to be behind the show, releasing the premiere On Demand and other steaming outlets last week and have also announce that the second episode will be put up On Demand tomorrow morning after the first episode airs. And for fans of binge watching TNT has also already announced that they will stack the entire season of Legends, meaning episodes will remain available on demand throughout the entire season.

Legends airs Mondays at 10:00 on TNT. You can download episodes of Legends on iTunes.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Previewing The Librarians: Season Two

It seems like shows on television are getting darker and dark chasing The Walking Dead to see what can be the most depression. That is what I like about about The Librarians, it may not have cracked my top ten favorite shows of last season, but it is a fun watch kind of like the Carly Rae Jepsen of television (no seriously, her new album is kind of almost good). Nothing really happens and you can go in and out (granted it turned out all the procedural type quests in the first season ended up being important for the finale).

The show is back for its second season for more cheesy fun. At the end of the last season, the three new librarians went their separate ways to solves cases on their on. For the season premiere, three separate cases bring them all to the place where it all began, no not the series but the museum Fynn worked at at the start of the very first movie (for those who though Noah Wiley would be free to join the cast now that Falling Skies has ended, he is still listed as a guest star).

Not surprising all three librarians are brought to the same place as Fynn is not a coincidence where they run into a literary giant (it i not who you originally think and it is much more fun that way; just keep in mind the title of the episode is And the Drowned Book). Thankfully it does not take too long before everyone realizes they are better together because the show is much more fun that way. And The Libraians is going to be a fun release before getting depressed while watching The Walking Dead afterwards.

The Librarians airs Sundays at 8:00 on TNT. You can download The Librarians on iTunes.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 10/31/15

Homeland: During the excitement of the return of Crazy Carrie last week I missed that Quinn was sent there to kill Carrie. Of course he did not. Thankfully we learned by the end of the episode who it was because really, there were only two plausible people in my mind, Dar and the German Bureau chief. Now the question was she also involved in the plane explosion too.

The Walking Dead: So Glen died. Or did he? I have a long standing belief to never believe someone is dead until we see a body. Well we definitely see zombies tear at Glen's flesh. But then there is the addendum to that belief that even if you see the body, I am still skeptical. The skeptical part of me noticed that the dude who killed himself was falling on top of Glen so it is very plausible that the entrails being pulled out were that of the other guy so I would not be that shocked if Glen shows up later in the season saying he slid under the trash bin while the zombies ate the other dude and just waited there to leave. Then I switched over from Quantico during the commercial to Talking Dead, which lack the obligatory actor shows up after he dies which is always kind of painful, as the producers saying in the most vague way possible that we will see Glen again in some capacity and the character was not included in the In Memorium package either. But the bigger question is why was Glen even in that position? How did Morgan make it back to Alexandria but Glen's group could not? And in the alley way, why did they not climb over the fence bordering the woods? But the second rule of this show is if the characters did the smart thing every time, there would be no show.
You can download The Walking Dead on iTunes.

The Affair: It seemed like an open and shut case Helen would get full custody of the kids, hey, they were not even around in the future act of the season finale last year with Noah and Allison in their swanky high rise. But how does Helen possibly get any visitation right, let along full custody, after a DUI with the kids in the car and weed in her purse? Grandma may be getting the kids because neither parent seems fit. Or maybe they will get shipped off to their aunt's place. Maybe there is a reason we have yet seen one of the Solloway children in the future yet.

Quantico: This week's Power Ranking of Most Absurd Moments of the Week: 1) The front page picture of Alex which looked like it was taken from a Maxim photo shoot, 2) The live stream instant;u getting twelve million viewers, 3) Taylor Swift (did they already run of hot blondes to call her already or did I just miss it this week) abandoning her mission to have sex with her antagonist.
You can download Quantico on iTunes.

Supergirl: Oh my, is it too soon to call this the guiltiest guilty pleasure in the history of television?
You can download Supergirl on iTunes.

Gotham: It was an obvious joke, but I am still glad Barbra suggested Butch put a chainsaw on his stump of a hand (and the same week Ash vs. the Evil Dead premieres to boot). Just as obvious was Kristen Kingle would die which would push Ed closer to being The Riddler, the only question was when and by who's hand. We finally got our answer this week as Ed stupidly admitted to killing her last boyfriend and then suffocated while promising to never hurt her again. Not how long until his wardrobe turns green?
You can download Gotham on iTunes.

Switched at Birth: So if Emmett was home for the summer and the final scene takes place ten months later, that makes it March / April right? So why are Daphne and Bay are still in China? Are they staying there because I am guessing Bay does not obtain gainful employment for a vacation. And what was the phone call? Ug, I hate cliffhangers like this.
You can download Switched At Birth on iTunes.

The Voice: What the frack?!? This show is just trolling me at this point. Andi & Alex were number one on my Battle Ranking Power Rankings, go first and get booted by Adam in favor of some mediocre rocker who has little chance of making it to the top twelve (unless Adam is stupid enough to save him so it is not entirely out of the question). Next up is Ellie Lawrence, who topped my Blind Audition Power Ranking, who goes out to Braiden Sunshine, who has sat in the bottom both times. Making things worse I joked in that post that Braiden would end up being this season's Ryan Sill (never forget), beating Gwen's lone four chair singer in the Battle Round, then probably beat Ellie in the Knockout Round, before Gwen inexplicably saved him in the Playoffs. That was a joke Gwen, you were not supposed to actually do this. Sure picking Demi Lovato was kind of disaster (has anyone ever advanced on this show singing one of her songs) but still I would take Ellie at her worst than Braiden at his worst. I really hate this show. Is it really hard to get the twenty best singers to the Live Show? It seem like five of the twelve that advanced this week just scream fodder and whose only chance to advance is if their coaches save them. I would have said six but sadly Viktor will probably advance by the public because the bored housewife voting block will be voting for his face over his voice.

Blindspot: I would say it is kind of random to have the other chick from Young and Hungry show up on your serious drama but I guess the first time I noticed her was when she was recurring during the first season of The Americans. Since she has that other gig, it is a shame she cannot stick around because it got really sad watching Jane try to connect with anyone and getting shut down every time. Plus that nerd fight scene with the tech person on the team was fun too. Oh well.
You can download Blindspot on iTunes..

Marvel's Agent's of S.H.I.E.L.D.: We finally get the what happened to Simmons episode and sadly no talking ducks were involved. I actually enjoyed the first segment but as soon as the astronaut showed up I got less and less involved. Then the ending was just silly, seriously, hold each other's hands so you do not get separated. And though we know know what went on, we are left with more questions, like what is "death." Then you have the promo saying May's husband died last week. Alrighty, there goes my theory that he survived.
You can download Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.

Wicked City: I do not really need another serial killer show in my life, but hey, it is the chick from Swimf@n and it is not like there is anything else on at the time. But how exactly how long will the show last if the detective was able to figure out who it is in the first episode. Take the reporter to the artist and then post the picture around town.
You can download Wicked City on iTunes.

Survivor: Second Chances: What a great decision to switch tribes up as many times this season, it is much better than having silly gimmicks like Redemption Island (and the promos says there are merging early next week too). You have one tribe with only one original member of the other tribe but she was the one with an Immunity Idol. Then there was Stephan's weird tearful rant about not wanting an Alpha Male beating him again. But of course it was Abi Maria's tribe that went to Tribal Council. And what weird bedfellows that ousted Woooooooooooo. Aside from Abi Maria, you had Chaos Kass, her nemesis Spencer, and a paranoid Ciera who did appreciate Savage putting her name in his mouth. Seriously, has there ever been a weirder alliance than those four? It will be interesting to see how things shake up after the merge. Will that five strong alliance actually stick together (since not one alliance has stayed strong I am guessing no), and if so, they still need two more for a majority. But now that we are at the merge, you have to go ahead and pencil in Abi Maria into the finals because who would not want to sit next to her. Imagine what fireworks a Abi Maria vs. Kass would produce. But thankfully Terry's son turned out to be alright. You never want to see someone go home like that. It is a bit surprising that it does not happen more often. I believe it was only the second time in thirty season.
You can download Survivor: Second Chance on iTunes.

Nashville: When drunk young Wheeler walked out on the terrace, I thought, oh no, he is the one going over the edge, not Juliette. Instead Jeff awkwardly fell over while trying to save her. Poor Juliette, the one guy who could spin this into her favor just splattered on the sidewalk. And poor Layla, her husband turned out to be gay, she gets dropped from one label and put on the back burner of another, and now her boyfriend dies of what will be ruled as an apparent suicide depending on what dunked young Wheeler says.
You can download Nashville on iTunes.

The Blacklist: There is nothing I hate on television more than the x amount of time earlier place card. Am I really supposed to believe they killed off Lizzy? Never crossed my mind even when they were significantly outnumbered in the Mexican standoff. But I did like that the person who put the hit on her was a teenage girl not like the CIA guy who seemed too obvious or the Congresswoman who was another suspect of mine.
The Blacklist on iTunes.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Around the Tubes: 10/30/15

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 Sumbling Dead, Breakthrough, Man Seeking Woman, Earth's Natural Wonders, The Enfield Haunting, The Day Hitler Died, Us the Duo, The Breaks, and Turner Classic Movies.

- Cracked, one of the United States’ longest running humor institutions and home of the Webby Award winning web series After Hours, today announced its newest series from Cracked Studios entitled The Stumbling Dead. The new 4 episode web series, written by Cody Johnston premiered on Cracked on October 26. The Stumbling Dead follows a group of newly-turned zombies on the run, in search of a safe haven. Hunted by deadly, gun-toting “food” – non-zombified humans, that is – the zombies follow their blood-thirsty instincts. But in their pursuit of brains, they often find themselves thwarted by their own, well, brainlessness. Just in time for Halloween, The Stumbling Dead debuted on October 26. All 4 episodes were released simultaneously, perfect for the internet-preferred binge-watching viewing method. Head writer Cody Johnston and director Abe Epperson lead a cast that includes Katy Stoll, Espie Randolph, Michael Swaim, and Tess Paras.

- Yesterday, the National Geographic Channel (@NatGeoChannel) announced it would offer a free preview of the opening episode of Breakthrough, its highly anticipated science series developed by National Geographic Channel and GE, and executive produced by Brian Grazer (@BrianGrazer) and Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward). Beginning Sunday, Nov. 1, at 12:00 a.m. ET, the debut episode of Breakthrough, Fighting Pandemics will be available to watch in its entirety before the network broadcast premiere at 9 p.m. ET that evening. The episode can be seen on and GE Reports, as well as TV-VOD and TVE platforms including iOS handsets and tablets, Android handsets, Apple TV, Roku, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Samsung Connected TVs. It will also be available on Facebook, YouTube, Hulu, iTunes, Amazon, Xbox, GooglePlay, Vudu and Sony Playstation.

- His every word is a girl’s worst nightmare. This January, Josh is still a Man Seeking Woman on FXX.

- Earth's Natural Wonders, a three-part series that visits some of the most extraordinary places on Earth and tells the remarkable stories of people who live there, premieres Wednesday, November 4, 2015, 8:00 on PBS (check local listings). The documentary travels around the globe to Mount Everest, the Grand Canyon and the Amazon Rainforest. And while truly spectacular, each location poses extreme challenges for those who call it home (watch a preview.)

- Leading independent studio Entertainment One (eOne) announced this week it secured a deal with Hulu for the exclusive streaming rights in the U.S. for The Enfield Haunting, a three-part dramatization of the terrifying and bizarre real events that took place at an ordinary house in Enfield, London during the autumn of 1977. Produced by Eleven, the three-hour event mini-series will be available to stream on Hulu with either a commercial free or limited commercials subscription plan beginning October 27th. The deal was brokered by eOne's Joey Sabella, Director of U.S. and Latin American Sales.

- A new Smithsonian Channel one-hour special recounts the final days of Adolf Hitler, told in the words of those who were with him. A trove of rediscovered interviews with the Nazi leader’s inner-circle, who surrounded Hitler in his bunker as his enemies closed in, are the centerpiece of The Day Hitler Died, premiering Monday, November 16 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. These tapes, thought to be lost to history, were found in an archive in Pittsburgh in 2013. This extraordinary footage will be shown on television in the U.S. for the first time in The Day Hitler Died.

- Us the Duo releases their brand new anticipated single “Slow Down Time,” produced by Captain Cuts [Walk The Moon, “Shut Up And Dance”], to all digital retailers via Republic Records. You can get it HERE! The duo —Michael and Carissa Alvarado — unveiled the song alongside a lyric video, check it out HERE.

- VH1 has set the airdate for its next original movie The Breaks, continuing a successful push into scripted programming for the channel. Set in New York City in 1990, The Breaks will premiere on Monday, January 4 at 9:00.

- Turner Classic Movies (TCM) this week announced the TCM Wine Club, a new venture which curates originally produced wines inspired by classic films as well as expertly selected varietals from renowned vineyards around the globe – all with the convenience of home delivery. TCM has partnered with Direct Wines, specialists in direct-to-consumer wine partnerships, as well as Wines That Rock, the pop culture wine company behind classic Rock ‘n’ Roll-influenced wines and more, to create an exclusive club for film buffs and wine enthusiasts alike. As part of the inaugural offer, new members will receive fifteen special bottles including the first-ever release of Café Zoetrope, a custom-crafted red from the Francis Ford Coppola Winery. Members will also enjoy True Grit Limited Edition Zinfandel along with The Essentials Cabernet Sauvignon – the first in a series of single-varietal wines, specifically curated for TCM Wine Club members, to showcase the world’s great grapes.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Voice Season Nine Battle Round Power Rankings

I have long called Blake Shelton the best coach that has ever sat in a spinning chair. Sure he made the single worse decision ever in the history of The Voice (Holly Henry: never forget) but if I were to make a list of the twenty-five dumbest decisions every in the history of The Voice, that may be the only time he appears. I mostly agree with his decisions about ninety percent of the time. Not this season where I only agreed with him once of his five shown Battles (Blind Joe over Blaine).

I have long assumed Blake takes the March Madness bracket approach to Battle Round pairings (and Knockouts for that matter), seeding his team one through twelve and then paring one with twelve, two with eleven, and so on; weird and random pairings be darned; and then just picks the higher seeds no matter what. Which is probably why in the past his Battles ended up in montages rather than Steals.

I do not know what changed this time around where he seemed to pick the weaker singer more often but for the first time ever half his Battles ended in Steals (unfortunately my favorite on his team Krista did not get a reprieve from anyone) and only one got montaged (but when you pair a female soul singer with a male singer-songwriter type and have them sing Britney Spears, of course that is going to me montaged). Though it makes for some bad Battles, I wish Blake would go back to the March Madness brackets approach because I am not really liking his team very much this season unless he can get a gem of a Steal in the Knockouts.

1. Andi & Alex (Team Adam): I enjoyed their Blind Audition but feared they may turn into a novelty act, except they actually got better. And who actually remembered The Calling were once a thing. I give Adam a lot of crap (and deserved for pretty much the rest of his song choices this round) but he really did a great job pairing the duo with someone I thought was fodder and turn it into the best Battle of the season.

2. Ellie Lawrence (Team Gwen): Gwen was on a roll with her song selection this round. Sure three of them got montaged, one of them probably should have also, and I am not sure Sweater Weather is a very good choice if you have to cut it down to two minute. Ellie was decent, but she is still high on the list as her Blind Audition is still the best performance of the season.

3. Amy Vachal (Team Pharrell): It seems like more often than not, the coaches cleanly give a song that favors one singer over another (sorry dude who was forced to sing Regina Spektor), occasionally they can find songs that are suited for both singers. Then on the very rare occasion the coaches pick a song that does not really help either. Amy did fine in her part but overall this just reminded me of the good old days before Battle montages where the last two singers paired would have to Battle each other and sing the songs in completely different ways like Dia Frampton vs. Serabee or Erin Martin vs. The Shields Brothers (the greatest bad Battle ever in the history of the show). Amy was good when she was by herself but I am really surprised this was not montaged and even more surprised the song sold well. Because of that you kind of have to put Amy on the shortlist of front runners with Andi and Alex, Barrett, Ellie, and Jordan. Hey that is actually one per team and two for Adam. That probably means Adam will throw one of them under the bus and probably either Gwen or Pharrell will do something really stupid.

4. Korin Bukowski (Team Gwen): The biggest winner of the Battle Round. I found her Blind Audition too much (despite the awesome song choice) and Gwen apparently did such a poor job picking songs that suited her singers that half her Battles got montaged, but both really hit it out of the park on this one. Sure girls like this sadly never win, but as long as she keeps it simple and sweet, Korin could get as far as Caroline Pennell.

5. Siahna Im (Team Pharrell): Poor song choice but she did do the best she could do with it.

6. Madi Davis (Team Pharrell): I have long assumed performances get montaged because of one of two reasons: they were just bad, the coach made a horrible decision. Madi and Sydney were the lone montage victims to chart this round while Sydney's Blind Audition lingered around for most of the Battles. Clearly people were interested in the Battle, it charted so I wonder just what went wrong because there were some pretty dreadful or just boring Battle that were shown.I am just going to go with the assumption the montaged it because the other coaches did not Steal Sydney because she clearly resonated within her short time on the show.

7. Mark Hood (Team Pharrell): Another boring song choise by Pharrell but he did well, hopefully he can do something a little less dusty after two straight old soul classic

8. Morgan Frazier (Team Blake Pharrell): I have when coaches hem and haw about this is their hardest pairing and how they were stupid to put these two together when ninety percent of the time everyone at home knew who was going to win the moment the pairing was announced, but this definitely was one of the closest Battles ever. Though I disagree with Blake about going with who he can help the most, for me the tie-breaker should be who gave the better Blind Audition and that was Morgan. But at least she was Stolen by Pharrell. And of course all of Blake's hemming and hawing about this Battle will be moot if Blake just Steals Morgan back next round as the last two season's he has done just that with his Knockout Round Steal. Though Dustin or Blaine may be the better choice since having both Morgan and Emily Ann is like having the same singer. At any rate, I really hate when coaches Steal back contestants they just booted from their team.

9. Blind Joe (Team Blake): Considering his bad choices this season, Blake would take the more polished Blaine but I am glad he actually gave Blind Joe the nod because this bar band classic should not be polished.

10. Dustin Christensen (Team Blake Adam): Barrett closed out the first episode which I considered to be the pimpiest of pimp slots on the show, but I actually like Dustin much better on the show.

11. Blaine Mitchell (Team Blake Adam): Though I thought Blind Joe won, I did like how Blaine managedto work the stage for both of them.

12. Kota Wade (Team Gwen): Montage win... yawn.

13. Emily Ann Roberts (Team Blake): Meh.

14. Tim Atlas (Team Gwen Pharrell): He was okay for someone who was montaged during the Blind Auditions but Steal worthy? I do not know. But then again there really eight losers this season worthy of a Steal. So fine, Tim gets another round, but I would be surprised if he goes further.

15. Keith Semple (Team Adam): So is he supposed to be this season's Terry McDermot? Meh.

16. Barrett Baber (Team Blake): I have always assumed whoever gets to close out the first episode is whoever the producers think should win. I find Barrett mostly boring and wonder if he will suffer the similar fate of the only other time a country singer got that slot when James David Carter could not make it past the first week of voting.

17. Evan McKeel (Team Pharrell): Every season the producers seems to focus a lot on one singer that ended up bombing when people actually start voting (Kat from season five was the most glaring example) and I am beginning wonder if Evan is this season's version. They seem to spend a lot of time on him but his iTunes sales have been middle of the pack. That could just be the result of an obscure Mutemath song and a tired Stevie Wonder Battle, but Evan really needs a Knockout moment because if not he may bomb if he makes it to the Live Show.

18. Ivonne Acero (Team Pharrell Blake): One of the big loser of the Battle Rounds, the weak link of one of the worst Battles this season. But hey, Blake gave her a one week reprieve.

19. Shelby Brown (Team Adam): The other big loser of the round. Every nice thing I said about Adam picking The Calling I take back for giving two seventeen year old Edge of Seventeen. Oh my. I wonder if she is regretting not going with Blake right about now. She had one of the best selling Blind Auditions but almost got outsold in the Battle Round by a duo that was montaged.

20. Regina Love (Team Adam Gwen): Another wasted Steal but then again, no one really stands out as more deserving.

21. Riley Biederer (Team Pharrell Gwen): See above.

22. Jordan Smith (Team Adam): In the beginning there were a lot of weird people auditioning with voices you would not expect, now it has teen into J Crew teenage models after another. Jordan harkens back to those early days, but I find his voice to be too shill but as much as the promo spend on him (he is the only one we hear sing in the Knockout previews) he seems like the biggest lock to make the Live Show.

23. Viktor Király (Team Adam): Simular to Evan but I fear that he will be more like this season's Dez Duron, the mediocre singer with model's looks that goes three or four rounds further than his talent deserves because he appeals to the large bored housewife voting block.

24. James Dupré (Team Adam): A big storyline of the Blind Auditions was Adam managing to get two country singers over Blake. Then in the Battles, he gave them both rock songs that sold significantly less than their Blind Auditions on iTunes. Again, I wonder if James is regretting not going with Blake. But I actually believe Shelby could still make the Live Shows, James, not so much. Which would be Adam's third country artist he got instead of Blake that he then unloaded before the Live Shows.

25. Chris Crump (Team Blake): I would rather Krista had advanced.

26. Zach Seabaugh (Team Blake): Did Blake pick him solely on based on marketability because his vocals are not at all memorable.

27. Nadjah Nicole (Team Blake): Montage win... yawn.

28. Summer Schappell (Team Gwen): Montage win... yawn. And based on the studio version, I thought Hanna Ashbrook was significantly better, which maybe is why they montaged it, so Gwen did not look stupid. Actually is that why half of Gwen's Battles get montaged? Advancing Braiden was also stupid and her two Steals were head scratching at best.

29. Darius Scott (Team Pharrell): Montage win... yawn.

30. Jeffery Austin (Team Gwen): Montage win... yawn.

31. Chance Peña (Team Adam Blake): What a lucky kid, he is a teenager who gets paired with two hot twins who are so good, they made hm seem better than he actually like how Magic Johnson made all his teammates look better, and managed to get Blake to Steal him. But without the twins propping him out, I am guessing there will be no more Steals for him.

32. Braiden Sunshine (Team Gwen): I was never a fan of Lyndsey, but if Gwen was will to toss her lone four chair turn overboard for Braiden, I am really beginning to worry he may actually be this season's Ryan Sill (never forget).

So if you rank them by the team they are on, here is how each team stands up:

Pharrell: 175
Adam: 139
Gwen: 115
Blake: 99

Wow, so coming out of the Blind Audition, I had Blake as the strongest team, but now he is at the bottom. I rip on Gwen a lot, but she still has Ellie and a rising Korin, there is really no one worth caring about on Blake's team. He really does need to Steal someone in the Knockouts. But then again, who cares what I think, here is how high the Battle Round songs ranked on iTunes and included the Blind Auditions that have still popped up over the past two week to show you who has staying power.

1. Andi and Alex and Chance Pena (11)
2. Barrett Baber and Dustin Christensen (41)
3. Celeste Betton and Mark Hood (49)
4. Chase Kerby and Korin Bukowski (78)
5. Jordan Smith and Regina Love (98)
6. Ellie Lawrence (122)
7. Chris Crump and Krista Hughes (139)
8. Ellie Lawrence and Tim Atlas (148)
9. Andi and Alex (169)
10. Amy Vachal and Jubal and Amanda (184)
11. Cassandra Robertson and Viktor Kiraly (192)
12. Jordan Smith (195)
13. Keith Semple and Manny Cabo (231)
14. Braiden Sunshine and Lyndsey Elm (235)
15. Blaine Michell and Blind Joe (236)
16. Amy Vachal (299)
17. Emily Ann Roberts and Morgan Frazier (376)
18. Sydney Rhame (394)
19. Shelby Brown (471)
20. Evan McKeel and Riley Biederer (496)
21. Barrett Baber (503)
22. Tyler Dickerson and Zach Seabaugh (693)
23. Dustin Monk and James Dupre (858)
24. Korin Bukowski (864)
25. Morgan Frazier (932)
26. Ivonne Acero and Siahna Im (989)
27. Krista Hughes (1006)
28. Chance Pena (1044)
29. Amanda Ayala and Shelby Brown (1066)
30. Blind Joe (1068)
31. Lyndsey Elm (1194)
32. Madi Davis and Sydney Rhame (1252)
33. Chris Crump (1434)

Since they went to releasing Battle Round performances as duets instead of separately it is hard to tell who exactly who the buyers were buying for but here is how each team member left would rank if you average their Battle and their Blind Audition

1. Alex and Andi (21.5)
2. Barrett Baber (63)
3. Jordan Smith (67)
4. Ellie Lawrence (98)
5. Amy Vachel (108)
6. Chris Crump (177)
7. Dustin Christensen (184.5)
8. Blind Joe (193)
9. Chance Pena (201.5)
10. Morgan Frazier (225.5)
11. Korin Bukowski (277.5)
12. Viktor Kiraly (347.5)
13. Emily Ann Roberts (392)
14. Blaine Mitchell (417.5)
15. Mark Hood (431.5)
16. Keith Semple (441)
17. Zach Seabaugh (497)
18. James Dupre (536.5)
19. Shelby Brown (552.5)
20. Evan McKeel (617.5)
21. Siahna Im (637.5)
22. Ivonne Acero (651.5)
23. Madi Davis (801.5)
(the next seven only rated once on the top 1500 and here is if they ranked the one that charted and use 1500 as the non chart-er)
24. Regina Love (799)
25. Tim Atlas (824)
26. Braiden Sunshine (867.5)
27. Jeffery Austin (956)
28. Summer Schappell (963)
29. Riley Biederer (998)
30. Darius Scott (1496.5)
(the last two have yet to chart once which is probably not a good sign if they make the Live Show)
31. Koda Wade (1500)
31. Nadhaj Nicole (1500)

Now lets see who the iTunes buyers think has the strongest team if you rank them based on the above standing:

Adam: 174
Blake: 155
Pharrell: 115
Gwen: 83

So the iTunes buyers and me differ on Blake. The big loser is Gwen who has six of the nine singers who have failed to make the top 1500 at least once this season, including her two Steal compared to the other three coaches who had at least one Steal in the top ten. I wonder if Pharrell did his team a disservice with poor song choices and if like me they like Pharrell's team but wished they had better songs.

Unlike the Battle Rounds where the spoiled all the pairings in the preview, we currently do not know any of the Knockout pairings. In fact the only performance we saw in the preview was Jordan's and I looked but I did not even see anyone else on the stage so maybe they are doing Knockouts differently this season. But there is still Steals so either they are still doing it pairs and they are not forcing them to sit on stage while the other sings (which if true booooo, I live the instant reaction and the complete dread when the other singer realizes they are going home just hearing their opponent sing) or the stage was too dark to see.

Without pairing spoilers, it is a bit harder to guess who will advance so I am just going to go with who I predicted after the Blind Audition minus the four (half were Blake's team members; he really messed up this season; of course he will still end up winning) I already got wrong ranking them with how confident I am that they will advance.

Adam: Jordan, Viktor, Shelby, Keith
Blake: Barrett, Zach, Emily Ann, Blind Joe
Gwen: Ellie, Jeffery, Korin, (I really do not want to believe it but it is becoming more and more clear he is this season's Ryan Sill), Braiden
Pharrell: Mark, Amy, Evan, Madi
Steals: Siahna, Dustin, Riley, Ivonne