Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Previewing The Handmaid's Tale



“Better doesn’t mean better for everyone.” There are many striking things about The Handmaid’s Tale, but this quote sticks out more than them all. In our highly polarized society, it is surprising a politician has not come right out and said this while defending legislation like health care where there seems to be no good law that helps everyone in a fiscal way. Of course if any politician said that it would probably be a good way to not get reelected.

But that is a thing you can say in a totalitarian regime that is in control of the alternative timeline of The Handmaid’s Tale. It is a little unclear how he got here but flashbacks slowly put the puzzle pieces in place. At first this regime slaughtered Congress, blamed terrorists, and suspended the constitution temporary until it became permanent. Anchorage is now the capital and there are only two states left while there is still war going outside.

This unrest all started with a plague of infertility over the majority of women and much like the Biblical plagues, some religious types thought this was brought on by God punishing us for birth control and other immoral acts. And now this new world is being run by the Leaders of the Faithful who make the Westboro Baptist Church look like Sodom and Gomorrah in comparison. The abduct fertile women and turn them into sex slaves for Commanders whose wives cannot give birth resulting in maybe the creepiest sex scene you will ever see. But yet aside from being devotedly religious, these people seem to forget one of the Ten Commandments is Thou Shall Not Kill. And the whole thing about coveting your neighbor’s wife is mostly of broken by them too.

Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) plays the titular character and narrator who is taken prisoner because she had just given birth so the Leaders of the Faithful know she is fertile. It is a little weird seeing Peggy Olsen in modern time except she is quickly outfitted in a handmaid’s garb which looks straight out of the Puritan’s collection, a muted red floor length dress with a “winged” white hat. The Leaders on the other hand are always dressed like they are heading to the opera. Moss’s Leaders are played by Joseph Fiennes (FlashForward), who utters that first line, and Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck) who is really good in this Stepfordian role.

But it is Moss who is great here. She always seems to have this dead behind the eyes stares as the life has been almost completely sucked out of her in the two short months she has been a Handmaid. And the camera always seems to be in a close up shot of that black stare. Juxtaposed her creepy blank stare to her very lively narration where she plots a way to get back to her son. Alexis Bledel (Sin City) shows up as a fellow Handmaid, they are not allowed to travel by themselves, with a secret which gets very dark by the third episode.

And just when the show starts getting too dark, there are moments of levity, a quick quip from Moss as narrator, a random game of Scrabble, and most notably a weird and random musical cue that closes out the second episode. Really, the weirder the show gets the more I enjoy it. It has been a rough start for Hulu since it has flipped over to their pay only tier, but The Handmaid’s Tale is finally a new show worth paying for their service.

The first three episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale are now able to stream on Hulu with new episodes premiering every Wednesday.






Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Previewing Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman



Morgan Freeman has filmed fifty-eight episodes of Through the Wormhole and tonight premieres the one of the last four episode ever (or at least until it is rebooted because shows never truly die anymore). For seven years Freeman has been asking the hard questions like the existence of god, the science of racism, life on other planets, the future of robots and many others.

Tonight’s episode is dedicated to the fortieth anniversary of Star Wars this year by asking is there really a mystical “force” out there? On the surface kind of a silly question but there really are forces out there that we cannot see that are working in mysterious ways. Einstein even theorized that space is not truly empty. Other topics discussed tonight is the idea of entanglement, the double split where light can split in two to go into two different places, and can we send messages to our future selves through wormholes, because I guess a time capsule is just too easy.

Later this season Morgan will also be asking, can we cheat death? Death is life’s greatest certainty. But that may be about to change. Scientists have discovered an immortal animal that may hold the secret of endless regeneration. They’re on the brink of editing our DNA so that we can cure death like a disease. Or is dying necessary for the survival of our species? Can we hack the planet? Humanity is under threat – from storms that seem to get ever fiercer, earthquakes that seem ever more deadly, and killer viruses that are engulfing the globe. Some scientists think it’s time for us to fight back. Can we – should we –hack the planet? And is gun crime a virus? Every seventeen minutes in America, someone is killed with a gun. Politicians can’t seem to stop the violence. But epidemiologists, psychologists and big data crunchers are discovering that gun crime spreads like a virus –and science may be able to stop its spread.

Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman airs Tuesdays at 10:00 on Science.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 4/22/2017




Once Upon a Time: Was this our first look at Tigerlily on the show? They ruined Peter Pan so much it is hard to remember. But Emma being able to bring Hook back to Storybrooke seemed silly. He had some curse that preventing him from getting back there so what was so different about the door Emma created?
You can download Once Upon a Time on iTunes.

Billions: Does a billionaire really a VR experience with a doomsday bunker when he can build one that is real and probably better? How about a bunker on the moon or Mars? But what exactly do you get a man who can buy anything?

The Voice: Someone mentioned their team on The Voice App and I thought, oh yeah, I have one of those but I have not even looked at it since the Battle Rounds. I was shocked to see my team was still in tack (Lauren, TSoul Chris, Lilli, and Jesse). Usually I am lucky to have two people make it to the Top 12. Aliyah was the big shock getting voted through over Casi (though I think Blake would have saved her anyway). Vanessa was another big shock that night, she was singing a crappy EDM song and still made it in over the overhyped Stephanie and Partridge legacy Jack. The big shocks Tuesday came with the coaches saves, I figured Gwen would save either Quizz because of her creepy obsession with teenagers or the much hyped JChosen. Instead she went with the easily forgettable Troy who has to be most likely to get booted first next week. Then I thought Adam would save one of his rockers but instead boring teen singer Mark who is most likely to be in the bottom two every week yet inexplicably saved by Twitter up until the Semi-Finals. Ugg. But anyway, here is my top 12 Power Rankings:

1. Lilli Passero
2. Lauren Duski
3. Chris Blue
4. Aliyah Moulden
5. TSoul
6. Vanessa Ferguson
7. Brennley Brown
8. Troy Ramey
9. Stephanie Rice
10. Jesse Larson
11. Hunter Plake
12. Mark Isaiah

Harlots: You know what they say, a party never truly starts until someone brings a goat. And poor Lucy, again stuck the war between her sister and her fiancé. That final song was so sad.

Pretty Little Liars: Should I remember who Holden is. Wasn’t the murdered cop named Detective Holden? And please more Ali and Paige mean women scenes.
You can download Pretty Little Liars on iTuness.

The Challenge: Invasion of the Champions: Do you believe in highly unlikely’s!!! Camilla over Laurel. Wow. And Camillia is the only Champion girl left. Double wow.
You can download The Challenge: Invasion of the Champions on iTunes.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: So The Patriot is dead dead right? Dead in the framework is dead in real life. That is not to say they cannot bring him back somehow I guess.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.

Survivor: Game Changers: Oh my, two hours is just too much. And it was turning out to be a horrible two hours: Debbie grinding on Cirie, Tai streaking, Hali getting booted, and then Andrea almost went home. Instead Ozzy got the boot so it was not all bad. A lot of bad game play this week. When Cirie was debating bringing in Michayla to her alliance and get rid of Hali instead, I had to wonder, why not bring in both and then vote out someone like Brad or Sierra? And did these people really think Hali was smart enough to find an Idol? Really, she could have had come in handy for Cirie’s alliance at the second Tribal. But before that Zeke made a horrible move breaking from what looked like a very tight alliance with Andrea. So Andrea tells Zeke not to tell Debbie her plan, Zeke tells Debbie and they should target Andrea, Debbie than says forget than and then conspires to get rid of Ozzy and does not even let Zeke in on the plan as he is the only one who votes for Aubrey for no apparent reason (did we miss a scene where they told them they were splitting votes just in case Andrea had an Idol and that is why Zeke voted for Aubrey?). So now Debbie does not trust Zeke, Sierra does not trust Zeke, Andrea is still in the game and gunning for Zeke (on the flip side, Andrea will have to go back to camp after saying, “see you never” in her vote). So note to future players, if Andrea tells you to not do something do not do it.


You can download Survivor: Game Changers on iTunes.

The Blacklist: Wait, Red’s cleaner used to be Lizzy’s babysitter? Huh? But really, I am not sure we really needed an entire episode devoted to her.
You can download The Blacklist on iTunes.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Around the Tubes: 4/21/2017



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 Bob Marley & the Wailers, Sheryl Crow, Will, Animal Kingdom, American Race, Jackson, Al MadrigalL: Shrimpin’ Ain’t Easy, Power, and Alfa Anderson.

- Bob Marley & the Wailers’ classic Exodus album, the ninth studio album of the band, was released on June 3, 1977, featuring a new backing band including brothers Carlton and Aston “Family Man” Barrett on drums and bass, Tyrone Downie on keyboards, Alvin “Seeco” Patterson on percussion, and the I Threes, Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffiths and Rita Marley on backing vocals, and newest member Julian “Junior Marvin” on guitar. The album was released on June 3, 1977, just six months after an assassination attempt was made on Bob Marley's life in Jamaica in December, forcing him to flee to London, where Exodus was recorded. On June 2, UMe will release a version of Exodus 40 - The Movement Continues in a two-CD package that includes the original album and the Ziggy Marley “restatement”; a three-CD set (and digital equivalent) that includes the original Exodus, Exodus 40 - The Movement Continues and Exodus Live. A limited edition gold vinyl version of the original 1977 album will also be available.

- Tune in to the AUDIENCE Network concert special Sheryl Crow airing Friday, April 21, at 9:00 via DIRECTV Ch 239, AT&T U-verse Ch 1114 and DIRECTV NOW. As she nears the release of her ninth studio album titled Be Myself--out April 21 via Warner Bros. Records--multi-platinum-selling singer, songwriter, and musician Sheryl Crow will be the featured artist on AT&T AUDIENCE Network. The show will delve into the American music icon's history in an interview with series host Ted Stryker as well as a full concert featuring her hits and new fan favorites.

- In celebration of Shakespeare’s birthday on Sunday, April 23, TNT is releasing the premiere date and a new trailer for its upcoming series Will, slated to launch on Monday, July 10, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) across TNT's U.S. platforms.

- n anticipation of the return of Animal Kingdom, check out the latest trailer featuring season two of TNT’s hit series. Brace yourself for what the Codys are up to as family bonds are broken and new alliances are formed. The second season of Animal Kingdom is slated to launch Tuesday, May 30, at 9:00 on TNT.


In celebration of Shakespeare’s birthday on Sunday, April 23, TNT is releasing the premiere date and a new trailer for its upcoming series Will, slated to launch on Monday, July 10, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT) across TNT's U.S. platforms.


- Showtime will air the television premiere of the critically acclaimed documentary Jackson on Tuesday, May 2 at 7:30. From award-winning director Maisie Crow (A Life Alone, The Last Clinic), Jackson is an intimate look at the lives of three women caught in the complex issues surrounding access to abortion in the Deep South.


- In American Race, formerly The Race Card, a two-night television event from Turner's TNT, Charles Barkley is taking a journey across the country to explore the issue of race from different angles and engage in thoughtful but spirited dialogue with a diverse cross section of Americans. He brings with him a truly ambitious goal of building the kind of mutual understanding that can lead to productive solutions. TNT's American Race will air over two nights – Thursday, May 11, and Friday, May 12 – with two episodes each night at 9 and 10 p.m. (ET/PT).

- Comedian and I’m Dying Up Here star Al Madrigal returns to the stage in the debut of his new one-hour comedy special Al MadrigalL: Shrimpin’ Ain’t Easy on Friday, May 5 at 9:00. ET/PT on Showtime. Madrigal’s sidesplitting stand-up kicks off the first of three standalone comedy specials from the stars of the new Showtime drama series I’m Dying Up Here premiering Sunday, June 4 at 10:00. Following Madrigal’s special will be the premieres of Andrew Santigo: Home Field Adventure on Friday, June 2 and Erik Griffin: The Ugly Truth on Friday, July 7.

- Starz’s most watched series ever returns when Power: The Complete Third Season arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on June 13 from Lionsgate. With record-breaking ratings for its premiere, season three — with its all-star cast, including Omari Hardwick (TV’s ”Being Mary Jane”), Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson (The Hangover), and Naturi Naughton (TV’s “Mad Men”) — finds James St. Patrick fighting to maintain his new lifestyle on the right side of the law.

- Alfa Anderson, former member of the iconic funk soul band Chic (Le Freak, Good Times, Everybody Dance), will release a new single, "When Luther Sings," in honor of her longtime friend Luther Vandross 66th birthday. The rousing, heartfelt tribute is written by Anderson and co-produced by multi-talented Bert Price. Available nationwide on April 20, When Luther Sings is the first single from Anderson’s long-awaited debut solo album, From My Heart (set for release summer 2017).


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I Want My Music Television: 4/18/2017




Still Feel Like Your Man - John Mayer


John Mayer have done some soul infused songs before, but this is the first time he has done what sounds like a straight up RnB song. But I could have done without the really bad dancing.


Only Songs - The Wild Reeds


This song by OThe Wild Reeds may be my favorite song of the early year.


Lights Out – Royal Blood


I have a short leash these days when watching new music videos, you better do something quickly or I may move on. About fifteen seconds into this video for Royal Blood, I was typing the name of the next video I was going to watch and right before I hit enter, something creeped out of the ceiling. Okay, I am glad I finished it, because this video is freaky.


Good With God – Old 97’s featuring Brandi Carlile



An Hour and 60 Minutes, ha, good one Old 97's, though why get Jenna Fisher to replace Matt Pinfield?

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Voice Season Twelve Knockout Round Power Rankings



So no key adviser this season. I guess they could not find anyone as big as the guy from Fun to help out this season. (Oh wait, Shaina Twain is coming in next week to mentor the Top 12). Instead for the first time ever, the contestants got to watch their opponent practice. Yawn. So basically fodder knew they were going home days before their performance instead of minutes. Except for some head scratching Steals. Seriously, what the fork? Lilli was the only one this round worthy of a reprieve. The other three should have been reserved for Felisha and… um, the Knockouts were pretty meh this season as a whole. Almost everyone gave their worst performance of the season. And much like the Steals, of the rumored Comeback Picks, I wonder why bother to them except for one. No spoilers, so here are the contestants we know for sure will be performing tonight.

1. Lauren Duski (Team Blake): Sure she has given the same performance three times but she has yet to falter. And without a clear frontrunner this season, being country on Team Blake, she may be the closest we got to a frontrunner right now.

2. Lilli Passero (Team Alicia Adam): Her weakest performance of the three, but like I said earlier, you can say that about just about everyone this season. Still leaps and bounds above Ashley. It seems like Alicia has been employing Pharrell’s keep the weaker singer if it seems like the other is going to get Stolen philosophy (which I hate). And on the plus side, it looks like it will be easier to get to the top 12 on Adam’s team.

3. Vanessa Ferguson (Team Alicia): I guess we now know why Alicia got rid of “Felisha Keys” because Vanessa is a much better imitation of her.

4. TSoul (Team Blake): Well that was kind of weird and I kind of liked it.

5. Aliyah Moulden (Team Blake): The best of the way too many teenagers this season, but it concerns me that she already went country.

6. Casi Joy (Team Blake): One of the few times I thought someone gave their best performance this round.

7. Chris Blue (Team Alicia): If you catch me on the right day, I may call Superstition the greatest song of all time. I will never call this the greatest Knockout performance of all time.

8. Brennley Brown (Team Blake Gwen: Well I was wrong about Blake letting her go just to Steal her back in the Knockouts (he ended up Stealing her opponent because, maybe he did not hear who won?). I still find her a bit squeaky.

9. Anatalia Villaranda (Team Alicia) – Her first two performances were high energy fun, but I am not sure if I want to her a teenage pop singer sing a country song about killing a dude.

10. Jesse Larson (Team Adam): He is fine already, but we have seen much better old rockers on this show before.

11. Hanna Eyre (Team Adam): I think I said this last time, but Hanna is much better when she keeps it young and fun, another song about adult love just seems off.

12. JChosen (Team Gwen): I am always annoyed when singers put too many gymnastics in their vocal performance; it gets really annoying after a while. Pick your spot s dude.

13. Stephanie Rice (Team Gwen Alicia): I was going to wonder why Alicia wasted a Steal but there was not much else out there worthy of one and this was not even the worst Steal of the season, not even the second worst.

14. Hunter Plake (Team Alicia Gwen): Looking at iTunes, Hunter is going to be this season’s token boring white dude who gets to the finals despite being very bland. Hopefully Gwen finds a way to screw this up.

15. Josh West (Team Adam): Sometimes you can tell who is going to win just by the pairing. Josh seems to be Adam’s favorite, but I liked Johnny much better. Josh may have the look but sound bar room karaoke.

16. Troy Ramey (Team Gwen): I liked his Blind Audition, but since then he was montaged and gave a slurry, weird Knockout performance. Not a good trajectory.

17. Ashley Levin (Team Blake Alicia): She started out bad and just got worse. And yet Alicia picking her over Lilli was not even the worst decision this season.

18. Mark Isaiah (Team Adam): Montage win… yawn. And though they put up the full performance on YouTube, I could not bring myself to watch him sing Justin Beiber. Hopefully they find a way to montage his Playoff too.

19. Quizz Swanigan (Team Alicia Gwen): I was going to call this the worst use of a Steal ever until….

20. Aaliyah Rose (Team GwenBlake: What the flying fork?!?! I thought Gwen’s Steal of Quizz would go down as the worst ever. No, this may have been the worst use of a Steal ever and worst Knockout performance ever. What the fork Blake, if you wanted to curry favors with your girlfriend, Steal Johnny.

Putting these placements into my patent pending formula to see who has the best team:

Blake – 69
Alicia – 56
Adam – 49
Gwen - 36

Despite the embarrassing Steal, Blake still had four of the top six. On the flip side, Gwen only had one person in the top half of the list. Adam’s Steal helped keep him out of the cellar as the rest of his team is in the bottom eleven. So it is really the Blake, Alicia, and Lilli show to me. Hopefully they can put those two teams on the same night so I can completely ignore the other night other than watching Lilli on YouTube and hopefully remembering to vote for her. But who cares what I think, here is what the iTunes
buyers purchased this round:

1. Hunter Plake (23)
2. Stephanie Rice (60)
3. Brennley Brown (63)
4. Lauren Duski (111)
5. Vanessa Ferguson (137)
6. Hunter Plake and Jack Cassidy (139)
7. TSoul (162)
8. Chris Blue (187)
9. Troy Ramsey (221)
10. Casi Joy (241)
11. JChosen (255)
12. Josh West (272)
13. Jesse Larson (327)
14. Lilli Passero (343)
15. Hanna Eyre (360)
16. Aliyah Moulden (535)
17. Hunter Plake – Carry On (613)
18. Mark Isaiah (785)
19. Jonny Gates and Sammie Zonana (1025)
20. Aaliyah Rose (1047)
21. Casi Joy - Blue (1066)
22. Brennley Brown and Lauren Duski (1189)
23. Anatalia Villaranda (1120)
24. Stephani Rice – Piece By Piece (1203)
25. Ashley Levin (1405)

And if you are looking for Quizz, he could not even crack the top 1500 so clearly I was not the only one scratching my head when he was Stolen. Now if you average their peaks from all three rounds this is where they rank this season:

1. Lauren Duski (135.3)
2. Stephanie Rice (179)
3. Hunter Plake (211)
4. Casi Joy (233.3)
5. Chris Blue (266)
6. Lilli Passero (279.6)
7. JChosen (400.6)
8. Vanessa Ferguson (421)
9. Brennley Brown (450.6)
10. TSoul (549.3)
11. Mark Isaiah (684)
12. Anatalia Villaranda (1178)
Only charted two of their three songs
13. Troy Ramsey (242)
14. Jesse Larson (370)
15. Josh West (437.5)
16. Aliyah Moulden (495)
17. Hannah Eyre (516.5)
18. Ashley Levin (822.5)
Only charted one song
19. Quizz (441)
20. Aaliyah Rose (1046)

Like I have said that without a clear frontrunner, Lauren may be the closest we got. I am not sure what iTunes buyers hear in Stephanie or Hunter. I am also surprised Lilli is not selling better. That indie-folk lane that she kind of controls this season usually sells very well (though not necessarily translates to votes). Amy Vashal even had that throwback vibe and rivaled Jordan that season on the iTunes charts (yet inexplicably could not even make it to the Twitter Save portion of the Semi-Final). So I am hesitant to even predict she will make the top 12 even though she is doing much better than everyone on her team, only Mark had all three songs chart and she averaged four hundred higher than him. And I guess iTunes votes do not even count this round because there will be instant results. I think they did this last season but I stopped watching a long time before that.

But I will still make some predictions even though they seem harder than usually this season. Except for Blake. His team is always the easiest to predict. And his top three will likely make the Semi-Finals

Team Adam:
America Saves: Lilli, Jesse (or Adam’s comeback artist, but I do not want to spoil)
Adam Saves: Josh (or Lilli if his Comeback Artist takes her spot)

Team Alicia
America Saves: Chris, Ashley
Alicia Saves: Anatalia

Team Blake
America Saves: Lauren, Casi
Blake Saves: TSoul

Team Gwen
America Saves: Brennley, Troy
Gwen Saves: Quizz (because Gwen hates America)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 4/15/17




Once Upon a Time: Plot twist! So Gideon was controlled by the Black Fairy this whole time. And apparently the Buffy rules apply here and dying temporary is good enough.
You can download Once Upon a Time on iTunes.

Homeland: So Dar is evil enough to discredit the President Elect (and use enhanced interrogation on a sitting Senator) but not enough to actually kill her. After time jump, the first question I had was what happened to Dar. Sure he orchestrated much of this up to the assassination attempt, but he did save the president’s life by calling Carrie. But if the president is arresting Saul, of course Dar would get tapped too. But of all the people arrested, they did not grab the talk radio guy? The guy had a huge role in all of this. And just what did he do to Max. He gets detained, almost escapes, next we see is three months later and he shows up drunk at Carrie’s. Clearly he could point out radio guy was more involved than Saul. And for the second time in the show’s history, they killed off a male lead probably a season too late. The story of this season was really good, but watching Quinn being barely human was just unbearable at times.

Billions: It happens so few times but when Axe and Chuck get in the same room it is going to be epic. There was a point in the episode where I thought the two were going to team up to take down “The Kingmaker” but Chuck decided instead to kiss his ring. I take it this season ends with Axe ruining Chuck’s gubernatorial run? But Chuck still has the former Axe worker in his back pocket for emergencies now.

Into the Badlands: Oh hey, dude killed his son. I guess the Badland in turmoil should be entertaining… I hope.
You can download Into the Badlands on iTunes.

Harlots: There is the case for commercials. When Lucy shoots her gun and cuts to commercial, if you have the ad version of Hulu, you actually have to sit there and stew about who she just shot, but without the ads, it comes back and it is just a deer. Yet apparently she ended up being punished for something else, granted off screen (for a premium show where presumably anything goes, a lot of the more graphic things happen off screen).
You can stream Harlots on Hulu.

The Challenge: Invasion of the Champions: So we got our Underdog Bloodbath but apparently that is not it looks like they are going to eliminate two more people on each team before the final leaving just one dude and one chick per team. Meh. I am kind of ready for this season to end all ready.
You can download The Challenge: Invasion of the Champions on iTunes.

The Americans: So Elizabeth learned yoga this week. Interesting. But I guess the bigger news was that Paige met Gabriel before he goes home. Can she just go on a mission already?

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: So Ward is a secret agent in the Framework too. He better not come back with them whenever they escape. The Framework is just inside their heads right? There would be no physical form for him, right?
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.

The Path: Man, Hawk is the only one with actual conviction on a show about faith. Seriously, how do you trade Sarah’s freedom, someone who clearly deserves to be punished, for someone who is making whole comminutes sick? Sarah was even splattered with black cow’s blood and will let that continue to happen to avoid jail time. Just kind of a letdown of an episode. I spent most of the first season wanting more especially coming from the guy who created Friday Night Light. And this season actually seemed to be building to something, I started to care about some of the characters, and then in the end no one is punished for their bad deeds. At least we got that final scene of Eddie brining in his Denyers which clearly sets up a fight between him and Cal next season.
You can stream The Path on Hulu.

Survivor: Game Changers: When they did not cut to commercial after the Immunity Challenge I knew something was up. When they went to Tribal Council about ten minute earlier in the episode than they usually do, I thought, oh no, they are going to rocks. But when they sat down and there were seven, that would be odd for a split vote (though I guess the Varner voting for Ozzie, the other guys voting for Varner, and the girls voting for Zeke would be plausible).

Then Varner turned to Zeke and asked why he has not told anyone he was transgendered. Oh, that is why we are getting an extended Tribal. Pretty cheap Probst canceled voting, it could have been a very cathartic exercise to write Varner’s name down after that. Of course my big question now is does Zeke just get the pity win now? If not, who is the first person to broach the subject of targeting Zeke? These are all returning players so they have to know Zeke is now the biggest threat in the game, and in a game where they are continually talking about getting rid of the big threats, they all have to be thinking of it, who will be the first to mention it? And the first who does get axed like Cierra who was the first voted out because she was the first person to being up someone else’s name.
You can download Survivor: Game Changers on iTunes.

The Blacklist: Redemption: So Tom’s dad turned out to be the bad guy all along. Alrighty. But why did Scotty’s hot assistant walk all the way to Tom’s to give him the hard drive? Get to a hospital. Now the question, does he stay there and get his mother out of prison or go home for the birthday party? (Looking at the ratings, that may be resolved off screen and he will be back next season on the main show. So the real quiention is will he mention it, only mention it in passing, or will they devote an episode to resolve his family’s storyline.)
You can download The Blacklist on iTunes.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Around the Tubes: 4/14/2017



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 BarkFest, Rise, Hollywood Game Night, The Path, and The Arrangement.

- Nat Geo WILD’s third annual BarkFest weekend is a celebration of our furever friends. We turn up the cuteness factor with new specials Puppies vs. The World, and Boss Dog, and are serving up fun dog-focused episodes of Cesar Millan’s Dog Nation, Pet Talk and The Incredible Dr. Pol. The third annual BarkFest premieres on Friday, April 14, on Nat Geo WILD.
Highlights include:

Puppies vs. The World (Premieres Friday, April 14 at 8:00): For puppies, it’s a brand-new world out there, full of obstacles, setbacks and amazing new experiences. We challenge puppies to do the simplest tasks like drink water, climb stairs and escape the clutches of a toddler, and the outcome is uproarious misadventure. Along the way, we include quick and fascinating facts about puppy development and peek in on The Puppy House, which is just what is sounds like: a house full of puppies!

Boss Dog (Premieres Saturday, April 15 at 9:00): As one of Los Angeles’ top dog trainers, Stevo Henderson is on a mission to help dog owners achieve their perfect dog through his innovative training methods and uncanny understanding of canine behavior. Stevo doesn't just train dogs — he saves relationships through his coaching and assured leadership. Watch Stevo work through struggles with owners, help dogs that others have given up on and ultimately celebrate small and large victories together.

- Showtime Documentary Films will release Rise, the latest documentary from Academy Award winner Laura Poitras (CITIZENFOUR). Filmed over six years including through the 2016 presidential election and up to the present moment, RISK takes viewers closer than they have ever been before to Julian Assange and those who surround him. With unprecedented access, Poitras give us the WikiLeaks story from the inside, allowing viewers to understand our current era of massive leaks, headline-grabbing news, and the revolutionary impact of the internet on global politics. RISK is a portrait of power, principles, betrayal, and sacrifice when the stakes could not be any higher. It is a first-person geopolitical thriller told from the perspective of a filmmaker immersed in the worlds of state surveillance and the cypherpunk movement. RISK confirms Poitras' directorial ability to record history as it unfolds on camera, and craft narratives at the highest level. Showtime Networks has partnered with NEON to release Rise theatrically nationwide, with a television premiere on SHOWTIME this summer.

- GSN, the leader in game shows and competitive entertainment, announced today it will begin airing the first four seasons of the hit game show, Hollywood Game Night, beginning with a special five-night event, with the show airing Monday through Friday at 9:00 beginning Monday, April 17. The show will then move into its regular Tuesdays at 9:00 and 10:00 timeslots beginning April 25.

- Hulu renewed The Path for a third season.

- Discover the fascinating musical fusions that propelled Latin music to the top of the US charts with Latin Music USA, coming back for audiences on Fridays, April 28th and May 5th at 9:00 P.M. ET (check local listings). Produced by public media leader WGBH Boston in co-production with the BBC, this two-part, four-hour documentary explores the Latin rhythms that influenced jazz, rock, country, and rhythm and blues, highlighting the enduring contributions made by Latino musicians to the American songbook.

- This week, Hulu renewed The Path for a third season.

- E! Entertainment has greenlit a second season of its latest original scripted series The Arrangement. From Universal Cable Productions and Emmy Award-Winning writer/EP Jonathan Abrahams (“Mad Men”), the series debuted Sunday, March 5 at 10:00. Starring Josh Henderson (“Dallas”), Christine Evangelista (“The Walking Dead”), Lexa Doig (“Continuum”) and Michael Vartan (“Alias”), this multi-layered, sophisticated Hollywood love story brings to life the darker side of fame. Season two will consist of 10, one-hour episodes.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Previewing Guerrilla




I am anti-spoiler, have not actively looked for them in over a decade, but there is something about historical dramas that make me want to at the very least go to Wikipedia to see what really happened. Luckily Guerrilla is more in the vein of The Americans where most everything is fiction instead of a show like Deadwood which was a mix of real and fake characters. Guerrilla is set in Britain 1971 where prison reform and immigration are hotly debated subjects, so yeah, kind of timely for current affairs too. A Character even says, “They’re changing the laws on us,” in the first episode.

Guerrilla comes from John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) who wrote, directed and executive produced most of the six episode limited series. Idris Elba (Luther) is also an executive producer who stars in the show. But the focal point are two lover Frida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) and Babou Ceesay who get caught up in the black radial movement after a friend is beaten to death by the police during a protest match. The question for the main characters is just how far they should go to get their message out. Even after actions are taken, there still a lot of debate.

While the main characters may never have existed, the target of these protesters, the Black Power Desk, a true-life, secretive counter-intelligence unit within Special Branch dedicated to crushing all forms of black activism was very real and sets an even more harrowing tale with some basis in reality. And what is fascinating having the show set in 1971 is the primitive detective tactics at the disposal of Scotland Yard. You think about the Boston bombing the police were able to catch the perpetrators in days. But four and a half decades ago there were no surveillance camera, no social media, cell phone camera, so criminals could almost walk around almost freely, while the police had to rely heavily on informants, either those that were doing it willingly or heavily coerced. There is particularly graphic interrogation scene later this season.

Guerrilla is billed as a “limited series” at just six episode which is nice as it can essentially be viewed as about a five and a half hour movie. But the one thing that gave me pause is the amount of “limited series” recently that got renewed for a second season, though most of those ended up being anthology series after the fact. There is finality to these six episodes and it will be fine as is, but there is a speech at the end of the final episode that definitely sound like this character looks to be returning at some point.

Guerrilla airs Sundays at 9:00 on Showtime (yes the season premiere is Easter night).

Monday, April 10, 2017

Previewing Angie Tribeca: Season Three




Oh yeah, Angie had a kid last season on Angie Tribeca. I completely forgot about it. So the season starts off with a retirement party so she can raise the kid. Okay, clearly the retirement does not stick (though that would be funny if the show just became a bad family sitcom for a season). The kids ends up getting shipped off to boarding school not to be seen for a while (ever?) so Angie can get back to her police work.

The first season was you token police procedural with the second taking a serial approach. Season three seems like a weird hybrid. A serial killer is introduced in the premiere (his victims are the most vulnerable in our society: rich white dudes). But it seems like every other episode they forget that is an open case and just do a random killer of the week episode. There also seems to be a joke where the team goes to a new city (Miami! Mardi Gras!!), but again it is not every episode.

Still the show remains dumb fun. My favorite case of the episodes I have seen revolves around a college badminton player and the best episode title is easily This Sounds Unbelievable, but CSI: Miami Did It. And like previous seasons there are plenty of familiar faces including Chris Pine in the Hannibal Lecter role of the serial killer storyline, Rob Riggle, Buddy Garrity, Natalie Portman, Michelle Dockery very different from her Downton Abbey/Good Behavior roles, and Heather Graham returns.

Angie Tribeca airs Mondays at 10:30 on TBS.


Sunday, April 09, 2017

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 4/9/2017



Homeland: I wonder if the “not my president” protesters were hired extras or if the show just took Mandy Patikan to Trump Towers. But anyway. So the talk radio guy plotting to kill the president-elect and frame Quinn? How do Quinn’s old running buddies fit in, are they in cahoots with radio guy? I thought it was strange that they did not get rid of the van. They are smart enough to frame someone for a terrorist attack but not smart enough to dispose of the evidence? Or was this the plan all along, lure people to the house and make it explode? And just how many times has Carrie realized there was a bomb moments too late but just so happened to be far enough away from the blast radius? Still I am looking forward to the finale even after an uneven season. Considering one of the biggest flaws of the series was not having Brody blow up the vice-president in the first season, will they actually kill off the president-elect now?

The Walking Dead: When they revealed Sasha was stuck in the coffin, I first thought, um, aren’t those air tight. It turns out I was right. At least Eugene mentioned that possibility in the aftermath though I will not be surprised if he gets blamed for giving her those drugs. The bigger surprise is that the trash people turned on Rick. And then we had yet another near miss with a Carl death. Meh, but if the guy can survive a bullet to the eye, he may very well be indestructible.
You can download The Walking Dead on iTunes.

Billions: With the lawsuit gone away, this was the first episode Chuck and Axe were not intertwined and it felt weird. I wonder if Chuck did something to mess up Axe’s gaming license deal. Maybe Chuck’s father is involved. They got to pull these two back together somehow.

The Challenge: Invasion of the Champions: So no Underdog elimination this week but next week there will be a “bloodbath.” Does that mean they will go down to four to be even with the Champions for the final?
You can download The Challenge: Invasion of the Champions on iTunes.

The Americans: When Stan was in bed with his new beau, I thought, what if she was actually a secret KGB agent that the Jennings do not know about. Then the very next scene is them discussing the very same thing.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Bizzaro world can be interesting for an episode or two, but they are not really going to stuck in the framework for the rest of the season are they?
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.

The Path: Oh Richard, I thought when he locked the building, he was going to light that on fire, but, oh man, instead he burns the unburdening tapes with him in it. Oh my. He was was the best part of the show. And I just assumed last week that Mary knew where she was going, but she actually ran into a forrest in the dark without knowing where she was going while pregnant? Worse was Sean just let her go. Well, unless he knows in his heart that the kid is Cal’s (and the baby looked pretty whit), then it does not seem as cold. And is season three going to be warring cults? Sarah and Cal vs. Eddie and his group of deniers?
You can stream The Path on Hulu.

Survivor: Game Changers: The best thing I saw this week about the episode happened on Twitter when someone asked, what would be worse, being stuck on a boat with Debbie or being stuck on a boat with Cochran? But a pretty iniquitous return considering the possibilities that ran through my head. At least they are not letting Malcolm back in the game (yet… after the return of Exile Island, could Redemption Island be next).

Then we had yet another explosive Tribal where I actually started to think Tai may end up being the second person ever to be voted out with two Idols in their pocket. But in the end, the Queen was voted off for the very first time, and congrats to Sandra who made it this far, outlast all the former winners this season (really, was the person who sent both home) and it took a swap where she was in the severe minority to get voted out. And was really a dumb Tai move away from staying too.
You can download Survivor: Game Changers on iTunes.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Around the Tubes: 4/8/2017



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 Origins, I’m Dying Up Here, Claws, Meg Mac, The Circus: Inside the Biggest Story on Earth, Warning: This Drug May Kill You, NASA’s Unexplained Files, Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner, Nightmare on Everest, Biblical Conspiracies: Jesus Family Tomb?, Stevie Wonder, VH1 Hip Hop Squares, and Showtime.

- National Geographic’s new original series Origins is a full-sensory, time-travel adventure that delves deep into history to find the pivotal ‘origin’ moments that fueled our evolutionary ascension. While we are in a fast-growing technological age fueled by smart phones, satellites and the ‘next big discovery,’ Origins pauses to probe the biggest questions in the universe: How did we get here? How did Homo Sapiens evolve from apes swinging tree to tree to astronauts walking on the surface of the moon? On Monday, April 10, Origins turns its focus to the very important issue of Shelter. Shelter is one of our most basic human needs—and while we have come a long way from the cave dwellings of pre-historic times, one fact is inescapable: From treetops to skyscrapers, shelter, in any form, it is the foundation of human race.

- Yesterday, Showtime debuted the new trailer for the network’s one-hour drama series I’m Dying Up Here, which will kick off the Showtime summer lineup on Sunday, June 4 at 10:00. The fictional series explores L.A.’s famed ’70s stand-up comedy scene and stars Academy Award® winner Melissa Leo (The Fighter, Treme), Ari Graynor (Bad Teacher), Michael Angarano (The Knick), Clark Duke (Hot Tub Time Machine), Andrew Santino (Mixology), Erik Griffin (Workaholics), RJ Cyler (Power Rangers), Al Madrigal (The Daily Show) and Jake Lacy (Obvious Child) as part of a large ensemble cast. The series is created and executive produced by Dave Flebotte and executive produced by Golden Globe® winner Jim Carrey, Michael Aguilar and Christina Wayne.


- TNT's Claws is a midnight-dark, wickedly funny meditation on female badness set in a Central Florida nail salon, where there is a lot more going on than silk wraps and pedicures. Niecy Nash (Getting On, The Soul Man), Carrie Preston (True Blood), Harold Perrineau (Lost, Oz), Jenn Lyon (Justified), Judy Reyes (Scrubs), Karrueche Tran (The Nice Guys), Jason Antoon (Famous in Love), Kevin Rankin (Dallas Buyers Club, Friday Night Lights), Jack Kesy (The Strain) and Dean Norris (Breaking Bad) star in this hour-long dramedy. Claws is slated to launch across TNT's television, mobile and digital platforms on Sunday, June 11, at 9:00.


- MEG MAC is back with her keenly anticipated new single ‘Low Blows’, a dynamic, soulful, personal exhortation that’s distinctly and uniquely MEG MAC. Recorded in Fort Worth, Texas at the Niles City Sound Studio with additional production at Electric Lady in New York. The song premiered exclusively on W Magazine.

- All eyes are on Donald Trump as he takes his first major military action as president, launching an air attack on Syria at the end of a week when three heads of state visit America, North Korea stages a missile launch, and the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee steps aside from the investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election. In this season’s fourth episode, “The Whole World is Watching,” The Circus: Inside the Biggest Story on Earth takes an in-depth look at Trump’s foreign policy and its implications as the new Commander in Chief grapples with the most serious global challenges he has faced so far. Airing Sunday, April 9, at 8:00 on Showtime, the episode features conversations with lawmakers and national security experts, as well as on-the-ground coverage of the visit of the Chinese president to Mar-a-Lago.

- With nearly a hundred Americans dying everyday from opioid overdoses, the U.S. currently faces the worst drug epidemic in its history. More people die from opioid overdoses annually in the U.S. than from car accidents or gun homicides, a number that has quadrupled since 1999. From journalist Perri Peltz (HBO’s “Risky Drinking”), Warning: This Drug May Kill You tells devastating personal stories of families who have lost a loved one to an opioid overdose, all of them the result of addictions that started with doctors’ prescriptions of dangerous painkillers such as OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet. Also featuring harrowing pictures and cellphone videos, the documentary puts a human face on the epidemic of U.S. opioid addiction and its grave consequences when it debuts Monday, MAY 1 at 10:00, exclusively on HBO.

- Outer space is still largely an uncharted frontier filled with wonder and secrets. Over the years, bold pioneers have uncovered interstellar wonders including cosmic bodies, far away galaxies, and alien worlds. These groundbreaking explorations and findings are uncovered in two Science Channel returning series, Space's Deepest Secrets, premiering April 11 at 9PM ET/PT, and NASA’s Unexplained Files, premiering April 12 at 9:00.

- The stars will be out in Washington, D.C. later this month when TBS's late-night hit Full Frontal with Samantha Bee presents the first annual Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Samantha Bee, who has been hailed by The New Yorker as "America's new Comedian-in-Chief," will host the evening's festivities from D.C.'s largest concert hall, DAR Constitution Hall. This special installment of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee will premiere Saturday, April 29, at 10:00 on TBS.

- The spectacular natural beauty of the Himalayas draws thousands of tourists and thrill-seekers to Nepal every year, but the same great forces that created the beautiful mountains also have the power to destroy. In April 2015, a violent 7.8 magnitude earthquake triggered deadly landslides and avalanches across the country. On the second anniversary of the fatal disaster, Nightmare on Everest shares the exclusive stories of climbers on Mount Everest and hikers in Langtang National Park who survived, recounting their experience with never-before-broadcast footage and interviews. Produced by Arrow Media, Nightmare on Everest premieres on Smithsonian Channel, Monday, April 24 at 9:00.

- It is one of the most controversial ancient artifacts ever found and the center of a decade long controversy. The James Ossuary, a burial bone box that dates to the 1st century, has on it, an inscription that states, “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.” It has been considered by some to be fake, by others to be the first piece of hard archaeological evidence of the physical existence of Jesus of Nazareth. Biblical historian Simcha Jacobovici helps unpack the mystery surrounding this potentially explosive find in Biblical Conspiracies: Jesus Family Tomb?, premiering Easter weekend, Saturday, April 15 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Science Channel.

- Around the world, millions of people depend on fish for food and livelihood. But what if official government data is drastically underestimating how many fish are being caught? How close are we to a global catastrophe? Government and industry regulators track the quantity of fish caught and claim the oceans can handle it, but global fish numbers have dropped significantly in recent decades. A new Smithsonian Channel special showcases an exhaustive 15-year investigation – from the Atlantic coastline to the reefs of the Bahamas and the shores of Senegal – to reveal stark new findings about our marine ecosystems. Narrated by actor and conservationist Ted Danson, a passionate advocate for the world’s oceans, An Ocean Mystery: The Missing Catch premieres on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 8:00 on Smithsonian Channel.

- ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, announces that it will honor legendary musician Stevie Wonder with its inaugural “Key of Life” Award at this year’s ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO in Los Angeles, April 13 – 15, where he will also appear in a keynote “I Create Music” session.

- VH1, Ice Cube and his Cube Vision production company in conjunction with Jesse Collins Entertainment, Scott St. John and Jeff Kwatinetz’s The Firm, today announced that VH1 Hip Hop Squares has been renewed for a second season. The series debuted to over 3.2 million viewers across premiere night plays, is the #1 non-sports cable show in its time period with P18-34 and ranked as VH1’s highest rated new series in a year.

- For the first time, Showtime Networks is offering subscribers to the Showtime stand-alone streaming service and SHOWTIME ANYTIME the ability to download programming on mobile devices and tablets – allowing viewers to watch content offline at no extra cost.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Previewing Beach Boys: Making Pet Sounds



The biggest eternal question in rock and roll history is “The Beatles or the Rolling Stone?” Syth rock band Metric even had a minor hit Gimme Sympathy based around that question. But whenever anyone asks be “Beatles or the Stone” my answers is always: The Beach Boys. Of all the classic rock era bands, the Beach Boys were always my favorite. And the thing about The Beach Boys is they are sneaky great, so you can instantly be attacked to their simple California themed songs as kids. Then as you grow you realize these simple songs when you listen to them very closely have very complex harmonies and musical compositions.

Those very complex harmonies and musical compositions all culminated with their album Pet Sounds (50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) - The Beach Boys. Tonight takes a look at that landmark album with Beach Boys: Making Pet Sounds. Last year saw the fiftieth anniversary of the album and the documentary talks with the surviving members of The Beach Boys, (Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks) as well as musicians, writers and executives that helped shape the album. It also features exclusive interviews, classic archive and rare studio outtakes from the recording sessions

What is good about this documentary is it does not dwell too much on the Brian and Mike power struggle (there is a segment where Love defends the album and claims to have never hated like so many fans speculate). Other interesting aspects of the documentary are when Brian Wilson talks about the genius label and how the album featured a female bassist, something rare at the times. Making Pet Sounds should be something all Beach Boys fans, young and old should check out.

Beach Boys: Making Pet Sounds premieres tonight at 8:00 on Showtime.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

I Want My Music Television: 4/4/2017



Dis Generation - A Tribe Called Quest


Alright, the new A Tribe Called Quest video is really cool.


Shine On Me – Dan Auerbach


So am I the only one who hears Juice Newton’s Queen of Hearts in the new solo song from The Black Keys Dan Auerbach?


HUMBLE. - Kendrick Lamar


Of course a rapper releases a song called “Humble” and it is anything but. And the video features Kendrick Lamar as a pope (I think) and the head of The Last Supper (pretty obvious). And I just want to assume there is a New Jack City reference in there. I know when I see hot chicks counting money in their underwear (or less) I think New Jack City.


10,000 Miles - Cam'ron


Apropos that I first saw this video on April Fool’s Day because Cam'ron sampling A Thousand Miles - Vanessa Carlton is just a humongous joke.

Monday, April 03, 2017

The Voice Season Twelve Battle Round Power Rankings



Can we please get a petition going to kick Gwen off the show? In three seasons she has had three very weak teams, she gave us two of the five biggest Live Show disasters Ryan Sill and Braiden Sunshine. Her best contestant ever, Ellie Lawrence, she dumped in favor of Sunshine. Her love affair with Blake this season is completely unbearable. But there is one thing this season that trumps them all and is the reason she needs to get the boot and never come back. Now I am not one of those people who say, the show is called The Voice, the best singer should always advance. I want to be entertained so I will take an entertaining singer over a boring singer who just can happened to hold the biggest note. But even that take is about singing. Gwen actually told Brennley she knew she was going to Steal her before she even started singing based on her look (and I also think Blake told her to Steal Brennley so he can Steal her back next round like I predicted).

Really the Steals all around seemed wasted. Blake paired up his country girls because there are too many of them this season, yet both losers got stolen. Adam’s steals gave boring and unmemorable performances. Then there were two boring white dudes that got a reprieve (okay, I kind of like Dawson’s cheesy performance). Surprisingly Blake had the best Steals despite best known for using his as fodder, Felicia should have never lost to a middle schooler and though I did not care for Caroline going over the top for the Battles when her Blind Audition was so sweet and subdued, maybe with the country Blake they can find something more folksy to do in the Knockouts. Other than Blake’s pair, there were some singer left by the wayside because the other coaches rather go for fodder. I though Lauryn Judd was one of the five best this Battle Round and Kenny P., Gaby, Sammie, Josh, and Kawan were all better than the other six who will be moving on. I have said it before and will say it until it happens, but The Voice needs a Second Chance season for those that did not make it to the Live Shows. All of these six should be given another try.

Then much like the Blind Audition montage victims this season, the Battle relegated to seconds of screen time got uploaded to YouTube. And clearly the producers were right to cut them from television as most were trainwrecks or just downright boring. Only one was at all memorable, Andrea vs. Micah but it looks like Andrea may have irked someone because she is currently set up to be the third ever triple montage. But hey, at least she got her performances on YouTube unlike the other two. But anyways. Here are my favorites of the season.

1. Lilli Passero (Team Alicia): I love her, not much else to say other that I am going to be irate when she gets the boot so all the boring white dudes and country singers make it to the Semi-finales.

2. Lauren Duski (Team Blake): Blake really loves his country singers because he can dip deep into the country library to grab songs people like me have never heard of. But I hope Blake lets her stay weird like doing country pop versions of nineties songs.

3. Aliyah Moulden (Team Blake): Well this was a surprise. Blake has historically been horrible at the Battle Rounds from an entertainment stand point. They are usually lopsided and whenever he picks non-country songs they end up being train wrecks. I am too lazy to look it up, but I would guess half of his Battles get monaged because of this. So when you hear he was giving his two non-country singers quite possibly the cheesiest song ever, my first thought was, wait, this is not being montaged. But congratulations to Aliyah and Dawson for actually making that an entertaining performance. Seriously, these kids’ parents may not have been alive when this song was released.

4. Chris Blue (Team Alicia): In a while I am going to complain the over use of Motown in the Battle Round, and here is proof you do not have to go to the well every time there is an RnB singer. I just wished the break into some nineties RnB tunes also.

5. TSoul (Team Blake): Here is another Battle that deserved a Steal.

6. Johnny Gates (Team Gwen): This was one of the Battles when Johnny starts singing and you go, oh yeah, he is going to win. Then Sammie started to sing and I realized, oh wait, she should win. One of the rare tossups in the Battles. Shame Sammie did not warrant a steal.

7. Felicia Temple (Team Alicia Blake): I jumped ship before the Battle last season so I was unaware of how Alicia picks singers, was she this stupid? How was this even a choice? This may have been the second worst Battle decision ever.

8. Dawson Coyle (Team Blake Alicia): I have to roll my eyes whenever Carson hypes the most shocking steal ever every episode and every commercial break, but that may have finally been appropriate this time around. There were other out there that deserved a Steal over him (Gaby and Kenny P comes to mind) but he did have a much higher degree of difficulty with the cheesiest cheesy eighties song.

9. Caroline Sky (Team Gwen Blake): Caroline came in as a soft singer-songwriter type, I liked that much better that her trying to belt out songs. Hopefully Blake can course correct that after getting some bad advice from Gwen.

10. Jesse Larson (Team Adam): Speaking of random Blake Battles, this seems like something he would have done and would have been montaged. Jesse was fine had it just been him, but goodness these two do not mix well at all. Since they actually released the montaged Battles this season I have to wonder what the producers were thinking airing this instead of half they actually reduced to five seconds.

11. Ashley Levin (Team Blake Alicia): I was kind of meh on this Battle though I leaned towards Ashley. Not so much that I thought she would get three Steal attempts
.
12. Vanessa Ferguson (Team Alicia): I would give the slight edge to Vanessa but the performance was just too subdued.

13. Autumn Turner (Team Alicia Adam): Again, kind of a boring Battle yet she did makes Last Dance really entertaining in 2017 so maybe she can do something better in the Knockouts, Adam does have a weak team.

14. Brennley Brown (Team Blake Gwen): Called it, stolen by Gwen, now where can I bet Blake steals her back in the Knockouts?

15. Johnny Hayes (Team Adam): I spent most of the time thinking Cody Belew was much better than either of them. Both were just trying too hard.

16. JChosen (Team Gwen): I was kind of bored with JChosen, maybe cause it has become an annoying cliché whenever there is a soul singer to have them sing Motown, so I found Keny P much more interesting in this Battle. And even though he seems to be pushed s lot, there are many other RnB singers this season I am more interested in.
17. Casi Joy (Team Blake): I just find her traditional country sound to be mostly boring.

18. Anatalia Villaranda (Team Alicia): Gee, they might as well as montaged this because it was pretty obvious who Alicia was going to pick from the pair and the energetic song choice made it even more obvious since Anatalia basically performed the same song in the Blind Auditions.

19. Malik Davage (Team Adam): Another really bad song choice from Adam, the song just does not showcase any voice very well, but I still thought Kawan was the clear winner.

20. Troy Ramey (Team Gwen): Montage win… yawn. And watching the full version I could see why, they mostly butchered one of the great middle school dance songs of all time.

21. Brandon Royal (Team Gwen): I liked his battle better than his Blind Audition but he is still on the bottom f the RnB singer power raking. Well of the grown men division.

22. Josh West (Team Adam): Montage win… yawn. Really just a bad song choice for both of them. It slightly fit Nala better but clearly Adam knew who was going to win when they paired them.

23. Davina Leone (Team Gwen Adam: This warranted a Steal? She came acrtoss as a more of a background singer to Brandon and he was not really that good either. If this was the last Steal of the season, Adam should have waited. I did notice Carson did not get the obligatory, “coaches let me remind you (the artist) is available to Steal” for Lauryn Judd, he should have waited for her.

24. Andrea Thomas (Team Blake): Double montage victim… yawn. The only question now is will be the third triple montage victim?

25. Hanna Eyre (Team Adam): Montage win… yawn. I actually thought the other chick won hands down. Too bad they did not add the coach’s commentary to the YouTube video because I wonder what Adam’s reasoning was and if the other coaches agreed. Probably another case of Adam picking the winner before he even picked the song.

26. Stephanie Rice (Team Gwen): She gets much too loud for my taste.

27. Enid Ortiz (Team Blake): The biggest shocker of the Battles, Valerie, a much ballyhooed four chair turn against a very forgettable person from the Blinds gets booted via montage. But it also really sucks getting stuck singing an obscure song by a Voice alum, no wonder this was montaged.

28. Jack Cassidy (Team Alicia): see below.

29. Hunter Plake (Team Alicia Gwen): I was going to decry this as another wasted Steal but apparently I am in the minority considering this was the highest charting Battle this season, and higher than any Blind Audition. Granted I have an irrational hatred of boring white dudes and these two are extremely boring. And with Hunter now on Gwen’s team, I fear we may have a redux of Gwen’s last season who took an annoying teenager and boring white dudes to the Lives and they went all the way to the Semi-Finals. Does that make Stephanie this season’s Korin. I would feel really sorry for her if that is the case.

30. Mark Isaiah (Team Adam): Wait, did I watch a different Battle? What was with all the praise for Mark, his voice and whiney. Gaby actually has character. Is this solely a looks thing and everyone thinks Mark is the next heartthrob? To me this goes in the pantheon of worst decisions ever.

31. Quizz Swanigan (Team Alicia): Seriously Alicia, what the fork? He better not become the black Braiden Sunshine.

32. Aaliyah Rose (Team Gwen): Montage win…. Yawn. But she better not turn out to be the female Braiden Sunshine. Seriously, Gwen is a horrible coach.

Alright let put these people into my patient pending formula to see who has the strongest team:

Blake – 170
Alicia – 151
Adam – 107
Gwen – 100

Oh my, coming out of the Blinds, somehow I thought Adam had the strongest team while Alicia had the weakest. Adam had a bunch of questionable picks and some really bad song selections that really sunk his team this round. And though Alicia made the worst decision of the round keeping Quizz, she chose wisely everywhere else and plucked some great songs too that really showcased her singers which may be why half her losers got stolen. Then there was Blake steady as always, picking the right singer and even picked up some worthy Steals in the process. But who cares what I think, here are the highest charting Battles this season:

1. Hunter Plake and Jack Cassidy (11)
2. Brennley Brown and Lauren Duski (160)
3. Lauryn Judd and Lilli Passero (180)
4. Johnny Gates and Sammie Zonana (193)
5. Autumn Turner and Vanessa Ferguson (232)
6. Ashley Levin and Casi Joy (246)
7. Caroline Sky and Stephanie Rice (311)
8. Brandon Royal and Davina Leone (389)
9. Felisha Temple and Quizz Swanigan (447)
10. Aliyah Moulden and Dawson Coyle (455)
11. Chris Blue and RJ Collins (534)
12. Jesse Larson and Taylor Alexander (555)
13. Chris Blue (579)
14. Gaby Borromea and Mark Isaiah (690)
15. JChosen and Kenny P. (698)
16. Casi Joy (896)
17. Josh Hoyer and TSoul (882)
18. Anatalia Villaranda and Missy Robertson (1348)
19. Hunter Plake (1156)
20. Johnny Hayes and Julian Martinez (1497)

You know my rant about unworthy Steals at the beginning, maybe I am wrong; all eight steals were in the top ten best sellers. Though I should note, Lauryn was third and she more than anyone else this season I think deserved to move on to the Knockouts. Since they gone to the only offering up duets instead of solo of singers advancing, it is harder to pick out front runners (although Chris Casi and Hunter being the only ones who re-charted their Blind Auditions may be a clue, although weirdly Hunter’s did not chart very high the first time), but here is how the singers rank if you average their peaks from the two rounds so far.

1. Lauren Duski (147.5)
2. Casi Joy (221)
3. Stephanie Rice (242)
4. Lilli Passero (248)
5. Chris Blue (308)
6. Johnny Gates (385)
7. Jack Cassidy (397)
8. JChosen (486)
9. Hunter Plake (570)
10. Vanessa Ferguson (617)
11. Brennley Brown (644.5)
12. Autumn Turner (646.5)
13. Mark Isaiah (651)
14. Caroline Sky (733.5)
15. TSoul (904)
16. Johnny Hayes (1069.5)
17. Anatalia Villaranda (1207.5)

Wow, that is almost half that manages to chart both performances. Ashley, Brandon, Davina, Aliyah, Dawson, and Jesse only charted their Battles. Felicia, Troy, Josh, and Hanna managed to chart only their Blind Auditions (the latter three were victims of montages not that is an excuse, Holly Henry almost cracked the top two hundred in the same position), while Malik, Quizz, Aaliyah, Enid, and Andrea have to even crack the top 1500 (again, the final three were featured in a montage, the latter twice). And shockingly Gwen has the best Team in terms of iTunes, just edging out Alicia and Blake. Adam, who had the best iTunes team after the Blinds, fell off a huge cliff. That will happen when you dump you two best charting Blind Auditions (Taylor and Kawan) and have half you team montaged because few people chart and certainly chart high when that happens.

Unlike the Battles where they complete spoiled all the pairings on their YouTube page, we only got a quick glimpse of a couple Battles:

Anatalia vs. Dawson (Team Alicia)
Hannah vs. Autumn (Team Adam)
JSoul vs. Enid (Team Blake)
Chris vs. Quizz (Team Alicia)
Johnny vs. Hunter (Team Gwen)

Not much to go on but some interesting pairings, especially those last three (the producers have been very keen on the spitfire Anatalia and the other, I guess is an obligatory team Adam shot). I would have guessed JSoul would be the easy pick, Blake does like taking a token black person to the Lives, but Enid did upset Valerie who I thought was the most obvious Team Blake Battle Round winner. Speaking of upsets, Quizz took out a former Team Alicia frontrunner, can he do it again. Then thankfully Gwen is putting on a battle of the boring white dudes.

It is hard enough to pick winners when you have the pairings, but I am still going to predict who I think will make the Live Playoffs on their same team ranked with whom I am most confident will advanced first with Steals in parentheses:

Team Adam: Mark, Josh, Jesse, Autumn (Caroline)
Team Alicia: Lilli, Anatalia, Vanessa, Chris (Felicia)
Team Blake: Lauren, Aliyah, Casi, TSoul (Brennley)
Team Gwen: JChosen, Johnny, Stephanie, Aaliyah (Quizz)

Sunday, April 02, 2017

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 4/2/2017




Once Upon a Time: What a stupid episode that took forty minutes to learn that the Evil Queen in fact hated herself with the remaining time devoted to her learning to love herself. So the Evil Queen is just gone now, just to be off screen for the rest of the series as she lives happily ever after with Bizzaro Robin? It is time to cancel this crap.
You can download Once Upon a Time on iTunes.

Homeland: Aw, the return of the crazy Carrie board. But we were left with two big cliffhangers, first off, what happened to Max? Although the bigger question is why this sercert internet troll cabal would even let him take a phone on the floor in the first place, when you are that paranoid, put up metal detectors and pat everyone down on the in. But these people killed a very important person; Max probably is going to be tortured at the very least. Then the final scene which gets cut short with Quinn putting the person who was spying on Carrie and planted the bomb in the crosshair. Is he actually going to pull the trigger? Carrie has to know that is not right.

The Walking Dead: Wait, we do not even get to see Sasha get captured? Now we have to wonder for a week if she was just trying to manipulate Eugene to giving her a sharp object to actual use on Negan (or any of the Saviors including Eugene) or if she really wants to kill herself. Then Rick and company over take Oceanside and no one managed to die. Meh.
You can download The Walking Dead on iTunes.

Billions: Interesting that right at the halfway mark of the season, both Axe and Chuck had big wins, Axe got the casino land, Chuck got the crooked guy to admit fault and then they both had a mutual win with Axe getting Wendy back at Axe Capital in exchange for Axe dropping the lawsuits against Chuck. Yet by the end of the episode neither seemed much like winners for various winner.

Into the Badlands: Seriously, Sunny did not know there was a giant wall around the Badlands? You would think that was common knowledge or part of its lore. But I am beginning to realize the “Badlands” are a little better place to be than the, um, Goodlands(?).
You can download Into the Badlands on iTunes.

Supergirl: Well that was a horrible episode. And it was not even Mon-El whose incompetentess has grown on me. Really it is more Supergirl who is literally ready to start an interstellar incident to be with him. The only interesting part of the episode was Teri Hatcher inexplicably killing Hercules.
You can download Supergirl on iTunes.

The Challenge: Invasion of the Champions: There is nothing more annoying than when the show ends the episode mid-challenge. That is alost as disappointing as not getting to see a CT-Bananas showdown which I believe would have been the first CT wore Bananas as a backpack.
You can download The Challenge: Invasion of the Champions on iTunes.

The Americans: So Stan’s partner tells him of the time he blackmailed an informant and Stan turns around and blackmails his boss to help a Russian… huh? We are at war Stan, just because he helped you does not make you even. If the CIA can milk more out of him, let them.

The Path: Wait, did Cal just try to kill a dead man? I guess another dream. Last episode, Hawk’s ex-girlfriend said the new haircut made him look like Cal. Now after everything that has happened, I am beginning to wonder who exactly is his father? Now know most shows do not cast family member to look plausibly alike, but it is getting more and more possible that Cal could be the father. Again, casting director do not always cast people who look alike, but Hawk and Eddie look nothing alike.
You can stream The Path on Hulu.

Survivor: Game Changers: I doubt we will see anything as great as last week’s wild Tribal, but Michaela just breaking up a cup of water as Probst read the votes was pretty bold, especially considering she was blindsided last time she played and was one vote away from that happening again. I actually posted when JT said he was so confident he was not even going to take his Idol to Tribal, he really cannot be that dumb, can he… well of course he can. Can we retroactively reward Stephan the winner of JT season because it is becoming more and more clear he deserved it over JT. Then we have the promo, no too surprising that there is a swap or that there will be someone exiled (they have done odd people swaps before where the odd (wo)man out would have to go back to an empty camp or island) but I am a bit worried Andrea was one of the four people they showed when Probst said this. The big shocker is Probst saying, “a former Survivor makes a surprise return.” That better not be Malcolm, or at the very least he better not be able to return to the game full time. Hopefully it is just someone who joins the exiled player for a day and then leaves or maybe a CT situation who comes into a challenge, wears someone as a backpack and then leaves right afterwards.
You can download Survivor: Game Changers on iTunes.

Blindplot: Oooh, big twist, Jane did not get kidnapped because of her, but because of her boyfriend. Plus it gave us a diversion from Sandstorm for a week which was nice. Not so nice was the promo monkey promising one person will be leaving the team. Um, didn’t Reade just quit? Or is someone else leaving?
You can download Blindspot on iTunes.

Legion: I really do not like the slowly growing trend of post-credit scenes on television shows. So who exactly trapped David in the orb? It has to be someone powerful enough to keep his powers contained.
You can download Legion on iTunes.

Grimm: When they killed Wu and Hank last week my first thought was, wow, that is very racist followed by, oh, they will bring them back before the series end. Then when they killed off Eve, I was pretty confident that would kill everyone off before bringing them back for a happy ending. Although by the time they killed the Captain I thought how great if the devil just killed everyone, Nick last, then just fade to black… forever. And though you knew they would bring everyone back, the real question was how. Kind of convoluted how they did it. So the first time Nick left “hell” he jumped to an alternative universe? Or did that portal send him back in time?
You can download Grimm on iTunes.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Around the Tubes: 3/31/2017



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 Supremes, Ice, The Real Jesus of Nazareth, Outlaw Tech, Latin Music USA, Disgraced, What Happens at The Abbey, and The Mindy Project.

- By the time Motown released The Supremes A’ Go-Go, the group’s ninth studio album, on August 25, 1966, the group had already scaled the charts with hits like “Where Did Our Love Go?,” “Baby Love,” “Come See About Me,” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” “Back in My Arms Again” and “I Hear a Symphony.” UMe will now reissue the classic album in a deluxe, expanded two-CD edition, featuring the original 12 tracks, featuring both the stereo album, along with rare mono album mixes, alternative vocal versions and mixes, as well as a duet of “Shake Me Wake Me (When It’s Over)” with the Four Tops. There are also rarely heard album outtakes, such as covers of fellow ‘60s stalwarts Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” and the Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satsifaction.”

- On May 16, go deep into the dark, dangerous underbelly of the diamond trade with Ice, exec produced by Antoine Fuqua (The Magnificent Seven). Featuring a stellar ensemble cast with Jeremy Sisto, Cam Gigandet, Donald Sutherland and Ray Winstone, Ice: Season One is a gritty, high-octane series sure to thrill home audiences. We'd love to help usher you into the thrilling, stylized LA underworld of ICE in a few different ways.

- Starring no less than seven Academy Award® winners, the 1977 miniseries Jesus of Nazareth was a global television event – one of the most celebrated TV biographies of Jesus ever made. Now, 40 years later, the actor who portrayed the Son of God, Robert Powell, is returning to the Holy Land to seek out clues to the real historical figure who inspired Christianity. The Real Jesus of Nazareth, a new four-part series, will premiere on Easter Sunday, April 16 at 8:00 on Smithsonian Channel.

- State of the art science, thrilling suspense, unforgettable characters. These are the true stories of a new wild west, where biology, physics, chemistry, and technology are tools of the outlaw trade. With complex security systems designed to stop the world’s most nefarious criminal masterminds, a new Science Channel series goes inside amazing capers to unpack the high-tech arsenal used on both sides of the law. Outlaw Tech premieres Wednesday, April 26 at 10:00.

- Discover the fascinating musical fusions that propelled Latin music to the top of the US charts with Latin Music USA, coming back for audiences on Fridays, April 28th and May 5th at 9:00 (check local listings). Produced by public media leader WGBH Boston in co-production with the BBC, this two-part, four-hour documentary explores the Latin rhythms that influenced jazz, rock, country, and rhythm and blues, highlighting the enduring contributions made by Latino musicians to the American songbook.

- Showtime released an exclusive clip from the anticipated documentary film Disgraced featuring former Baylor University men’s basketball assistant coach Abar Rouse and secret audio recordings of former head coach Dave Bliss.


- E! goes behind the bar and takes an inside look at the lives of the employees of the world-famous hot spot when its new docu-series What Happens at The Abbey premieres on Sunday, May 14th at 10:00. Located in the heart of Los Angeles’ West Hollywood neighborhood, The Abbey, hailed as the “Best Gay Bar in the World,” is an institution where labels are abandoned, inclusion is paramount and everyone, regardless of their sexuality comes to mix and mingle with celebrities.

- Johnny Galecki will appear in and executive produce Scijinks (wt), a new Science Channel series scheduled to premiere in 4th quarter 2017. SCIJINKS will use cutting-edge science as the foundation for outrageous stunts and practical jokes, creating the smartest prank show on television. The announcement was made today by Marc Etkind, General Manager of Science Channel.

- Hulu has renewed The Mindy Project for its sixth and final season to premiere September 2017 on Hulu.