Friday, June 11, 2010

Around the Tubes vol. LIV

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 World Cup, ScatterTunes, Ice Road Truckers, American Pickers, Blacksocks, Johnny B. Homeless, and Friday Night Lights.

- World Cup starts today and there have been plenty of great commercials celebrating the event and Dodge Challenger (which just launched its Facebook page) is going to feature a game specific ad for tomorrow’s Revolutionary War rematch between the United States and England. Here is a sneak peak of what you can expect tomorrow when the full ad airs.

- If you are looking for non-stop online coverage of the World Cup, try

- For the gamblers out there, Spain is currently the favorites according to at +385 (21%) with Brazil close behind at +400 (20%). Head over there for all the wacky bets too like Total Red Cards which they have the Over/Under at 18.5.

- For those like me that still prefer CD’s to MP3 because you like to leaf though the booklet while listening to your new purchase, there is a new way to listen to music called ScatterTunes. They come in two forms, V-Albums and V-Wraps (for those that alright bought some songs from a certain album) both feature the highest-quality (320kbps), non-DRM MP3 tracks (which means you can play them in iTunes and any mp3 player), multi-page digital booklets, liner notes, photos, lyrics, videos and other bonus materials. For those that want to test this about before actually buying it, the site is giving away 100,000 free Taylor Swift Fearless – Platinum Edition V-Wraps (they were still available as lof last night; keep in mind this is pretty worthless unless you have already bought songs from the album). Including Swift, just added include Jewel's Sweet and Wild and Sweet and Wild (Deluxe Edition), Justin Moore's Justin Moore, and Reba McEntire's Keep On Loving You.

- New episode of Ice Road Truckers at 9:00 this Sunday on History. Here is synopsis: “Failing trailer brakes and trash talk over the CB threaten to derail Lisa's comeback. Newcomer Greg races to reignite his rivalry with Jack, before a devastating wreck slams the brakes on Greg's need for speed. In the meantime, with a damaged fuel tank to deliver, Jack isn't giving up the load-count crown without a fight. Alex tries to build on his lead on Hugh, but treacherous conditions send him to the edge of disaster. Hugh "the Polar Bear" Rowland returns to Alaska at last and has to face down his other haul road nemesis: chaining up. Engine troubles leave rookie driver Ray Veilleux broken down, and all alone, in twenty-below temperatures.” If you need to catch up on the previous season, Ice Road Truckers: The Complete Season 3 was released earlier this week on blu-ray and is currently cheaper than the DVD version (which I may have more on at a later date).

- Another History show new to DVD is American Pickers: The Complete Season One. “In small towns, and along America's back roads, treasures are waiting to be uncovered--valuable relics from our history that are hidden in junk piles, buried in barns and stacked in garages. It takes experts to find them...and turn rust to riches.”

- Need a last minute gift idea for Father’s Day? Try which features, well just as the website suggests from ski to athletic socks. They also have underwear and shirts available too.

- I have mentioned it before, but just a reminder, the premiere of the Keenan Thompson featuring web series Johnny B Homeless this coming Tuesday on The show will also be featured on Atom TV, the half hour late night series on Comedy Central.

For those that need a 2 minute replay from last week’s terrific episode of Friday Night Light, here you go:

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Toss Up: Persons Unknown vs Pretty Little Liars

Though they have had success with reality shows, television networks have yet to come with a summer scripted season that anyone wants to watch. Yet on the cable side, from FX to TNT to even smaller stations like AMC have created buzz worthy shows most of last decade. The problem has always been for the major network, their summer show have always seemed like series they are burning off in the summer because they were not good enough during the normal television season, while the cable networks have such a small slate of show, most all of them are treated like flagship shows.

Two new shows debuted this week, one network and one cable, and look like they would have nothing in common. On the network side looking to buck the trend is Persons Unknown, The Prisoner meets Lost for NBC; while ABC Family offers up the Desperate Housewives for the Gossip Girl set Pretty Little Liars. On the surface the two shows would have nothing in common, but at the heart of both shows is an overarching mystery.

The cast of Persons UnknownFor Persons Unknown, the big question is why these people were brought to this deserted town and where exactly is this town. The show started out very much like it could have Lost but instead of an island, the castaways were landlocked in the middle of nowhere, but instead of waiting until the end of the second season to see anyone off the island, we learn of a reporter investigating one of the missing persons. “Others” also show up shortly in the form of a catering Koreans and a night bellman, neither of which give us much information so far.

For Pretty Little Liars, the big mystery is who is sending all the title characters messages that only their missing friend would know. All these secrets are pretty familiars for shows of this ilk: hooking up with a teacher, same sex attraction, hooking up with a sister’s boyfriend, eating disorder. Not surprisingly the end of the episode the body of the missing girl shows up dead because the title sequence features the girls gathered around a casket. Seriously, is this the first time a title sequence featured a major spoiler?

The cast of Pretty Little Liars
Another thing the show share is not a particular strong cast. It may not be a good sign when your show is headlined by Cameron Frye. As seen by his recent spot on Justified, he can make a decent guest turn, but he cannot lead a series like Persons Unknown. On the other hand, Pretty Little Liars is full of actors that can barely pass a college students let along sixteen year olds. C’mon, Bianca Lawson was playing that age thirteen years ago when she was on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when her current character was three years old.

In terms of a toss-up, I am going and call it a tie because Persons Unknown is the superior show with a better set up of its mystery. And being a thirteen episode miniseries, there shouldn’t be the too many to count loose ends that hampered Lost. But being on cable, Pretty Little Liars has a much better chance of extending past thirteen episodes.

Persons Unknowns airs Mondays at 10:00 on NBC. You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Persons Unknown on iTunes. Pretty Little Liars airs Tuesdays at 8:00 on ABC Family. You can stream, recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Pretty Little Liars on iTunes of which you can download the Pilot currently for free as well as Amazon Video on Demand:

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Feed Your iPod vol. XLVI: God's Gonna Cut You Down

Asides from my yearly countdown, I rarely talk about mash-up even though I am constantly search for new interesting combinations of songs. Here is one that topped my list of Best Mash-Ups of 2006 list which is unlike your standard mash up which typically takes the vocals from one track and puts it over the music of another one. On his version of God’s Gonna Cut You Down, DJ Schmolli takes the Johnny Cash vocals, but instead of one song to put it over, he stripped down four different songs to one part to create a new instrumental. The backing track included the drums from Led Zeppelin’s When The Levee Breaks, the bass from Beastie Boys Sabotage, the guitar from Ted Nugent’s Cat Scratch Fever, and the lead guitar from The Beatles Come Together. To download the complete product, head over to Mashup Town.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

You Make Me Pull, I'll Put You Down

There may not have been a cooler beginning of a television show than having the protagonist walk up to a bad guy twenty-three hours and fifty-five minutes after telling said bad guy he had twenty-four hours to leave town or he would shoot him. Unfortunately for Raylan Givens of Justified, the shooting got him transferred from sunny Miami to the one place he didn’t want to: home. He spent his whole life distancing himself from his father and even when back in Kentucky stayed away from him until of course he got in trouble with the law. It didn’t help that his ex-wife moved back to the area with her shifty new husband.

Now there is a premise that Seth Bullock could get behind and thankfully Timothy Olyphant doesn’t seem to care about typecasting as Givens might as well be the great grandson of his previous Deadwood character. We even get a couple of Deadwood reunions in the first season of Justified most notably with Bullock trading wits one more time with Dan Dougherty who played an escaped convicted holding hostages in Bullock’s office.

Aside from former Deadwood cohorts, there was plenty of other great casting choices including Stephan Root as a judge who wears little under hid robe but a gun. Alan Ruck as an informant turned on the run dentist. And then there was MC Gainey as the local kingpin, father of the guy Raylan shot upon return to Harlan, and former father-in-law to the girl Raylan bedded upon returning home.

Aside from the casting, another strong point for the show was the case of the week that never sank into the same rut of “ripped from the headlines” of other procedurals. Some of which featured criminals of the week so stupid that some even tried to out draw Raylan even knowing of what happened in Miami.

But it was the overarching storyline of Raylan and the one person that survived his bullet, Boyd Crowder. After coming out of surgery saying he was a changed man, Boyd still straddled the line of morality the rest of the season using whatever means necessarily to get everyone on the right path. Even if that means blowing up a truck full of meth supplies meant for his father (and not so coincidentally shipped by an associate of the man Raylan shot in Miami and unsuccessfully tried to have him killed twice already this season).

Raylan may have 99 Problems, at least two of them are female thanks to Ava seeing his ex leave his room last week. Everything comes to ahead tonight when the first season comes to a close. The Givens and the Crowders have been crossing each other paths all season and with Bo’s shipment getting blown up by Boyd and Raylan wanting Arlo to wear a wire to bring the Crowder clan down, there are plenty of double crossings going down tonight.

Justified 1.x gets a Terror Alert Level: Severe [RED] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Previewing Neighbors from Hell

Neighbors from Hell

Looking over the press release from Neighbors from Hell you have to wonder what is the odder paring: “Series from the producers of South Park and Madagascar” or the married couple being voiced by Mad TV’s Will Sasso and Saturday Night Live’s Molly Shannon. One you wouldn’t think in the same sentence and the other being rivals for many years (or at least their shows were). But anyways.

Neighbors from Hell, TBS’s first animated comedy, wants to be an animated version of an eighties sitcom. All the clichés are there, nuclear family, wacky uncle, wise sidekick, evil boss and of course neighbors from hell both figuratively, the neighbors are extremely annoying, and literally because the family depicted is actually demons from Hell.

See Balthazor Hellman is your regular, television loving demon (only in Hell could anyone enjoy Two and a Half Men) who is chosen by the Devil to go up to Earth posed as a normal family and get a job from a drill company and sabotage their most sophisticated drill from reaching their homes. Naturally Balthazor has his family watch shows life Growing Pains to see how to assimilate among the humans. Though watching Alf may have been a bad idea as the wacky uncle takes to eating cats.

Animated shows by nature are overthetop, but Neighbors from Hell takes it too far, the Hellman’s neighbor ia so annoying you hope that one of the demons actually kills her. And Balthazor’s above ground boss (That 70’s Show Kurtwood Smith) manages to be even more immoral than his one down under. The kids are just caricatures of teenagers today but with green skin and the ability to perform magic. The one bright spot is the dog like pet as voiced by Patton Oswalt.

Neighbors from Hell airs Mondays on TBS.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

57 Channels and Only This Is On vol. CXXXIII

Quote of the Week: Yeah, come to think of it I do recall sitting for a couple hours in jail with someone by that name. I don’t know how I got there considering my friends were with me at the time. Kevin and wait, what’d you say your name was? JD McDick? (Luke, Friday Night Lights)

Song of the Week: 6th Avenue Heartache - Jeanne Newhall (Happy Town)

Big News of the Week: Death in more than Threes: It has always been a morbid game to group celebrity death into three (I have been guilty of this) even if you had to span months to make it work, but it seems in recent years it has been much easier and sometimes it is even hard to confine the list to three. Just in the past month we have seen the passing of Dennis Hopper, John Wooden, Gary Colman, Rue McClanahan, Ronnie James Dio, Jose Lima, Lena Horne, and the bassist for Slipnot. This is probably becoming the norm as before the sixties they were very few big name celebrities so celebrity deaths had been far and few in-between but celebrity became more popular when the baby boomer came of age who are now reaching retirement age they are starting to pass on at a quicker pace. Hopefully if that is the case, the truly talented get their just due and not just crammed together like I just did.

Justified: This was just one of those edge of your seats kind of episode. When I saw Boyd get his hands on another bazooka I could think of a number o places who could be targeting, but the one that didn’t cross my mind was papa’s truck of meth. Daddy cannot be to thrilled with how that happened (unless he has been pulling Boyd’s strings all along which I can see happening). Also something I didn’t see coming, Wynona knocking on Raylan’s door. This should make for an explosive finale even if Boyd runs out of ammo. You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Justified on iTunes.

Happy Town: I wonder if the show if running too many concurrent mysteries. I could do without one or two of them even if it turns out they are intertwined as it really hurts the pacing of the show. Like I could care less about the creepy detective and whatever he is doing. But the cliffhangers like the hot6 chick just waltzing into the Haplin home with a bloody hammer will make me keep tuning (well that and nothing much else on right now). You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Happy Town on iTunes.

Friday Night Lights: I hate when promo monkeys proclaim an episode is a “powerful hour of television” but this was a powerful hour of television and every second of that Matt was on screen was heartbreaking (except when he slammed the door in the McCoy’s faces which had me applauding). But why did Lyla come back from Vanderbilt to attend the service? I do not remember one conversation she and Matt had in the previous three seasons. Not that I am complaining because I am for any screen time I can get with Lyla. You can stream recent episodes on Hulu.

Friday Night Lights on iTunes

I mentioned a couple days ago about the premiere of Expedition: Great White which is on tonight, but I would also like to add for anyone who is interested that the National Geographic Channel is giving away a chance to join the crew of Expedition Great White for a day. One lucky winner of the "Expedition Great White Big Catch" sweepstakes will receive a five day/four night trip, plus accommodation, to San Diego, California, and a one-day excursion with the crew of Expedition Great White. Your readers can enter the "Expedition Great White Big Catch" sweepstakes at starting today.

Free Download of the Week: Always Will Be EP – Raining and OK: I was sent this video earlier this week and found it pretty cool and even offered the song for free on their free EP for you the readers. Check out the video below and for more on the band, head over to

Deal of the Week: DVDs as Low as $6.49 (Blazing Saddles, Wedding Crashers, Maria Full of Grace)

Video of the Week: It seems like all the World Cup ads this years have been really inspiring (though ESPN could bump their Bono spot down from one a half hour to less than once a day; you know an ad is overplayed when you can recite the script in full) but this Adidas ad may be my favorite as it combines sport with Star Wars and music. See if you can spot all the cameos.

Next Week Pick of the Week: Justified, Tuesday at 10:00 on FX: Everything is coming together in Harland for the season finale of Justified and it is hard to imagine everyone will be coming out alive as everyone seems to be conspiring against Raylan except for the guy he shot, who claims to be on the same side.