Saturday, November 06, 2010

Best of the Week vol. LI

Quote of the Week: Hey Dumbass, you in the tank: comfy in there? (The Walking Dead)

Song of the Week: Peace / Crazy / Love TrainYusef Islam, Ozzy Osbourne, The O'Jays (The Rally to Restore Sanity and / or Fear)

Big News of the Week: A Good Week to Be a John: It may be hard out there for a pimp, but if you are the one buying the prostitutes, you had a very good week. Last weekend, during yet another drug induced rampage, Charlie Sheen got so violent; his companion had to lock herself in the bathroom. And guess what, the ratings for his laughless sitcom Two and a Half Men actually went up. Sheen wasn’t the only guy with frequent hooker miles celebrating this week as family values crusader and prostitute patron David Vitter ,who lead the charge to impeach Bill Clinton for receiving a Lewinski in the Oval Office, won reelection to the US Senate in a landslide. And let’s not forget that Elliot Spitzer still has a television show despite everyone forgetting to actually watch the television show.

Gratuitous Token Hot Chick Picture of the Week:

Yvonne Strahovski packing heat

Free Download of the Week: Timeless Christmas (Amazon MP3 Exclusive Sampler): Though I try to avoid Christmas music until after Christmas, for those ready to get into a festive mood seven weeks early, this sampler includes two songs each from Michael McDonald, Neil Sedaka, and the Irish Tenors.

Deal of the Week: 100/$5: 100 Albums for $5 Each: Get albums from Prince, KT Tunstall, Maroon 5, Billy Joel and more.

New CD Release of the Week: Lady Killer – Cee Lo Green

New DVD Release of the Week: Scott Pilgrim Vs the World [Blu-ray]

Video of the Week: Once I get my hands on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World this week, Sucker Punch will move up to the top spot of movies I most want to see. And to celebrated the occasion, the movie was nice enough to release a new trailer that may actually be more awesome the first one.

Next Week Pick of the Week: Conan, Monday at 11:00 on TBS: To be honest, I’ll be asleep when this airs, but I may catch it later because I am interesting how much he rips into NBC. Guest include Seth Rogan and Jack White (the rest of the week will feature Tom Hanks, John Hamm, Michael Cera, and Carol Vessey). And do not forget Lopez Tonight will be pushed back to midnight with the start of Conan. George’s guest Monday: Antoine Dodson. Here’s hoping Antoine finally give his opinion of the return of Ben Rothlisberger to the NFL.

With Veteran’s Day this week, I also want to point out Wartorn 1861-2010 from executive producer James Gandolfini, which premieres this Veterans Day, November 11th at 9pm on HBO which brings urgent attention to the invisible wounds of war like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Check out a trailer below.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Around the Tubes vol. LXXIII

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 Community, The Goonies, Downsized, The Locator, Boardwalk Empire, Pretty Little Liars, Jamie Kennedy: Uncomfortable, Jimmy McMillan, Naught but Nice with Rob Shuter, Days of Our Lives, and Sons of Anarchy.

- NBC released a couple Community webisodes yesterday featuring Dean Pelton. Below is episode one, then click to see episode two and episode 3.

- Eighties classic The Goonies finally hit Blu-Ray this week and you can now pick up the 25th Anniversary Collector’s Edition on Blu-Ray or DVD. Want to feel old: Stef is currently portraying a grandmother on Raising Hope. This begs the question whatever happened to Andy Carmichael?

- WeTV is premiering two shows this weekend. New show Downsized follows “The Bruce family was living the high life until the financial downturn. With two houses in foreclosure, they are cutting costs and tightening their belts. The Bruces have some non-traditional methods for saving money: making their own clothes, raising live chickens, and taking 5 minute showers! Downsized focuses on the family as they adjust to a new way of life… and get creative in their challenging quest to get back on their feet.” Then at 10:00 tomorrow is the fifth season of The Locator featuring Troy Dunn.

- New episode of Boardwalk Empire this Sunday on HBO (followed by a new Bored to Death), below is a preview:

- For those going through Pretty Little Liars withdrawal and need a fix before the show returns in January, you can participate in the Pretty Little Liars Scavengers Hunt that started this week. “The seven-week long online scavenger hunt will send fans around the internet to get clues to solve a series-themed mystery. The omnipresent “A” from Pretty Little Liars will be hacking into, the Pretty Little Liars official Facebook Fan Page and the Pretty Little Liars Insiders Text Campaign to tell fans what they need to do each week. At the end of the seven weeks, the first person to solve the mystery, and then email “A” to let her know, will win a VIP sneak peek screening of the mid-season premiere of “Pretty Little Liars” in their own hometown with up to 10 of their friends. While there will only be one grand prize winner, fans who play through the last mission will get a special treat from “A.” Fans can go to for details and full rules.”

- For those that need a good laugh this weekend, then you may want to tune into Showtime at 9:00 for Jamie Kennedy: Uncomfortable.

- Need another reason to hate New Yorkers: they didn’t elect Jimmy McMillan from The Rent Is Too Damn High party as their next governor. Despite not actually a rent payer himself, he will still be helping out those that do even if it isn’t from the governor’s mansion. Head over to where you can bid on the Pay Your Rent for Pennies auction for one month’s rent up to $1200). Why couldn’t McMillan have started The Mortgage Is Too Damn High party?

- Need a reason to turn into the premiere of Naught but Nice with Rob Shuter tomorrow at 1:00 on HDNet, well Barry Marilow wrote the theme song, his first since penning the theme to American Bandstand.

- Days of Our Lives is turning forty-five soon and recently launched as an “online venue for fans to share their comments, impressions, and thoughts, chapter-by-chapter and photo-by-photo, about two new titles in the Days of our Lives book series.” Head over to sign up for the subscription based website.

- Sons of Anarchy fans, the show now has its own app. Head over to iTunes to download it for free.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Previewing Great Migrations

If there is one thing informational cable channels have learned to do spectacularly are anthology series making great use out of their HD channels. Next up is Great Migrations, a four episode epic from National Geographic starting this Sunday at 8:00. The four episode split up among the reasons why animals migrate, it’s in their DNA (Born to Move, 11/7 at 8), to procreate (Need to Breed, 11/7 at 8:00), for food (Feast or Famine 11/14 at 8:00), and basic survival (Race to Survive, 11/14 at 9).

Great Migration is the natural sequel to the Discovery documentary Life and it matches it size and scale which can even view in standard definition (which begs the question when are channels going to start send Blu-Ray screeners?). It also shares its one drawback, narration by Alec Baldwin. Sure his voice is less annoying that Oprah’s but it hard when you hear the disembodied voice of Baldwin and not think of certain voice-mails. Much like Life, there is a case to be made to watch with the mute button on. Okay, it is fun to hear Alex say, “He’s four tons of raw aggression,” and no he is not referring to one of his brothers.

Much like Life, Great Migrations features the monarch butterfly, an insect that takes three generations to migrate from Mexico to Canada, but only one to get back to Mexico. Survivor fans will remember Jellyfish Lake which reward challenge winners got to take a dip in during the Palau season. But the signature segment of the series is easily when the African elephants the show features got caught in an epic sandstorm that looks like the end of days.

Great Migrations also has three companion hours for further viewing. Tuesday November 9 at 10:00 is The Science of Great Migrations, get a behind the scenes look at how scientist tracked some of their subjects of the series like how they got a microchip on the monarch butterfly that was light enough that they could still fly away. Then right after the fourth and final episode November 14 at 10:00 in Great Migrations: Behind the Scenes to see how the cameramen and producers got the iconic shots for from the show including a firsthand take on going through the previously mentioned sandstorm. Lastly Great Migrations: Rhythms of Life airs Saturday November 20 at 8:00 which is a best of the series sans Alec Baldwin who is replaced by original music.

If you cannot get enough of Great Migrations on the television, there is a companion three hundred page book also entitled Great Migrations. It is split into four sections that correspond with the television show with plenty of glossy pictures and explanations of the animal’s migration. You can also check out National Geographic’s Great Migrations social game Move “which simulates the zebra and wildebeest migration and allows users to participate in one of 14 regional teams that will be playing real-time across the globe, and invite Facebook friends to join to build the biggest herd and complete the most migrations.”

One quick warning to animal lovers before they turn into Great Migrations, many of the animals depicted migrate to get away from predators and some migrate right into them, so be warned there are some very graphic scenes of these encounters throughout the series. Check out (a non graphic) preview of what you can expect on Sunday:

Red Crab Marathon

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

First Impressions: Friday Night Lights: The Final Season

This Halloween I drove an hour just to watch the season premiere of Friday Night Lights on a fifteen inch television (which is smaller than my computer monitor). And it was totally worth it. I doubt I will travel the distance every week and thus will hold off my weekly commentary of the show until its NBC showing, but here is my first impressions of the final season of the best show on television (spoiler warnings to those who are waiting for the NBC broadcast).

As it has been the last three seasons, it is time to say goodbye to beloved members of the original cast as both Landry Clarke and Julie Taylor, the last remaining original high school students head off to college. The two didn’t get as triumphant send off as previous members (though I suspect both may show up later) they were both appropriate with Landry’s triumphant last waltz of Cruxifictorious and Julie got one last ping pong match in. There was also when last swich-a-roo with Julie offering an epic send off, which I thought she was going to plant one on him, but instead it turned out to be one last trip to the Landing Strip. It’s a shame that Julie didn’t accompany Landry to Grandma Saresen’s house though.

But the heart of Friday Night Lights remains the story of those left behind in Dillon, Texas. Despite only winning two games last season, Coach Taylor has to temper expectations after one of those wins came at the expense of the West Dillon Panthers’ playoff hopes. The team is still a shell and Coach has to put on his recruiting hat and apparently poached the black defensive coordinator (whom I don’t think was ever given a name) from West Dillon, sadly it looks as if Mac McGill may have stayed. He even inadvertently added Billy Riggins to the staff who managed to Coach even more than the assistant that repeated everything he said with Billy quoting of Ronnie Lott.

Coach leaves recruiting of actual players to last year’s standouts Vince Howard and Luke Cafferty. They are enlisted to recruit a stand out basketball player who wears a wool cap despite being in Texas during the dog days of August. Heb may not like football, but the white boy can jump (and apparently catch footballs). And he self admitted free sprit which means he is the likely predecessor to Tim Riggins when it comes to a penchant of skipping practices. Even more expections will have to be tempered after the Lions beat the defending state champs thanks to an injury to the opponent quarterback that had shades of Jason Street to it.

And as downtrodden as Dillon is to live in, no one is more downtrodden than Becky Sproles and somehow her situation got even worse this season. Her mother is now working on a cruise ship and though her father moved back in town to take care of her, he too if off most times on the road as a truck leaving Becky alone with his wife and her baby half-sister. Naturally, things do not go well and she cannot even turn to her only friend who if currently in jail, leaving her to turn to his brother, showing up on the doorstep of Billy Riggins who has a little one of his own. It is sad that the show won’t last long enough to see how Becky overcomes everything and leave Dillon like the characters came before her.

Friday Night Lights airs Wednesdays at 9:00 on DirecTV. You can buy previous seasons of the show on the cheap (as low as $13.49 a season) on Friday Night Lights. You can also download previous seasons of Friday Night Lights on iTunes. The show will return to terrestrial television in about three to six months.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

First Impressions: The Walking Dead

You know you are in for a different kind of television show when before the title sequence even rolls; the protagonist of the show shoots a little girl in the head. Sure she was a brain eating zombie, but still jarring. And not to be outdone by the opening, the closing scene featured even more zombies disemboweling a live horse. That just sets a tone never set by any television show before it, especially by basic cable standards.

And despite a cast the size of Ben Hur in the credits, the majority of the first episode of The Walking Dead almost exclusively features Andrew Lincoln (Love, Actually) as he wakes up in zombieland after being shot some time earlier. The only (living) people he runs into are a father / son who can’t bring themselves to leave the town where the zombified remains of their wife / mother roam the streets. This does get tedious fast because Woody Harrelson, Lincoln is not. You just sit there after a while for Lincoln just to get somewhere.

We do get a small glimpse of the other cast members, which could have been a longer glimpse, maybe some back-story will come soon as how they got there. Of course all that intrigue went out the door with the introduction of the love triangle. Crappy soap opera type storylines is something that The Walking Dead does not need. More intriguing though was the snarky disembodied voice that is on the other side of the frequency of Lincoln in the tank at the end of the episode. That dynamic should maked for one entertaining second episode.

Besides the size and scope of the show, what is amazing about The Walking Dead it is the first zombie story where you actually feel bad for them even as they try to suck out the brains of those still living. From the heartbreak the husband goes through trying to put his wife out of her misery to Lincoln going out of his way to track down the zombie without a bottom half. When he said, “I’m sorry this happened to you,” so did I.

Despite not being an AMC fanboy, I still had high hopes for The Walking Dead and it almost lived up to expectations (had they cut the fat and just went with an hour premiere it might have). Between the encampment of survivors and whoever was taunting Lincoln at the end, should make for an entertaining first season, which is only currently ordered at six episodes.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 10:00 on AMC. You can download The Walking Dead on iTunes. You can also download the show over at Amazon on Demand (see below).

The Walking Dead: Sneak Peek [HD]The Walking Dead: Sneak Peek

Monday, November 01, 2010

Long Overdue and Now Philly is Slamming

Cooleyhighharmony - Boyz II Men

When you think of nineties music, it usually conjures up thoughts of grunge, or gangsta rap, possibly even the late decade surge of teen pop, yet forgotten in nineties nostalgia is R&B powerhouse Boyz II Men who only broke records held by The Beatles and they even their own record of most weeks at number one on the pop charts. They were a godsend for guys hoping to get their ladies in the mood and thanks to the death of RnB last decade, they remain a go to baby making soundtrack.

The group started out earnest enough as a Michael Bivins vanity group, even having shout out to him and the “East coast Family” in their first single Motownphilly (which begs the question, what ever happened to Sudden Impact, the token white boys of the crew who showed up in the video but didn’t even warrant a shout-out in the song? And what was the Vanderpooleera that was supposable coming soon?). Shameless plugging aside, the song was fun and when it got to the breakdown, who didn’t scat along with the group?

But any novelty of the first single wore off with the release of the follow up, It’s so Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday. The a capaella song became a staple of choirs everywhere and is still poignant today to play for the serious, like a loss of a friend, or even the not so serious like when I cue up the song whenever the token hot chick is voted off Survivor.

Of course Boyz II Men if best known for their baby making song and though they didn’t hit the pinicle of that type of song until their sophomore record, there is still plenty to get you in the mood on Cooleyhighharmony, most notably Uhh, Ahh. If I’ll Make Love to You is for love making, then Uhh, Ahh is what you put on during foreplay. The album also features a song that is still a go to for sad songs, Lonely Heart with its heartbreaking chorus which is a must to heal any broken junior high heart.

Added on later after being a smash hit off the Boomerang Soundtrack, End of the Road is another heart wrenching song, the first for the group penned by Babyface who would go on to write two of their biggest hits from the second album. The song makes you wonder why the group didn’t utilize more spoken word from the group’s bass singer Mike McCary whose voice is so low, you need a subwoofer to properly hear his voice. Also added to the deluxe edition of Cooleyhighharmony was a second a capella track, an updated version of In the Still of the Night made famous by The Five Satins, that, again, was worn out by high school choirs everywhere.

With RnB almost dead, it is time for a Boyz II Men revival as they are about to hit their twentieth anniversary next year. I do not expect them to be as huge as they were a decade and a half ago, but if they reteam with Babyface, they should have a few more bedroom anthems in them. Until then, I will just have to induct Cooleyhighharmony into my Scooter Hall of Fame.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

57 Channels and Only This Is On vol. CLIV

Chuck: Watching this week just reminded me how horrible the new Nightmare on Elm Street was (sorry Tami Taylor). Seriously, Robert England couldn’t reprise his role? Of course even the original Freddy wouldn’t have saved the movie, but it would have been a step up. But back to Chuck; was this the first Halloween episode where none of the character actually dressed up? You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Chuck on iTunes.

The Event: So we learn that where Sophia is from there is little to no water and she seemed quite puzzled at the dog. That hampers (but does not complexly hurt) my future theory. But it may gain more credence to a Martian theory. And what the frack was the blue light at the end? You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download The Event on iTunes.

Castle: If I am not mistaken, this was the first perp in three seasons to actually get away. And no Castle has a case to haunt him just like Beckett’s mom does her. You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Castle on iTunes.

No Ordinary Family: Holy Deputy Leo sighting! And finally a run-in with someone else with powers. It has been a month since Jim had come face to face with one. Hopefully they realize this should be a weekly occurrence. That and more Deputy Leo. On a side note, how unrealistic was those football scenes? I am not expecting Friday Night Lights quality scenes, but everyone was jogging down the field, you got to at least run. You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download No Ordinary Family on iTunes.

Parenthood: Vince Howard isn’t really going to hook up with Pattie Pryor is he? But since Parenthood like pouching Friday Night Lights actors, can they just go ahead and have the Taylors move to California? Maybe Drew needs a football coach because does not seem to have anything else going on. You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Parenthood on iTunes.

Sons of Anarchy: They are not really going to have Jax unknowingly put the movies on his half sister Trinity (who I keep on wanting to call Trixie) are they? Doesn’t she know that information? Or did her mom never tell her about her dad? At least we finally got an explanation as to why no one bothered to return Able. Albeit a convoluted one. But will Jax and his buddies play proxy to the priest? This should be interest. What is not interesting: what’s going on in Charming. I wish they had just staying in Belfast all episode. You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Sons of Anarchy on iTunes.

Survivor: Nicaragua: Was this a repeat from last week, or yet again did Marty make a stupid move with his Immunity Idol and his tribe once again did not vote him out for it? Have these people never seen Survivor: you never give your Idol to someone unless to save someone in your alliance (and sometimes not even then) because if you do, you will be promptly be voted out. And we learned why we have yet to have heard from Purple Kelly before this week, she apparently cannot string sentences together. How did she make it through the casting process? You can stream recent episodes over at

Survivor on iTunes

Modern Family: Being a college grad, I have seen my fair share of “slutty” Halloween costumes inclusing Slutty Elmo, but Hayley’s Slutty Mother Teresa is a first. And if it nice to see the family back together for the first time this season. Hopefully we do not have to wait for the gay Thanksgiving for their next get-together. You can stream recent episodes on Hulu.

Modern Family on iTunes

The Challenge: Cutthroat: The slap challenge had to have been the weirdest competition on any reality show ever, or at least since Double Dare. You can stream recent episodes on You can also download The Challenge: Cutthroat on iTunes.

The Big Bang Theory: How is it the nerds on the show all have hot sisters? And how can Raj be that mad considering he was an experimental drug away from hooking up with Sheldon’s sister?

Community: As I earlier declared this the decade of zombies I had high hopes for this episode, but is clear that zombies are too slow moving for a quality twenty minute parody. And really, how can anyone do a better zombie parody than Shawn of the Dead? You can stream current episodes on Hulu. You can also download Community on iTunes.

Outsourced: There is nothing more awkward plot on television (and not even a good awkward) than the Asha / Todd / Tanya love triangle which I am not even sure it is technically a triangle since Todd doesn’t have any interest in Tanya. They really need to move away from that plot and have more Charlie with a chain saw. And if anyone was wondering, the version of Hall and Oates She's Gone featured on the show was by The Bird and the Bee. You can stream current episodes on Hulu. You can also download Outsourced on iTunes.