Saturday, July 16, 2011

Around the Tubes - 7/16/11

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 Sing-Off, Dallas, Leverage, The Indestructible, Mann vs. Ford, It's Worth What?, Conan, Falling Skies, Turner Sports, Star Trek, and The Lying Game.

- Please, if you will, step into the 9th Green Time Machine (patent pending) and set the dial way back to 5/21/2011 when I wrote: “I am glad NBC took my advice and made The Sing-Off a weekly show, but two hours seems a little cumbersome (I know NBC is in trouble, but why are all their reality shows an unnecessarily two hours long?). At least the show should up its credibly now that the Pussycat Doll is not available as a judge. Since there are down a judge, may I suggest Sara Bareilles.” And let’s get back to present day when a press release dropped in my e-mail that read, “Sara Bareilles joins THE SING-OFF.” Seriously NBC, if you keep on taking all my suggestions, how about sending me a consultant’s fee? Or just green-light my proposed Friday Night Lights sitcom spinoff featuring Billy Riggins and Luke Cafferty.

- I cannot say I have been very interested in any of the recent television or movie reboots (I am still holding out for a She’s Out of This World reboot), and though I was a too little young when the first Dallas ran, I may check out the TNT do over because it features the very likeable Julia Gonzalo of the canceled too soon series Veronica Mars and Eli Stone. And watching Jordana Brewster trying to act is always entertaining.

- In other TNT news, this Sunday Beth Riesgraf (Parker) and Aldis Hodge (Hardison) will be having a live video chat before the next new episode of Leverage at 8:30 on Sunday on the Leverage Facebook page or

- When the National Geographic Channel sent over the descriptions for the episodes of their new show, The Indestructible, one caught my eye more so than the others: 15,000 Foot Free Fall. Here is of that episode airing tomorrow at 10:00 and followed by another episode featuring a flying car crash.

Deadly Skydiving Accident

- Here is look at HBO’s newest documentary, Mann vs. Ford about a small community’s epic battle against two American giants: the Ford Motor Company and the Environmental Protection Agency, It premieres Monday at 9:00.

- New show alert! It’s Worth What? featuring Cedric the Entertainer permieres Tuesday at 8:00 on NBC.

- Heading to Comic Con this year? So is Conan O’Brien, well, fan art of the guy will with COCO MoCA Presents: The Fine Art of the Flaming C featuring more than sixty specially selected pieces created by Conan fans from all over the world.

- Also coming to Comic Con this year will be Falling Skies with preview clips (Friday at 3:15 in 6BCF), autograph sessions (Friday at 5:00 at the Dark Horse Comics booth) and collectible pin series.

- Shaquille O’Neal is joining Turner Sports so be sure to save up your allowance so you can bet on who gets the boot first, him or Charles Barkley. You now it will happen within five years.

- Star Trek fans note that the official Star Trek PADD app for the iPad has hit the iTunes store and can be yours for $4.99.

- If you have Comcast as your television provider, look out for The Smithsonian channel which will be added to markets in Boston, Baltimore, Detroit, Hartford, Pittsburgh, Richmond and more.

- The Lying Game has its first key art, take a look below:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Lyrics Quiz: Mystery Theme

I have been working on my next countdown, but I am not quite ready to announce what that is just yet, but I thought I would tease some of the songs that will be on the list for this month’s lyrics quiz. As always leave your guesses, both artist and song title, in the comment section or e-mail me. If you are correct I will un-bold the lyric and give you credit. Please keep in mind the lyrics quiz is for entertainment purposes only so please only use your own meandering mind to guess them.

1. He spoke to me in the voice so sweet. I thought I heard the shuffle of angel’s feet. He called my name and my heart stood still.
2. Rap critics that say that he’s money, cash, (expletive deleted). I’m from the hood stupid, what kind of facts are those? (99 Problems - Jay-Z; guessed by Rose)
3. Today is gonna be the day that they’re gonna throw it back to you. (Wonderwall - Oasis; guessed by Doug)
4. I heard that prom night is the bomb night with a hood rat you can hold tight. Really though, when I am in my car I can’t even get a “hello.” (I Wish - Skee-Lo; guessed by Doug)
5. With my jeans on, and my team strong. Get my drink on, and my smoke on, then go home with something to poke on. (The Next Episode - Dr. Dre featuring Snoop Dogg; guessed by Doug)
6. I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind, there was something pleasant about that place. (Crazy - Gnarles Barkley; guessed by Rose)
7. As I walk this land of broken dreams, I have visions of many things, but happiness is just an illusion filled with sadness and confusion.
8. You’re sweet as a honey bee, but like a honey bee stings. You’ve gone and left my heart in pain, all you left is our favorite song. (It's the Same Old Song - The Four Tops; guessed by Angie)
9. Here I am, once again. I’m torn into pieces. Can’t deny it, can’t pretend, just thought you were the one broken up deep inside. But won’t get to see the tears I cry. (Behind These Hazel Eyes - Kelly Clarkson; guessed by Rose)
10. And when he died, all he left us was alone. (Papa Was a Rollin' Stone - The Temptations; guessed by Angie)
11. Before the cool done run out I’ll be giving it my bestest. Nothing’s going to stop me but divine intervention. (I'm Yours - Jason Mraz; guessed by Rose)
12. Tennis shoes don't even need to buy a new dress. You ain’t there, ain’t nobody else to impress. (Crazy In Love - Beyonce; guessed by Rose)
13. Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial. For what it's worth it was worth all the while. (Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) - Green Day; guessed by Doug)
14. She grew up with the children of the stars, in the Hollywood hills and the boulevards. (Lullaby - Soul's Core - Shawn Mullins; guessed by Angie)
15. Now I believe in miracles and a Miracle has happened tonight. (Black or White - Michael Jackson; guessed by Doug)
16. Rollin’ in my 5.0 with my ragtop down so my hair can blow. (Ice Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice; guessed by Doug)
17. Look fat chicks I don’t mean to sound rude. I tell her nice hit the gym and don’t eat so much food. But no “Your shallow, you need to run the course of unconditional love and so forth.”
18. I had a dream, I had an awesome dream, people playing in the park playing games in the dark. And what they played was a masquerade. (Say You, Say Me - Lionel Richie; guessed by Angie)
19. Generals gathered in their masses, just like witches at black masses. Evil minds that plot destructions, sorcerer of death destruction.
20. You can tell when the music starts to drop. That’s when we take it to the parking lot. And I bet you somebody’s Gonna call the cops.

21. I’d roll out of bed in the morning and throw on what I wanted and go drink beer with the guys. (If I Were a Boy - Beyonce; guessed by Rose)
22. Who’s gonna tell you things aren’t so great? You can’t on thinking nothing’s wrong. (Always On My Mind - Willie Nelson; guessed by Doug)
23. When I get older, I will be stronger. They’ll call me freedom.

24. Maybe I didn’t love you quite as often as I could have and maybe I didn’t treat you quite as good as I should have. (
25. And the Jay-Z song was on. (Party In the U.S.A. - Miley Cyrus; guesse by Rose)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Previewing The Green Room with Paul Provenza

The Green Room with Paul Provenza welcomed Garry Shandling and Judd Apatow

The Green Room with Paul Provenza returns for its second season tonight at 11:00 on Showtime. For those that have never seen the show, Provenza (director and co-producer of The Aristocrats) conducts a roundtable discussion (sans actual table) with a bunch of stand up comedians with nothing off limits, this is Showtime.

Tonight Paul pulls out all the stops by bringing in Ray Romano, Garry Shandling, Judd Apatow, and Bo Burnham. Some stand out bits to look forward to, of all things, is the 1990 Grammy Awards which was one of Apatow’s first writing gigs with Shandling acting as host. Shandling would later repay Apatow by appearing in his movie Knocked Up leading to another funny story when Gary brought a monk to the set during the birth scene. We are also treated with a performance of Art Is Dead by Dead by Burnham.

Next week’s episode may not be as star studded as tonight as they may need some introduction and the most recognizable is also the least funny. In the Green Room will be Dana Gould (writer for The Simpsons), Greg Proops (Who’s Line Is it Anyway?), Franklyn Ajaye (the jazz comic), and Ka Griffin (the unfunny one). Even though they are lesser know, there is plenty to laugh at like Steven Hawkings visiting The Simpsons, Ajaye putting current comedy on blast (and learns who the president is), and someone actually makes fun of Joan Rivers face then all the other conic try to make Griffin feal as if her cosmetic surgeries have still left her looking normal even though she has not looked human in over a decade.

The Green Room is a great look into the minds as comedians as the talk shop and allow us to listen is. The show is a great mix of humor (and much funnier than most sitcoms these days) and education look into the profession of a stand p comic.

The Green Room with Paul Provenza airs Thursdays at 11:00 on Showtime. Check out a clip below.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I Gave Up on Giving Up on Me

Cocoon - Meg and Dia

When scrolling through some of the blind auditions from The Voice that caught my eye, I immediately recognized Dia Frampton (or at least was able deduce who she was from her not so popular first name and her sister / bandmate Meg in the friends and family room) from the rock band Meg & Dia. Though just barely did because the band was an afterthought for me in the bland emo chick rock genre that eventually got popularized by Paramore (who I once labeled the most mediocre band).

Then Dia popped up on The Voice performing the antithesis of emo rock, the breezy Bubbly which Dia found a folksier version of the song, changing the phrasing ever so slightly to make it interesting (and wisely dropped the cheesy “Will you count me in” intro). Where most singing competition contestants pick songs where they can sing with their hands, Dia went the other way and paid off with Blake Shelton set the record for fastest button press on the show and became one of only three singers from the blind auditions I cared about. Granted she almost lost all the goodwill she built up from the blind auditions when she was part of the single worst performance during the first season of The Voice when she “Battled” Serabee during Can’t Hurry Love (which was not all her fault, but unlistenable nonetheless). The performance was so bad the judges, that never met a superlative that did not want to over use, could not find anything positive to say. But all that changed with one single performance.

When Dia performed Heartless, it was a jaw on the floor performance which I instantly called the gold standard for singing competition performances and any hyperbole couldn’t do the performance justice. Alright Cee Lo Green’s “greatest rendition of a song I ever heard” may have been a bit overboard (for more thoughts on Heartless see: You Got a New Friend, I Got Homies). It was at this point when I thought maybe I should give Meg and Dia another listen starting with the Meg and Dia YouTube page where Dia uploaded some amazing and interesting covers by the likes of some of my favorite artists like The Avett Brothers, Mumford and Sons, and Adele.

Also up on their YouTube page was a video for My Ugly Mouth from their It's Always Stormy In Tillamook EP. The infectious track will have you singing along by your second listen with its Beatle-esqe chorus, folksy verses and a high point when the sisters do their own little battle in the bridge. And as it turned out the EP, as well as the full length follow up Cocoon, which the band put out independently just prior to the premiere of The Voice, is one hundred percent bland-emo-chick-rock-free.

For those going through Dia withdrawals now two weeks after The Voice wrapped up, Cocoon is a great album to subside the shakes while waiting for her to make new music (seriously record executives, pick her and her band up already, she had the number one song on iTunes for goodness sake). And there are plenty of tracks that can transition you from her time on The Voice. If you liked her version of Bubbly, check out the bouncy I Need You in It. If you liked the vulnerability in her Heartless performance, go to Mary Ann where Dia pleads with another woman not to take her man against a bluesy barroom backdrop. And for anyone who found themselves clapping along with Losing My Religion on their couch, you will be clapping along with the more upbeat Unsinkable Ships.

But as the name Meg and Dia suggests, the band is not a one person band (or even a two member group). Dia’s sister Meg even takes over the vocal duties on Better Off. Sure Dia has the more distinctive voice which is why she is the lead singer (and tries out for vocal competitions), but Meg has the sweeter voice (check out the free download of Weeding Through the Rubble on Bandcamp), but elects to go sultry for Better Off that simmers in jazzy lounge background music. Then the sisters trade verses on the next track Said and Done and the contrast of their voices make you wish they would do this more often.

Dia’s voice aside, musically Cocoon is an eclectic mix of different styles of music but never sounds scattered. The album starts earnest enough with just Dia and an acoustic guitar on Love Is before bringing in a wall of sound around the three minute mark with piano (really, whenever the band breaks out the piano is a high point on the album), harmonies and, of course, handclaps. Breakdown (which is the song that Dia mention on The Voice where you can hear a dishwasher humming during the song) could fit right in at adult contemporary stations today next to Norah Jones and Sara Bareilles. Bandits (which you can hear sirens blaring at one point, but with the title, the sirens may be intentional unlike the previously mentioned dishwasher) sounds like a refuge from college radio in the early nineties. While Teddy Loves Her closes out the album with a guitar solo worthy of a seventies arena.

The two standout tracks on Cocoon could not sound any different. Summer Clothes sounds like the most fun Meg and Dia have ever had on a song before and it is a shame that Dia never brought out this side of her during The Voice (a bigger shame is that the show picked Inventing Shadows as her original song instead one of her own original song that she or her sister wrote like this one which is much better than Inventing Shadows). Summer Clothes is then follows up by the melancholy Separate which allows us to hear what the Fleet Foxes may have sounded like if the Fleet Foxes were fronted by females. And much like a Fleet Foxes song, Separate flips in the middle of the song musically into a fuzzed out interlude like something off the latest Coldplay album when they deviated from their signature sound. If you were one of the people who put Dia Frampton at number one on iTunes, or are just a fan of indie pop in general, you owe it to yourself to check out Cocoon (and It’s Always Stormy in Tillamook for that matter), you will not be disappointed.

Wow, I actually made it through an entire review of a Meg and Dia album without mentioning that Dia was totally robbed on The Voice finale. Oops. Nevermind.

Song to Download – Summer Clothes

Cocoon gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Article first published as Music Review: Meg and Dia - Cocoon on Blogcritics.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I Want My Music Television - 7/12/11

There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I thought I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.

Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall - Coldplay

Coldplay Wang Chungs tonight!!! But serious guys, how about a seizer warning before this video?

Best I Never Had – Beyoncé

No better way to divert the attention of mediocre reception to your latest album than to open up your video with you wearing very thin lingerie. Touché Beyoncé. (Though I still think 4 is her strongest album, see You a Bad Girl and Your Friends Bad Too)

Dance Without You - Skylar Grey

I think I am the only one who knew Skylar Grey as Holly Brook when she made dark folksy music. Then came a name change and high profile guest spots on rap hooks from the likes of Dr. Dre. And now it sounds like she is still making dark folksy music seen through the prism of Trent Reznor. I guess I will have to wait for a full album until I decide which I like better.

Up Up Up - Givers

If you are like me and spend nights wondering stuff like if Rusted Root and Vampire Weekend managed to have a kid and raise her My Two Dads style (which begs the question, when is Hollywood going to get around to making a My Two Dads reboot?), what would she sound like? I present to you Givers. You’re welcome.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Previewing The Closer 7.x and Rizzoli and Isles 2.x

The cast of The Closer

Do not get suspicious that you tuned into the wrong channel or were mistaken as when it actually returns, yes, The Closer returns for its final season tonight even though it opens up with a lengthy shot of a rap video which is the basis of the case that Brenda Leigh Johnson and her team investigate. And naturally when a rapper shows up dead on a crime procedural, a Suge Knight type is not that far behind and The Closer brought in Terriers’ Rockmond Dumber to play the menacing record executive. When Brenda finally gets her (wo)man, the moment was so tense I fear for everyone in the room.

Elsewhere in the episode, Brenda gets her first look at the department’s new organizational chart right around the time something from her past comes back to haunt her. Also Mary McDonnell, who has been guest-starring the last two seasons as Captain Sharon Raydor, has been officially added to the cast before getting her own spin-off when the show comes to an end. And there is a twist ending so big, TNT has forbidden me from mentioning by penalty of death (or something to that extent). But I can say for those that need to be caught up on The Closer, there is a nine-hour marathon preceding the season premiere.

The Closer airs Mondays at 9:00 on TNT. You can stream episodes over at You can also download The Closer on iTunes. And if you are on Twitter tonight while watching the episode, Kyra Sedgwick (@kyrasedgwick #thecloser) will be live chatting during the show, both 9 EST and 9 PST so those on the left coast do not get left out.

Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander of Rizzoli and Isles

Also returning tonight is the second season of Rizzoli and Isles which picks up while Jane Rizzoli is still on the mend after the seize on the police station in the season finale (and if you missed it, do not worry because there are plenty of flashbacks throughout the episodes. But no injuries or friendly concerns will keep her from investigating a bomb that went off at a celebration of her valor. And the cases keep coming to her in the second episode when a stab victim stumbles into the spa where she is getting a mud bath with Maury.

But the best episode of the early return features Ernie Hudson (Holy Winston Zeddemore Sighting!) as Frost’s father / naval officer who butts head with his son when a sailor becomes a prim suspect during Fleet week and also features a humorous storyline where Maura tries to hook up with one of Jane’s childhood friends. Also this season, the due investigates a murder carried out during a Revolutionary War re-enactment, a killing in a professional baseball team’s locker room, a complicated case involving a surrogate mother, and a case involving the Salam witch trials. And naturally Jane’s archnemesis Charles Hoyt will make an appearance along with talking head Bill O’Reilly as a potential murder suspect.

Rizzoli and Isles airs Mondays at 9:00 on TNT. You can stream episodes over at You can also download Rizzoli & Isles on iTunes.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Previewing The Indestructible and Deadly 60

If you watched the Bruce Willis movie Unbreakable and thought to yourself that would make for a great reality show, well you are in luck because tonight on the National Geographic Channel premieres its new show The Indestructible featuring people who should not be alive and explains how they managed to survive certain death. Tonight at 10:00 there are back to back episode featuring a helicopter crash followed by a guy crushed by a SUV.

Each episode features eyewitness accounts (and multiple replays of the accidents), but waits until half way through the episode until we hear from those directly involved (which is surprisingly heart pumping considering from the title of the show we know they survive). Then the last half of the episode features crash specialists who dissect the accident to give scientific reasons as to how anyone could possibly walk away sometimes with just minimal injuries. Later in the season will feaure episode like a skydiver instructor who survive a 15,000 free fall, a man who’s car flew over a median and broke into pecies, an electrocuted skydiver, and a baby who survived a horrifying car crash. Check out a clip from tonight’s episode:

Chopper Disaster

In other premiere news, tomorrow is the debut of Deadly 60 where British naturalist Steve Backshell travels the globe in search of the sixty deadliest species on Earth. The show debuts with back to back episodes at 10:00 on Nat Geo Wild where Steve goes on the prowl for a wild leopard in Namibia then heads off to Thailand in search of a king cobra whose bite could kill an elephant. Check out a clip below:

Warthog Kill