Saturday, February 04, 2012

Best of the Week - 2/4/12

Quote of the Week: I’ll even watch one of those artsy foreign ones you like where all they do are stare at windows. (Hanna, Pretty Little Liars)

Song of the Week: Rocket Man (I Think It's Going to Be a Long Long Time) – Elton John (The Big Bang Theory)

The Very Last Gratuitous Token Hot Chick Picture of the Week: (at least until she is cast in the next inevitable ill-fated Charlie’s Angels reboot)

Yvonne Strahovski back in the Wienerlicious uniform

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: NBC Goes Pilot Shopping: We still have to wait about four month until we learn what new shows will be hitting the small screen next fall, but a bunch of shows have just gotten the green light to film a pilot. NBC has gotten out of the gate with three new shows including the Munsters reboot from Brian Fuller (who created three of the finest shows ever: Dead Like Me, Wonderfalls Pushing Daisies) and director Brian Singer (X-Men) but now has a new name: Mockingbird Lane. And with a 2 million dollar penalty, it is a good bet that Revolution about a world without energy from J.J. Abrams will be making it to air. Though the last time NBC bid that high from the master of high concept / low rewards, which did not turn out well (see Undercovers, or do not, it sucked massively). In other shows you could not pay me to watch news, NBC also gave a thumbs up to a Ryan Murphy sitcom The New Normal about a gay couple and their surrogate.

Free Download of the Week: These Days (Music Video) - Foo Fighters (iTunes)

Deal of the Week: 100 Albums for $5: Amazon MP3 has released a new batch of $5 album including ones from Blind Melon, Norah Jones, Keith Sweat and Madi Diaz.

New Album Release of the Week: A Different Kind of Truth - Van Halen

New DVD Release of the Week: Throw Momma From the Train [Blu-ray]

Video of the Week: Some football game got the coveted pre-The Voice premiere slot this year and I was not entirely sure I was going to watch this season until I saw Cee Lo Green’s bedazzled leather jacket. Considered me sold. Bonus points for wrangling Lionel Fracking Richie in as a mentor. And to tide you over until tomorrow, here is some white chick singing a smoky rendition of Trey SongzSay Aah for her blind audition.

Next Week Pick of the Week: The River: Tuesday at 9:00 on ABC: Considering last weekend I watched Paranormal Activity 3, a television show hyping the writer / director of the original film is not a big plus in my book right now. It became clear to me while watching the third installment that all the films could be fast forwarded during the first hour because nothing interesting happens until the last twenty minutes. In Oren Peli’s defense, the first one was the best and originally done and he did everything in the film, write, direct, cinematography, editing, and only wrote the second and nothing with the third, but has signed on to write the fourth (if we are stuck watching “found” reel to reel movies of grandma, I’m out on the franchise). Hopefully his new television show has a bit more action in the first two acts than his movies did because the ads do have me curious. Plus he has brought along the hot chick from the first movie in a recurring role. She might be able to get me through the boring parts.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Around the Tubes - 2/3/12

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 Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook, Artist Den, 30 Rock, Bring it On, Chronicle, Doomsday Preppers, Showtime and ABC Family pick ups and renewals, Key and Peele, HBO Valentine presents, The Dog Whisperer, and Jefferson’s Secret Bible.

- The second season of Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook premieres tonight (check your local PBS station for times) where Michael will be heading to the Playboy Mansion to check out Hef’s vintage Wurlitzer jukebox in the game house.

- Also premiering tonight on public television is the fourth season of Artist Den starting tonight with the queen of 2011 Adele. Also showing up this season will be Kid Rock, Death Cab for Cutie, Amos Lee, The Fray, as well as Iron and Wine.

- We have been debating Patriots and Giants all week, but there is something all football fans can agree on, Madonna as a halftime show is going to suck massively. Luckily 30 Rock’s Jack Donaghy is trying to piece together a replacement and has recruited Childish Gambino (aka Community’s Troy) to rap over the Knight Rider Theme which is certainly better that watch some fifty year old pretend she is still twenty.

- Also performing television theme songs at Donaghy’s Half time show are Cee-Lo Green (BJ and the Bear), Michael McDonald (Saved by the Bell) and Ryan Adams performing Breathe, the theme to Passions. No, seriously.

- What better way to start off your Super Bowl Sunday that with some cheerleaders? Starting at 9:00 AM ABC Family is airing its Bring it On a Thon airing all five films and for those that need something else to watch once the big game starts, the network will be airing Mama Mia at 7:00 and Dirty Dancing at 9:30.

- Chronicle starring Michael B Jordan (aka Friday Night Light’s Vince Howard) hits theaters tonight and they recently asked the internets what they would do if they had telekinesis and here is what YouTube celebrity DeStorm along with MysteryGuitarMan responded:

- With the world (possibly) ending later this year, what better time than now for a television show about how to survive the apocalypse? Doomsday Preppers premieres with back to back episodes this Tuesday at 9:00 and 10:00 and will go inside America’s prepping subculture, uncovering a wide assortment of prepping styles and approaches, meeting preppers on their own turf, examining their methods and tracking their progress as they think through every logistic and contingency plan.

- A television show called Masters of Sex starring Lizzy Caplin (Party Down)? Yes please. The pilot for the show will begin filming in March for Showtime (double yes) and will also star Martin Sheen (Frost/Nixon) as the duo will star as human sexuality pioneers William Masters and Virginia Johnson set in the 60’s (seriously, skip the pilot and just greenlight it right now).

- In other Showtime news, the network just announced renewals of current chows Shameless, House of Lies and Californication for their third, second, and sixth seasons respectively.

- In other renewal and pick up news, ABC Family is bringing back The Secret Life of the American Teenager for a record fifth season which will put it over the 100 episode mark. It has also greenlighted new comedy series Baby Daddy, its highest ever tested comedy pilot ever and will also dip into the reality world with Beverly Hills Nannies about, well the title says it all. Tori Spelling and Tia Mowry have also been cast in their latest 25 Days of Christmas original movie The Mistle-Tones.

- If you missed the premiere of Key and Peele this week, here is a sketch you missed. And look out for a new episode Wednesday at 10:30 on Comedy Central.

- If your Valentine is a big HBO fan and you still have to figure out a gift with eleven days and counting, head over to HBO Shop for special holiday shirts from your favorite shows including True Blood, Entourage, Curb Your Enthusiam, Eastbound and Down and Sex and the City.

- Also celebrating the holiday is Cesar Milan with his special Valentine’s Day episode of The Dog Whisperer next Saturday (2/11) which is also his 150th episode. And what better way to celebrate the milestone than with a cake. And if you bake Cesar a cake, you can share the photo to Instagram with the tags #natgeowild and #happy100. One lucky baker will actually receive a call from Cesar himself.

- Appropriately premiering on President’s Day is Jefferson’s Secret Bible at 8:00 on Smithsonian Channel. The special looks at the hand created book that the former president edited himself keeping the sections he believed were the true teachings of Jesus cutting out the parts of the four gospels that dealt with angles, miracles and resurrection.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

I Heard You Like the Bad Girls, Honey Is That True?

Born to Die - Lana Del Rey

If there are two things the internet do really well is build things up and tear them down; usually in successive order of the same thing. And possibly the thing that got hyped more and destroyed harder on the internet at the fastest rate was Lana Del Rey. Everyone online was quick to jump on the weird retro do it yourself music video for Video Games where Del Rey glamed it up while her husky voice provided the soundtrack. Personally I thought she sounded like a boring version of Amy Winehouse so I did not give her much attention. Then she appeared as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live.

And nearly broke the internet in the process with her drugged out performance, complete with trembling voice and weird ticks. Was it the single worst performance ever in the history of the late night show? Of course not, it is not as if acid reflux made her do a jig while her band played the wrong backing track. But the backlash was on. It did not help she went from the grainy footage of Video Games and followed it up with the very glossy video for Born to Die which saw her shining in some grand cathedral flanked by a pair of tiger. And some of the attacks were just silly like her changing her name from Lizzy Grant at the same time Ziggy Stardust was on the cover of the Rolling Stone thirty years later (and even David Bowie still is not his real name). Or how she went from white trash persona to Hollywood chic or that it turns out she comes from the one percent. (Though I am not entirely convinces that Lizzy Grant is not also a persona and she is really just teen pop star JoJo all grown up because they look strikingly similar).

Personally I could care less about all that stuff as long as the music is listenable. Unfortunately Born to Die is not. It is striking how amateurish Del Rey sounds thought the disk. She wildly goes from note to note, octave to octave without any sense of cohesiveness nor does it sounds like she cares, one of those too cool for school types, and the lyrics seem as carelessly written. It is never a good sign when you are listening to a song and it makes you think of the musical episode of Community where Annie Edison tries to woo Jeff in a pseudo Santa Baby type song. But that is exactly where my mind went when I heard Off to the Races where Del Rey cooed the exact same way as Annie in the chorus expect when Annie sang, it was intentionally over the top sexualize for comedic effect. Del Rey, unless she is trying to pull the biggest prank in musical history, is singing with a straight face. Seriously, “Kiss me on my open mouth” may be the least sexy line ever song that was supposed to be romantic.

The cooing goes way over the top for National Anthem, which I am not entirely sure what is supposed to be a metaphor for, and I am not sure I want to find out. The song is the musical version of the drunken chick at the party who tries to make out with you even though her breathe reeks of a mixture of alcohol, cigarette butts, and puck; it is really the ultimate anti-aphrodisiac. Ladies, if you put on Let's Get It On when you want to, well, get it on, Born to Die is what you should play if you want to make sure your boyfriend gets the hint that tonight is a hair up, sweatpants kind of night. Unless of course you are dating a semi-ironic hipster because I have a feeling those are the only people who would enjoy Born to Die. Of course if that is the case, you have more to worry about than listening to Born to Die in its entirety.

Song to Download – Blue Jeans

Born to Die gets a Terror Alert Level: Guarded [BLUE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Your Purple Prose Just Give You Away

Schubert Dip - EMF

A couple months ago VH1 unveiled their list of the 40 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 90’s and I kept getting more and more agitated watching it with every passing entry because 90% of the list did not deserve being on the list because they were too obscure, sucked massively, and most egregious were those song that should not even be considered one hit wonders. Seriously, if I were ever to create a list of the 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 90’s (Spoiler Alert: hypothetically if I were to do so, I would post my list next Monday) I would venture to say only 15 of their 40 would make my top 100. 15 would actually be the same about that I would argue are not even legitimate one hit wonders that VH1 had on their list.

One of the additions to VH1’s list that made me the angriest was the inclusion of EMF who released quite possibly the greatest rock dance album ever in the history of recorded time with Schubert Dip, this month’s induction into the Scooter Hall of Fame. It is a shame that VH1 completely forget about Lies which was a legitimate hit or smaller hits like I Believe and Children. Sure, if there was such a thing, EMF could be considered One Album Wonders with Schubert Dip, but One Hit Wonders they are not.

Sure Unbelievable is clearly EMF’s biggest hit and deservedly so as it is one of the best songs from the decade period. It demanded your attention from the first “Oooh” and heavy use of cowbell and managed to either be the first rock song to get massive play in the clubs or the first dance song that truly rocked. The song also famously helped Andrew Dice Clay get back on MTV after getting banned a couple years earlier by sampling the raunchy comedian heavily in the song.

But with Schubert Dip, EMF showed they were no one trick pony. Children rocked with the same intensity as Unbelievable exchanging Andrew Dice Claw with police sirens. In fact other tracks like Long Summer Days, When You’re Mine, and I Believe could still keep house parties moving today and may bery well have paved way for the rock tinged techno music of the late nineties with acts like The Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers. Lies showed the band could switch gears into the more serious but still made the song danceable to that part of the fan base. It would be hard-pressed to find anyone who has listened to Schubert Dip all the way through that would call EMF a one hit wonder. Just do not ask me why a sample of Bert and Ernie opened up Girl of an Age.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I Want My Music Television - 1/31/12

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.

Underneath the Sycamore - Death Cab for Cutie

I was just thinking at the start of the new Underneath the Sycamore video that it looked like the animation from their Grapevine Fires video with a noir feel to it and then the dude goes in and watches that very video. I guess I was right.

When I Was Young – Nada Surf

At the start of the new Nada Surf video, I actually thought it was going to be adults being poytrayed by their kid self, but it just turned out to be two kids in school uniforms. Oh well. Still a good song though.

The Bad in Each Other – Feist

Well that is a depressing way to start a music video. Thanks for ruining my day Feist.

Don't Kiss Me - Carl Thomas

I have long bemoaned what passes as RnB these days but it is nice to see artists like Carl Thomas are still honoring the smooth side of the genre. Sure he blatantly stole Raphael Saadiq’s glasses and do not ask me why he brought Snoop Dogg along.

Monday, January 30, 2012

You're Not the Person You Were, You Are so Much More

Chuck and Sarah on the beach

Knowing this was their last season, you have to wonder if the writers of Chuck were trying to cram two to three seasons’ worth of storyline into their final season. We started off with the evil CIA dude but he was randomly killed off by the chick from The Matrix. He was replaced by the chick from X-Men, but only one episode who revealed the big conspiracy was to release Superman from prison. Except he only lasted an episode but introduced us to Sarah’s former handler who also only lasted one episode. All this lead up to a final show down with… a Horatio Sanz lookalike? Seriously?

Sarah punching Chuck

Despite a shaky lead up this season (and lets be honest, they show has been rocky for the last three seasons), it put together a pretty entertaining series finale even if I could care less about Horatio Sanz. The final two hours featured countless throwbacks from Chuck and Sarah’s first date (unfortunately they did not recreate that dance sequence, one of the greatest scenes ever in the history of television), Wienerlicious (why they ever dumped that costume is beyond me, Orange Orange was lame), Fernando getting his first lines as part of the Pervert Squad, Sarah breaking into the Intercect room was almost a shot for shot recreation of Bryce Larson breaking out of the Intercect from the series premiere (yes, I went back and rewatched the Pilot this weekend), Subway, the porn virus (of course Sarah remembered that, that plot devise was beyond obvious I knew it was the solution as soon as they uncovered the bomb), naturally the beach scene, and of course one word: Jeffster. The series finale was so well crafted for fans of the show it’s amazing how so many series screw up their finales. The only way the Chuck series finale could have been any better is if they had one final showdown with a Big Bad anyone actually cared about (it makes you wonder if they were banking on either getting the evil CIA dude or Superman for more episodes but had to scramble when they could not).

Yvonne Strahovski back in the Wienerlicious uniform

At its best Chuck mixed action, comedy and nerd culture better than anyone else. It all culminated with the finale two episodes of season two where the Bartowski clan reunited for Ellie’s wedding complete with an epic showdown with Pierce Hawthorne against Sarah, Chuck, Bryce Larson and a parachuting in Casey. And who would have guessed it would have Sam Kinison and a lesbian Indian that would save the day with a gem from the eighties?

Yvonne Strahovski back in blue

Oh Jeffster, how have you rocked us, and now you are off to rock Germany much like David Hassellhoff before you. Aside from the epic performance of Mr. Roboto, you gave us thrilling renditions of Africa, Blaze of Glory, encouraged Ellie to Push It during her pregnancy, slowed it down for Leaving On a Jet Plane and Is This Love, and ended out the series with one last performance of Take On Me. It is a shame as the series progressed, the less they used the Buymorons especially seeing what could have been happening all along had they let Jeffster in on the spying earlier than the last two weeks because the duo coming to the rescue twice were comic gold with Jeff’s flame throwing and Lester’s high notes.

Yvonne Strahovski back in black

But Chuck would be nothing without his two handlers. Adam Baldwin can do more acting with grunts than most actors have in their entire repertoire. Then there was Sarah, the single hottest token hot chick ever in the history of television (with apologies to Daisy Dukes who held the title for two decades). Sarah even took the Token Hot Chick to a whole new level and would ruthlessly kick your behind if you looked at hers the wrong way. Oh, and that Weinerlicious uniform and the editors insistence of gratuitous use of slow motion. And for a guy who was a nerd that dropped out of college, living with his sister, working a dead end job, Chuck amassed the single greatest list of girlfriends ever in the history recorded film. Seriously, name a character that had a greater foursome than Rachel Bilson, Jordana Brewster, Kristin Kreuk, and Yvonne Strahovski.

Even at its worse (where it was the last couple season or whenever Morgan was on screen) Chuck still remained at the very least entertaining and always knew the right pop culture reference to put into the dialogue. And if all else failed, they could still be able to get the Token Hot Chick into the most tasteful small clothing they could find. You will be missed. Except for Morgan, they should had left him in Hawaii after the first season.

Chuck 5.x gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Chuck: The Complete Series gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

57 Channels and Only This Is On - 1/29/12

Once Upon a Time: Seriously, Stealthy? I guess it should not have been a surprised that he did not make it to the end of the episode. But that was not even the most absurd plot point of the episode as the super secret item the motorcycle dude was carrying around: a typewriter. At least they did not drag that out for a couple seasons for an anticlimactic reveal like Lost would have done. I wonder if Vegas will let me put money on mysterious dude being the guy who wrote Henry’s fairytale book?
You can stream current episodes on Hulu. You can also download Once Upon a Time.

Shameless: I expect Frank to do some pretty despicable things, but I never thought he would turn down the heart transplant. And we all wish of going out while having sex, but I never thought of it though the eyes of whoever is on the other end of things, so to speak.

House of Lies: The problem with this show is right there in the opening sequence every week, right where Don Cheadle tells the camera, “You still don’t know what I do?” Um no, and that is not a good thing for the audience even if it is good for business, three episodes in and I still am not sure what it is all about. All I now with every passing episode, the less and less I want to vote for Mitt Romney.

Pan Am: When Pan Am started I was hoping the Token Hot Chick from the show would fill the hole that was about to be left by the Token Hot Chick from Chuck (both from Australia, note to self: talk to a travel agent) in its last but alas, she did not even last longer. Le sigh.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Pan Am on iTunes.

Pretty Little Liars:I cannot believe they did yet another epic scene of Aria and Ezra reunited, it is definitely not only natural. I was hopping her mom would catch them so she finally would realize it is time to turn the guy over to the police.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Pretty Little Liars on iTunes.

The Lying Game: What? So let me get this straight: Cordelia Chase shows up as Annie, the twins’ mother, except Char’s aunt and their mother is no longer the same person. But now other Annie is no longer the twins’ mother and Cordelia is? This helps my theory that Ted is the twins’ father and it was a result of a one night stand with. Though if Annie Rebecca is the mom, how did Ted and Alex convince her to give up her kids and not tell anyone?
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download The Lying Game on iTunes.

Castle: I cannot believe it took so long to realize the boyfriend / freeloader was the murderer, I figured that out because the title screen.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Castle on iTunes.

Justified: I assume legally they are not allowed to use the name Karen Sisco (Elmore Leonard’s other famous federal marshal) but I like how they not so subtly got around it by having her married and divorced within a month. But who knew Art was so ruthless (great scene even if there were no phonebooks around). And note to self: do not get on Bubba Blue’s bad side. But it should be interesting when all the pieces they put on the board these past two weeks start to come together.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Justified on iTunes.

The Big Bang Theory: So apparently last week was not some elebroate dream sequence and Leonard and Penny are back together, but it may be even shorter this time around. But how disappointing was it yesterday when I searched for “Sheldon Cooper Fun with Flags” and there were not any videos of it on the internet. Massive fail on the CBS and / or Warner Brothers marketing department for not uploading any. (Note to self: next time you try searching for the video, make sure you do not forget the “L” again.)
You can stream recent episodes over at You can also download The Big Bang Theory on iTunes.

Chuck: Check back Monday for my thoughts on the series finale.
You can stream current episodes on Hulu. You can also download Chuck on iTunes.