Saturday, April 07, 2012

57 Channels and Only This Is On - 4/7/12

Once Upon a Time: It was striking just how much Regina looked like Snow early in the episode to the point I thought it was Snow on the horse. I wonder if they shared the same bad wig. Of course Katharine is not dead but where has she been? Since she disappeared I assumed she was in the hospital dungeon with Belle, but considering she showed up just as Mary-Margaret’s heading to trial, I wonder if Mr. Gold had her hidden away.
You can stream current episodes on Hulu. You can also download Once Upon a Time on iTunes.

Mad Men: Wow, I really was not ready for fat Betty to the point that it was a bit distracting. I kept starring at her trying to figure out if that was really January Jones or Gwyneth Paltrow from Shallow Hal.

House of Lies: And that is how it ends, with Ronnie starting a class action lawsuit that ends her engagement. Yawn.

The Voice: After the first two rounds, Lindsey Pavao was clearly one of the two frontrunners to win the show, but she was quite lackluster this week. Lindsey’s strength is taking songs, completely flip them and sing them in her own voice, making them weirdly beautiful. The problem with her trying to sing Somebody That I Used to Know is that it is already inherently weird and she just did not add anything new to it (unless you count the Kubrickian backup dancers). What’s worse is that what really makes the song great is the female voice that comes in during the second where she just retorts everything Gotye sang in the first verse, you just never hear realtime retort in pop songs, or at least not since I Got a Man. So without that second voice, it just loses meaning and is just another, albeit weird, break up song. (Full disclosure notice: this still was the only song I bothered to download this week.)

Poor song selection seemed to be the theme of the week. Jermaine Paul, though better than Avril Lavigne, just did not mesh with the hair band song, and it did not help that he was overpowered by the band (so were Moses Stone and Ashley De La Rosa, who weirdly chose an obscure Alanis Morissette song but still made it work) . RaeLynn and Charlotte Sometimes tried different arrangements for their song and while the chorus of both songs was strong, both of their verses just did not work with the arrangement. On the flip side, the people who did chose wisely (Jordis Unga, Chris Mann, Jesse Campbell) all turned out to be major bores, or as I assume of Chris’s performance because I fell asleep after a couple bars of him singing. The weirdest song choice goes to the white chick who decided to sing Stevie Wonder’s ghetto anthem Living for the City.

There were some surprising song choices and head scratching picks to advance (how did Blake’s strongest performer Charlotte not get saved by America let alone Blake?) but by far the most shocking part of The Voice was just wow absurdly hot Christina Aguilera was and she managed to keep it up two days in a row. She has not been this attractive since the video she did with Ricky Martin and that was over ten years ago. Christina was also responsible for the funniest line when she told RaeLynn, “Are you allowed to grind your hips at that age.” Snitch please, you were barely eighteen when you were grinding your hips in the Genie In a Bottle video while telling guys to rub you the right way.

You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download songs performed this week via the widget at right.

Castle: C’mon, Biggie Slim? I am offended as an old school hip-hop fan by that name.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Castle on iTunes.

Justified: In the four person chess match (though Winn may have entered the game this week, spiting himself from Quarrels), the biggest pawn, Dickie Bennett is off the board again. Also off the board: the three million prize which is currently residing with the Van Halen hating Loretta. She better use some of the money for a personal bodyguard because I doubt Dickie will be the last person after the money. But there were way too many moves on the chessboard this week to count with all the players crossing and double crossing each other. The biggest question for next week is not who is going to die, but how many are going to end up dead.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Justified on iTunes.

Survivor: One World: Easily the best part of the episode this week was Tarzan confronting Chelsea for hating him because she hated her own plastic surgeon. She clearly should not hate her plastic surgeon because I did not even realize she had any work done until Tarzan pointed it out. Maybe Tarzan, just maybe, she hates you for outing her boob job on national television. The easily the worst part of the episode was the 7-Up sponsored reward challenge that did not incorporate the classic rainy day classroom recess game Sevens Up.
You can stream recent episodes over at

Survivor on iTunes

The Big Bang Theory: There are fewer things I needed to see less than Sheldon in a Fresh Maid outfit. But anyway. Who knew Stephen Hawkins could deliver a puchline?
You can stream recent episodes over at You can also download The Big Bang Theory on iTunes.

Community: I wonder if this is case where the promo was actually more entertaining than the actual episode. I’m currently on the face. Maybe Leonard liking Abed’s Facebook status update pushes me over to the side of episode.
You can stream current episodes on Hulu. You can also download Community on iTunes.

Awake: I had to scratch my head when I saw the title of the episode “That’s Not My Penguin.” It made a lot more sense after watching it. But I am not sure what the significance of the ring was, Britton gets it and just goes back to sleep afterwards or did miss something.
You can stream current episodes on Hulu. You can also download Awake on iTunes.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Best of the Week - 4/6/12

Quote of the Week: Marshall, do I strike you in any way as a Van Halen fan? (Loretta, Justified)

Song of the Week: Can't Fight This Feeling – REO Speedwagon (Justified)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: Play Ball: Opening Day in the north in early April is always a crapshoot which is why I never head out to the ball park on opening day here in Cleveland and the 56 degree is a little too cold for my tastes. It is too bad they did not have opening day two weeks ago when it was hitting 80 everyday. Now we are stuck in the forties for the foreseeable future. The Indians just had to go 16 innings, preempt Community and still manage to lose (a rain delay opening day last year preempted the season premiere of Friday Night Lights and I am not liking this trend). But anyway. Of course the return of baseball means the return of fantasy baseball and Big Head Barry needs a great season after Elho’s Revenge got unceremoniously bounced in the first round of the playoffs last week. So the national pastime is back, at least until the NFL Draft in three weeks.

Preview Picture of the Week:

Free Download of the Week: Hold On – Alabama Shakes

Deal of the Week: 100 Albums for $5 Each: This month’s five dollar deals include Norah Jones (two albums), the Beach Boys, Cake and Delta Spirit.

New Album Release of the Week: Underwater Sunshine (or what we did on our summer vacation) - Counting Crows

New DVD Release of the Week: Dark Shadows: The Complete Original Series (Limited Edition)

Video of the Week: Aaron Sorkin’s latest venture in television Newsroom got its first trailer this week and of course it looks awesome.

Next Week Pick of the Week: Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23, Wednesday at 9:30 on ABC: It looks like Dalia Royce will have some competition for biggest Queen B on Wednesday’s ABC comedy block with the premiere of Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 where the title character is so evil, she takes on new roommates and scares them away so she can pocket their security deposit. Oh yeah, and James van der Beek plays James van der Beek which will finally answer the question just how many Varsity Blues jokes can their be. For those that just cannot wait until Wednesday, you can download the first two episodes on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video (which is now available for the Playstation 3), or just watch it below via Hulu:

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Around the Tubes - 4/5/12

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 God Is the Bigger Elvis, Being Human, Dream Machines, Bridge for Dreamers, Redbook, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, O, and Showbiz Tonight.

- God Is the Bigger Elvis, the latest documentary from HBO premieres tonight at 8:00. The film is about Dolores Hart who traded acting in films with Elvis Presley with becoming a Benedictine nun. Check out the trailer below:

- Monday is the season finales of Syfy shows Being Human (9:00) a Lost Girl (10:00).

- Launching Tuesdays on Syfy is new show Dream Machines which follows Florida-based brothers Marc and Shannon Parker as they take the most imaginative vehicles ever seen in movies, comic books, and TV shows, and engineer them into on the road realities. Meet the Parkers below:

Meet the Parkers – Dream Machines

- A new web series dedicated to Chicago based artists and musicians Bridge for Dreamers recently profiled 19-year old Kirby Kaiser. Watch it below:

Bridge for Dreamers #2 Kirby Kaiser

- Biggest Loser host Alison Sweeney is on the cover of this month’s Redbook where she talks about her marriage, motherhood and her busy lifestyle.

Alison Sweeney on the cover of Redbook

- While over in Good Housekeeping, Law and Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay opens up about adopting her two children.

- Then on Woman’s Day, Dr. Oz is the first man featured on the cover in over thirty years.

- In final magazine news, in the latest issue of O, Oprah wrote a letter to young Oprah.

- Members of Kiss are at it again, complaining about their exclusion into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this time to Showbiz Tonight.

- In this week’s political story of the week, former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi predicts a 6 to 3 Supreme Court decoction in favor of the healthcare court decision to Paley Center.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Previewing Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron

James Cameron heads back to the Titanic

Spoiler Alert! If you have yet to see Titanic and are waiting for the upcoming 3D release to finally see the movie, be warned that I will be giving away major spoilers about the movie. You have been warned. Of course if you do not know how the movie ends, you need to get yourself to a library and start reading everything in the history section.

It is pretty clear that most people went to Titanic to see the Romeo and Juliet love story of Jack and Rose. Not me. I wanted to see the boat sink. I was even quite disappointed that I have to sit through two hours of love story before the boat even hit the iceberg. Now that we are reaching the boat’s centennial (the Titanic was complete 100 years ago two days ago, embarked on its maiden voyage on the 10th and sank on the 15th) director James Cameron is revisiting the most famous ship wreck this time with Céline Dion songs to be heard.

Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron premieres at 8:00 this Sunday (yes, Easter) and follows the Oscar winner almost twenty years after he started he research on the movie for one last look of just how the famed ship sank and just how accurate was his film with the new information and better computer models that have come to light in the fifteen years since his film was released. And the computer models did not provide the most interesting theories posed in the special, that actually goes to a banana that illustrates just how the ship may have sank. No, seriously, a banana.

Cameron and his crack team of Titanic histories sift through piles of information to come up with new theories that they debate, many times the experts disagree humorously shooting James down in private confessionals. The group treats the boat sinking as murder mystery trying to piece the events together and try to reverse engineer the breakup of the ship from the fragments final resting places at the bottom of the ocean and one scientists even refers to the whole thing as an autopsy and a couple are almost brought to tears talking about. Every moment of the two hour special are truly engrossing.

If that is not enough Titanic for you, the following night, the guy who actually discovered the final resting place on the ocean floor back in 1985 will have his own special with Save the Titanic with Bob Ballard starting at 10:00. With technology getting more advanced, anyone with enough money can get their own tour of the Titanic wreckage, severely disturbing the underwater museum and taking priceless artifacts without any recourse without any international treaties in place and Ballard is doing what he can to preserve the site. More interesting is Bob where he heads to Belfast wear the ship was built to get insight into just how men without calculators, computers, or other modern tool built such a massive ship.

Titanic: The Final Word with James Cameron airs Sunday at 8:00 and Save the Titanic with Bob Ballard airs Monday at 10:00, both on the National Geographic Channel. And if the special leave you wanting more Titanic, there is a 21-page cover story in the latest issue of National Geographic the magazine including a four page pullout that maps the wreckage on one side and details just how the ship sank on the other. Check out a preview of the James Cameron special below:

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The Five Most Anticipated Albums of Spring 2012

A pretty slow week for music releases (unless you’re a fan of the 90’s: Wilson Philips! Candlebox!!) and where spring has become a wasteland for new music ever since the major labels pushed 90% of major releases to the weeks before Christmas, there is a surprising glut of great music coming in the next couple weeks, here are the top five album I am must looking forward to in the next couple months.

1. …Little Broken HeartsNorah Jones (May 1): Sure the spaghetti western soundtrack album Danger Mouse released last year was a bit of a letdown, but the three standout tracks all utilized the vocal talents of Norah Jones (sorry Jack White). The duo is back together for a new album, but unlike Danger’s previous duets with Cee-Lo and the dude from The Shins, no new band name instead the album is being released under Jones’s name. Despite the darkness of Rome’s tracks, the first single from …Little Broken Hearts is the bouncy break up song Happy Pills. And looking at other track names (Say Goodbye, Travlin’ On) we will be getting a full on break up album.

2. Born and RaisedJohn Mayer (May 22): Let’s get out of the way first: Mayer’s last album sucked massively because nobody wants to hear a concept album about dating and breaking up with Rachel Green. In the three year since the album his stupid mouth has gotten him much more publicity than his music but has been relatively quiet since starting recording the album, which may just be because of a lingering throat problem, but the first single Shadow Days suggest that he is truly sorry for saying things like how his genitalia is racist. I just hope the album is more on par with his first three.

3. What We Saw from the Cheap SeatsRegina Spektor (May 29): The first song off the new album from Spektor, All the Rowboats, sound darker than anything she has done before. This could be thanks to producer Mike Elizondo who is most famous for working with Dr. Dre but also produced that last album from fellow pianist Fiona Apple. But the second single, Don’t Leave Me does fit much better into her back catalogue, most because it is actually a new version of a song she released a decade ago.

4. BlunderbussJack White (April 24): Now that he has stated no more new bands, Jack White is now on his own, but I get the sense we will still get the blues-pop-rock through a weird filter that we have come to love from the guitarist.

5. The Idler is wiser than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords will serve you more than Ropes will ever doFiona Apple (June): Much like her last album, Fiona’s new album has been sitting on the shelf for a while but will supposedly get a June release, though no specific date gives me pause that we will actually get to hear the album before then. Unless, of course, you caught her nine date tour last month where she unveiled some new song (I avoided listening to them because I do not like to judge songs based on a crappy YouTube recording). (Scooter Update: It seems like whenever I create one of these music preview lists, inevitably that day a major release gets announced and today was no difference as just an hour after I published this post, Fiona Apple wrote on her Facebook page that her album got an official release date: June 26 along with the cover art. No presale on Amazon as I write this update.)

And here are some other notable releases. Click on the album title to preorder on Amazon or the artist name to be taken to their iTunes page.

DedicatedWilson Phillips
My Head Is an AnimalOf Monsters and Men
Bottoms UpObie Trice
Love Stories & Other Musings - Candlebox

April 10
Underwater Sunshine (or what we did on our summer vacation)Counting Crows
Boys & GirlsAlabama Shakes
SlipstreamBonnie Raitt
MTV UnpluggedFlorence + The Machine
A Wasteland CompanionM. Ward
New LifeMonica
Scars On 45Scars On 45

April 17
Love Is a Four Letter WordJason Mraz
Picture ShowNeon Trees
California 37Train
I Missed Us - SWV
Moving Up Living DownEric Hutchinson

April 24
Speak in CodeEve 6
This MachineThe Dandy Warhols
LandlineGreg Laswell

May 1
Blown AwayCarrie Underwood
Master of My Make-BelieveSantigold
Strange CloudsB.o.B

May 8
After Hours – Glenn Frey
After HoursSilversun Pickups

May 15
Not Your Kind Of PeopleGarbage
HeroesWillie Nelson
Rize Of The FenixTenacious D
The Only PlaceBest Coast
BloomBeach House
Welcome To: Our House - Slaughterhouse

May 22
Apocalyptic Love - Slash

May 29
Here – Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

June 5
AmericanaNeil Young & Crazy Horse

June 12
The Bravest Man in the World – Bobby Womack
Sythetica – Metric

June 19
Cherry ThingNeneh Cherry

June 26
Overexposed – Maroon 5

Handwritten – The Gaslight Anthem
The Diving Board – Elton John
Life Is Good – Nas
The Lion the Beast the Best – Grace Potter & The Nocturnals
Lollipops and Politics – V.V. Brown
Write Me Back – R. Kelly
Undisputed – DMX
Songs of Accent - U2
Mumford & Sons
The Avett Brothers
The Beach Boys
Bob Seger
Diane Birch
Pearl Jam
Green Day
Linkin Park
Taylor Swift
Wu-Tang Clan
The Offspring

And of course let’s not forget the obligatory this may be the quarter we finally get to hear Dr. Dre’s Detox.

Monday, April 02, 2012

The Voice Top 24 Power Rankings

Before I get into the Power Ranking of the Top 24, let me take a look back at The Post-Blind Auditions Power Rankings and of my top twenty-five, only thirteen moved on to the Live Shows. It did not help that six of the people on that list ended up battling each other. Also not helping: Cee-Lo Green’s horrible decision picking one of the Battles correctly by my calculations (Adam went 3-3; Christina 4-2; and Blake with an impressive 5-1). But enough with the sour grapes, the Live Shows start tonight and here is my rankings of all the singers left (assuming the producers have not stepped in and replaced Erin with The Shields Brothers! like they should).

Jesse Campbell of The Voice during the Battle Round1. Jesse Campbell

2. Lindsey Pavao

3. Jermaine Paul

4. Tony Lucca

5. Mathai

6. Charlotte Sometimes

7. Jamar Rogers

8. Naia Kete

Lindsey Pavao of The Voice during the Battle Round9. Sera Hill

10. Katrina Parker

11. Ashley De La Rosa

12. Juliet Simms

13. RaeLynn

14. Cheesa

15. Pip

16. Jordis Unga

Jermaine Paul of The Voice during the Battle Round17. Karla Davis

18. Erin Willett

19. Chris Mann

20. Kim Yarbrough

21. Tony Vincent

22. Moses Stone

23. James Massone

24. Erin Martin

Even though the teams will not go head to head until the Finals, it is still fun to see how the teams stack up. Going into the Battles, Adam had a slight edge over Christina while Blake was battling Cee-Lo for the bottom. What a difference a month makes because of his shrewd battle round chooses, Blake has pulled even with Christina while Cee-Lo put a huge gap near the bottom thanks to having three of the four worst singers going into the Live Shows. Here is how it works point wise if you assign one point for the worst singer and twenty-four to the best.

Christina – 86
Blake – 86
Adam – 79
Cee-Lo - 49 (having three of the four worst singers left in the compitition does not help)

No official word of which teams are up first, but my sources team me that Christina and Blake’s teams will perform tonight. Unfortunately there will not be a week of voting this year (seriously, why not the results show on Sunday? Do they really need two hours of Donald Trump?) so I will be updating this space with the best of tonight’s performances (maybe). And this year there will be four ways you can vote, like last year there will be a phone number for each contestant,, and iTunes downloads (clink on the names above to be taken to their iTunes page to download their songs). And the newest way to vote is with a Timeline app on Facebook, whatever that means.

Updated: I'm voting for Lindsey Pavao, Jesse Campbell, Ashley De La Rosa on Team Christina and Jermaine Paul, Charlotte Sometimes, and RaeLynn for Team Blake.

Predictions: Lindsey, Jesse and Chris Mann will be safe and Christina will save Ashley.

Jermaine, Charlotte, and RaeLynn will be safe and Blake will save Erin Willett.