Saturday, May 26, 2012

57 Channels and Only This Is On - 5/26/12

Quote of the Week: Yes my bad-boy prom date is gay. He just doesn’t know it yet, so I’m basically his beard. Pre-beard. His stubble. (Alex, Modern Family)

Song of the Week: Cocaine – Eric Clapton (Men At Work)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: Dan Harmon Fired: In true Hollywood fashion, the executives at Sony decided to not renew the contract of Community creator and executive producer Dan Harmon very late last Friday (it is where everyone likes to dump bad news in hopes it gets buried in the weekend). Even with its late release time, the internet still exploded the way only the internet can. Personally I could care less. Sure Harmon’s high concepts led to some great television, but he also had much more swings and huge misses. I really do not care who is behind the show as long as I continue to get my weekly dose of Alison Brie. And all the vitriol towards Song and NBC are pretty unwarranted. By all accounts Harmon is a douche who is hard to work with. You may be able to pull that off if you are Aaron Sorkin and are getting great rating (but even he got pushed out the door at The West Wing eventually) but you certainly cannot if you are pulling in The CW style ratings. And a note to the new showrunners: more Annie Edison please.

Preview Picture of the Week:

The Newsroom coming to HBO

Mad Men: Just when I thought the show could not come up with anything more distracting than a topless Rory Gilmore, Kinsey reappears as a Hare Krishna / Star Trek fan-fic writer. Coolbeans and touché Mad Men writers.
You can download Mad Men on iTunes.

Modern Family: What a horrible tease. I thought next season we would get more Dylan next season with Haley moving in with him, but no, she had to go ahead and get into college. Booo. Maybe she will get knocked up by the time next season comes around (while Gloria somehow gets unpregnant). And I may have pinpointed what was wrong with this season (aside from a lack of Dylan), they try to shoehorn in too many emotional moments like after a very funny telenovela bit they had to go ahead and ruin it with Mitchell having a very unfunny breakdown.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu.

Modern Family on iTunes

Revenge: Just when I thought the show was heading for yet another disappointing payoff when Emily ended up not killing the Albino, but then just as Emily was going to tell Jack everything, Not-Amanda shows up all pregnant (oh snap!) and Victoria got blow up in a plane by the Albino (double snap!!). Sure anyone who has ever watched a soap opera know there is a 0.0% chance that Victoria is actually dead (unless it turns out Madeleine Stowe is even harder to work with than Dan Harmon), same with Charlotte’s overdose, but at least we get to spend the next four months trying to figure out just how she comes back from the dead. Oh yeah, and real-Amanda’s mother is not quite dead as they had us believe. Somebody get Stowe’s Bad Girls co-star Mary Stuart Masterson on the phone.
You can stream current episodes on Hulu. You can also download Revenge on iTunes.

Awake: When the series premiered I predicted that the series finale would reveal that Det. Britton was the one that died in the car crash and his wife and kid were alive and well. Well two out of three is not bad. But it turns out I was right that both worlds were not real, I think (unless the Asian doctor was right and Britton cracked again creating a third reality which is what we were seeing at the end and a potential second season would have been split between three different realities; just the thought of that kind of makes me glad that it stopped after one season).
You can stream current episodes on Hulu. You can also download Awake on iTunes.

Free Download of the Week: If you missed my review of the debut from Kimbra (see I Can’t Explain Away the Way I Feel) I pointed out ways you could download three of her songs for free: you can get Warrior courtesy of Converse, Cameo Lover on iTunes, and Good Intent over at And in addition to those three, you can also grab Settle Down for the same price on Amazon MP3. That is 30% of her album you can get for free.

New Album Release of the Week: What We Saw From The Cheap Seats - Regina Spektor

New DVD Release of the Week: Gone

Video of the Week: It is ironic that when I was forced to read The Great Gatsby back in high school I had visions of Jay-Z, Kanye West and Jack White singing U2 going around in my head even though none at that point in time had released any music let alone back in the twenties where the book was set. It also donned one me that the book would make possibly the greatest 3-D movie of all time. Thank you Baz Luhrmann for bringing all of this to fruition with his adaptation of the film.

Next Week Pick of the Week: Hatfields and McCoys, Monday at 9:00 on History: Kevin Costner and Paxton play the patriarchs of the most famous feud of all time in the History mini-series which airs over three straight days.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Around the Tubes - 5/25/12

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 CBS, History, Pretty Little Liars, Insane or Inspired, Veep, Anger Management, South Beach Tow, and PBS.

- CBS was once again the most watched network of the season and to thank its viewers for keeping them on top, CBS is giving everyone a “Good-eBag” where you can download select episodes of current hit series like How I Met Your Mother and Survivor. And that is nor all, the network is hitting the road to travel to 60 cities in 60 days that may include such as face-to-face encounters with CBS personalities, video chats with CBS stars, previews and screenings of new series, contests, giveaways and more. Head over to for download links and for city dates (which will be announced soon).

- Also going on tour this summer is History for a Cross-Country Cookout featuring the cast of Pawn Stars, Rick Dale of American Restoration and the 80-foot Ultimate Smoker and Grill that can cook up to 2,000 pounds of BBQ at once. Head over to for dates and cities.

- We are a week and a half away from the new season of Pretty Little Liars, and to get you “A” fix until then, you can go on the Pretty Little Puzzle Hunt to unlock an exclusive clip from the new season.

- New show alert! Tonight on Syfy, new show Insane or Inspired, check out a promo below:

Heroes – Insane or Inspired – Launch promo

- Check out the video below for the latest deleted scene from HBO’s Veep. If that is not enough Veep for you, head over to Vulture for outtakes from Selina Myers’s Obesity PSA.

- We are a month away from Charlie Sheen’s return to television and here is the latest clip from Anger Management:

- South Beach Tow wrapped up its second season earlier this week, but do not fret, the show just got renewed for a third season set to air in the fall.

- After their successful Downton Abby series and the upcoming London Olympics, PBS is going even more British this summer with new British series and returning favorites to the channel that feature heavy accents. Here is the line up for the most recent British Invasion this summer:

Series Premieres:

QUEEN & COUNTRY,Sundays, July 1-22, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET – This summer, all eyes are on Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s second longest-reigning monarch, as she marks her Diamond Jubilee. PBS celebrates her 60 years on the throne with Trevor McDonald’s QUEEN & COUNTRY,offering viewers a look at the customs surrounding the monarchy – from Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace to the Queen’s royal visits — and tours of historic royal places.

MICHAEL WOOD’S STORY OF ENGLAND,Tuesdays, July 3, 8:00-10:00 and July 10-17, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET – Historian Michael Wood filters the 2,000-year history of England through the story of one small town located in the heart of the country: Kibworth, Leicestershire. From the Roman era to the Norman Conquest, the Black Death, the English Civil War, the Industrial Revolution and World War II, the four-part series intertwines the local and national narratives, marking the milestones that changed the town and country forever.

New Episodes of Popular Shows:

MASTERPIECE MYSTERY!presents new episodes of its best British mysteries. With the premiere of “Endeavour,”Sunday, July 1, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET,viewers get the back story of famed detective Inspector Morse. Shaun Evans stars as the rookie constable who nearly resigns, until a murder turns up that only he could solve. Then Kevin WhatelyandLaurence Fox return as Inspector Lewis and DS Hathaway in “Inspector Lewis, Series V.” In four new episodes, airing Sundays, July 8-29, 9:00-10:30 p.m. ET,the two tackle murder and mayhem in seemingly perfect academic haven ofOxford.

British Favorites Return to PBS:

QUEEN VICTORIA’S EMPIRE,Tuesdays, June 19-26, 2012, 8:00-10:00 p.m. ET, takes a look at England’s transformation from a small island nation into an industrial superpower. With personal accounts and lush re-enactments, it is a story of influential men and a powerful queen who ruled over one-fifth of the world’s population for a remarkable 64 years.

MONARCHY: THE ROYAL FAMILY AT WORK, Mondays, June 11, 2012, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET and June 18-July 9, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET, provides an exclusive look inside the modern British monarchy. As she turned 80, Queen Elizabeth II allowed creation of this intimate series, which showsthe commonwealth’s most famous family as they travel abroad, work at the palace and meet people from all walks of life.

This Fall on PBS:

CALL THE MIDWIFE, Sundays, September 30 to November 4, 2012, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET– Based on the best-selling trilogy by the late Jennifer Worth, CALL THE MIDWIFE is a fascinating portrayal of birth, life and death in a world drastically different from ours. This six-part series offers an unconventional twist to Sunday-night British dramas and brings mid-20th-century London to life, focusing on the joys and hardships of a group of midwives working in London’s East End.

MASTERPIECE CLASSIC “Upstairs Downstairs,” Season 2
Sundays, October 7 to November 11, 2012, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET - The saga continues at 165 Eaton Place, with new characters upstairs and down, in a six-part sequel to the much-loved MASTERPIECE series from the 1970s. Set in 1936, the lives of masters and servants have never been so captivating, as two new arrivals make their mark and Lady Agnes reveals a dark secret. Alex Kingston (“ER,” “Doctor Who”) joins the cast. The six-part series follows MIDWIFE, starting October 7. Viewers can catch up on the first season with a three-hour marathon September 30.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Previewing Men at Work

The dudes of Men at Work

Last night’s Revenge essentially ended the Spring television season, but do not fret sun adverse people because the summer season starts tonight when TBS launches a new comedy Men at Work tonight at 10:00 (with a second episode premiering at 10:30). With the addition of Conan O’Brien, you would think the channel would have reinvested in its lineup but in the two years since signing the late night host, all they have show for it was a one and done eighties college show and a bunch of shows presented by Tyler Perry.

All that is about to change starting tonight when the first of two new sitcoms hit the channel that have nothing to do with Tyler Perry as well as the recently acquired Cougar Town which will premiere early next year (hopefully with a new name). They are also getting into the unscripted genre with four new shows also coming next year. And most importantly a show called Norm MacDonald Is Trending is currently in development and I am hoping for a pick up any second now.

Back to tonight. Men at Work does not exactly reinvent wheel or even copies the much hyped comedies of the day like Cougar Town, Men at Work is decisively old school. Just how old? The work referenced in the title is at a magazine. Nope, not even an online Zine, but a paper and ink kind. Not old enough for you? The secondary plot centers on a girlfriend trying to get one of the main characters to talk dirty to her just like the famous Seinfeld episode. Granted what Men at Work came up with was much dirty than asking if those were, “the panties your mother laid out for you.”

You have also seen these characters plenty of times before. James Lesure (Mr. Sunshine) is the horn dog, Adam Busch (The Jury) is the nerdy one, Michael Cassidy (Hidden Palms) is the douchebag with a heart of gold, while Danny Masterson (Joe’s Life) just got dumped and is living his own version of Swingers but without any new cool language (unless coining the word whorange counts) and instead of any swing music there is a song by The Avett Brothers (sorry, no Down Under usage, at least not yet).

Severely missing from the cast is anyone of the female persuasion. There is not even a sassy secretary at their place of business. Amy Smart (who apparently is doing a favor for Road Trip co-star Brekin Myers; oh yeah, did I forget to mention the show was created by that dude from Road Trip who also wrote the first three episodes? Hopefully he does not owe Tom Green any favors) shows up to break up with Masterson so there is always a chance she may show up again. But the only likely actress we will see more than once after the first episode is Busch’s girlfriend played by Meredith Hagner (Lights Out) because he really cannot break up with her because she is the boss’s daughter (who will show up in the form of J.K. Simmons in the second episode tonight and also gets the best laughs of the early season).

Sure Men at Work will probably get crushed by critics, and for the most part it will warranted, but I have to admit that I laughed more than once during the first episode. There is a sly Three's Company reference if you can catch it and it is hard to hate something that hard that makes fun of Dane Cook. The show may not reinvent the wheel but there are plenty of people who do not think it needs reinvented like all the people who were glad to see Tim Allen back on television last fall when he swapped three boys out for three girls and very little else.

Men at Work airs Thursdays at 10:00 on TBS.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

You Can’t Explain Away the Way I Feel

Vows - Kimbra

After years of pop radio being filled with bland pop and watered down rap with an occasional adult contemporary or country crossover song, Foster the People crashed the Top 40 last year with the weirdest hit song since the alternative craze of the nineties when MTV was still pushing buzzworthy bands. Their success opened up the door for more weird pop songs by fun. and the xylophone heavy Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye, both of which have kept more traditional pop songs from boy bands, Justin Bieber and the Call Me Maybe chick out of the number one spot on the Hot 100 since fun. topped the chart back on St. Patrick’s Day.

As good as the Goyte song is, let’s face it, Kimbra is what takes a good song and makes it great. We have all heard their fair share of kiss off songs, but rarely do we ever get to hear the other side of the story in the same song (I am sure the guy referenced in Since U Been Gone would have liked the chance to refute some of the claims in that song). I cannot remember it happening since Positive K’s I Got a Man. After two verses and a chorus of accusations of being coldhearted, Kimbra comes in and shoots back about how manipulative he is. Oh, snap.

They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression and Kimbra did a very good job with her first impression here in the States. Even with Somebody That I Used to Know still at number one, Kimbra is ready to make a name for herself with her debut album Vows being released this week in America. Vows is the left of center pop music that you would expect from the small sliver of Kimbra you heard on the Gotye track, but it is a little jarring with how angry that song was that her album is very happy and hopeful and filled with tales of a much healthier relationship.

Right off the bat, Kimbra is ready to Settle Down, and raise a family and even has names picked out (Nebraska Jones). Throughout the thirteen tracks she shows off a vocal charisma that rivals her flashy persona using her voice as an instrument and not just a vessel to deliver lyrics be it the peppy boom’s in Settle Down or the haunting ooo’s in Plain Gold Ring. Musically the songs on Vows are so diverse you are not going to confuse one song from another be it the RnB flavor of Something in the Way You Are, the disco feel of Cameo Lover, Good Intent is the catchiest pop song on the album, the horns infused rock of Come Into My Head, the techno beats of Sally I Can See You.

As good as the previous songs on the album are, none are as good as the bonus track of Warrior, the song Kimbra did with Mark Foster (of the People fame) and producer A-Trak is the best song on the album and none of the songs reach the high of Somebody I Used to Know. But Vows lays down the foundation of what could be a great sophomore album, the way Adele took the massive jump inbetween her first two albums.

Song to Download – Something in the Way You Are

You can also download for free from this album Warrior courtesy of Converse, Cameo Lover on iTunes, and Good Intent over at

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

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I’m a Good Man with a Good Heart, Had a Tough Time, Got a Rough Start

Born and Raised - John Mayer

It dawned on me while listening to the new John Mayer new album that all his previous albums had a musical theme. Room for Squares was his pop album. Heavier Things was his blues album. Continuum was his soul album. And Battle Studies was his crappy concept album about dating and breaking up with Jennifer Aniston. It is clear listening to Born and Raised that he has entered his folk phase. The album even features about as much harmonica as electric guitars. Most of the album is just him as part of a four piece band with an occasional guest like trumpeter Chris Botti, violinist Sara Watkins formerly of Nickel Creek, and David Crosby and Graham Nash (sans Stills or Young) doing backing vocals.

Of course one of the main reasons Mayer may have retreated to the frozen country of Montana was that his stupid mouth got him in trouble time and time again in the promotion of his last album when talking about his racist genitalia and sexual napalm. When first single Shadow Days hit, it sounding like the singer was apologizing for saying too much again when he opens the song with the lines, “Did you know that you could be wrong and swear you’re right” and adds in the chorus, “I’m a good man with a good heart. Had a tough time, got a rough start.”

It turns out repentance is a big theme of Born and Raised. On If I Ever Get Around to Living It is hard not to think he is talking to himself when he asks somebody, “When you gonna wise up boy?” And I may not be a shrink, but Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey (which is followed by water, water, water, sleep) kind of sounds like a lyrical excuse for his spoken words. Then in the verses, there are lines like “The only deal I ever signed, the old devil drew a dotted line. The stage was set, the words were mine, I’m not complaining” which is followed by “it’s just a phase, it’s not forever (but I still might have a ways to go).”

Mayer saves his biggest regrets for the title track, a heartbreaking tale of his parents dissolving marriage which is worthy of the country sound where he laments it is “such a waste to grow up lonely.” But it is not all doom and gloom because the album actually ends with the Born and Raised (Reprise) is a bit more optimistic in a sitting around the firepit and singing a song with your friends at the end of the day kind of way. Born and Raised was a nice diversion into folk, hopefully John Mayer’s rock opus is coming next.

Song to Download – Queen of California

Born and Raised gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Monday, May 21, 2012

You Give a Little Heart, Give a Little Soul

The Brighter Side - Meiko

On her first album, Meiko created some of the quirkiest indie, acoustic guitar based, snarky songs that it is surprising she was not featured in an iPod commercial. She was basically Sara Bareilles with a guitar that would take an extra step across the preverbal line. With her snark in full view four years later it is surprising how mature she sounds on her sophomore album The Bright Side and stays serious for the most part (a song titled Good Looking Loser notwithstanding).

Not just mature but she at times even sounds sexy and she clearly has the voice for it. This is no more evident than on the first single Leave the Lights On where she coos over a subtle electro beat about secrets and something between the sheets. It may take a few listens for fans of her first album to get used to the dancey beat, but the song pushes her places that no one could have thought of after her debut. When the Doors Close takes those sensibilities from the first single and slows them down to great effect.

For those that loved that first album, there is still plenty to draw you in. Stuck on You and Let it Go are as catchy as anything on her freshman outing and you probably won’t be able to wait until she comes to your hometown so you can sing them back to her. But the highlights of The Bright Side are where Meiko expands her sound. I’m in Love is Meiko’s Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - Sgt. Pepper moment with an ultra-catchy sing-a-long with some new instrumentations. The growth culminates on the last track, the sultry New Orleans jazz of I Wonder. If Meiko can make a leap like this musically from her first album to her second, I personally cannot wait for what she has in store for the listeners on her third.

Song to Download – I'm In Love

The Bright Side gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

57 Channels and Only This Is On - 5/20/12

Once Upon a Time: I call shenanigans. How it is after countless numbers of times that Emma has touched the book that this time is the time she touched it and all the saddened started to believe? Shenanigans. And why, at this point, does no one go with true love’s kiss to begin with? It popped in my mind last week when Henry first ate the turnover yet no one realized that it could cure him until after it happened. I am a bit surprised that the curse ended up breaking at the end of the first season finale. So are there going to be any fairytale flashbacks next season? It seems silly if there is going to be magic and everyone knows their past in the real world.
You can stream current episodes on Hulu. You can also download Once Upon a Time on iTunes.

Mad Men: Like last week when all I could think about was why is Rory Gilmore giving it up to the obnoxious Pete Campbell (and what the frack was Mr. Belding doing there), this week all I could think of after the episode was why was Rory Gilmore topless on Mad Men? I vaguely remember Betty eating whip cream out of a can and the Jewish alien throwing a hissy fit, but the stunt casting on the show this season is really getting distracting. Almost as distracting: titling the episode Dark Shadows the same week the movie reboot is released to theaters.
You can download Mad Men on iTunes.

How I Met Your Mother: The first half reminded me of the most recent Community clip show that was not an actual clip show where the writers complied all their half baked ideas into one show. The second half was pretty predictable as I saw Barney proposing to Quinn via magic trick only for the bride turning out to be Robin miles away, the same for Victoria showing up to the bar on her wedding day with Ted driving her back to the church. Granted I did not see him driving past it. Not that I really mind because much like Robin, I think Victoria is the best girlfriend Ted has had and certainly the only one I would like see ending up the mother. Though it would be hard to explain how she turns out to be the mother if Ted met the mother at Barney’s wedding as previously stated.
You can stream recent episodes over at You can also download How I Met Your Mother on iTunes.

Suburgatory: Holy James Ingram< sighting! I actually thought James was going to turn out to be Lisa’s real father but I guess her brother is still in play. You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Suburgatory on iTunes.

Revenge: I am always against the “x amount of time early” cold open to an episode, but to promise a death early on only for it to turn out to be a dog is cruel and inhumane. Just how many death sequences can one show screw up?
You can stream current episodes on Hulu. You can also download Revenge on iTunes.

Community: For the second half the season, it has been fun watching each episode trying to figure out the exact moment where Chevy Chase really got fed up with the absurd storyline. I think we had a winner with the 8-bit episode. As much as I loved the old school Nintendo games, it was hard not to think that Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’s ode to the time period in gaming was much better with its live action homage. And it is odd that they ended the season not with the epic heist episode but the more low key (or as low key as an episode with an evil doppelganger trying to hack off someone’s arm can be) trail episode especially since they just did a Law and Order episode not too long ago. It was like the season Buffy the Vampire Slayer vanquished the Big Bad in the penultimate episode and spent the finale dreaming about cheese.
You can stream current episodes on Hulu. You can also download Community on iTunes.