Saturday, June 16, 2012

57 Channels and Only This Is On - 6/16/12

Quote of the Week: Bobby may not be stupid but I’m a hellva lot smarter. (J.R. – Dallas)

Song of the Week: You Only Live Twice – Nancy Sinatra (Mad Men)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: George Bush’s Head on a Stake: I was not a big fan of George W. Bush as president to the point that I even deregistered from the Republican party because he was such a bad president (or at least I tried, leaving a political party turns out to be as hard as trying to leave the mafia). But I always respect the office of the presidency no matter who is sitting in the Oval Office or how bad of a job they are doing. So I was a bit offended when I learned that Game of Thrones featured a scene featuring the disembodied head of the former president sitting on a stake in one of their scenes. The producers said it was not a political statement; it was just a head they had lying around that they needed to fill a sea of heads on stakes (not to be confused with Pardon the Interruption’s less offensive Heads on Sticks). This begs the question why did they have the head of George W. Bush just lying around? Ironically this came to light the same week that HBO was airing a feature on George H.W. Bush.

Of course my outrage died down after I saw the picture of George’s head with looked about as much like the former president as of the bust of Lionel Richie looked like the singer in his Hello music video. There is probably a reason this did not come out until someone mentioned it on the DVD commentary.

Preview Picture of the Week:

Falling Skies, Sunday at 9:00 on TNT

Mad Men: Now that the season is over, I have come to the realization that I really did not like the year’s theme of getting old sucks then you die. Don felt threatened by the youth of his wife and Ginsburg. Pete was exiled to the suburbs. Peggy leaned she had to leave her father figure behind to get any further. Betty got fat. Sally literally became a woman. Joan’s marriage crumbled and became a prostitute. Megan followed her dream and failed. Harry set away his friend to follow his dream while Harry stayed stuck in his column filled cubicle. And of course there was Lane the most tragic of them all. Roger was the only one that came out unscaved but he stopped worrying about life after his heart scare early in the series. And it is off that with the getting old motif of the season that it did not end with a very picturesque Don walking off a bright set into a dark, lifeless studio but instead it ended with Don all but winking into the camera when asked at a bar if her were alone. Even the scene in the expanded office with the five partners would have made for a better ending. But at least more people beat the crap out of Pete.
You can download Mad Men on iTunes.

Pretty Little Liars: My favorite part of the episode was when one of the Liars asks, “Did Jenna become more blinder?” But a fairly uneventful episode. We already knew Janna was overcompensating from not actually being blind. Mona talked for the first time for month, but did not have anything interesting to say. Garrett literally kept his mouth shut. (and that begs the question why did Spencer go ahead and talk to Garrett after hearing her mother was going to come back the next day for a complete visitor list after just forbidding her from going to see Garrett again?) There was some weird storyline with earrings that Aria put in Allison’s casket, but that begs the question, why did she choose to put what she thought were her dad’s mistress’s earrings as a keepsake for Allison for all eternity? Did she not have something better to symbolize their friendship?
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Pretty Little Liars on iTunes.

Free Download of the Week: ATO Records Spring Sampler 2012: Get songs from Alabama Shakes, Dawes, Primus and more

Deal of the Week: Singers Who Act for $2.99: Amazon deeply discounted another set of albums including one of the greatest records ever made: Purple Rain. Other albums you can get for the low price include ones from Christina Aguilera, Mandy Moore and Jennifer Love Hewitt (yes, she recorded an album).

New Album Release of the Week: The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do - Fiona Apple

New DVD Release of the Week: Wilfred

Video of the Week: I think we can all agree that Call Me Maybe is a horrible song that we cannot stop listening and singing along to and hating ourselves for it after it is over. But if there is any group that could make any song sound credible, it would be The Roots. And they did just that. With children’s instruments. So congratulations Call Me Maybe chick, for one shining moment you horribly cheesy song was credible. Now say hi to Skee-Lo on your way to one hit wonder obscurity.

Next Week Pick of the Week: Falling Skies, Sunday at 9:00 on TNT: TNT continues it slow summer roll out with the return of their sci-fi show Falling Skies. It had its moments but I was not that impress with the first season so hopefully that gets turned around with the second season which returns with back to back episodes. Look for a full review tomorrow.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Lyrics Quiz: Surfing U.S.A.

The Beach Boys released their first album fifty years ago and recently just put out a reunion album. Even after five decade the group is still synonymous with summer (ironically Surfin’ Safari came out in October of 1962) which officially starts next week so I thought I would put Surfing U.S.A. though iTunes Genius and you it to create this month’s Lyrics Quiz. The list is not as summery as I was expecting. But anyway. 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. My belle, sont des mots qui vont tre bien ensemble, tre bien ensemble. (Michelle - Rubber Soul - The Beatles; guessed by Rebekah)
2. A time to plant, a time to reap. A time to kill, a time to heal. A time to laugh, a time to weep. (Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season) - The Byrds; guessed by Rebekah)
3. When the one that left us here returns for us at last we are but a moment’s sunlight fading in the grass.
4. Well beat the drum and hold the phone, the sun came out today. We’re born again, there’s new grass on the field.
5. No I cannot forget where it is that I come from; I cannot forget the people who love me. (Small Town - John Mellencamp; guessed by Rebekah)
6. Clean shirt, new shoes, and I don’t know where I am going to. Silk suit, black tie, I don’t need a reason why. (Sharp Dressed Man - Eliminator; guessed by Rebekah)
7. Mommy’s alright, daddy’s all right, they just seem a little weird. (Surrender - Cheap Trip; guessed by Rebekah)
8. Bring a song and a smile for the banjo. Better get while the gettings good. Hitch a ride to the end of the highway where the neons turn to wood.
9. Got in a little hometown jam so the put a rifle in my hand, sent me off to a foreign land. (Born In the U.S.A. - Born In the U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen; guessed by Rebekah)
10. Well it’s been building up inside of me for, oh, I don’t know how long. But I keep thinking something’s bound to go wrong.
11. Are you gonna worry for the rest of your life. Why are you in such a hurry to be lonely one more night?
12. She hates time, make it stop. When did Motley Crew become classic rock?
13. The time is drawing near. My train is going, I see in your eyes. The love, the need, your tears.

14. When we get crazy, it just ain’t right. Girl I get lonely too. You don’t have to worry, just hold on tight. (I Can't Tell You Why - The Eagles; guessed by Rebekah)
15. You don’t need money, don’t take fame, don’t need no credit card to ride this train. (The Power of Love - Huey Lewis and the News; guessed by Rebekah)
16. She stood alone on her balcony, yeah, she could hear the cars roll by out on 441 like waves crashing on the beach.
17. We don’t need no education. (Another Brick In the Wall, Pt. 2 - Pink Floyd; guessed by Rebekah)
18. I could tell she liked my from the way she stared. And the way she said, you missed the spot over there.”
19. I wait in this pace where the sun never shines. Wait in this place where the shadows run from themselves. (White Room - Cream; guessed by Rebekah)
20. I went from Phoenix, Arizona, all the way to Tacoma. Philadelphia, Atlanta, L.A. Northern California where the girls are warm. (Rock'n Me - Steve Miller Band; guessed by Rebekah)
21. I make rich women beg. I’ll make a good woman steal. I'll make an old woman blush. And make a young woman steal. (Bad to the Bone - George Thorogood & The Destroyers; guessed by Rebekah)
22. I tripped the merry-go-round. With this very unpleasing, sneezing, wheezing, the calliope crashed to the ground. (Blinded By the Light - Manfred Mann's Earth Band; guessed by Rebekah)
23. Now everybody do the propaganda and sing along to the age of paranoia.
24. I’m getting tired of waiting and fooling around. I’ll find somebody eho won’t make me feel like a clown. (Evil Ways - Santana; guessed by Rebekah)
25. When I want to runaway I drive off in my car. But whichever way I go, I come back to the place you are. (In Your Eyes - So (Remastered) - Peter Gabriel; guessed by Rebekah)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Around the Tubes - 6/14/12

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 Dexter, Weeds, Ray Donovan, Masters of Sex, Veep, Treasure Island, The Obama Effect, BET Awards 12, Arthur, Shenae Grimes, Saturday Night Live, Redbook, and Bristol Palin: Life' a Tripp.

- Yvonne Strahovski, better known around these parts as the Token Hot Chick from Chuck, recently joined the cast of Dexter for the upcoming season which just began production last week and will premiere September 30 at 9:00. Yvonne will play Hannah McKay who helps Miami Metro Homicide for help in solving some old cases. Since Showtime shared a picture with the press release, take a ganger of Yvonne below:

Yvonne Strahovski has signed on to be the Token Hot Chick on Decter

- In other Showtime news, the upcoming eighth season of Weeds, which will include it’s 100th episode, will be the last. See the beginning of the end when the season premieres July 1 at 10:00. Showtime is already stocking up on shows to replace Weed because it also ordered twelve episodes of Ray Donovan starring Live Schreiber and Masters of Sex starring Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan.

- For those not ready to say goodbye to Veep just yet after its season finale (don’t worry it will be back for a second season), here is a deleted scene from Sunday.

- If you missed the original miniseries Treasure Island when it premieres on Syfy in early May, or just want to add it to your collection, you can purchase the DVD and Blu-Ray on July 24. Based on the Robert Louis Stevenson classic novel, Treasure Island stars Eddie Izzard (“The Riches,”), Elijah Wood (Lord of the Rings films), Golden Globe® winner Donald Sutherland (Hunger Games, Citizen X), Toby Regbo (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1), Rupert Penry-Jones (Match Point, “Whitechapel”) and Daniel Mays (The Adventures of Tintin).

- The Obama Effect hits theaters nationwide on July 13th, 2012. The film stars Charles S.Dutton (and is also his directorial debut), Katt Williams, Meagan Good, Vanessa Bell Calloway, and Glynn Turman along with a slew of new talent. Check out a teaser below:

The Obama Effect - Teaser Trailer, Stars Katt Williams, Charles S. Dutton, Meagan Good, Vanessa Calloway, - JULY 13TH! from Digital Magician on Vimeo.

- Usher, 2 Chainz, and Big Sean has been added as performers to the BET Awards 12 while Kevin Hart and Cedric the Entertainer have signed up as presenters. The BET Awards 12 will air live July 1 at 8:00 on BET (natch) and will be hosted by Samuel L. Jackson.

- Joan Rivers will be guest starring in a brand new episode of PBS Kids Go!’s Arthur where she will help Arthur cope with his grandfather’s memory loss airing tomorrow (check your local listings). Check out a clip below:

Bubbe is Back!

- Actress Shenae Grimes from The CW's hit show 90210 is teaming up with Skype and popular celebrity blog Celebuzz to host a contest where fans just like you can win a chance to Skype with Shenae and win a $250.00 gift card.

- Even though it is summer, you can get your Saturday Night Live fix with its new web series The Front Desk. In the first installment, desk clerk John Lutz (30 Rock) deals with three times the Bill Hader. Check it out below:

- Redbook recently signed up Soleil Moon Frye (you may remember her better as Punky Brewster) as a guest columnist and her first column debuts in the July issue, on newsstands now. Readers can submit their toughest questions to or tweet Soleil @redbookmag with the hashtag #Soleil.

- Bristol Palin: Life’s a Tripp premieres Tuesday at 10:00 on Lifetime, check out a promotional photo below:

Bristol Palin: Life’s a Tripp

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Previewing Dallas

The cast of Dallas

In a measure of full disclosure, I should mention that I have never seen an episode of the original Dallas which ran from 1978 to 1991. Even though it ran for thirteen seasons, I was still too young to watch by the time it went off the air. I was so young at the time, when I saw the cast of the new version I thought to myself, “Why did they cast the dad from Step by Step in such a serious role?” (Which begs the question way can Staci Keanan not find more work? Can we fast track a My Two Dads reboot please. Get on that ABC Family. But anyway.) Since I was alive during the era I of course am familiar with who shot J.R. (well the plotline, I am not entirely sure who did the shooting) and that one of the seasons turned out to be the longest dream sequence ever. Could you imagine if that happened today, and you thought the internet exploded over the season finale of The Killing. The internet would burn down if an entire season was revealed a dream today.

Patrick Duffy is back as BobbyWith that out of the way, there is no learning curve for anyone who want to jump into the Dallas reboot without have seen it in the original run because you were too young at the time (which is basically anyone under forty) or not even born yet (people born the same year Dallas went off the air will be old enough to drink this year). For those that that did watch the original run, the last twenty-one years has not been good to the Ewing boys. In the second scene, Bobby is diagnosed with cancer and J.R. spends the first episode mostly motion-and-speechless in a nursing home suffering from depression. But do not worry; the best character on the show will not be confined to an old folk’s home for that long as J.R. regains his fastball by the second episode. Or as close to a fastball that an eighty year old can throw it.

With the older downtrodden, the new Dallas slowly shift to the new generation and the cousin at the heart of the new show are chips off the old blocks. Jon Ross (Josh Henderson, Desperate Housewives), much like his father J.R. is a ruthless oilman who is not above drilling on the family land behind his family’s back to get every last drop there is even if that involves the buzz word of the moment, fracking. The altruistic Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe, Desperate Housewives) is the good son just like his adopted father Bobby who is moving past the dirty oil game looking for cleaner alternative fuels like methane hydrate.

Jordana Brewster tries acting againAnd where would the Ewing men be without their women? Both cousins had a go around with the family cook’s daughter Jordana Brewster (Fast Five), first with Christopher before ending up with Jon Ross (sadly no on calls him J.R. Jr.). Christopher eventually moved onto Julie Gonzalo (Veronica Mars) who he is engaged to and the Pilot episode has them coming back to Southfork to get married which it set to go on at the end of the first episode. Bobby even got himself a new wife (Brenda Strong, Desperate Housewives' disembodied narrator and was actually on the orginal Dallas as “Cliff’s One Night Stand” during the seventh season) while J.R.’s ex Sue Ellen is still around and had gotten herself into politics while the show has been off the air.

With Dallas essentially inventing the modern day nighttime soap and its mysteries like who shot J.R., what looks to be the initial conflict of the controlling interest of the family land at Southfork by the four Ewing boys really lacks intensity you come to expect from night time soaps. This is very glaring when you compare it to the gold standard of today: Revenge with the protagonist going after everyone involved with her father’s imprisonment (and death). Even the first season of Desperate Housewives (which shared a lot of DNA with Dallas, even Larry Hagman showed up at one point) that rebooted the nighttime soap craze of today built a more interesting mystery and conflict than Dallas came back with. Arguing over land rights and drilling rights just does not pack the same punch these days. Plus, why can Jon Ross not just buy the land next door, stick in a straw in the land and drink Bobby’s milkshake up that way? There is even an awkward storyline with a mysterious e-mail (which thankfully get resolved by the third episode). Also it gets annoying really quick how everyone in the Ewing family over-emphasized their relationship to the person they are talking to angrily.

Julie Gonzalo, hopefully the breakout star of DallasWhat the new Dallas does have going for it is what could be a record breaking amount of double crosses. And not only are there a few triple crosses, the show even managed the elusive quadruple cross (which I have a feeling may turn into a quintuple-cross by the time I watch the next episode). If you are a fan a drinking game, go ahead and take a shot everytime there is a double-cross, a double for a triple-cross and so long. But be warned, you may end up drunker then if you played my Deadwood drinking game.

I also always enjoy watching Jordana Brewster try to act and she takes it to another level on Dallas because her Texas accent goes in and out from scene to scene (and sometimes in the same scene). But if there is a breakout star, it will be Gonzalo, a highly likeable actress with some bad luck. She was resigned to the background on Veronica Mars after her rape storyline was wrapped up. Eli Stone never got a fair shake. And her Day One show is one of the rare shows that got picked up by a network but never actually made it to air. Hopefully she can finally shine on Dallas (even though she plays the doting fiancé tonight, we get to better know her character next week).

Larry Hagman may have lost a few MPH's on his fastball but he can still bring itFans of the original run should not expect a cavalcade of cameos from the first run. Even though he is getting married much of the Ewing family that is not in the main cast fails to show up except for Charlene Tilton as niece Lucy (she gives some excuse why her father could not make it). Christopher’s own adopted mother does not even show up to the festivities and is not even mentioned until next week when her bother Cliff Barnes (who also skipped his nephew’s wedding) shows up. Another J.R. nemesis Ray Krebbs also shows up later in the season.

Even though he remains the best part of the new show and gets the best lines (“Bobby may not be stupid, but I’m a hellava lot smarter”) J.R. is showing is age as Hagman turned eighty last year and has already retired twice, coming out for the second time for the Dallas reboot. During its original run, the famous” Who Shot J.R.” happened at the end of the third season. I have a feeling will not have to wait that long for a “Who Killed J.R.” cliffhanger even if J.R. hilariously tells another character who points a gun at him, “Bullets don’t have much effect on me.”

Dallas airs Wednesdays at 9:00 and premieres tonight with back to back episodes. You can also download Dallas on iTunes.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I Want My Music Television - 6/12/12

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.

Every Single Night - Fiona Apple

Nothing like an octopus on the head to reintroduce yourself to the general public. Welcome back Fiona Apple and it was nice to see you smile at the end.

Mercy - Kanye West featuring Big Sean, Pusha T, 2 Chainz

The video to Kanye West and his G.O.O.D. Music rappers is so fun to look at I almost forget the song itself is fairly lackluster. But has there ever been rap label crew track that did not suck? Do we have to go all the way back to It's All About the Benjamins to find one?

Favorite Song - Colbie Caillat featuring Common

After he showed up on The Jonas Brothers album, it should not be that surprising when Common (former G.O.O.D. artist) shows up pretty much anywhere, but I still had to do a double take after he popped up in the new Colbie Caillat video. On a side note, when did Colbie start morphing into Raylan Givens’s ex-wife?

"45" - The Gaslight Anthem

A straight forward performance video from The Gaslight Anthem but I wanted to share it just because Handwritten, coming July 24, may be my most anticipated album of the summer and still very high on the list for the second half of 2012.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Previewing Bunheads

The cast of Bunheads

In a measure of full disclosure since it is every advertisement for the show, I have never seen an episode of Gilmore Girls (though it still was a bit disturbing to me to see a topless Rory Gilmore on Mad Men a couple weeks back). So I really cannot compare and contrast Amy Sherman-Palladino’s biggest show with her most recent one, Bunheads. Besides an awkward word and even more awkward title “and the line “so you wanna be a bunhead?” is the most awkward of the Pilot), a “bunhead” is the name of a ballerina (you know, because their hair is always in a bun to keep them from whipping their dance partners with a ponytail).

Sutton Foster of BunheadsBefore you stop reading and avoid the show because of its subject matter, Bunheads is the best new show you can watch this summer on basic cable or network television and may end up being the best new show of the entire year and that statement is coming from someone who arbores all those horrible dance shows that populate the channels. Bunheads is akin to Friday Night Lights in that you did not have to enjoy football or even know the difference between interception and an endzone to appreciate the show (and to continue the Friday Night Lights comparison, a Dillon resident even shows up on Bunheads).

The show follows an aging Vegas showgirl after a drunken night ends with her marrying her stalker (you know, a story as old as time) and moves to his sleepy coastal town appropriable called Paradise where his mother (who was the grandmother on Gilmore Girls) runs a dance studio next to their house. Naturally the small town, that does not even have a movie theater (but when you are on the ocean, do you really need to be inside) is quick to talk about the “stripper from Tahoe” even if they do not have all the fact.

Kelly Bishop of BunheadsUndoubtedly the showgirl will end up working at the mother’s studio where we meet the rest of the cast (all novices that have about five credits to their names combined). Early on they or confined to easy sterotypes, Boo, non-ballet shaped girl who will not let that stop her from her dreams of dancing, Ginnie, the, um, filled out dancer who will let them stop her, Sasha, the perfect ballerina type and knows it (you know there is going to be something dark in her background), and Melanie, the care-free one.

The witty script is rapid-fire dialogue with jokes where you do not even expect them. If there is a complaint is the relatively inexperienced actors sometime cannot keep up with everything (hopefully as they grow into these characters, this is elevated). And the ending goes to a place I am not sure where the show goes from there after what they set up in the first episode. Hopefully by the time the second episode ends, they can get back to what they did so well setting up in the first episode because if they do, it will be a very entertaining summer (sorry for being so vague but the ending is very big and even it is hard to say anything about it without being spoilery).

Bunheads airs Mondays at 9:00 on ABC Family. You can steam recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Bunheads on iTunes where you can currently download the Pilot for free before it even airs.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Previewing Untamed Americas

photo credit: Pedro Szekely

When I first got my HDTV I was expecting jaw-droppingly beautiful images, but even the HD broadcast of most shows were not that much of an improvement over standard definition. The few exceptions include sports broadcast and nature shows like the one BBC released every couple years. The latest special starts tonight on The National Geographic Channel called Untamed Americas. As the title suggests, the special will take you from Alaska all the way down to Patagonia and, dare I say, from sea to shining sea.

photo credit: © Getty Images/WaterFrame RM

Untamed Americas is narrated by Josh Brolin (who unfortunately does not do his Tommy Lee Jones impression for the show) with four episodes dedicated to Mountains (tonight at 9:00), Deserts (tonight at 10:00), Coasts (tomorrow at 9:00), and Forests (tomorrow at 10:00). Sure if you have seen other nature specials like this before, you probably seen a few scenes before like wolf on elk violence or rams putting their large horns to good use against each other, but there is plenty of new information to tune into for.

photo credit: © NGT

Up in the mountains we will see for the very first time on film, bat that measures at 2 and a half inches with a three inch tongue, the highest ratio of any mammal in the world (that would be like a human with a seven foot tongue. The show will even take you inside a toxic volcano where Parakeets learn to fly and bing new meaning to trial by fire. Who would have guessed in the deserts you would find penguins, but there they are in Northern Peru, descending down a steep cliff to find sea lion at the bottom just to get food for their young.

photo credit: © NGT

Along the coasts you will be able to see jellyfish come to be and grow into adulthood. And if you have ever wanted to see how dolphins have sex, you will be in luck. Then deep in the forests you can find dolphins, yes dolphins swimming in rivers of the Amazon rain forest. And who would have guessed there would be a species of black bears with white coats? But they are found in Canada hanging out by rivers hoping to catch salmon as they swim hundreds of miles upstream to where they were born to hatch their own eggs.

If you loved the BBC nature show, you will definitely want to check out Untamed America, you will get the same kind of professionalism and hard work as those specials. The National Geographic team spent two years working on the specials to capture the extreme wildlife of the two continents. From sub zero temperatures to 100 percent humidity to 80 mile per hour winds. If there was a complaint is the specials does not include a making of segment showing just how the cameramen got the amazing shots (but I am someone who watches Man vs. Wild and would rather watch a documentary of how the camera crew survives as opposed to Bear Grylls). But anyway. Check out a clip below from tonight’s Desert episode:

Lizard vs. Bobcat