Saturday, June 30, 2012

57 Channels and Only This Is On - 6/30/12

Quote of the Week: How times can you hear Copacabana without totally siding with Rico? (Michelle, Bunheads)

Song of the Week: She's Gone – Hall and Oates (as tried to be sung by Peter, Franklin & Bash)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: Health Care for All, or Else: Who would have guessed it would have been the George Bush appointed Chief Justice John Roberts who would become the swing vote on the Affordable Health Care Act (known to its opponents as Obamacare nee Romneycare)? Of course he was able to get a little partisan jab in his decision saying the law was Constitutional because it was a tax and Congress is allowed to tax Americans even though one of president Obama’s biggest selling points was that it was not a tax. Oops. So if you do not buy health care in the next couple years you will be taxed for it (unless you are near the poverty line, then it is Medicare for you). Of course any so called heath care plan that does not treat carbonated soda and other sugary treats like tobacco is pretty worthless.

Preview Picture of the Week:

Falling Skies

Falling Skies: This show and The Walking Dead both seem to suffer from the same problems, the characters are aimless. And whenever they get a destination to get to, another character comes in and says that place has been destroyed or overrun by non-humans. So I am very intrigued with the group heading down to the Continental Congress. Who know what will happen when they get there or if they get there (which may not end up being until the end of the season) but for first time in this series, I am interesting in where they are going with the story.
You can download Falling Skies on iTunes.

Pretty Little Liars: You would think after Mona blackedmailed herself as A, you would think the Liars would be highly suspicious of anyone else who is being blackmailed. Last week Jena said she continued to pretend to be blind because someone was after her. And this week Spencer’s sister claims she pretended not to be pregnant because someone was blackmailing her. I am guessing in the next episode we will learn that Hermy is being blackmailed too and that is why he is cranky. That and he was totally nailing Mona before she went into the nuthouse and is not getting any since then.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Pretty Little Liars on iTunes.

Dallas: What a cruel way to end the episode in mid confession. Thankfully TNT is airing a new episode on 4th of July because on their screeners they had no new episodes airing on the holiday. Granted since I had them at my disposal, I went ahead and watched the opening scene of next week’s episode which ended up playing out exactly how I expected.
You can download Dallas on iTunes.

Free Download of the Week: Brushfire Records Sampler (Noise Trade, e-mail required)

Deal of the Week: More $2.99 Albums: This week Amazon super-discounted some of my favorite albums (that I paid much more from) including The Black Keys, Mumford and Sons, The Civil Wars as well as the 24-song Led Zeppelin greatest hits package.

New Album Release of the Week: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Soundtrack

New DVD Release of the Week: The Hunter

Video of the Week: In Looper Joseph Gordon Levitt plays a young Bruce Willis who is supposed to kill his future self. Alrighty. I am all up for a weird science-fiction except when I checked out the trailer, Levitt looked nothing like a young Bruce Willis but looked exactly like a young Ed Norton to the point I had to wonder if Norton was originally cast as the older version. It was as if Willis replaced Norton at the last minute and JGL decided that he spent months perfecting his Ed Norton show he just went ahead and did it anyway.

Next Week Pick of the Week: Weeds, Sunday at 10:00 on Showtime: I have already previewed the final season of Weeds, so click the link to read that and be sure to check out the second season Episodes directly following.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Around the Tubes - 6/29/12

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 Maroon 5, True Blood, Shark Wranglers, Comic Con, The BET Awards, Dallas, The Franchise, Full Throttle Saloon, Guinness World Records Gone Wild, Men at Work, Eve 6, Melanie Oudin, Mike Tyson: Unduisputed Truth, Ready for Love, Seventeen, and Redbook.

- Maroon 5 released their latest album earlier this week and earlier this month marked the 10 anniversary of their debut album Songs About Jane (for those that it does not feel like a decade since it was released, keep in mind Harder to Breathe did not become a hit until late 2003 and subsequent hits like This Love and She Will Be Loved were not released as singles until 2004) and it got a rerelease with a bonus second disk featuring demos of all the songs, for previously unreleased new songs and an alternative mix of The Sun. It is interesting to hear the demo because some are unrecognizable until Adam Levine starts singing, but nothing spectacular if you already own the original version of the album.

- A new episode of True Blood is coming your way this Sunday on HBO and you can take a sneak peak below:

- New show alert! Premiering this Sunday at 10:00 on History is Shark Wranglers. The series chronicles the most ambitious shark expedition in history - tracking down the world’s most deadly – yet threatened – sharks, maneuver them onto the cradle of their 126-foot boat in rolling waters, and tag each one – by hand. Their goal is 50 sharks in 40 days – a near impossible mission that will test the team’s resolve as they battle through every conceivable setback. Check out a promo below:

- For those heading out to Comic Con this year, make note that Falling Skies will be returning this year for a panel on Friday, July 13 at 4:30 in room 6BCF with an autograph signing at the Dark Horse booth at 6:00. Given the day, I will spend most the day hiding inside the confines of my house.

FX also comfirned their line up recently: Thursday, July 12, Wilfred, FOX Booth Signing – 1:30-2:30pm; Panel – 4:00-5:00pm; Room: Indigo (Hilton Bayfront). Moderator: Alan Sepinwall (HitFix). Archer, FOX Booth Signing – 2:45-3:45pm; Panel – 5:00-6:00pm; Room: Indigo (Hilton Bayfront). Moderator: TBD. Sunday, July 15, Sons of Anarchy: FOX Booth Signing – 1:30pm-2:30pm; Panel - 2:45-3:45pm: Room: Hall H. Moderator: Lynette Rice (Entertainment Weekly).

- The BET Awards are this Sunday and they announced a couple more presenters including Jamie Foxx, Quentin Tarantino, Tyler Perry, and Laz Alonso. The festivities are set to start at 8:00.

- It looks to be a hot one on the Fourth of July and if you do not want to brave the heat for the barbecue or fireworks, TNT will be airing all four episodes of Dallas starting at 5:00 leading up to an all new episode at 9:00 where you will learn juts what Rebecca confesses to Christopher (or builds a bigger lie depending how you look at it). Then at 10:00 on, Jesse Metcalfe (Christopher), Josh Henderson (J.R. Jr.), and executive producer / writer Cyntia Cidre will be joining Cameron Mathison for the Dallas Round-Up post show.

- It should be an interesting season of The Franchise with the Miami Marlins thanks to outspoken manager Ozzie Guillen (who made some controversial Castro comments already this season. You can check out a preview below:

New Players

- If you are a fan of TruTV’s Full Throttle Saloon you will be happy to learn that it has been renewed for a fourth season.

- Also expect a new show coming to Tru-TV soon as Dan Cortese (yes, the MTV Sports guy) is set to host Guinness World Records Gone Wild which will look at the crazy lengths people will go to break a record.

- In other renewal news, Men at Work got renewed for a second season while the first season is set to end July 12.

- If you are on hand at the Olympics Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Organ today, at 5:00 Eve 6 will perform at TrackTown Plaza. Admission is free and open to the public.

- American tennis star Melanie Oudin recently took to YouTube to share some of her favorite Yoga poses. Check it out below:

WTA’s Melanie Oudin Shares Her Favorite Yoga Poses

- If you are unable to see the one man show Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth in its original run July 31-August 5, you are in luck because thwy have added six addition shows going through Sunday, August 6. A limited number of tickets are still available at

- NBC has ordered up another dating show. Ready for Love is set to premiere Winter 2012-13 where preeminent matchmaker Amber Kelleher-Andrews, relationship author Tracy McMillan and professional dating coach Matthew Hussey will help Ben Patton, an international financier from Dallas; Tim Lopez, a member of the popular music group Plain White T's from Santa Barbara, Calif., and Ernesto Arguello, an entrepreneur with a social vision from Miami, the chance to find their soul mate.

- Pretty Little Liars’ Shay Mitchell will be covering the August issue of Seventeen on newsstands July 3.

Shay Mitchell on Seveteen

- While on the Redbook August cover on Newsstands July 10, Anna Paquin opens up on her impending motherhood.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Previewing Weeds: The Final Season

It seems like every season since the gang left the suburbs, people have been ready for Weeds to end. But then we got the beach season. And then the Mexico season. And then the road trip season. And then the road trip season. And then there was the New York City season. And then finally they announced the eighth season, which was set up in the previous season finale as the Connecticut season, will be its last.

Of course the season finale ended with a bang. Quite literally as a sniper took aim at Nancy before the screen went to black. Naturally Showtime is not very keen on me sharing who got shot (so do not assume Nancy was the one that ended up getting shot just because she was in the crosshairs) or who did the shooting (there is a hilarious discussion about the number of enemies the family has) so I really cannot speak of any character specifically as not to spoil who took the bullet (if it actually hit anyone at all, which is a possibility). I guess I can say that before I watched the episode I was hoping that Isabelle Hodes took a short drive up from Chatswin to settle an old score or two.

If it did turn out to be Isabelle, she would not be the only one returning after a long hiatus, no I cannot say a different character is back, but Little Boxes returns as the theme song for the final season along with a new title sequences which redraws the Botwins’ trip these past eight years (and may actually be more entertaining than some of the seasons itself). And if Ben Folds is not the one who sings the song in the second episode, is sounds like someone exactly like him.

Maybe it is because the end is in sight or the family is back in the suburbs (albeit a much more upper class suburbs) for the first time since Agrestic burnt to the ground, the show feels fresher early in the season. There is plenty of funny bits early on despite (and mostly because) of someone getting shot. There are some noisy neighbors, someone accidentally finds religion, and someone who is known for being hilariously offensive may have outdone themselves in the premiere on the offensively hilarious scale. And for those fearing that finding out the identity of the shooter will last all season, after watching the first two episodes, I already who the shooter is though I cannot confirm nor deny that any of the Botwin’s find out in that timeframe.

Weeds airs Sundays at 10:00 on Showtime.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Previewing Chasing UFOs

In a measure of full disclosure I should start off by saying that even though I believe aliens have to exist somewhere in the countless galaxies in our universe, I do not believe that any of them have traveled across light years to probe the dumbest of our species. We do not even have the technology to get us to Mars so it very doubtful that little green men can travel a billion times that distance in their lifetime. Just because you cannot indentify a flying object does not mean it cannot be explained in a terrestrial way.

Even with my belief, that does not mean I cannot enjoy a show called Chasing UFOs because even though I do not believe alien aircraft have been seen by humans I do enjoy watching stupid people and their stupid theories. The show reminds me of those shows on The Weather Channel where you had nutjobs who would chase twisters, but this team is going from city to city where various UFO sightings to try and determine if these lights in the sky were created by ET or something more Earthly.

The Chasing UFOs team is made up of three members, James Fox, the self proclaimed UFOlogist is naturally the believer. Ben McGee is the skeptic as a geoscientist and brings more rational explanations to the show. Erin Ryder lies somewhere in-between (and possibly coined the term “skeliever” and is the technical supervisor on the team. They will be heading to Texas (complete with a theme song: Headed Down to Texas - Headed Down to Texas to See the UFO), California, Colorado, Arizona, and of course Roswell, New Mexico.

Two episodes air tomorrow back to back and after seeing both of them my previous statement has not changed and are still highly skeptical as these Unidentified Flying Objects are actually piloted by Extra-Terrestrials. But I did get a couple laughs at the people who thought they saw a UFO.

Chasing UFOs airs Fridays at 9:00 on the National Geographic Channel.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Love Has the Greatest Vision of All Time

Write Me Back - R. Kelly

Back in March R. Kelly released unto the internets a teaser saying that more Trapped in the Closet were “coming soon.” The vagueness was compounded by the fact that the teaser featured no new footage or music (well twenty-three chapters later and the music technically has not changed, but the promo featured no new lyrics or hints as to what “The Package” is). We are closing in on five years since we have been graced with a new chapter but it looks like we will have to wait a couple more months because now that Kells has released a new album we will probably have wait until the end of the promotion cycle before bestowing new chapters of his hip-hopera. Le sigh.

Since it could shorten the promotion time, I probably should not review R. Kelly’s new album in hopes that we would then get new Trapped in the Closet sooner, the only problem is Write Me Back is good. Really good (but still not nearly as good as Trapped in the Closet). It is about as good as his last album which I called his best album since the nineties. That is probably cause his new album Write Me Back is thematically and sonically related to Love Letter to the point they even have similar names.

So what you get is another twelve songs (not to be confused with a twelve-play) of old school baby making music in the vein of Marvin Gaye and other Motown classics from the sixties and seventies like Love Is and Share My Love where Kells sings “let’s get together and populate” over a Barry White style disco beat (of course “let’s get together and populate” is such a great phrase I may replace “baby making music” with “populating music”). Really Write Me Back is much more danceable that the previous retro album like Party Jumpin’ that is reminiscent of a Junior Walker song and the Ray Charles like All Rounds on Me.

Robert also expands the retro palette on the new album. The best of it is represented in the most contemporary song on the album Believe in Me which manages to sound current and classic at the time bringing to mind the best Michael Jackson tracks from the nineties. So congratulation Kells on your second straight great album. Now how about turning the “Coming Soon” that you tagged in the Trapped in the Closet from back in March into a firm release date sometime before the world ends (or so the Mayans would have us believe).

Song to Download – Believe In Me

Write Me Back gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Monday, June 25, 2012

I Want My Music Television - 6/25/12

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.

Don't Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas) - Regina Spektor

Not to self: do not let Regina Spektor house sit for you. On a serious note, if I were to do one of those silly Best Songs of the First Half of 2012, this would probably be number two on the hypothetical list.

Houdini - Foster the People

Foster the People may not have scored that elusive second hit yet, but at least they are making some entertaining music videos why they try, even if their latest is a bit creepy. Although watching it begs the question, when is a Weekend at Bernie’s reboot coming?

My Life – Slaughterhouse featuring Cee-Lo

It is odd that the first two minutes of the new Slaughterhouse video is dedicated to Eminem who is not even featured on the track (note Slaughterhouse is signed to Eminem’s label)

Days Go By – The Offspring

If you had asked the sixteen year old version of myself who would have a better career, The Offspring or Green Day, I would have smacked you for suggesting Green Day would ever be better than The Offspring. Yeah, the sixteen year old version of myself got that prediction horribly wrong. I am not sure if this song and video are supposed to be semi or fully ironic like Pretty Fly for a White Guy, but is does not work either way.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Previewing The Great Escape

Rich Eisen stuck in Alcatraz on The Great Escape

Survivor and its successors have built a cottage industry that mixes a social game with physical and mental challenges. The Great Escape asks the question, would this type a show be worth watching if you strip away the social aspect of these competition show. The Great Escape pits three teams of two against each other as they try to escape iconic places (the first two episodes involve Alcatraz and The USS Hornet) while solves puzzles with their minds or brute strength, with the first to do so taking home a $100,000 prize.

The Great Escape reminds me a lot of the final episode of The Challenge if instead of holding the final challenge outside involving a couple mile hike, but confined to a solitary structure. Of course the two member team is right out of The Amazing Race with less interesting racers (the show were created by the same people and it is hard to wonder if the contestants for The Great Escape were picked from The Amazing Race reject pile). You get your friends, siblings, father-daughter teams but the only memorable contestant in the first two episodes is a douchebag with a bandana.

One aspect that separates The Great Escape with the shows that came before it besides its local is that the contestants are not alone. There are “guards” loitering around to keep the contestants from their prisons. If they get caught they have to drop all the items they have obtained but their map and go back to the starting room and escape all over again (but they do not have to repeat the puzzle). My first thought when the guards were introduced was it will be lame if no one gets caught. By the end of the first episode, I wished there were actually less guards.

Even though there are only four tasks to complete, The Great Escape is a hard competition to complete. With the contest starting at midnight, the winner of tonight’s episode won just as the sun was rising over the San Francisco Bay as the winning team was crossing the finish line putting the total time it took to complete the escape at about six to eight hours (depending on the time of year they filmed it). Next week, the sun was well already out by the time the first team got to the flight deck.

Giving its rotating contestants and lack of a social aspect that make other competition shows, The Great Escape is not appointment television every week, and it is also a little disappointing that host Rich Eisen does not bring his trademark deadpan from his time on Sportcenter. Bu the show is a good diversion if you are flipping around channels Sunday night or have nothing better to do after Falling Skies. And given its special locations, you are going to be treated to at least one grand, picturesque moment every week. Plus the show is definitely better than Pirate Master.

The Great Escape airs Sundays at 10:00 on TNT.