Saturday, September 29, 2012

Best of the Week - 9/29/12

Quote of the Week: Oh dear, I fear our little Dick has exposed himself again. (Larry Bird, The Neighbors)

Song of the Week: La Bamba – Los Lobos (Last Resort)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: The Emmy’s Finally Got it Right: Like every year before it I skipped the Emmy’s because they are extremely boring and nothing good wins and rarely is nominated. That changed a bit last year when Kyle Chandler rightfully won Best Actor for his work on Friday Night Lights. More shocking is they actually got Best Drama right this year when they handed it Homeland when everyone thought it would end up going to an overhyped AMC show. Homeland ended up sweeping the show with awards also going to Claire Danes for the greatest character currently on television. Alright Damian Lewis probably did not deserve Best Actor, really if a male in the cast deserved an award it would be Mandy Patinkin.

Preview Picture of the Week:

Ashley Tisdale on Sons of Anarchy; seriously

Free Download of the Week: Stronger (Sampler) – Kate Earl (Noise Trade)

New Album Release of the Week: Traveling Alone - Tift Merritt

New DVD Release of the Week: Happy Endings: The Complete Second Season

Video of the Week: The first trailer for Identity Theft is out and...

seriously, I can watch Melissa McCarthy punch Jason Bateman in the neck all day.

Next Week Pick of the Week: Homeland, Sunday at 10:00 on Showtime: In a story a previously broke a couple paragraphs ago, the Emmy’s and I agreed what was the best show on television for the first time ever. We left last season with Crazy Carrie trying to get a little less crazy after getting unceremoniously fired by getting elective shock therapy. Except right before they threw the switched, she remember something that would prove that Brody was a secret terrorist. Brody himself cozyed up with the Vice President who he was tasked to kill but could go through with it after his daughter talked him out of it. The second season premiere picks up a couple months later and we quickly learn how mentally stable Carrie has become and how she is passing time now that she is no longer making paper timelines on her wall for the CIA (who of course comes calling eventually when they need her help). We also learn the outcome of the special election that Brody just threw his hat into during the first season and he is getting even cozier with the Vice President who is now running for the President. But maybe my favorite part of the premiere that I saw was Dana having what turn out to be a Roger Clinton moment. If you missed the first season og Homeland, Showtime is airing a marathon of every first season episode starting at noon today. And if you do not subscribe, you can pick up the first season on Amazon (see below) or download it on iTunes.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Around the Tubes - 9/28/12

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 Grimm, Homeland, How Playboy Changed the World, The Carol Burnett Show, Rough Cut, Gypsywolf, Midnight Mirage, Martha & Friends: Holiday Collection, Separate Checks, Rocket City Rednecks, Movoto Real Estate, Major Crimes, TakePart.

- Grimm returns tonight to its normal Friday time slot and NBC has put together a promo to get you excited:

- Showtime will be hitting college campuses to promote the new seasons of Dexter and Homeland this Sunday for some tailgating with some snow cones and will even face paint your school’s colors as well as some prizes to be handed out. Head over to for schools and days. For those that need to catch up on the first season of the Emmy award winning Homeland, Showtime is airing a marathon of every episode beginning tomorrow at noon.

- New special on History Tuesday at 9:00 called How Playboy Changed the World about, well, the title explains it all. The documentary will feature interviews from Jenny McCarthy, James Caan, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Diablo Cody, Bill Cosby, Shannon Tweed, Donald Trump -- and, of course, Hugh Hefner. If you need more convincing, check out the preview below:

- Today at 2:00 on SiriusXM legendary entertainer Carol Burnett will be joined by her longtime costars Tim Conway and Vicki Lawrence in a Q&A session with Amy Schumer to celebrate the DVD release of The Carol Burnett Show.

- The third season of Rough Cut – Woodworking with Tommy Mac is set to return October 6 (check your local listings). This season Tommy be working with Olympic goalie Jim Craig and TV’s Nick Offerman who is actually an accomplished woodworker in his spare time. Check out a preview below:

- Some new music for you: if you are a fan of Florence and the Machine, check out Gypsywolf. If you want some pop-rock, give Midnight Mirage a try.

- Coming to DVD shelves this week: Martha & Friends: Holiday Collection. This all-new collection includes three specials for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas adventures and DIY craft activities the whole family can enjoy.

- New web series alert! Separate Checks is the creation of comedians, Jay Bois, Katina Corrao and director Jamie Greenberg. The four shorts revolve around a former couple, Dale and Toni Swanson that, before their divorce had a highly successful food show together called "Spoonin". After a bitter divorce, their show was canceled. Heading out on their own to lackluster ratings, they soon discovered that the world prefers them together.

- I am not sure if the Rocket City Rednecks are the smartest dumb people in America or the dumbest smart people. At any rate, season two is starting up Thursday November 29 on the National Geographic Channel.

- For those that want to test their TV sitcom trivia, Movoto Real Estate has pictures of famous living rooms for you to figure out.

- In some not very surprising news, TNT announced yesterday that they will be renewing Major Crimes for a second season. It was the number one new cable series this year. Look for season two to start sometime next summer.

- In a month, when Barack Obama is reelected, and all the Republicans sit around wondering how one of the worst presidents got reelected (much like the Democrats did eight years ago), do not blame Mitt Romney. Blame the Republicans in Congress. As Tom Arnold, of all people, eloquently says when talking about what he would do if he were president he walk over to Congress and say, “Listen guys, people aren't really digging me, and they f------ really hate you guys," Arnold tells TakePart he'd say to Congress. "Let's build something, man. Let's put some s#*t together for the people out there who can't stand us.” It is really a sad day when Tom Arnold becomes the voice of reason.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tonight My Heart's on the Loose

¡UNO! - Green Day

It seems a bit weird reviewing the new Green Day album ¡UNO! because it is technically is the first of a trilogy of albums (¡DOS! is due November 13 while ¡TRE! is set to be released January 15). But if people can review individual movies in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy I guess it is possible. As the story goes ¡UNO! is the pre-party, ¡DOS! is the actual party, and ¡Tre! is the morning after. But do not expect some grand political rock opera of the previous two albums, the new albums are almost politics free.

¡UNO! also ditches the band’s recent foray into grand rock opuses that sound more like U2 stadium ready anthems than something by The Ramones. The longest song on the album is Oh Love at 5:03 and there are only two other songs that clock over four minutes. For those longing for the punk-pop that Green Day popularized back in the nineties (and inspired too many to count crappy rip-offs) you will want to check out ¡UNO!.

Despite being the first single, Oh Love is the outlier of the album. The song is stuck at the end and much slower and more glam rock than the rest of the album (I suspect will end up being a bridge to ¡DOS!, which is why maybe the album should not have been reviewed until all three were released). The rest of the album is much more like the frantic Let Yourself Go which you could insert into a live bootleg from the band back in 1994 and the listener may not even notice. Now we have to wait seven weeks to give a listen to ¡DOS!.

Song to Download – Let Yourself Go

¡UNO! gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

So Give Me Hope in the Darkness so that I Can See the Light

Babel - Mumford and Sons

Mumford & Sons came out of the gate like a battering ram destroying all crappy music in its path with the angriest and most impassioned folk music you have ever heard. Little Lion Man may be the first acoustic song that ever inspired a mosh pit. They managed to take the Tenacious D’s joke of acoustic heavy metal and made it a laugh free reality. The Cave was so impassionate it almost had me turning into a teenage groupie ready to throw myself on the band despite not being a gay homosexual (and even if I were I would not go for the unshaven, straight from the set of Newsies look, which is how great the song is). Then you have songs like White Blank Page that just burned with quiet, building rage.

But that was then. As the saying goes, you get your whole life to write your first album, then you only get six months to write the next which is why many bands (and creative arts in general) fall into a sophomore slump. And expectations were tempered even more considering the first album was build around a lot of anger, but in-between albums Marcus Mumford married Carrie Mulligan (you know, the chick from Never Let Me Go not named Keira Knightley).

All doubt that Mumford and Sons could come up with a competent follow-up were quelled right off the bat with the title track that starts off Babel, where the band turns the passion up to twelve (two more than ten). You have already undoubtedly pulled out you air-banjo for the first single I Will Wait where the group shows that can still bring the power even with a positive and loving message and will having you playing the air banjo by the end of the song. The band leaves everything out on the floor for these songs you have to wonder how none of them have yet to have a heart attack yet.

Babel does slow down a little near the middle with a couple mellower songs (or as mellow as Mumford and Sons songs can get). Ghosts That We Knew is a sweet ode to the dearly departed. That is followed up by Lover of the Light an uplifting love song. That continues with Lovers’ Eyes which borders on an Irish folk song (dare I say shanty) but stays true to the band’s core while it builds to a satisfying end. Reminder is the quietest and most simple song the band has ever written. But Mumford and Sons did not go soft because Broken Crown may be angrier and loader than anything on their debut album.

A couple weeks ago I mentioned how Dave Matthews Band songs get better after they have been road tested, after their Saturday Night Live performance, which may be the same for Mumford and Sons. But unlike the new DMB album, Babel is great enough already with the studio version, I cannot wait to hear how much better they get live. But I will wait for Mumford and Sons.

Song to Download – Babel

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

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Previewing Last Resort

The cast of Last Resort

Last year it seemed like every time I wrote about a new show I was always saying, it is a good idea for a movie, but I do not see how it works on the small screen. That trend continued this season which includes Nashville which looks like it is basically just Country Strong but on television (they even managed to find an actress as bad as Leighton Meester to play her role). But of all the shows in recent years where you have to wonder why they did not just make a movie instead, Last Resort is on the top of the list. Yet the first hour of Last Resort is so good, if it were a movie it would be one of the top five best movies I have seen this year.

The show focuses on the crew of a nuclear submarine who refuses to bomb Pakistan when a questionable order comes in through a secondary command instead of the primary issue. The sub is then bombed and the survivors set up camp at a NATO outpost in the middle of the Indian Ocean. To keep any more attacks on them from happening, the captain of the sub declares a two hundred mile safe zone around the island and will use one of the fourteen warheads on ship if anyone breaches the perimeter, including their own country.

Even though it may have been better as a movie, the show does set up plenty of plotlines that’s could last a season. The show starts off with the sub picking up some navy seals who’s latest mission may have tied into the Pakistan attack (okay, that is pretty much a given). The NATO outpost seems to be run by a warlord who does not look like is going to give up his power to a bunch of Americans that easily. Plus there is plenty of political intrigue back stateside with family member dealing with their loved ones going rouge including one of the admirals whose daughter was on the submarine.

There are also a couple names attached that gives me hope that the show will continue to be good after the first episode. First up it was created by Shawn Ryan who created the show who has previously brought us the criminally under-watched Terriers. While the cast is headlined by Andre Braugher (Men of a Certain Age) as the captain of the sub who gives one epic speech to the world near the end of the episode. Then there is the always reliable Robert Patrick (Terminator 2: Judgment Day) who looks like he will be butting heads with Braugher early and often. Sure Autumn Reeser (The Big Bang) as a military tech specialist may be the biggest stretch on screen since Denise Richards played a nuclear physicist, but she delivers some boring but important exposition while undressing which may be one of the smartest written scenes ever.

Last Resort may be one of the few shows that Democrats and Republicans can watch (aside from, surprisingly enough, Modern Family that both presidential candidates and their wives enjoy despite the inclusion of gay homosexuals). The tree hugging hippies will be happy that the ship refuses to bomb a sovereign nation without cause while the neo-cons will find enjoyment that Pakistan gets bombed anyway. And the impeached president is vague either side can live vicariously though television that Barack Obama or George Bush type president is being impeached. Really anyone who has been waiting for the next 24 (but is too cheap to subscribe to Showtime to watch the excellent Homeland) should definitely check out Last Resort.

Last Resort airs Thursdays at 8:00 on ABC. But who cares what I think, you can already watch the first episode on Hulu (even watch it below), download Last Resort on iTunes for free, or stream / download it basically anywhere on the internet that you can think of.

Monday, September 24, 2012

I Want My Music Television - 9/24/12

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.

Pyramids – Frank Ocean (Warning NS4W)

You would think after such a weird Saturday Night Live performance Frank Ocean would let his John Mayer and video games assisted visuals sit for awhile. Instead he promptly released a Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas style video for his eight-minute epic RnB synth ballad. I am starting to think that Frank Ocean is on some Prince level ish right now.

Cherokee – Cat Power

I recently read that Cat Power dipped into her retirement to fund her latest album and music video. Cat: there is this thing now called Kickstarter where fans will pay for that stuff. Seriously think about using it so we do not have to wait another six years for another heartbreakingly beautiful album, or weirdly awesome music video. I may even chip in a dollar or two.

Parking Lot – Nelly Furtado

Remember when Nelly Furtado first came out like the pixie folkster with I’m Like a Bird? What the frack happened? This song is just not good. But still better than that horrendous Big Hoops song. At least the visuals are cool.

Flowers - Ducky & The Vintage

When Daniel Rosa showed up again on the season of The Voice I thought to myself, it is cool they are letting rejects re-audition, but what the heck happened to Ducky? Apparently Ducky got himself a band, a record contract and music video. But it is weird that he got rid of his mustache and gave it to the magician.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

57 Channels and Only This Is On - 9/23/12

Leverage: It was highly entertaining a couple seasons ago when they split the two genders into two separate, but interchanging episodes. I thought that was what we were getting this time around with Hardison, Elliot, and Parker split from Nate, Sophie, and Sterling. Unfortunately the two storylines never crossed with each other aside from a phone call. Even more disappointing was Adam Baldwin who I wanted something more interesting for after the teaser at the beginning of the season.
You can download Leverage on iTunes.

The Voice: I really do not like the overabundance of teenagers this season (at least 15 of the singers that have tried out cannot legally buy beer). What’s worse is that none of them are even that good. I would be surprised if any of them aside from Avery Wilson make it to the live shows. Actually the talent level as a whole is way down this season and you have to wonder if the quick turnaround was a good idea. I am really disappointed in the lack of professional talent this time around, 61 Blind Auditions already and I have not recognized anyone yet. Including Cupid, who was apparently a one hit wonder who did not want to be known as a one hit wonder yet still auditioned with his one “hit.” (Ironically the two most “famous” this season, Cupid and the boy bander who supposable sold a million records, did not get picked.) And really I have not seen anyone worth rooting for this season except De’borah who I fear her chances of longevity on the show. Well she and Devyn DeLoera, but I will be rooting for Devyn for very different reason. On the bright side, they toned down the sob stories. The only one that sticks out of my head this week was the dude who’s parents dies ion quick succession as a child and the chick born prematurely (but was saved by music!).
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download songs from The Voice with the widget at right.

Parenthood: I really hope Kristina is having false alarm because I am not sure I can sit through an entire season of her going through cancer treatments, just way too heartbreaking. Seriously, that cast such a showdown over the episode I cannot even remember what happened before it.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Parenthood on iTunes.

Sons of Anarchy: Wedding: Sons of Anarchy style. Seriously, has there been a wedding on television with less hype and hoopla
You can download Sons of Anarchy on iTunes.

The Challenge: Battle of the Seasons: Holy Trishelle sighting! I totally was not expecting to see her back on The Challenge this time around. I am disappointed the internets did not give more of a day’s notice that she was going to show up. Unfortunately she was relegated to the background for her triumphant return (her first since 2004) which makes me think her time on the show may not be long. At least she got to witness firsthand one of the greatest moments ever in Challenge history when Big E rang the bell with Wes’s head. Good riddance Wes, please stop coming back on the show, you are the only person that can make Kenny empathetic. But I would put Big ringing the bell with Wes’s head number two after the time CT used Johnny Bananas as a backpack before slamming him into a barrel.
You can download The Challenge: Battle of the Seasons on iTunes.