Saturday, June 08, 2013

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 6/8/13

Quote of the Week: Sometimes all we can do is watch. (Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier, Hannibal)

Song of the Week: Harper Valley P.T.A. – Jeannie C. Riley (Mad Men)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: I Watched the CMT Awards Again This Year: Kristen Bell has gotten me to watch some horrible crap like Heroes, Pulse, Burlesque, but the worse of them all was the Country Music Television Awards last year. I audibly groaned when it was announced she would host again this year, but something surprising happened this year, it was actually enjoyable. For some reason Lenny Kravitz of all people kicked off the show, the opening skit was funny, some random country band did a solid version of The Chain originally by Fleetwood Mac (when a guitarist was raiding out of the floor, I thought, oh goodness, they really got Lindsey Buckingham to do the solo, unfortunately it turned ou just to be Keith Urban), Kristen sang Human league, the was the completely random presenting team of Ed Sheeran and Lisa Marie Pressley, the dude from Nashville got to present with a chick in a see-thru dress (and humorously tried not to get caught on camera peaking at her), and the performances were by artists I actually like: Kacey Musgraves, Miranda Lambert, the dude from Hootie & The Blowfish, Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood. There was even a couple good unintentional funny segments with Cassadee Pope (she sings two country songs on The Voice and apparently she is country now) and her hyping Twitter. Is 100,000 tweets over the course of a three hour telecast really that impressive? But this year's CMT Awards was better than any Video Music Awards show from the past decade. Which I guess really does not say much.

Preview Picture of the Week:

Mother and Child Divided, Switched at Birth Monday at 8:00 on ABC Family

Mad Men: After about four episodes, we finally get a name: Sterling Cooper and Partners. And who would have guessed that Pete would be the only one to sniff out the “and Partners” alternative motives. I thought when Pete went to creative after the meeting he was going to try and steal Ginsberg and start his own agency. But I wonder if we are in for a repeat of season three where Sterling Cooper Draper and Pryce move in the middle of the night and start a new agency after a hostile takeover from the British with the dude from Veronica Mars taking over for the dude from The Nanny. And I am a bit disappointed that Jane’s cousin was the token person from the agency’s past that was at the Hollywood party and not the new Star Trek writer Paul Kinsey.
You can download Mad Men on iTunes.

The Voice: Ever since Caroline Glaser was speciously voted off, I swore off this season, but every Monday I still log onto iTunes to see what the contestants were singing to see if I should have a change of heart, but never do. This Monday was actually worse, not only is two-thirds of the singers left bland country artists, but the two non-country artists performed songs by country artists. And then I saw Amber Carrington would be singing I Remember You. Wait, what? The Skid Row song? That was not enough to get me to turn in but I definitely checked out the video the next day her country-fied version of the classic power ballad (which was number 80 on my list of The Greatest Power Ballads of All Time) was as awesomely bad as I expected.

You can stream recent episodes on Hulu.

Hannibal: The puzzle of the first season is coming along nicely. There was a great dichotomy of Dr. Chilton being accused of planting the idea of Dr. Gideon being the Ripper in his patient’s mind when Dr. Lecter has been pulling Will’s strings this season. Will and to an extent Dr. Gideon thought that the Ripper would kill Gideon, but Gideon is beneath Hannibal, he just had Will do it for him. Brilliant. I assume that within the final two episodes, Will will start realizing what Hannibal is doing.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Hannibal on iTunes.

Free Download of the Week: Family Reunion – Wu-Tang Clan (Band Camp): The Wu is back to make you go boom boom like you’re Super Cat. The new song features verses from Masta Killer, Method Man, and Ghostface Killah and samples The O’Jay’s song of the same name. You can get the song for free, it is a name your own price so you can pay for it if you like. But if you know you are going to buy the album when it comes out, you can get the song now for free and not get charged later when you grab the full album later this summer.

Deal of the Week: Albums as Low as $2.99: Get deeply discounted album from Fleetwood Mac, Jessie Ware, Stone Temple Pilots, and the Very Best of Prince.

New Album Release of the Week: Damage - Jimmy Eat World

New DVD Release of the Week: The Newsroom: The Complete First Season

Video of the Week: While watching the trailer for Getaway, you can almost hear the pitch meeting:

Executive 1: We need to find a way to capitalize on the success of the Taken franchise.
Executive 2: How about we combine it with Fast & Furious and make the lead a race car driver.
Executive 1: Great, except all we can get for the Liam Neeson role is Ethan Hawke, he will need someone to help bring people to the theater, preferably the younger demographic.
Executive 2: How about one of the Disney girls who are trying to shed their goodie-goodie image and make her a carjacker who, for some silly reason, has to stay in the car.
Executive 1: Great, let’s get a screenwriter on this.

And of course the twist at the end will be Selena Gomez was working for the disembodied voice the whole time and right after she gets paid and walks away leaving Hawke to fend for himself, has a change of conscious and comes back to save Hawke and his wife and promptly gets adopted by them in the epilogue.

Next Week Pick of the Week: Pretty Little Liars, Tuesday at 8:00 on ABC Family: Pretty Little Liars fluctuates every ten episodes or so from guilty pleasure to just plain guilt watching. It seems like we are heading into a period of the former after the season finale where we learned that Alison was Red Coat (sort of, it could have been all a dream). And what is in Waldon’s trunk? I am guessing that since the Liars are all decked out in black in the promos there is probably a body in there but whose? Waldon? Cece? Could it be Melissa?

The Lairs in all black, that probably means someone died

Friday, June 07, 2013

Around the Tubes: 6/7/13

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 Toad the Wet Sprocket, The Borgias, Nurse Jackie, Dr. J, Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer, The Smashing Pumpkins, Snitch, Betty and Coretta, After People, Power Rangers Super Samurai: Secret of the Red Ranger, StubHub, Carson, Twilight Zone, H2O Music Festival, Brian Wilson, The Mason Brothers, and WordGirl.

- Toad the Wet Sprocket has not released a new studio album since 1997 but that is set to change September when they release New Constellations. Until then you can stream the first single and title track over at

- Enjoy these last two episodes of The Borgias because they will be its last as the series will be ending June 16. But you will not miss Vatican intrigue because the Coach Taylor The Vatican is set debut on Showtime sometime next year. In other Showtime news, they did renew Nurse Jackie for a sixth season.

- Musician, author, and producer Carlton Douglas Ridenhour, better known as Chuck D, of the iconic group Public Enemy – which was inducted into the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame in April – will narrate the upcoming film on the storied life and career of Julius “Dr. J” Erving when NBA TV presents The Doctor on Monday, June 10, at 9 p.m. ET. Produced by the award-winning team at NBA TV Originals, the 90-minute documentary will air between Games 2 and 3 of The Finals.

- HBO Documentary Films heats up the summer with compelling new films on Monday nights, kicking off a new ten-week anthology series Monday, June 10, exclusively on HBO. First up is Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer. Check out the trailer below:

- As part of the continuing series of reissues of The Smashing Pumpkins’ acclaimed catalog via Virgin/UMe, the iconic alternative band is set to release four separate versions, all fully remastered, of their platinum-selling 1996 box set Aeroplane Flies High: 6-CD +1 DVD; 5-LPs and Deluxe Digital and Standard Digital editions. The CD/DVD, 5-LP version and digital configurations will be released July 23.

- New to DVD and / or Blu-Ray include Snitch starring The Rock, Betty & Coretta starring Mary J. Blige (as Mrs. Shabazz) and Angela Basett (as Mrs. King) in the title roles, History Classics After People, and Power Rangers Super Samurai: Secret of the Red 4.

- How much would you pay to see Michael Bolton? The New York Times Magazine looks into the confusing market of ticket scalping and how sites like StubHub have disrupted the street game.

- Conan O'Brien is coming to Turner Classic Movies this summer to host Carson on TCM, a new series featuring memorable Johnny Carson interviews from three decades of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. The series is set to air Mondays at 8:00, beginning July 1. The premiere episode will feature Drew Barrymore (1982), Kirk Douglas (1988), Mary Tyler Moore (1978), Neil Simon (1980), and George Burns (1989).

- For those already looking for reasons to stay inside this July 4, Syfy has announced they will be running a Twilight Zone marathon starting at 8:00 AM going all the way through to the fifth at 6:00 AM.

- A Tribe Called Quest will serve as co-headliners of the H2O Music Festival and confirmed artists include Roberto Tapia, Ne-Yo, Prince Royce, La Santa Cecilia and Frankie J. The second co-headliner as well as additional artists will be announced in the coming weeks. The festival will take place on Saturday, August 17 at the Los Angeles State Historic Park. General admission and VIP tickets are on sale now.

- Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson has returned to Capitol Music Group and he is currently recording and self-producing his 11th solo studio album at Hollywood's Ocean Way Studios. Wilson has been joined in the studio by talented friends he personally invited to record with him, including guitar icon Jeff Beck.

- For those looking for new music of the free variety, fans of Elliott Smith, Wilco, and Pink Floyd will want to check out Falling Together by The Mason Brothers for free over at Band Camp.

- The sixth season of WordGirl, on PBS Kids beginning August 5, will find fifth grader Becky Botsford (and her alter-ego WordGirl) facing some of her toughest challenges yet, against the series’ most popular villains. The definition dynamo will be tricked by Mr. Birg (a Mr. Big doppelganger) and will combat Seymour Smooth – more than once! – as he tries to commit crime through game play. Audiences also will see Victoria Best mistaken for WordGirl - until the real WordGirl is able to prove Victoria has been fibbing, and WordGirl must battle Dr. Two Brains to save the world from being hit by a giant cheese asteroid.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Previewing The Hero

The contestants of The Hero

Finally The Rock has come back to TNT. And this time it is not for the 500th re-airing of Walking Tall but as the host of the new reality show The Hero. You may ask yourself why you need to watch a new competition series especially from a network that gave you the underwhelming The Great Escape last year. Well first off: it is being hosted by The Rock. Second, what else do you need to know besides it being hosted by The Rock?

The Rock hosts The Hero
Okay, to be honest, the rules to The Hero are a bit convoluted; they make the rules to The Voice seem simple in comparison. Let me see if I get it straight. There are nine “heroes” who never get voted off. In each episode, there are two challenges, one done by a group of six (so three sit around in an apartment). But of the six, only four compete in the first part of the challenge. Then three of them (which does not have to be two of the people who sat out the first part) take part in the second and final leg of the challenge and if they complete it in time, it makes the final easier.

The second challenge is a solo challenge that one of the three contestants that completed in the second leg of the team challenge competes in and is chosen by the other six contestants. Now here is where it gets more interesting (and even more confusing), if the person in solo challenges completes it in time, (s)he will win money. Now (s)he will have the chose to put it into the pot where the winner of The Hero will get it all which could be up to one million dollars or keep it to themselves and just go back and tell everyone else they lost the challenge without anyone else being the wiser. And if that is no enough, every once and a while, The Rock will pull a contestant aside and offer them up some money to put the people competing in the team challenge at a disadvantage (keep in mind there are only seven episodes so there may be two or less contestants that never participate in the solo challenge). And before you think it is an easy decision to take as much money for yourself, they have to keep in mind that the winner of The Hero will be chosen by you the viewer at the end of the season and you may not be quick to pick someone who would lie for money.

Aside from the headache inducing rules, another drawback is the contestants range from boring to annoying, there really is not anyone after one episode I am really ready to had as much as one million dollars to. There is your token blunt black chick that was quick to let everyone know right off the bat she would take keep the money for herself if she chance. There is the crying mom (warning Survivor watchers: you will have Dawn flashbacks). There are two alpha males who are quick to assert their own dominance. And I am sure Mitt Romney would hate the New England cheerleader who says she grew up on welfare and then in the very next sentence said she never had anything given to her.

With that said, I am still on board for the entire season. The Hero incorporates elements of The Amazing Race, MTV’s The Challenge, The Mole, but never feels like a rip off of the shows that came before it. The contestants will be scaling skyscrapers, climbing down caves, and swimming across the Panama Cannel. Then there is The Rock who could challenge Jeff Probst as the best host on reality television. Seriously, are you going to question The Rock when he calls The Hero, “The greatest adventure competition you’ll ever witness from you couch”? Personally, I would bet against Teh Rock.

The Hero airs June 6 at 8:00 on TNT and moves to 9:00 starting June 27. You can download The Hero on iTunes.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Previewing 72 Hours

These contestants are about to take a 72 Hour trek

Last year TNT got into the reality game with The Great Escape. It was an interesting concept which was basically The Amazing Race pared down to just one episode. The big problem though was it was pretty much the same episode over and over again with just the location changing. Sure the contestants changed too but they were all too boring it did not really matter so every subsequent episode got less and less interesting. The Great Escape only last one season, but that did not deter TNT’s alternative programming; the debuted Boston's Finest earlier this year and even has two new competition series premiering over the next two days.

More on The Hero tomorrow, but tonight premieres a show very similar to The Great Escape. Where The Great Escape cribbed The Amazing Race, 72 Hours takes MTV’s The Challenge and chops off the first chunk of the season and each episode is basically just the final challenge but takes place in Survivor type locals so that means 72 Hours will feature something that The Great Escape sorely missed: hot chicks in bikinis (or dude without shirts if you are into that kind of stuff). And in the first three episodes, there is not one female over the age of thirty-five but there are males are as old as fifty.

There are three teams on 72 Hours of three contestants each. There is no food, no shelter, and just one bottle of water. And each episode they have to transverse tropical locations to find a case of money with nothing but a GPS system. There are three supply drops with a bunch of supplies that they have to decide to take with them. The items may be useful, but then again it may just weigh them down. If they need it, that can call in a “relief drop” that comes with water, food, and other necessary supplies, but if they call it in, they get a one hour penalty and basically have to sit there for the time before it comes (and then if they want to cook the food then, they would have to burn even more time).

Unlike The Great Escape, the personalities of the contestants really shine through and attitudes run high because the teams are all made up of strangers so the patience you may show for your sister may not be there for some random dude from Canada. I am not entirely sure where the title of 72 Hours came from. There really is no time limit even though the tasks are designed to take you over three days to complete. The host never says it has to be completed in a certain amount of time so I wonder if it will end up taking any teams four days or more to complete. And they do not compete for the entire 72 hour either because they only race from sunrise to sunset. But 72 Hours is an upgrade from The Great escape but I wonder after a couple episodes it will also start having diminishing returns. Even worse, each adventure does not take place on a beach (two episodes later in the season will take place in interior America) so not ever episode will feature got chicks in bikinis. Survivor learned after two seasons in the middle of Australia and Africa they should stay on the beach, if 72 Hours gets another season, they stay in the tropics where less clothing is more.

72 Hours airs Thursdays at 9:00 on TNT.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Musings from the Back 9: Music Edition XV

A lot has been made about the sophomore slump, but the third album may be the hardest. Look at Coldplay, their debut was good and improved on their style with the follow. By their third album X&Y, they started to sound like just another Coldplay rip-off band that littered the English countryside by the middle of last decade. Luckily for Coldplay they started to evolve with their fourth album. Vampire Weekend recently just released that tricky third album, Modern Vampires of the City. And though their sound has not changed much from the Benetton anthems from that first album, Vampire Weekend had tweaked their sound enough not to fall prey to the same rut Coldplay did (it may also help that Vampire Weekend has yet inspired knock-off band). The best song from the new album is Diane Young which sound like a sound Vampire Weekend did for a Buddy Holly tribute album except it was not originally a Buddy Holly song. Go ahead and add the song to your summer 2013 playlist now.

Modern Vampire of the City gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Legacy artists have been doing duet albums with modern artists since Frank Sinatra did it over twenty years ago but last year Lionel Richie added a new twist to the concept: do an entire duets album with artists outside your genre. And though John Fogerty’s Wrote a Song for Everyone is not totally a country duets album, half of the guests are pure country acts like Brad Paisley who may not be the best duet partner lately (*cough*Accidental Racist*cough*); most of the others have country and folk leaning. The best here is the trippy version of Long as I Can See the Light with My Morning Jacket. And though the Jennifer Hudson assisted, Bourbon Street version of Proud Mary with Allen Toussaint and Rebirth Brass Band is another stand out, you cannot help but wonder how it would be better if they could have actually gotten Tina Turner to sing the song one more time. There are two new songs her but neither that memorable. But much like the Ritchie duets album, I am content with just having the original versions on my iPod.

Wrote a Song for Everyone gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

The debut album from Eisley was extremely catchy and the band could have caught the indie pop wave of the past decade. Instead each successive album they released has gotten more and more melodic. By their fourth album, Currents, it almost sound like they are recording an Explosions In the Sky album with lyrics over them. I actually like the band better when they strip the sound down a little like when they do on songs like Milestone and The Night Comes.

Currents gets a Terror Alert Level: Elevated [YELLOW] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Monday, June 03, 2013

I Want My Music Television: 6/3/13

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.

I Will Steal You Back - Jimmy Eat World

Jimmy Eat World have a new album coming out next week. Who knew? I still want to like the new song more than I do.

People Like Us - Kelly Clarkson

I think it is official, Kelly Clarkson is content with cheesy pop songs that range somewhere from boring to crappy. I am beginning to forget that last time she released a song that was any good.

Little Numbers - BOY

Is it too soon to just declare Little Numbers by Boy the catchiest indie pop song of the summer? Seriously, who could have guessed a song about memorizing phone numbers could be so good? Who even memorizes phone numbers anymore?

Boy – Emma Louise

Not to be confused with the duo Boy above, this Boy is a song Emma louise who is jumping on the wave of moody songstresses (Daughter, Cat Power, Bat for Lashes) which I have been getting into a lot lately.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 6/2/13

Quote of the Week: That poor girl. She doesn't know that loving you is the worst way to get to you. (Betty Francis, Mad Men)

Song of the Week: (There's) Always Something There To Remind Me – Lou Johnson (Mad Men)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: The Summer Season Begins: Unlike the Fall when most everything premieres in mid-September, the Summer television season tends to tinkle out. TNT gets a jump this week with its two new reality series, 72 Hours and The Hero on Wednesday and Thursday respectively while its first scripted show starting up Sunday. Here are the shows I will be watching as I try to avoid the heat and allergens as well as when they debut.

8:00 – Switched at Birth (ABC Family, June 10)
10:00 – Under the Dome (CBS, June 24)

8:00 – Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family, June 11)
10:00 – Perception (TNT, June 25)

9:00 – Royal Pains (USA, June 12)
9:00 – Franklin and Bash (TNT, June 19)
10:00 – The Bridge (FX, July 10)

8:00 – The Hero (TNT) (June 6)
10:00 – Wilfred (FX, June 20)

10:00 - Continuum (Syfy, June 7)

10:00 - Falling Skies (TNT, June 9, two hour season premiere starts at 9:00)
10:00 - Ray Donovan (Showtime, June 30)

Preview Picture of the Week:

The Fosters premiering Monday at 9:00 on ABC Family

Mad Men: The show gets a lot of criticism of nothing happening (mostly by me) but this episode was jam packed with action. Don gets another mistress: his ex-wife (ironically he never saw her brunette phase considering she is the only blonde he has been with on the show, unless you count the prostitute that k is virginity, actually just realizing that makes that relationship even more interesting), the return of Duck Philips to tickle the balls of Harry (thankfully off screen) and Pete), Joan and Bob Benson are apparently a thing now (even if Vegas puts the over / under of how long it takes Roger to fire Bob Bunson at one episode, I would still take the under), and Peggy stabbed a dude (I actually had an inkling that the relationship was just a sham when it started but after lasting a couple years I forgot about it but it turns out Abe was just writing a story all along).
You can download Mad Men on iTunes.

The Voice: I stopped watching after Caroline Glaser was erroneously voted off the show after the first live week, but has caught the elimination each week before turning into Grimm every Tuesday. I have been a bit surprised that The Swon Brothers are still in the competition, I always thought they would be the first one out when the quotas were done. So now there are four country artists in the final six, half of which are young blond country-pop singers, after Adam’s team got decimated this week with Judith and Sarah getting the boot. I have to wonder if Caroline would have fared better; Judith and Sarah have been trending down since their heavily buzzed about Blind Auditions while selling consistently every week. Plus she still remains the only contestant this season that had four song simultaneously in the iTunes Top 200 (and she did it with her the only songs she recorded while the top eight have not been able to do it with seven they have sung). And with country dominating this season, maybe the folkier Caroline could have ridden that coattails further than Adam’s non-country acts.

Without Grimm on this week, the only reason I knew who went home was because the firestorm Adam Levine started when he was caught saying, “I hate this country” on live television when his contestants Judith and Sarah joined Holly in the bottom three with two getting the ax. I actually watched it and I originally thought Adam said “I hate country” referring to the genre that inexplicitly dominated this season (do we really need half of the top six to be young blonde country-pop singers?). Of course the statement made xenophobes head’s explode even though anyone with half a brain cell watching knew what he meant was he hated how America voted this week because he was going to lose one or possibly two of his singers who he thought would win. Anyone who got mad at what Adam said should just relax by listening to Caroline’s latest cover she posted on YouTube.

You can stream recent episodes on Hulu.

Hannibal: I have to rethink the entire series of Dead Like Me now. Did George really die or did she just have Cotard’s Disease, which apparently a real thing, the whole time? Georgia actually kind of looked like the chick that George saw when she looked in the mirror. And would that mean her fellow Grim Reapers also had Cotard’s Disease or was just a figment of he imagination? Sure I would like to think the Dead Like Me movie did not exist, but I did love the original run of episodes. I would have also liked more Georgia in the episode but I have a feeling we will see more of her. Certainly Hannibal will have to check up with her to see just what she remembers from when she walked into the doctor’s office. Hopefully next season, Georgia and Abigail Hobbs become roommates in the psych ward. This could happen because the show has been renewed for a second season. The most interesting part of the press released was how well the show does with rich people. Apparently that is how Friday Night Lights keep getting renewed (with an assist from DirecTV). It is a shame that I am bringing down that average.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Hannibal on iTunes.

Free Download of the Week: Elle Michelle – EP (Noise Trade)

Deal of the Week: Albums $2.99 and Up: Get extremely cheap albums from John Mellencamp, Fatboy Slim, live Coldplay, and Neil Diamond’s greatest hits.

New Album Release of the Week: Grinning Streak - Barenaked Ladies

New DVD Release of the Week: Warm Bodies

Video of the Week: The first Machete was sort of fun, but I am not sure we really needed a sequel. We certainly do not need a sequel featuring Lady Gaga or Charlie Sheen Carlos Estevez. Eh, I will still see it.

Next Week Pick of the Week: The Hero, Thursday at 8:00 on TNT: The Rock opens up The Hero calling it “The greatest adventure competition you’ll ever witness from you couch.” Check back later this week for m full review to see if The Rock is speaking in hyperbole or if The Hero really better than Survivor or The Challenge.