Saturday, June 22, 2013

Best of the Week: 6/22/13

Quote of the Week: My father never gave me anything. (Sally Draper, Mad Men)

Song of the Week: Cat's In the Cradle - Harry Chapin (as sung by W. Kamau Bell, Totally Biased)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: God Still Hates Cleveland: People just do not understand how horrible it is to live in Cleveland. Like more Midwest areas, the winters suck massively, but at least cities like Detroit, Chicago, even Green Bay can pull on the covers and root for a championship team. Here in Cleveland we has so many failures, we name them: The Fumble, The Drive, The Shot, The Blown-Save, The Decision. They all hurt, but that last one just hurt the soul because LeBron James was one us, he knew are pain, and instead of breaking the curse, he just added to it. And his championship was just a dagger to heart. Last year’s championship could be explained away because it was a strike shortened season and not truly legit. But he came back this season and won it without any asterisks. And they the won was almost Bill Bucknerian. The Spurs had a commanding lead and up three with seconds in game six (much like Buckner) when LeBron put up a horrible desperation three except the show was so bad to took a weird trajectory off the rim, bouncing right out to Ray Allen, someone who is actually older than me and not known for his rebounding prowess, who took a couple steps back and drained the game tying three. So instead of being the goat for putting up one of the most laughable late game threes ever to the delight of everyone in Cleveland, LeBron and the Heat then goes on to win the game and later the series. As Bill Simmons would say: God hates Cleveland.

Preview Picture of the Week:

"Ch-Ch-Changes" Perception Tuesday at 10:00 on TNT

Free Download of the Week: The Bag or the Bat - Ray Donovan (iTunes): The new Showtime show does not premiere until next week, but if you want to check it out ahead of time or want to see if it is worth subscribing to Showtime for, you can download the first episode on iTunes. If you do not want to waste the hard drive space, you can also watch it via YouTube below. And for those that would rather watch it on your television, check out your On Demand channel.

Deal of the Week: The Big DVD & Blu-ray Blowout: Game of Thrones, The Dark Knight Trilogy, The Big Bang Theory

New Album Release of the Week: Vh1 Storytellers - Alicia Keys

New DVD Release of the Week: Fat Albert And The Cosby Kids: The Complete Series

Video of the Week: I have never been the biggest Jay-Z fan out there, sure he made plenty of hot singles in his two decades, but the only album of his I own is the one he did with Kanye West. With that said, I am already extremely excited for his next one just because of the album announcement he made during the NBC Finals last week (it was too late to updated my list of The 5 Most Anticipated Albums of Summer 2013, but it would have been number two on that list had I did; John Mayer, who made a release date this week too also would have grabbed a slot) which featured uber-producers who have been responsible for some of Jay’s greatest beats including Rick Rubin (99 Problems), Pharrell (I Just Wanna Love U), Swizz Beatz (On to the Next One), and Timbaland (Big Pimpin’). Thankfully DJ Premier and Dr. Dre were not involved otherwise my head could have very well exploded. Magna Carta Holy Grail drops July 4 (or three days earlier if you have some sort of app on a smartphone I refuse to promote because they are not paying me). Happy birthday America.

Next Week Pick of the Week: Under the Dome, Monday at 10:00: When everyone else is scrambling to pull in eyeballs in the summer, CBS just throws on three nights of Big Brother and a bunch repeats and sips mai tai’s until it is Fall. Not only is CBS actually putting on a new scripted show this summer it is quite ambitious and off brand from its usual crime procedurals it usually airs during the season. Base on the novel by Stephen King, Under the Dome follows the residents of a small town cut off from the rest of the world by a mysterious dome. Color me intrigued.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Around the Tubes: 6/21/13

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 agit8, The Bridge, Sharknado, The Strain, Nazi Megaweapon, Kiss, PBS Newshour Weekend, Nine Days, and George Lucas.

- The ONE Campaign today released videos of new acoustic versions of classic protest songs by U2 and Bruce Springsteen, along with performances from Green Day and Kid Rock. The new releases are part of agit8, a global music campaign featuring more than 50 artists including, Ed Sheeran, Sting, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, rerecording classic protest songs highlighting the history and power of music in changing the world. agit8 comes on the eve of the G8 summit in Northern Ireland and calls for millions more to raise their voices and demand world leaders take action to end extreme poverty by 2030. My personal favorite is Mumford and Sons joined by Elvis Costello singing Bruce Springsteen:

- Just two and a half weeks until the premiere of The Bridge which airs July 10 at 10:00 on FX. Here is a behind the scfrenes look at the show.

- Remember the South Park episode when they made fun of Family Guy suggesting their writers were manatees who just pick random items for their jokes. I think Syfy may have hired that manatee to create monster movies for them. Case in point: Sharknado premiering Thursday, July 11 at 9:00 and starring Ian Ziering, Casie Scebo, and Tara Reid. If you need to ask what the movie is about, I will get the NSA to give me your address so I can drive over to your house and smack you up side the head.

- FX has cast two-time Academy Award-nominated actor John Hurt in The Strain, the pilot based on the best-selling vampire novel trilogy from Academy Award®-Winning Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and Author Chuck Hogan. Hurt joins the previously announced Corey Stoll, Kevin Durand, Mia Maestro, Richard Sammel, Lauren Lee Smith, Jonathan Hyde and Miguel Gomez.

- In a quest for world domination, the Nazis built some of the biggest and deadliest pieces of military hardware and malevolent technology in history. PBS will air the first three episodes of the new six-part series Nazi Megaweapon this summer. The series recounts Germany’s engagement in World War II from a unique perspective, uncovering the engineering secrets of iconic megastructures, telling the stories of the engineers who designed them and revealing how these structures sparked a technological revolution that changed warfare forever. Episodes will air on Wednesdays, July 17-31, at 10:00 on PBS.

- Kiss and AXS TV are giving the Kiss Army a special opportunity to see the legendary rockers with a live broadcast from the Zurich, Switzerland stop on their current European Monster World Tour. The live concert event will air Thursday June 20th at 3:00 with a special encore presentation that night at 11:00.

- PBS earlier this week announced it will launch PBS Newshour Weekend, an addition to its influential and trusted lineup of news and public affairs shows and an extension of one of America’s most iconic news broadcasts. The half-hour program premieres Saturday, September 7, 2013, on PBS stations (check locallistings). PBS Newshour correspondent Hari Sreenivasan will anchor PBS Newshour Weekend every Saturday and Sunday from the Tisch WNET Studios at Lincoln Center.

- Two hit wonders Nine Days announced that the five original members who performed on their classic Gold sales certified album The Madding Crowd had reunited to play a string of East Coast dates and to work on songs for a new album. Fans interested in being a part of this recording can also do so by visiting Pledge Music and making a donation or purchase here.

- Red Touch Media was one of the first to chat with George Lucas after he and his creative team came off the Daytime Emmy stage with their first-ever Emmy award for Star Wars: The Clone Wars. George Lucas, Dave Filoni, Cary Silver and Athena Portillo interviewed with Brian Balthazar after their win for Outstanding Special Class Animated Program. The legendary director talks to RTM about creating the groundbreaking series, 3D animation for television, and what's up next for the team.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Previewing Devious Maids

The maids of Devious Maids

Even though I was not in its target demographic, I have to admit I did watch Desperate Housewives. Hey, Eva Longoria spent quite of bit of time in her underwear. Plus the show was cheesy fun with a dark undertone; the show did start off with one of the characters committing suicide in the quiet suburban town. After two or three season, not even Eva Longoria’s underwear could keep me watching as the premise got stale. My sources tell me that Devious Maids is a Desperate Housewives spin-off (but not in a Frasier vein where a main character gets their own show but in a Just the Ten of Us kind of spin-off where a random guest star sets off the new series). The show ended up not getting picked up by ABC but ended on Lifetime.

Considering that again I am not really in the demographic that watches the network for woman, I still gave Devious Maids a try because, well, it features the equivalent of five Eva Longoria’s in their underwear, nary an old housewife among them, even if not of the cast members are attractive as Eva and barely reach her beauty cumulatively. Much like its predecessor, Devious Maids stars off with a death, but this time it is murder but the deceased does not end up narrating the show. And if you think the guy with the bloody knife they find staggering out of the room is actually the murderer, you obvious do not watch enough television.

It is a bit odd that the big murder mystery is already solved within minutes because let’s face it; none of these girls are Veronica Mars. Sure some of them have bigger ambitions than cleaning toilets, and one has a very huge secret, but solving a conspiracy is not something any of them I suspect could uncover. The maids range from one that is told by a potential employer that she sounds like she went to college (Ana Ortiz, Big Mommas: Like Father Like Son) but coming from the upper crust of Beverly Hill that actually comes off as an insult. Another is an aspiring pop star (Roselyn Sanchez, Rush Hour 2). While one (Dania Ramirez, Rush Hour 2) want to bring her child stateside while she raises some rich chick’s kid. Lastly there is the single mother (Judy Reyes, Scrubs) who tries to keep her daughter from hooking up with the boy whose sheets she washes.

One big problem Devious Maids has is its humongous cast, like HBO huge. You have the five maids and the five families that they work for making for a main cast of fourteen actors (thankfully one of the houses is usually unattended), that lead to some confusion early on of who is who, and who is working for who. But like the early seasons of Desperate Housewives the show is quick witted with an in-depth murder mystery with rich people, The Powell’s, who steal any scenes may be even more devious than their maids who are quick to ask the police who will clean up the mess after their maid was murder. The only question now is how long until the show falls off the cliff creatively like its predecessor did. Hopefully we can get one entertaining season out of it.

Devious Maids airs Sundays at 10:00 on Lifetime. You can stream the show on Hulu. You can also download Devious Maids on iTunes.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Previewing Franklin and Bash 3.x

Franklin and Bash and Heather Locklear

I am too lazy to do any research but I am pretty sure that Heather Locklear holds the record for most shows an actor has been added to mid stream be it a drama (Melrose Place) or comedy (Spin City). Now she joins the cast of Franklin and Bash which is a bit of a hybrid in its third season. And it is a pretty big addition because the firm that the titular characters work out has even been rechristened Infeld, Daniels and King. With the addition, it seems like Hanna (Garcelle Beauvais) has been moved to the New York office permanently.

Locklear plays the straight laced new partner who naturally wants to rein the goofball lawyers back in and bring back structure to the office after a humorous run in on a talk show at the beginning of the premiere. Ironically Infeld is going even further out there this season, forcing his nephew to take on a case of a fast food worker. And that is not the only big change this season as the boys are in for another adjustment that happens in the two hour premiere tonight. They will also be getting a new moderately attractive neighbor tonight in the form of Nikki Whelan (the chick Owen Wilson tried to use his Hall Pass on in that movie) and naturally catches the eye of one of the lawyers.

The first case the boys take on tonight is a magician (Adam Goldberg) who is accused of stealing but clearing his name would involve revealing a trade secret. Later in the night the duo represents a veteran who is declared dead due to a clerical error and need his lawyers prove that he is, indeed, alive. Also be on the lookout for a Ghostbusters reference in tonight’s premiere. Later this season funnymen Martin Starr and Thomas Lennon will seek the legal representation of Franklin and Bash.

Franklin and Bash airs Wednesdays at 9:00 on TNT. You can Also download Franklin & Bash on iTunes.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

I Want My Music Television: 6/18/13

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.

Tears Always Win – Alicia Keys

When the background singers appeared behind Alicia Keys I actually expected to see Jermaine Paul there. Where has he been since winning The Voice? I get the feeling Cassadee Pope will end up getting her album before he does. Danielle Bradbery may even have her album out before he does (there is no way she loses to the two other lackluster singers in the final, right?).

God Is Dead? - Black Sabbath

When Black Sabbath gave Ozzy the boot MTV was still a couple years from launching and to think, by the time the group reunited the MTV era is already completely over. And for some reason, the production value of this video looks like it is from the heyday of MTV during the early nineties.

Ways to Go – Grouplove

I would never had guessed we would get a Kim Jung-Un origins story in a Grouplove music video. Too bad they could not work Dennis Rodman into it.

Wear Me Out - Skylar Grey

I actually thought there was going to be a twist at the end of this video where you realize it was a prequel to the last Skylar Grey video where she was walking around covered in mud. Thankfully it was not because music video prequels are a bit silly. But of the three singles she has released from her upcoming album, this is probably my favorite.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Five Most Anticipated Albums of Summer 2013

It has not been a very good year for music. If you think about this time last year we had Fun. and Gotye blowing up while The Lumineers were still bubbling up. This year: nothing. There is not even anything this year as annoyingly catchy as Call Me Maybe (sorry Macklemore). It is probably not a good sign that were are almost halfway through the year and my personal favorite album so far was a traditional country album (Kacey Musgraves debut). Hopefully that will change soon, possibly as early as tomorrow as there are a few worth wild albums coming our way in the second half of 2013. Unfortunately most of them are currently listed under the dreaded TBD which usually means we will not get them until around Christmas. Here are five or six albums that we should hear before the leaves start turning.

1. The Civil WarsThe Civil Wars (August 6): The duo put out one of the best debut albums this decade but a couple months ago they canceled their tour due to “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition.” They were not breaking but it was ominous nonetheless. But as Fleetwood Mac showed “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition” can lead to great music. You could not claim anything on their debut to be cheerful, but first single The One That Got Away (as in I wish you were the one that got away) actually sound darker than their first batch of songs. Who knows if we will ever get a third album (The Mac did manage to release six after Rumours), but the second one is shaping up nicely.

2. From Here to Now to YouJack Johnson (September 17): Jack got some early promotion for the new album when he filled in as the headliner for a last minute cancellation by Mumford and Sons. First single I Got You is another laid back acoustic, sitting on the deck at the end of the day song that Johnson excels at. It is too bad we will have to wait until the end of the summer to hear most of the rest of the album.

3. The Blessed UnrestThe Blessed Unrest - Sara Bareilles (July 16): I am not totally sold on the first single Brave which was co-written with one of the dudes from Fun, but Sara’s first two album s were solid, so hopefully there are better things to come on her third.

4. YeezusKanye West (Tomorrow): This would have been number one on my list, and then I heard Kanye perform two songs on Saturday Night Live and got a horrible 808's and Heartbreaks flashbacks. But instead of the crappy emo and auto-tune drenched songs inspired by the mope rock of last decade, New Slave and Black Skinhead sounded like Kanye was listening to way too much Joy Division and other moody new wave acts of the early eighties. Not a very good first impressions. Hopefully the rest of the album is much better.

5. Haim / Churchill (TBD): Neither new band has had the bust out moment that Gotye or Fun had last year, but both released solid four song EPs over the past year and are both are aiming at a full length debut later this year that hopefully live up to the early hype building around both bands.

And here are the rest of the albums worth at least one stream on Spotify coming your way this summer. Click on the album name to pre-order the album on Amazon or the artist’s name to go to their iTunes page.

More LightPrimal Scream

June 25
Love Is the Future – John Legend
Vh1 StorytellersAlicia Keys
One True VineMavis Staples
Moonlander - Stone Gossard
Sound The AlarmBooker T.

July 4
Magna Carta Holy Grail - Jay-Z

July 9
Dont Look DownSkylar Grey
My Name Is – Pusha T

July 16
Last of the Great PretendersMatt Nathanson
Where Does This Door GoMayer Hawthorne
AmelitaCourt Yard Hounds
ElectricPet Shop Boys
Lickety SplitRobert Randolph & The Family Band
Walk Through Exits OnlyPhilip H. Anselmo and The Illegals
White Teeth, Black ThoughtsCherry Poppin' Daddies
One – Sarah Miles

July 23
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic ZerosEdward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Stars DanceSelena Gomez
A New Era Begins – Mariah Carey

July 30
In a World Like This – Michael Franti & Spearhead

August 6
Give The People What They WantSharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

August 13
Paradise Valley - John Mayer

August 27
Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right ActionFranz Ferdinand
Electric Slave – Black Joe Lewis
Age Against the Machine – Goodie Mob

Mechanical Bull – Kings of Leon
Wise Up GhostElvis Costello and The Roots
The Last ShipSting
New Constellations – Toad the Wet Sprocket
Hesitation MarksNine Inch Nails
Spreading Rumours – Grouplove
The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love YouNeko Case

Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song – Amos Lee

& Then You Shoot Your Cousin – The Roots
The Last Zulu – Q-Tip
Speak a Little Louder – Diane Birch
The Electric Lady – Janelle Monáe
A Better Tomorrow – Wu-Tang Clan
The Diving Board – Elton John
James River - D'Angelo
Girl Power – Cee Lo Green
Fly International Luxurious – Raekwon
Fading West – Switchfoot
Crystal Meth – Method Man
Blackout 3 – Method Man & Redman
Matangi – M.I.A.
Broken – Nelly Furtado
Street King Immortal – 50 Cent
All Over the Place - Avril Lavigne
Arcade Fire
The Black Keys
Broken Bells
Foster the People
Lauryn Hill
Pearl Jam

And of course, let me end with the obligatory this may be the season we finally get to hear Detox by Dr. Dre.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 6/16/13

Falling Skies: Wow, that baby is extremely creepy. And why is it taunting Anne? I am guessing she is not really hallucinating or gone crazy and we are seeing her crazy. So why is it advancing faster than normal and only revealing her skills to Anne? Is she really an alien like Anne suggests? Is it an alien implant? Did Karen or the mole do something to her? Speaking of the mole, I did not want to theorize in my preview of the season for the spoilerphobes out there, but I am guessing that it will not turn out to be the obvious choice Hal. I have a feeling it will turn out t be Gloria Rubin’s character.
You can download Falling Skies on iTunes.

Mad Men: Sally really needs to stop going into the city. This week she catches her dad “comforting” a neighbor with his man region. Add that to the time she caught her step-grandmother “comforting” Rodger with her mouth, her black grandma who robbed her, the Martin Luther King riots, and, um, when she became a woman at the museum. And to think, I spent most of this episode thinking I would spend all my time talking about how they actually brought up Peggy and Pete’s love child for the first time in four or five seasons.
You can download Mad Men on iTunes.

Switched at Birth: It was only a matter of time before the daughters started migrating to their original parents now the question is who will get jealous first? Probably Regina, if there is someone to be offended, it will be Regina.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Switched at Birth on iTunes.

Pretty Little Liars: The writers are just taunting me at this point. I was cheering when they were finally leading Mr. Fitz away in handcuffs, something that should have happened back in the first season. But of course that was just a fracking dream sequence. But at least the writers admitted how wrong their relationship is, a felony in the state, and acceptance is the first step. And I would just like to go ahead and predict Paige will not be making it out of the season alive. C’mon, like A will really let her take Emily to California. She is totally going to die.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Hannibal on iTunes.

The Hero: We have our first temptation of the season. And so we can basically write him off as the winner of the season because I do not see America voting for someone who sabotages his team. If they were stupid enough to cast me on the show, I would seriously consider sitting my cast mates down and say I believe in us, if we are ever offered a temptation, take it because I believe that we can overcome any obstacle. But if we do not complete the challenge in time, whoever took the money has to pledge $10,000 to the Red Cross they would have gotten if we won. It is really a win-win for everyone except for whoever would end up winning the whole thing who would probably have a much smaller pot because of all the loss challenges.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Pretty Little Liars on iTunes.

Hannibal: I have long thought that we would not be seeing Abigail Hobbs next season, she would either move back to Minnesota, college, or would be dead. Sadly it was the latter. I usually do not believe someone is actually dead until I see a body, and sometimes not even then, but I believe that Hannibal will live up to his word and kill her just to make Will look even guiltier. Sad because I found her the most interesting character on the show. Even more sad is that Hannibal (presumably) killed Georgia in the same episode. I was really hoping Georgia and Abigail would become roommates in the second episode.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Hannibal on iTunes.