Saturday, August 31, 2013

57 Channels and Only This Is On 8/31/13

Quote of the Week: What the (expletive deleted) is a Jemmye? (Frank, The Challenge: Rivals II)

Song of the Week: The One That Got Away – The Civil Wars (Ravenswood commercial)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: The Video Music Awards Hit a New Low: Stephan Colbert set the tone for this year’s VMA’s when he crushed Daft Punk for choosing the award show over his nightly program. I thought this would end up being a big joke as Colbert would end up pulling a Soy Bomb during Daft Punk’s “surprise appearance.” Except Daft Punk did not end up performing, they just presented the Best Female Video. And by present, I mean they just stood there while Pharrell and Niles Rogers did all the talking. It was that kind of night.

As for the things that actually happened, Lady Gaga was predictably over the top and annoying as she opened the show. Except by the second performance, every one forgot about Gaga. The 2013 VMA’s, for better or worse, became The Miley Cyrus Show. And it was the worse. I never thought anyone would ever give a more embarrassingly bad performance than the Britney Spears Gimme More debacle, but Miley somehow managed to do so. But where Britney was out of shape, underprepared, and (probably) on too many mood stabilizers, amazingly, that was actually the performance Miley was trying to give, tongue, nude bikini and all. Unfortunately this is a sight I will never be able to unsee.

Ray Donovan: As I predicted last week, it took Sully the whole episode to get to Los Angeles. It will probably take until the end of the season for him to get into a room with Mickey. It was almost as obvious that Mickey was going to kill Van Miller, it was obvious he wanted his Hollywood career over his freedom. Except I though he was going to bash his head in with a stapler or something when Van, but it turns out Mickey brought a gun with him. But if Van was as paranoid as he portrayed, how does he not search Mickey or at the very least do not turn your back on a known murderer. Poor Van, he was by far the most interesting character on the show.

Under the Dome: Well Raylan Givens’ baby mama did spice things up this week but her mother may have been more interesting. Of course she goes overboard (but is it really that hard to swim a couple hundred meters without the use of your hands? Just flip on your back and dolphin kick your way to shore). But the mini dome saga just muddled things this week, why did it shock the radio chick but did not do anything to the reporter?
You can stream Under The Dome exclusively on Amazon Instant Video, free for Prime members.

Siberia: Well we finally learned what happened to the faux-lesbian. Although she somehow ended up very far away from where the helicopter fell. So did she never get on it? Did she just wander around after the helicopter not pick her up before getting covered in snow? Did the thing(s) with the footprints drag her there? Eh, it does not really matter.
You can stream recent episodes on Siberia on iTunes.

Pretty Little Liars: The show has been flirting with absurdity throughout most of its run and they may have finally gone full tilt with Erza turning out to be A even though it makes no sense at all. If they continue down this path, the show can reach the time travel season of Lost of absurdity next season. Though I suspect we will quickly learn that Erza is yet just another pawn of the real A much like Toby who was revealed to be a member of The A Team only for us to learn a couple episodes later he just infiltrated The A Team to keep Spencer safe. Yawn.

But as it stands, let me get this EzrA story straight: So EzrA thought he knocked up Allison, then killed her (although I thought Garrett and Jenna actually did that deed when they bashed her skull with a shovel), then when her body disappeared, he moved to her hometown to teach at her high school, hook up with one of her friends (you know, because the last under-aged relationship he had went so well) and then when they finally found her body (which now begs the question, whose body was found under the DiLaurentis’s gazebo?), started taunting her friends because that is when he realized that Allison was not actually dead and he thought harassing them would lead him to the not so dead Allison. What?!?
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Pretty Little Liars on iTunes.

The Bridge: Last week I thought that the guy they captured would end up being the mastermind or he would be another patsy and we probably would not learn who it was until the end of the season. Not only did we learn he was just another patsy, we actually leaned the mastermind used to work with Carlos, and was cozying up next to Mrs. Ruiz. Oh yeah, and Carlos boned his wife right before she died. Should make for an excellent last couple episodes.
You can stream recent episodes on The Bridge on iTunes.

The Challenge: Rivals II: It is easy to get tired of contestants that have been on five too many Challenges (Johnny, Paula), but I will never be out on Camilla no many how many seasons she does as long as she goes H.A.M. on someone at least once per season. And best part about her going into a blind rage this week was she just got done telling Jemmye not to lose her cool over something stupid right before losing her cool over something stupid. I know I have made this suggestion before, but some reality television producer should team Camilla up with another crazy Brazilian hot head, Abi-Marie from Survivor: Philippines where the two just go from town to town and go H.A.M. on unsuspecting Americans.
You can download The Challenge: Rivals II on iTunes.

Preview Picture of the Week:

"What Happens in Jersey... (Part 2)" Melissa and Joe, Wednesday at 8:00 on ABC Family

Free Download of the Week: Hey Grace, Hey Tony – Grace and Tony (

Deal of the Week: Amzon has an announced sale right now with a couple albums for only $2.99 including Kacey Musgraves, The Killers, Taylor Swift, and Kanye West’s Cruel Summer collection. Get them while you can.

New Album Release of the Week: The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You - Neko Case

New DVD Release of the Week: Spartacus: War of the Damned - The Complete Third Season [Blu-ray]

Video of the Week: Best case scenario, Ravenswood will be Angel to Pretty Little LiarsBuffy, a darker version of the original. Worst case scenario it starts out as convoluted as recently canceled The Lying Game. But I do give points to show for using the great The One That Got Away in its first promo. The two hour crossover event airs October 22. The second hour is being called the “series premiere” but it is unclear if the second episode will air the following week or will not air until Winter when the new season of Pretty Little Liars is set to return. I am guessing the latter because if it starts in October, it will run into ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas unless they do like the last two seasons of The Walking Dead which airs six straight episodes starting in October and finishes the season the following year.

Next Week Pick of the Week: The Comedy Central Roast of James Franco, 10:00 on Comedy Central: The Comedy Central Roasts were an annual event for me but in recent years they have devolved into a dais of nobodies planted by the network who try to be the most shocking while “roasting” the lowest of the low in pop culture like Charlie Sheen, Donald Trump, and David Hasselhoff. This year they actually recruited an actual star this year in James Franco who will be roasted by his friends like Roastmaster Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill, Bill Hader, Andy Sandburg, Aziz Ansari, Nick Kroll, Sarah Silverman, and Natasha Leggero instead of unknowns that Comedy Central pulled off their comedy special (the only holdover is Jeff Ross on his eleventh straight roast for the network). Sure there will be plenty of James Franco likes to perform oral sex on dudes and other jokes straight from This Is The End, but I am sure this will be the most entertaining televised roast in awhile.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Around the Tubes:

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 Boardwalk Empire, Eastbound and Down, NBC, Dexter, Ray Donovan, Totally Biased, Gary Sinise, the Hangout Music Festival, Fierce Bad Rabbit, and Naked Vegas.

- Boardwalk Empire returns to HBO next Sunday (9/8) at 9:00. Here is a primer for season four: “Atlantic City, February 1924: After barely surviving an overthrow by gangster Gyp Rossetti, Nucky Thompson is laying low at the end of the Boardwalk. But the calm will be short-lived, as Nucky faces new challenges, including a clash with the mayor, a battle with his brother Eli over Eli's college-age son, and the irresistible lure of lucrative--and perilous--opportunities in Florida.” You can also check out “an invitation to the set” below:

You will have to wait a couple extra weeks for Eastbound and Down to return to HBO as it does not come back unto September 29 at 10:00. Below is a teaser:

- We are still three weeks away from the start of the Fall Television season, until then you can watch the 2013 NBC Primetime Preview Show which will introduce you to new NBC shows and catch you up on returning favorites.

- This weekend, Showtime subscribers will have the opportunity to catch up on the climactic eighth and final season of Dexter and the critically-acclaimed hit drama series Ray Donovan, when the network airs marathons of both series on Labor Day Weekend. Replays of the first nine episodes of Dexter and Ray Donovan will air this weekend on Showtime and will be available on Showtime on Demand® and the network's authentication service Showtime Anytime®. For a full list of replay dates and times, please visit: New episodes of Dexter and Ray Donovan return to Showtime, on Sunday, September 8 starting at 9:00. The first nine episodes of the freshman season of Ray Donovan will air on Sunday, September 1 starting at 1 p.m. on Showtime, and the eighth and final season of Dexter will replay on Monday, September 2 starting at 1 p.m. on SHOWTIME 2™.

- Totally Biased goes weekly starting Wednesday on the all new FXX and already lined up it first guests. Jim Gaffigan will be the first one followed by Tracy Morgan (Thursday), and executive producer Chris Rock (Monday September 9). FXX debuts September 2. Viewers can go to to find out where to watch.

- Gary Sinise earned more than an Oscar nod for his role as Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump. In the September/October 2013 issue of The Post, the actor tells legendary Hollywood reporter Jeanne Wolf how he was transformed by his experience playing a character who finds the courage to come to terms with his disability. Following the role, Sinise’s involvement with veterans groups snowballed and he formed the Gary Sinise Foundation to help America’s forgotten heroes. Now, nearly 20 years later, his focus on the cause has only grown stronger.

- Since its 2010 inception, the Hangout Music Fest has represented the perfect marriage of the best of summer – live music and local cuisine. For the next two weeks across the U.S., fans of both will be able to relive the highlights of the 2013 Hangout Music Fest courtesy of Palladia, a high-definition, state-of-the-art TV channel focused exclusively on music. From now until Sept. 15, the station will air five different segments from the three-day music fest. Airdate details are as follows: 08/30/2013 4 a.m. Eastern, 09/02/2013 7 p.m. Eastern, 09/07/2013 Noon Eastern, 09/10/2013 2 p.m. Eastern, and 09/15/2013 8 p.m. Eastern.

- One of NPR's Top 100 Artists to Discover at SXSW 2013, indie folk-rock quartet Fierce Bad Rabbit crafts a unique soundscape that spans pop-infused tunes to gritty rock roots. Showcasing strong and innovative songwriting and poignant lyrics, FBR blends four seasoned musical talents on their latest release The Maestro and The Elephant. Watch Matter of Time video below:

- Syfy will transport viewers inside the provocative and imaginative world of body painting art – set amidst the fast-paced glitter of life on the Las Vegas Strip – in the new six-part docuseries Naked Vegas, premiering Tuesday, October 29 at 10:00. When casinos, clubs, events, conventions, celebrities, magicians, fashion designers -- or anyone in between -- wants to throw a memorable opening, they call the Skin Team. These five accomplished artists – including Nicholas “Nix” Herrera from Syfy’s hit series Face Off – comprise Las Vegas' hottest and most innovative body painting company, creating amazing displays of artwork on naked female and male models. Each hour-long episode of Naked Vegas will highlight the chemistry and creative skills of the artists' different personalities as they collaborate on a major client job while navigating the economics of the business.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Feed Your iPod LXXV: Who's Gonna Save My Soul

I was planning on reviewing the new Goodie Mob album but I made it through about three songs before giving up. And I spent much of those three minutes thinking I would much rather be listening to a new Gnarls Barkley instead. Gnarls Barkley of course is Cee-Lo Green’s other group made up of him and producer extraordinaire Danger Mouse. Supposedly there is a third Gnarls Barkley album coming but who knows when (Cee-Lo has another solo album in the works as well as his day job on The Voice while Mr. Mouse spent most of this year producing the yet to be announced new albums from U2, The Black Keys, and Frank Ocean, and well as recording a sophomore album with his other side-project Broken Bells). It is depressing to think that some people believe Gnarls Barkley is a one hit wonder, almost as depressing as Crazy being left off Grantland’s Best Song of the Millennium bracket, because both their albums are worth picking up. My second favorite song from the group is Who’s Gonna Save My Soul, a haunting song with one of the greatest opening lines ever, “Got some bad news this morning which in turn made my day” and a creepily funny video. So if you only know Gnarls Barkley for what is truly the best song of the millennium, be sure to check out some of their other work, and then start homing we do not have to wait long for a third album.

Who’s Gonna Save My Soul – Gnarls Barkley

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

I Want My Music Television: 8/28/13

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.

Rock and Roll – Avril Lavigne

I am trying to figure out what the most offensive part of this music video is: 1) the shameless product placement, 2) the shameless rip-off of the November Rain video, or 3) that Avril Lavigne got to make out with Winnie Cooper before I did. #3, definitely number three.

Rooftop – Dave Matthews Band

It seems like once per album where the Dave Matthews Band puts out a music video where Dave just walks around like a crazy person, this time around they actually put him in an asylum. Makes you wonder what would have happened to him had he not been the lead singer of the biggest touring band of his generation.

Mind Your Manners – Pearl Jam

Pearl Jam is back with a new music video and it pretty much looks like every other video they have made since they started making videos ago where they just play in front of images of vaguely political images.

Home Again – Elton John

Elton John has also shunned music videos of late as I cannot remember the last time he appeared in one of his own; he even had Justin Timberlake stand in for him a couple years ago. But now it is some random dude who at some point lived about a mile from the moon? Or some dude who lives on the moon which is a mile from the Earth? I am not entirely sure what this video is trying to say except for maybe it is hard to go back home.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

He Was the Single Most Hopeful Person I've Ever Met

The Great Gatsby Blu-Ray Combo Pack

In a measure of full disclosure, I should admit, I have never read The Great Gatsby or even saw the four previous movie adaptations. For some reason, none of my English teachers at any level required me to read it (although I had to read Animal Farm twice and Romeo and Juliet more than that) and when it comes to reading for pleasure, I tend to reach for the non-fiction, so I came into the latest adaptation as a clean slate with no preconceived ideas on the property. I did not even see the Paul Rudd television version from a couple years ago.

Though I came to it with no preconceived notions, I do not have a problem with properties being re-imagined, great stories should be told over and again and over different mediums. Nor do I have a problem with out of the time period music like when a children’s choir sang When Doves Cry during Romeo + Juliet. That movie was directed by Baz Luhrmann who also updated the most recent iteration of The Great Gatsby. Own The Great Gatsby on Blu-ray Combo Pack and HD Digital Download today.

Being that it is directed by Baz Luhrmann, you know what you are getting, a grand, if not completely over the top, version of the F. Scott Fitzgerald book. And if you do not like over the top, especially in your classic works of literature, you will probably want to skip this version. But if you do not mind grand spectacle, or really enjoy when directors go over the top, you will enjoy this fun ride through the 1920’s New York City elite. And Luhrmann went all out with the party scenes putting you right in the middle, wishing you would get an invitation.

Not surprisingly, the titular character is played by Luhrmann’s Romeo, Leonardo DiCaprio, although this time around Claire Danes is replaced by Carey Mulligan who seemed to revel in playing a campier role than she has played before. Of course the most important role is that of the narrator Nick Carraway, except Tobey Maguire never felt comfortable in the part, but then again, that may have been the point because Carraway just did not fit into the society he found himself in after meeting his neighbor. Contrast that to newcomer Elizabeth Debicki who plays Jordan Barker and is so striking you cannot take your eyes off her when she is on screen even when surrounded by much bigger stars (this may have been all wig because the actress is completely unrecognizable from her character in the special features with her long blond hair).

As well as most of the music worked in Romeo + Juliet, the music in The Great Gatsby just falls flat. Most of that blame has to be heaped on musical supervisor Jay-Z who spent the first half of the movie shoehorning in his own songs even when they just feel flat in the scene. But the most egregious song placement was the ill advised Beyonce cover of Back to Black which actually played during a party scene. And I hope you do not hate Lana Del Rey because her contribution to the soundtrack gets placed quite often. It is clear Luhrmann should have let whoever helped him with the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack helm the one for his latest film.

This review is for the Blu-Ray Combo pack that the special features are the same on all versions (there is also a Blu-Ray 3D combo pack which features the theatrical version of the film in 3-D high definition, hi-definition, and standard definition; and there is also a two-disk DVD version; all three versions come with an UltraViolet version). All told, there is almost two hours worth of extras that comes with the movie, most of which is your standard fair of behind the scenes specials and a couple deleted scenes. The most interesting extra is of a trailer to first movie adaptation of The Great Gatsby where you can see just how over the top Baz Luhrmann made his version almost a century later.

Full Disclosure Notice: This Blu-Ray was given to me by Warner Bros. for the purpose of reviewing it.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Previewing America vs. Iraq

As we inch towards September, it is time for another batch of 9/11 themed specials and the National Geographic Channel is out front with America vs. Iraq, which may be one of the biggest results that can be contributed to that fateful day. Although it is odd they did not time the special with the tenth anniversary of the start of the Iraq War back in March. But here we are over ten years later even after “Mission Accomplished” and two presidents setting timetables for our departure.

What sets America vs. Iraq apart from previous installment is its level of access. Not only did it get new interviews from Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Prime Minister Tony Blair, General David Petraeus. And other top level officials, but the two hour special also talked to top Iraqis close to Saddam Hussein. This includes Saddam’s last foreign minister Naji Sabri, General Hussam Amin, Iraq’s liaison to UN weapons inspectors, General Raad Hamdani of the Iraqi National Guard, as well as Iraq’s three prime ministers since the fall of Saddam: Nouri al-Maliki, Ibrahim Jaafari, and Ayad Allawi. So for the first time, all sides discuses the war in Iraq.

The most interesting part of the two-hour special was the cat and mouse game being played by both sides, originally Saddam did not think America would invade, asking will humanity benefit from an invasion. But by the time the UN were sending in weapons inspectors, Saddam expected war because “America and Britain would never be satisfied.” Iraqi officials also claimed they did; indeed destroy all hidden weapons they were ordered to, of which would only have distance to reach Tehran. Without George W. Bush’s involvement, America vs. Iraq does feel a little incomplete but it still stands as the most comprehensive report on the war to date.

America vs. Iraq airs tonight at 9:00 on the National Geographic Channel.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 8/25/13

Ray Donovan: This show is moving just too slow. Ray hires James Woods last episode and he just leaves Boston at the end of this episode. The show seems to somehow stretch three episodes of plot across eight episodes so far. And it may even move slower next week which is entitled “Road Trip” so Woods may not even making it to Los Angeles until the end of that episode. Doesn’t Ray have access to a private jet? They really could have done without the lesbian punching because I could care less for that character, she maybe has shown up for a combines five minutes so far this season, so when she gets mad at her faux lesbian love, it is hard to care at all.

Switched at Birth: I have always asserted that Daphne’s bomb was bigger than Cota’s, but I was surprised she actually launched hers in a preemptive strike. I would eb easy to say this will ruin Coto’s career, but Republicans have an uncanny resilience when it comes to sex scandals, Mark Sanford recently got elected after stepping down as governor after being revealed he had a Brazilian mistress. And not only did friend of the family David Vitter not step down after he got caught up in a prostitution ring, he got reelected and is still a Congressmen. Just as shock was that Toby and Nikki called off their wedding after having sex only to get married down at the courthouse without anyone knowing. Did not see that swerve coming.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Switched At Birth on iTunes.

Under the Dome: Hopefully Winona Hawkins livens thing up inside of the dome because the last couple episodes have been becoming increasingly boring.
You can stream Under The Dome exclusively on Amazon Instant Video, free for Prime members.

Siberia: I live in Ohio so I am used to some weird weather occurrences, but two feet of snow as the first snowfall of the year would not even happen here. And where exactly did the people in the helicopter go? I was waiting for the faux lesbian and the pilot to show up at some point.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Siberia on iTunes.

Pretty Little Liars: Come on, they had Red Coat in the back of the hayride and still were unable to catch her? Something better happen on the summer finale.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Pretty Little Liars on iTunes.

Perception: So is Kate going to be the crazy one in the duo next season with Pierce playing the straight guy? It does seem like Kate entered crazy town this week obsession over the Senator’s son. I do not see how she gets away with killing a dude even if he turns out to be a rapist. I guess Pierce could diagnos her with temporary insanity.
You can download Perception on iTunes.

The Bridge: Initially I was with Sonya in thinking this may not be the guy, but not because he seems to crazy to pull this off but because we are only half way through the season and how do they fill the rest of the season when they have the culprit already in custody? But then again, earlier this year, on this very network I wondered what they would possibly do after we found out who Drew Thompson was a couple episodes before the finale but still turned out its best episodes after that. Plus this always felt like a multiple man job so they could have caught the person making the calls but there are other co-conspirators out there wrecking havoc.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download The Bridge on iTunes.

The Challenge: Rivals II: God bless TJ for holding that dog for the whole challenge for no apparent reason. It made an otherwise boring episode watchable. At least it looks like Mount Camilla will finally erupt for the first time this season next week if the promo monkeys are to be believed.
You can download The Challenge: Rivals II on iTunes.