Saturday, January 18, 2014

Best of the Week: 1/18/14

Quote of the Week: Unless Hitler has risen from the grave, and is in my whorehouse, go away right now, Messer! (Dewie Crowe, Justified)

Song of the Week: The Man Comes Around – Johnny Cash (The Blacklist)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: Veronica Mars Coming Back to the Small Screen: Shortly after the success of Kickstarter, creator Rob Thomas talked about he was looking ways to reboot the television series. This seemed plausible because unlike when the show went off the air, there are more cable channels getting into the scripted game not to mention nontraditional channels like Netflix. Except there was one huge obstacle: Kristen Bell is already under contract with House of Lies and cannot star in two shows simultaneously. You really cannot have a Veronica Mars reboot when the titular character only shows up about as often as Alison Brie on Mad Man.

So if you want to bring back the show to the small screen without the main character there is really only one way to do it. And The CW, the network that canceled the show seven years ago so they could put Farmer Takes a Wife on the air, announced earlier this week that they were going to make a Veronica Mars spin-off for their internet division CW Seed (whatever that is). It did not take very long to theorize who would star in the spin-off (I was hoping would take his web series success of Burning Love and bring it to a Vinnie Van Lowe show; maybe in a case that forces him to team up with Keith Mars again) when Rob Thomas announced that the show would star Ryan Hansen as himself as he tries to put together a Dick Casablancas series. Awesome. So basically it will just be a longer version of the hilarious Kickstarter video with probably even more cameos. No word on whether this will hit the internets before or after the movie on March 15 but I hope that The CW actually picks up the Dick Casablancas show. It cannot possibly be worse that what it currently on their network. Seriously, my sources telling me coming later this month is a show starring Julie Taylor as Juliet to an alien Romeo.

Preview Picture of the Week:

“Your Body Is a Battleground” Switched at Birth, Monday at 8:00 on ABC Family

Free Download of the Week: Country Greats (Google Play): Even if you are not a fan of the genre, you should at least give a listen to Will Hoge and Ashley Monroe. There is also a free Sheryl Crow song from her recent country turn. And also Kenny Fracking Rogers.

Deal of the Week: Cash Albums for $5: Earlier this week Amazon ran an advertisement of, “If you give us $5 we'll give you Cash back.” When I clicked on the link, it ended up being a bunch of Johnnty Cash albums. It only took me a couple seconds to get the joke.

New Album Release of the Week: The U.S. Albums - The Beatles

New DVD Release of the Week: It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray/DVD)

Video of the Week: I am a little late to this, but if you are like me and have not watched wrestling in years, I have a treat for you: the return of Jake “The Snake” Roberts. And of course wherever Jake goes, Damien is there too. The best part is the other guy was so excited that he could not help but smiled while getting accosted with a snake. Sadly it looks like this was a one night only affair. Even sadder was the news that Mae Young passed away this week. She continued to pop up on screen even in her nineties, wrestling in nine straight decades, a feat that will doubtfully ever be matched let alone beaten. The sight of Mae “giving birth” to Mark Henry’s “baby” will forever be etched on my mind.

Next Week Pick of the Week: King of the Nerds, Thursdays at 10:00 on TBS: The first season of King of the Nerds was just plain fun and now the show is back with ten more geeks fighting to sit upon the Throne of Games. Look for a full preview of the premiere on Thursday.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Around the Tubes: 1/17/14

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 Showtime premiere dates, House of Cards, True Detective, Grammy Prediction Special, Outside, The Saturday Evening Post, Opposite Worlds, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge, You Oughta Know, and Fish Bowl.

- For those that plan their television watching schedules in advance, Showtime announced the premiere date for their spring programming. Nurse Jackie will return for its sixth season Sunday April 13 at 9:00 followed by the seventh and final season of Californication at 9:30. Then at 10:00, new docu-series Years of Living Dangerously follows a star-studded roster of major film, television and renowned journalists traveling the globe, tackling an enormous range of subjects on the hot button topic of climate change. The correspondents are Jessica Alba, Mark Bittman, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, America Ferrera, Harrison Ford, Thomas Friedman, Michael C. Hall, Chris Hayes, Olivia Munn, Dr. M. Sanjayan, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ian Somerhalder and Lesley Stahl. New series Penny Dreadful will take over that 10:00 timeslot starting May 11. Showtime also released a first look at Penny Dreadful which you can gander at below:

- Showtime is also planning well past spring ordering two new shows two series. The Affair, a one-hour drama series starring Golden Globe® nominees Dominic West (The Wire) and Ruth Wilson (Luther), as well as Emmy® nominee Maura Tierney (ER) and SAG Award® nominee Joshua Jackson (Fringe), received a ten-episode series order. Happyish, a comedy starring Academy Award® winner Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote), Kathryn Hahn (Revolutionary Road) and Rhys Ifans (Notting Hill) also received a 10-episode order.

- Netflix will be airdropping the entire second season of House of Cards on their sit February 14. Check out the trailer below:

- For those hooked on HBO’s True Detective after just one episode, here is a look at episode two to tide you over until Sunday.

- As the world readies for the biggest night in music, The Recording Academy®’s GRAMMY® Awards, AXS TV is giving fans a precursor for what to expect, gathering a prestigious panel of experts to predict winners of the most prestigious categories. Hosted by AXS TV’s Ryan Stout, Grammy Prediction Special is a one-hour LIVE program that features expert opinion from renowned music critic Bob Lefsetz, music newsmaker DJ Skee, and research entrepreneur John Dick of CivicScience. Grammy Prediction Special airs Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 8:00 with rebroadcasts throughout the week.

- Meet Julia Mancuso, the greatest athlete in the history of the U.S. Women’s Olympic Ski Team. A three-time medalist, Julia will be one of the most-watched athletes this upcoming Winter Olympics, which air on NBC starting February 6. With Lindsey Vonn out, the Sochi lights will shine bright on Julia, who graces the cover of Outside magazine’s February 2014 issue, now on newsstands. Check out the cover below:

Julia Mancuso on the cover of Outside

- One of the most highly anticipated flights touched down 50 years ago this February and The Saturday Evening Post reports in its latest cover story that America has never been the same. With the arrival of Pan Am Flight 101 at New York’s Idlewild Airport (which is today known as JFK), the Beatles landed to the roar of an adoring teenage audience and their parents’ consternation.

- Syfy this week revealed 12 of the players who, in two opposing teams, will compete head-to-head in the fast-paced, intense weekly challenges on Opposite Worlds. The final two players will be decided by a viewer vote on Adding to the drama on Opposite Worlds is a glass wall dividing the house into the two environments, allowing the teams to watch, envy and dread each other's every move. Viewers can contribute to the chatter about Opposite Worlds – and affect each weekly challenge - by following the handle @syfyoppworlds and using the hashtag #oppositeworlds on Twitter.

- In other Syfy news, they have announced their ten hopeful creature designers who have come to Los Angeles with an incredible shared dream: to land a job working in Jim Henson’s Creature Shop™. The new reality competition series, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge, premieres Tuesday, March 25 at 10:00 following an all-new episode of Syfy’s acclaimed Face Off. The eight-episode series provides a fascinating window into the imaginative and wildly creative environment of world-class creature design, fabrication and mechanization. To find out more about the cast, see bios, photo galleries and video, visit

- In a first-time endeavor, VH1 has put together some of its esteemed alumni from its You Oughta Know franchise on a compilation CD, VH1 You Oughta Know Volume 1, which will be available exclusively at Whole Foods Market stores nationwide in early January 2014.

- From the award-winning team that launched the careers of The Dog Whisperer and The Incredible Dr. Pol, Nat Geo WILD is proud to announce the latest face of the network — “Goldie.” New to the Hollywood scene, this up-and-coming “actor,” who also happens to be a goldfish, snagged the leading role in Fish Bowl, the highly anticipated four-hour reality special premiering Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 2, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Previewing APB with Troy Dunn and Cold Justice

APB with Troy Dunn

Troy Dunn has made a living locating hard to find people after helping his mother find her biological family. Now he is doing it with television cameras in tow. With new show APB with Tony Dunn, he will be using his expertise and experience to find a new group of people. In tomorrow’s premiere Troy and his team helps siblings find their older brother who was given up for adoption by then teen parents. The also try to find a drunk driver for a daughter of a man he killed sixteen years ago when she was just six years old. The show is heartwarming and manages to keep the exploitation that a show of its ilk tends to revel in to a minimum.

Later this season Troy and his team tried to track down the young couple who risked their lives to pull her from the burning car crash that killed her mother and 5-year-old niece, a sister the state took from her mother twenty-seven years ago, and the team works against the clock to grant a woman's dying wish to find the daughter she gave birth to in secret fifty-one years ago.

APB with Troy Dunn airs Friday at 9:00 on TNT.

Preceding APB with Troy Dunn is another season of Cold Justice. Though the second season premiere was not available to watch prior to the date, I have seen next week’s episode. The first eleven episodes, there have been two confessions, five indictments and one felon sentenced to twenty-two years in prison. And next week Yolanda McClary and Kelly Siegler investigate a murder, and possible rape that dates back almost a decade but local law enforcement could not afford a DNA test that could have ID’d the suspect.

Cold Justice airs Fridays at 8:00 on TNT.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

C'mon We Got to Keep the Fire Burning

High Hopes - Bruce Springsteen

Considering it was a Bruce Springsteen concert staple throughout the 00’s, it is a bit surprising that American Skin (41 Shots) never got an official studio recording until now. High Hopes is not truly a rarities album but more of a hodgepodge of rarities, covers, and reimaginings of older songs in Bruce’s catalog all recorded on his most recent tour, the first time Springsteen ever recorded an album on the road.

American Skin (41 Shots) is the most notable inclusion since it dates all the way back to 2000. The song is about the police shooting death of an unarmed twenty-three year old Guinea resident Amadou Diallo who was shot forty-one times by four plain clothed officers while reaching into his pocket, pulling out what turned out to be a wallet. Like it live counterpoint, the new version of the song is slow simmering but starts to soar with a Tom Morello solo in the middle of the song taking it to heights the older versions of the song never reached.

Morello of Rage Against the Machine, who was subbing in for Steven Van Zandt who was off filming Lillehammer during the most recent tour, contributes to eight of the twelve tracks. This includes an updated version of Ghost of Tom Joad which appeared on Rage’s covers album. The new version splits the difference between the folksy original and the high octane of the Rage version which sees the two singers trading verses.

Since some of the rarities date back a decade and a half, two fallen members of the E Street Band make a couple of appearances to the album. You can hear Clarence Clemons’ saxophone on Harry’s Place while Danny Federici plays organ on The wall. While both can be heard on Down in the Hole which sonically recalls I’m on Fire but lyrically would have sounded out of place on The Rising. Like most rarities album, High Hopes is mostly for completist as most of the songs, despite being good, were probably left off the albums they were written for because they were just not good enough to be included then.

Song to Download – The Ghost of Tom Joad

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

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2014 Winter Music Preview

Today actually sees the first albums released in 2014 by artists you recognize. Though like many first quarters before it, there really is no marquee releases scheduled yet unless you are extremely excited for a Bruce Springsteen rarities album or been waiting for a Toni Braxton / Babyface joint album since he wrote Breathe Again for her (and I doubt anyone will be Beyonceing their album in the next three months). But before you fear that 2014 is going to be as bad as 2013 I term of music, there is a lengthy list of albums to get excited for in the TBA section but we will probably will not hear anything from them until Spring and maybe not until late summer. Click the album title to pre-order on Amazon and the artists name to be taken to their iTunes page.

January 14
High HopesBruce Springsteen
Give The People What They WantSharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
Fading West - Switchfoot
Songs From The Movie - Mary Chapin Carpenter
The River & The Thread - Rosanne Cash
Projection RoomSleepy Kitty
Crystal MethodThe Crystal Method

January 21
Mind Over MatterYoung the Giant
Warpaint - Warpaint
Is there Anybody Out There?A Great Big World
Revelation - Los Lonely Boys
The Wishing Forest – Hilary Capps

January 28
CrozDavid Crosby
B-Sides - The Gaslight Anthem
Too TrueDum Dum Girls
Broken Hearts & Stolen Money - Gangstagrass

February 4
After the DiscoBroken Bells
Love, Marriage & DivorceToni Braxton & Babyface
I’m a Fire – David Nail

February 11
Acoustic at the RymanBand of Horses
Time Moves On – Maggie McClure
I Was Going To Be An AstronautGreg Laswell

February 18
LionsWilliam Fitzsimmons
Somewhere ElseLydia Loveless
Full FrequencySean Paul

February 25
HeliosThe Fray
St. VincentSt. Vincent
Blank ProjectNeneh Cherry

March 4
English OceansDrive-By Truckers
By Request – Charlotte Sometimes

March 11
Stereolithic - 311

March 18
Supermodel - Foster the People
TBD - Lindsey Pavao

March 25
Out Among The StarsJohnny Cash (lost album from the early eighties)
Teeth Dreams – The Hold Steady

April 1
Himalayan Band of Skulls
Roses and Revolutions – Roses & Revolutions

April 15
Wastland – Needtobreathe

April 22
Pop Psychology - Neon Trees

April 28
Food - Kelis

Morning Phase – Beck
Girl Power – Cee Lo Green
Nobody Smiling - Common
The Last Zulu – Q-Tip
A Better Tomorrow – Wu-Tang Clan
Tetsuo and Youth – Lupe Fiasco
E.L.E.2 (Extinction Level Event 2) – Busta Rhymes
9 – Eddie Murphy
Quack – Duck Sauce
The Black Keys
Brian Wilson
Colbie Caillat
Damon Albarn
Dan Wilson
Death Cab for Cutie
Ed Sheeran
Foo Fighters
Frank Ocean
Jack White
John Mellencamp
Kanye West
Lily Allen
Pharrell Williams
Roger Waters
Sleeper Agent
Stevie Wonder
Taylor Swift
Tom Morello

And let me end with the obligatory this may be the quarter when Dr. Dre finally drops Detox.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Previewing Brain Games and Duck Quacks Don't Echo

Brain Games is one of those shows that is sneaky entertaining. Like a video your science teacher puts on when he is too lazy to teach that day or does not trust a substitute to get anything done and you find yourself in class actually entertained and learning new things. The new season starts off tonight with back to back episodes, the first of which deals with color and how we perceive and process colors. That is followed by an episode dealing with the laws of attraction where you learn, of course, that attraction, relationships, and love-at-first sight feelings are all in your head.

One of next week’s episode hits a little close to home, after an episode on trust, the second episode of the night is a “battle of the ages” to find out one and for all when is better, a better more agile brain, or an aged, but experiences one. And you can find out of your brain is acting as old as it should. This is also so home for those like me who are slowly getting to the, where did I leave my keys, phase of life Also this season is an episode on stress.

Brain Games airs Mondays at 9:00 on the National Geographic Channel. You can download Brain Games on iTunes.

Coming on right after Brain Games is new series Duck Quacks Don’t Echo. Take a moment to try and think what this show could possibly be about. Well it turns out a perfect fit with Brain Games as a show that will “test out the most outrageous facts you have never heard.” Yes, the title is one of them even though they do not test it out in the first episode. Sort of Mythbusters for myths you never knew existed. But unlike Mythbusters, this is a competition of sorts where three comedians, Michael Ian Black, Tom Papa, and Seth Herzog challenge each other to test obscure theories with the audience voting on the best one. Tonight includes testing theories on toilet water can travel up to six feet when flushed (start measuring how far away your toothbrush is to your toilet now), build a hovercraft out of household items, and eat six saltines in under minute without water. Like Black’s other new show, the concept may be silly, but it is the host who make the show worth watching every week.

Duck Quacks Don’t Echo airs Mondays at 9:30 on the National Geographic Channel.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 1/12/14

Revenge: I really have amnesia storylines with a fiery passion. Well at least it looks like Emily got her memory back by the end of the episode.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Revenge on iTunes.

Castle: I probably say this every time this is brought up, but did we always know Ryan actually had a first name and that name is Kevin? Seriously future writers, if you are going to predominately use a character’s last name, do not make it something that can be confused as their first name.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Castle on iTunes.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: We finally learned what happened to Agent Coulsen in “Tahiti” and… some machine ticked his brain for days after he died. Alrighty. I guess the question now is why is Coulsen so important that Director Fury would go to such lengths to revive him because I doubt he simply needed a Euchre partner.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.

Pretty Little Liars: After years of predicting that Allison was not as dead as the show would have us believe since episode, I was vindicated during the last finale when she finally showed her face. And then quickly disappeared as the Liars instead of trying to find her again spent their time trying to figure out who is in her casket (I would say the better question would be who got everyone to believe it was Allison and how did they do it; but then again none of these girls are Veronica Mars even if Spencer was able to get Radley shut down). And even though his spin-off started weeks ago, Caleb finally came back to town to break up with Hanna. Though I wonder how fast he will crawl back to her once his new show is canceled. I really do not see it going on much longer.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Pretty Little Liars on iTunes.

Justified: What a nice touching tribute to author Leonard Elmore, whose short inspired the show, at the start of the show. I do not remember any show that took that much time to pay tribute to someone tied to that show aside a title card (and even those usually come at the end of the episodes). But the best tribute is to take his vision and turn it into the best show on television which Justified continued to be with a stellar premiere. Raylan was again on point, and nicely bookended the episode shooting inflatable objects. Another strength of the show is the stupidity of its criminals and Dewey Crowe may be the dumbest of them all. Even though he was in only two scenes, both were instant Justified classics. The first took us down memory lane as a lawyer reminded us of every run in Dewey had with the Marshall Service, and the second ending in Raylan shooting his first inflatable object of the episode. Then you had Wynn Duffy’s eyebrows getting promoted to series regular and Dave Foley showing up as one of “The Canadians.” All the greatness was not even ruined by the appearance of Michael Rappaport.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Justified on iTunes.

The Big Bang Theory: Apparently I was not the only one thinking about the living situation if Penny and Leonard got married (it is really disturbing how much I have the same thoughts as Sheldon). And Sheldon’s forced vacation with Penny was much more entertaining than the one he spent with Amy a couple seasons ago. The whole episode could have been the two practicing yoga and I would not have minded.
You can stream recent episodes on You can also download The Big Bang Theory on iTunes.

Community: It is odd with a serial butt crack abuser running around on an episode with Ben Folds, the nineties band the bandit was a fan of with was Dave Matthews Band. Even more shocking was the writers did not use the plotline as an excuse to have Annie bend over. And now that I think of it, if the story is ever revisited, I have a feeling Annie’s Boob will end up being the culprit.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Community on iTunes.

Helix: I still have not gotten around to watching Battlestar Galactica so I have no expectations going into the show because of what the guy previously created and my main take away from the show was… the young CDC member is quite attractive. I really do have much else to say about the show so far.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Helix on iTunes.