Saturday, January 25, 2014

Best of the Week: 1/25/14

Quote of the Week: That was my fault. I shoulda been clearer. Standing up ain’t the only way to get me to take this bat to you. Calling her a (expletive deleted) will get us there too. (Raylan Givens, Justified)

Song of the Week: Satellite Call – Sara Bareilles (Pretty Little Liars)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: Peter Pan Coming Back to the Small Screen: Haters be damned, After The Sound of Music Live! put up monster numbers, the question was not if they would put on another live musical but what would it be. I had my money on West Side Story but NBC instead went with what I thought would be the second most likely: Peter Pan. Of course as soon as the news broke, casting wish lists came flooding in (the NBC president jokingly said he wanted Miley Cyrus as the titular character; at least I hope he was joking).

Ever since The Sound of Music, I have been posting fake musical casts and a couple weeks ago I even did one for Peter Pan that was a little Scott Pilgrim vs. The World heavy. For Peter Pan I had Brie Larson and Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Tigerlily. Unlike Carrie Underwood, who has a great voice but limited acting experience, both of my choices are good actresses with singing experience, Larson sang in Scott Pilgrim and actually released a Avril Lavigne type album as a teenage (yes there is a video on YouTube and yes it is awesomely bad and I cannot confirm nor denied I downloaded the song), while MEW supposedly has an album with Dan the Automator coming out sometime this year. Then for Captain Hook, I suggested another actor who dabbles in music, Jack Black.

Of course NBC wants to screw Peter Pan up because after the Miley Cyrus joke, the president said they are actually looking into casting a young male as Peter Pan. Yeah the character is a young male except the role was written for a young woman. That is what the music is written for, a woman’s voice. And more importantly having a grown women pretending to be a teenage boy pretending to be a woman who seduces Captain Hook like in the screenplay is creepy enough, but having an actual teenage boy seduce a grown man may mean Chris Hansen will get involved. Plus what young boy is famous to put on a marquee? The only one that comes to mind is Justin Bieber, but he may be detained for the foreseeable future and may not even be allowed in the country by the time the special is supposed to air in December.

Preview Picture of the Week:

"Fountain" Switched at Birth, Monday at 8:00 on ABC Family

Free Download of the Week: Hangout Festival Sampler (Noisetrade): The Hangout Festival is hitting the Gulf Shore of Alabama starting May with headliners The Black Keys, The Killers, and like every other festival in 2014, Outkast. Okay, those three artists are absent from the sampler, but you can still get free tracks from Jack Johnson, The Avett Brothers, Los Lobos, and twenty other acts playing the festival.

New Album Release of the Week: B-Sides - The Gaslight Anthem

New DVD Release of the Week: Bonnie & Clyde

Video of the Week: As previously mentioned, before going on to be a critical darling, teenaged Brie Larson was an aspiring pop singer. And there is even video evidence (what would we do before YouTube). At least her participation in Scott Pilgrim redeemed her musically.

Next Week Pick of the Week: The 56th Grammy Awards, Sunday at 8:00 on CBS: I came to the realization while making my list of the 100 Best Songs of 2013 that it was a horrible year for music. Case in point: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are nominated in the Grammy’s Big Four. How Lorde did not get that honor is a bit befuddling especially her omission from Best New Artist especially over James Blake, who garnered no other nominations, and Ed Sheeran, who was nominated for Song of the Year last year (and also nabbed no other nominations this year). Of course that could mean Lorde can grab Best New Artist at the 2015 show. But this year those two will be performing along with Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Kacey Musgraves, Madonna, and a bunch of duets: Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Daft Punk, Pharrell Williams, Niles Rodgers, and Stevie Wonder, Imagine Dragons and Kendrick Lamar, P!nk and Nate Ruess, Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson, and Blake Shelton, John Legend and Keith Urban, Metallica and Lang Lang, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Robin Thicke and Chicago, Sara Bareilles and Carol King, Billy Joe Armstrong and Miranda Lambert will pay tribute to Phil Everly, and the grouping of Dave Grohl, Lindsey Buckingham, Nine Inch Nails, and Queens of the Stone Age closing out the show. So all those, some weird, pairing it may be worth checking out the show despite what may have been the worst year in music since 1999. Well that and to see if Grohl will pick up what will only be Nirvana’s second Grammy ever (Best Alternative Music Album for MTV Unplugged is currently their only gramophone) for Best Rap Song. Seriously. They are listed as songwriters because Jay-Z sang a line from Smells Like Teen Spirit in Holy Grail.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Around the Tubes: 1/24/14

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 House of Cards, Herblock: The Black and the White, The Strain, Syfy's Mondays, Super Skyscrapers, ShortsHD, Conan, The Band Called FUSE, Reader's Digest, and Kidz Bop.

- House of Cards has released a bunch of cinemagraphs (I am thinking there are supposed to be the new Gif’s) over on it Tumblr page as it readies for the February 14 release of season 2. I dare you not to spend your next hour staring at Kate Mara blinking.

- Herblock: The Black and the White traces the life of Herbert L. Block, who started cartooning in his teens in Chicago and went on to win four Pulitzer Prizes and the Presidential Medal of Freedom during his 55 years at the Washington Post. For the better part of the 20th century, his cartoons were a must read for those in Washington and syndicated across the country. The film features interviews with political and journalism luminaries such as Ted Koppel, David Brooks, Gwen Ifill, Tom Brokaw, Jules Feiffer, Tom Friedman and Bob Schieffer, as well as comedians Lewis Black and Jon Stewart, who describes Block as a “touchstone” for political comics and satirists today. Herblock: The Black and the White debuts exclusively on HBO Monday at 9:00).

- The latest promo for The Strain was released this week and it is ominous.

- Syfy fans take note Bitten and Lost Girl will be swapping timeslots. Starting this Monday Bitten will air at 8:00 while Lost Girl will air at 10:00. Being Human will remain at 9:00.

- Urban planners around the world are building higher and faster than ever before, creating a new generation of skyscrapers that push the limits of engineering, technology and design to become greener, stronger and more luxurious. PBS announced today the premiere of Super Skyscrapers, a four-part series that follows the creation of extraordinary buildings and showcases how they revolutionize the ways we live, work and entertain ourselves. Part of PBS’ new Wednesday night science lineup that expands programing into the 10 p.m. hour, Super Skyscrapers episodes include One World Trade Center, Building the Future, The Vertical City and The Billionaire Building. The series premieres Wednesday, February 5, 2014, 10:00 on PBS.

- ShortsHD, the world's only Short Movie Channel in high definition, working with Magnolia Pictures, will open "The Oscar® Nominated Short Films 2014" in over 250 theatres across the United States, Canada and Europe on Friday January 31, 2014, with more than 400 theatres slated to screen the films during its theatrical release. In its 9th year, "The Oscar® Nominated Short Films" showcase the Live Action, Animation and Documentary nominees as three separate theatrical events. This will be the only opportunity for audiences to watch the nominated shorts prior to the 86th Academy Awards® ceremony on Sunday, March 2, 2014.

- TBS's Conan, starring Conan O'Brien, will welcome the cast of AMC's smash hit The Walking Dead on Thursday, Feb. 6, for their first-ever joint interview in late night. Joining O'Brien in the studio will be Andrew Lincoln (who plays Rick Grimes),Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon), Lauren Cohan (Maggie Greene), Steven Yeun (Glen Rhee), Danai Gurira (Michonne) andMelissa McBride (Carol Peletier). The cast is making this exclusive appearance in anticipation of the mid-season premiere ofThe Walking Dead on Sunday, Feb. 9.

- Representing Belgium, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Panama, New Jersey and New York City, The Band Called Fuse is a diverse group of hip hop, rock and soul performers changing the face of New York's underground music scene. Following the path of The Roots, Rage Against the Machine and The Fugees and inspired by the spirit of Jimi Hendrix, the funk of Parliament and the bluesy soul of Nina Simone, The Band Called Fuse draw from a broad range of influences to shape an eclectic new sound dubbed Soul Rock. Check out Soul Rock Anthem below.

- If he’s wearing a parka, you know it’s time for another Winter Olympics. This month, Bob Costas hosts his tenth Olympics, leading coverage of the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. To get Bob’s inside scoop on this year’s Olympic Games, Reader’s Digest caught up with the sportscaster in his office at 30 Rockefeller Plaza to talk figure skating, snide remarks, and the last story that made him cry.

- KIDZ BOP 25, the latest volume in the best-selling KIDZ BOP audio series, entered the Billboard Top 200 Album Chart at #3. KIDZ BOP 25 is the 7th consecutive KIDZ BOP title to debut in the Top 3 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart and the 18th title to hit the Billboard Top 10 since the series launched in 2001. The album is also #1 on the Billboard Children’s Chart, where there are currently two other KIDZ BOP albums in the Top 10. In 2013, KIDZ BOP sold more than one million albums, outselling top artists such as: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kanye West, Maroon 5, Rihanna, and Miley Cyrus. For the fourth consecutive year, Billboard named the KIDZ BOP Kids the “#1 Kids’ Album Artists of the Year” and KIDZ BOP 23as the “#1 Kids’ Album of the Year.”

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Previewing King of the Nerds: Season Two

The nerds return for a new season of King of the Nerds

The first season of King of the Nerds was a lot better than it should have been. Going in I thought it was just going to be Beauty and the Geek without the eye candy. The show somehow managed to not take itself too seriously and give proper due to the geek culture. All the while the show was hosted by quite possibly the two biggest nerds Robert Carradine and Curtis Armstrong better known as Lewis Skolnick and Booger.

Both are back for a second season (though they did not take my suggestion to bring in The Ogre to have a nerds vs. jocks season… yet) with eleven new nerds. Yes, an odd number of nerds again which leads to the hosts letting the contestant know that they know there was a twist last season which just plays with their minds and leads to the most entertaining part of the premiere where everyone is freaking out if there is going to be the same twist this season, a different one, or none at all.

Of course no reality show is anything without some entertaining contestants and King of the Nerds certainly restocked their cupboard well for the second go around. There are more intellectuals (chemist, bioengineer, aspiring space explorer, aerospace engineer, historian), geek culture enthusiasts (puppeteer, fantasy writer), gamers (LARP enthusiast, vlogger) and wherever a Japanophile falls under. The other key ingredient are the challenges and tonight is a Harry Potter inspired game which surprisingly involves some athleticism (naturally both in the Nerd Off do not do very well). Other challenges this season include Robot dodgeball, Nerdiocart, and a Science Fair.

Guest stars set to appear throughout the second season of King of the Nerds include Bill Nye (the Science Guy), Mayim Bialik (Blossom), Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite), Kevin Sorbo (Hercules) and Kumail Nanjiani (Franklin & Bash). The season will also feature a Revenge of the Nerds reunion (hopefully The Ogre) and return appearances by George Takei (Star Trek) and Yaya Han.

King of the Nerds airs Thursdays at 10:00 on TBS. You can download King of the Nerds on iTunes.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Previewing Lizzie Borden Took an Ax: A Dude's Review of Lifetime vol. IV

Up to now I have reviewed a couple Lifetime series, but let’s be honest, the bread and butter of the channel are ripped from the headline original movies and remakes so I thought I would give one a review. Their latest ripped from the headline movie is actually comes from the headlines in the 90’s, the 1890’s. Even if you are unfamiliar with the story of Lizzie Borden, the title Lizzie Borden Took an Ax kind of explains it all (Spoiler Alert!: she did not become the world’s first lumberjack).

Lizzie Borden was one of the first media murder suspect sensations, the OJ Simpson of her time, a Sunday school teacher accused of brutally killing her father and step-mother with the titular murder weapon. The trial was front page news with an outcome never a given. Questions still remain to this day as the CSI team was not as thorough as they are today. Back then detectives would have suspect reach out their hands so they could inspect for blood splatter. Though vague throughout most at the movie, the movie does take a definitive stand at what exactly happened at the end.

Picking up the ax for Lifetime is Christina Ricci (Addams Family). While Billy Campbell (who stays in the time period after last year’s Killing Lincoln) plays the lawyer whose main defense is that women are not capable of such a heinous crime. The movie is overdramatic and exactly what I thought a Lifetime movie would be. But I will give the movie points for the completely out of place soundtrack of modern blues-rock songs like the appropriately titled Psychotic Girl by The Black Keys.

Lizzie Borden Took an Ax airs Saturday at 8:00 on Lifetime.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I Want My Music Television: 1/21/14

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.

Bound 2 - Kanye West

Since there really are not any new music videos to talk about this year, I am going to mention some that I never got around to featuring last year. There really is nothing I can say about Bound 2 that was not already said in Bound 3 but I do have say something about one of the complaints of the video. I do not understand why people were disappointed that Charlie Wilson was not featured in the video. Charlie was smart to sit this one out. What did the critics want, Charlie riding in a sidecar? Would you want to be in that sidecar?

Who You Love - John Mayer featuring Katy Perry

"Yo John and Katy, I'm really happy for you, I'mma let you finish, but me and Kim had the most uncomfortable video of all time. OF ALL TIME!!!"

Skinny Love – Birdy

Speaking of old songs, this dates back to 2011 when fourteen year old Birdy covered Skinny Love and became a hit throughout Europe and gained a cult following here in the states. Birdy just released her second album across the Atlantic a couple months ago but it looks like her first single is finally getting a push in America as she just released a new music video for the song. I have a feeling it may be due to another alternative mononymous foreign suburban teenager hitting it big last year (Birdy is six months older than Lorde).

Talking Dreams - Echosmith

Since there probably be not that much new music of not for the next couple weeks, January is a good time to go back and look for some music from the past year. I recently discover Echosmith, a family band much like the buzz of 2013 Haim. Their debut album was decent but seems to go a little too hard for the Warped Tour power-pop where the most interesting tracks are the songs that do not fit that sub-genre very much. It seems like they are pushing Cool Kids as the single probably because outcast lyrics have been big on radio lately. My favorite song off the album is the title track Talking Dreams. The video gets bonus points for the croquet and if there were an MTV today to put this video in heavy rotation, those close up shots at the end of the lead singer could have made her this millennium’s Suzanna Hoffs. Echosmith seems like one of those bands that could be a lot more interesting on their second or third album when they out grown the power pop sound. That is if they can get to a third album in today’s musical climate where you can get dropped after one underperforming album. Granted if that happens, the singer could always go on The Voice because the show loves female Warped Tour veterans.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 1/19/14

Revenge: Last week we had to sit through the silly temporary amnesia storyline and this week it was Emily moping through the episode Well that was until Victoria told her she was infernal And now she is all revengy (did the promo monkey really use that word). Hopefully she starts taking down people again. Takeda’s daughter is now in the revenge game so hopefully she quickly takes Aiden down for what he did to her father. He was never a good addition to the show and he being around is one of the reasons behind the drop in quality for the show.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Revenge on iTunes.

Switched at Birth: I am disappointed that we did not get to see Daphne in jail aside from a quick dream sequence. Granted I guess that she is now essentially going to school at a juvenile detention facility. But wouldn't these pretty much be the same students she lived around since she was young?
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Switched at Birth on iTunes.

How I Met Your Mother: The slap bet has been going on for seven years? Seven Years! SEVEN!!! Ugg, and there still have one left. How many were there to begin with? Oh well, at least we got a Boyz II Men appearance out of this episode.
You can stream recent episodes over at You can also download How I Met Your Mother on iTunes.

The Blacklist: With the rise of serialize television, shows started adding the much needed “previously on…” package about a decade or two ago. The older I get, the more I think they may need one after every commercial break. When Alan Alda popped up at the end of the episode as so congressional guy, I went, “wait, who was he in the last episode again?” So Alda is part of big cabal that Red can expose and works inside the government? So was he the mole or was the guy Red killed the mole? And who exactly did Red kill? Who is Newton Philips?
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download The Blacklist on iTunes.

Castle: It is still pretty vague as to if Papa Castle really is deep undercover or really just wanted by the CIA.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Castle on iTunes.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Ever since we learned that Skye’s mother was probably a SHIELD Agent it was way too obvious that Mae was her mother. That was until this week when we learned that the lady that dropped Skye off was not her mother but was protecting the 084: an object of unknown origin is followed by death wherever she goes. Of course that does not completely rule out Mae as her mother, but could technically be true, but it is becoming more unlikely.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.

Justified: Oh, Loretta, why are you stuck in sitcom hell? Hopefully next season, which sadly will be the show’s last, will be Raylan rescuing Loretta from the evil clutches of new bad guy, The Toolman.
You can download Justified on iTunes.

Suburgatory: I wonder if they had a different plan for the premiere that they had to change when Tessa’s mother got cast in another show. Undoubtedly Tessa would end up back with George in their old house eventually because that is the show, but this seemed a bit rushed and I wonder if it had been at the end of the first episode instead of the beginning. But that was a very appropriate use of Royals at the end of the show. Though I do not like the new title sequence, way too creepy.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Suburgatory on iTunes.

Nashville: Well that was a quick death for Peggy, I would have expected her to be on life support for a full episode and teased her or Will ending up being the dead one a little longer. Unfortunately Will survived the episode and is back to being a closeted guy he has been all series. Hopefully Layla will give TMZ another call and out him so that character can finally be interesting. And is Juliet the first person to go up against the crazy religious picketers and come out looking worse? Anyone who they picket in the real world always ends up looking better.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Nashville on iTunes.

Community: So we get a farewell to Pierce and Troy in the same episode. Pierces parking gift was funnier than it had any right to be. Chevy Chase was kicked off the show but I am confused at why Donald Glover is leaving. Does it really taking up too much time that he cannot do his music and the show at the same time? After hearing his last album, he probably should not have quit his day.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Community on iTunes.

Parenthood: It was not advertised, but we got our first look at the upcoming About a Boy remake when the lead popped up at the poker game (it will get a proper premiere during the Olypmics before settling in on Tuesdays after The Voice). Of course he makes a joke about never having kids. Other than that, the episode was a big downer between a drunken Amber and the continuing marital problem between Joel and Julia. Ugg.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Parenthood on iTunes.

Grimm: C’mon promo monkeys, when you say the episode “delivers” with images of a pregnant character on the screen, she has to at least go into labor at some point of the episode.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Grimm on iTunes.

Helix: Again, my main take away from the second episode is that the younger CDC chick is quite attractive, even with a massive scar on her back. So did she have major back surgery, is she infected and that is a symptom? Since this is a sci-fi show, I am sure we will find out long after we stopped caring about it.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Helix on iTunes.