Saturday, March 29, 2014

Best of the Week: 3/29/14

Quote of the Week: I guess this hotel takes that non-smoking policy pretty seriously Mr. Duffy. (Boyd Crowder, Justified)

Song of the Week: The Gambler – Kenny Rogers (The Americans)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: People Are Still Talking About the Lost Plane: When the Malaysian plane went missing a couple weeks ago I just assumed it was at the bottom of the ocean somewhere and moved on. Yet here we are and it is still a top of the hour news story with some pretty absurd theories getting floated on these twenty-four hour news channels: suicide pilots, it hid from radar by hiding behind other planes, aliens, and of course this is Lost come to life. But new came out this week that wreckage likely from the plane is floating in the Indian Ocean perpetrating my original thought that it sitting at the bottom of the ocean. But just like the JFK assassination, the moon landing, and 9/11, you still hear people clinging to their absurd theories.

Preview Picture of the Week:

“Tale of Two Confessions” Twisted Season Finale, Tuesday at 9:00 on ABC Family

Free Download of the Week: Lake Street Dive Album Sampler (NoiseTrade)

New Album Release of the Week: A Dotted Line - Nickel Creek

New DVD Release of the Week: Knights of Badassdom

Video of the Week: John Carney wrote and directed Once on a shoestring budget and cast Glen Hansard of the Irish band The Frames who were big in their native country but unknown in most of the rest of the world, and newbie Marketa Irglova. Once would bring in almost $20 million more than it cost and garnered an Oscar. Not surprisingly Carney’s follow up Begin Again is a bigger affair with singers that American would recognize, especially if they turn into The Voice every week with coaches Adam Levine and Cee-Lo Green (Mos Def also makes a cameo with probably the best line of the trailer). But the load of the singing looks to be going to Keira Knightley as Levin’s ex who turns to music herself to cope with the break-up and gets spotted by down on his luck former record executive Mark Ruffalo. Will Begin Again match the charm of the lower key Once? Probably not, but it is always nice to see Knightley wearing modern clothes which is a rare sight.

Next Week Pick of the Week: How I Met Your Mother, Monday at 8:00 on CBS: After nine season, Ted is finally going to tell his kids just how he met their mother. Sure we met her at the end of last season and everyone else in the group met her this season (except maybe Barney; I do not remember that happening yet). We even know when and where it is happening and what happens afterwards. With all the returning guest stars they pulled the last couple episodes, I wonder if they will bring back the kids one last time even though the then teenagers are in the mid-twenties by now (the show has been showing stock footage of the duo since the first season). Even though I could have done without maybe the last five season, for those that cannot get enough of stories of parents meeting, you are in luck because How I Met Your Dad will likely be on the CBS schedule next season. Starring Greta Gerwig of all people.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Around the Tubes: 3/28/14

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 Helix, Rosemary's Baby, National Geographic Channel, Spooksville, Warehouse 13, Seven Deadly Sins, MTV Movie Awards, Music Mavericks, and Rising Star.

- Tonight is the season finale of Helix, take a first look below:

- Get ready for a special delivery this summer… Zoe Saldana stars in the miniseries event Rosemary's Baby – check out this exclusive teaser below.

- Don’t be alarmed when you turn on National Geographic Channel (NGC) on April Fools’ Day and see a mantis shrimp talking about its dinner or bloodthirsty monsters being compared to celebrities. We’ve just decided to have a little fun this year. For the first time, National Geographic Channel has teamed up with RiffTrax, the movie and television commentary group created by the guys responsible for Mystery Science Theater 3000. So what does this mean? Your favorite Nat Geo programming with some unconventional commentary worked in around the narration and dialogue — three hours of it. Total Riff Off premieres Tuesday, April 1, from 8:00 to 11:00 only on NGC.

- The producers of “Spooksville,” Jane Startz Productions and Front Street Pictures, invite parents and kids (ages 13+) across the country to participate in the “Monster Dress-up Photo Giveaway.” Participants will be able to like or follow the show’s social media platforms as well as submit a monster photo using #SpooksvilleMonster. One (1) potential winner will be drawn for a chance to receive a giveaway goodie basket provided by the producers of “Spooksville, ” Jane Startz Productions and Front Street Pictures. No purchase necessary to enter or win. Subject to Official Rules. Sponsor: Jane Startz Productions and Front Street Pictures. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by or associated with Hub Television Networks, LLC., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any of their affiliates. How to Enter: Beginning at 9:00AM ET on 3/22/14 until 5:00PM ET on 4/4/14 (the "Submission Period"), participant may enter into the “Monster Dress-up Photo Giveaway.”

- With the warehouse about to close its doors, you won't want to miss this season’s earth-shattering revelations! Save the date because Warehouse 13 returns Monday, April 14 at 9/8c, only on Syfy. Check out the season five trailer below:

- Showtime will take an in-depth look at the weird and darkly comic world of sin in the documentary series Seven Deadly Sins, from Oscar®-nominated executive producer Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), under his Warrior Poets production banner (Inside Man, One Direction: This is Us), along with his producing partner Jeremy Chilnick. Hosted by Spurlock, this stylized documentary series will explore each of the seven deadly sins -- one per episode -- and will be told through Spurlock’s unique and extreme lens. Seven Deadly Sins will debut on Thursday, June 19 at 11:00 on Showtime.

- The 2014 MTV Movie Awards will be hosted by comedian and late night host Conan O’Brien and will air across MTV's global network of more than 60 channels reaching more than half a billion households around the world on Sunday, April 13, 2014, with the pre-show at 8:30 and main telecast airing LIVE at 9:00. Voting for the “2014 MTV Movie Awards” is open at through Saturday, April 12. Voting for Movie of the Year will continue throughout the live broadcast of the show.

- Ovation is proud to present the latest episode of Music Mavericks, featuring Pearl Jam. Often credited with founding the “grunge rock” sound, Pearl Jam formed in Seattle in 1990. The band broke into the mainstream in 1991 with their album Ten, but became equally famous for their refusal to adhere to traditional music business practices. This profile looks at how, despite their resistance to fame, they went on to sell 60 million records worldwide and is considered one of the most influential bands of the decade. Music Mavericks airs weekly Sunday nights at 7:00.

- ABC’s innovative new series Rising Star, which opens the gate to a new era in reality competition, kicks off its nationwide search for talent on Saturday, March 29th. The U.S. series is helmed by executive producers Ken Warwick (American Idol) and Nicolle Yaron (The Voice). Aspiring singers are encouraged to visit for more information on the audition process. Solo vocalists, duos and vocal groups (up to five members) can register to audition in person, online or nominate a friend/family member.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I go Back Again, Fall off the Train, Land in His Bed, Repeat Yesterday's Mistakes

Poor Shakira, during her first season on The Voice no one wanted to join her team and ended up with arguably the worst team in the history of the show (though Christina Aguilera’s first and third season teams were just as bad). Though better this season, she is still looking at a last place finish. More importantly, the first single off her new album did not really set radio on fire despite having the biggest radio star of the last five years Rihanna on the track. But other than Maroon 5, none of the coaches on The Voice have gotten much of a bump from the show (at least in terms of pop radio, Blake Shelton is still ruling country radio but still lacks a crossover hit). Christina’s album bombed, Cee-Lo’s Goodie Mob comeback was met with a resounding yawn. Ironically many of the guest performers get a good boost after appearing on the show; Robin Thicke shot to number, and Christina, despite not being able to kick start her own career on the show, managed another hit via guest spot on the show with A Great Big World. Granted it is possible Shakira will get the big break when she performs the song on the show (but will Rihanna show up for anything short of the finale which is still two months away).

Granted the reason why Can’t Remember to Forget You is not a hit is most likely has less to do with some sort of The Voice coach curse and more with pop radio itself. If you listen to a top radio station you will hear mostly watered down EDM or folk rock songs (or in the case of Wake Me Up, both). Soul is making some inroads thanks to Aloe Blacc (getting some Wake Me Up rub) and Pharrell Williams (who has been placed in multiple advertisements in the last couple month). But it is very hard for different sounds making it on to pop radio. Case in point Lorde released Royal in March of last year but it did not become a hit until the fall. So it is not very surprising, even with Rihanna’s name attached, that the ska-rock from the nineties vibe of Can’t Remember to Forget You is having a hard time breaking through even with a music video that could have passed for softcore porn when ska last had a moment.

But at least you can easily classify Can’t Remember to Forget You, second single Empire is much harder to pin down. It definitely has an epic, rock tinged power ballad feel to it, but more Céline Dion nineties type power ballad than eighties Bon Jovi type with weird auto-tune in the chorus. And there may be the problem with Shakira. (yes, the album title has a period in it) it tries to be everything at once. She tries to cram Latin, pop, rock and many other sub genres into the same song. Instead of the songs sounding eclectic, they just come out sounding jumbled. The worst case is the duet with Black Shelton which adds country to her musical jumbo which finds Shelton singing lines like “p-p-p-p-popping the pills.” Blake duet with Christina Aguilera was significantly better.

But these genre mash-ups are not all jumbled messes, when she infuses some reggae into Cut Me Deep which features some Canadian reggae band named MAGIC! (yes their band has an exclamation point and all caps and no I will not be making a Snow joke), it turns into one of the better tracks on the album. Another standout is the new wave meets rock sounding Spotlight (which was actually written with the same Nashville based team that also co-wrote the Shelton assisted song but not nearly as embarrassing). And showing that less is sometimes more, the acoustic 22 is better than most of the overproduced songs on the album.

Song to Download – Cut Me Deep

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

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Previewing Brothers in War

“Having spent the last two decades researching and writing about the Vietnam War, I must say ‘Brothers in War’ is one of the finest documentaries about that conflict ever produced, featuring razor-sharp editing, masterfully restored archival footage, and a powerful yet understated musical score. The narration by Charlie Sheen is first-rate, as are the interviews conducted with members of Charlie Company, 4th Battalion, 47th Infantry, who offer compelling testimony about the harsh realities of combat and the bonds of brotherhood forged in war. A must-see.” -Dr. Erik B. Villard, Military Historian

There have been countless movies made about the Vietnam War covering probably every angle in the nearly forty years since the last Americans left the country. Of course the best stories are the ones told by those actually there and Brothers in War features one of the last combat infantry companies to be drafted, trained, and sent to fight together in Vietnam. The movie features interviews with those that put boots on the ground and featuring their own home movies and personal audio tapes from the era.

Narrated by Charlie Sheen, who long before infusing himself with tiger blood, rose to fame starring the Vietnam era Platoon, the movie follows a yearlong combat tour that took 26 of their own and wounded another 105 soldier in the Charlie Company. The fist hand account of their time in the foreign country are gut wrench as they mourned their own while trying to kill the guys on the opposite of the battlefield who were not above setting traps at night. We may not need another movie based on Vietnam, but hearing stories firsthand makes Brothers in War one of the few exceptions.

Brothers in War premieres tonight at 8:00 on the National Geographic Channel.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I Want My Music Television: 3/25/14

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.

She Used to Love Me A Lot – Johnny Cash

It is weird that after two decades of Rick Rubin produced albums, that a long lost song from Johnny Cash that he recorded in the early eighties sounds as if it could have easily has been an outtake from one of the American albums series. The dark music definitely fits in with some of his later music videos.

Bridges - Broods

Tt is easy to compare Broods to their fellow Kiwi Lorde (teenage singer, same producer) and their first official music video also take look at suburban youth, but Broods take a more romantic look with what seems to be the New Zealand equivalent of McLovin and Hit Girl.

Girl You Look Amazing - Nicole Atkins

Sure dating an invisible man is simple and silly, but I laughed through the new Nicole Atkins music video.

Stay – tyDi featuring Dia Frampton

After Avicii had a smash hit with the folk infused EDM track it was only a matter of time before another producer would do the same thing. Australian DJ tyDi (yes, that is how he stylizes his name) is the first to try and not surprisingly it sounds very derivative. The post-chorus bites the cords from Philip Philips’ Home (which itself was a complete rip-off of Mumford & Sons). And just like Wake Me Up, I hope that Dia Frampton eventually releases an acoustic version of the song.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Previewing None of the Above and The Numbers Game

What will happen if you drop seven Mentos into a two liter bottle of your favorite carbonated soda? A) Nothing, just fizzle out; B. Soda erupts into the air; C) The soda will anticlimactically spill over; or D) None of the Above. Science fans and fans of arguing in general will want to check out None of the Above where host Tim Shaw takes to the streets to test the knowledge of normal people to see if they can guess the outcome of simple, and sometimes not so simple (some are only tested with a fire truck standing by) experiments such as the one posed above.

In the first couple episodes you can lean what happens when you mix melted ice cream with flour, how many balloons can hold yup his car, try to deep-fry a frozen turkey in seconds using one barrel of oil heated above 400 degrees (hence the fire truck since explode is one of the choices). Tim even tries the age old magician trick of pulling a tablecloth out from under a fully set table foot twenty-four… with a stock car travelling 115 miles per hour and a quarter mile-cord. None of the Above is good family fun that is only enhance if you watch with friends or family and try to see who get the most right every episode.

None of the Above airs Mondays at 9:00 on National Geographic Channel.

If None of the Above is for the science geek in your family, The Numbers Game is not surprisingly for the stats nerd. The show with host Jake Porway, a data scientist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer, takes a numerical look at aspects of life you would not think would have numerical value and breaks them down by the numbers. Case in point tonight’s episode take a look at how many of are heroes (one in five will be a hero during their lifetime) and how you can increase your odd of being a hero. Next week Jake takes on the old adage that there is a sucker born every minute and sees if maybe being a sucker could be a good thing. Future episodes will ask are you desirable? Are you a jerk? And are you a big liar.

The Numbers Game airs Mondays at 9:30 on National Geographic Channel.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 3/2314

Once Upon a Time: So if Regina and the witch are sisters, does that make her the Wicked Witch of the East? She surely is not Glinda.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Once Upon a Time on iTunes.

Shameless: Oh no, there is a female Carl. This probably will not end well. And by not end well, I mean it will end awesomely. But is a shame that Fiona finally realized she should have given up the drug addict brother to get herself off. I have a sinking suspicion he is going to help get her job back at Cups Inc. despite how irate his sister is. It is the least he could do.

The Walking Dead: What the Frack just happened? We all knew that Lizzie was going to go off the deep end eventually but killing her sister so everyone can see that dead can come back and not be evil? Not cool. And the episode just ended up being one big homage to Of Mice and Men, heavy on the mice and low on men. She even murdered rabbits a couple of episodes ago. That was when Darryl and Beth walked by the carnage and it seem safe to assume that the billow of smoke they saw was from their moonshine cabin. When Tyrese came upon the Grove, I actually initially thought maybe it was going to be the same funeral parlor.
You can download The Walking Dead on iTunes.

Crisis: I was not expecting much from a show that prominently features Rachael Taylor as a law enforcement agent (and an American one at that since she still has yet to master the accent yet). But it was surprisingly entertaining in a best case scenario for a network ripping off Homeland kind of way. You had two pretty good major plot twists (there would have been a third had the promos not already told us that one of the Secret Service guys was bad). Surprisingly the relationship with Taylor and Sully is compelling along with the father / daughter which got even more interesting especially with the plot twist. Though we probably will not see them paired off again, the Secret Service newbie and the fat kid’s time together was probably the best part of the premiere. The show could go off the rails like Homeland, and even quicker, but I was at least intrigued by the start.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Crisis on iTunes.

Revenge: So to cure her loss of time, all Emily had to do is be near drowned to remember some horrible memory. Ugg.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Revenge on iTunes.

The Voice: The first week of the Battle Round reminded me of the Blind Audition, there was a lot of cool song selection (the underappreciated Melanie Fiona song, the okay to appreciate now Steve Winwood song, the rare actual duet sung during the duet stage of the show) but the performances were just lackluster. There were three Battles (Jake vs. Lexi, Stevie Jo vs. Jake, Delvin vs. Caleb) where I would have been content if both singers when home. It just makes me wonder just how bad the montaged battles were that they were not shown over the clunkers that were.

The most notable event did not happen on stage but via press release when the show announced another change to the show because no two seasons can be the same. The Knockout Rounds are gone and are replaced by The Battles: Round Two which, as the name suggests is just like The Battles: Round One but instead of the coach picking the song, the duet partner performance will perform an agreed upon song. And instead of individual coaches for each or none at all, Coldplay’s Chris Martin will serve as the Key Adviser for all teams. And yes, The Steal will be returning, one for each coach.

Unfortunately it was also announced that the Instant Save will be also returning. But this time the bottom three will get a Last Chance Performance (which I assume will be like season two) before a small portion of the internet decides on which one advances. One more small change, the Playoffs will not be live this season, which means the coaches will trim their teams from five to three and American will not be voting until the top twelve this season.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download songs performed this week with the widget at right.

How I Met Your Mother: Wow, they sure were able to get a bunch of guest stars to comeback for that parking lot montage, who even knew Sally Draper’s teacher was Blah Blah?
You can stream recent episodes over at You can also download How I Met Your Mother on iTunes.

The Blacklist: It has become more clear that they should not do a Ressler-centric episode. That was just bad. At least we got a bit more about Tom’s secret life. Note to everyone out there, when someone tells you not to make a call because they will kill you both after you hang up, do not make the call, or at the very least do not turn your back on the guy.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download The Blacklist on iTunes.

Pretty Little Liars: I was excited for the “Ali Tells All” episode thinking we would finally get song ago asked questions answered. I quickly realize there was plenty that even Alison does not know like she does not know who tried to kill her. But considering that her mother tried to cover it up, that pretty much has to mean that her brother is A, right? Who else would she lie to the police for? Erza knows who A is except he was shot before he could tell anyone. I would rather he die than learn who A is at this point. But knowing this show, Ezra will probably pull through but have selective amnesia after surgery.

It also seemed like the writers forgot their own mythology. I could have sworn that Ali and Melissa’s husband taped their rendezvous in the woods with it ending with Alison saying, “I know you want to kiss me” before the camera hit the ground and she was dragged away. And how did Jenna and Garrett figure into that whole night? I thought they did something with a shovel but it has been left vague. Did they have something to do with Spencer’s shovel? Oh well, maybe we will get an “A Tells All” episode in a season or four.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Pretty Little Liars on iTunes.

Justified: When the promos hyped that Danny would attempt the 21-Foot Rule on Raylan it was pretty obvious it would not end well for Danny. But I could have never guessed that it would end up that way. Even though it exceeded my already high expectations for the scene, I am still slightly disappointed that after three teases we never got to see Danny attempt the 21-Foot Rule. But on the bright side: holy Dickie Bennett sighting! It has been way too long. The show figured out a way to get Dewey out of prison, it is a shame they could not do the same of Dickie. But it was nice to see Dickie completely selling out Dewey in hopes in getting sent to Club Fed. I am still hoping we will finally get a Dewey / Dickie in jail spin-off. You can now add the Harris brothers to that cast. It will probably be much better than Ava’s Caged Heat storyline.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Justified on iTunes.

Survivor: Cagayan: Right before this episode it seemed that some of my early favorites were on the chopping block so I hoped the merge would put them in a better position (and hopefully in the same tribe and in an alliance). But unfortunately Morgan looks to be back on the bottom and even worse Cliff Robinson got booted ruining the Clif Robinson and Wooooooooooo buddy comedy. It is amazing after how poorly they performed, The Brain tribe is sitting the prettiest as the other faction implode on each other on the two tribes. One of the Brains could actually win this season, possibly even be the final three, if they finally live up to their names.
You can stream recent episodes on You can also download Survivor: Cagayan on iTunes.

Community: Just like the second Paintball episode, the second Dungeons and Dragons was not as great but still pretty entertaining, especially with the triumphant return of Hector the Well endowed.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Community on iTunes.

Hannibal: Oh Abigail Hobbs, at least you still survive in Will’s fever dreams. I wonder if anyone else will show up in those eventually. It seems like Beverly will be available. Though it is very well possible that Hannibal keep her alive down in his dungeon and that is what Jack was doing there at the beginning of the season.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Hannibal on iTunes.