Saturday, May 24, 2014

Best of the Week: 5/24/14

Quote of the Week: The New York Athletic Club frowns upon people making advances in their steam room. (Roger Sterling, Mad Men)

Song of the Week: Twilight Zone – Golden Earring (The Americans)

Big News of the Week: Summertime: Monday is the unofficial start of Summer but unlike the fall season where ninety percent of seasons premiere within a two week period, new shows will dribble out from now until August. NBC is out of the gate first debuting new seasons every day next week day except Wednesday. Not that I plan on watching any of them. Here is what I do plan to watch over the next three months as I try to avoid the heat and allergens.

8:00 – Switched at Birth, ABC Family (June 16)
9:00 – Dallas, TNT (August 18)
10:00 – Under the Dome, CBS (June 30)

8:00 – Pretty Little Liars, ABC Family (June 10)
9:00 – Royal Pains, USA (June 10)
10:00 – Perception, TNT (June 17)
10:00 – Tyrant, FX (June 24)

9:00 – Legends, TNT (August 20)
10:00 – Wilfred, FXX (June 25)
10:00 – The Bridge, FX (July 9)
10:00 - Franklin and Bash, TNT (August 13)

8:00 – Defiance, Syfy (June 19)
9:00 – Dominion, Syfy (June 19)

9:00 – The Last Ship, TNT (June 22)
9:00 – Ray Donovan, Showtime (July 13)
10:00 – Falling Skies, TNT (June 22)
10:00 – Masters of Sex, Showtime (July 13)
10:00 – The Strain, FX (July 13)

Preview Picture of the Week:

“Who Shaves the Barber?” Fargo, Tuesday at 10:00 on FX

Free Download of the Week: The Furthermost of Mike Doughty (Noisetrade)

New Album Release of the Week: A Letter Home - Neil Young

New DVD Release of the Week: The Bridge: Season 1

Video of the Week: Sure Christopher Nolan is best known for his The Dark Knight Trilogy, but he cut his teeth making high concept films like Memento. With the success of Batman, he is now able to do big budget, high concept movies like Inception. Little was known about his latest movie Interstellar except that it may or may not have to do with worm holes. The first teaser basically just featured Matthew McConaughey driving a beat up truck down a dirt road; not very spacey.

Now we have an official first trailer which is still pretty Earth bound considering the title but we do learn that the Earth is running out of food (despite the numerous corn field backdrops). And McConaughey is tasked to either find food outside the solar system or maybe somewhere to live. There are a couple blink and miss them cameos in the trailer from Michael Caine, John Lithgow, Jessica Chastain, and Anne Hathaway (at least I think that is her in the video's thumbnail). Knowing Nolan, this may be the most we learn about the film until it is released in November.

Next Week Pick of the Week: Mad Men, Sunday at 10:00 on AMC: Yes the new season of Man Men just premiered less than two months ago, but thanks to the penny pushers over at AMC who want to milk as much out of the show until it is over, the final season is being split in two with the final episodes not coming until 2015.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Around the Tubes: 5/23/14

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 The Wil Wheaton Project, Heroes of Cosplay, Wicked Tuna, Spartacus, Falling Skies, D-Day Sacrifice, Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King-The Life Of Riley, Motor City Masters, and Deal with It.

- In one week, actor Wil Wheaton will join the Syfy channel for a weekly round-up on all things pop culture and sci-fi. Watch the trailer below, and make sure to mark your calendars for the Tuesday night premiere on May 27 the same day Heroes of Cosplay returns for it's second season.

- The heart-pounding Wicked Tuna season three finale premieres Sunday, June 8, at 9:00, followed immediately by the debut of National Geographic Channel’s first live talk show, Reel Talk Live, at 10:00 (tape delayed on the West Coast). Fan-favorite captains and crewmen join host Mike Salk (@TheMikeSalk; sports radio host and Boston area native) before a live audience to answer fan questions, reveal behind-the-scenes scoop and look ahead to the future of the successful Wicked Tuna franchise.

- Continuing to expand its roster of diverse domestic and international programming, Syfy today announced it is acquiring U.S. basic cable rights to all 39 episodes (three seasons and the six-part prequel) of the popular swords and sandal series Spartacus. Spartacus will make its basic cable premiere on Thursday, June 26 at 10:00, rounding out the channel’s potent primetime lineup of original series Defiance at 8:00 and Dominion at 9:00.

- As excitement builds for the fourth season of TNT's hit drama Falling Skies, the network is giving viewers the chance to binge-watch the entire third season on Memorial Day. TNT will present all ten episodes of season three in a 10-hour marathon slated to begin Monday, May 26, at 10 a.m.

- The day is June 6, 1944, and World War II has entered its fifth year of combat. Thousands of allied paratroopers storm the northern coast of France in what became the largest military invasion fleet in history, striking the unsuspecting German defenses by land, sea and air. In an epic battle stretching across five heavily guarded beaches, the allied troops are besieged by enemy fire, bracketed by artillery and facing almost certain death. Years of meticulous planning and countless casualties have come down to this historic moment. This is D-Day … and it’s only day one. In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the historic storming of the beaches at Normandy, National Geographic Channel (NGC) takes viewers to the front lines for a look at the most crucial moments of World War II in a dramatic special, D-Day Sacrifice, premiering Wednesday, June 4, 2014, at 9:00. D-Day Sacrifice also premieres globally on NGC beginning in June 2014, in 171 countries and 45 languages.

- On June 24, Capitol Records/UMe will release a special vinyl-only edition of Bonnie Raitt's classic Nick of Time in honor of the album's 25th anniversary. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's tenth album still stands as her signature work and as a turning point in her legendary career. It topped the Billboard 200 album chart, sold five million copies, and won three GRAMMY® Awards, including “Album of the Year.” Rolling Stone ranked NICK OF TIME as number 230 on its list of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time."

- B.B. King-The Life Of Riley is a powerful, insightful and heart-warming feature documentary about legendary Blues man, B.B. King. The film is narrated by OSCAR® winning actor Morgan Freeman and features never-before-seen interviews with music icons Eric Clapton, Bono, Ringo Starr, Carlos Santana, Slash, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Ronnie Wood, Mick Jagger and longtime blues fan and supporter, Bruce Willis. The film will play in movie theatres across the United States, starting May 21st. Tickets for the theatrical screenings are on sale now, only at

- truTV has unveiled the slate of guest judges and competition themes for the first season of Motor City Masters, the search for America's next great car designer. Produced in collaboration with Chevrolet, the new competition series is set to feature such celebrity guest judges as actress and producer Melissa Joan Hart (Melissa & Joey,Clarissa Explains It All), actor Jesse Metcalfe (Dallas, Desperate Housewives), Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz, baseball great David Justice and former NASCAR driver Robby Gordon. Also serving as guest judges will be celebrity dog trainer and bestselling author Tamar Geller, vice president of design, Mattel Hot Wheels Division, Felix Holst, model and surfer Malia Jones, this summer’s Transformers: Age of Extinction’s Master Mechanic and Fabricator, Specialty Cars Trevor Mann and GM vice president of global design Edward T. Welburn Jr.

- TBS has extended the second season of Deal With It, adding 10 episodes to the hidden-camera competition series, which returns this fall. The series from executive producer Howie Mandel and hosted by Theo Von (Primetime in No Time, Last Comic Standing, The Half Hours) currently airing Wednesdays at 10:30, puts a unique spin on friendly dares by giving them the ultimate twist.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Previewing The World Wars

Monday, people across the country will be firing up their grill in memory of the great men and women who gave their life for their country. Many of those lives were lost during the two great wars that were waged in-between 1914 and 1945. All told, over 100 million people across the globe died in combat during those thirty years coming out to about 230 deaths per hour. On Monday, History will premiere a three part special The World Wars to air on consecutive days next week.

The first part opens in a trench in Germany of all places where one of its soldiers is struggling to put on a gas mask over his bushy mustache. Of course when the soldiers shaves his upper lip down, it becomes clear why they started here. The World Wars follows all the big players from the time, men like Roosevelt, Hitler, Patton, Mussolini, Churchill, Tojo, DeGaulle and MacArthur, many who were mere foot soldiers in the First World War, their rise to power in between and their major roles in the Second.

The first installment takes us through the First World War all the way up to the Treaty of Versailles. The second episode opens up in 1929 and deals mostly with “peace time” and does a really good job explaining the failures of Treaty of Versailles and how it lead to the start of the Second World War. The third installment starts with Pearl Harbor in December of 1949. Throughout the three installments we witness the introduction of many new military innovations created for the wars like Guns on motor vehicles, trench warfare, tanks, mustard gas, and of course the atomic bomb.

The World Wars does not uncover any new information or even any new footage, but the six hours may be the most comprehensive special on the subjects to ever air on television. The special does feature new interviews with politicians and military men of today like John McCain, Sir John Major, Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Stanley McCrystal, Leon Panetta, Joe Liebermann, and numerous historians and biographers. The whole series is narrated by The Hurt Locker’s Jeremy Renner.

The World Wars airs Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday at 9:00 on History.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

You Breathing to the Choir That Prayer's the Drug Game

Having a day job apparently has upped the productivity of The Roots. Since becoming Jimmy Fallon’s house band five years ago, the group has released six albums which includes duet albums with John Legend, Betty Wright, and last year’s Wise Up Ghost with Elvis Costello (and people that the Lou Reed / Metallica pairing was odd). More surprising than the output is that spending their days with the annoyingly chipper Fallon has gotten increasingly moody.

The Roots never were a party group, always focusing on the underbelly of hip-hop but 2010’s How I Got Over saw them collaborate with indie artists like Dirty Projectors, Joanna Newsom and repurposed the Monsters of Folk song Dear God. That was followed by undun, a concept album about the life of an urban youth told in reverse chronological. Now the band is back with ...and then you shoot your cousin and with a tite like that, you can guess no one will ever pick one of these songs in a lip sync battle with Fallon anytime soon.

The new album is another concept album, but much looser than the last but still touching on recurring themes like urban plight and thoughts on God with a soundtrack more foreboding than the previous album. After a Nina Simone song plays, the album starts up with a haunting choir on Never setting mood very well for what is to come. That is followed by When the People Cheer which sounds like old school The Roots. Black Rock hit like classic nineties rap, taking back the genre from the hip-pop that has littered the radio over the past decade.

Understand follows Dear God to church, this time with gospel type organs that shakes the pew and features the chorus, “People ask for God, 'till the day he comes. See God’s face; turn around and run. God sees the face of a man. Shaking his head, says ‘he'll never understand’” As moody as the album gets, it does end with the hopeful Tomorrow which even open up with some whistling which you can also find yourself smiling during. The song is a satisfying ending to maybe the tightest album the band has produced yet.

Song to Download - Understand

...and then you shoot your cousin gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Though I Try My Heart Stays Still, it Never Moves

Ghost Stories - Coldplay

In the post Beyoncé world, I have become fascinated with album rollouts. Sure there are only a small handful of artists that could also pull off a surprise album (Kid Cudi, the only recognizable artist who has tried since turned out to not be one). Coldplay is probably one of them. Much like Beyoncé they were the biggest act in their respective genre about a decade ago but each successive album was selling less and less while younger act stole their crowns.

But that did not happen. Instead they released they released Midnight with nothing more than a weird video at midnight in Ulan Bator, Mongolia of all places. After being considered the pop version of Radiohead, Midnight sounded like actual Radiohead if they were fronted by Bon Iver. Was this a new direction for the band? Nope. A week later the band released Magic, a more traditionally sounding pop song even if it sounded like the least Coldplay single they had ever released with a bouncing bass and Chris Martin not singing in his traditional falsetto voice.

With the release of Magic came a traditional album rollout, the album Ghost Stories would be released two months later. In the meanwhile the typical promotional campaign would happen, talk show appearances, NBC special, Target ads. Then came a non-traditional, and probably inadvertent bit of promotion for the album: Chris Martin announced a “conscious uncoupling” from his wife Gwyneth Paltrow.

Duran Duran lead singer Simon LeBon was once asked why rock stars date supermodels to which he replied, because they can. The only problem is dating the most beautiful women sometime makes for bad music especially in the hands of singer-songwriters. John Mayer worst album Battle Studies was the concept album about dating and then breaking up with Jennifer Aniston. So it is hard to listen to Ghost Stories without looking through the prism of the conscious uncoupling. It is the most evident on the opening track Always in My Head. It seems pretty clear with this and the subsequent songs, that the conscious uncoupling may not have been his idea and there will be no spiteful breakup songs here. The song is even followed up my Magic with its chorus, “I don’t want anybody else but you.”

Those songs also set a musical mood that is much more moody and airy compared to their grand stadium anthems of the past. Magic is not the only song where Martin opts not to go in his signature falsetto which leads to more honest song. And the drum machine sound from that sound also permeates the whole album. The only song that sounds out of place is A Sky Full of Stars. The song, produced by Avicii, sounds it would have been a better fit on their more dance leaning album Mylo Xyloto. But then again it may sound way too much like that album’s Every Teardrop I a Waterfall to the point you have to wonder if A Sky Full of Stars is just the Avicii remix of Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall.

Song to Download – Magic

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

Monday, May 19, 2014

I Want My Music Television: 5/19/14

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.

Part II (On the Run) – Jay-Z featuring Beyoncé

Okay this is less a music video for the Jay-Z song and more a teaser for the upcoming Jay-Z / Beyoncé summer tour. And for those that did not stick around for the end, the movie is “coming never” but I actually enjoyed the generic trailer if just for Rashida Jones and Kat Dennings as a police officer. Oh, wait, that was Emmy Rossum? Ooops.

Understand – The Roots featuring Dice Raw and Greg Porn

I do not sure if it is true or not, but I am just going to go ahead and believe the latest The Roots music video is an homage to two great 80’s videos Rockit by Herbie Handcock and Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel.

Appreciate – Paul McCartney

So the I, Robot robots really do take over the world and then create own Night at the Museum scenario with Paul McCartney.

We Exist – Arcade Fire

So in the last month, Spider Man has dressed in drag for Arcade Fire and made out with Chris Martin… is he trying to say something? I hope he is trying to say Gwen Stacey is available, I personally would be happy to take her off his hands. I hope he is not saying he wants to star in a Flashdance remake even if he’s about a good a dancer as Jennifer Beals. But if it did happen, who should sing the theme song? Keeping with the gender bending theme maybe Ed Sheeran.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 5/18/14

Once Upon a Time: C’mon, you cannot have a Marty McFly reference and not have Emma’s hand start to disappear after she keeps her parents from meeting. And I thought after they made a big deal about Charming falling in love with Snow White after seeing the ring on her finger, I thought when Emma found the ring, she would put it on and her father would fall in love with her kind of like when Marty’s mom tried to have sex with him. But that is one of those only in the eighties type storyline.

It seemed pretty obvious to me the unnamed prisoner would end up being what fairytale property the show would exploit next season. Being that she was slightly ethnic, I was thinking Jasmine from Aladdin except Once Upon a Time: Wonderland went there and I doubt the writers will want to return there after it bombed massively. I was way off; she turned out to be Maid Marian and will just be a catalyst to turn Regina slightly evil again. The big surprise to me was that Emma told Rumplstiltkin that his son dies in the future and he does not do anything about it (that we know of yet), he just drinks his forgetful drink and makes a funny joke. So Neil may actually stay dead even though it does not seem like Rumplestiltkin to let that stand.

So I wrong the person that Emma brought back from the past would predict where the show is going next season (it turns out the actress has been on the show in a previous season, but just did not leave much of a mark), the actual tease for season four turned out to be, um, I had to look it up, Princess Elsa from Frozen? Alrighty. Have they really run out of fairytales to exploit, they have to do one that is not even a year old?
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Once Upon a Time on iTunes.

Mad Men: A couple weeks ago a hot blonde approached Don saying she knew him but he had no clue who she was. I originally thought that was his “niece” up until she started to hit on her. I still assumed the resemblance was not a coincidence. The niece actually showed up this week for the first time in a long while, which of course make me think of her doppelganger a couple weeks ago. Was the other more together the idealist version of her than Don remembered and the knocked up hippie was the reality? Granted that juxtaposition does not really work because Don did not actually see the new “niece” but that could be because he can still remember her the way she was. Not that any of this mattered because Ginsberg cut off his nipple to keep the computer from communicating with him. What the frack!?!
You can download Mad Men on iTunes.

Revenge: After a pleasurable, albeit guilty type of pleasurable, first season, this show hit a sever sophomore slump due in part to the lack of takedowns. I also blamed the lack of enjoyment of the inclusion of Aiden. Every ten episodes or so he would have a spat with Emily, leave the Hamptons, but would always find his way back after a episode or two. After two seasons they finally pulled the trigger on Aiden who I am guessing will not be returning from death anytime soon, unlike someone else.

The show teased that someone would die and with Aiden out of the way halfway through, I figured that was it. Nope, it looks like Conrad will join Aiden in, well, wherever those two may be going. But the second death was not the shocker, this time it was the murderer that was the surprise, the not so dead David Clarke. The show has teased this a couple times, but it would always go nowhere.

So this opens a whole new can of worms. Where has David been all this time? Why chose this very moment to kill Conrad? Who else knows? Nolan? Was he helping Emily from the shadows (aside from providing her with the infinity box) all this time? Will he come out of the shadows now that his name is cleared? How will Emily react to him still being alive (she just wasted a decade of her life avenging his death that did not actually happen)? And maybe most importantly, why was this not the finale for last season, or even season one? We really wasted two worthless seasons to get to this point.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Revenge on iTunes.

The Blacklist: Shows that have a stellar first season but cannot stick the landing have me a bit worried moving forward. Call it the Lost Paradox. And The Blacklist actually made me think of a worst case: The Killing. At the end of the first season, we leaned that the mayoral candidate did the killing. But wait in the last scene the evidence against him turned out to be tampered with. I had the same reaction with Berlin, Red kills him, but wait, that was not really Berlin. Worse, I say the ending a mile away, when the other passengers were saying “He cut of his hand” I originally did think they meant Berlin cut off his own hand. And I guy we are now to assume Lizzie is Berlin’s daughter, right, and Red was the one that stole her from him?
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download The Blacklist on iTunes.

Castle: It was a little convenient that a room full of bikers and mobsters did not start shooting at each other. But I guess we are supposed to spend the summer thinking Castle is dead despite being the titular character. Now that Kate’s mother’s murder is closed, this will probably be the start of the next lengthy case the duo undertakes.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Castle on iTunes.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: I thought the show stalled out a bit after the Captain America premiered but that was a thoroughly entertaining finale. It seemed pretty obvious to me that Joss Weadon himself wrote those Colson / Fury scenes. I am really glad they never even tried to turn Ward good again, but I have a feeling that there will be a Loki in Thor 2 situation sometime in season three. I hope they instead use him as more of a Hannibal Lecter situation if they do bring the character back. I just do not think there is a way they could ever redeem Ward. My only disappointment with the finale (other than they let Ward live) is we did not get any more information about Skye’s origins other than her father is still alive and he has a thick bloody hand.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.

Survivor: Cagayan: I had to laugh at Trish saying she was a good person in the game after the blow up with Kass. She was so unliked that someone rather quit the game than be around her for fear she would start punching her. With or without her, this is a lackluster final four. Woooooo is the only person worth rooting for but he will probably be out first unless he wins Immunity.
You can stream recent episodes on You can also download Survivor: Cagayan on iTunes.

Nashville: So Will actually admitted to his wife that he was gay, unfortunately for him, it looks like his reality show producers were listening. But it is about time this news came out, it hopefully will make the character interesting for once. The rest of the episode was pretty meh for a finale.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Nashville on iTunes.

The Big Bang Theory: I would actually watch a show where Sheldon rides the rails.
You can stream recent episodes on You can also download The Big Bang Theory on iTunes.

The Challenge: Free Agents: Nothing better than trivia week on The Challenge, T.J. clearly enjoys it two. Australians speaking Dutch had to be my favorite answer.
You can download The Challenge: Free Agents on iTunes.

Hannibal: Will says he knows how to set a trap, I wonder if he is actually using Jack as the bait (as seen in the season premiere and the next promo). You can also add Hannibal having Mason feed Will’s dogs with his own face to the most disturbing scenes list.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Hannibal on iTunes.