Saturday, January 10, 2015

Previewing House of Lies: Season Two

Whenever an actress show up to work pregnant the writers basically only have two options (they are no longer able to utilize a third option anymore after a soap opera actress sued when she was fired for getting fat back in the nineties). First is to ignore the pregnancy and just shoot the actress from the chest up or have her hide behind coaches and always carry bags (How I Met Your Mother actually had to do this in two seasons back to back when both lead actresses got knocked up, included the one who’s character was unable to conceive). Option two is to write the pregnancy into the storyline like Nashville did with Juliet’s shoehorned pregnancy coming out of nowhere.

Back in season two, the writers of House of Lies chose the former option when Kristen Bell reported to work in that starting to get fat period of a pregnancy. It was weird, on a show where characters constantly bag on each other; no one mentioned Jennie’s drastic weight gain. Even worse during a sex scene, they hired a body double whose body looked like Kristen’s without a bun in the oven and there were cuts where Jennie kept on gaining and losing about thirty pounds.

For the second time in three seasons Bell showed up on set with Dax Sheppard’s spawn in her stomach region. This time around the writers opted for the second option thus making Jennie pregnant too. Plus this works from a storyline perspective because Jennie is kind of a drunken slut sleeping from everyone from a sex toy maker to a gangsta to Dick Casablancas in three seasons of the show. Oh yeah, and there is always Marty, of course he is probably the father, it is not like Clyde got some. And from a creative standpoint, the pregnancy is a boon because we finally get some fat jokes and maybe the best scene of the whole series comes in episode two when Doug and his wife try to adopt the unborn child and raise it as their own..

Not as successful is how the writers were able to get Marty his job back. When we left off, the government had Marty dead to rights on multiple charges. But Marty was able cut a deal where his was able to keep his company with minimal jail time. Season four starts off with Marty already don with his bid, but we do get some flashbacks with Marty running into a potential client behind bars played by Demitri Martin.

And Marty really needs him as a client because though he was able to keep his firm, most of his former clients do not want to work with an ex-con, now Khan and Associates only employs four workers and rests out their space to a app upstart. Be on the look out for another Veronica Mars cameo, one by one of the few that appeared on the show that did not make it into the movie.

House of Lies airs Sundays airs Sundays at 10:00 followed by all new episodes of Episodes at 10:30.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Around the Tubes: 1/9/15

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 Justified, The Great British Baking Show, Face-Off, Cesar 911, Amazing America with Sarah Palin, Hackers, Inside Comedy, The Chase, The Hotwives of Las Vegas, and The Breaks.

- Truths will be revealed. Fates will be sealed. The final season of Justified premieres 1/20 on FX.

- The competition is heating up in the tent as we enter week three of The Great British Baking Show airing Sunday, January 11 at 8:00 p.m. ET, airing before episode 2 of Downton Abbey on PBS. (Show times may vary, please check local listings in your market). The Great British Baking Show is carbo-loaded with fun and bun-biting excitement as the series rolls on in America. For those who wish to catch up on the series, viewers can access each episode anytime with online streaming the day after broadcast on

- Glenn, Ve, Neville, and McKenzie welcome back familiar faces for a new season of exciting challenges on Face-Off. Watch the season premiere on January, 13 at 9:00 on Syfy.


- Last year, Cesar Millan proved once again that he is the leader of the pack when it comes to rehabilitating dogs and training people, with the successful launch of his new Nat Geo WILD series, Cesar 911. And now, for the first time, Nat Geo WILD brings to the small screen Millan’s live stage show that has traveled the world, in a two-hour special, Cesar Millan: Viva Las Vegas!, premiering Friday, Feb. 20, at 9:00 before the return of Cesar 911 the following week on Friday, Feb. 27, at 9:00.

- Sportsman Channel’s Amazing America with Sarah Palin, produced by Pilgrim Studios, has announced its two co-hosts for the second season of the network original series premiering on January 15, 2015 at 9:00. Jerry Carroll, returning host from the first season, will be joined by Miss USA 2006 Tara Conner in the field.

- Syfy this week announced that it is teaming with Relativity Television ("Catfish: The TV Series") to develop a groundbreaking new unscripted series, Hackers, which will take viewers deep inside the shadowy and dangerous world of high-tech hackers for the very first time. Hackers will reveal the secrets behind the most infamous cyber-crimes ever committed, using sophisticated, never-before-seen digital graphics to create an experiential “hacking” scene that exposes what actually happens when a computer network is broken into – including what goes on inside the mind of the hacker.

- Showtime has picked up its critically-acclaimed documentary series Inside Comedy, from comedy forces David Steinberg and Steve Carell, for a fourth season slated to premiere later this year. Steinberg will continue as host of the six, half-hour episodes featuring one-of-a-kind interviews with some of the biggest names in pop culture who have captured the zeitgeist of the last several decades. Season four to include much buzzed about entertainers including Stephen Colbert, Michael Keaton, Bryan Cranston, Dan Aykroyd, among others.

- GSN, the leader in game shows and competitive entertainment, announced this week the premiere of the fourth season of its Emmy®-nominated hit quiz show, The Chase on Tuesday, January 27 at 8:00. Brooke Burns returns as host, along with the brilliant and intimidating Mark Labbett (aka “The Beast”) facing down all challengers in the ultimate trivia challenge.

- Hulu announced today the renewal of hit original series The Hotwives of Orlando from Paramount Digital Entertainment. The second season of the series will return in 2015 as The Hotwives of Las Vegas and will move locations from scenic Orlando to Las Vegas.

- Continuing its success in the scripted arena, VH1 announces The Breaks (Working Title) as its next original movie project. Inspired by journalist Dan Charnas’ book “The Big Payback,” a narrative history of the hip-hop business, “The Breaks” (WT) will make its television debut written, directed and executive produced by Seith Mann (“The Wire,” “The Walking Dead,” “Homeland”). VH1 plans to start principal photography in Spring 2015 with a premiere date set for Fall 2015. The Breaks (WT) has the potential to become a series after its movie premiere.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Previewing Hindsight

Laura Ramsey of The Real Cancun and Hindsight

I always enjoy whenever Laura Ramsey ever pops up on screen. No not because she is a good actress and though she is attracted she is not cut off your left leg just to spend time with her attractive. No, I always smile whenever I come across her is that I am reminded of one of the great lost cinematic gems of the millennium: The Real Cancun. For those that have forgotten, after creating the reality television show craze, the producers of The Real World decided to make a feature length film based on the same concept on the big screen. Of course a reality movie is just a documentary and The Real Cancun made about what other documentaries made: about a buck and a half despite ten times the budget.

Sadly for the cast of The Real Cancun, they did not get an invite to The Challenge or even make a living on the bar circuit like other reality also-rans do, they all just went back to the real real world. Laura Ramsey was the one exception showing up in the occasion in the types of movies that usually populate the second and third tier premium channel for a couple months and even got to bang Don Draper, but then again, what actress in Hollywood not hooked up with Don Draper?

So when VH1 started running ads hyping a new show Hindsight starring Laura set in the nineties (which even the National Geographic Channel considered the last great decade) I was all in from the first notes of The Sign. I may even dig out thee VCR to tape the episodes. Yeah VH1 may seem like a weird fit for a nineties retro show considering in the last decade it has morphed into the all WAGs channel (for those not up with British tabloid slag, it stands for “wives and girlfriend” who are basically the talentless socialite of England) bit this is also the channel that gave us I Love the 90’s. There is an entertaining montage in the first episode with Laura rediscovering all the great nineties fashions which Michael Ian Black and company all waxed poetic on. Oh way did hot chicks in overalls go out of fashion?

Sure recent period shows that most everyone who is watching lived through can be tricky. When done right, like Everybody Hates Chris they can be the best shows on television, but when the writers get too cut, like the cell phone scene on That 80’s Show or when one of the guys on Reunion predicted the other guy in Wham! would be more successful than George Michael, the show will be one and done.

But Hindsight is not you typical period television show, it is technically a time traveling show which starts off in present day on the eve of Ramsey’s second wedding day before she wakes up on her wedding day except this is her first back to 1995. There is not wish to go back or a magical amulet, just what may or may not be some mystical black Buddhist.

It is a good thing the show went back to the nineties because the present day stuff is extremely boring with Ramsey whining in voice over the whole time about being a failure (again, she is not the greatest actress in the world and having her narrate the show may not have been the best idea, Kristen Bell she is not). Really you could skip the first fifteen minutes and not miss anything.

Now back in the nineties, Ramsey has to decide to go through with marrying the passionate long-haired British dude that she know will fail within a decade or just go straight to her boring but safe fallback choice who she ends up marrying in present day anyway. Or maybe there is a third yet to be determined option, maybe the possibly mystical black Buddhist.

Okay, Hindsight is not a great show, but what it lacks in good acting it makes up for in a great soundtrack. Do not pretend you did not smile when you heard Ace of Base in the series trailer for the first time in maybe a decade and a half (well, the non a capella version). Seriously, when was the last time you heard U2’s Numb? Throw in Biggie during a sex scene, The Cranberries during an introspective scene, and the Spin Doctors at a party and the show starts becoming watchable. If there is not a Spotify playlist by the premiere the VH1 marketing department has massively failed. I know it is just the second week in January, but I am ready to declare Hindsight the Guiltiest Guilty Pleasure of 2015.

Hindsight airs Wednesdays at 10:00 on VH1.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Previewing Hack My Life

Kevin Pereira and Brooke Van Poppelen host Hack My Life

We have all been there, you are hosting a cookout and it is time to fire up the grill only to find you are out of charcoal. Now you are in the unenviable position of either leaving your own party or sheepishly asking one of your guests to go get you some. But what if you can light the grill with something already at party; maybe marshmallow, maybe the potatoes ships, or possibly even the Doritos? Which of these three party essentials will help you cook the perfect burger in a pinch is the type of information you will learn on the new show Hack My Life.

Yeah, I know, with all the negative hacking stories in the news last year, Hack My Life may not be the best title of a show; it is so bad it is surprising that it is not a sitcom on ABC. The show is hosted by Kevin Pereira (who you may remember as the disembodied voice you heard while starring at Olivia Munn on Attack of the Show) and Brooke Van Poppelen who each week will show you short cuts that could save you time, effort, and money with about ten or so hacks every week. The show is basically Mr. Wizard for adults. Now I need to see if I am brave enough to try to open a wine bottle with a bicycle pump because I am not having much success with an actual wine bottle opener.

Have your own life hacks, viewers will be invited to share their own hacks via a new Hack My Life hub at, with each week's best hack to be featured on the show. The Hack My Life initiative marks the first time that Tumblr's user-generated content will be featured in every episode of a weekly series.

Hack My Life airs Tuesdays at 10:30 on TruTV.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Previewing Ultimate Survival Alaska: Season Three

Last year I discovered that Ultimate Survival Alaska made for a good stop-gap in between seasons of Survivor, which does not return to late Febuary, for my competition fix (though this year The Challenge starts this week two but at the ungodly hour of 11:00 for some reason). Granted I need this season of Ultimate Survival Alaska to get the stench of Blood vs. Water II from my mind (clearly the format is flawed, the first season was only entertaining thanks to Ciera), one of the bottom five worst season of the show. Really, Baylor and Keith are the only ones from the season I would even mind seeing again. The others I would be mad would get an invite back. Well, I would be mad if I saw one of the twins, the douchebag brothers, or the catty gay dude, the rest I probably will not even remember them if I ever saw them again. With that said I am looking forward to Blue Collar vs. White Collar vs. No Collar; the show is at its best when it divides team by personal or physical traits with the exception of the age season.

Not that Ultimate Survival Alaska is much like Survivor, it is much more akin to The Amazing Race since this is an actual race. Except there are no elimination no silly challenges, all you have to do is get to point A to point B in sixty hours without dieing. And that is the reason to watch, unlike the control environment of Survivor, there is a fair chance of serious injury and even death climbing up glaciers and trekking through bear country. And if you lose your flint, there is no Jeff Probst to barter with for new supplies or more food. Within the first fifteen minutes of the new season, there is already the first near death experience.

This season Team Endurance is back to defend their crown with Team Military, with a new member in tow, is out to avenge their close lost last season. After finishing third, the Mountaineers picked up a new member and since they all now hail from the state dubbed them selves Team Alaska. There is a new team made up of entire newbies called Team Lower 48 with a climber from California, a skier from Utah, and a kayaker from North Carolina. And to say these three to not get along is an understatement, the editor responsible for inserting the bleeps got a workout this season.

The third season opens as usual with teams looking for the Insertion Flag which the producers placed on the other side of a lake where the race starts giving each team the option to either walk around the lake or trying walking over and hope the ice is still thick enough to hold them. Half the teams do trying to transverse the thawing lake. And that is the easy part; from there they have to climb up a mountain to reach the Landing Zone before time expires. Leg twos no easier as they have to descend a mountain right into bear country where they will find the new Landing Zone. Though the competition is grueling, the teams sometime actually manage to have fun like the team that wins the third leg who decides to hide and leaved joke gifts in the winner’s barrel. For those that missed the first two seasons, Ultimate Survival Alaska is a thrilling competition with beautiful scenery that should produce enough entertainment until the new season of Survivor.

Ultimate Survival Alaska airs Sundays at 9:00 on the National Geographic Channel.