Saturday, June 20, 2015

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 6/20/15

Penny Dreadful: I guess we should not be surprised that Lily did not come back right, but a what is up with her killing a dude during sex?
You can download Penny Dreadful on iTunes.

American Odyssey: I am not sure what my favorite part of the episode was: Luc again flipping allegiances by saving Odell by pretending to have her kidnapped and killed and not bothering to tell her the plan. Or Ruby who loves Harrison so much that she would commit suicide by cop that either kill him or get arrested (even though if her boss wants him dead can he not just hire another assassin after she dies). Nope, now that I think about it, my favorite part was Ruby having a pager. Who knew those were still around?
You can download American Odyssey on iTunes.

Pretty Little Liars: In the supposed "Summer of Answers" we still did not really get any. We did get a confirmation that Charles is a long lost brother of Allison but we essentially already knew that. But I do not really need answers this summer, really all I need from the the show this summer is multiple scenes of Ali mentoring a youth soccer team.
You can download Pretty Little Liars on iTunes.

Tyrant: I was kind of hoping that this show would not be back for a second season because it was one of those post golden age shows that had a good concept, good acting, but was just missing something (usually any entertainment value). I was hoping for a hard reboot with Jamel actually going through with the execution of Barry, and was almost fooled that he did until I remembered my cardinal rule of television: no one is really dead until you see the body (and even in some cases that still does not stick), so I figured that was someone else under the hood. But if you are not going to hang Barry, why leave him out in the middle of the desert to die? Meh.
You can download Tyrant on iTunes.

Aquarius: Another week without the howling hot chick with the bad American accent? Meh. But again the most fascinating part of the show this week was something that did not happen on screen as the show did not get a "Next Time" segment instead airing a promo for I Can Do That making me wonder if they are going to pull the show. Though Hannibal did get a Next Time package which ended with the announcer saying, "after an all new episode of Aquarius." Plus my TV Guide listing does still list an all new episode next week. It would be interesting if they actually pull the show the week the streaming and On Demand full season episode were supposed to expire. Of course that would not have been the weirdest thing NBC has ever done.
You can download the full season (just the televised version as of now) of Aquarius on iTunes.

Hannibal: It is official, the show is much better as a procedural with weird cases every week instead of a stow hunt for Hannibal. At least it looks like the whole gang will be back together next week.
You can download Hannibal on iTunes.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Around the Tubes: 6/19/15

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 Brain Games, First People, Bitten, Salvage Dawgs, The Bomb, Silicon Valley, Love at First Kiss, Penny Dreadful, Steampunk'd, Hellevator, Hey Kids, Let's Eat, Keep the Change, and The Way.

- All new episodes of National Geographic Channel’s (NGC’s) Emmy-nominated series Brain Games return Sunday, June 28 (9:00 – 11:00 p.m. ET/PT) and Monday, June 29 (9:00 – 10:00 p.m. ET/PT) during a two-night premiere event. Kicking off the summer and just before the July 4 weekend, host, futurist and “Shots of Awe” creator Jason Silva hits the streets of New York and Las Vegas with new, captivating social experiments that reveal mysteries of the human mind.

- This five-part series First People shows migration of our ancient ancestors and how homo sapiens became the dominant species on each of five continents, beginning with “Americas” at 9pm ET, followed by “Africa” at 10:00 (check local listings). Archaeological finds combine with cutting-edge DNA science to tell stories of how early humans met, mated, and fought for their lives.

- In 2014, Syfy introduced genre audiences to Elena Michaels (Laura Vandervoort, Smallville, Ted), the world's only female werewolf, in Bitten, a steamy, emotionally charged supernatural series based on the novels by New York Times best-selling author, Kelley Armstrong. Now, this July, Entertainment One conjures up Bitten: The Complete Second Season in a loaded 3-disc DVD set, featuring all ten thrilling, unedited episodes, along with a collection of howlingly good bonus features.

- The hit DIY Network TV Show Salvage Dawgs just began airing its fourth season and just got renewed for a fifth season. Salvage Dawgs chronicles the adventures and creativity of Black Dog Architectural Salvage, a prominent architectural salvage warehouse and retail outlet located in Roanoke, Virginia. With a mission to reclaim, renew and redefine architectural salvage for a sustainable future, they specialize in saving such elements from the landfill. Humorous, family-friendly banter, a suspenseful approach to presenting the salvage process and useful information about how to reuse the historic items they find has resonated will with audiences nationwide.

- PBS’ new special The Bomb tells the story of the most powerful and destructive device ever invented. Premiering on PBS Tuesday, July 28, 2015 at 8:00 (check local listings) in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the detonation of the atomic bomb, the show highlights how humans harnessed this incredible power and what challenges we have faced living with it for 70 years. The Bomb features newly restored footage of nuclear weaponry, some of which has been declassified only recently by the Department of Defense.

- HBO’s Silicon Valley has teamed up with Bitmoji, the popular emoji app that everyone loves, to create a special edition theme pack celebrating the show’s finale this Sunday. Released today, the six new Bitmojis bring the socially awkward world of Pied Piper to your fingertips featuring infamous Erlich expressions including “Trending Up” and “Time for a Vision Quest.”

- VH1 switches up the rules (and order) of dating with the network’s newest series, Love At First Kiss. The eight-episode series, from The Bachelor creator Mike Fleiss and Warner Horizon Television, is slated to premiere in Fall 2015 and will bring together two strangers, both single and looking for love, who use just a kiss as their initial greeting and first and only impression.

- Showtime has renewed the critically-acclaimed, BAFTA Award-winning drama series Penny Dreadful for a third season, it was announced today by David Nevins, President, Showtime Networks Inc. Created, written and executive produced by three-time Oscar® nominee John Logan, Penny Dreadful stars Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton and Eva Green. A co-production with Sky Atlantic, Penny Dreadful will once again shoot on location in Dublin, Ireland for a nine episode order to debut in 2016. The second season of Penny Dreadful, currently airing on Sundays at 10:00 on Showtime, will air its season finale on Sunday, July 5.

- GSN, the leader in game shows and competitive entertainment, announced today that it has started production on a new original skill-based competition series, Steampunk’d. Hosted by Jeannie Mai (“The Real”), the show seeks to find the most talented and versatile Steampunk designers in the country. Inspired by the Victorian era, Steampunk is a retro-futuristic design movement seen in everything from fashion to technology to design. In Steampunk’d, 10 contestants (also known as “Makers”) will be challenged to marry objects from the past and present in order to create impressive futuristic designs. Dramatic reveals each week will build to a grand finale of a fully realized Steampunk’d manor and the winner will take home a $100,000 grand prize. Currently shooting in Los Angeles, the eight-episode series is scheduled to air later this summer (exact date TBD.)

- GSN, the leader in game shows and competitive entertainment, announced today that it has greenlit eight episodes of a new horror-themed game show, Hellevator. The terrifying new show from Blumhouse, the team that brought the world the Paranormal Activity, Insidious, Sinister, and The Purge franchises, dares contestants to survive a series of challenges from the depths of an abandoned warehouse. The new series is expected to premiere later this year.

- The award winning PBS series Hey Kids, Let’s Cook! is back for another summer marathon on Create TV on June 27 & 28, this time for season 3 of the series, which includes a visit to the White House featuring First Lady Michelle Obama and a very special surprise guest!

- Ready to bring music to life on your phone? NextRadio is a free smartphone app that connects you with local FM radio directly on your mobile device. Utilizing your phone’s built in FM receiver hardware with 3X better battery life and 10X less data usage, NextRadio won’t drain your data plan or battery! Combining FM radio broadcast with the internet, the app allows for a truly interactive and creative experience with album artwork, song details, station logos and program details. No longer limited to your car, NextRadio allows you to catch morning shows, talk radio, live DJ performances and music broadcasts from anywhere!

- Tangerine Entertainment is pleased to announce the June 18 world television premiere of Keep the Change on the nation’s largest public television station, NYC's THIRTEEN, airing at 10:30. This premiere coincides with the launch of their crowd funding campaign, which begins today with goals of expanding the short to a feature length film,

- Emmy® Award-winning actor Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad, Smashed, Big Love) has been cast as the lead male actor in the Hulu Original The Way (wt). Known for his role as Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad, Paul is the first three-time Emmy® Award-winner in the drama supporting actor category. Paul will also serve as a producer on the series and his production company Lucid Road Productions has made a first look deal with Universal Television.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

I Want My Music Television: 6/18/15

Biscuits - Kacey Musgraves

2013 was a great year for new music, Lorde, Haim, Chvrches, and Daughter all put out very good debuts, but my favorite album by a new album was Same Trailer, Different Park by Kacey Musgraves (it came in second on my list of the 25 Best Albums of 2013). So her follow was one of my most anticipated albums of 2015. Except it became a little less anticipated when I heard the first single Biscuits which sounds exactly like Follow Your Arrow off the first album both musically and lyrically ("Mind your own biscuits and life will be gravy" is literally a left over line from Follow Your Arrow). I began to fear a Mumford and Sons situation where the second album ends up sounding like B-sides leftover from a stellar first album (Family Is Family which was released last week did not quash those fears). But I will say the music video for Biscuits is more entertaining than that of Follow Your Arrow although thanks to the bouncing biscuit, I learned that the first line of the chorus is "Hoe your own row" and not, "Hold your own rope" like I originally thought.

Coffee - Miguel

Ever since the turn of the century, RnB music has gotten worse and worse. And with the lack of good RnB meant the lack of good baby making music. Really there has not been many reasons to update the Baby Making Playlist since Babyface sank into obscurity. And then two years ago Miguel came along and lit the bedroom flames again with songs like Adorn and the kind of date-rapey How Many Drinks. I have high hopes for his follow up and though Coffee may not be as smooth as Adorn, it will certainly worth an add to the Baby Making Playlist.

Love 3X - ZZ Ward

I kind of wanted to like ZZ Ward's album but it was trying a little hard to be important but just failed despite have a couple good, but no great songs. That first album had a post Adele-bluesy feel to it, but judging by the first single from her sophomore album, she is going for more of a pop sound with this faux-Jamaican, cheesy fun ditty. It is definitely catchier than anything on that first album, but I still think Put the Gun Down is still a better song overall. But the music video is a little weird because for some reason ZZ has decided to look like Ashlee Simpson circa her new nose phase. At least that silly hat work better with the shorter hair.

Songs I Can't Listen To - Neon Trees

The latest Neon Trees is about songs someone can no longer listen to after a break up. Funny, I sort of get more obsessed with those songs afterwards.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Previewing Proof and Rizzoli and Isles: Season Six

Jennifer Beals on Proof

The truth is out there. But what if the truth was not the existence of aliens but the proof of an afterlife. And Scully was a practicing medical doctor who, like every doctor in the post-House world, would be considered a horrible person if it were not for the whole saving lives thing. And Mulder was some rich amalgamation of of Steve Jobs and Richard Branson. Except he is too rich go out into the field and send an underling as a proxy so he is more like the Skinner and, um... okay, my The X-Files comparison to the new TNT drama Proof is starting to break down.

Proof stars Jennifer Beals (Flashdance) as the Sully stand in who is propositioned by Matthew Modine (Jobs) to determine what happens after we die after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and cannot wait a couple months to learn what happens first hand. And they say money is wasted on the rich. Beals is chosen because her scientific mind and her own near death experience (she is a horrible person but she will go to Haiti after the Earthquake or almost drown why aiding tsunami victims).

If there is a Smoking Man of the series it is Callum Blue (Dead Like Me), a supposed physic medium and best selling author. He is probably the most interesting character on the show. Either him or Beals daughter who has taken to pushing mean girls into lockers to cope with her dead brother and pending divorce (he is not so coincidentally works at the same hospital as Beals) and reminds me as a more dramatic version of Jane Levy on Suburgatory who herself was just Emma Stone adjacent.

So the series features Beals and her team (Modine's underling and an African intern played by Justified's Jean Baptiste) go on the look for X-Files type cases dealing with death including a girl who died and came back to life with drawings of dead relatives she had never met, a jealous ex-wife, and an Iraqi War vet who has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder... from a past life who participated in the Korean War. Proof feels like an X-Files episode that is being stretched into a full full season and makes the mistake many professional dramas do these days and thinks we actually want to see what goes on when they go home (dear television writers: we don't) which would be an alright concept if the X Files was not returning this winter. And if I am only going to watch one second rate X-Files this year, it is going to be the reboot.

Proof airs Tuesdays at 10:00 on TNT.

It seems odd that Rizzoli and Isles would start off their new season with an officer involved shooting, in a subway platform of all places, considering what has been going on in the real world over the last couple month. But at least the suspect is white (and since it was done by one of the main castmembers probably actually justified even if the perp's gun disappears after the shooting). On a lighter note, Dr. Isles is getting a new assistant medical examiner who may be as eccentric as Maura. There is an even lighter note next week when Boston's finest investigate a murder at a bass fishing tournament which also features a new suitor for Jane.

Rizzoli and Isles airs Tuesdays at 9:00 on TNT.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Previewing Clipped

The cast of Clipped

We are living in the age of the comeback, groups ranging from Jodeci to the Afghan Whigs have come back after a decade long hiatus. Those the musical landscape is littered with comebacks, actors never really have comebacks because with the advent of cable and now the internet, there are countless hours to be filled. So actor never really go away, they are just relegated to channels you did not even now where on your cable package. Seriously, turn on the Hallmark or its Movie channel, you will undoubtedly see an actor you have not seen in five to ten years that you forgot you liked in a movie you will not be able to watch for more than five minutes (oh hey there Lyla Garrity and Earl Hickey).

So you may not have seen George Wendt since Cheers went off the air, but don't call Clipped his comeback, George's been here for year. Okay, Norm on a TBS show is not like Al Bundy on Modern Family but it is a step up from the ABC Family Christmas movies he has been in lately. And sure Al Bundy may be on a show that has won five straight Best Comedy Emmy's, but Norm is on a show where he makes out with Carl Winslow. Seriously.

Yeah The Big Bang Theory and the previously mentioned Modern Family are doing fine, but television comedies audience are becoming more and more fractured with niche type rating. I think it has been five years since an NBC comedy has gotten more than two season and shows airing after The Big Bang Theory and The Voice, the two highest rates shows on television routinely get axed because of pitiful retention rates. As we move into the nicheification of comedy, TBS has weirdly gone into a retro direction green lighting laugh-track heavy show multi-camera shows that feel like their are from the eighties even though none of these shows get more than three seasons (there only interesting programs are when they play with the format like with Glory Daze but that only got one season and King of the Nerds).

Clipped is another workplace comedy taking place at a barber chop populated by six high school friends (and Wendt) in Boston complete with poor Masshole accents. Thankfully Ashley Tisdale (Scary Movie 5) does not even try. Tensions start off the first episode when the owner decides he has to fire someone because of Obamacare premiums and makes his employees decide which one gets the boot. Though it was unclear how up to this point he was able to employ five barbers and an receptions to work at the same time in a shady part of Boston. The plot plays out exactly how you would expect.

Worst of all is the characters are all kind of boring. Two of the character's main attribute is they are hot (and of course they are destined to be together though things will keep them apart for a season or two). There is the necrotic one but he is not necrotic enough t. The overly bubbly receptionist. The douchebag boss. The only interesting character is the Jewish black girl ("Dr. Dreidel" is the funniest joke in the Pilot, possibly the only funny joke). Like TBS's previous sitcoms, Clipped my get a second season, but I would be surprised if it gets to a third.

Clipped airs Tuesdays at 10:00 on TBS. You can download the first episode of Clipped for free on iTunes.

Pilot - Clipped

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Previewing Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos

Pink flamingos are always the highlight of any of the nature shows that populate the weekly specials that have popped up on the television over the the past decade so it is not surprising that DisneyNature would give them their own film (spoiler alert: it turns out they are not pink by birth but their pink cue comes from staining their feathers). Tonight is the premiere of The Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos at 8:00 on Nat Geo Wild. The documentary give you the lifespan of the bird, from the courtship to the laying of the egg, to learning to fly and the hazards a young flamingo has to get through to make it to adulthood. A warning to those with small children, there are graphic death scenes. But for those with children already familiar with the circle of life, Crimson Wing: Mystery of the Flamingos makes for a great family movie. Check out the trailer from the teatrical relerase of the film below: