Friday, September 25, 2015

Around the Tubes: 9/25/15

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 American Crime Story, The Goldbergs, Breakthrough, Air Supply, The Cringe, and Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll.

- The trial of the century. As you’ve never see it before. American Crime Story: The People v. OJ Simpson starring John Travolta, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Sarah Paulson premieres February on FX.

- This week, it was announced that Hulu has acquired the exclusive subscription video on-demand rights to The Goldbergs. Through the new deal with Sony Pictures Television, Hulu will:
- Become the exclusive streaming home to all existing episodes of the series
- Be the only streaming service to offer current season episodes of The Goldbergs the day after they air on ABC
All episodes of the series are now available to stream for Hulu subscribers for $7.99 per month with limited commercials, and $11.99 per month with no commercials.

- In an unprecedented partnership, National Geographic Channel and GE present the new series Breakthrough, produced by Imagine Entertainment and Asylum Entertainment. Breakthrough kicks off on Sunday, Nov. 1, at 9:00. Executive produced by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Steven Michaels, Jonathan Koch, Mark Dowley and Kurt Sayenga, Breakthrough is a revolutionary new series about scientific explorers from leading universities and institutions and how their cutting-edge innovations and advancements will change our lives in the immediate future and beyond. The series intends to bring to life the stories, people and technology behind these breakthroughs, and show how they are changing our world. Each hourlong episode is directed by a Hollywood visionary — Angela Bassett, Peter Berg, Paul Giamatti, Akiva Goldsman, Ron Howard and Brett Ratner.

- To paraphrase the titles of Air Supply's ( latest singles, fans continue to want and adore them! The hitmaking duo of Graham Russell and Russell Hitchcock is still going strong on a year-long tour celebrating their 40th Anniversary, but their 2015 is far more than an exercise in nostalgia. Building on their legacy with inspiring new chart success, their latest single "I Want You" hits #35 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart for the week ending September 26, 2015.

- Fresh off an enormously successful summer outing, New York City rockers The Cringe have announced they will rejoin Mötley Crüe on "The Final Tour" this fall, alongside very special guest Alice Cooper. Once again reprising their support slot, the band recently wrapped 25+ dates on "The Final Tour" earlier this summer and previously joined the tour during the fall/winter run in 2014. The Cringe will kick off the 11 date tour run in support of their new studio album Blind Spot to be released October 16 on Listen Records. Recently, the band premiered the electrifying debut single "Anything You Say" exclusively at and performed a stripped down live version of the track at Guitar World Acoustic Nation. Fans pre-ordering the new album at iTunes will receive an instant download of the song. For up-to-date information, please visit The Cringe online:

- ong live Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll! FX Networks has ordered a second season of the FX comedy Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll created by and starring Denis Leary, it was announced this week by Eric Schrier and Nick Grad, Presidents of Original Programming, FX Networks and FX Productions. The 10-episode second season of Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll will return in 2016 with stars Leary, Elizabeth Gillies, John Corbett, Elaine Hendrix, Robert Kelly and John Ales. In addition to creating Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll, Leary also serves as a writer, composer and a director, as well as an Executive Producer along with Jim Serpico. Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll is produced by FX Productions and Fox 21 Television Studios.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Fall 2015 Music Preview

It is a sad, sad day here on the 9th Green. For years I have been ending my seasonal music preview list by saying, "this may be the quarter that Dr. Dre actually drops Detox." No Dre did not actually let us hear Detox but announced the album was actually dead and released a completely different album Compton. Hurmph. I started out mocking Chinese Democracy and then moved to Detox when Alx rose finally stopped tinkering on his album. For years I planned if Detox actually got released I would move on to D’Angelo's long simmering album, but he had to go and surprise and release his album last Christmas. So I am left with nothing to mock at the end of this column because nothing really sticks out as being long delayed, at least not with a title (wow, has it really been seven years since Chinese Democracy). But then again just because Dr. Dre says Detox is dead does not mean we will never get to hear those songs. Just last year Bob Dylan did release The Basement Tapes almost fifty years later so maybe Detox does get released eventually, it may just take another thirty-five years.

All year I have talked about how bleak the releases are and assumed everyone was holding the biggest releases until fall. Well it is fall, and wow, the albums with release dates are still kind of unimpressive. The only two album that I am actually anticipating to come out before Christmas drop this week. First up is Ryan Adams track for track remake of Taylor Swift's 1989 in the style of The Smiths which I am more excited for than I was Taylor's originals which came out yesterday and it is awesome. Also out this week but on the new traditional Friday is the sophomore album by Chvrches which of the three prereleased tracks sounds as good as their debut.

This is not to say there will not be any big albums out this fall. Kanye West, Adele, and Rihanna have been teasing fans all year while Coldplay and Ariana Grande have names to for their next albums but now release dates yet. I have been theorizing it for the last two years but I think it is official that the Beyonce approach of just airdropping your album instead of a three month launch is now the new normal which is probably better for the consumer because I contend few things live up to the hype so just give it to us as soon as you can, but unfortunately it will make my music previews as about as boring as below. To pre-order the album, click its name to be taken to Amazon; click on the artist's name to go to iTunes.

September 25
1989 - Ryan Adams
Every Open Eye - Chvrches
Dodge and Burn - The Dead Weather
Music Complete - New Order
Cass County - Don Henley
Servant of Love - Patty Griffin
Once Again It's Christmas - Kenny Rogers
Better Nature - Silversun Pickups
b'lieve i'm goin down... - Kurt Vile
Phantasmagoric - Grace and Tony

October 2
Show Me Your Fangs - Matt Nathanson
Unbreakable - Janet Jackson
See What You Started By Continuing - Collective Soul
All Across This Land - Blitzen Trapper
Zipper Down - Eagles of Death Metal
This Is War - Emily Kinney

October 9
Revival - Selena Gomez
Florasongs EP - The Decemberists
If I Should Go Before You - City and Colour
Live In No Particular Order: 2009 - 2014 - Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros

October 16
Fading Frontier - Deerhunter
Get Up - Get Up - Bryan Adams
Today Is Christmas - LeAnn Rimes

October 23
Storyteller - Carrie Underwood
Another Country - Rod Stewart
Liberman - Vanessa Carlton
That Would Be Me - Harry Connick, Jr.

October 30
Wiped Out! - The Neighbourhood
It's A Holiday Soul Party - Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings
So Familiar - Steve Martin and Edie Brickell
Def Leppard - Def Leppard

November 7
7 - Seal

November 13
Heart Blanche - CeeLo Green
First Comes The Night - Chris Isaak

The Last Zulu - Q-Tip
Swish - Kanye West
Moonlight - Ariana Grande
A Head Full of Dreams - Coldplay
Return of the Tender Love - Babyface
Better - Brian McKnight
The Band Perry
Hailee Steinfeld
Kings of Leon
Meat Loaf

And of course maybe this is the quarter when Dr. Dre finally releases Detox.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Previewing Blindspot

NBC like to takes other people's ideas and then beat them into the ground. Last decade after the success of Lost NBC started airing similar sci-fi shows like Surface and The Event (The Event was another Earth!!!!!!!!! which they did not bother to reveal until the end of the season which was probably why it was also the end of the series too). This decade the network has been trying to chase political thrillers in the mold of Homeland with shows like Crisis and American Odyssey. They actually found success when they took that Homeland format and made it into a procedural with The Blacklist. Since The Blacklist has been its lone scripted success in recent years it is no surprise NBC is trying the political thriller in a procedural again this season with the premiere of Blindspot which also features an FBI agent assigned to babysit an unconventional asset.

Of course the concept of Blindspot predates even The Blacklist because when that unconventional asset the FBI is working with is covered with tattoos it is hard to to think of Memento, the pre-Batman Christopher Nolan movie about a person who tattoos clues to his wife's murder because he cannot remember what happened as the same event left him without any short term memory. When I first saw the Blindspot trailer I thought brilliant, why hasn't anyone made a televised version of Memento before, it is a perfect format for the small screen using each episode to figure out what another tattoo means.

Really, the only way to make it more perfect is to flip the lead character's gender and cast Jaimie Alexander (Marvel's Lady Sif) as the tattooed amnesiac. But unlike Memento Jaimie's Jane Doe has no memory at all to who she is, she does retain basic human skills so she still knows how to walk, eat, and speak English or whatever language her former self knows (her knowledge of Chinese comes in handy in a scene that invokes another NBC show Chuck; and just like that titular character of that show, Jane Doe is surprised to learn she also knows kung-fu).

On Blindspot, the FBI brought in to babysit Jane Joe is Sullivan Stapleton (300: Rise of an Empire) who is stuck with her basically because his name is one of the tattoos that appears on her body. It is actually, as far as I can tell, the largest on on the canvas. Rounding out the team assigned to Jane Doe include Marianne Jean-Baptiiste (Robocop) as an assistant director of the FBI and Ashley Johnson (yes, that is Chrissy Seaver all grown up) as the head of the forensic science division tasked to figure out what all the tattoos mean. There are a couple more of team members but none of them made much of an impression in the first episode.

There in lies the biggest problem with the Blindspot premiere, I came away not particularly caring about anyone on the show. That kind of includes Jaimie Alexander who spends most of the episode playing a scared little girl. Obviously what she goes through is traumatic, but we do learn that Jane Doe used to be a Navy Seal so it would not be out of the question that she could quickly adapt to her new situations without moping around. It also does not help that multiple times in the first episode the FBI tells Jane Doe to stay out of harms way only for her to demand to go with them, which of course she ends up winning the argument.

Going even deeper into the cast, you can also see clear parallels to The Blacklist, the white bread FBI agent who has to do everything by the book, the stoic FBI chief, the kind of interesting but not utilized enough teckie. But the one thing Blindspot is severely missing is a Reddington type character to spice things up. Sure James Spader can sometime chew too much of the scenery but he makes sure his show is never boring. Sure Alexander can be that for her show but she needs to do much less moping and more beating dudes up. The best part of the premiere is when she realizes she can fight and just goes to town on a couple of bad guys.

Coming out of Upfronts, Blindspot was number one on my most anticipated list and though the premiere did not meet my hefty expectations, there was enough in the first episode to made me think that with some small tweaks (most importantly find some comic relief) that it can get there sometime before the Christmas break. There did do a good job setting up the overall mystery of just who is Jane Doe. There is a shadowy figure who pops up a couple times in the episode as well as a flashback the ends the episode that reveals a big chunk of the mystery so this will not be The Event when you have to wait until the end of the season for any clues to what The Event (two Earths!!!!!!!!!) is going to be. Of course I knew I was going to be watching every episode the moment the cast Lady Sif in a Memento ripoff.

Blindspot airs Mondays at 10:00 on NBC. You will be able to download Blindspot on iTunes.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Five Most (and Least) Anticipated Question for 2015-16 Television

Tomorrow is the official start of Fall television with all four networks premiering new seasons as well as three new shows including Blindspot which tops my most anticipated list. Of course with a new season comes new questions and these are the five I am most interested in:

1. What exactly is the saturation point for comic book shows? Three years ago Arrow was the lone live action funny book on network television (and that is only if you consider The CW a network). Marvel got into the game two years with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Things exploded last year, both of those shows got a spin-off with The Flash and Agent Carter respectively along with Gotham, iZombie, and the only one that did not make it to a second season Constantine (but as a consolation prize the titular character is showing up on Arrow this season). That does not even include the five Marvel Shows that are planned to air on Netflix (Daredevil being the only one that has been released; Jessica Jones is getting released later this year). The networks have adding a couple more this season with yet another Arrow spinoff Legends of Tomorrow and not officially a spin-off but share the same showrunner so a crossover is possible Supergirl. Then on Fox they are adapting Lucifer coming mid-season.

On cable The Walking Dead has remained the lone comic adaptation despite being the biggest show on all television (okay technically that is a graphic novel if you want to split hairs). But that is about to change too and that is not even count The Walking Dead spin-off that is not based on a print version. AMC is developing a show based on the DC property Preacher (ironically starring two Marvel vets Dominic Cooper, the younger Howard Stark and Raina from SHIELD) while TNT is getting into the game with a live action Teen Titans. While over at Syfy they have two funny books in development including a Superman prequil set on Krypton (which will likely have nothing to do with the CBS show just to make things confusing). And in addition to the Netflix series, Playstation's first scripted show Powers was already renewed for a second season. So that is ten comic book adaptations this season on television, six on streaming sites with three coming soon to cable. Even if you only watch comic books adaptations, that is a lot of television to watch.

2. What happened to Gemma Simmons? Speaking of comic books, the biggest cliff hanger to come from one last season was what became of our favorite biochem scientist? A lot happened in the season finale of Agents of SHIELD, Coulson had his hand cut off, the Inhumans mist thing got turned into fish oil pills, Ward was recruiting his own supervillian team, The Avengers came in and saved the day (okay the last one did not, and will never happen), but I want to know is what happened to Gemma after getting sucked into Kree obelisk? I doubt she is gone from the show and snce the obelisk is supposed to destroy Inhumans I am guessing she come out with a new superpower and possibly a new desire to kill Skye Daisy. Of course being a Joss Whedon show, thoughts of Fred who had her body taken over by a God has also crossed my mind. Whatever it is, I am sure the scientist we knew and loved will be much different this season.

3. Will any new show be as good as Mr. Robot? The surprise hit of the summer was easily Mr. Robot who just owned the conversation on the internet. I certainly did not see it coming as I initally had no interest in another attempt at television for Christian Slater until I learned Dalia Royce was also part of the cast. Can anything premiering this fall garner as much attention? My guess is no. Blindspot will probably be the best new show by how long can a procedural that rips off Memento stay in the conversation. Maybe the best at reaching Mr. Robot type hype on network television could be Quantico which looks like it could at its best be Homeland season four. Granted worst case scenario the show devolves into Homeland season three.

4. How will Continuum end? Continuum was has been one of the quietly good shows on television for the past three years and the best time traveling show since Quantum Leap. Of course it got canceled but not before airing six final fourth season episodes (two of which already aired). Evil minions from a dark future timeline showed up in the season premiere and reeked havoc on Keira. Will she finally be able to back to her time? Is there a time for her to go back to now? It will be a fun ride to see if she does.

5. Will Ash vs. The Evil Dead be any good?: We have been inundated with Heroes Reborn promos for the last couple month leading to most people who watch the original wondering, why? The show was widely reviled with most people saying it went off the rails in the second season (I contend the first season pretty much sucked too aside from the one episode Bryan Fuller scripted). On the flip side there has been little press for a reboot that people have been hankering for decades. I remember seeing Army of Darkness in high school thinking it was the greatest thing ever (I eventually went back to watch the two horror Evil Dead movies but much preferred the campiness of the third movie). Pretty much ever since there have been talks of a fourth movie in the Evil Dead saga. The closest came about a decade ago when there was talks of an Ash vs. Freddy vs. Jason movie after the first two horror legends faced off (there have been a couple of comics and video games). There was also hope when the reboot of Evil Dead (which featured Bruce Campbell in a post credits teaser) was released two years ago with a sequel that would see the two franchises combining with both Campbell and Tessa Altman starring. Instead at Comic Con last year Sam Raimi announced there would be a television show to continue the original Evil Dead to air on Starz best known for... um, well, their aired Party Down foe two seasons a couple years ago. Will it be any good? Well it is written by the Raimi brothers (Sam is directing the first episode) and Bruce is staring. As of there there seems to be no ties to the reboot as there has been no announcement of Tessa Altman's involvement, instead Xena the Warrior Princess is in the cast. Since I do not have Starz I can hear what other people say about it and can temper my expectation whenever I get around to seeing it. But as of now I am hopeful. It certainly has to be better than the the Heroes reboot or the televised versions of Limitless or Minority Report which both look dreadful (though I am a bit hopeful the former is successful enough for someone to greenlight a televised Lucy show as that movie was significantly better than Limitless; Tyra Collett as Lucy).

As the great philosopher Butt-Head once pondered, “If it weren’t for things that sucked, how would we know if something was awesome,” so here are the five least anticipated questions of the new television season.

1. Who is going to win the worst reality show this season? No I am not talking about Dancing with the Has Beens and Never Weres or even the final season of American Karaoke but by far the worst reality show on television this season is the Republican Primaries. Four years ago we had the clown car of candidates where nut jobs like Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann each got a week a top the polls before everyone realized just how crazy they were and just ended up nomination Mitt Romney, the human robot. Things were supposed to be different this time around after the Republican conducted an autopsy realizing they need to do a better job courting minorities and women after losing to Barack Obama again. Then Donald Trump got into the race by calling Mexican immigrants rapists and mad sexist statements about Megyn Kelly after she asked if he was sexist... and then went to the top of the Republican polls. He called war hero John McCain a loser for being captured... and rose higher. Most recently he insulted the lone woman in the race, Carly Fioarino's looks in a Rolling Stone interview... and still leads. NBC had and do the biggest troll in history by replacing him on The Celebrity Apprentice with an immigrant who fathered an anchor baby.

Or course this is not to say go ahead and pencil in a Democrat for 2016 because their nomination process is in as much chaos, it is just a lot less entertaining. Seriously, is there a more boring scandal than Hilary Clinton's e-mails? It makes Chris Christie's bridge problems look like a scene out of Wolf of Wall Street in comparison. Unfortunately the only other Democrat who decided to run (so far) is Bernie Sanders who just come across as your crazy Jewish uncle. He is just basically the socialist Ron Paul. How depressing we have to root for Joe Biden to get into the race as the best way to avoid a President Trump or Clinton Part Deux and as we learned from Bush, the sequel is always significantly worse than the original.

2. What happened to Becca in the Elevator at the End of Hindsight? After failing at her second chance in the nineties, actually making a bigger mess of it then she did the first time around, Becca rushed to the elevator that flashed her back to the last great decade, Numb starts playing again... and fade to black. Surprisingly VH1 renewed the lowly rated show thus making wonder where the show would go in the second season. Would it go back to present day? Go back even further? Flash forward to the 00's? Then out of nowhere, late last month VH1 sent out a press release saying "nevermind, Hindsight is canceled." What? If they wanted to cancel it outright after the first season, fine, whatever, but you cannot renew it and then renig later. Renewed shows have gotten shortened before and Southland got canned after getting renewed but that was instantly picked up by TNT, this is the first time I remember a renewed show getting canceled outright before (greenlighted shows get canned before making it to air occasionally, most recently the NBC Coach reboot). And to add insult to injury, days after canceling Hindsight, VH1 announced Black Ink Crew: Chicago, maybe the most befuddling decision by a network since The CW dumped Veronica Mars only to announce Farmer Takes a Wife shortly after.

3. Who is dumb enough to hire Carrie Mathison? I know this is a television show and it would be a boring show if Carrie was forced to get a job at the local mall because she could not get a job in defense again but no one has failed upward more than Carrie, not even Lane Kiffin or Ben Silverman. But on the new season of Homeland, Carrie finds herself with a cushy private contractors job in Germany for some millionaire.

4. Will Community be back for season seven? It was only five short years ago since DirecTV started the modern trend of saving lowly rated but beloved franchises. The trend continues this fall after Hulu saved The Mindy Project. But the big news last year was Yahoo Screen was going to get into the scripted forum by saving Community even though it lost yet another castmember when Shirley went to hang out with Matthew Perry (not to mention the Pierce replacement left to costar in the Breaking Bad prequil). New episodes debuted last spring, I watched the first couple the weekend they came out but eventually forgot about it and still have two or three to watch. Yahoo Screen had said they have interest in doing another season (their two other two original comedies have yet to set the internet aflame even though the one with the AT&T girl, Other Space, is kind of, almost watchable) except star Joel McHale has pretty much said they do not have enough money to pay the cast what they expect now that their contracts expire. I am fine with this because I really could not get up watching the show on the interest, seriously Yahoo Screen, if you want to be taken seriously, at least make a Playstation app so I can watch this on my television. Really, just make a crappy Community movie and be done with it.

Did Deacon survive his surgery? The big Nashville cliffhanger left with Deacon's life hanging in the balance in the balance. Did he survive? Of course he did.

Here is everything I plan to watch this fall and when they premiere (and one bonus question: why is there so much television on Mondays and Wednesdays and basically nothing on Thursday?):

8:00 - The Big Bang Theory (September 21)
8:00 - Supergirl (premieres at 8:30 on October 26, 8:00 the following week)
8:00 - Gotham (September 21, Fox)
8:00 - Switched at Birth (already started, ABC Family)
8:00 - The Voice (September 21, NBC)
10:00 - Blindspot (September 21, NBC)
10:00 - Castle (September 21, ABC)
10:00 - Legends (November 2, TNT)

8:00 - The Muppets (September 22, ABC)
9:00 - Marvel's Agents of SHIELD (September 29, ABC)
10:00 - Wicked City (October 27, ABC)

8:00 - Survivor: Second Chances (September 23, CBS)
8:00 - The Middle (September 23, ABC)
8:30 - The Goldbergs (September 23, ABC)
9:00 - Modern Family (September 23, ABC)
9:30 - Blask'ish (September 23, ABC)
10:00 - Nashville (September 23, ABC)
10:00 - South Park (September 16, Comedy Central)
10:30 - You're the Worst (September 9, FXX)

9:00 - The Blacklist (October 1, NBC)

8:00 - Last Man Standing (September 25, ABC)
9:00 - Grimm (October 30, NBC)
11:00 - Continuum (Already Bac, Syfy)

8:00 - Once Upon a Time (September 27, ABC)
8:00 - The Librarians (November 1, TNT)
9:00 - Homeland (October 4, Showtime)
9:00 - The Walking Dead (October 11, AMC)
10:00 - Quantico (September 27, ABC)
10:00 - The Affair (October 4, Showtime)