Friday, November 13, 2015

Around the Tubes: 11/13/15

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 FX(X) Winter Premieres, The Spymasters, Live from Lincoln Center, The Art of More, The Carol Burnett Show, Disneynature marathon, First You Dream − The Music of Kander and Ebb, Quiet Riot: Well Now You're Here, There's No Way Back, and Rebel Geeks.

- FX Networks has set the premiere dates for new and returning series on FX and FXX this winter, including the new comedy series Baskets (Thursday, January 21 at 10:00) starring Zach Galifianakis and the new limited series American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson (Tuesday, February 2 at 10:00), it was announced this week by Chuck Saftler, President of Program Strategy and COO, FX Networks. FXX will also welcome back It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Wednesday, January 6 at 10:00), the longest-running series in FX history, for Season 11, and Man Seeking Woman ((Wednesday, January 6 at 10:30) for Season 2. The Peabody Award-winning drama The Americans will return with its fourth season in March on FX.

- For the first time in history, all 12 living directors of the CIA will be interviewed in The Spymasters – CIA in the Crosshairs, a two-hour documentary premiering Saturday, November 28 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME across all platforms. Narrated by Emmy® and Tony® winner Mandy Patinkin (Homeland), the film offers a remarkable inside look into the spy agency’s controversial conduct in the war on terror – marked by the use of brutal interrogation techniques, secret prisons and lethal drone warfare. Written by Chris Whipple (The President’s Gatekeepers), The Spymasters is directed by Jules and Gédéon Naudet (the Emmy, Peabody® and DuPont® award-winning 9/11) in a joint SHOWTIME and CBS News production. Executive producers are Jules and Gédéon Naudet, Chris Whipple, Susan Zirinsky and David Hume Kennerly.

- The PBS Arts Fall Festival continues with Live from Lincoln Center – “Act One” on Friday, November 13, airing from 9:00 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. ET (check local listings). Few have captured the magic of the theatre better than Moss Hart, a poor kid from the Bronx who went on to become a lion of Broadway. The writer of classic comedies with George S. Kaufman including “You Can’t Take it With You” and “The Man Who Came To Dinner,” and the director of the original production of “My Fair Lady,” Moss’s memoir (“Act One”) has captivated theater lovers for over 50 years. In this Tony Award-nominated Best Play from Lincoln Center Theater, James Lapine has fittingly re-imagined this memoir for the stage, creating a world as vivid and transformative as the stage itself. “Act One” features a first-rate cast led by Tony Shalhoub, Andrea Martin and Santino Fontana.

- Sony’s Crackle officially has entered the original drama field with its first hourlong series, The Art Of More, starring Dennis Quaid. Christian Cooke (Magic City) has been cast as the co-lead opposite Quaid in the project, which has received a 10-episode straight-to-series order from the digital network. Kate Bosworth (Still Alice) co-stars.

- Time Life, creator and direct marketer of unique music and home entertainment products, today announces the launch of The Carol Burnett Show Official YouTube Channel. Burnett's beloved series officially comes to streaming video consumers as the Carol-approved, complete home for The Carol Burnett Show on YouTube. The channel will launch with more than twenty full-length sketches featuring the whole gang - Carol Burnett, Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, Vicki Lawrence, and Lyle Waggoner - in "Tudball & Wiggins," "The Family," "Carol and Sis" and "The Oldest Man," with hilarious crack-up moments throughout. Additionally, fans will be treated to celebrity interviews and more at Each week throughout the holiday season, Time Life will offer the gift of laughter with new full-length sketches and custom content posted on Carol's #FavoritesFridays.

- Nat Geo WILD’s Thanksgiving celebration is an epic lineup of animal adventures that will keep the whole family glued to the couch for 10 days straight. Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 26, kicks things off at 1/12c with a best of Disneynature daylong marathon, featuring heartwarming and inspiring films. Big Cat Week follows as the anchor event, featuring Cougars Undercover, a groundbreaking special that reveals the private life of a secret predator, premiering Friday, Nov. 27, at 9:00. The week also features three straight nights of Safari Live, beaming the wilds of Africa directly into your living room in real time, premiering Friday, Nov. 27, at 11:00. Wild Yellowstone, an award-winning two-hour spectacle, rounds out the WILD holiday with an innovative special that pushes the boundaries of wildlife filmmaking, offering audiences some of the park’s most spectacular views and intimate wildlife stories ever captured on film, premiering Sunday, Dec. 6, at 9:00.

- The PBS Arts Fall Festival continues with PBS’ First You Dream − The Music of Kander and Ebb, which airs Friday, November 20, 2015, at 9:00 p.m. ET (check local listings). The one-hour special, based on the musical revue conceived by stage director Eric Schaeffer and music director David Loud, features some of the greatest and best-known Broadway songs ever written. First You Dream features a stellar cast of Broadway veterans singing the duo’s songs, including Norm Lewis (Phantom of the Opera, Porgy & Bess, Les Miserables), Heidi Blickenstaff (The Little Mermaid, The Addams Family, Something Rotten), Kate Baldwin (Finian’s Rainbow, Big Fish, Thoroughly Modern Millie), Julia Murney (Crimes of the Heart, First Lady Suite, Evita), Matthew Scott (Sondheim on Sondheim, Jersey Boys, A Catered Affair) and James Clow (Peter Pan, Wonderful Town, Company, She Loves Me)

- Following its screening at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, Quiet Riot: Well Now You're Here, There's No Way Back, the year’s funniest heartbreaking rock documentary about the seminal heavy-metal band Quiet Riot, releases on DVD on Thursday, November 19 and contains over an hour of bonus features. The first 500 pre-orders of the award-winning documentary will receive an autographed copy signed by Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali and director Regina Russell. The film is also available via streaming, video-on-demand with an hour of bonus features, deleted scenes and extended interviews. For more information, and to see the trailer, visit

- Al Jazeera’s new seven-part documentary series Rebel Geeks, premiering 16th November at 2230GMT profiles those techies who are turning away from the corporate mainstream and using their skills to question surveillance, empower activists, and challenge existing power structures. With services like email and social media, Amazon and Apple Pay, health, diet and even sleep-tracking, technology is pushing ever deeper into modern lives. This is good, say Silicon Valley tech giants like Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook, for the more technology is embraced the more efficiency and personal empowerment it can deliver.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I Want My Music Television: Cheesy Pop Songs Edition

We may be living in the greatest era for cheesy entertainment since the heyday in the eighties. On television, Supergirl is pure cheesy fun and The Librarians is not far behind (and word on the street is they are rebooting the cheesy eighties classic Greatest American Hero). Then on the radio music is fun again. Here are four songs that I am not so secretly jamming out to in the shower.

Focus - Ariana Grande

Leading the new era of cheesiness is Ariana Grande. I know I should hate everything she does, but I cannot stop listening to her music (well that is until her duet partners start rapping, she has done some horrible collaborations). Sure her new single Focus is just a Problem retreat except instead of someone whispering the chorus there is some annoying fake Mystikal dude shouting it. But hey, there is no Iggy Azalea to completely ruin the song. Where the song may be lacking, the video is golden cheesy. There is maybe the least sensual lip licking ever filmed and whenever Ariana tries to dance it is never not entertaining.

Stand By You - Rachel Platten

Ariana Grande may had made a last second pitch, but the cheesiest great song of the year will likely go to Rachel Platten's Fight Song (of course it was used to perfection in the Supergirl trailer). The follow up may not be as great (it kind of rips of the stacatto piano notes in the chorus that Katy Perry's Roar ripped off from Sara Bareilles's Brave), but that does not mean I was not singing along by the second listen.

Your Type - Carly Rae Jepsen

When historians look back and try to figure out when pop music when from the annoying Katy Perry / Lady Gaga / Ke$ha era to the current annoyingly catchy era, most will probably point to Taylor Swift but I would argue it was the release of Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen. She followed that up with I Really Really Really Really Really Like You which was somehow more annoying and more cheesy than her first hit. But here is the thing, the rest of her new album is kind of, sort of, almost... not bad. And Your Type may be my favorite in a cheesy version of Chvrches kind of way. Just do not ask me what the weird trashy Cinderella music video is about.

Same Old Love - Selena Gomez

Back during the dark ages when Katy Perry was ruling the pop world, Selena Gomez was actually making some fun and cheesy pop-rock songs with her band The Scene. Last album she went solo and recorded a bunch of half baked Rihanna leftovers. Her new album was a little better, though the first single Good For You came across as an overly sexualized version of a Lorde song. The best song off the album is this one even if it songs like a Charli XCX leftover (because basically it is, Charli XCX wrote it). Still, I wished she would get back to her cheesy pop-rock roots.

Monday, November 09, 2015

The Voice Season Nine Knockout Round Power Rankings

Scooter Update: Like I wrote a couple posts ago, I wrote this whole post before learning of the Coaches Comeback twist. Since we no nothing (as I write this) other that four singers that did not win their Knockout Round or got Stolen I decided not to update what I had already written other than this addendum up front. Before we go to my Power Rankings I will say I hope the four that are given a reprieve are Andi & Alex, Ellie Lawrence, Sydney Rhame, and Krista Hughes (all of which would be in my top seven below). Now to what I wrote before learning anyone was coming back.

At the start of the Knockout Round, Pharrell said he was looking for "other" to fill his team. Yet now that the Knockouts are over, somehow he ended up with the most boring team. Instead of picking Amy, Siahna, or even country singer Morgan who would have been other to him, Pharrell ended up with two interchangeable RnB dudes, a bland pop-rocker with Madi being the only interesting person left on his team, but still not as interesting as Amy. Then for his Steal where he could have had unique talents like Andi and Alex, Ellie, Blind Joe, Koda, or even the blued hair country singer Summer who may not have been great but was at least interesting, he instead stole back the bland Riley who undoubtedly will be gone by Wednesday.

But I guess boring is better than bad which is what Gwen's team is and is one of the top five worst teams going into the Live Shows in the history of The Voice. Braiden Sunshine is the worst person to ever make the Live Show not named Nic Hawk. Her Steal of Viktor was just as uninspiring as Pharrell's Steal (sadly where the boring but hot chick will be booted Wednesday, the boring but hot dude will probnably still be around by Thanksgiving). Jeffry and Regina are just complete fodder but somehow either one of them or Braiden will have to make the Top 12. To think her team could have been Ellie, Koda, Korrin, stole Andi and Alex instead of Viktor, and stole Lyndsey Rhame instead Riley or Regina in the Battles, those five would have been one of the best teams in the history of The Voice, instead she has one of the worst.

I actually think there is a good chance Blake and Adam will have the top six singers this season. Seriously who on Gwen or Pharrell's teams are getting more votes than Jordan, Amy, Shelby, Barrett, Zach (who rivels Viktor in the model's looks department) and which country blonde chick makes it out of the Live Playoffs. Of course Adam will probably screw up in the Playoffs and saddle one of those front runners with the Preston Pohl Memorial for Worst Song Choice from a Coach. While Blake has yet to save a country singer (not counting the Swon Brother because he had nothing but country singers that season) so he may save Ivonne who seems like fodder. Will will have to wait until Wednesday to find out. Until then, here is my favorite singers coming out of the Knockout Round and shockingly for the first time in five seasons there are multiple singers I am actually rooting for.

1. Amy Vachal (Team Pharrell Adam): There are no five words scarier on The Voice then when Adam says "I know what to do (with that voice)." How many times has Adam said that only for the person he says that to goes home the very next round? I fear Amy is the prime candidate for the Preston Pohl Memorial. Watch Adam try to give Amy something mordern like Ariana Grande's Focus. I am seriously dreading what Adam will do with that voice.

2. Madi Davis (Team Pharrell): Poor Madi, she get montaged in the Battles beating out one of my favorite Blind Auditions Sydney, then she gives one of the best Knockout performances this season, except Adam paired her with the person who gave the best. And if Pharrell gave balladeer a dance version of a Joni Mitchell song a couple years ago, I am kind of worried about what Pharrell will be choosing for her too.

3. Morgan Frazier (Team Blake Pharrell Blake): First off I have to be pretentious music snob and point out Even if it Breaks Your Heart was originally done by (and better by) Will Hoge even though Morgan credited the song to the more popular version by the Eli Young Band. But anyway. Another female sang this song as her Blind Audition a couple seasons ago it is clear that the song starts out way too low for the female voice. But the song hits such a crescendo it all but makes up for the rough start. And Morgan added a layer of vulnerability that the other versions do not have, it is as if you can hear her heart break while singing, you just cannot teach that.

4. Korin Bukowski (Team Gwen): Wait, has that always been the daughter from Nashville this whole time? But anyway. Korin broke the Cardinal Rule of The Voice: If you are going to sing a song that has already been recently sung on the show you best be better or at the very least different. So after the shock of realizing that Korin and the daughter from Nashville are the same person, I spent the most of the time thinking Deanna Johnson did this song much better last season.

5. Barrett Baber (Team Blake): Colder Weather is one of my favorite country songs of the past decade but I was mostly bored by this performance. Barrett may have been the better singer, but I never was bored when Blind Joe was performing. Oh my, top five and I am already complaining, this may get ugly quick.

6. Shelby Brown (Team Adam): Shelby had one of the most buzzed about Blind Auditions (I just thought it was alright) and seems to be on a downward trajectory ever since and that is not the way you want to be headed going into the Live Shows. Much like Morgan, I think Shelby may want to go back to countrifying pop and rock songs.

7. Regina Love (Team Adam Gwen): She is good and all, but it is going to be hard for older RnB women on a show like this and she certainly is not good as Sisaundra. So she probably will not get America's vote and Gwen will undoubtedly save one of the boys instead (Ryan Sill: never forget).

8. Mark Hood (Team Pharrell): The great thing about Stand By Me is its simplicity, Mark kind of ruined it.

9. Evan McKeel (Team Pharrell): Last round I mentioned how the promos seem to position Evan as Pharrell's front runner but he still needed a breakout performance in the Knockout Round. It did not happen.

10. Ivonne Acero (Team Pharrell Blake): Sometimes the coaches care more about a story than actual talent (or the producers who are manipulating), but it is hard to think Ivonne was one of the five best singers Blake had this season.

11. Emily Ann Roberts (Team Blake): This was fine and all but I actually preferred Nadjah in their head to head match up.

12. Blaine Mitchell (Team BlakeAdam): Oh Adam, why did you dump the best selling act this season for a bland rocker?

13. Keith Semple (Team Adam): Speaking of bland rockers, he is just going to do the Terry McDerrmott playbook every week because I do not think he will go as far especially with Adam's dominant top three.

14. Riley Biederer (Team Pharrell Gwen Pharrell): Sure the Battle Round was not her choice, but she should really stay away from RnB because it just is not a good look for her. But I think at this point there really is not much she can do to advance.

15. Jordan Smith (Team Adam): There is one thing that promo monkeys do better than anything and that is beat something into the ground until you are completely sick of it. I heard Jordan screech "set firrrrrrrrrrrrrre toooooooooo the raaaaaaaaaain so many times; before. every. single. commercial. break. that by the time his Knockout was actually aired in its entirety I was out. I am sick of Jordan. They over promoted him in the Battle Rounds too. I am out. At this point I really hope he gets added to the Preston Pohl Memorial plaque.

16. Darius Scott (Team Pharrell): His vocal gymnastics got old real quick.

17. Viktor Király (Team Adam Gwen): Ugg, it is going to annoying when he continues to advance on his looks rather his talent.

18. Jeffery Austin (Team Gwen): The Voice started at the height of Adele and in those first couple season there was a steady stream of big voiced chicks trying to out-Adele Adele which was always a losing proposition with only one performance I actually liked (Mathai's Rumour Has It). Now that she is back I guess that is going ton start up again (I wish there was somewhere I could bet Hello will close out tonight's show), but how were there two guys who picked an Adele song before the album was even announced (all the pre-Live rounds were taped back in the summer). Neither of them make me update my list of Adele covers that do not suck massively.

19. Zach Seabaugh (Team Blake): How bad do you have to be to get the dreaded lone Knockout Round montage win?

20. Braiden Sunshine (Team Gwen): If he advances, I will riot.

Yeah I started complaining around the top five, but actually four singers I do not hate is rare in recent seasons and one on each team, now if only all of them make the Top 12. This is basically the last time teams matter as anyone can go home starting next week so here is a last look at how strong each team is based on my rankings.

Adam: 58
Blake: 57
Pharrell: 56
Gwen: 39

Wow, it is the tightest ever among the three boys, but Gwen on the other hand is kind of disastrous. Maybe she should not gone with the picking who she thinks is the cutest strategy (and yes, I do realize two of my top three are fairly attractive). But who cares what I think, here is how each artist charted on iTunes since the start of the Knockout Round.

1. Amy Vachal (31)
2. Jordan Smith (42)
3. Madi Davis (46)
4. Braiden Sunshine (54)
5. Korin Bukowski (72)
6. Viktor Kiraly (85)
7. Blaine Mitchell (91)
8. Jeffery Austin (105)
9. Keith Semple (106)

10. Andi and Alex and Chance Pena (125)
11. Evan McKeel (136)
12. Regina Love (154)
13. Barrett Baber (155)

14. Amy Vachal - Dream a Little Dream (158)
15. Ivonne Acero (162)
16. Emily Ann Roberts (174)
17. Riley Biederer (194)
18. Shelby Brown (195)
19. Morgan Frazier (204)

20. Ellie Lawrence - We Don't Have to Take Our Clothes Off (222)
21. Jordan Smith - Chandelier (235)
22. Darius Scott (282)
23. Mark Hood (303)
24. Zach Seabaugh (373)

25. Jordan Smith and Regina Love (443)
26. Andi and Alex - Thank You (503)
27. Barrett Baber and Dustin Christensen (509)
28. Amy Vachal and Jubal and Amanda (530)
29. Chase Kerby and Korin Bukowski (582)
30. Korin Bukowski - Cecilia and the Satellite (780)
31. Cassandra Robertson and Viktor Kiraly (978)
32. Celeste Betton and Mark Hood (1035)
33. Morgan Frazier - I Want You To Want Me (1302)
34. Blaine Mitchell and Blind Joe (1348)
35. Ellie Lawrence and Tim Atlas (1416)
36. Viktor Kiraly - What's Going On (1431)
37. Barrett Baber - Angel Eyes (1485)
38. Deanna Johnson - All I Want (1489)
39. Jeffery Austin - Lay Me Down (1495)

So Andi and Alex and Chance Pena, all three who were eliminated this round, still managed to chart higher over the past two weeks than over half, eleven, of the singers that are going to the Live Playoffs. Even worse, Ellie Lawrence's month and a half old Blind Audition song charted higher than three people who are advancing. That is never a good look even though it seems to happen every season. Also looking over this list you have to make Amy and Jordan as all three of there songs are still going strong, followed by Korin, Viktor, and Barrett who also saw all three of their song creep back on the list at some point over the past two weeks, even if barely. If you take each artist and average their highest peak in each round, here is how they stack up:

1. Jodan Smith (58.6)
2. Amy Vachal (82.3)
3. Barrett Baber (93.6)
4. Korin Bukowski (209)
5. Morgan Frazier (218.6)
6. Viktor Kiraly (260)
7. Blaine Mitchell (308.6)
8. Emily Ann Roberts (319.3)
9. Keith Semple (329.3)
10. Mark Hood (388.6)
11. Shelby Brown (433.3)
12. Zach Seabaugh (455.6)
13. Evan McKeel (463)
14. Ivonne Acero (479)
15. Madi Davis (549.6)
(the last four missed the top 1500 once and here is if they ranked the one that charted and use 1500 as the non chart-er)
16. Regina Love (584)
17. Braiden Sunshine (596.3)
18. Jeffery Austin (672.3)
19. Riley Biederer (730)
20. Darius Scott (1091.6)

It should be noted that those bottom three were all montaged once (Regina and Braiden's Blind Auditions did not chart despite being shown in full) but then again so were Madi and Zach but still managed to chart all three rounds. Also it looks like Shelby, Ivonne and Madi were really hurt by their poor song choices in the Battle Round, if you just take the average of the Blind Auditions and Knockout Round numbers, Shelby goes from eleventh to third, Madi goes from last among people who charted every round to sixth followed by Ivonne who jumps seven spots. It should also be noted that Amy, who had the highest charting Blind Audition and Knockout Round songs obviously would jump over Jordan on that list. Lets see if any of those four can overcome bad song selections if their coaches are picking in the Playoffs, personally I would not trust Adam at all. Here is how the teams stack up if you rank each singer based on the iTunes average:

Adam: 75
Blake: 63
Gwen: 44
Pharrell: 28

Oh Pharrell, you let go of the the second highest average in the Knockout Round and replaced her with the second worst. Oh yeah, you already had the worst on your team who you kept instead of the fifth best average. What exactly was this guy thinking? Every member of Team Adam is above every member of Team Pharrell. It may be time to bring back Cee-Lo. Now it is prediction time, here is how I predict what will happen on Wednesday before even one note is sung:

America Saves: Jordan, Amy
Coach Saves: Keith

America Saves: Barrett, Zach
Coach Saves: Morgan

America Saves: Viktor, Korin
Coach Saves: Braiden Jeffery

America Saves: Mark, Evan
Coach Saves: Madi

Finals: Barrett beats out Jordan and Morgan

Scooter Update: Okay the prediction above is kind of mute depending on who comes back. But really there are very few people that got sent home that I think even have a chance of making the Top 12. It seems obvious if they already got dumped by their coach, they will not you their Coach Save on them so they are going to need America's Save to do so. I do wonder if being the coach Comeback would help or hurt. They could get extra votes for being the underdogs or maybe some people just do not vote for them on principal thinking it is not "fair" to the top 20. Andi and Alex are the only ones that could challenge Jordan and Amy for Adam's spot, but I still think they would fall short. On Gwen I would replace Ellie for Korin (sadly Gwen will probably still save Braiden). I think Blind Joe could easily bumb Zach from the America's Save, maybe Krista with a showstopping performance. Pharrell is the trickiest, sure he has a weak team (look at those iTunes numbers above), but none of his also-rans look very strong (unless of course the coaches can poach other teams' losers). I like Lyndsey the most but I do not see her getting more votes than the RnB dudes or Evan. So in the end, I pretty much stand by my predictions above unless Gwen brings back Ellie (or Pharrell is allowed to poach Andi and Alex or one of Blake's country leftovers), while the other Coach Comebacks will be watching from their couch next week.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Previewing Agent X

When Democrat John Kerry was running for president it was rumored that his top choice for vice president under him was Republican John McCain. When asked about the possibility, McCain laughed it off by saying that the only job the VP has was to check on the health of the president every day. Funny but not entirely off because basically the only job the Vice President has is the President of the Senate where he breaks ties and is usually the one that is stuck going to weddings and funerals of foreign dignitaries. But being the tie breaking vote in the Senate rarely happens anymore and may never happen again thanks to the rise of the fillerbuster in recent years. Current Vice President Joe Biden has yet to break one tie yet. Granted Dick Cheney did get to cast eight votes which puts tied for eighth all time (keep in mind the Senate was split fifty-fifty his first two years in office), no VP since 1900 has had more (first Vice President John Adams broke the most ties at twenty-nine).

Since they really have nothing much other to do, besides check on the health of the president, who better to run an off the books clandestine operation? That is the premise behind Agent X. Sharon Stone plays the latest VP. It is unclear how exactly she got the job, it seems like the president has already been office so I am unsure if this is a Richard Nixon situation who picked a new Vice President when running for reelection, or maybe the last one died, or something else I missed entirely. On the first day of the job, she finds a secret passage in her new home that leads her to the real Constitution that has a fifth section of Article 2 not seen by the general public laying out the extra job by the Vice President. And wouldn't you know, the FBI director's daughter was just kidnapped and taken to the future spot of the new Russian embassy (which is still considered Russian soil even though the building is still under construction); a job perfect for Agent X.

The titular character is played by Jeff Hephner (Boss) who comes across like an Americanized version of James Bond. Gerald McRaney (Major Dad) is the Chief Steward of the Vice President's Residence who stewards Stone into her hidden duties. John Shea (The Trouble with Truth) is the one person in Stone's way to becoming the president and likes to be blissfully unaware of the Agent X program for plausible deniability. Third in line for the president is Mike Coulter (Jessica Jones) whom you will learn more about in the third episode. Jamey Sheridan (who was once a vice president on Homeland, but his secret was an easy to manipulate pace maker) plays the the FBI director who wants to know more about the mysterious man who may or may not have saved hid daughter in the first episode. James Earl Jones also pops up a couple times as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Homeland really set the tone for current governmental agency shows on television, which is to say dark and gritty and everything very high stakes. Agent X is slightly lighter though does not go as light as the National Treasure movies that also had our Founding Fathers hiding secrets from us. I actually wished this show would go a little more sillier (epecially considering it comes after The Librarians which knows how to have fun). And the show does seem to get darker as it goes along as most of the comic relief in the first two episodes comes from the hot Russian contortionist spy and the show get more serious after she rides off into the sunset (um, spoiler alert, the hot Russian contortionist spy does not die) hopefully to be seen again and soon as she is much more interesting than Agent X's ex-girlfriend who we meet in episode three.

Agent X airs Sundays at 9:00 on TNT.