Saturday, January 23, 2016

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 1/23/16

Galavant: I am no medical expert, but a sword through the heart really is not a good thing. I am not sure even any of Ricky Gervas's "medicine" can help him after that. But hey, the giants vs. dwarfs song may be the best on the show yet.
You can download Galavant on iTunes.

Mercy Street: Holy Ted Mosby sighting! I fully expected to never see him again unles someone rebooted The Surreal Life in ten to twenty years. In other weird casting choices, Bill Lumbergh in period garb, alrighty; and casting Ramona Flowers as some on described as indistinguishably plain. Mmmmm, not exactly how I would describe her.
You can download Mercy Street on iTunes.

Supergirl: The character has been so inconsequential it did not really don on me until this week that Wynn shared the same name as the Toyman. Which begs the question, why is the Toyman one of the leads on this show? Of all the great characters in the DC Universe, the Toyman? Are the owners of the characters so stingy that that is one of the few characters they would allow them to use since the property is so stretched between the movie universe and four other television shows and they do not want characters to overlap unless there is a forty year difference between them? Wynn has been pretty worthless up to this point and after this week you have to wonder if he is going to turn heel soon after one of the harshest relegation to the friend zone I have ever seen. He may rather be in the Phantom Zone after that. You really cannot go back to business as usual after that. If he does turn into his father, I just hope he does not turn into this show's Ward who the writer cannot bring themselves to write off the show.
You can download Supergirl on iTunes.

War and Peace: I do not need them to sound like Boris and Natasha, but those nondescript accents everyone is using are a bit distracting. There was actually a point when I started to think the show was taking place during the Civil War before realizing, oh yeah, this is supposedly taking place in Russia even though they sound like they are from either New or old York.
You can download War and Peace on iTunes.

Pretty Little Liars: I wondered why Aria went to Fitz and told him to not be her alibi as to where she was when CeCe was killed. It turn out she was protecting him. But wouldn't the smarter play be to say they were with each other until after 4:00 instead of saying we had no alibi. And deleting the security footage will likely come back to haunt them, nothing more suspicious than missing security footage right at the time of a murder.
You can download Pretty Little Liars on iTunes

Marvel's Agent Carter: What a great start of the episode with Peggy popping out of the bank vault. But it is weird that the pin Dotty wanted to steal looks very much like the Avengers logo. And I know that the character's in the show dodo not know they are in a comic book show, but c'mon, when someone gets frozen in ice during a heat wave, how is someone named "Miss Frost" not on the top of your suspect list? But still, the show is still great with so many great moment, my favorite probably being the clown gag.
You can download Marvel's Agent Carter on iTunes.

The Challenge: Battle of the Bloodlines: It is quite amazing that John's entire alliance get eliminated and yet he still finds a way to keep him and his cousin Vinny out of the pit. I was especially disappointed because this was the pit where CT was brought in as a hired gun and I was hoping for a repeat of the greatest moment in Challenge history where CT wore Johnny as a backpack, and instead of knocking over the trashcan, turned around and body slammed Johnny into it for good measure. But alas, this did not turn out to be a physical challenge, just a silly pole pulling challenge. As intimidating as CT is, I do think Abram's cousin got the shot straw having to go against Zach who even makes CT look mortal standing next to each other.
You can downloadThe Challenge: Battle of the Bloodlines on iTunes.

The Blacklist: So Lizzy is no longer allowed in the field? That cannot possibly last long. But mostly a meh episode because it seemed pretty obviously early on faux Red was hired by the real one.
You can download The Blacklist on iTunes.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Around the Tubes: 1/22/16

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 Triumph's Election Special 2016, The Open Mind, The Great Human Race, Challenger Disaster: Lost Tapes, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, Major League Legends, The Story of God with Morgan Freeman, Comedy Knockout, Genius by Stephan Hawking, A Year in Space, and Hamilton's America.

- Hulu will be the exclusive streaming home to Triumph's Election Special 2016, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog’s one-hour election extravaganza from Funny Or Die. The Hulu Special will become available to stream through Hulu’s No Commercials and Limited Commercial subscription plans beginning early February. In Triumph's Election Special 2016, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog hits the 2016 presidential campaign trail. Viewers will be taken from Iowa to New Hampshire to South Carolina in a tenacious news-gathering journey in the heat of the primary election season. Triumph has already visited a Democratic Debate, a Tea Party Convention, and followed a string of Ted Cruz bus appearances. In addition to crashing campaign events and mocking the press for their thirst for controversy, Triumph will take on hard-hitting issues of concern to voters on each side of the spectrum. “A quote? I don’t have time for this (expletive deleted),” said Triumph.

- This weekend airs a rare interview with The Co-Chairs on the Commission of Presidential Debates: Michael McCurry & Frank Fahrenkopf discuss the General Election 2016 debates on the upcoming episode of the PBS TV series The Open Mind, hosted by Alexander Heffner: The Open Mind series encourages thoughtful discourse and provocative exchanges -- hosting an eclectic mix of guests, from Independent senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to producer Jill Soloway to bestselling novelist Salman Rushdie and comedian J.B. Smoove.

- The human race is resilient. For millions of years, our species has fought for survival. We transformed rocks into tools, sticks into weapons and friction into fire — enabling us to spread across the continents and endure the planet’s harshest terrains. Now, National Geographic Channel (NGC) embarks on that journey across the globe in an epic new series, The Great Human Race, premiering in the U.S. on Monday, Feb. 1, at 10:00 and globally later this year in 171 countries and 44 languages.

- Certain images are permanently etched into our national memory, and the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion is one of them. On Jan. 28, 1986, with the eyes of the world watching, the space shuttle abruptly burst into flames during a live television broadcast. All seven crewmembers died, including a social studies teacher who was supposed to be the first American civilian in space. The heartbreaking tragedy instantly became a defining moment in American history. To mark the 30th anniversary of the Challenger disaster, the National Geographic Channel combed through long-forgotten news footage, radio reports, audio recordings and rarely seen NASA footage to retell the events leading up to, during and immediately after that fateful day. Challenger Disaster: Lost Tapes, premiering Monday, Jan. 25, at 9:00, takes viewers behind the scenes of this compelling and historic story in a way never before seen. Produced by the Peabody-award winning producers of “MLK: The Assassination Tapes,” the one-hour special includes no narration and no commentators, instead unfolding the story solely through the reports of journalists covering the story at the time, extensive audio and video recordings from NASA and archived interviews with the flight crew and others who were part of the one-of-a-kind mission.

- Spun off from Robert Rodriguez's cult classic film franchise, Season One of Miramax/El Rey Network's From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series centered on bank robber Seth Gecko (D.J. Cotrona) and his violent, unpredictable brother Richard "Richie" Gecko (Zane Holtz). On the lam to Mexico, they encountered former pastor Jacob Fuller (Robert Patrick) and his family, whom they took hostage in the family RV. Following an ill-advised detour to the culebra-infested Titty Twister, they were forced to fight until dawn to get out alive. Across 10 explosive, SFX-filled episodes in From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series - The Complete Season Two (Street Date: February 2, 2016), core relationships deepen and become more complicated as everyone tries to put their lives back on track after one very insane day. Santánico and Richie are now partners in crime, resembling a more modern version of Bonnie and Clyde; Seth and Kate are scraping by as small time criminals south of the border; and Freddie Gonzalez has an almost obsessive focus on protecting his wife and young daughter in the suburbs. Carlos Madrigal and Scott Fuller emerge from the Titty Twister, changed men. They will all come together once again - this time facing off against an even bigger threat.

- Smithsonian Channel and Major League Baseball have teamed up to tell the stories of four players who transcended the National Pastime and left legacies as true American icons: Hank Aaron, who surmounted racism in the Deep South and became baseball’s home run king; Babe Ruth, who emerged from a troubled youth to become America’s first superstar celebrity; Lou Gehrig, the embodiment of integrity who achieved immortality for his bravery in facing a terrible disease that now bears his name; and Ted Williams, who aspired to be the greatest hitter ever and inspired generations with his quest for perfection. Major League Legends will premiere over four consecutive Monday nights beginning February 29 at 8:00 with a special Black History Month presentation of Major League Legends: Hank Aaron.

- Who is God? Where did we come from? Why does evil happen? What happens when we die? Every human being on earth has asked themselves these questions at some point, and most likely each person has found a different answer. This spring, National Geographic Channel and Revelation Entertainment’s epic series The Story of God with Morgan Freeman, produced by Freeman, Lori McCreary and James Younger, will take viewers on a trip around the world to explore different cultures and religions on the ultimate quest to uncover the meaning of life, God and all these big questions in between. The Story of God with Morgan Freeman premieres Sunday, April 3 at 9:00 on the National Geographic Channel.

- truTV this week announced a greenlight for the new comedic competition series Comedy Knockout which pits comedians against each other in a series of fast paced challenges with the audience having sole discretion to decide who is the funniest person in the room. In each episode, host Damien Lemon (Guy Code) sends three comics into a battle of high stakes comedic gameplay. With points doled out based on the audience’s applause, it’s all about one-upmanship as competitors attempt to landj massive comedy blows and whip the rowdy crowd into a frenzy of raucous laughter. The whole time, the comedians throw roast-like, rapid-fire jabs at each other to knock their opponents off balance. Each show ends with one comedian crowned Champion, one eliminated, and one ultimately forced to face the crowd and apologize for going down in shameful defeat. Comedy Knockout will premiere on truTV in April 2016 with 10 half-hour episodes.

- PBS President and CEO Paula A. Kerger announced this week at the PBS portion of the Television Critics Association Press Tour that PBS, with National Geographic as its international broadcast partner, has commissioned a new six-part science series. Genius by Stephen Hawking, from production company Bigger Bang, will be presented and narrated by renowned theoretical physicist Prof. Stephen Hawking. In each episode, a different group of ordinary people will be challenged to think like the greatest scientific minds in history in order to solve some of humanity’s most enduring questions. GENIUS will air on PBS in the U.S. in 2016, and internationally on National Geographic Channel.

- President and CEO Paula A. Kerger announced this week at the Television Critics Association Press Tour that PBS has commissioned the two-part series A Year in Space, adapted from TIME’s original digital video series about astronaut Scott Kelly, whose current 12-month stay on the International Space Station (ISS) is testing human limits for space travel and laying the groundwork for a manned mission to Mars. The first installment of A Year in Space, which tracks Scott Kelly’s mission from training and launch, through his 12 months aboard the International Space Station, right up through his descent and landing is scheduled to air on PBS on Wednesday, March 2 from 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET (check local listings), timed within a day of Scott’s planned return to Earth. The second installment is scheduled to air in 2017.

- PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger announced today at the Television Critics Association Press Tour that it will air Hamilton's America, a feature film documentary providing intimate access to Lin-Manuel Miranda and his colleagues during the two years leading up to the Broadway opening of the musical Hamilton. A contemporary perspective of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s revolutionary musical based on the life of United States Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, Hamilton's America will come to Great Performances in the fall 2016, and will be a highlight of PBS’s Arts programming.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Winter 2016 Music Preview

2013 was dubbed the year of the comeback with Daft Punk, Nickel Creek, and Black Sabbath all releasing new albums after a lengthy hiatus, and in the latter case, an album with Ozzie Osbourne that no one thought would ever happen after almost four decades at odds. But reunion albums are now the norm with last year seeing decade long hatchets buried by Jodeci, Veruca Salt, and New Order except non of those really caught fire. Many suggest the uptick in reunions is the proliferation in festivals Stateside that are looking for big names to set themselves apart. Cochella just announced the reunion of the original Guns N' Roses after two decades of vitriol and LCD Soundsystem (which is not much of a reunion because it is just one dude who decided to "disband" just five years ago). Then usually an album comes so they have something to promote than just their catalog. So already this year we are getting comeback albums from Violent Femmes (15 years) and The English Beat (33 years). I have a feeling those will be more like last year's comeback albums and less Get Lucky. But those are really the only albums worth talking about that are coming out in the first quarter as all the big names are in the TBA section. But here are the few new albums to look out for over the next couple months (and though you may not have heard from Primal Scream since the nineties, I did not bring them up in the comeback album talk because they have both been constantly putting out albums this century).

January 1

Wildflower - Rachel Platten

January 8
Blackstar - David Bowie

January 15
Not To Disappear - Daughter
Sweven - Brooke Waggoner

January 22
New View - Eleanor Friedberger
Dystopia - Megadeth
Adore Life - Savages

January 29
This Is Acting - Sia
Have a Nice Day - Reagan James

February 5
Wonderful Crazy Night - Elton John
The Psychedelic Swamp - Dr. Dog
Ghosts of Highway 20 - Lucinda Williams

February 12
Swish - Kanye West
My Wild West - Lissie

February 19
Side Pony - Lake Street Dive
Painting With - Animal Collective
Need Your Light - Ra Ra Riot
Victorious - Wolfmother

February 26
Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin - Willie Nelson
I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it - The 1975
Keep It Together - Lily and Madeleine
For All Kings - Anthrax

March 4
We Can Do Anything - Violent Femmes
Full Circle - Loretta Lynn
iii - Miike Snow

March 11
ArrangingTime - Pete Yorn
Good Grief - Lucius
Painkillers - Brian Fallon

March 18
Chaosmosis - Primal Scream

April 1
Weezer (White Album) - Weezer
Changes - Charles Bradley
The Wilderness - Explosions In the Sky

April 15
This Path Tonight - Graham Nash

Moonlight - Ariana Grande
Boys Don't Cry - Frank Ocean
Anti - Rihanna
Mascochism - Sky Ferreira
RTJ3 - Run The Jewels
Detore - Cyndi Lauper
Meart + Beat - The Band Perry
Drogas - Lupe Fiasco
Skulls - Lupe Fiasco
Roy - Lupe Fiasco (which he claims to be his final album)
Shine - Wale
Here We Go Love - The English Beat
Anna Nalick
Bruno Mars
Charli XCX
Christina Aguilera
Ed Sheeran
The Killers
Kings of Leon
The Lumineers
My Morning Jacket
Nine Inch Nails
Pearl Jam
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Sleigh Bells
Vampire Weekend

And this could be the year we finally get Detox from Dr. Dre.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Previewing Billions

The first season of Homeland was one of the great season's in the history of television. Sure everyone knew it probably would have been better had they actually let Brody kill himself in the season finale, but it came back for the second season and continued to be great. Then about half way through the second season things started going downhill and the "they should have killed Brody long ago" chants started to get more fervent. Then the third season was dreadful and every time Brody showed up, you just could not help but wonder why is he still here. But at least he finally died at the end of that season.

So when Showtime announced Billions and Damien Lewis was listed in the cast you have to wonder why they were getting back into the Sergeant Brody business? Does he have pictures of Showtime executives? But anyway. On the show Lewis plays a hedge fund manager, but before you start thinking of The Wolf of Wall Street, he is is presented as a hedge fund manager with the heart of gold for giving out free tuition and is adored by the public since he was the lone partner of his firm not to die on 9/11.

Opposite him is Paul Giamatti (San Andreas) as the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, basically the guy who prosecutes all the insider trading that happens on Wall Street (basically Eliot Sptizer but more powerful). Okay, this is a show on premium cable so these heroic personas are just for show, they are both mostly horrible people. Giamatti is the kind of guy who enjoys being burned by cigarette butts that are cooled down by, um, you do not want to know. But he is right to go after Brody because he has some ill gotten gain and says things like, "Why have (expletive deleted) you money if you never say (expletive deleted) you?"

And of course there is a twist: Giamatti's wife, Maggie Siff (Sons of Anarchy) just so happens to be the in house "performance coach" (a nicer way to say shrink) for Brody's Axe Capital, a job she had before she even met him and makes a sizable more than he does. So a guy who prosecutes inside traders really cannot give his wife a heads up he is building a case against her boss. On the flip side, Brody is married to Malin Akerman (Watchmen) who is just as conniving as her husband.

The biggest problem with Billions (once you get past Brody's inclusion in the cast) is I have little understanding what goes on with these hedge fund guys and Wall Street in general. I have seen multiple movies and read plenty of articles on it but still come away confused. And I think I am not the only one which is why these people were able to sink our economy because no one but these hedge fund guys knew what was going on. Apparently the new movie The Big Short recruits celebrities like Margo Robbie in a bubble bath, to help explain what went on. What Billions really needs is Margo Robbie in a bubble bath. Granted everything could benefit from Margo Robbie in a bubble bath.

Earlier I questioned why Showtime would want to get back in the Sergeant Brody business, but not only that why would they bring him back in the role that probably has just a shelf life of one season? Doesn't Brody have to go to jail in the season finale? I am not sure if many people want to see a cat and mouse game between a hedge fund manager and district attorney for multiple season. Sure season two could be the trial but we still need to get to the end of season one first.

Billions airs Sundays at 10:00 on Showtime.