Saturday, April 23, 2016

Previewing Jack of the Red Hearts

Lifetime has gotten a much deserved reputation for cheesy, ripped from the headlines movies where you laugh along with the movie. But recently has been buying movies to air (and maybe more importantly to add to their new subscription Lifetime Movie Club) that are actually making the rounds at movie festivals and are usually the types of movies that end up on one of the premium channels that do not even air in HD . Last year Stockholm, Pennsylvania, starring future Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan, even nabbed a pair of Critics’ Choice TV Awards. Sure these movies still have very Lifetime Movies type themes, Stockholm, Pennsylvania was about a kidnapped child reuniting with a her family seventeen years later, they just do not have the cheesy connotation that made for Lifetime Movies tend to have.

The latest Lifetime acquisition, Jack of the Red Hearts was named Bentonville's 2015 Grand Jury Film Festival Award Winner but still has a theme familiar to Lifetime viewers. AnnaSophia Robb (Soul Surfer) plays a girl who bounced around foster care, now eighteen has to find a way to stay connected to her sister who is still in the system. This means taking out her nose ring, cutting out the streaks in her hair and getting a job. But that is not easy for a juvenile delinquent so she assumes the identity of a care taker unaware it is taking care of an autistic eleven year old.

Though pretty paint by numbers once you know the concept, of course the fake caregiver learns as much from the autistic girl as she I supposed to teach, but the movie is still very heartwarming with even some lighter moments sprinkled throughout despite the heavy subject matter, which one character desires as being co-workers in a mental hospital. It helps that the performances are strong all around. Robb is more believeable as the tender caregiver than the street smart hoodlum but the move really belongs to Taylor Richardson as the autistic Glory and the decision to shoot some scenes through her eyes to give the audience a small sample of what it looks like to be an autistic child.

Jack of the Red Hearts premieres tonight at 8:00 on Lifetime.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Around the Tubes: 4/22/16

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 Prince, Catching the Sun, Wrecked, Genealogy Roadshow, Angie Tribeca, Ernie Ball: The Pursuit of Tone "Mike Ness', All Access: Quest For The Stanley Cup, Genius be Stephen Hawking, Penny Dreadful, Brian Lee, The Queen at 90, Kansas, and Guerrilla.

- VH1 announced yesterday the on-air plans to pay tribute to the late mega-star, Prince. Beginning yesterday at 5:30 PM ET, Prince’s iconic movie, Purple Rain, will kick of a weekend long marathon. Throughout the following days, VH1’s Sway will host news updates with artists’ memories and fan reactions.
VH1 Programming Schedule:

Friday, April 22:
12:00 PM ET/PT – “Purple Rain”
10:30P PM ET/PT – “Purple Rain”

Saturday, April 23:
9:00 AM ET/PT– “Purple Rain”
4:30 PM ET/PT – 7:00 PM – “Purple Rain”

Sunday, April 24:
1 PM ET/PT – “Purple Rain”
9PM ET/PT – “Purple Rain”

- As the solar industry nears the remarkable milestone next month of 1 million U.S. homes with solar panels, the acclaimed new documentary Catching the Sun from Executive Producer Leonardo DiCaprio will debut on Netflix in all territories this Friday, April 22 (Earth Day). Trailer:

- TBS, a division of Turner, has set the premiere date for Wrecked, the network's new ensemble comedy about a group of strangers stranded on a deserted island following a plane crash. The latest in TBS's growing slate of daring new comedies, Wrecked is set to take off Tuesday, June 14, at 10:00) with back-to-back episodes.

- From possible links to the accused in the Salem Witch Trials to heroes of the Wild West, PBS’ Genealogy Roadshow uncovers more family secrets in the series’ third season, which premieres Tuesday, May 17, 2016, at 8:00 and airs Tuesdays through June 28 (check local listings). Part detective story, part emotional journey, Genealogy Roadshow combines history and science to uncover fascinating stories of diverse Americans this season in and around Albuquerque, Miami, Houston, Boston, Providence and Los Angeles. Each story links to the larger regional (and often, national) history, to become part of America’s rich cultural tapestry. See a season three clip here.

- After putting murderous ventriloquists, bakers and painters behind bars in its first amazing season, TBS's Angie Tribeca is ready to untangle all new webs of deceit in the gripping second season. Rashida Jones, Hayes MacArthur, Jere Burns, Deon Cole, Andrée Vermeulen and Jagger the German Shepherd will be back when the powerful police drama returns Monday, June 6, exclusively on TBS, a division of Turner.

- Tune in to AT&T AUDIENCE Network for: Ernie Ball: The Pursuit of Tone "Mike Ness' on Friday, April 22 at 8:00 (DIRECTV Ch 239/U-verse Ch 1114). Watch as renowned guitarist, singer-songwriter and producer Mike Ness sits down for the new documentary series. In the candid interview, Ness touches on a wide range of topics from how he found his "groove" to rebelling through the music of his band, Social Distortion. The interview digs deep into Ness' songwriting process.

- Showtime Sports continues its commitment to real-time, behind-the-scenes documentary series with unprecedented access to the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs in All Access: Quest For The Stanley Cup. The docu-series will be the first of its kind to nationally televise the championship of a major North American sport as it unfolds. Premiering Friday, May 20 at 9:00 on Showtime, weekly episodes chronicle the Eastern and Western Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Final as the top-four NHL® teams battle for the chance to hoist the Stanley Cup®, one of the oldest and most iconic trophies in sports.

- PBS President and CEO Paula A. Kerger announced in January 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 be Stephen Hawking, from production company Bigger Bang, will be presented and narrated by renowned theoretical physicist Prof. Stephen Hawking (watch a preview here). 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. Wednesdays, May 18-June 1, 2016, 8:00-10:00, and internationally on National Geographic Channel.

- Showtime is kicking off the third season of its hit drama series, Penny Dreadful, which premieres on Sunday, May 1 at 10:00, with a fan-driven art competition. Starting today through Friday, May 13th, fans can submit their artwork to The Penny Dreadful Fan Art Competition on for the chance to win special prizes. One winner will take home the Grandeur Prize, which includes $1,000 and the opportunity to transform their creation into an official poster, product, or an upcoming Penny Dreadful comic book. On Sunday, June 19th, Showtime will announce the Grandeur Prize Winner during the final two episodes of the third season, which will air back-to-back starting at 9 p.m. ET/PT. SHOWTIME will showcase submitted fan artwork in the Penny Dreadful gallery at

- American genre songwriter Brian Lee has teamed up with XFINITYSessions and is releasing his concert "Sessions at Willow Grove" on Earth Day 2016. The concert will be available through XFINITY on Demand starting April 22nd, 2016 and running through June 20th, 2016. The on Demand program is exclusively available through XFINITY and will be seen in over 24 million homes in the United States.

- Smithsonian Channel is celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday with a two-hour landmark program. For the last year Smithsonian Channel was granted unprecedented access to Her Majesty and the Royal Family’s lives at Buckingham Palace and across the United Kingdom and overseas. The Queen at 90, premiering Sunday, May 15 at 8:00 on Smithsonian Channel, includes individual contributions from many key figures in her life, including Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, The Duke of York, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, The Countess of Wessex and Peter Phillips.

- America's preeminent progressive rock band KANSAS will be touring select cities this fall celebrating the 40th Anniversary of their breakthrough album Leftoverture. To celebrate, for the first time in history, the band will be performing the album in its entirety. The tour will showcase two hours of classic KANSAS music including hit songs, deep cuts, and new songs from their soon to be released album, The Prelude Implicit. Tickets and KANSAS VIP Packages for most dates go on sale to the general public Friday, April 22, 2016. Ticket information can be found at

- Academy Award-winner John Ridley (American Crime, 12 Years a Slave) will write, direct and executive produce Guerrilla, a new six-part limited series set to air on SHOWTIME and Sky Atlantic, that centers on a couple whose passion propels them into making the leap from political activism to radical militancy. Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild® Award winner Idris Elba (Luther, Beasts of No Nation) will co-star and serve as an executive producer through his Green Door Pictures. Ridley will write the majority of the episodes and will direct the first two episodes.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Previewing Earth Day 2016

Earth Day is this weekend and Nat Geo Wild is celebrating with a bunch of new premieres. First up is Mission Critical: Orangutan on the Edge. My first takeaway from the special is that I apparently have been mispronouncing the name of the species my whole life. I have been pronouncing the last syllable “tang” as in the fake orange juice powder drink. But the orangutan photographer in the special pronounces it like the last syllable in “Benetton.” But even he might be wrong because the narrator pronounces it “tan” as in the color. Looking at how it is spelled, I am beginning to think the narrator may be the right person of the three of us.

Being an episode of Mission Critical, you can tell that the orangutan (whose direct translation in “person of the forest”) population is dwindling and this episode takes us to Borneo, one of only two places on the planet where orangutans are indigenous to (neighboring island Sumatra being the other). And like many endangered species stories in recent history, the orangutan’s home is being shrunk thanks to deforestation so farmers can grow crops. Most of the special follows a new mother, an orangutan that the photographer has been following since she was just a baby orangutan herself. Unfortunately as the story of the shrinking habitat is not sad enough, this particular story also has a heartbreaking ending.

Full Earth Day (Friday) Schedule at a Glance:
6:30/5:30c: Wild to Inspire *PREMIERE*
7/6c: Cougars Undercover
8/7c: Mission Critical: Leopards at the Door
9/8c: Mission Critical: Orangutan on the Edge *PREMIERE*
10/9c: War Elephants

Also premiering on Nat Geo Wild is a new season of Unlikely Animal Friends. On the premiere you will meet a tiger and lioness; a human and an elephant with an amputated leg; a goat / antelope type creature that bonds with a dog who takes care of abandoned offspring at the Cincinnati Zoo; a tree kangaroo and a human, a cat and a rabbit; and a cat and a pig. Also this season you will see a goat that’s best friends with a pig; a dog that loves riding on the back of a miniature horse; a woman who helped save an Alaskan bald eagle and found it a prosthetic beak; a playful ferret and dog; a former military working dog and his retired Marine; and a duck that’s bonded with two cats! These stories profile the most unique, most surprising, and most loving animal friendships. Two dogs that love a raccoon; a dedicated caretaker who outfitted a miniature horse with a prosthetic leg; a German shepherd that became the surrogate mom to a baby fox; a woman who bonded with a bat; a cat that nurses sick and injured cats and dogs; and a camel that buddied up with a golden retriever. The world’s smallest stallion and his best buddy, a dog; two rhinos that are guarded by a sheep; a duck that improved a boy’s health; a golden retriever/chow mix that was rescued from Hurricane Katrina and is now an animal shelter’s “nanny” to kittens; a pig and his pooch; and a goat that cheers up patients in care facilities. A “nanny cat” that comforts animals at an animal shelter; two pygmy goats and their friend the Chihuahua; a woman who nursed an injured raccoon back to health; a Rhodesian ridgeback that helps raise a cheetah; an emu that’s the “surrogate sibling” to a boy; and a dog and a bunny that are inseparable buddies. A dairy goat that nursed a motherless Clydesdale foal; a green-cheeked conure that’s best friends with a much larger dog; a woman and her mischievously fun donkey; a husky that raised a kitten; a woman who’s gone above and beyond for a disabled cat; and a border collie that’s bonded with a sheep.

Unlikely Animal Friends airs Saturdays at 8:00 on Nat Geo Wild.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I Want My Music Television: 4/19/16

In Bloom - Sturgill Simpson

In my never-ending search for new music I go through Spotify’s Ne Music Friday playlist they update ever week with, appropriately, new singles and songs off of new albums. I usually get through each two hour playlist in about a half an hour, basically skipping all the horribly bland EDM songs that seems to just blend into each other anyway. This week was one of the rare times where I had to stop and go, what the frack is this? I did not give it much thought at first, the song sounded like another country singer who wants to be a soul singer which is apparently a thing these days for whatever reason. But then the dude starts singing, “He’s the one that likes all the pretty song.” I know that line. Is Sturgill Simpson really turning a Nirvana song into a slow jam by way of country music? Apparently yes. Sturgill Simpson even threw in some Stax type horns in for good measure. This song may very well be the first song ever to make my lists of Best and Worst songs of the year.

Yellow Eyes – Rayland Baxter

Sometimes I find new songs on the Spotify playlist, and sometime I find songs listening to my only library. I am not entirely sure when I downloaded this song by Rayland Baxter but it recently popped up while I was listening to my library on shuffle and was glad I did. It also bizarrely sound like it was influences by folk and RnB songs.

Chronic - Phoebe Ryan

I am all for a transformation storyline, but Phoebe Ryan’s band actually seem goofier after their transformation. And I kind of like her better with the glasses and afro puffs.

Motel – Meg Myers

Meg Myers has yet to release a song that I would say is great but for some reason I cannot take my eyes off her whenever I click on a new music video. It is a shame she was not born earlier because she may have been much bigger if she came around during the alternative boon in the nineties at a time when MTV still showed music videos.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 4/17/16

The Girlfriend Experience: Awe, free preview weekends, three days when I plop myself on the couch and am reminded why I do not watch many movies anymore because there are not that many being made. Except when I went to check out Starz free preview last weekend they had taken all but one movie off their On Demand channel. It is one thing to waste an entire weekend watching crappy movies On Demand, but I am not sitting around waiting for them to start (well, except Ant-Man so I am now caught up on Marvel movies… which will last less than a month).

But while Starz took off all their movies from On Demand to keep people like me from exploiting the free weekend, they did upload the entire first season of The Girlfriend Experience the day it premiere. I was not expecting much since the movie was horrible. Yet is was surprisingly compelling and actually the prostitution part was the least interesting as the lead character as an intern stumbling on some shady dealing at the law firm she is at was much more fascinating. The show kind of reminded me of last year’s best new show Mr. Robot in the show is very cold, you could sub in the shady law firm with Evil Corp. Both the leads sever mental issues but as introverted as Elliot is, Christine is that much more an extrovert. And where Elliot had friends, family, a therapist, and some drugs to keep him grounded, Christine lives in a world where being an extrovert is encouraged and even rewarded.

Unfortunately after six and a half hours on the couch Sunday, the show ended with a huge thud. I would even say it was the worst season finale of a great first season of a show since Lost (if you saw the entire first season too, insert your own, both seasons ended with the camera panning into a deep dark hole here). Really the season finale was basically everything that was wrong with the movie. I do not know where the show goes in season, but if the season finale is any indication, I was a lot less interested had they ended the season an episode earlier. Granted I probably will not see it until the nest Starz free weekend, and that is only if they do not take the season off On Demand.

House of Lies: Oh Veronica Mars, you had to know Vinnie Van Lowe would do something sleazy. But you had to know, just like every other time the group gets split up, they would end up back all together, I am just a little surprised it happened as early as the second episode.

Fear the Walking Dead: Could they have come up with a more boring season premiere? It is becoming pretty clear why the flagship show flash forward a couple months and went straight into the middle of the zombie apocalypse.
You can download Fear the Walking Dead on iTunes.

Billions: At the start of the season, Showtime, of all the networks, had to know they could not keep Sargent Brody on the show too long. The season had to end with him get arrested. They just could not do a cat and mouse game for multiple season. Maybe season two is the trial, but there had to be some payoff. Yet here we are at the end of the season and the biggest thing that happened in the season finale was Wendy quitting (and getting a very nice severance package). What is worse it seemed like the writers had this big plan to end the season with a big show down between Axe and Chuck (okay the Axe tearing up Axe Capital and then “going deeper” was pretty cool) but we already had that scene in the season premiere and again in the middle of the season and really all I came away from that scene is, goodness both of these people are really horrible people who deserve to lose.

Quantico: So the big twist at the end was Shelby was driving the van. Meh, it seemed pretty obvious she was doing this against her will so it was not as if the big twist was she was the one behind the phone call.
You can download Quantico on iTunes.

Supergirl: This is the second time the show ended an episode with Supergirl charging an antagonist. Not cool. Also not cool was having Martian Manhunter show up in the Next Time On promo even though I never thought he was actually dead. I do think he is playing possum and this was his and Alex’s plan all along to make Non think she was a mindless drone. Also not cool, Superman as a mindless drone so he cannot help his cousin. Seriously, having him off the planet presumably helping the Green Lantern Corp. (though I doubt he will ever hear that term on the show) was good enough, having him join the mindless drones way off in the distance was really cheesy. Really my big takeaway from the episode was Maxwell Lord calling the president “she.” I guess it should not be that surprising that there was not a president Lex Luther in this universe. I wonder if we will get to meet her, if it is someone from the comics, or it was some cheap, hey a woman can be president Hollywood ploy.
You can download Supergirl on iTunes.

Gotham: I thought Penquin killing the dog was going to be the most despicable thing he did this week but feeding his step-brother and sister to his step-mother… that is some Eric Cartman level evil right there.
You can download Gotham on iTunes.

The Voice: During my last Power Rankings I mentioned hoe diverse the top twenty was, but for some inexplicable reason, all four Coach’s Comeback were boring white dude and of course the bored housewives ate that up and two got voted through making half of America’s Saves white males. I looked back and in the Live Playoff seasons, white guys have made up at least half of America’s saves five of seven seasons (interesting enough, not one white guy was voted through by America in season four). I do not understand why the producers are letting bored housewives to run the show into the ground the way they did America Idol and their obsession with WGWG over there. It was pretty appropriate that The Voice hit a series low in the ratings for the results show. Count me as one of the many they have lost for the season because I have no interest in another boring white dude dominated season.

Lucifer: Well that was an interesting twist that Lucifer can only be hurt when the lady cop is around. So what exactly is her deal? We already know the Jedi mind tricks thing does not work on him and now she can hurt him. Was she sent, or blessed, by God?
You can download Lucifer on iTunes.

Blindspot: Oh Chrissy Seaver, your boyfriend dies going after a clue on his own, why are you doing the same? And if you are going to have Chrissy talking to people in her head, at lead make her Mr. Robot level paranoid about it.
You can download Blindspot on iTunes.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: I had to laugh when the guy Daisy was hunting down commented on her partner’s “boy band hair.” Well that was until we actually got a good look at the guy and he looked even more like a male model. And that is pretty cheap to offer a trade and then renig. I actually want to know what his power is now.
You can download Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.

The Path: I have a long standing rule to never believe someone is dead until you see the body (and even then still be suspicious), but I was pretty confident that Lyla Garrity was dead at the end of the last episode. Apparently not and not only that the Kool-Aide is strong because not only did she not call the police when she went to the hospital, she went even deeper down the rabbit hole and now is taking a bigger opposition within the cult out west. As much as I enjoyed Hannibal, I thought its cancelation was probably a good thing for Hugh Dancy’s mental health, but his new role is pretty dark too. That one scene in the bedroom was almost as disturbing as anything he did on Hannibal. And I wonder if 7R is just an excuse to torture Eddie. Then after Mary’s story, I wonder if FBI is more reluctant to take her back to her father.
You can stream The Path on Hulu.

Survivor: Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty II: In the two seasons they have done this gimmick, one running theme is that everyone on the Brains tribe just completely overthinks everything. Aubry targeting the hot chick was just a really bad idea. If she is wrong, hot chick loyal, now you do not have the ability to split your votes, if you are right, the other alliance has two Idols to play with. Aubry lucked out that hot chick won Immunity, except Aubry came up with a dumber idea; vote out Debbie simply for telling hot chick the plan. Oh, and it gets dumberer, when the old dude tells Aubry how dumb the idea is and he will not vote for Debbie, Aubry tries to recruit hot chick, the person she originally wanted to get out, the person she was now targeting Debbie for because she did not trust with the vote splitting plan, to get the deciding vote. What?!?

That was just comically stupid. Now Aubry loses a loyal member of her alliance, is stuck with a potential flipper in the hot chick, the douchebag alliance still has two Idols, and now you do not have enough people to split the vote. Had Aubry just stuck with the vote splitting, best case scenario, they pick right, one of the douchebags go home; worst case scenario, both Idols get played, they chose the wrong two people to place votes on, and body builder goes home, but both Idols are at of play. Of course it seems like Aubry does not know what exactly the SuperIdol does so she may not realize that whoever they split their votes for could Voltron the two Idols after the votes are read, but still, even if that happens, both Idols are flushed and they are still down an alliance member.
You can download Survivor: Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty II on iTunes.

The Americans: Nina got the ax last week, will Martha be joining her soon? It does not seem like she can keep things up like they are for very much longer.
You can download The Americans on iTunes.

The Blacklist: Well that was unexpected. That is not to say that it crossed my mind that Lizzie faked her death to get away from Red. It was noticeable that she said something to extent that she thought that doctor was going to be the one on call. Did she make a plot with him? It would be weird to kill Lizzie now, basically killed by the guys who were being very careful not to harm her. And he never learned who hired them. Maybe it was Lizzie who hired them as part of the decoy.
You can download The Blacklist on iTunes.

Orphan Black: There is nothing more annoying on television these days than the proliferation of hashtags blanketing the screen. Just the show’s name is annoying enough, but it is worse when they try to create new hashtags for specific scenes. Though I kind of liked when Orphan Black let me know to the effect they were going #BackToTheBeginning because it may have taken longer for me to realize they started the season with a flashback. I wonder if we will get more Beth this season, since the flashback did not go all the way up to running into Sarah, I have a feeling we may see her again.
You can downloadvOrphan Black on iTunes.