Friday, May 20, 2016

Around the Tubes: 5/20/16

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 Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER, The Return, Marvin Gaye, Squeeze, Richard Marx and Friends, Missing Dial, ALL ACCESS: Quest For The Stanley Cup, Carol Burnett's Favorite Sketches, House of Lies, and Will.

- Whether it’s emergency surgery on a squirrel monkey or X-rays on a skunk, there is no such thing as a boring day at Dr. Susan Kelleher’s exotic animal ER. Each episode, rock-star-vet Dr. K and her talented team brace for injured animals that run, fly, crawl or slither through the door. Dr. K’s Exotic Animal ER premieres Saturday, May 21, 9:00 on Nat Geo WILD. This season, Dr. K has her hands full with more incredible creatures with critical cases. From an albino python with a respiratory illness to a marmoset plagued by a mystery ailment, it’s a roller-coaster ride for the staff, loving pet owners and animals. Still, no matter whether the patient is cute and cuddly or big and deadly, Dr. K understands these pets are her clients’ beloved family members. With boundless compassion for animals, Dr. K and her team perform heroic feats to save their patients and help their families.

- In 2012, California amended its “Three Strikes” law—one of the harshest criminal sentencing policies in the country. The passage of Prop. 36 marked the first time in U.S. history that citizens voted to shorten sentences of those currently incarcerated. Within days, the reintegration of thousands of “lifers” was underway. The Return examines this unprecedented reform through the eyes of those on the front lines—prisoners suddenly freed, families turned upside down, reentry providers helping navigate complex transitions and attorneys and judges wrestling with an untested law. At a moment of reckoning on mass incarceration, what can California’s experiment teach the nation? The Return the remarkable and timely new documentary film from three-time Emmy nominated filmmakers Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway that will have its national television debut on the PBS series POV this Monday, May 23 at 10:00. (Check local listings.)​ The trailer is available here.

- It’s been 45 years since the release of Marvin Gaye’s momentous album, What’s Going On, May 21, 1971, on the Motown subsidiary Tamla Records. To mark the occasion, Universal Music Enterprises is preparing a series of special vinyl releases, including a seven-LP box set, Volume 3: 1971-1981, which features on 180gm vinyl Gaye’s final seven studio albums for the label, on May 27, a follow-up to the first two installments of the collection. The albums included are: What’s Going On (1971), Trouble Man (1972), Let’s Get It On (1973), Diana & Marvin (1973), I Want You (1976), the double-LP Here, My Dear (1978) and In Our Lifetime (1981). In addition, four of the albums from the box set - Let’s Get It On, Diana & Marvin, Here, My Dear and In Our Lifetime – will be made individually for the first time in several years. Also releasing for this anniversary is a special 10” vinyl EP, available June 24, featuring the original 7” mono single versions of “What’s Going On” and “God Is Love” on one side, which are different to the later album versions, and two “Motown: Re-imagined” versions of the title song on the other side: a duet version with new Motown artist BJ the Chicago Kid and an unplugged “Coffeehouse Mix,” both using only the original instrumentation. This unique “What’s Going On” EP will also be released digitally.

- Squeeze, the seminal British pop act whose songs have tenderly and wittily chronicled life and love stretching across four decades, are launching a U.S. tour, their first as a band in four years. Squeeze will be supporting their latest album Cradle to the Grave that was released October 2015 their first album of new songs in 17 years. Following a successful, critically-acclaimed acoustic duo run in 2015 aptly titled The At Odds Couple Tour, Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford have now brought together the full band for a 19-date run. Tickets go on sale this Friday May 20, with additional dates to be announced. For up to date tour information please visit:

- Tune in to the AUDIENCE Network special Richard Marx and Friends airing Friday, May 20, at 9:00 (DIRECTV Ch 239/U-verse Ch 1114). Watch as the GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter thrills the Hollywood crowd at Red Studios in Los Angeles with his band and an orchestra, performing both his hits and new fan favorites. Marx's esteemed colleagues--singer/songwriter Eric Benet and legendary rocker Kenny Loggins--drop by and join in on a few classic tunes. In the episode, Marx also joins Ted Stryker for an in-depth interview covering a wide range of topics throughout Marx's 30-year career. Richard Marx's "Greatest Hits Tour" is now underway (HERE).

- National Geographic launches a covert investigation into the disappearance of adventurer Cody Dial. Missing Dial premieres May 22 at 10:00 on the National Geographic Channel.

- Showtimw Sports is giving viewers an opportunity to sample the first episode of the anticipated new series ALL ACCESS: Quest For The Stanley Cup across multiple platforms and devices as well as on NHL Network following the series premiere on Friday, May 20 at 9:00 on Showtime.

- This June, audiences can tune in to PBS for the very best of the legendary variety series The Carol Burnett Show with Carol Burnett's Favorite Sketches. Distributed by TJ Lubinsky's TJL, the premiere provider of nostalgia pledge programs to public television stations, the special will air nationally on PBS on June 3rd at 9:00 (Check Local Listings).

- On Sunday, June 13th at 9:00, our favorite corporate sharks will board their last flight, in grand, historic style, to Havana for the conclusion of the Showtime comedy series House of Lies. Shot entirely on location and directed by series creator and executive producer Matthew Carnahan, this final episode, “No Es Fácil,” marks the first time an American scripted series was shot in Cuba since the restoration of diplomatic relations.

- TNT, a division of Turner, has given the greenlight to Will, an unconventional period drama centered on a young William Shakespeare, played by newcomer Laurie Davidson. Will is the newest of five bold original series coming to the network over the next year, a slate that also includes Animal Kingdom, Good Behavior, The Alienist and Tales from the Crypt. Today's news comes as TNT joins its fellow Turner brands as part of the Turner Upfront 2016 presentation in New York. Also announced this morning, TNT has ordered a pilot for Civil, a gripping drama about a second American Civil War. And Niecy Nash (Reno 911, Scream Queens, The Mindy Project) has just been cast in TNT's previously announced pilot for Claws, an outrageous dramedy set in a Florida nail salon.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Five Most (and Least) Anticipated Shows of 2016-17

What a horrible week for female comic book leads, Agent Carter gets canceled, then ABC passes on the Mockingbird spinoff, and Supergirl gets demoted to The CW (and has to pick up shop and move to Vancouver from sunny LA). Last season was big for comic books, this season not so much only two will pop up and one is based on the Archie's comic and the one that will feature superheroes is a comedy that has an insurance salesman as a lead.

The other big trend from last year, movie adaptations, continued to this year despite everyone from last year failing miserable. One of the lone success stories of last year was The X-Files reboot and Fox has two more reboots, Prison Break and 24, while CBS is resurrecting MacGyver (Showtime’s reboot of Twin Peak may see the light of day next season too).

The big theme of this season is time travel; surprisingly none are a Quantum Leap reboot. Oh, and there are a crapload of comedies coming next season (fifteen by my count and emphasis on crap, seriously, there is an imaginary friend show and Kevin James is coming back to the small screen; and those two did not even my least anticipated list). CBS is going back to a two-hour block on Mondays, ABC is expanding its Tuesday lineup to two hours, and NBC is try to resurrect Must See TV on Thursdays though they still only have one lone hour devoted to comedy like last season, but this time on a school night instead of the Friday dead zone. At any rate here are the five shows that piqued my interest.

1. The Good Place (Thursdays at 8:30 on NBC): This show had me at Veronica Mars and Sam Malone. Thankfully the promo did not suck. The show even has the greatest bit of self-censorship since Battlestar Gallatica invented the word “frack.”

2. Powerless (Midseason, NBC): We hit superhero saturation a season or two ago but this different as it is the first superhero comedy (or least the first since The Tick which of course is getting rebooted on Amazon). And the lead is not actual superheroes but “insurance adjuster specializing in regular-people coverage against damage caused by the crime-fighting superheroes.” This is a DC property so hypothetically we could see cameos by so big names in tights but since Batman is a boy on Gotham and we can only see Superman from afar or in a lenses flare on Supergirl I am guessing we will see more DC deep cut like The Wonder Twins, Skeets (not even with Booster Gold), Plastic Man, Apache Chief, and, one can only hope, Black Manta stops by to pollute the local bay. Although the lack of a trailer makes me a bit weary.

3. Timeless (Mondays at 10:00 on NBC): They had me at Abigail Spencer (Sally Draper's teacher that of course Don hooked up with) and created by Shawn Ryan (Terriers) but I will stick around for lines like “I am black, there is literally no place in American history that will be awesome for me.”

4. Conviction (Mondays at 10:00 on ABC): Okay we are already starting to scrap the bottom of the barrel to get to five “anticipated” series. But hey, it does star Hayley Atwell even if it is not as Peggy Carter. But, sigh, that American accent needs work. C’mon, couldn’t have she played the Prime Minister’s daughter who moved to America for a sliver of anonymity and kept the accent? I never understood why studio execs keep on hiring actors with iffy American accents to play Yankees. Either let them keep their foreign accent or just hire an actual American.

5. Downward Dog (Midseason, ABC): Yeah, this season’s slate of shows are really bad when a talking dog show makes my most anticipated shows list, but I will admit, I laughed a couple times and will watch just to see if he ends up killing that fracking cat.

Bonus. A Few Good Men Live! (TBA, NBC): Hidden deep within NBC's press release was their first ever live adaptation of a play after three musicals of varying success.  It was literally one sentence and the third to last line before listing all the returning shows and legal mambo jumbo. No casting, no director, or even a producer yet, but I am more excited for this than their announce live musical. And one of the big problems with the musicals is getting big enough names to give up three or four months of rehearsals for one performance but I am guessing a play will need less time to prepare so maybe we will get more bankable names. May I suggest Coach Taylor as Tom Cruise, Lieutenant Dan as Jack Nicholson, Dr. Dre as Kiefer Sutherland, Lyla Garrity as Demi Moore, and, well, Kevin Bacon can just reprise his role because dude just does not age.

As the great philosopher Butt-Head once pondered, how would we know if something was cool if there weren't things that sucked, here are the five shows you could not pay me to watch next fall (click on their names to watch the trailers where available; networks were pretty stingy on mid season trailers this year)).

1. Taken (Midseason, NBC), Lethal Weapon (Wednesday at 8:00 on FOX), The Exorcist (Friday at 9:00 on FOX), Training Day (Midseason, CBS), Frequency (TBA, The CW): The Muppets had a quick slide last fall, Minority Report and Rush Hour were DOA, and Uncle Buck was pushed to summer to probably die quietly, while Limitless is currently in limbo but if it returns it will likely be on channel other than CBS. Yet the networks are actually increasing the number of movie adaptations (and that does not even count Time After Time based on a book that also inspired a movie, the MacGyver reboot, or Riverdale based on the Archie's comic). But hey, at least NBC was smart enough to pass on a proposed Cruel Intentions reboot (something FOX tried a decade and a half ago with a pre-fame Amy Adams) and Taken sounds the least bad. I was actually excited with the Taken-prequil sounding Legends on TNT when it started, unfortunately that did not turn out very well.

2. Still Star Cross (Midseason, ABC) – People complain about Gotham calling it, “Batman without Batman.” But there still is young Bruce Wayne who is supposed to grow up to be Batman (though doubtful we will ever see it on the show). Sill Star Crossed features Romeo and Juliet without the star crossed lovers. Instead the story takes place after their deaths and their cousins are now forced to marry to end the Capulet and Montague feud. What the frack? Oh and it was created by Shonda Rhimes, the worst thing to happen to television since they stopped letting you fast forward On Demand. She used to make ABC’s Thursdays unwatchable, and now she is soon to make the whole network unwatchable with five shows on the All Broads Network (not to be confused with CBS who passed on Nancy Drew for being “too feminine” and touts their most diverse lineup ever despite all their new fall shows being led by a white dude).

3. Doubt (Midseason, CBS): When are television executives going to learn what the movie executives learned a long time ago: America hates Katherine Heigl. Her crappy CIA show remains the lone show ever to air most of its episodes after The Voice not to get a second season.

4. Marlon (Midseason, NBC), Lethal Weapon (Wednesday at 8:00 on FOX): The Wayans family started out great with In Living Color, but has a member of the family done anything funny since? And what ever happened to the In Living Color reboot, wasn’t that supposed to happen a year or two ago?

5. This Is Us (Tuesdays at 9:00 on NBC): This show started out good enough, welcome back Mandy Moore! From the writer and directors of Crazy Stupid Love (and The Neighbors and Galavant)!! But everything goes wrong after that. Seriously, how does the guy from Heroes still get work? He can hide behind a bad Keanu Reeves beard all he wants but he still cannot act. Same goes for the Smallville version of Green Arrow. And what is this show even about? A bunch of people are born on the same day and… what? I may still end up hate watching.

Bonus. Hairspray Live! (TBA, NBC), The Rocky Horror Show (Halloween, FOX), Dirty Dancing the Musical (TBA, ABC): We are living in a golden age of live musicals, NBC got things started and sure it was a rough state, but hey, The Sound of Music Live! and Peter Pan Live!. They final figured out the formula with The Wiz Live!. Then Grease: Live showed up on FOX and raised the bar even hired. Unfortunately the musicals set for next season are based on three musicals I do not really care about and two of them are not even live. Why bother? Meh, can someone please take may idea of through copious amounts of money at Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling for Guys and Dolls Live! And is Selena Gomez and Jason Street in West Side Story Live! too obvious?

And here is what I tentatively plan on watching next season.

8:00 – Gotham (FOX)
8:00 – The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
9:00 – Lucifer (FOX)
9:00 – 2 Broke Girls (CBS)
9:30 – The Odd Couple (CBS)
10:00 – Timeless (NBC)
10:00 – Conviction (ABC)

8:00 – The Middle (ABC)
10:00 – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)

8:00 – Survivor (CBS)
8:00 – Blindspot (NBC)
8:00 – The Goldbergs (ABC)
9:00 – Modern Family (ABC)
9:30 – Black-ish (ABC)

8:00 – The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
8:30 – The Good Place (NBC)
9:00 – Notorious (ABC)
10:00 – The Blacklist (NBC)

8:00 – Last Man Standing (ABC)
9:00 – Grimm (NBC)

8:00 – Once Upon a Time (ABC)
10:00 – Quantico (ABC)

Monday, May 16, 2016

I Want My Music Television: 5/16/16

Ain’t No Man – The Avett Brother

I do not know if this The Avett Brothers attempt at a pop song, but that is a weirdly danceable bassline. I do not know if this will get them on the pop charts but I kind of dig it and am really looking forward to their next album after their last one was just okay. What I a, looking forward to is whatever the continuation to this video ends up being. Seriously people, stop it with the “To Be Continued…” nonsense.

Rise Up - Andra Day

When I saw M. Night Shyamalan directed the new music video from Andra Day I thought weird and kind of random. But instead of a big twist at the end, it came at the beginning when we learned the guy was paralyzed (and no there was no twist at the end where he rises up). Though the timing is a bit weird because the theme mirrors exactly the new Daenerys Targaryen movie whose trailer is been in heavy rotation recently where the raven-haired Khalissi becomes the caretaker (and then probably more) to a paralyzed man.

Better Place - Rachel Platten

Wow, Rachel Platten certainly has very culturally diverse fan base. I am glad I was not invitred because I would have just starred creepily for a minute before the other person left. Actually, I probably would have been the person who brought a dog with me.

Go Insane – Lucius

Interesting concept from Lucius, 3107 photos making up the video, but I guess there is not much difference between this and stop motion animation, at least the effects were weird and interesting.