Friday, March 09, 2018

Around the Tubes: 3/9/2018

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 Pitch Perfect 3 Special Edition, U2, New Wave: Dare to Be Different, Glen Campbell and Willie Nelson, Record Store Day, Bill Nye: Science Guy, Arabian Seas, and Sklars and Stripes.

- Pitch Perfect 3 Special Edition, the highly anticipated follow up to the smash-hit and platinum-selling soundtracks Pitch Perfect & Pitch Perfect 2, is available digitally now. The Special Edition contains the 15 songs from the original, standard CD, along with 7 bonus tracks (22 total). Two additional on-screen performance tracks are also included, “Bend Over” and “Don’t Speak x Hard For Me to Say I’m Sorry,” which is a new mashup from a deleted scene available on the bonus content for the home entertainment release. Pitch Perfect 3 Special Edition soundtrack from UMe/Republic is available digitally here now.

- UMC/Island/Interscope are proud to announce the release of 3 new vinyl reissues from Irish rock giants, U2: Pop (1997), Wide Awake In America (1985) and All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2000).

- U2, Talking Heads, Depeche Mode, Blondie, Duran Duran, Tears for Fears, The Clash, The Cure – over half a billion records sold, but you might have never heard of them if not for a small suburban radio station on Long Island, NY called WLIR 92.7. New Wave: Dare to Be Different, premiering on Showtime on Friday, March 30 at 8:00 on-air, on demand and over the internet, is a nostalgic look back at the rogue radio station on the cutting edge of music throughout the 1980s. Program director Denis McNamara, the station crew and the biggest artists of the era tell the story of how they battled the FCC, record labels, mega-radio and all the conventional rules to create a musical movement that brought New Wave to America.

- Music legends Glen Campbell and Willie Nelson have been nominated for the Academy of Country Music Award for Vocal Event of the Year for their poignant duet “Funny How Time Slips Away.” The 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards will air live on Sunday, April 15, at 8 PM ET/PT on the CBS Television Network. Listen to “Funny How Time Slips Away” here.

- UMe is pleased to announce details for several exclusive, limited edition vinyl releases confirmed for Record Store Day 2018. With special releases from Bobbie Gentry, Chet Faker, David Bowie, Def Leppard, Ella Fitzgerald, Elton John, Frank Zappa, Gloria Gaynor, Marvin Gaye, Soundgarden, Sublime, The Police, The Who and more, UMe’s slate for April’s hotly-anticipated music shopping bonanza is filled with an eclectic and exciting mix that includes re-pressings of classic albums and singles, as well as several U.S. vinyl release debuts. All the special releases will be available at Record Store Day-participating record stores on Saturday, April 21. Visit for more details and to find your local shops.

- Bill Nye is on a mission to stop the spread of anti-scientific thought and action. Once the host of a popular kids’ show and now the CEO of the Planetary Society, he’s leading a mission to launch LightSail, a satellite propelled by sunlight, while in turn fulfilling the legacy of his late professor and Planetary Society cofounder Carl Sagan. Bill Nye: Science Guy by David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg has its national broadcast and streaming debut on the PBS documentary series POV and on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at 10 p.m. (check local listings). The broadcast precedes Earth Day on April 22. POV is American television’s longest-running independent documentary series and will begin its 31st season on television and streaming in summer 2018.

- On May 6th, 1882 – on the eve of the greatest wave of immigration in American history – President Chester A. Arthur signed into law a unique piece of federal legislation. Called the Chinese Exclusion Act, it singled out by name and race a single nationality for special treatment: making it illegal for Chinese laborers to enter America on pain of imprisonment and for Chinese nationals ever to become citizens of the United States. The Chinese Exclusion Act, a two-hour film for national broadcast on PBS Tuesday may 9 at 8:00, will explore in riveting detail this little known, yet deeply resonant and revealing episode in American history – one that sheds enormous light on key aspects of the history of American civil liberties, immigration, and culture – during one of the most formative periods of U.S. history.

- NBA Hall of Fame basketball star and platinum hip-hop artist Shaquille O’Neal reads the immersive Edward Hirsch poem “Fast Break” about the universal experience of playing basketball in a remarkable new 12-part television series Poetry in America that aims to bring poetry to millions of viewers. New episodes of Poetry in America will be on public television stations nationwide starting Wednesday, March 28 through Wednesday, May 2. (Check local listings as some stations will debut the series at other times during the spring.)

- The waters bordering the Arabian Peninsula are home to a host of unique marine animals, from predators like zebra sharks and giant stingrays, to camouflage kings such as the cuttlefish and sea horse. Wade into this little-seen world of ocean oddities with Arabian Seas, now streaming on Smithsonian Earth. Smithsonian Earth is available on Apple®, Roku®, Amazon, Android™ and at Kicking off the five-part series is the premiere episode, Carnivores of the Coral Garden, which is now available to stream for free at Nine miles off the coast of Oman, a zebra shark scans the ocean floor for crustaceans, while a menacing giant stingray floats by. Soon, night becomes day and new killers emerge, from toxic scorpion fish to crown-of-thorns starfish, both bringing coral devastation.

- Randy and Jason Sklar's upcoming long-form audio documentary, Sklars and Stripes, is poised for an April 5, 2018 release on Audible. The comedic audio documentary captures their experiences on the road and, as a bonus on Audible, all listeners receive a full album of the Sklars' stand-up from the tour: The Tour Tapes. The 6-hour Sklars and Stripes is exclusively available on Audible for pre-order now, and will be free with an Audible 30-day free trial or as a premium Audible credit for members.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Previewing Hard Sun

Have you ever watched a sci-fi show with no actual sci-fi elements? That was a thought running threw my brain while watching Hard Sun. Sure the first scene features someone getting stabbed below the eye like nothing happened. But that is never talked about afterward aside from seeing a scar there. I thought it was weird when some dude in his early twenties called someone who looked the same age mom, but when another character asked if she had him when she was thirteen or fourteen, I looked up the actress and found she was actually in her mid-thirties which made getting pregnant right after puberty ended plausible.

The closest thing to a sci-fi element is that a pair of cops happens upon a government conspiracy covering up knowledge of an extinction level event appropriately named “Hard Sun.” The first episode plays out like a fascinating political thriller as the cops race to get the information out before being killed like everyone who has seen this information. The following episodes follows the cops as they investigate crimes inspired by people coping with knowing they only have five years to live. It is an interesting look into the psyche of people who know they and everyone they love only have five more years to live. Sure our protagonist go with the cherish every minute and spend as much time as you can with your loved ones but there are plenty of people who just want to get the pain and suffering out of the way now because why wait five years knowing you are going to die along with everyone else on the Earth.

Not so fascinating is the clichéd subplot of two new partners where the newest to the department is brought in to investigate the older one of possibly being shady. We have seen this story play out many times before in movies and television and just takes away from the actually interesting look at the human condition with the end of the world off in the not so distant but not really that close future.

Jim Sturgess (21) is the cop suspected of killing his partner why Agyness Deyn (Clash of the Titans) is the newbie investigating the detective. Oh yeah, and he is hooking up with his dead partner’s widow, the one he may have killed, all the while his wife is pregnant. Oh course as the show ponders, does any of it matter if everyone is likely to die in five year? But then, the final scene in season completely changes everything.

All episodes of Hard Sun were released today on Hulu.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 3/4/2018

Homeland: So a person who may have played a role in the assassination of a US General while he was in prison was dumb enough to get a parking ticket while doing the deed? I am not a conspiracy or Deep State guy mostly because I do not believe there are enough smart people to pull stuff like that off. Someone will slip eventually. But getting a parking ticket in the place you are doing something shady is a little too dumb for me. Speaking of dumb, what is Wellington doing? Giving the go code to a general without the Presidents okay is not just a fire able offense, that is treason, and we know what Keane’s thoughts on those who commit treason.

The Walking Dead: Wait, so those flash-forwards we saw last season were not a look into the future at all but just Carl fever dreams of the utopia that he hopes happens? That is forking stupid. I guess that explains why no one but Rick and the baby aged. Oh well, at least Carl is finally dead.
You can download The Walking Dead on iTunes.

The Chi: That is interesting, the old guy went through all that trouble to jack those guns just to sell them back to the police for dramatically less than street value. But he learned out that if you live by the guy, you die by the gun. Well, or your brother does. Did he seriously did not think there would not be any payback?

Lucifer: Did I miss why someone was hosting a seventeen year class reunion?
You can download Lucifer on iTunes.

The Alienist: Wait, the Man with the Silver Smile was not the killer? So he was just a general, run of the mill pervert. That was a twist. So the two guys who killed him are the killers. Okay. And what was with Sara’s obsession with proving that Laszio was not born a cripple. I thought it bizarre that him playing that one movement was a telltale sign; aren’t all major pieces of piano writings ones you would need both hands for?
You can download The Alienist on iTunes.

Good Girls: I knew the titular characters were going to rob a store, but murder too? Though that was kind of telegraphed because you really cannot have someone like that know. Which was my main complaint of the Pilot: seriously, why are you robbing your own store? Mask aside, your coworkers could still recognize your voice and / or body type. Or in this case your tramp stamp.
You can download Good Girls on iTunes.

The Challenge: Vendettas: It still ceases to amaze me how Jonny Bananas skates by all these years. I wonder if Devon will get his wish and see Bananas in elimination.
You can download The Challenge: Vendettas on iTunes.

The Path: Oh yeah, Vera’s mom is definitely a doomsday cultist. That was a creepy ending. But at what point does Vera tell Eddie about her mother? When will Sarah figure out who Vera really is? Apparently Carl know now because of the story where described a time with him as children. But exactly how much does he know?
You can stream The Path Hulu.

Survivor: Ghost Island: One thing I noticed last season was just how early Asian chicks seem to be going out on this show. Last season, the token Asian was second out. The previous all new season, the first two boots were Asians. Of course the show solved that problem this season by casting a lone Asian male. Instead this season the first person sent packing was a Latina which prompted former contestant to point out that over the past decade, the first person to go home was a woman of color fifty-five percent of the time despite only making up sixteen percent of the cast. It actually got worse because some in the tread pointed out eight women of color were the second booted out and eighties percent of the past twenty seasons, a minority woman went home either first or second (then in three seasons they were the first two). Oh, and interestingly enough, someone pointed out that in his two seasons, Stephan’s first votes were both for Latinas.

So the casting departing is doing a horrible job because they are either casting racists or they are not doing a good job finding compelling female minorities. Or, in the show’s defense, it could be an anomaly. But maybe it is time for Race Wars II (the original being one of the best seasons of all time) so at the very least some minority women can get somewhat far in the game.

Social discussions aside, we did get a new twist this season with the introduction of Ghost Island where bad decision of the past come back to haunt current players. Poor Jacob, not only did he get the Legacy Advantage, probably the lamest advantage in the history of the show, he did not even get to keep it, he instantly had to give I away. Not that it mattered because he was promptly voted out the next Tribal. But I guess that was still better than Donathan who went to Ghost Island and got nothing. But my biggest complaint of Ghost Island was there were no actual Ghosts there. I was really hoping the Ice Cream Scooper would come out and tell someone, “Never, under any circumstance, give up your Immunity” or Eliza shouting at someone, “It’s a forking stick!” Big missed opportunity there.
You can download Survivor: Ghost Island on iTunes.

The Blacklist: Gee, hiring a hitman is bad enough, but paying someone to be your alibi so you can do the deed yourself is somehow even more sadistic,
You can download The Blacklist on iTunes.

The X-Files: Well that was weird but I could even tell by the second ad break that all Fox had to do to make it stop was to leave a forking tip.
You can download The X-Files on iTunes.

Waco: Yeah, I knew how this was going to end (and it was pretty obvious that Thibodaux would get out because since they spent so much time on him he probably was the guy who wrote the book) but what I did not know is how often the FBI used tear gas and a fire then just happened to ignite afterwards. That was pretty damning. Still, you got to leave the compound a lot early and not let I get to that point. It was just a series of dumb decisions all around.
You can download Waco on iTunes.

Gotham: So we get a Toyman Jr. on Gotham even though he is a main character on Supergirl. Okay, they did give these Toymen different names at least. And we have gotten yet another Poison Ivy who this time around is barely even a redhead. And she apparently lost all her fun in the transformation. Meh.
You can download Gotham on iTunes.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Deke getting sent back in time made absolutely no sense if he was not even near the monolith. So being next to Enoch was enough? Stupid. Okay it did lead to a funny montage at the bar. Then poor YoYo, her future self is already coming to fruition with her losing her arms just one day back in current timeline. And she got them cut off by some teenager. Or so we are led to believe. Clearly she is not the real daughter of the general. All her minions were robots, could she be another LMD?
You can download Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.