Friday, April 06, 2018

Around the Tubes: 4/6/2018

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 Brian Wilson, Yellow Submarine, Erin O’Dowd, Jade Bird, Rosetta Tharpe, The Affair, Ice Bridge: The Impossible Journey, Catch-22, and The Last O.G..

- Harmonies. That’s what Christmas songs are all about for music legend Brian Wilson. From the seminal 1964 classic The Beach Boys’ Christmas Album to his acclaimed 2005 solo effort What I Really Want for Christmas Wilson has been bringing holiday cheer to the world for more than five decades. This holiday season, for the first time Wilson and his crack band of musicians and vocalists along with long time bandmates Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin will be performing the Christmas Album in its entirety along with cuts from his solo Christmas album and other holiday fan favorites. For ticket info please visit:

- Abramorama announced today a deal with Apple Corps Ltd. and Universal Music Group (UMG) to theatrically release The Beatles’ classic 1968 animated feature film, Yellow Submarine, across North America this July in celebration of its 50th anniversary. Abramorama, Apple Corps Ltd. and UMG have teamed to give Beatles fans of all ages the opportunity to come together and share in this visually stunning movie and soundtrack. Abramorama originally partnered with Apple Corps, Imagine Entertainment, White Horse Pictures, StudioCanal and UMG’s Polygram Entertainment on the Ron Howard documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years. Abramorama has a proven track record in the music-driven film space, partnering numerous times with Neil Young, Pearl Jam and Green Day and now once again with Apple Corps Ltd.

- Erin O’Dowd announces her debut album, Old Town, set for release on May 4, 2018 via Horton Records. Produced by Travis Linville, Rolling Stone acclaimed singer-songwriter and longtime guitarist for Hayes Carll, the album is a tribute to O’Dowd’s Oklahoma roots. Noted for her skilled songwriting and often compared to legends like Emmylou Harris and Loretta Lynn, Old Town is a refined introduction to who O’Dowd is as an artist. The album offers a fresh perspective of roots music that weaves introspective lyrics through influences of classic country, psychedelic folk, and soul-driven Americana. In addition to a variety of instrumentation by Linville, Old Town has an all-star instrumental lineup, including Grammy-nominated John Fullbright on keys and legendary Midwest pedal steel player Roger Ray of the Red Dirt Rangers. American Songwriter announced the album and premiered the video for the first single, “Trick Pony” today. Old Town is available for pre-order on April 6 via iTunes, with a free instant download of “Trick Pony”.

- Jade Bird: Lottery: The Tonigh Show:

- As The Godmother of Rock & Roll Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s highly-anticipated induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Early Influences wing approaches, Verve/UMe is bringing the trailblazer’s vaunted catalog into the digital age, making more than 200 songs available for download and streaming, most for the first time ever. The initiative, which includes seven long out-of-print albums and all 130 singles she recorded for Decca between 1938 and 1956, began on March 30 with the release of three albums: 1951’s gospel hymns LP Blessed Assurance, originally on a Decca 10-inch LP and now expanded with three rare bonus tracks; an expanded edition of her acclaimed 1958 Decca collection, Gospel Train, with two rare bonus tracks; and her spirited 1960 self-titled album Sister Rosetta Tharpe,

- Showtime has released a new teaser for season four of the Golden Globe® Award winning drama series The Affair. The series, starring Golden Globe nominee Dominic West, Golden Globe winner Ruth Wilson, Emmy® Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Maura Tierney and Screen Actors Guild Award® nominee Joshua Jackson, will premiere on Sunday, June 17 at 9:00.

- An astonishing discovery found jutting from an eroding coastal cliff on an island in the Chesapeake Bay in 2012 is challenging scientists’ long-held theory about the first humans to inhabit North America – where they originated, and how and when they arrived. It points to an explosive theory: Ice Age people made an epic journey across a massive ice bridge spanning a frozen Atlantic about six thousand years before people trekked across what is now the Bering Strait. The extraordinary find could rewrite history and upend our understanding of early human migration. Using archaeology, geology and genetics, a new one-hour documentary follows the expedition and search to uncover new evidence that could unravel the 20,000-year-old mystery. The film uses re-creation and state-of-the-art CGI to bring to life the ancient frozen wilderness and the fearsome Ice Age beasts that once ruled our continent. Ice Bridge: The Impossible Journey premieres Wednesday, April 18 at 8:00 on Smithsonian Channel.

- Hulu announced this week that Golden Globe Award-winning actor Hugh Laurie has joined the cast of Hulu's Original limited series Catch-22 from Paramount Television, Anonymous Content, George Clooney and Grant Heslov.

- He’s back! TBS’ The Last O.G. starring Tracy Morgan, Tiffany Haddish and executive produced by Jordan Peele has claimed cable’s top comedy slot with Tuesday’s premiere generating 1.8M total viewers and 882K 18-49 viewers in Live + Same Day and is expected to hit a Live +7 projection of 1.252M. The series is tracking as #1 among all cable comedies this year, including premium services. This marks the biggest cable comedy premiere since 2016, the largest scripted cable comedy premiere since 2015, and the strongest TBS original debut ever. More than 6.9M total viewers (3.3M 18-49) tuned into the show over a three-night, five-telecast launch on TBS and TNT following the NCAA Final Four tournament.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Previewing The Last O.G.

In a measure of full disclosure, I have never been much of a Tracy Morgan fan. Not when he was on Saturday Night Live and gave up on 30 Rock mostly because of him after one episode. But I have to admit, I laughed quite a lot at the trailer for his new show, The Last O.G. Plus it is on TBS, secretly one of the best networks on television with each of their original live action shows are at the very least watchable. The show was also created by recent Oscar winner Jordan Peele.

The show stars Morgan as a recently released from prison for drug dealing after fifteen years and is ready to reunite with his girl (Tiffany Haddish, The Carmichael Show) only to find out she is married to a boring white dude who is raising fifteen year old twins. Even Tracy Morgan can do the math on that. While trying to reconnect, he has to do it at a halfway house run by Cedric the Entertainer.

Okay, The Last O.G. turned out to be one of those movies where most if not all of funniest bit are in the trailer and the rest of the movie drags while moving slowly onto the next joke. Gentrification is a great joke in the trailer, but is rarely mentioned after that. A person coming back to a place that has moved on without them is a great hook for a story but really Morgan is quick to adapt on the new show.

Instead the show is basically split into two different stories. There is Morgan trying to connect with his children with Haddish unfortunately wasted as the wet blanket who rightfully found a better life for her and her kids. The other is with Cedric with Morgan and the other ex-convicts acting like baboons. Obviously this is the more entertaining part of the show. But even that may not keep me from tuning in, which would be the first TBS show I did not finish the season in years.

The Last O.G. airs Tuesdays at 10:30 on TBS.

Monday, April 02, 2018

The Voice Season Fourteen Battle Round Power Rankings

Well that was an utterly boring Battle Round. Every time there was a Steal, I thought… why? And then realize, oh, they were Stolen because there was not anyone better. At least it was boring until the final episode where the top four singers on my Blind Audition Power Rankings were left to perform. Or so I thought. We finally got someone worthy of a Steal. Except Livia was on Team Alicia and Alicia was the only one who had a Steal left so we knew that was not happening.

This has been my main complaint since they have introduced the Steals is that it screws over anyone who goes late because clearly the coaches use their Steals early. I have long thought the solution is to give the coaches unlimited Steals with the caveat that they can only take two of them into the Knockouts (and from the Knockouts, one Steal to the Playoffs). Then after the round, you set it up like the Twitter Save where all that coach’s Steals in rapid succession perform one last Save Me song then the coach picks two. So win-win, we get the best talent advancing (assuming the coaches pick wisely which is not always the case) and hopefully no one goes home prematurely.

But after Livia was inexplicably was sent home, you would think that was the last bit of fireworks of the season because we knew Alicia was going to Steal whoever last the last Battle, but first we got I thought would be a routine Montage, the first ever transgendered dude on the show got montaged off the show after an awkward three second clip, Blake picked between two novelty acts, then the big shocker was left for the end, Carson announced Hannah Goebel left the show “for personal reason.” Wait, what?

Hannah was number two on my Power Ranking, and when the pairing was announced, I though Hannah vs. Alexa was the biggest mismatch on Team Kelly. The thing is, this has only happened once with someone leaving the show and that turned out someone left to enter rehab and that singer ended up dying not much later. Hannah did mention on social media that night that she is well and still has her voice but it is vague on what exactly made her leave. She did stay around late enough to record her Battle song for iTunes so whatever happened did happened quickly. So hopefully she is truly doing well. And if the personal reason was something out of her control they let her try out again because she was one of the few standouts this season. But here is my rankings of those that will be going to the Knockouts.

1. Terrence Cunningham (Team Alicia) – He topped my list after the Blinds and no reason to have him fall even if this performance was quite subdued. I may have even picked Livia instead.

2. Spensha Baker (Team Blake) – Blake’s black chick who wanted to sing country last season came off as a novelty, but Spensha comes off as much more genuine. She can win.

3. Drew Cole (Team Adam) – I wrote Drew off as a novelty in the Blinds, but that was really good.

4. Wilkes (Team Blake) – A couple seasons ago Lauren Duski sang a cool country version of a nineties song and then Blake had her sing mostly boring country songs. Wilkes auditioned with a nineties rock song but I hope does not make him sing boring country songs every week.

5. Britton Buchanan (Team Alicia) – Had he had been doing Christian death metal, I may have thought it was Landry Clarke up there.

6. Rayshun LaMarr (Team Adam) – That was one of the Battles where it not even worth picking, they were both good, enough to advance, but neither will make much dent in the Live Shows.

7. Tish Haynes Keys (Team Adam Kelly) – Yeah it was even, and neither deserved to go home, but that shows Kelly’s inexperience but it is not like Tish will go far.

8. Jordyn Simone (Team Alicia Adam) – Was I supposed to be able to tell these two apart?

9. Kelsea Johnson (Team Alicia) – Seriously, why did they dress and style them the same? Toss a coin.

10. Johnny Bliss (Team Alicia) – Montage win… yawn, and yet another Asian chick gets montaged off the show.

11. Dallas Caroline (Team Blake Alicia) – Maybe one of the more deserving Steal’s this season, but what really hurt her was going right after Livia who actually deserved a Steam much more than Caroline.

12. Pryor Baird (Team Blake) – Tom Petty is one of the greats and has a large enough catalogue that he should be sung every season, but this song really is not made for competition show. I am still waiting for someone cool enough to sing It’s Good to Be King.

13. Mia Boostrom (Team Adam) – Interesting voice but needs better songs.

14. Reid Umstattd (Team Adam) – Well that was kind of shocking but Reid actually benefited from having to sing out his comfort zone, made it look like a high degree of difficulty.

15. Jaclyn Lovey (Team Alicia Blake) – Kind of boring but in a weak season I guess it was worthy of a Steal.

16. Miya Bass (Team Adam Alicia) – I thought she over did it at time, but there were not many people really worthy of Steals this season so I guess it was good enough.

17. D.R. King (Team Kelly) – Nothing more disappointing than hearing someone singing Sign of the Times and turning out not to be the Prince song. Not only that, this was the second straight season for the song, which is not worthy of a crappy song like this. I guess D.R. did as well as he could.

18. Kyla Jade (Team Blake) – Poor Kyla. Usually whenever Blake picks a crappy pop song in the Battles it usually gets montaged especially when it is a mixed matched one Kyla would have been better off having people seen ten seconds or less of this.

19. Brynn Cartelli (Team Kelly) – Well that was kind of creepy giving a song about sex to a twenty something dude and a fourteen year old girl.

20. Dylan Hartigan (Team Kelly Blake) – Not the most head scratching Steal Blake has ever made, probably not even in the top five, but I was still puzzled. Maybe Blake felt sorry for his situation.

21. Gary Edwards (Team Adam) – Montage win… yawn. And probably for the best, the three seconds we saw was extremely awkward.

22. Jackie Verna (Team Adam) – Honestly, I kind of wish both singers in the Battle went home.

23. Jorge Eduardo (Team Kelly) – I think knocked Kelly for being inexpienced by going with her heard over her head, but picking the boring dude with the guitar is the most shroud thing you can do on this show. Meh.

24. Alexa Cappelli (Team Kelly) – Montage win by forfeit… double yawn.

25. Kaleb Lee (Team Blake Kelly) – That was a pretty wasted Steal.

26. Justin Kilgore (Team Kelly) – I am not sure what was more shocking, that Kelly picked him or that Blake did not Steal Molly.

27. Jackie Foster (Team Kelly Adam) – I did not get the fuss.

28. Christiana Danielle (Team Alicia) – It is weird Kings of Leon does not get used very often on the show, Sex on Fire was sung the first season but I cannot remember anyone since. As for the performance, I was kind of meh on both, too sleepy.

29. Sharane Calister (Team Alicia) – I was not familiar with that song and hope never to hear from it again.

30. Austin Giorgio (Team Blake) – Montage win… yawn.

31. Jamilla (Team Kelly) – Double montage win… yawn.

32. Jaron Strom (Team Blake) – Montage win… yawn.

Alright, let’s go ahead and put these ranking into a mathematical equation to see who has the strongest team:

Alicia – 155
Adam – 150
Blake – 131
Kelly – 92

Yeah Kelly’s inexperience is showing with one of the weakest teams in memory. I like Tish, but she is going nowhere. Caleb was the biggest waste of a Steal. Plus there was a couple of questionable Battle Round pairing and picks But Alicia pairing two of her five Blind Auditions do not seem to be hurting yet. But all you need it one person to win, and she has the best of the season right now. But who cares what I think, here is how the Battles ranked on iTunes.

1. D.R. King and Jackie Foster (57)
2. Britton Buchanan and Jaclyn Lovey (59)
3. Livia Faith and Terrence Cunningham (85)
4. Justin Kilgore and Molly Stevens (91)
5. Brynn Cartelli and Dylan Hartigan (95)
6. Davison and Reid Umstattd (108)
7. Christiana Danielle and Shana Halligan (153)
8. Amber Sauer and Jorge Eduardo (181)
9. Drew Cole and Miya Bass (182)
10. Rayshun LaMarr and Tish Haynes Keys (190)
11. Jordyn Simone and Kelsea Johnson (228)
12. Jordan Kirkdorffer and Wilkes (297)
13. Kaleb Lee and Pryor Baird (332)
14. Jamai and Sharane Calister (335)
15. Jackie Verna and Stephanie Skipper (390)
16. Dallas Caroline and Spensha Baker (492)
17. Genesis Diaz and Mia Boostrom (519)
18. JessLee and Kyla Jade (653)
19. Terrence Cunningham (966)
20. Christiana Danielle (1000)
21. Brynn Cartelli (1075)
22. Jaclyn Lovey (1086)
23. Alexa Cappelli and Hannah Goebel (1387)
24. Austin Giorgio and Brett Hunter (1401)
25. Livia Faith (1441)

And if you average the peaks of those who charted on both the Battles and the Blind Auditions, here is how they rank:

1. Terrence Cunningham (67)
2. Britton Buchanan (142.5)
3. Christiana Danielle (151)
4. Brynn Cartelli (153)
5. Jaclyn Lovey (166.5)
6. Justin Kilgore (168.5)
7. Drew Cole (177.5)
8. Jorge Eduardo (203.5)
9. Rayshun LaMarr (327.5)
10. Prior Baird (374.5)
11. Dylan Hartigan (376)
12. Reid Umstattd (414.5)
13. Kelsea Johnson (421.5)
14. Wilkes (428)
15. Sharane Calister (434)
16. Dallas Caroline (526.5)
17. D.R. King (548.5)
18. Spensha Baker (582.5)
19. Jackie Verna (606)
20. Jackie Foster (626)
21. Kaleb Lee (629)

One shocking thing about this list, the two people who sat atop the Battle Round iTunes chart, D.R. and Jackie F. are both in the bottom five of the combined list. Then over ten singers who either did not make the top 1500 for either their Battle of Blind Audition seem pretty high. Here is how the teams rank mathematically:

Alicia – 61
Kelly – 54
Blake - 52
Adam - 43

Alicia is dominating with the top three spots. If those three are her team going into Top 12, she could dominate the Live Shows too. Of course keep in mind last year’s winner Chloe did not make a dent in iTunes until the Knockouts. Speaking of the Knoutout Round, the show did not release the pairings this year (other than the three you can spot in the promos). But we are getting a new twist where Coaches can “Save” an artist they did not pick which sounds like the Coach’s Comeback but it happens in real time and much like the Saves, the people who perform late get screwed.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 4/1/2018

Homeland: John McCain used to joke when there was speculation that John Kerry wanted him to be his vice president that the only job of the VP was to check on the president’s health daily. But I guess in these days and times the second in line has to check to see if the president will still be the president tomorrow. But anyway, Carrie has had sex with a lot enemy of the state (really, anything over zero should be considered a lot) but to do so while your child, a chick conceived by an enemy of the state was just even too crazy for Carrie. And what was Carrie going to say to Dante when he asked why she went to see his ex-wife? That she thought he was a spy? She had that exact moment with Brody. Well minus the sex but Saul did barge in right afterwards. Speaking of Brody, when Carrie took Frannie to the motel, I actually thought that Frannie might run into her half-sister. That last we saw of her was a maid for a motel.

The Alienist: Poor Lazlo, finally catches his man but dies just before he can learn why the murderer did what he did. But a very interesting scene at the end with Lazlo chatting with father. That should make for an interesting flashback for a second season. I just hope they do not retread a season long murder mystery again.
You can download The Alienist on iTunes.

Good Girls: Um, wouldn’t it just been easier to blackmail the sleeze ball into returning the television that digging through the trash to look for the receipt?
You can download Good Girls on iTunes.

Rise: Some weird happenstances this week. Lou’s wife wants the foster kid gone, he puts up the deck lighting (which looked pretty tacky), now she is fine with him staying indefinitely. Simon’s mom does not want Simon in a heathens musical to the point she is going to pull him from the school, her daughter is sad at him leaving the school, Simon can not only stay at the school but stay in the heathen musical. But hey, there was a well-placed Iron and Wine song. And I did enjoy the coach’s saying he is not going to do some touchy feely speech with the drunk. And just how long does the coach’s daughter hooks up with the drunk?
You can download Rise on iTunes.

The Challenge: Vendettas: So at the beginning of the season they announced there would only be one winner, no gender specific winners like in many recent seasons. Yet they still do gender specific eliminations every week and here in the last challenge they did not eliminate any women because there were two more guys and had to go into the finale even. Lame. And why are there eight finalist this season? Hopefully the finale is only one episode because I am ready for this to end.
You can download The Challenge: Vendettas on iTunes.

The Path: I thought that if Vera’s mom believed the end and rebirth was triggered by Eddie’s death that she may try to hasten it, I just never thought Vera would be caught in the middle. Once I saw the hole in her chest, it did cross my mind that there would be a Resurrection. The episode did air the week of Easter. But I have to wonder if that was really Steve Myer visiting the mom or just a delusion? And was that his corpse that they were digging at the end? As for next season, I have a feeling it may be Pete Campbell with Mary by his side vs. the Myerists.
You can stream The Path Hulu.

The Looming Tower: So not only was the FBI feuding with the CIA back in the nineties, they did not have a particular good relations with the State Department as that trip to Africa got pretty prickly with the Ambassador.
You can stream The Path Hulu.

Survivor: Ghost Island: Um, so no one went to Ghost Island on this episode of Ghost Island? Just when I thought not having any advantage there three of four weeks was lame.
You can download Survivor: Ghost Island on iTunes.

The Americans: So the Soviets are just fine with Philip retiring, Elizabeth is just not allowed to talk to him. But I guess it eases things that there are still two Jennings spies in America. At least for now, Paige already apparently failed an easy assignment of staking out a building because Elizabeth had to kill a dude. But seriously dude, stealing someone’s ID and blackmailing them for a date was a horrible way to pick up a chick.
You can download The Americans on iTunes.

Gotham: It seemed like since season two the show was making Barbara Harley Quinn, but no, she is now apparently the new Demon’s Head, lead of the League of Assassins. Wait, what?
You can download Gotham on iTunes.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Who knew we really need a General Hale flashback episode? It did not dawn on me until this episode when they flashed back to the early nineties that Hale could have possibly ran into Carol Danvers (aka Captain Marvel aka Brie Larson in the March 2019 movie). I stupidly thought for a second we would get a cameo. But hey, we did get cameos by young Sitwell and Von Strucker as well as the German from Agent Carter. I was a little surprised that Ruby turned out to be Hale’s real daughter though she turns out to be not a normal daughter but one engineered by Hydra to be the Destroyer of Worlds, of course the name Deke calls Daisy in the future as she is the one accused of cracking the Earth in two.

We did get a small but interesting segment without Hale. I am a bit surprised that Simmons’s big take away from seeing herself in the future is that she is invincible. My big take away is that she lost her arms. Yeah, Fitz-Simmons may make it to the Lighthouse, but that does not mean they will get there is one piece. And Fitz does not even need to make it, just his DNA. But saying you are invincible seems like famous last words to me.
You can download Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.