Friday, May 04, 2018

Around the Tubes: 5/4/2018

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 Castle Rock, The Affair, Lord Huron, Florence + the Machine, Snow Patrol, Donna Summer, Just Another Immigrant, Bipolar Rock ‘N Roller, Conan O’Brien, Smithsonian Time Capsule: 1968, POV, Carriers at War, and The Forth Estate.

- Hulu announced that Castle Rock, the psychological-horror anthology series from J.J. Abrams and Stephen King, will premiere on July 25th with the first three episodes only on Hulu. Please see below for an exciting new teaser for the series.

- Showtime has released the official trailer 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.

- Lord Huron’s acclaimed new album, Vide Noir, debuts at #4 on the Billboard 200 chart this week, marking the band’s first top 10 effort. Vide Noir is out now on Whispering Pines/Republic Records and can be purchased here. Last night, the band performed the album's single, “Wait by the River,” on “Late Night with Seth Meyers.” Watch here. The new music continues to receive widespread critical praise.

- High As Hope, the hugely anticipated new album from Florence + the Machine, is set for release June 29 on Republic Records. The first official single, “Hunger,” also premieres today, accompanied by stunning new video directed by A.G. Rojas; watch it here.

- Snow Patrol premiered the song “What If This Is All The Love You Ever Get? via a world first play on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 program. Lowe called the song “deep and emotional” and you can listen to it here. In addition, the band concurrently debuted the cinematic and cathartic music video for the new song, which was directed by Brett Simon. Watch it here.

- On June 22, the day after the first day of Summer, Island Def Jam/UMe is set to celebrate the very best of the 1970s chart-topping output of Donna Summer, the undisputed Queen of Disco and The First Lady of Love, with her classic, No. 1 album, On The Radio: Greatest Hits I And II. This iconic 2-LP collection, first issued in 1979, features 16 of Summer’s sweetest hits of the Seventies; all tracks, as they appeared on the original 2-LP release, are “DJ-mixed” – they segue together – for maximum entertainment. This edition, issued on the heels of the Broadway debut of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, is presented for the first time on highly collectible pink swirl color vinyl.

- Showtime has announced the premiere of a new docu-comedy unscripted series centered around popular UK comedian Romesh Ranganathan, Just Another Immigrant. The 10-episode, half-hour series will air two episodes on Fridays beginning June 8 at 9:00. Just Another Immigrant is a comedic docuseries that follows Romesh Ranganathan, one of the most popular stand-ups in the UK, as he uproots his entire family – his supportive wife, their three kids, his Sri Lankan mother and his eccentric uncle – and immigrates to the U.S. Displaced in Los Angeles, Ranganathan attempts to find success and happiness, while rebuilding a life from scratch. In addition to his efforts to adapt, he has committed himself to booking a U.S. gig – the 6,000-seat Greek Theater – with only three months to sell it out. The series chronicles the true-life adventures of this modern immigrant family and the obstacles of making it in today’s America.

- Prolific combat sports broadcaster Mauro Ranallo and his lifelong battle with mental illness are the subject of a new documentary film from Showtime Sports®. Bipolar Rock ‘N Roller – named for the moniker Ranallo gave himself as a broadcast personality and DJ in the early 90’s – will premiere on Showtime during Mental Health Awareness Month on Friday, May 25 at 9:00.

- Turner’s TBS and Conan O’Brien today announced an expanded partnership spanning television, digital, social and live events that will enable the late night icon to capitalize and interact with his multi-generational fan base across platforms. After 25 years on television and having amassed a deeply passionate and engaged fan base through the nightly show, travel specials, digital content, live events and fan interactions, Team Coco and TBS will take Conan’s enduring brand of comedy to his fans wherever they are. The expansion of Team Coco will be advanced by Billy Parks who has been named to the newly created position of Chief Brand Officer for the joint venture. The longest tenured host in late night television will continue to evolve and reinvent the genre with major shifts to both his late night show and the creation and expansion of a joint Team Coco enterprise with TBS. Conan will continue to air four nights a week on TBS, and in 2019 will unveil a new, less structured 30-minute format that will have guests and a variety of segments drawn from the newly expanded Team Coco portfolio.

- Few years in American history have been as pivotal and transformative as 1968. Fifty years later, Smithsonian Channel delves deep into the Smithsonian Institution’s vaults to relive a year that saw breathtaking change, violent tragedy and heroic sacrifice in Smithsonian Time Capsule: 1968. What are some of the significant objects that the Smithsonian decided were worth saving to capture the essence of those turbulent times? Personal stories and curator insights bear witness to a remarkable year that shaped the country, highlighting more than a dozen key objects from across the Smithsonian Institution’s collections. Smithsonian Time Capsule: 1968 premieres Monday, May 7 at 8:00 on Smithsonian Channel.

- For his debut documentary, Quest, director Jonathan Olshefski spent nearly a decade chronicling the daily triumphs and tragedies of the Raineys, a working class African-American family in North Philadelphia. Quest has its national broadcast and streaming debut on the PBS documentary series POV and on Monday, June 18, 2018, at 10:00. POV is American television’s longest-running independent documentary series now in its 31st season.

- Today’s U.S. Navy faces very different challenges than its Cold War era counterpart. Conflicts are smaller and more regional. Terrorism impacts not only our allies’ sovereignty, but also the security of the United States. A new four-part series offers unique access to America’s elite fleet of mighty aircraft carriers as they engage in real-world action – giving viewers an intimate look at how the U.S. Navy maintains, operates and deploys to troubled spots around the globe. The series also unveils the newest generation of American supercarrier, designed to revolutionize naval warfare. Carriers at War premieres Sunday, May 20 at 8:00 on Smithsonian Channel as a part of its Memorial Day programming.

- Academy Award® winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have composed the original theme music for the highly anticipated new Showtime documentary series The Forth Estate, directed and produced by Emmy®-winning and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus (What Happened, Miss Simone?). This marks the second time the duo have created music for Showtime programming, having appeared in the 18-part limited event series Twin Peaks performing the original song “She’s Gone Away," which is featured on their 2016 album Not the Actual Events.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Previewing I'm Dying Up Here: Season Two

There used to be an old joke that once something is on Showtime, it runs forever. Shameless is going on nine seasons; Homeland just got renewed for an eighth (granted final) season. Ray Donovan is about to start its sixth this summer. But recently the premium channels has gotten pretty trigger happy. Happyish: one and done. Roadies: one and done. Even recently White Famous got canceled after just one season. So I was a bit surprised when Showtime announced a second season of I’m Dying Up Here. Sure, it was the same level of surprised when Dice got renewed for season two; but there will be no season three of that show.

Both I’m Dying Up Here and Roadies shared the same basic plot of following people in the entertainment business but Roadies had the better acting, was more entertaining, and Cameron Crowe’s rolodex brought in new big name guest stars every week. But I’m Dying Up Here has Jim Carrey as a producer who just so happened to just sigh up to star in a Showtime show reuniting him with Michel Gondrey, director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, so read into that as you will.

Why I liked Roadies more was that it uplifting and hopeful contrast to I’m Dying Up Here which, for a show about comics, is pretty dark. Of course many of the characters live up to the title’s name which adds to the depressing nature of realizing few of these people will ever get further than Goldie’s basement. Except one actually managed to have a modicum of success last season when Ron got cast on a sitcom and as season two he actually gets upped to a regular on the show. Though it does seem appropriate with the talent on the show that the last guy to Los Angeles was the first to make it big.

Okay, yeah, Bill did get the couch on Carson and unlike the last guy, did not get any further than the grill of a bus, but it is not much of a starter for Bill. Then Cassie did book Girls Are Funny Too, a network special, but things happen on the night of the premiere. Then Adam, Ralph, and Edgar are minorities in the seventies, so the cards are already against them. But I will say someone does appear on Soul Train this season, just not who you think it would be.

The problems in the first season continue in the second, the stand ups are just not that funny. Sure, that is why most of them are still playing the basement at Goldie’s. On improvement is they got rid of that cringeworthy title sequence, cutting it down to something shorter. There is aa new comic in town who may actually be the funniest of the bunch. Brad Garrett also pops up as a comic the Goldie wants to team up with to launch a second club, but his demons he left in Vegas may put a damper on the deal.

I’m Dying Up Here airs Sundays at 10:00 on Showtime after Billions which moves to 9:00 starting this week.

Monday, April 30, 2018

I Want My Music Television: 4/30/2018

Happier - Ed Sheeran

I was beginning to think Ed Sheeran was turning into Adam Levine, hooking up with a new hot chick in every music video. But here he is back to having a stand in. But didn’t he already do puppets in the Sing video.

Friends –NONONO

From time to time I like to check in on One Hit Wonders to see if they are worthy of a second hit. Then does beg the question is NONONO even a One Hit Wonder. Their song Pumpkin Blood did chart of four different genre chart but not very high on any of them. The song was also used in a shampoo commercial I think as well as a Freeform ad campaign so the song did sort of permeate America. I do not think their new song will do much better despite being a little catchy, but still kind of dark at the same time.

Don't Go Breaking My Heart - Q-Tip feat. Demi Lovato

I cannot imagine things I need less than hearing Q-Tip dueting with Demi Lovato on Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.

Heart to Break – Kim Petras

Well this was cheesy eighties fun from Kim Petras. But I do have to wonder if the light up floor is a Billy Jean homage because it is so eighties or if someone this young has never actually seen the Billy Jean video.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 4/29/2018

Homeland: Holy Dar Adal sighting? I have been wondering all season what he has been up to. Apparently it has just been walking in circles for six months. I wonder if President Bridges will pardon him. But this season has been a big lesson on the 25th Amendment. Good to know they can evoke the 25th on general incompetence. But I wonder if they will go back on it if Simone makes it to the US to corroborate her real story. I believe the 25th was invoked when Reagan got shot and when he was better, Reagan was reinstated as president. But how does one extract a Russian asset from Russia?

Fear the Walking Dead: Oh yeah, since most of them did not appear until the very end, I forgot season three ended in a pretty big cliffhanger where Nick blew up a dam he was standing on while Alicia and Strand were washed away. So I guess everyone made it out alive. Except for maybe the Salazar’s. I had to look it up, but, oh yeah Ophelia died, though I am unclear what exactly happened to Daniel who already escaped a fire, so maybe he is still around.

Then the flashbacks did not go back far enough. Everyone (sans Daniel) is safe living in a minor league baseball stadium with only brief flashbacks by Nick to the Dam. Nick still has not recover as he does not leave the stadium, but we do see him capture the SWAT truck in present day which is not too far in the future because the Vultures are still a thing. The writers are really playing fast and loose with the timeline just to get Morgan on the show.
You can download Fear the Walking Dead on iTunes.

Billions: So Taylor is a sexual person. And one who works pretty quickly. But I guess when you are that analytical, you see what you want and you just take it. As for someone who is not analytical, why is Dollar Bill ramming the car of someone who is very by the book? I guess it is lucky for Bill that Bobby gave the SEC guy the big family talk before that so I guess as long as Bill pays for the damages, SEC guy will not press charges. But what happens to the tainted sample? How does Chuck get that into evidence? Do Axe’s cleaners find it first? And when the gay widow was talking about how noble the doctor was, why did he only think the good will of the doctor was out of compassion and not out of guilt?

Timeless: Oh yeah, Lucy has a sister. They are doing a bad job reminding us that. Would it be too hard to go back in time and introduce her mother to the sister’s father?
You can download Timeless on iTunes.

Into the Badland: So where was the “previously on” segment. Didn’t the one chick die? That is pretty much all I remember from last season. And now there are more black eyed people, Sonny’s kid and the two new people. But MK does not anymore. That cannot be a coincidence.

Supergirl: Ugg, still no Saturn Girl, instead she is at some unseen arctic event? Boooo.
You can download Supergirl on iTunes.

Lucifer: So Cain lost his mark because Decker fell in love with him? I do not remember Decker being in love with Lucifer when he was getting hurt around her. I am pretty sure that was always the case.
You can download Lucifer on iTunes.

Rise: Just when I though Ted Mosby could not get any more annoying, dude just walks out on the production. And I found it weird when the pregnant chick showed up seemingly out of nowhere, but now she is, was, best friends with the chick who thinks she is a dude? Meh.
You can download Rise on iTunes.

The Challenge: Vendettas: How convenient for the Stars that the tie breaker was the winner of the last elimination is the tie breaker, not the other team in every other tie breaker scenario in Challenge history (that I can remember). But this is still going to be pretty boring is one team just puts up Stars and the other Champs all season. They may need to do a Survivor type tribe swap at some point.
You can download The Challenge: Vendettas on iTunes.

Legion: Wait did they completely change Sydney’s powers or was I not paying attention. Really, when has any body swapper in sci-fi history morphed their body, not swapped conscience? Seemed like they just did this for the creepy interaction with the boyfriend.
You can download Legion on iTunes.

Survivor: Ghost Island: Kellyn has been my favorite all season but that was a bad look on her this week. You never dictate vote to someone else because that person will turn on you the first chance they get. Even if you are right that you have done everything Domanick has asked and it is time for him to repay the loyalty. But how did we go from Kellyn demanding Michael goes next to Kellyn and everyone but Chelsea voting for Desi (I do wonder who Angela would have voted for). The irony or Kellyn adamantly targeting the stronger guy is that Chelsea makes the tenth straight woman to win Individual Immunity and Cole is the only guy in the last two seasons to win. This may be an anomaly and not a trend because before that, Not Dante Culpepper won five of the last six Immunities.
You can download Survivor: Ghost Island on iTunes.

The Blacklist: Wait, how was the guy not in the Mexican standoff able to get a shot off with two guns pointed at him?
You can download The Blacklist on iTunes.

The Americans: Poor Philip, having to have sex with a hot college chick for his country. Except he then blows his cover to warn her of danger. That is not going to end well for him I aassume.
You can download The Americans on iTunes.

Krypton: So is Doomsday going to be a Checkov’s gun situation or was that just an Easter Egg?
You can download Krypton on iTunes.

Blindspot: How disappointing that the weird conspiracy theory guy never ran into Rich Dot Com.
You can download Blindspot on iTunes.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Wait no one bothered to destroy the pod that could create the Destroyer of Worlds? Not only that but they kept the Gravitonium still attracted to the pod? Sure, we are dealing with people who did not wait for the “alien attack” option, but c’mon.
You can download Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.