Saturday, September 08, 2018

Previewing Shameless: Season Nine

The new season starts with two rats fornicating until one runs off only to get run over to a car in front of the Gallagher house as the camera pans inside to see Frank passed out in his out puke. Welcome back Shameless. Little has changed since we last saw the Gallagher’s as the new season mostly picks up where we last saw the clan.

Ian is in jail after the stunt where he blew up a van and is still an advocate on the inside. Lip took his co-worker’s niece and is still looking after her. Debbie is still working the graveyard shift with only two toes left on one foot Frank is still banging and stealing from PTA members. While newlywed Carl is at military school.

Fiona is still off owning her building cohabitating with the Irish dude. So little has changed except Svetlana is gone (she is replaced by the Irish dude in the main cast so I may have to learn his name) leaving Vee and Kev looking after two very rambunctious children. Shameless may be better suited to soft reboots every season instead of recycling the same storylines keeping them from getting stale. Except we are getting a supersized season this year with two seven episode halves coming so maybe we will get some shuffling them. With an original cast member soon, they will probably have to.

Shameless airs Sundays at 9:00 on Showtime.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Around the Tubes: 9/7/2018

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 Shatterbox, Madison Ryann, Dark Money, 93Queen, and World Refugee Day.

- Turner's TNT, in partnership with Refinery29, today announced the World Premiere and digital release date of season two of the Shatterbox, the film series that gives female storytellers a platform to create short films that redefine identity, imagination and storytelling through the female lens. The latest collection debuts Saturday, September 8, across TNT’s digital ecosystem, including its TVE apps available for iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Firestick, Xbox One, Smart TVs, its website (, and social platforms including YouTube and Facebook. To celebrate the launch, the films will also have an exclusive screening at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and have a presence at Refinery29’s iconic experiential event, 29Rooms New York, which takes place September 6-9 and September 13-16.

- rising vocalist and songwriter Madison Ryann Ward shares the video for her debut single “Mirror”—watch and share HERE. Refinery29 praises the video saying, “The powerful visuals of the music video match Ward's soulful, smooth vocals.” “Mirror” was released earlier this spring after Ward was featured recording the track with producer Rick Rubin in his Malibu studio on Jay-Z’s episode of the hit Netflix series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman. When Letterman asks Ward about her objective in making music, she replies, “Just to be honest. And to move people in a way that they’ve never been moved before.”

- Your vote can be bought, but at what cost? Dark Money follows local Montana journalist John S. Adams, who is determined to uncover the truth about funding in his state’s elections. The film gains insights over the course of three election cycles, as it solves an increasingly complicated and blurred puzzle. Dark Money traces Adams’ steps and sheds light on the grassroots movement to unveil the mysterious financing behind our elections. Dark Money has its national broadcast and streaming debut on the PBS documentary series POV and on Monday, October 1 at 10 p.m. (check local listings). POV is American television’s longest-running independent documentary series, now in its 31st season.

- When Rachel “Ruchie” Freier introduces us to Borough Park, Brooklyn, one of the world’s largest enclaves of Hasidic Jews, she acknowledges the community’s prevailing view of a woman’s role: “The focus of a woman is being a mother. Any profession, or extra schooling, is discouraged.” In Paula Eiselt’s debut feature documentary, 93Queen, America’s first all-female EMT corps is born against this unlikely backdrop. 93Queen, directed by Paula Eiselt and produced by Eiselt and Heidi Reinberg, makes its national broadcast premiere on the PBS documentary series POV and on Monday, September 17 at 10:00.

- On World Refugee Day, public television’s WORLD Channel announced the lineup of films for season 3 of Doc World, a series that showcases stories that dive deep into the heart of international issues, giving viewers a chance to understand the lives and concerns of people beyond U.S. borders. The first three films of the season, kicking off Sunday, September 9, entitled: Sky and Ground, Los Comandos, and Towards the North, all follow refugees fleeing their homes in search of asylum.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Previewing The Last Ship: The Final Season

The Last Ship: Season 5

It is the end of era as The Last Ship is about to ride off into the sunset after one last mission. It has been three years since the Red Rust threatened the world’s food supply and we are long past the Red Flu. In fact the next virus will be cyber. Or at least that is what a student that Captain Chandler is training, the first class of midshipmen since the global pandemic. In fact the last ship has turned into a great fleet and the Nathan James is just a floating museum.

But of course peace does not last long and the season starts off in winter in Columbia. One Colombian has united South America into one country that wants to be on top of the new world order and they are quickly moving north and do not plan to stop at Mexico. Oh and this leader’s most trusted advisor is someone with Tarot cards so he has some issues. And Sasha just happens to be leading a four member covert ops team down south when the first shots are fired.

For those that have made it this long will be rewarded with its most action packed season yet with even a Saving Private Ryan style invasion (or at least a version on a television budget). And with America in a full scale war, do not expect some of your favorite sailors make it to the end. But we do get one last fitting tribute before the last credits roll. The Last Ship will be going out in style.

The Last Ship airs Sundays at 9:00 on TNT.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Previewing You: A Dude's Review of Lifetime vol. IX

I have long lamented how too many television show have ideas that would be better off as a two hour movie than a format that wants to churn out a hundred episodes per season. Sure ninety-five percent of these shows get canned after one season (or less). But the thing is Lifetime’s You already is a movie. In fact about nineteen percent of Lifetime Movies are about stalkers. Though I wonder if anyone watched a Lifetime movie and thought to themselves, I wish that went on for six seasons or more.

You stars a pretentious bookstore worker, because what else could have possibly been? But Penn Badgley (John Tucker Must Die) is actually a good guy beneath his "paper is better than digital" snobbery, he even bring home books to the kid next door who has to sit on the steps when his mother gets in a shouting match with a new boyfriend. And c’mom, who does not do a little Googling when they meet a new hot chick?

Okay, so Googling until they get an address, go there, and proceed to put your hand down your pants jumps across the proverbial line. And unfortunately the title sequence starting to bleed blood red spoils that someone is going to bleed ruining the, well maybe he is not going to go there. Sure a stalking television show about a stalker pretty much means it will go there eventually, but having it in your title sequence means it is going to happen soon.

For the first half of the Pilot, besides the pretentious job, Badgley actually comes across as an enduring everyman who does a pretty good job explaining what men think about in the pursuit of the fairer sex until he starts to slowly go over the edge. By then, his long inner monologues get a bit tedious and I wish he would stick to pithy one-liners which he is much better at.

Elizabeth Lail (Dead of Summer) plays the object of his obsession and is perfectly stacker worthy in an approachable hot kind of way. (I cannot confirm nor deny going through her whole Instagram but will confirm never actually peeping though her window in the bushes.) She has a creepy boss, a douchebag ex she cannot quite quit yet, and daddy issues which makes for the perfect kind of girl you can swoop in and save.

Though her friend circle can be trouble just because they are kind of annoying. Seriously, one calls herself an Instagram Influencer. And you would think a bookstore worker would get along with best friend Peaches Salinger (yes that Salinger played by the fourth best Pretty Little Liar Shay Mitchell), but Peaches and Badgley wisely do not trust each other as things escalate with every passing episode and becomes the most compelling part of the show half way through the first season.

You reminds me of classic J.J. Abrams in that the episodes are set up well and end with shockers that will likely have you tuning in the next week (the end of episode is, um, epically memorable) but everything in between is kind of a bore. I think it probably has to do with too much monologing and maybe a more captivating actor could have help. There is a format change in episode four that shakes thinks up for a bit until you realize it is not much better than the original format. When it comes down to it, You is just not as infatuating as Lail is to Badgley.

You airs Sundays at 9:00 on Lifetime.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Previewing Kidding

When you have a television show that reteams Michel Gondry with Jim Carrey who gave us Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, you know you are getting something weird. Sure Kidding is not as surreal as their movie, but it is still pretty weird. Carrey plays Mr. Pickle a children’s television host that will bring images of Mr. Rogers (who is have his own small revival thanks to a documentary). He is so beloved that when hoodlums steal his car and start to strip it only to find his friend Ukularry, they put the car back together and leave the car back where they stole it.

As pure as Mr. Pickle is, he is so naïve that he goes in to have his phone fixed when someone does not text him back, his executive producer / dad Frank Langella (Masters of the Universe), is as shred. See Mr. Pickle has turned into a hundred and twelve million dollar licensing industry. So when Carrey’s son dies in a car crash and Carrey slowly starts to lose it, Langella looks at way to keep the Mr. Pickle franchise rolling without his son.

Caught in the middle is sister / daughter Catherine Keener (Death to Smoochy) who is also the head puppeteer and possible heir to her father. Though no dead child, she has some major issues of her own at home include a daughter who has a tick more annoying than that of Brick Heck that she picked up after she her father with her piano teacher. The death of his son also put a strain on his marriage to Judy Greer (Marmaduke) who has moved on to another man while the kid that did survive the car crash have figure out what is life without the twin that was always there.

Kidding could be your typical corporate power struggle or sad sack drama, but add Jim Carrey into the equation as an overtly earnest kids host, and you get something inherently weird and totally unpredictable as the character slowly descents into madness. Be it shaving a strip down the middle of his head, goes, on a date with a grown up fan, spending time with a terminal cancer patciant, or how he deals with the driver who struck his son. Not knowing where it goes next will likely be the best part of Kidding, for better or worse.

Kidding airs Sundays at 10:00 on Showtime.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 9/2/2018

Sharp Objects: Last week they made a pretty convincing argument that Adora was in fact a serial murder, killing her own kid along with two local girls more recently. I was slightly disappointed because I was convinced all the way back that Amma was the killer. Of course the one thing that bugged me was they never really explained why Adora would mutilate the bodies by ripping their teeth out. My suspension was right because big twists at the end: I was right in thinking Amma was super creepy this whole time because she did end up killing those girls. The show was a rare murder mystery that cleared up all the loose ends and even managed to explain away all the red herrings. Okay I had to have it explained to me that in the brief flashes at the end was Amma killing one of the girls in the guest house where they found the girl’s blood, I totally missed that. And I am kind of left wondering just what the Sherriff knew about Adora and Amma. It was implied he knew about the Munchhausen by Proxy and I always took him dismissing the Woman in White theory because women cannot pull teeth as kind of deflecting of what he knew or at least assumed happened. I guess the only other loose end I have is who dumped the bike?

Fear the Walking Dead: Wait, the hurricane did not actually blow Morgan away did it? Or did someone actually drive him across state lines during a hurricane? Did he just sleep through the whole thing? I feel like I missed something.
You can download Fear the Walking Dead on iTunes.

The Challenge: Final Reckoning: Oh my goodness, they actually played Jozea’s single. And it was just as bad as expected. I actually went to YouTube the next day and after it aired and after five months, the video had less than a thousand views. If this is the job Jozea was talking about, he is really going to need to find another one. Just please do not think you can be the next Johnny Bananas. I would not mind if this was the last season for both of you.
You can download The Challenge: Final Reckoning on iTunes.

Castle Rock: Well Jackie finally got to partake in the horrors that happen in her time. But did she whack that guy with a wood axe or a fireman axe? Oh and Molly died in the woods. Wait, what? We have seen her interact with many different people so she is not a ghost. Was she brought back to life? Is just everyone in this town dead already? And is Henry really the “Black Death” or was the prisoner being locked up is what is truly behind what is cause people to murder?
You can stream Castle Rock on Hulu.