Friday, November 30, 2018

Around the Tubes: 11/30/2018

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 I Am the Night, Marvel's Runaways, Fail State, Desus and Mero, Sommore: A Queen with No Spades, Taylor Janzen, Showtime music documentaries, Ask Dr. Ruth, Life Sucks, and Laws of the Lizzard.

- Director Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman, Monster) has released a new trailer on Twitter for TNT's highly anticipated limited suspense drama, I Am the Night, starring Chris Pine (Wonder Woman, Star Trek). I Am the Night premieres Monday, January 28, at 9 p.m. (ET/PT).

- Check out the official trailer for the second season of Marvel's Runaways, premiering all episodes Friday, December 21, only on Hulu.

- Executive produced by news legend Dan Rather, Fail State (Monday December 17, on Starz) investigates the dark side of American higher education, chronicling the decades of policy decisions in Washington, D.C. that have given rise to a powerful and highly-predatory for-profit college industry. With echoes of the subprime mortgage crisis, the film lays bare how for-profit colleges exploit millions of low-income and minority students, leaving them with worthless degrees and drowning in student loan debt. Combining five years of research and interviews from over 60 experts, policymakers, whistleblowers, and students defrauded by their colleges, director Alexander Shebanow presents a searing indictment on the for-profit college industry and the lawmakers enabling widespread fraud and abuse in American higher education.

- Showtime will debut Desus and Mero, the weekly half-hour late-night series starring Desus Nice and The Kid Mero on Thursday, February 21 at 11:00, which will air on Thursday nights from New York City. The first ever weekly late-night talk show on Showtime will feature popular TV and podcast personalities Desus and Mero speaking off the cuff and chatting with guests at the intersection of pop culture, sports, music, politics and more.

- Stand-up comedian Sommore brings a full house of class and sass for the debut of her new one-hour comedy special, Sommore: A Queen with No Spades, on Friday, December 21 at 10:00 on Showtime. In the special, directed by Kevin Layne and Scott Woolley and filmed at the Faena Theater in Miami Beach, Sommore commands the stage with her frank and fearless take on today’s issues and her unique perspective on life, politics and individual choice. T

- With her stunningly sparse melodies and minimalistic guitar riffs, 19 year old Taylor Janzen may seem softly spoken, but her staggering lyrical narrative and deeply personal writing sends a resounding message. The Winnipeg artist garnered praise from the New York Times with her debut EP, Interpersonal. which was mastered by Greg Calbi (Julien Baker, Arcade Fire, Big Thief), and co-produced by Taylor. Today, she returns with "New Mercies" - a song that sees Taylor embrace a bigger, fuller sound and was produced/mixed by Mike Mogis (Cursive, Phoebe Bridgers, Bright Eyes). With folk-twinged riffs and an unabashedly post-punk backbone, New Mercies has an underlying sense of frustration that sees the Canadian artist grapple with her disconnection with spirituality.

- SHOWTIME has announced plans for a special week of music documentary premieres in December, profiling rock legends Jeff Beck, Agnostic Front, GG Allin and Korn’s Brian “Head” Welch. JEFF BECK: STILL ON THE RUN will premiere Tuesday, December 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT, AGNOSTIC FRONT: GODFATHERS OF HARDCORE on Wednesday, December 12 at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT, GG ALLIN: ALL IN THE FAMILY on Thursday, December 13 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT, and KORN’S BRIAN “HEAD” WELCH: LOUD KRAZY LOVE on Friday, December 14 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

- Hulu announced that it has acquired 2019 Official Sundance Selection Ask Dr. Ruth to join its growing slate of award-winning documentary films, which includes 2018 Sundance Film Festival selections and critically acclaimed titles Minding the Gap and Crime + Punishment. The film will premiere at Sundance Film Festival, on Hulu and in theaters in 2019, and will receive the widest theatrical release for a Hulu Documentary to date. Directed by Ryan White (The Keepers, The Case Against 8), Ask Dr. Ruth chronicles the incredible life of Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a Holocaust survivor who became America's most famous sex therapist. With her diminutive frame, thick German accent, and uninhibited approach to sex therapy and education, Dr. Ruth transformed the conversation around sexuality. As she approaches her 90th birthday and shows no signs of slowing down, Ask Dr. Ruth follows Dr. Ruth as she revisits her painful past and unlikely path to a career at the forefront of the sexual revolution.

- Laughspin has exclusively premiered the first two episodes of the new '00s nostalgia comedy series LIFE SUCKS, a perfectly awkward blend of Freaks & Geeks and Wet Hot American Summer, with a production history worthy of true underdog status. Episodes 3-6 will be released weekly beginning in the first week of December.

- Biologists and wildlife filmmakers Nate Dappen and Neil Losin launch a year-long adventure in search of the secrets of an unassuming reptile in Smithsonian Channel’s Laws of the Lizzard. Dappen and Losin travel to remote forests and tiny islands across the Caribbean and Latin America to uncover how a tiny reptile can reveal the fundamental rules of nature – what they call the “laws of the lizard.” Winner of the 2018 Jackson Hole Science Media Awards’ top prize, the Grand Helix, Laws of the Lizard will premiere on Wednesday, December 26 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Previewing the Second Half of Vikings Season Five

Last season on Vikings, it was brother vs. brother as half of the sons of Ragnar L:othbrok fought each other for control of Katagaurd. But it was Ragnar’s long lost brother who returned to tip the scales, but not the way I would have guessed. Instead of siding with nephew Bjorn whom he had actually known and his mother, he fought with Ivar whom I do not believe he even met.

The other major storyline from last season saw Floki sail to Greenland looking for the lands of the Gods only to find a frozen wasteland and his traveling companions only became more frustrated. Then over in England Alfred has ascended to the throne even though I believe he was not actually the king’s son. And one of his first decrees being that the English shall now only speak English. So the English and Vikings both speak primarily English. Alrighty.

So the big question going into the new block of episodes is what becomes of the loser Bjorn, Ubba, and Laggatha who is now sporting white hair even though the show picks right up and she really did not have the time to go that grey that fast. Granted with all the decade time jumps in the past she has got to be up there in age by now. The other big question for me is how long can Ivar hang on to power. I have been a bit surprised that a cripple could hold on to power that long. But he has vanquished a couple brothers though there is a new lady in his life that could be his downfall. And I am not the only one to think that because Ivar even has some disturbing visions of her.

Vikings airs Wednesdays at 9:00 on History.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 11/25/2018

- Supergirl: I spend the summer catching up on Game of Thrones and after all that time looking at Drogan and his brothers, I audibly laughed at how cheesy the dragon looked on this show.
Supergirl on iTunes.

Ray Donovan: Yeah, Bridget’s fiancé is adding nothing to this show. Those I did get a laugh out of Bridget talking about how her last relationships went. Too bad beau number three may actually not be much better. But when will Micky realize that Ray is smarter than him? So where do Micky and Bunchy go from here? They still have their ID’s so they can still get to Canada but they do not have the money to get to Vietnam or any other country without an extradition treaty. Shouldn’t Daryll still be worried about retaliation though if Micky does not have the money to go anywhere? I cannot imagine Ray turning Micky in if Bunchy is still with him. Although even if his baby mama has not called the cops, Bunchy still killed a guard?

Manifest: Wait, why is the brother at the same school as his sister? Shouldn’t she be in high school and him still in elementary school? Did he get socially promoted because he should be in high school?
You can download Manifest on iTunes.

The Challenge: Final Reckoning: Last week I predicted that Joss and Sylvia would win and I should have gotten that right except those morons stupidly stepped down for some deal that the other team had no obligation to keep. Just lost five minute there. Had they just lasted to second place in that challenge, they likely win. Well, unless Cara Maria and Maria would have agreed that Joss and Sylvia gotten their grenade too. Speaking of stupid moves, how does Hunter let Smashley win? Clearly he could have out run her but chose to stay with her. And even I was against taking the money, Smashley’s excuse of Hunter threatening her family was a worthy reason to screw her over. You just do not treat people that way. It will be interesting how Hunter reacts to the tape of him saying what he swears he did not say. The tape does not lie.
You can download The Challenge: Final Reckoning on iTunes.

Survivor: David vs. Goliath: I had a pretty big eye roll when Carl found the Idol Nulifier. I thought there was no way that thing would be used correctly and really, I doubted it would be used at all. But oh I was wrong and in a big way. When the Davids were talking about all their advantages, I thought it was too good to be true that they would actually play all their advantages and actually do it correctly. The stealing of Alison’s vote did kind of raise my eyebrow but maybe that was the decoy to get the Idol out and through the scent off of who they were actually targeting. But the David’s pulled it off without a hitch. Kudos to Christian who managed to get a Goliath out and hold on to his Idol even though before the vote I thought he should had played it just in case. You found that one, go out tomorrow and find another.

So what now? We are actually back even, five each. Do the three Goliaths who were keen on flipping last episode still try working with the David even though they pulled two over on them two Tribals in a row? Does Angelina go rouge after getting voted for by Goliaths? Would it be wise for any Goliath to flip because it would be pretty obvious now they would be on the bottom? Can the Goliaths pull together and get the upper hand back with all the Advantages sans Christian’s Idol out of the game? It should make for an interesting final stretch since Dan was the least likable of the bunch this season. Hopefully it keeps ping ponging back and forth because one tribe dominating post-merge is always boring.
You can download Survivor: David vs. Goliath on iTunes.