Friday, December 21, 2018

Around the Tubes: 12/21/2018

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 Black Monday, Saoirse Ronan, Country Faith’s Country Faith Christmas Vol. 2, Billions, The Librarian, Howie Mandel Presents Howie Mandel at the Howie Mandel Comedy Club, Magnify, and Ray Donovan.

- Showtime has released the official poster and a new teaser for its upcoming comedy series Black Monday. The series stars and is executive produced by Emmy® nominee and Golden Globe Award winner Don Cheadle and stars two-time Tony Award nominee and Grammy® winner Andrew Rannells (Girls) and Regina Hall (Girls Trip). Screen Actors Guild® Award winner Paul Scheer (Veep) also stars. Black Monday was created by David Caspe (Happy Endings) and Jordan Cahan (My Best Friend’s Girl), who serve as executive producers and showrunners. Emmy nominees Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg (Preacher, Superbad, Future Man) are executive producers and directed the pilot. The 10-episode series will premiere on Sunday, January 20 at 10:00.

- The popular faith-based brand, Country Faith’s Country Faith Christmas Vol. 2 is proving to be equally as successful as the first edition in the series as it moves up the Billboard Top Christian Albums sales chart this holiday season. Top Country music stars including Carrie Underwood, Kelsea Ballerini, Dylan Scott, Kenny Rogers, Wynonna, Chris Young (featuring Alan Jackson), John Berry, Phil Vassar, Charlie Daniels, Rodney Atkins, Hank Williams, Jr., Darius Rucker, Brenda Lee The Bellamy Brothers and up and coming artists, Hannah Kerr and Liddy Clark all appear on this star-studded album covering their unique versions of some of the most popular Christmas classics ever. The heart-warming collection even features iconic Brenda Lee and her famous rendition of “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” which was first released back in 1958 when she was only twelve years old and still sits at the top of the Billboard Holiday Airplay charts (# 6 this week) and boasts nearly 700K downloads.

- Saoirse Ronan's Mary Queen of Scots Costume Physically Altered Her:

- Showtime has announced that the fourth season of the hit drama series Billions will premiere on Sunday, March 17 at 9:00. Starring Oscar® nominee and Emmy® and Golden Globe® winner Paul Giamatti and Emmy and Golden Globe winner Damian Lewis, Billions is one of the network’s top drama series, with season three averaging five million weekly viewers across platforms. The first three seasons of Billions are available on SHOWTIME on-air, on demand and over the internet.

- UPtv, the network that celebrates uplifting stories about families experiencing life’s biggest moments, is set to air The Librarian three-part movie series on New Year’s Day beginning at 10 a.m. ET. The franchise, produced by Dean Devlin’s Electric Entertainment and starring Noah Wyle (ER, Falling Skies), centers on an ancient organization hidden beneath the Metropolitan Public Library dedicated to protecting an unknowing world from the secret, magical reality hidden all around. The Librarian: Quest for the Spear – Airs Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 10 a.m. ET and 4 p.m. ET. The Librarian: Return to King Solomon's Mines – Airs Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 12 p.m. ET and 6 p.m. ET. The Librarian: The Curse of the Judas Chalice – Premieres Tuesday, Jan. 1 at 2 p.m. ET and 8 p.m. ET.

- Showtime will premiere Howie Mandel’s first solo comedy special in 20 years, Howie Mandel Presents Howie Mandel at the Howie Mandel Comedy Club, on Friday, January 18 at 10:00.

- Wrapping up 2018, FOX Sports Films will air a movie marathon on FS1 featuring the first four MAGNIFY documentaries. Whether you missed the premieres, or you’d like to rewatch the series, you can binge-watch from Sunday, Dec. 30 at 6 AM ET to Monday, Dec. 31 at 6 AM ET. MAGNIFY leverages sports as a lens for exploring important cultural stories and investigates the challenges, change, and unity they bring to communities. To amplify MAGNIFY’s connection to local communities through sports, FOX Sports Supports and 21st Century Fox partnered with Good Sports, a non-profit organization, to bolster youth sports in conjunction with the launch of SHOT IN THE DARK and THEY FIGHT.

- Showtime has ordered a seventh season of its hit drama series Ray Donovan, starring multiple Emmy® and Golden Globe® nominee Liev Schreiber and Jon Voight in his Golden Globe winning role. Production will begin in Spring 2019 in New York. The current season of Ray Donovan airs on Sundays at 9:00, with its season finale on January 13.

- Hulu's 2019 Winter Programing Slate (click the links for trailers):
Marvel's Runaways: Season Two: All 13 episodes December 21
Into the Dark: New Year, New You: Premieres December 28
Future Man: Season One: All 13 episodes January 11
Into the Dark: Down: Premieres February 1
Pen15: Season One: All 10 episodes February 8
Into the Dark: Treehouse: Premieres March 1
Shrill: Season One: All 6 episodes March 15
The Act: Season One: Episodes weekly starting March 20

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Previewing Marvel's Runaways: Season Two

Big shake up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: small screen addition this year with Netflix canceling three of its five Marvel shows with the other two likely to get the axe after their next seasons air (oh, and I guess something big happened on screen too this year, not that a bunch of teenagers in California notice or care). Of course that begs the question will Marvel resurrect those characters elsewhere even though it is reported there is a contractual two year waiting period. The upcoming Disney+ streaming channel (Disney owns Marvel Studios) is supposedly family friendly, so if we ever see Daredevil and the rest of The Defenders, it would most likely be on Hulu, which Disney will soon own sixty percent of.

Hulu being the current home of its own Marvel show Runaways. So could we see the Runaways team up with or battle The Defenders? Since they are on different coasts, unlikely. And Runaways first season was low on references to the larger universe it inhabits. That does change a little in season two where I caught a Black Panther reference as well as a Cloak and Dagger reference that they really want you to notice because it is in two episodes. The latter airs on Freeform, another Disney owned channel which makes a crossover a little like even though the shows again are on different coast, Cloak does have the ability to teleport.

The first season of Runaways was just one long tease. Given the show’s name, it was a huge shame the titular characters decided to wait until the last frame of the first season to actually run away. And that first season should have been great: a group of super power kids team up to take on their supervillain parent, each with their own tried and true super villain traits: the mad scientist, the witch, the alien, the time travelers, and the street thugs turned real estate tycoons. Then the kids take the traits of their parents, including a sixth teen with super strength whose parents died, to take them down. But the first season just came off as a bad The CW teen show with superpowers. It was created by the writing team that gave us The O.C., Gossip Girl, and The Carrie Diaries.

So has the show improved now that the Runaways have, you know, actually run away? Well, a little, but it was not the leap that other bottom of the Marvel heap show did in the second season of Iron Fist. Although where Iron Fist wisely went from thirteen to ten episodes, Runaways actually expanded from ten to thirteen episodes. The show is much better at answering question at time, both others they take to long to get to the point. But one of the biggest problems with that first season was none of the kids on the show were particularly good actors and I found much of that first season rooting for the evil murderous parents.

I found myself rooting for the parents less in season two but that is mostly because some of their motives were weird or unclear and after a major event in the middle of the season, they just start to become aimless. Sure, that unclear motive is explained for three of the parents, but I still wish they would just go full on supervillain just to make the lines clearer. When it comes to superheroes, you just really cannot have shades of grey that you need in more relationship drama.

As for the children, yes they ran away but they did not go far as they start the season on the streets of Los Angeles with no sense of direction until they find an underground mansion that they co-op. But they seem as aimless as their parents seemingly have six different plans among the six of them. They spend most of the season going off by themselves on side missions they do not seem to add to much. Sometimes the kids go back to their parents voluntarily and sometimes the parents just let them go even though they plot to reunite with their kids by any means necessary. This season really misses a common goal that actually builds to something and actual motivations that make sense and are consistent.

We do get a couple of potential Runaways this season; comic book readers should recognize both. There is a third person who is brought into the mansion and is called a Runaway, which just let me scratching my head as to anyone would do this. But I made a dent into my skull at the number of times I had to scratch my head watching this season of Runaways. With that said, I will likely still be back for season three. Hopefully the dent in my head has been repaired by then.

All episodes of Marvel’s Runaways are available tomorrow on Hulu.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Previewing American Dream / American Knightmare

When I finished watched the NWA bio-flick Straight Outta Compton, my first impression was, sure, fine, whatever, what I really want is a sequel focusing on Death Row which only got about five to ten minutes in the NWA film. It was during the filming of the movie, former Death Row owner Suge Knight killed a man on the set by driving over him with his car. He was later set to prison for that crime and the fifty-three year old is currently serving a twenty-eight year sentence.

Around this time, Suge sat down with Training Day filmmaker Anoine Fuqua to give the most in depth interview the rap mogul has ever given for American Dream / American Knightmare. From his start as a stand out football recruit (there is a Super Bowl Shuffle knock off with his college team) to owning the most successful black run record label of the nineties and his subsequent downfall. And the only people intewviewed for the documentary have the last name Knight. Though it is unclear if that was the intent or still no one wants to talk about the man on camera except family members. So we get to hear Vanilla Ice’s infamous encounter through his 1996 ABC News interview again.

It was a bit surprising to still see Knight’s parents still together and it is weird to hear them talk as if they did not raise a violent criminal. This is a guy who was first arrested in 1987 for slicing off his girlfriend’s ponytail at 22; then attempted murder the next year. And he also thinks paying five millions dollars to five lawyers means you should avoid jail time. There really is nothing really groundbreaking or that new in the documentary, but that is probably all the information we are going to get about Suge Knight until he dies and people will start feeling safe to talk about him without recourse.

American Dream / American Knightmare premieres Friday at 8:30 on Showtime.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 12/16/2018

Supergirl: These crossover events are just getting lamer. And that potential Bat Woman spinoff looks like it would be abysmal unless they for some reason find a way for Saturn Girl to be part of the show. Or, how about just giving Saturn Girl her own show?
Supergirl on iTunes.

Ray Donovan: So Bunchy is going to turn himself in, yet Micky is able to push a cop down and that geriatric that just had a heart attack can outrun him. Alrighty. But I feel bad for Bridget, she moves across the country only to have her father follow her and get her in danger almost instantly. Maybe she can move back to California, or just find her brother and go there because clearly no one cares about him. But I found it weird that Ray was turned on the mayoral candidate so quickly considering he just forked her last week (literally) and then (figuratively) forked her this week. What exactly is Ray’s play? Is he really going to let her lose? Or is he going to end up framing her opponent for killing the gaured that Bunchy wacked? That would be a very Ray Donovan thing to do.

Survivor: David vs. Goliath: If I were to rank my ten favorite Survivor moments, I am sure a couple of the slots would go to fake Idols being played (“It’s a forking stick”) but I have to say, Nick “finding“ the fake Idol he planted to stop other people from looking was brilliant. Well almost, Davie still looked for, and found a clue. And Davie wisely did not give up his vote for a chance to play it later. He ended up getting a few votes. But poor Nick, not only did that fake Idol did not work in keeping people from looking, him playing his fake Idol did not give him the correct response to not play the Idol he did not need to play.
You can download Survivor: David vs. Goliath on iTunes.

Vikings: Yep, the real baby daddy of the princess had to die. I kind of figured that would be the end to avoid him saying anything. Oh yeah, Ragnor’s other son is back. How long has it been? A couple seasons but decades on the show? And who exactly is the sacrifice? They certainly made it seem to me that Ivar was talking about his brother when he brought it up to him. So why end on a cliffhanger, does that mean it is someone else?
You can download Vikings on iTunes.

Titans: So Beast Boys sees some chick wield a golden lasso and his first thought was this much be Wonder Girl? Um, does Wonder Woman not use one in this universe? Then I mostly laughed when White Sean from Rescue Me walked out of that mirror. Not exactly who I picture when I think of Trigon, a larger than life villain with red skin, antlers, and more than two eyes. But I guess the biggest thing that happened this week was the promo for the season finale (wait, there are only eleven episode, kind of a weird number) with Robin taking on Batman. Though it seems pretty obvious all those scenes are from some warped reality, pretty much what exactly The CW crossover did this week.

Nightflyers: I actually enjoyed this week’s episodes more than the first batch because it seemed like they were actually going somewhere. There was that cool scene with the captain surviving the decontamination because apparently he is not an organic material. Although kind of gross when it was sort of revealed he has been forking what you could call his sister. Seriously, what is with all the incest in George R.R. Martin’s work? But what a clusterfork of an ending.
You can download Nightflyers on iTunes.