Friday, February 08, 2019

Around the Tubes: February 8, 2019

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 The Handmaid’s Tale, Epic Yellowstone, Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don't Know Me, Women, War & Peace, America's Hidden Stories, The Avett Brothers, KT Tunstall, Sheppard, Tony Lucca, Anna of the North, The Score, Flikka, In My Journey with a Polar Bear, Gibson, and Lot18.

- For the third year in a row, Hulu has featured an original series in their Super Bowl ad. The 30-second spot aired during the first quarter of today’s game and gave viewers a sneak peek into season three of the dystopian series The Handmaid’s Tale. The Super Bowl ad kicks-off the season three marketing campaign for the award-winning Hulu Original

- The eagerly anticipated series Epic Yellowstone is set to give audiences a front row seat to the extraordinary spectacle of wildlife and dramatic seasonal extremes in the iconic crown jewel of America’s national parks. Hosted by renowned actor and Montana local Bill Pullman, and filmed over the course of three years, the series delivers stories from Yellowstone never told before. The stunning four-part project uses state-of-the art 8K cameras, FLIR thermal imagery, drone timelapse, cineflex aerials and miniature nest cameras to reveal the world of Yellowstone’s predators and prey in jaw-dropping beauty – shot fully in the wild with no captive or enclosed animals. EPIC YELLOWSTONE premieres on Sunday, March 10 at 9 PM ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel and will also be available on the channel’s 10-hour 4K On-Demand model. In the lead-up to the event series, Smithsonian Channel will also premiere an all-new episode of the acclaimed and popular Aerial America focusing entirely on Yellowstone on Sunday, March 3 at 9 PM ET/PT.

- In celebration of Black History Month, Showtime will premiere Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don't Know Me, exploring the rise of legendary soul singer Teddy Pendergrass, the first male African American artist to record five consecutive platinum albums. Set against the backdrop of 1960s America, and his comeback after a life-changing accident, Pendergrass’ untold and ultimately inspiring story premieres this Friday, February 8 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Capturing Pendergrass’ rise to fame the film includes rarely before seen archival footage and features revealing interviews with his family, friends and colleagues alongside industry legends, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff.

- In a year when American women mobilized, ran for office, and were elected to Congress in unprecedented numbers, the acclaimed documentary series Women, War & Peace ( returns Monday, March 25 and Tuesday, March 26, 9-11 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) with powerful stories of women’s role in dramatic conflicts and peace settlements across the globe.

- The Salem witch trials. The Spanish influenza of 1918. The treason of Benedict Arnold. These events are notorious in American history, but new revelations suggest we don’t know their full stories. Smithsonian Channel’s new series America's Hidden Stories delves into hidden records to investigate what our history books may have missed: Is a British lord responsible for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor? Did Benedict Arnold act alone? Where is the true site of the Salem witch hangings? The answers to these questions, and more, are uncovered in America's Hidden Stories, premiering Monday, March 4 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel.

- GRAMMY® Award-nominated North Carolina band The Avett Brothers share new song “Neapolitan Sky” last week. It follows up the recently released “Roses and Sacrifice” and “Trouble Letting Go”, which closed out a banner 2018 for the group. Check out “Neapolitan Sky” HERE via American/Republic Records.

- Tune in this Friday, February 8 at 9:00 pm ET/PT to watch the broadcast premiere of the concert featuring singer-songwriter “KT Tunstall” on AT&T* AUDIENCE Network via DIRECTV Ch 239. The show will also be available streaming on-demand through DIRECTV NOW and WatchTV.

- Multi-platinum selling recording artist Sheppard is back with a brand-new single “On My Way” – available today, February 1, 2019 via your preferred music platform! Cowritten by John Hume (co-writes with Dean Lewis, Sofi Tukker), the anthemic, uplifting song, which was originally penned as a stand-alone single, earned the band a nod to participate in the show which will select Australia’s next representative at Eurovision 2019!

- Nashville-based singer-songwriter Tony Lucca is flexing his Americana muscles on his forthcoming new album, Ain’t No Storm, which he will be releasing on March 29, 2019. Ain’t No Storm reads like a who’s who of East Nashville notables: Ken Coomer produced the record at his studio, Cartoon Moon, great Nashville players like Michael Webb, Ted Pecchio, and Joe Garcia lent their talents — and even Patrick Sweany stopped in for a cameo on “Room With A View.” Replete with songs borne of his admiration for Nashville’s rich history – the town’s creative community ultimately fueled Lucca’s return to the studio and inspired the new album – Ain’t No Storm finds Lucca embracing with reverence the process and craft of songwriting and taking his time (more than two years) to get it right.

- Anna of the North has premiered brand new track ‘Leaning On Myself’, her first taste of new music since critically-acclaimed debut album ‘Lovers’. Having sold out worldwide shows and amassed over 140 million streams, Anna plays a headlining show in London on March 25, before embarking on her first North American headlining tour starting on April 19. Tickets for all US tour dates will go on sale this Friday, 2/8 at 10am PST.

- Critically acclaimed, buzzing LA based, New York born rock band The Score – Eddie Anthony and Edan Dover – release their much-anticipated new Pressure EP via Republic Records. Check out The Score’s Pressure EP HERE.

- Stockholm newcomer Flikka has revealed her debut single "Someone To Lose" via London independent label Blue Flowers. She also shares the track's video, directed by Beatrix Blaise.

- With climate change at the forefront of the world’s natural crises, Smithsonian Channel takes you on a dramatic adventure that reveals an ever-changing Arctic. In My Journey with a Polar Bear, viewers will get an intimate look at one polar bear mother’s struggle to raise her cubs as her home melts away under her feet. Norwegian filmmaker Asgeir Helgestad worked in the harshest of conditions to document the bear’s life over the course of four years, capturing her attempts to hunt and her interactions with other bears while experiencing unprecedented change to the world around her. In My Journey with a Polar Bear premieres Wednesday, March 6 at 8 p.m. on Smithsonian Channel.

- Writing a new chapter to the guitar of choice for artists in rock, pop, country, blues, folk, jazz, and beyond, GIBSON ignited its next era at NAMM in Anaheim, CA. The pre-eminent American-made instrument brand revitalized, re-envisioned, and recharged its core mission, paying homage to its storied history as it embraced the next vanguard of musicians independent of generation, gender and genre. NAMM represented a series of achievements for GIBSON including a NAMM Milestone Award for 125 years in business and the new Les Paul Standard 50s guitar went on to win “Best Electric Guitar of NAMM” from the editors of Guitar, Total Guitar and Music Radar magazines.

- Winemaker Lot18 has teamed up with Playboy Enterprises, Inc. to produce the ‘Playboy California Red Wine’, a limited edition, high-quality blend crafted for wine aficionados and Playboy fans alike. In celebration of Playboy’s 65-year anniversary, and just in time for Valentine’s Day, Lot18’s specially crafted red wine blend will undoubtedly please any wine lover. The bottle itself makes for a perfect gift for collectors, with a unique label that presents the famed Playboy Bunny Costume. Inspired by the sultry silhouette of the iconic Bunny, Playboy illustrator and designer, Katie Bailie, captured the essential details of the Costume – a satin bodice, ears, and bowtie applied in lavish gold mosaic as a gracious nod to Playboy’s heritage. Playboy California Red Wine Blend can be ordered exclusively at while supplies last. The wine was masterfully created by the team at Lot18 to celebrate the iconic brand and its legacy of work.

Thursday, February 07, 2019

Previewing PEN15

As we sit here in peak TV, it is a bit surprising that the overabundance of outlets producing shows, there are very few super-weird content. Back in the eighties when there was significantly less content there seemed to a lot more weird stuff. Sure it was quite clear that creators and television and movie executives were doing copious amounts of cocaine. Seriously kiddies, not only was there a movie where two office flunkies carried around the dead boss for an entire movie, that actually got a sequel where I believe the corpse started to move by itself because of a voodoo curse. Le sigh. I miss those days.

So I got a little excited when I heard of the completely absurd concept for PEN15 (no, it is not pronounced Pen Thirteen, look at it some more, you will get it eventually): two thirty-somethings playing versions of themselves as thirteen-year-old outcasts in the year 2000, surrounded by actual thirteen-year-olds in seventh grade. The two women are Maya Erskine (who also starred in one of the few other weird shows this decade Man Seeking Woman which featured Lyla Garrity being best friends with a Japanese Penis Monster, seriously) and Anna Konkle (who was also in an episode of Man Seeking Woman but my be best known for Rosewood) who both co-created the show and wrote most of the ten episodes.

Yeah, it gets extremely weird seeing two women almost three times the age of their co-stars act out the most awkward time in everyone’s life. And sure it is extremely funny to start out but then it gets kind of creepy and fast. In episode three Maya becomes a chronic masturbator and it just feels dirty watching a thirteen year old character touching themselves even if she is being played by a thirty-one year old.

Then despite being labeled outcasts, the two girls do seem to have a steady stream of suiters and it is so creepy watching these women flirting with barely teenaged boys, I was expecting Chris Hansen to pop out multiple times. Though I did notice a couple times in the credits that there were stand in’s for some of the scenes, and the scenes were cut in such a way, it was obvious there were a couple stand in without seeing the credits. Oh and I think I saw more menstrual blood on this show than every show I have previously watched combined.

Despite the high concept, at heart PEN15 is a nostalgia show. In the premiere we get early 00’s gems from Mandy Moore, Lit, Lifehouse and the most underrated, and really the second best TLC song Unpretty. And of course there is dial up modems,  Ask Jeeves, Ace Ventura jokes, and the first R-rated movie the girls watch is the best trashy movie of the era Wild Things. Surprisingly we do not get to see the girls react to the Kevin Bacon coming out of the shower scene.

The most nostalgic of all the episodes is when the girls first log on to AIM. Everyone under the age of twenty really needs to watch the bizarre online mating rituals of people who just started using the internet on a primitive messaging app that you could only use for limited times because you needed to dial into your phone, which was connected to the wall and could only be used to call things… Yeah describing how we used the phone and the internet at the turn of the century to people under twenty is hard. You may just have to watch to understand.

All episodes of PEN15 are available tomorrow on Hulu.

Sunday, February 03, 2019

57 Channels and Only This Is On: February 3, 2019

Supergirl: Well that was one of the worst hours to ever air on television. You have the sister being the only rational person on the episode pointing out The Dreamer was not really a woman and therefore should not receive any gift passed on the maternal line.
Supergirl on iTunes.

Shameless: Sextuplets? Those will double Frank’s output in children. Although does he actually take responsibility for them unlike his current children or does he just inform Carl he was the actual sperm donor. Although Peg Bundy does have a history of having fever dreams of being pregnant before.

The Passage: Finally a ration person who thinks they should actually kill the death row vampires. Oh wait; moron stopped the execution because she hijacked his brain to give him a sob story. You know what, when a death row vampire hijacks your brain, that is even more reason to destroy it.
You can download The Passage on iTunes.

Manifest: Jus when I thought this show could not get any worse; somehow the new hiker guy is making the show even dumber. So did he and the hot cop get stuck in another time jump thingy? Am I supposed to assume that bad CGI was what that was?
You can download Manifest on iTunes.

Vikings: Sometime the “Previously On” section can be a bit spoilerly and boy did I get a very Igar’s bride was going to be the one that murders him vibe from this week’s “Previously On.” Okay, I got that a bit backwards since Igar killed her but I did get it a bit right in that she tried pretty hard to get her killed by telling Bjorn about the secret passage into Kattergaurd. Of course this begs the question, when did Kattergaurd become that fortified? We always see the port but I do not remember ever seeing walls. But in the end, Bjorn was able to exile his brother… I think. That was a weird ending with Bjorn questioning things and the quick change of scenes of him holding a bloody blade his mother gave him. Are they saying that battle was just a dream? I am guessing seeing a fleeing Igar afterwards means that it happened.
You can download Vikings on iTunes.

Gotham: Wait, so Walker (who I just hear as Waller, as in Amanda, which would actually make sense) put a chip in The Riddler’s head so they could have him blow up a building full of civilians. Then tried to get Gordon to kill The Riddler threw his army buddy and when he did not, the army buddy sent The Riddler to kill Gordon. I feel like we are missing something.
You can download Gotham on iTunes.

Blindspot: I kind of wish more of the episode was written by the dead writer, it was great to see overexaggerated versions of these characters. What I do not need more of is sick Jane. Now that her organs are shutting down and she is on her death bed they can finally cure her.
You can download Blindspot on iTunes.