Friday, February 15, 2019

Around the Tubes: February 15, 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 Desus & Mero, Action, Unbanned: The Legend of AJ1, Meg Mac, Jay Rock, and The Go-Go’s.

- Desus Nice and The Kid Mero will welcome fellow Bronx native Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) as the first guest in studio on their new Showtime weekly half-hour late-night talk show, Desus & Mero. The series will premiere on Thursday, February 21 at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT and air on Thursday nights from New York City. In the premiere episode, the duo will also visit the Congresswoman’s new offices in D.C. determined to make her feel at home, as well as give their take on the day’s hot topics in their signature style in front of a small live studio audience. Upcoming guests on Desus & Mero will include John Legend, Vince Staples, Ben Stiller, Issa Rae, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Pusha T.

- Hulu and Lionsgate today announce that Unbanned: The Legend of AJ1, the powerful and inspiring true story of how Air Jordan 1 (AJ1) transcended sport to become a global phenomenon, will stream exclusively on Hulu. From first time filmmaker Dexton Deboree, the documentary interviews culture-defining titans, including NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan himself, Quincy Jones, Spike Lee, Lena Waithe, Carmelo Anthony, Chuck D, and Phil Knight among others, to explore how AJ1 was not just a sneaker, but a worldwide movement that broke through barriers of race, age, and gender to define the culture in which we now live. Lionsgate acquired the documentary which is set to make its exclusive streaming debut on Hulu on February 14. “Sneaker fans all over the world remember the thrill of getting their first pair of Air Jordans, and this film explores the story behind and incredible impact of that iconic shoe,” said Heather Moosnick, Senior Vice President Content Partnerships, Hulu. “At Hulu, we’re focused on bringing highly compelling films and series to our viewers that reflect the culture and inspire conversation – and Unbanned: The Legend of AJ1 is exactly that.”

- The critically acclaimed coming-of-age story Minding the Gap directed by Bing Liu, an Oscar nominee for Best Documentary Feature for the 91st Academy Awards, will have its national broadcast debut on the PBS documentary series POV and next Monday, February 18 at 9 p.m. (check local listings).

- Showtime Sports Documentary Films today announced a multi-part docu-series titled Action, exploring the legalization of sports gambling and its evolving impact on the gambling community as the industry navigates a landmark 2018 court ruling. Peeling back the curtain on a once taboo industry during its most critical juncture, the four-part series will premiere Sunday, March 24 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime. Action chronicles the lives of professional gamblers, bookies and oddsmakers throughout the 2018 NFL season following the Supreme Court decision to lift a ban on sports betting. The series will culminate with the biggest gambling day of the year, Super Bowl Sunday. The character-driven narrative delivers intimate access to a diverse cross-section of authentic and sometimes garrulous subjects within the sports gaming community, documenting the effects of legalization through their prisms.

- Meg Mac is thrilled to unveil her empowering new single, ‘Something Tells Me’. Written with Grammy nominated Melbourne songwriter Sarah Aarons and produced by ARIA and Grammy Award winner M-Phazes, it is the second single from Meg’s forthcoming project. The song premiered on Consequence of Sound and is an ode to trusting in yourself, and learning to drown out the noise of others when it comes to making decisions. She explains, “Something Tells Me is about trying not to listen to the people around you but working out what you really want to do. I’ve made so many decisions and choices based on what other people tell me I should or shouldn't do. This song is about not doing that anymore”.

- Tune in this Friday, February 15 at 10:00 pm ET/PT to watch the broadcast premiere of the concert featuring the GRAMMY Award-winning rapper, songwriter and producer “Jay Rock” on AT&T* AUDIENCE Network via DIRECTV Ch 239. The show will also be available streaming on-demand through DIRECTV NOW and WatchTV.

- Showtime announced today it has acquired U.S. rights to The Go-Go’s, a feature documentary about the most successful female rock band of all time, with plans to premiere the film later this year. Alison Ellwood (HISTORY OF THE EAGLES, American Jihad) will direct the project. The band granted full access for this textured biography featuring candid interviews and archival footage to tell the real story of their meteoric rise to fame and the journeys, triumphs, laughter and struggles along the way.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Previewing Miracle Workers

Workplace comedies have been a staple since the dawn of the television age, from The Mary Tyler Moore Show to The Office. There is just something universal of going in punching the clock. From being in close proximity to people you otherwise would have never talked to and the occasional office flirtations, to the potential pouching from rival companies, to the banality of doing the same job over and over again. And then there is the aloof boss who has decided to blow up the Earth.

Okay, that last one is exclusive to the latest workplace comedy, Miracle Workers, which imagines God as the CEO of Heaven Inc. with departments like clouds, mammals, and bug control (spoiler alert, that department is not doing a very good job) while the Angels are resigned to being the worker bees. The show follows Geraldine Viswanathan (Blockers) as she finally gets to leave the Dirt Department for The Department of Answered Prayers only to find an overworked Daniel Radcliffe (Now You See Me 2) who spends most his days melting snowflakes one at a time for hours to answer the prayer of finding one’s car keys. See he is not allowed to break the laws of physics so it is rerouting wind patterns to uncover gloves under leaves.

Just last week I was lamenting the lack of extremely weird show despite there being an overabundance of outputs these days. I pointed out there was nothing truly bizarre since the FXX comedy Man Seeking Woman. Well that show was created by Simon Rich who also created Miracle Workers and wrote the book What in God’s Name that the series is based on. And that warped sense of humor continues on the new show.

So right as Viswanathan finally got a more exciting job, God has decided to blow up the Earth after a day of watching a wall of cable news. But Viswanathan convinces God to give Earth a reprieve if she is able to answer one of the prayers labeled “Impossible” and God gives her two weeks or kaboom. So hell or high water, the miracle workers go to work to make that one last wish come true by any means necessary. Oh, and I forgot to mention, God is played by Steve Buscemi (Grown Up’s 2). Yes, that Steve Buscemi.

What is great is all the actors completely buy into their characters no matter how absurd things get around them. Seriously, there is a “Burst Appendix” button that of course comes into play in hilarious fashion. Viswanathan is a great find and is perfect as the wide eyed newbie who will stop at nothing to prove she belongs. Go ahead and put her in ever comedy from her on out please. Though The best character may be the newscaster who comments on all the acts of God that the miracle workers and God create during the show. His delivery is just deadpan gold.

There is really only one complaint I can give to Miracle Workers: It is too short at just seven half hours. Really, without ads, you could watch the entire series in under two and a half hours (which comes to think of it would have made for a decent movie). If you are going to give the team two weeks, how about fourteen episodes, one day per episode? Instead we go from twelve days until the end of the world to six just like that and we are left to wonder what shenanigans happening in those six day.

Also TBS is calling the show a “limited series” but I really hope we get more seasons. It would not be unprecedented, Big Little Lies got a second season as did The Alienist on Turner’s other channel. But being too short is the best complaint you can have. For those that are missing the heavenly comedy of The Good Place will definitely want to check out Miracle Workers.

Miracle Workers airs Tuesdays at 10:30 on TBS. Or just watch the first episode below.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

57 Channels and Only This Is On: February 10, 2019

The Passage: Some of these death row convictions just seem absurd to me. Last week the hot vampire is to be put to death because she murdered her child rapist and his protector, even if you do not particularly believe that defense, it should be enough to avoid the death penalty. Then this week the black dude is to be put to death because he drowned his lover? Again, that is a bit harsh. I understand the writers want them to come off as a little sympathetic, but c’mon can theynot be accused of something a little more gruesome than that?
You can download The Passage on iTunes.

Manifest: The Church of The Returned? Just when you thought the show could not get any dumber. Plus did none of the writers see that horrible show The Returned? Not really something you want to compare yourself to.
You can download Manifest on iTunes.

The Challenge: War of World: With Road Rules not airing for over a decade and Real World finally ending two years ago (on MTV anyway, supposedly there is a Facebook Watch reboot already in the works) and the show slowly working in MTV's other reality show, Are You the One before also including British shows and Big Brother, it is not surprising we are finally getting a full blown The Challenge vs. Other MTV shows. Though it is weird that one fourth of the vets started out on another show so MTV Americans are actually outnumbered ten to six. It is nice to finally have Nany back for the first time in four seasons, which is actually only a two and a half year absence. But the school yard pick was weird. In what world does Pauli get picked first and Zach gets picked last?
You can download The Challenge: War of Worlds on iTunes.

Deadly Class: I had a theory that hot Asian chick was going to be related to the Asian headmaster and when they ran into each other while the cousins were taking her to her bother, I thought that was going to be the twist. But I kind of missed the layout of everything. Why go through a random restaurant while kidnapping someone. Is that were the secret entrance was. I vaguely remember a secret entrance.
You can download Deadly Class on iTunes.

Blindspot: Finally, they cured Jane. That went on a little too long. Maybe should have found a cure by the midseason finale. Of course, this begs the question, now what? Is the Zapata storyline really going to carry the show for the rest of the season? Although, kind of annoying that the promo monkeys spoiled what they needed the hacker for.
You can download Blindspot on iTunes.

The Blacklist: Uh oh, Lizzie got caught. Although Ressler just let it slide despite being the boy scout of the group. But will he just let it be or try to figure out just what Lizzie was doing with the fake Red tip? Well, obviously it will have to be the latter.
You can download The Blacklist on iTunes.