Saturday, March 23, 2019

Around the Tubes: March 23, 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 Action, A Life Among Monkeys, Tre Maison Dasan, bülow, Maggie Lindemann, We Are Columbine, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, Looking For Alaska, and The Loudest Voice.

- Showtime has released the official trailer for its new four-part docu-series Action, premiering on Sunday, March 24 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. Directed by Luke Korem, Action explores the legalization of sports gambling and its evolving impact on the industry following the landmark 2018 Supreme Court decision to lift a ban on sports betting. Peeling back the curtain on a once taboo industry during its most critical juncture, Action chronicles the lives of professional gamblers, bookies and oddsmakers throughout the 2018 NFL season, culminating with the biggest gambling day of the year, Super Bowl Sunday. The character-driven narrative delivers intimate access to a diverse cross-section of the sports gaming community and documents the effects of legalization through their prisms.

- Smithsonian Channel will introduce viewers to a class-conscious community of Sri Lankan monkeys in a new documentary to air during the network’s Wild Wednesday lineup. The one-hour special draws upon the remarkable work of Dr. Wolfgang Dittus, who has spent over 50 years studying the charismatic toque macaques of Sri Lanka, constituting the longest continuous monkey study in the world. Centered in the stunning ancient kingdom ruins of Polonnaruwa, A Life Among Monkeys reveals trials and tribulations of life in the intricate social order of toque macaques, documented for the first time thanks to Dr. Dittus’ pioneering work, and forces us to reevaluate what we thought we knew about primate societies. A Life Among Monkeys premieres Wednesday, April 24 at 9 PM ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel.

- Told directly through the children’s perspective, Tre Maison Dasan is an up-close and unfiltered look at the lives of three Rhode Island boys, each navigating childhood and adolescence with a parent behind bars. Each boy faces the pressure of growing up in a society that often demonizes their parents, provides little support for their families, and assumes “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Produced and directed by Denali Tiller, Tre Maison Dasan premieres on Independent Lens Monday, April 1, 2019, 10:00-11:00 PM ET (check local listings), and will also be available simultaneously for online streaming at

- JUNO Award winning, pop iconoclast bülow has announced the release of her new EP, Crystalline, on April 5th via Wax Records /Republic Records/Universal Music Canada, the country’s leading music company. Music fans can listen to the EP’s debut single, “Sweet Little Lies,” here.

- Maggie Lindemann has been adventurously investigating her sound and identity since breaking through with the global pop smash 'Pretty Girl.' From that track's laser-sharp pop focus to the darker, revealingly vulnerable recent tracks ‘Human’ and ‘Would I,’ Maggie has demonstrated a brave desire to tackle bold new ideas while amassing over a billion streams.

- This April marks 20 years since tragedy unfolded at Columbine High School. Director and former student Laura Farber now brings us stories from those who lived it and how they’ve since dealt with the residual trauma in We Are Columbine, the new documentary playing this April in select cities along with a digital HD release April 9th. Offering a unique perspective, We Are Columbine follows four students who experienced one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history. Director Laura Farber, who was also a Columbine freshman at the time, sensitively captures her classmates' deeply personal and unique perspectives during an unprecedented walk-through of the school itself, shedding light on the complexity of a life impacted by violence and loss at a young age.

- Showtime has announced that Rory Kinnear (Penny Dreadful) has joined Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, the next chapter of the Penny Dreadful saga, in the series regular role of Dr. Peter Craft. Craft is a successful German pediatrician and the head of the German-American Bund, an organization he hopes will keep the United States isolated from the growing threat of war in Europe. The series also stars Natalie Dormer, Daniel Zovatto, Adriana Barraza, Jessica Garza, Johnathan Nieves and Tony® and Emmy® winner Nathan Lane. Tony and Golden Globe® award winner and three-time Oscar® nominee John Logan, the creator, writer and executive producer of the Emmy nominated series Penny Dreadful, continues in those same roles. Michael Aguilar (Kidding) also serves as executive producer. Production on the drama series is expected to begin later this year.

- Hulu’s upcoming (8-episode) limited series, Looking For Alaska, announces additional series regulars: Denny Love, Jay Lee, Landry Bender, Sofia Vassilieva, Uriah Shelton, and Jordan Connor. They join previously announced series regulars, Kristine Froseth and Charlie Plummer. The series comes from Paramount Television and Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage’s Fake Empire. Logline: The series is based on the John Green novel of the same name. It is told through the eyes of teenager Miles “Pudge” Halter (Plummer), as he enrolls in boarding school to try to gain a deeper perspective on life. He falls in love with a girl, Alaska Young (Froseth), and after her unexpected death, he and his close friends attempt to uncover the truth behind her death and make sense of it.

- Showtime has announced that Emmy and Golden Globe® nominated actor Josh Charles (The Good Wife) will play a recurring role in the network’s upcoming limited series The Loudest Voice about Fox News founder Roger Ailes. The series, led by Academy Award® and Golden Globe winner Russell Crowe (Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind), is based on extensive reporting by Gabriel Sherman in his bestselling book, The Loudest Voice in the Room. Production is currently underway in New York City. Charles will portray Casey Close, husband of former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson (Oscar® nominee Naomi Watts) and well-known sports agent, who tries to comfort his rattled wife and reassure her that her situation at Fox isn't as bad as she thinks.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

2019 Spring Music Preview

When I did my Winter music preview, it resolved around us getting three new Ryan Adams albums this year. Ooops. Dude got #MeToo-ed and the first album has been indefinitely delayed. Granted this did not come to much of a surprise because, c'mon, we have known Adams has been a douche for quite a long time now. The first story I ever remember of him was that he once stopped a concert and refused to continue until a dude who shouted "Play Summer of '69" was kicked out. And there are a lot of stories of this guy being an unhinged mess. I remember an article for Jenny Lewis's last album (not the one being released tomorrow) which Adams produced songs for and I came away from this thinking, wow, this guy is bat-shirt crazy. Kind of makes me wonder why anyone get close to this guy in the first place. Oh well. There is still plenty of new music coming our way this spring. Here is what I will at the very least give a spin on Spotify. You can pre-order on Amazon by clicking on the title. Click the artist's name to be taken to their iTunes page.

On the Line - Jenny Lewis
My Finest Work - Andrew Bird
No Words Left - Lucy Rose
100% Fresh - Adam Sandler

March 29
When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? - Billie Eilish
Union - Son Volt
For the Many - UB40
Rattlesnake - The Strumbellas
You're the Man - Marvin Gaye
Stand Back: 1981-2017 - Stevie Nicks

April 5
Amidst the Chaos - Sara Bareilles

April 12
Begin Again - Norah Jones
Love Is All You Love - Band of Skulls
The Hurting Kind - John Paul White
This Wild Willing - Glen Hansard
My Happy Place - Emma Bunton
Absolute Zero - Bruce Hornsby

April 19
Jade Bird - Jade Bird
Akron, Ohio - Sad Planets
In Stereo - Bananarama

April 26
Thrilled To Be Here - BAILEN
In the End - The Cranberries

May 3
Father of the Bride - Vampire Weekend
Pep Talks - Judah and The Lion
Age of Unreason - Bad Religion
Dreaming Time Again - Corey Hart

May 10
Wah Gwaan?! - Shaggy
We Get By - Mavis Staples
Space Between - Sammy Hagar and The Circle

May 17
Living Mirage - The Head and the Heart
I Am Easy to Find - The National

May 24
40 - Stray Cats

May 31
Glazed - *repeat repeat

June 21
Keepsake - Hatchie

Chance the Rapper
Fiona Apple
Guns N' Roses
Selena Gomez
Tiffany Haddish

And of course, this could be the season Dr. Dre releases Detox.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Previewing The Act

Last summer Hulu premiered Castle Rock releasing a new episode every week. There were two just outstanding episodes over the course of the first that spawned countless think pieces across the internet. And that was the last time Hulu released one of its show one episode per week instead opting for the Netflix model of releasing full seasons at one time. I never quite understood this other than the thought, well Netflix is successful is at so we should do it too. Except if you subscribe to Hulu, you probably to it to watch last night’s episode of NBC, ABC, and Fox shows.

Almost a year later, it looks like Hulu is rethinking its release schedule. The first drama to release every show at once was The First which was already canceled. I do wonder if it had been more successful if it was released weekly. Much like Castle Rock there was a truly great episode in the middle except there were no think pieces about because when a show is released all at once, when exactly do you write it? Instead most critics wrote about the show once, said there was one great episode but the rest was mostly, meh, and that was about it. Though The First is the only show since canceled, only Light as a Feather has been renewed. And really shows aimed at teenagers and younger are probably the only shows Hulu should release all at once.

So starting with The Act, Hulu is, at least for now, is going back to a weekly release schedule. (The Handmaid’s Tale and Harlots will follow this spring and both have released weekly in their first two season so I would assume that will continue though no word on Catch-22 which premieres before them.) And really it will be better for it because you may need a full week to pull process each episode because The Act is completely messed up. And I mean that in the most complementary way possible.

The Act is another in an every growing trend of True Crime limited series and this series may have found the most bizarre true crime story in America’s history. The Buzzfeed article that brought the story to the masses says it all: “Dee Dee Wanted Her Daughter to Be Sick, Gypsy Wanted Her Mom to Be Murdered.” Patricia Arquette (who is back in a bad wig after winning an multiple end year awards for another pretty bizarre true crime story, Escape from Dannamora) plays Dee Dee who has been abusing her daughter with Munchausen syndrome by proxy for years. Gyspy is played Joey King (Ramona and Beezus) who is not going to make it easy for Arquette to also take home the Emmy where she may just compete against herself and King. Really, these two going out it in every scene going for that Emmy is going to be as compelling as every March Madness game this year. I might just give it to King by a hair because she literally has none for this role because Dee Dee told Gypsy she was so sick she could not grow any and shaved her regularly.

That Buzzfeed title is not really that spoilery for those unfamiliar with the case because there are flash forwards in the premiere where we see a lifeless Dee Dee with multiple stab wounds in her back. This act took place in 2015 while the first episode flashes back seven years when two New Orleans are built a new how in Missouri by Habitat for Humanity after being displaced by Katrina. Gypsy gets medicine and food injected through her belly and wears a mask to sleep. She also has the largest medicine cabinet you may ever see. And of course early in the show Gypsy has to be taken to the Emergency Room, her seventh time that year and it is not even summer year.

But this is the time of a young girl’s life where they are starting to be old enough to think about best friends, boyfriends. Or so one would assume, it is unclear just how old Gypsy is. Dee Dee is really exploiting records being destroying in Katrina to put Gypsy’s age in doubt. But Gypsy is now smart enough to clear the browsing history. One friend that presents herself is AnnaSophia Robb (Race to Witch Mountain) who lives across the street with her mother Chloë Sevigny (American Psycho).

Each episode of The Act opens with the tag “Based on real event” but I also found it interesting that each episode end with, “While this program is based on real events, some scenes and characters have been dramatized or fictionalized.” Which kind of leads me to wonder what exactly is real and what is not? I remember watching Hidden Figures last year and was disappointed to learn afterwards that the best part of the movie, when Kevin Costner tore down the “Colors Bathroom” sign, never actually happened because that character he did that for did not actually had to go across campus to use the restroom she was allowed to go in. Fake or real, The Act is creepy as it gets and I cannot wait to see how it fully unfurls and actually write about it every week.

New episodes of The Act premiere on Hulu every Wednesday. The first two episodes are available now.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

57 Channels and Only This Is On: March 17, 2019

Supergirl: Did they already disband The Elite? They were the only remotely non-horrible part of this season. Oh well, next week we get Lex Luthur. Meh.
Supergirl on iTunes.

Shameless: Fiona seemly got fleeced on that deal. All she got was her $100,000 back. At least get some interest if that dude stands to make money on the deal. Then she gives half to Debbie. $50,000 may last a couple years if you are frugal, but Fiona has not been the best at money. And flying south without a plan is not a great way to manage money. But hey, when changes her mind and want to rejoin the cast in half a season like Ian did, I guess that would make storyline sense.

The Walking Dead: I do not understand the argument of not going back to Hilltop. The Whisperers are just going to assume you are going there if you are or not. I really doubt they are going to knock on the door, be told the daughter is not there, and then say sorry and leave. I doubt they would leave unless they get proof and Hilltop cannot prove a false negative so there is going to be a showdown if you go there or not. I also do not understand stopping either. The Whisperers walk with slow moving zombies, they are easy to outrun.
You can download The Walking Dead on iTunes.

Black Monday: So the SEC has been leaning on Keith for three months? I guess that is the problem with doing a show that takes place over a year in just ten half hour episodes. The SEC nabs Keith with 122 days to go and the next episode is 65. But interesting Mo actually came clean on his long con and that just blew up. So how is he going to get back on track? Marry Tiff himself? Or was that him behind both kidnappings in the episode? Next episode is 7042, which would be… 19 years ago? That should be interesting.

The Passage: Just when you think these people cannot get any dumber, that actually had a contingency plan by planting bombs in their bunker… except the forking morons did not seem to kill any of the vampires in the explosion. I kind of wonder if Shawna was lying and that the black scientist was turned and survived the bomb and will pop up at some point in season two. Actually, will anyone be around in season two after all the other countries nuked the U.S.? Amy survives because we see he decades in the future. Fanning we saw in Amy’s future vision. So are these vampires like cockroaches that can survive explosions in enclosed bunkers and nuclear fallout? Yet that black Bible spouting chick seemingly can kill them pretty easily. As for the rest of the cast, Zach Morris and his ex-wife were given the cure but seem to have some vampire properties. Zach’s army buddy seems to be in the same situation except we do not really learn how Shawna saved him. Then will this next season be exclusively in the distant future or will it split between present day? I guess the biggest question is, will there even be a second season?
You can download The Passage on iTunes.

Survivor: Edge of Extinction: Every season we have a swap and conspicuously every swap you can spot Probst shoving certain platters or bags towards certain players making me wonder just how random was the swap. Then we ended up with a pretty statistically improbable result of the minority tribe all ending up on the same tribe except the one member who was on the outs. And of course they continue to lose.
You can download Survivor: Edge of Extinction on iTunes.

The Challenge: War of World: Well after we got our first English player to go him last week, Wes orchestrates to get rid of another… and fails the only way Was can. For a self-proclaimed genius, his plans fail quite miserable all the time.
You can download The Challenge: War of Worlds on iTunes.

Deadly Class: So the headmaster and the hot Asian assassin are linked… sort of. He knew her father. They kind of teased they were related a couple times and now we know what is really going on there. But so much for the speech on protecting her when her father died because she just straight up abandoned him. Granted, what exactly could she have done when the Cartel rolled up to the Headmaster’s home? That and the raid on the crazy person should make for an interesting finale.
You can download Deadly Class on iTunes.

Doom Patrol: Oh my goodness, a Cult of the Recreator. How stupid and how great. But what exactly is Mr. Nobody up to by telling Crazy Jane about Doom Patrol? I guess they had a team name yet, but a weird reveal for the name he planted almost forty years ago. But this is a weird show so it will likely play out is a great way.

Blindspot: So are they selling that game? If not they are missing out on some money… from me at least. I kind of want to play.
You can download Blindspot on iTunes.

The Blacklist: So Red knew of a plot that goes all the way to the top. But did he know it went all the way to the tippy top because the president turned out to be in on it. So how exactly to you get a pardon from the one person who is actually conspiring against you? Well the team has about ten minutes to figure that out.
You can download The Blacklist on iTunes.