Saturday, May 18, 2019

Around the Tubes: May 18, 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 16 Shots, Sugar and Toys, Kid Cudi, James Bay, Of Monsters of Men, Adolf Island, Atomic Age Declassified, The Good Lord Bird, and Your Honor.

- Showtime Documentary Films today announced it will premiere the new documentary 16 Shots from Academy Award® nominated director Richard Rowley (Dirty Wars) on Friday, June 14 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The feature examines the 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke and the cover-up that ensued. After the police initially declared the shooting as justified, journalists and activists fought for footage of the event to be released, sending the Chicago Police Department and local Chicago government officials into upheaval as the community demanded justice. Rowley’s film dissects the cover-up through first-hand witness accounts which led to the unprecedented conviction that fractured the political landscape of Chicago.

- The first trailer for Fuse’ brand-new, late night animated series, Sugar and Toys, is now available! Starring host and multi-platinum rapper and actor KYLE, (The After Party), Sugar and Toys is a late-night cartoon party aimed at adults only, featuring hip-hop-culture themed and no-holds-barred social commentary. Created by Carl Jones and Brian Ash (Black Dynamite and The Boondocks), Sugar and Toys puts a wild new twist on the Saturday morning cartoons we grew up with. Sugar and Toys, premieres Sunday, June 9 at 11:00 pm ET/PT.

- Adidas has officially confirmed their partnership with Kid Cudi, with product set to be released later this year. No stranger to the brand Kid Cudi’s collaborative efforts with the Three Stripes began in 2018 with the release of the TRESC run. This was just the beginning of the relationship as Adidas has confirmed more footwear and apparel is coming soon. The partnership was announced Saturday morning with cryptic wheat pastings across Miami (where Cudi will headline this weekend’s Rolling Loud festival), Los Angeles, and New York. The graphic depicts a feminine half head with a burning moon inside and will be present on all upcoming adidas x Kid Cudi product. A URL at the bottom of the poster invites you to visit where there is a sign-up page for the collaboration now live.

- Three-time GRAMMY® Award-nominated and BRIT Award-winning multiplatinum singer-songwriter James Bay performed his recent single “Bad” on the TODAY Show. Watch HERE.

- Multiplatinum Icelandic quintet Of Monsters of Men performed their return single “Alligator” on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Watch HERE. The performance follows the announcement of their North American fall FEVER DREAM Tour in support of their new album FEVER DREAM out July 26th.

- In what could turn out to be the largest murder case on British soil, Adolf Island sees forensic archaeologist Caroline Sturdy Colls (Professor of Conflict Archaeology and Genocide Investigation at Staffordshire University) go in search of a Nazi SS camp constructed in secrecy on the British Channel island of Alderney during World War II. Years of research and forensic investigation have led Sturdy Colls to examine remnants of concentration and labor camps on the quiet island, and to official SS archives in Germany, where clues emerge that lead Caroline to suspect that Alderney was the scene of Nazi mass murders. However, when local officials attempt to stop the investigation, the search for the final resting place of the victims is imperiled. Adolf Island will premiere on Sunday, June 23 at 10 PM ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel.

- Smithsonian Channel will shed light on years of America’s history that were shrouded in secrecy and deception in Atomic Age Declassified. The three-part series takes viewers back to the Atomic Age of the mid-20th century, a time when there was excitement about the potential of nuclear planes, trains and automobiles and private programs were on a mission to identify the endless possibilities of atoms as an energy source. But recently declassified materials show that our atomic dreams had a dark side, with paranoia and secrecy leading to many near-disasters and raising the question, “How far was America willing to go?” in the volatile atomic race. Atomic Age Declassified premieres Sunday, June 16 at 9 PM ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel.

- FOX Sports Films has released the trailer for its newest Magnify series film “Q Ball.” The documentary chronicles the lives of incarcerated basketball players at San Quentin State Prison and is executive produced by Golden State Warriors All-Star Kevin Durant’s Thirty Five Media, in conjunction with HEIST and Hunting Lane Films.

- Filmmaker Albert Hughes (Alpha, Menace II Society) is joining as executive producer and will make his television directorial debut helming multiple episodes of the new Showtime limited series The Good Lord Bird from Blumhouse Television, based on the National Book Award-winning novel The Good Lord Bird by bestselling author James McBride. Oscar®, Golden Globe® and Tony® nominee Ethan Hawke will star as 19th-century abolitionist John Brown and is co-writing and executive producing with award-winning author and producer Mark Richard (The Ice at the Bottom of the World and Hell on Wheels).

- After his compelling work on the acclaimed Showtime limited series Patrick Melrose, Emmy nominated writer/director Edward Berger returns to the network to direct the first three episodes and executive produce the new limited series Your Honor. The 10-episode series starring Oscar nominee and Emmy, Golden Globe®, Screen Actors Guild® and Tony® Award winner Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), is a legal thriller that rips through all strata of New Orleans society. Cranston will star as a respected judge whose son is involved in a hit-and-run that leads to a high-stakes game of lies, deceit and impossible choices. YOUR HONOR is executive produced by Emmy nominees Robert and Michelle King (The Good Fight, The Good Wife, Evil). BAFTA winner Peter Moffat – whose Criminal Justice was the basis for The Night Of – serves as showrunner and executive producer and has written multiple episodes, including the first episode. Your Honor will go into production this fall in New Orleans.

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Five Most (and Least) Anticipated Shows of 2019-20

One thing I noticed as the networks were releasing their schedules, I am not watching much next fall, especially dramas, which I will only be watching three of. It could stem from not really wanting to watch twenty-two episodes of a show over the course of a year anymore and just the lack of creativity. Sure there will a few cable shows that have not been announced yet that will take up time, most likely Homeland, Mr. Robot, and The Walking Dead, but I may be watching less television this fall than I have in a while this fall. Here are the few bright spots that caught my eye.

1. The Great (Hulu, TBD): Hulu did not release a trailer but did show one during their Upfronts and let me tell you, this show looks like a hoot. It is an absurdist look at Catherine the Great, not to be confused with HBO’s super serious take on the Russian princess starring Helen Mirran. The Hulu show stars the much younger Elle Fanning with Nicolas Hoult hamming it up as a Prussian suiter. Definitely keep an eye out for this one.

2. Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (NBC, Midseason): When pilot announcements started rolling in, the only one that really caught my eye was Jane Levy starring in a musical. That is all I needed to know. And that is basically all I know at this point because NBC did not release a trailer. Hopefully this turns out better than NBC’s last musical Rise.

3. Dollface (Hulu, TBD): Another Hulu show that they did not release a trailer to the public but I got to see, and this is actually weirder than The Great. It reminded me of Man Seeking Woman but from the woman’s point of view and that woman is Kat Dennings. It will be nice seeing her in something that is not as bad as 2 Broke Girls.

4. Snowpiercer (TBS, Spring): Here is a show that may have been on my list last year too because it has seemed to be gestating for a while now. Based on a very good movie which I came away thinking, this could have made for a great television show having each car be its own episode. But due to the lengthy production time and word that the show is moving from TNT to TBS (because, you know, the movie was so forking funny), I was a little worried, but TBS also announced it has been announced for season two. So maybe there is hope still that it will live up to the hype in my head.

5. Perfect Harmony (NBC, Thursdays at 8:30): NBC’s other musical show, this one about a church choir. Since it stars Pitch Perfect’s Anna Camp, I am hoping for some gratuitous cameo.

As the great philosopher Butt-Head once pondered, how would we know if something was cool if there weren't things that sucked, here are the five shows you could not pay me to watch next fall

1. BH90210 (Fox, Wednesdays at 9:00) – No, not a reboot, a fake reality show, because… who knows.

2. Batwoman (CW, Sundays at 8:00) – Batwoman was just horrible in the last CW crossover, why they thought giving not-Batman her own show is very puzzling.

3. Katy Keen (CW, Midseason): A Riverdale spinoff, the second one, except I knew who Sabrina the Teenage Witch is, who the fork is Katy Keen.

4. Nancy Drew (CW, Wednesdays at 9:00): Not a Riverdale spinoff technically, but certainly looks like it.

5. The Unicorn (CBS, Thursdays at 8:30): Boyd Crowder deserves better than a crappy CBS sitcom.

Here are the few things I will be watch on network television this fall:

8:00 – The Neighborhood (CBS)

9:00 – Mixish (ABC)
9:30 – Blackish (ABC)

8:00 – Survivor (CBS)
8:00 – The Goldbergs (ABC)
8:30 – Schooled (ABC)
9:00 – Not Just Me (Fox)
9:00 – Modern Family (ABC)

8:00 – Superstore (NBC)
8:30 – Perfect Harmony (NBC)
9:00 – The Good Place (NBC)
9:30 – Sunnyside (NBC)

8:00 – The Blacklist (NBC)


9:00 - Supergirl (The CW)

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Previewing Catch-22

At the Hulu upfronts, George Clooney joked about how this was the first upfronts he has attended in twenty-five years and tells a story about being backstage with Jennifer Aniston wondering if their shows were any good. Yeah, things turned out well for ER and Friends. After ER, Clooney went on to be the biggest movie star in a while when movies stars just did not do television. Why take up three-fourth of the year for a tenth of the paycheck?

But with the proliferation of different outlets who play with episode counts so you are not stuck doing a role for twenty two episodes, television is becoming easier to get a pet project down than some small scale movie. In the one for them, one for me format, the one for me is slowly turning into limited series. Reece Witherspoon is even now juggling three different shows on three different outlets. The first, Big Little Lies, just landed one of the biggest film stars alive, Meryl Streep to join the cast.

So it is the perfect time for Clooney to finally return to the small screen. His pet project is an adaptation of the dark war comedy Catch-22. But here is the thing, though George Clooney is the face of the show, the guy who did the presentation at the upfronts, and will likely do the talk show rounds, Clooney is not really the star of the show. He is not even in all of the six episodes, though he is a producer and directed a pair of episodes. Same goes for two other well-known television actors Kyle Chandler and Hugh Laurie. And though Clooney has been away from television for a while, he still kept each episode runtime at a brisk, network like forty to forty-five minutes.

Those three big name stars all play upper management in the air force, but the story of Catch-22 belongs to the airmen that doing the actual flying. Unfortunately the show falters when the fail to cast anyone as charismatic as those three elder statesmen. Even half way through the series, it is hard to distinguish most of the younger characters aside from the main POV character. It probably does not help that our military service was pretty racist and sexist during World War II so we are stuck with a very white male, undistinguishable cast. There is only one woman who does not spend most her time on screen in various stages of undress, and that nurse is one of the more memorable characters because of it.

There is also an issue with tone. Clooney and Laurie are hamming it up while Chandler just tweaks his Coach Taylor-ness up to eleven which is just humorous itself. But the lead guy acts like he is in a serious war movie and does not seem to know what to do when someone makes a joke around him. It is not until he has a groin injury does he do or say anything that makes me laugh. In the end, Catch-22 comes off like a Bob Hope movie if a Bob Hope movie had nudity, foul language, and graphic deaths. Well, also a very large-budgeted Bob Hope movie. The show was beautifully shot in Italy which almost makes it worth a look.

Christopher Abbott (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot) plays the lead airman who is trying his best to end his tour no many how many times his commanders raise his missions. There are attempts to get a medical, desertion, and even doing multiple missions a day in the hope he can complete them all before the number is raised. It is weird that Clooney just disappears for half the series considering how much of an antagonist he is to Abbott at the beginning, and really the show comes alive when he goes full ham during his scenes. Catch-22 is decent, but it is hard not to come away thinking how much better it could have been with some more tweaks to the casting and writing.

All episodes of Catch-22 are available to stream on Hulu starting tomorrow.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

57 Channels and Only This Is On: May 12, 2019

Supergirl: So just when Kara was going to reveal herself to Lena, Lena says something about betrayl so Supergirl puts her glasses back on. Meh. Maybe Supergirl will tell Lena by the end of the season setting up Lena slowly turn evil next season. There really needs to be a change in that dynamic.
Supergirl on iTunes.

Killing Eve: I am not sure what made less sense, the French assassin not retaliating for Eve stabbing her or Eve having the French Assassin locked in a container with two armed guards and just let her walk away. She has killed a bunch of people including one of your co-workers Eve.
You can download Killing Eve on iTunes.

Billions: Really, a draw? They can pay for Rich Eisen but not any judges? But kudos to the nerd who bet push. But silliness aside, both Axe and Chuck took a big hit from their adversaries this week. I hope at least one of them if not both get their comeuppance this season because if we are just going to have them in these big holes only for them to come out on top by the finale will be pretty boring.

Good Girls: So Beth takes an entire week off from being a drug kingpin? And only decides to go back to it because someone would not put out her gluten filled cupcakes? Kind of an unnecessary episode.
You can download Good Girls on iTunes

Shadowhunters: Petty horrible show, and even though they had to wrap up the series in a two and a half movie, that actually kind of had a satisfying ending. Still, I am glad it finally got canceled.
You can download Shadowhunters on iTunes.

Survivor: Edge of Extinction: Just when you thought Rick could not get any more annoying. If Lauren does not win, this will be the biggest travesty in the show's history.
You can download Survivor: Edge of Extinction on iTunes.

Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists: It seems like they have spent most of this season trying to convince the head of security that the trio had nothing to do with the death that we really have not spent much time figuring out who exactly did it. The British dude has to move to the top of the very short list right now.
You can download Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists on iTunes.

The Challenge: War of World: Good riddance Paulie, please go back to Big Brother.
You can download The Challenge: War of Worlds on iTunes.

Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger: What a great ending, just when you though the worst was about to happen to Dagger she sees the light. But did Cloak put Mayhem back in his dark space? He told her doppelganger he put her away. We did see a record store there when Dagger went there so I guess that is some voodoo plain where all that other worldly things go.
You can download Marvel's Cloak and Dagger on iTunes.

Doom Patrol: So poppa Stone is still, barely alive. I guess that would happen because it is hard to do Cyborg without him. We also almost got the death of Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man but hilariously he was shot in the mineral part of him. I wonder if he will just stay in the background or if he will ever come face to face with the Doom Patrol again. He as to have some part in the finale, right?

The Blacklist: So the president’s big plan is to kill himself to become martyred? Yeah, that does not make any sense. If you can pull off a conspiracy like that, how about just bury the bad information?
You can download The Blacklist on iTunes.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: I thought we were going to start another season without any Fitz, but he finally showed up in the end tag. But what exactly was he injecting? Of course that may not have been Fitz because we got not-Coulsen this episode. I take this is some sort of multi-verse thing. Except the guy in the wall had some sort of cybernetics. So who know? Hopefully we find out sooner rather than later.
You can download Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.