Saturday, June 08, 2019

Around the Tubes: 6/8/2019

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 City on a Hill, Sword of Trust, Sugar and Toys, POV, Letterkenny, James Bay, Meg Mac, Little Steven’s Underground Garage, The Affair, Brian Koppelman and David Levien, a Bernie Sanders.

- Showtime has released the series premiere of its new drama City on a Hill early for free online sampling, on streaming platforms and on demand. The series stars Golden Globe® winner and Emmy® nominee Kevin Bacon (The Following) and Screen Actors Guild® Award winner Aldis Hodge (Underground). City on a Hill is created and executive produced by Chuck MacLean (Boston Strangler). Multiple Emmy winner Tom Fontana (Homicide: Life on the Street) serves as showrunner and executive producer. The premiere episode is available for free now on YouTube, Facebook and The 10-episode series will officially premiere next Sunday, June 16 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.

- Sword of Trust is a riotously funny, improv-based eighth feature from acclaimed director Lynn Shelton (Outside In, Your Sister's Sister, Humpday) is filled with her trademark insight and humanism while slyly exploring our increasingly divided culture of conspiracy theories and revisionist history. When Cynthia (Jillian Bell, 22 Jump Street) and Mary (Michaela Watkins, "Casual") show up to collect Cynthia’s inheritance from her deceased grandfather, the only item she’s received is an antique sword that he believed to be proof that the South won the Civil War. The two attempt to unload the object to a curmudgeonly pawnshop owner Mel (Marc Maron, "GLOW") and his man-child sidekick Nathaniel (Jon Bass, Molly's Game). When Mel and Nathaniel discover there’s a black market for the relic, the two pairs reluctantly join forces to sell this rarefied ‘prover item’ to the highest bidder. The adventure that ensues takes the four of them on a wild journey into the depths of conspiracy theory and Southern disillusionment. Anchored by a hilarious and emotionally raw performance from Maron (who also wrote and performed the music), Sword of Trust is a sharp, unexpected ensemble comedy with Shelton's authentic take on the complexities of interpersonal relationships on full display.

- Sugar and Toys brings a wild new twist on the Saturday morning cartoons we all grew up with – but a whole lot less innocent. Adult comedy, social commentary and music culture parody crash the cartoon party, speaking directly to the trends and issues most relevant to a millennial audience, and bookended by host and multi-platinum rapper and actor KYLE (Netflix’ The After Party). It is executive produced by Aengus James, Colin King Miller, Nicholaus Goossen, Jones and Ash, with Kyle Harvey serving as co-executive producer and Lalo Alcaraz as consulting producer, and produced by This is Just a Test and 245 Enterprises. Check out a sneak peak below:

- At a pre-season party in small-town Steubenville, Ohio, a heinous crime took place: the assault of a teenage girl by members of the beloved high school football team. As it painstakingly reconstructs the night of the crime and its aftermath, Roll Red Roll uncovers the ingrained rape culture at the heart of the incident, acting as a cautionary tale about what can happen when teenage social media bullying runs rampant and adults look the other way. Directed by Nancy Schwartzman, winner of seven documentary feature awards, and nominated for the Cinema Eye Honors Spotlight Award, Roll Red Roll has its national broadcast and streaming debut on the PBS documentary series POV and on Monday, June 17 at 10 p.m. (check local listings). POV is American television’s longest-running independent documentary series, debuting its 32nd season with Schwartzman’s investigative film.

- Hulu announced that following the acquisition of award-winning Canadian fan favorite and Crave Original comedy series Letterkenny, the show will return as a Hulu Original. In a new licensed deal with New Metric Media and DHX Media, Hulu will now have exclusive U.S. streaming rights to all upcoming seasons of the series. Created by and starring Jared Keeso, the half-hour comedy revolves around the dustups Wayne (Keeso) and his pals get into with their small-town rivals. For the hicks, skids and hockey players of Letterkenny, getting your ass kicked is a legitimate concern on a day-to-day basis. In the upcoming six-episode seventh season premiering Monday, October 14, the Hicks start an agricultural call-in show. Fans can still binge the first six seasons of Letterkenny on Hulu, now under the new Hulu Original moniker.

- Three-time GRAMMY® Award-nominated and BRIT Award-winning multiplatinum singer-songwriter James Bay returns to The Ellen DeGeneres Show with his recent single “Bad.” Watch HERE.

- Following sell-out shows in the US, UK, Europe, and Australia Meg Mac releases her new mini album ‘Hope’; a powerful set of thoughtful and at times deeply personal missives.
Meg explains, “The songs on ‘Hope’ are influenced and informed by what was happening around me at the time of writing and recording. Music is always filtering through and though not directly influencing my songs they are somehow informing them. I was listening to Nina Simone’s ‘Piano’ album, Gill Scott Heron, Sam Cooke, and Patti Smith; powerful forces which impact on one's sensibilities. There’s something about the strength, power, attitude, and values of these artists that I connect with”.

- Little Steven’s Underground Garage on SiriusXM Channel 21 will celebrate this year’s relaunch of legendary label Cleveland International Records with “Cleveland Rocks: A Tribute to Steve Popovich,” an hour-long tribute dedicated to the life and musical legacy of the label’s late founder. Hosted by famed DJ Kid Leo, who ruled The Rock and Roll Capital of the World’s airwaves on WMMS in Cleveland for 16 years (1973-89), the show is set to air six times in early June: Friday, June 7 @ 6 PM ET, Saturday, June 8 @ 11 AM and 8 PM ET, Sunday, June 9 @ 11 AM ET and Monday, June 10 @ 12 AM ET & 7 AM ET.

- The highly anticipated fifth and final season of the critically acclaimed, Golden Globe-winning Showtime drama series The Affair will premiere on Sunday, August 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The series was created by WGA Award-winning playwright, writer, executive producer and showrunner Sarah Treem (House of Cards, In Treatment). The Affair is also executive produced by Jessica Rhoades (Sharp Objects), Hagai Levi (In Treatment), and Michele Giordono (Nurse Jackie). Starring Golden Globe nominee Dominic West, Golden Globe winner Maura Tierney and Sanaa Lathan, the series explores the emotional and psychological effects of an affair that destroyed two marriages, and the crime that brings these individuals back together. Oscar® and Golden Globe Award winner Anna Paquin (True Blood) joined the final season as a series regular. New guest stars in season five include Jennifer Jason Leigh (PATRICK MELROSE), Claes Bang (The Square) and Lyric Bent (She’s Gotta Have It), with Russell Hornsby (Fences) returning.

- Showtime has announced it has signed acclaimed executive producers and writers Brian Koppelman and David Levien to an overall deal under which they will continue to serve as showrunners of the hit drama series Billions while also developing new projects exclusively for the network. The announcement was made today by Gary Levine and Jana Winograde, Presidents of Entertainment, Showtime Networks Inc.

- Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders sat with Noticias Telemundo’s Anchor Julio Vaqueiro for an exclusive one-on-one interview. They talked about President Trump, gun control, the Democratic primaries, and immigration policy, among other issues of interest to the Latino community. Highlights of the interview aired today on “Noticias Telemundo.” An extended version will be available for streaming via

Friday, June 07, 2019

Previewing Claws: Season Three

As I usually do for a new season of a show, I looked up a recap of Claws before I started watching the third season (as posted above). I completely forgot the second season finale ended on a cliffhanger of Virginia taking a bullet which presumably was meant for Desna. Of course the list of suspects would be long, she just killed her fiancé who was a Jamaican drug runner, and then her brother killed a Russian mob head. Of course the Dixie Mafia always has unsettled beef with Desna. Obviously TNT has a spoiler embargo, so I cannot comment of Virginia’s fate, but watching any promo kind of makes it clear.

Elsewhere last season, Jenn and Bryce moved to Tampa but a blast from the past may disrupt their new middle class life. Polly checked herself into a psych ward after participating in dance sequences with her dead twin sister. Roller learned Uncle Daddy killed his real father. And Queit Ann, well, is still quiet. But her politician brother may play a bigger part in season three so she may have to do more talking.

I cannot say who did it, but I can say you do not have to wait very long to find out who tried to kill Desna. So that does not turn into a season mystery. Instead we get a pair of casino owners who have the majority stake in one of the properties inherited from her dead husband (non-natives like Desna cannot be a majority owner of a tribal casino). Needless to say the majority owners are not thrilled of their new partner.

Claws fell into a big of a sophomore slump last season which just seemed like a retread of season one, just with a crazier Russian mobster to deal with. Season three seems to iron things up with a bit of change of scenery to the casino and new antagonist who may not be scarier, but are a pair of oddballs. Are there no normal people in Florida? Thankfully for the show’s case, probably not. Although the best part of the early season are a pair of musical montages, because really, everyone could use some more En Vogue in their lives.

Claws airs Sundays at 9:00 on TNT.

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Previewing Into the Dark: They Come Knocking

Into the Dark has had some obvious themes in its first eight episode with the exception of March and June continues that trend. Making it a little more disappointing is that we are following up a Mother’s Day episode with a Father’s Day episode, They Come Knocking. But unlike last month, this month actually mentions the holiday the theme is based on. Well, it does once and then kind of forgets about except a vague reference of how it is very cold for early June and the episode takes place over two nights so it is not even Father’s Day for half the time.

But hey, there is a father. He and his two daughters are traveling to the place where he proposed to so they can spread her ashes and camp out for a couple days in a camper. And any horror fan will notice the big board of missing children in a dinner they stop at for breakfast. So you just have to assume something is going to happen to the daughters, one a moody teenage (which is enhanced by the whole watching her mother being ravaged by cancer) and the other a precocious younger daughter.

As the title suggest, when the sun goes down and the family is about to get to sleep, some people come knocking asking to come in. Apparently this is a vampire situation where they have to be invited in and they only come out at night but these are not actual vampires. They leave, but do so with an ominous message. And in though these knockers are plenty scary, the episode is much more a character study on loss and the effects on a family. So if you are more of a thinking man’s horror fan, this may be more up your alley than a simple slasher flick. As for my take, here is where They Come Knocking ends on my Into the Dark Power Ranking:

Into the Dark Power Ranking
1. The Body (October)
2. All That We Destroy (May)
3. Down (February)
4. New Year, New You (January)
5. Pooka! (December)
6. I’m Just Forking with You (April)
7. They Come Knocking (June)
8. Treehouse (March)
9. Flesh and Bone (November)

Into the Dark: They Come Knocking premieres tomorrow exclusively on Hulu.

Sunday, June 02, 2019

57 Channels and Only This Is On: June 2, 2019

Killing Eve: Well, with a title like Killing Eve it should not be too surpising that someone actually killed Eve. Except I do not believe Eve is dead. The ending was clearly meant to mirror season one with Eve stabbing the French assassin and this season the French assassin gets her revenge. And last season we were left to believe she killed Constantine but she ended up just wounding him and I am guessing that is the same this season. So it kind of ended up being an underwhelming ending to an underwhelming season.
You can download Killing Eve on iTunes.

Billions: Earlier this year I wondered if the show wanted to use Atlantic City and came up with a Chick Man plot or did the storyline came first and then decided to use the Springsteen song. I think I pretty much got my answer this week because it seems pretty obvious they held this episode on New Year’s Day for the sole purpose of using the U2 song. But it is getting kind of depressing watching Conergty turn into Chuck, trying to bring Chuck down by any means necessary by bringing in his safe cracking brother. The end of last season made it seem him and Taylor were going to be the anti-Chuck and Axe, but they are slowly turning into the people they hate under the guise of bringing them down.

Good Girls: Here is another ending that mirrors the season one finale. At the end of season one, the gangsta tried to get Beth to shoot him and she couldn’t. Again in the season two finale, he tries to get Beth to shoot someone, but instead finally gets around to shooting him… multiple times. But again, I do not think dude is dead, gay FBI is clearly going to save him, but what exactly does he have in mind? He has been gunning for Beth this whole time, but she just saved his life. So what is he up to?
You can download Good Girls on iTunes

The Chi: So not only does Ronnie get set free despite killing Coogie, admitting he did so, Detective Cruz ends up getting punished in this situation. Our legal system is messed up.

Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger: It seemed like they cut a lot from this episode. There were a few times I was confused how they got from a to z. Like the Big Bad saying Dagger has left him, then all the sudden, she jumps out of Cloak. Huh. How did we get there? But it is interesting that they are now leaving New Orleans and going to a beach. But where? Since New Orleans was such a big part of the show, I wonder if the beach will be a short diversion.
You can download Marvel's Cloak and Dagger on iTunes.

Swamp Thing: I was never much of a Swamp Thing comic reader, did not really care for the cast when it was announced (the lead chick may be the most realistic scientist since Denise Richard in whatever Bond film that was), but I have to say it is one of the most effective horror shows that has been on television. Of course the problem with horror television is that they always seem to devolve into torture porn. And it does not help with this show that they turned the lone comedic relief on the show into a swamp creature. Hopefully another shows up because horror does need a little brevity every once and a while. In the terms of DC Universe show, I put this firmly between Doom Patrol (the high) and Titans (the low).

Blindspot: When Madeline’s plan of framing the team started to take shape, I thought, the team clearing their name and bringing Madeline down would make for an interesting finale season. Too bad they will likely bring her down by the end of the episode. But it looks that will actually happen because even though they stopped the cyber-attack, they are still wanted fugitives. Oh, and other than Jane, dead. Okay Ice Cream mentioning there are tunnels are under the safe house is the easy way to explain how they escape the drone strike. And I guess it was Weiss who gave them the heads up that the strike was coming. So the only real question going into the finale season, what happens to Rich? It seems like he was going off to a black site. Is rescuing him the team’s first mission? Dude does not seem like a guy who could stand up to an interrogation very long. Then they need to get the cell phone Rich hid before it dies. That has the information that can clear them.
You can download Blindspot on iTunes.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: So Deke did not fade away after his future was changed, instead he was allowed to use his future knowledge to create a tech company. Well that was dumb fun. But I wonder why non-Coulsen left with May and just left Deke behind. And why does his team need to rid the Earth of people who are not supposed to be there?
You can download Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.

Now that must of the spring shows have ended, here is what I will be watching this summer:

10:00 – Grand Hotel (June 17, ABC)
10:00 – Legion (June 24, FX)

Young Justice (DC Universe, July 2)
10:00 – The Detour (June 18, TBS)

The Handmaid’s Tale (June 5, Hulu)
Harlots (July 10, Hulu)
8:00 – Grown’ish (June 5, Freeform)
10:00 – Krypton (June 12, Syfy)

Swamp Thing (Already started, DC Universe)
Jessica Jones (June 14, Netflix)
Veronica Mars (July 26, Hulu)
G.L.O.W. (August 9, Netflix)
8:00 - Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (Already started, ABC)

9:00 – Fear the Walking Dead (June 2, AMC)
9:00 – Big Little Lies (June 9, HBO)
9:00 – Claws (June 9, TNT)
9:00 – City on a Hill (June 16, Showtime)
9:00 – Preacher (August 4, AMC)