Saturday, June 29, 2019

Around the Tubes: June 28, 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 Mystic Briton, The Carol Burnett Show, Orangutan Jungle School, James Bay, BENEE, Meg Myers, One Day at a Time, Rita, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, and The L Word: Generation Q.

- Smithsonian Channel is set to reveal the secrets of Britain’s most mysterious sites via a road trip mixing mysticism with very British humor. In this 10-part series, television and radio presenter Clive Anderson (Whose Line Is It Anyway?) and anthropologist Mary-Ann Ochota explore the island’s ancient places and rituals. With Mary-Ann more than a match for Clive’s signature wit and irreverence, the pair travel the length of Britain to investigate the strange and sacred beliefs of its past, joining scientists, archaeologists and historians to look at the latest discoveries unearthing what ancient Britons did in the name of their beliefs and why. Mystic Briton premieres Monday, August 5 at 9 PM ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel.

- On September 11, 1967, Carol Burnett and her madcap cast took to the airwaves on CBS for a new variety series that combined sketch comedy, singing and dancing. Little did they know that The Carol Burnett Show would become an Emmy Award-winning program and survive the changing tastes of TV audiences to last eleven seasons. Available at retail for the first time, The Best of the Carol Burnett Show: 50TH Anniversary Edition brings together the best of the best -- 60 hand-picked episodes covering every season -- into one singular and uproarious set. Available on August 6, 2019, this ultimate Burnett-lovers collection is priced at $249.98srp, and contains 21 discs and incredible, exclusive bonus features specially-created by the Time Life TV DVD archivists including exclusive interviews, a cast reunion and backstage tour of Studio 33, never-before-seen outtakes and featurettes.

- Class is now in session as Smithsonian Channel prepares to share the drama, as well as the hijinks, of a group of young endangered orangutans in an emotional new docuseries, Orangutan Jungle School. The 10-episode season takes viewers to Nyaru Menteng, a unique forest school for orphaned apes in Indonesia, run by the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation. At this singular school, young orangutans who have lost their mothers to poaching and deforestation learn the skills they’ll need to survive in the wild as they progress through a series of classes and grade levels – but these lessons take place in the jungle instead of a classroom. Full of rich and distinct characters, hilarious antics, tear-jerking moments and even heart-pounding cliffhangers, the series offers a look at the incredible work being done by human caregivers to provide these intelligent and endangered creatures a chance at life in the wild. All episodes of ORANGUTAN JUNGLE SCHOOL will be available to stream Friday, August 2 on Smithsonian Channel Plus, with the first two episodes free for those without a subscription.

- James Bay released the official video for his single “Bad.” The video sees BAY emotionally floating through New York as he performs his hit single. The video features some never before performed stunts through some of New York’s iconic streets and even an iconic shot in Times Square.

- The five-song collection threads together a tale of personal emotions and evocative stories over an unpredictable sonic backdrop. She introduces the project with the undeniable opener “Bitter.” Off-kilter production punctuated by handclaps, glitchy electronics, and strains of guitar gives way to a hypnotic hook as she encourages, “Try not to get bitter.” Watch the video for “Bitter” HERE

- Hailing from the suburbs of Auckland, 19-year-old indie pop artist BENEE has made her mark on the world with her debut FIRE ON MARZZ EP out today—listen HERE! On FIRE ON MARZZ, BENEE noted, “When it came to coming up with a name for my EP, what first came to mind was wanting a phrase that was a big old explosion, because that’s kinda what the EP feels like to me. I came up with the name FIRE ON MARZZ and thought it did the best job at not really relating to any song in the EP. I didn’t think there was a phrase that could sum them all up.”

- Meg Myers shares her stunning video of her empowering cover of Kate Bush's 'Running Up That Hill.' The video features hand colored compositions from 2,130 children from around the country, including many at the 'Heart of Los Angeles' (HOLA) school - a non profit that gives underserved kids an equal chance to succeed through a comprehensive array of after-school academic, arts, athletics and wellness programs. As part of her partnership with HOLA, Meg and the producer of the video, Jo Roy taught animation classes to elementary school students. The frames they made during the classes were then composited together, and used in the video. The result is an ethereal, and highly captivating animated journey. With every frame being radically unique, the only constant is the certainty of change.

- Pop TV, now fully owned by CBS Corporation, announced that the critically-acclaimed series One Day at a Time will continue with a new 13-episode fourth season premiering in 2020. The Network shared the news amid fan campaigns rallying behind the series. Produced by Sony Pictures Television, the fourth season of One Day at a Time will air exclusively on Pop.

- Showtime has announced a pilot production order for the hour-long dramedy Rita, starring Emmy and Golden Globe® nominee Lena Headey (Game of Thrones). Headey will executive produce the pilot, a co-production of Showtime and Platform One Media, with creator/showrunner Christian Torpe, who is writing the pilot based on his award-winning original Danish series.

- Showtime has announced that Michael Gladis (Mad Men) has joined Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, the next chapter of the Penny Dreadful saga, as a series regular. Lorenza Izzo (Aftershock) will recur in a pivotal role in the upcoming SHOWTIME series, along with Adam Rodriguez (CSI: Miami), Thomas Kretschmann (Avengers: Age of Ultron) and Dominic Sherwood (Shadowhunters), and Ethan Peck (Star Trek: Discovery) will guest in multiple episodes. The series stars Natalie Dormer, Daniel Zovatto, Kerry Bishé, Adriana Barraza, Rory Kinnear, Jessica Garza, Johnathan Nieves and Tony® and Emmy winner Nathan Lane. Oscar® and Emmy® nominee and Golden Globe® winner Amy Madigan, Brent Spiner and Lin Shaye will also be recurring guest stars. Tony and Golden Globe 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.

- Showtime has announced four new series regulars joining the cast of The L Word: Generation Q, premiering this fall on Showtime. Arienne Mandi (Baja), Leo Sheng (Adam), Jacqueline Toboni (Easy) and Rosanny Zayas (Orange is the New Black) are set to star as the new generation of LGBTQIA characters who will join original series stars and executive producers Jennifer Beals, Katherine Moennig and Leisha Hailey. Executive produced by showrunner Marja-Lewis Ryan (The Four-Faced Liar, 6 Balloons), original series creator Ilene Chaiken, Kristen Campo and Steph Green (pilot), the series is set to begin production on eight episodes in Los Angeles this summer.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Previewing The Loudest Voice

In a measure of full disclosure I must say I am not a big fan of the heavily fictionalized bio-flick. Why would I want to watch Will Smith pretend to be Muhammad Ali when I could just watch the actual Muhammad Ali in When We Were Kings? Why watch Walk the Line when I have over a hundred Johnny Cash songs in my library? I guess bio-flick are a little better when I do not know much about the subject like The Loudest Voice about Roger Ailes whom basically all I know about is that he ran Fox News before being brought down by multiple sexual harassment claims.

Granted, The Loudest Voice is not a bio-flick, it is a miniseries about the man that is spread out across seven episodes. This is not be confused with the actually Roger Ailes bio-flick coming at the end of this year starring John Lithgow. Two competing Roger Ailes projects? I kind of the miss the days of dueling asteroid flicks. This show features Russell Crowe as the head of Fox News with a couple hundred extra pounds and about as much makeup. Each episode takes a year in the life of the man, starting with the launch of Fox News in 1995. The actually first scene is Ailes getting fired by Jack Dorsey as the head of CNBC right when MSNBC was about to be launched. Ironically, not going to CNN was a big part of the severance package.

The opening of the second episode begins with Ailes having to deal will Bill O’Reilly getting handsy (weirdly the biggest star in Fox News history does not get a fictionalize character, but is only mentioned), and about an hour later, a plane flies into the World Trade Center. Then we get another decent jump to 2008 when the third episode starts with a clenched fist watching Obama’s speech after locking up the Democratic nomination for president. I do not know why they portrayed Ailes as hating Obama so much considering the president was a rating boon for Fox News. Then that episodes ends with Ailes uttering the phrase, make America great again.” Yeah. I do not even want to mention how the fourth episode starts but I highly recommend just skipping the first five minutes of this episode. From there, the rest of the episode focuses on Fox News war on Obama. Grant it is somewhat amusing how everyone in the fear-mongering montage turned out to be.

No O’Reilly and no Megyn Kelly who reportedly was a late cut from the script (though Charlize Theron does play her in the movie) though Naomi Watts does show up as Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman takes the role in the movie) but does not get much screen time in the episode I saw. Instead we get a lot of behind the scenes moments with the real people you probably have never heard of. Sienna Miller plays Ailes wife (Connie Britton in the movie) who also worked at CNBC but seems very bored after being laid off and Roger has no interest in working with her again. That is probably because he has a side piece played by Annabelle Wallis, a Fox News booker. Seth McFarlane, yes that Seth McFarlane, plays someone that Ailes actually pouches from CNBC to be the Fox News PR guy. And in the most Seth MacFarlane way shouts, “Money Honey!” in his first line.

Just two weeks ago when reviewing Showtime’s other new show City on a Hill, I had to wonder if the creators made a period pierce so they could be as sexist and racist as they wanted for the sake of historical accuracy, and though the real life person The Loudest Voice was definitely a pervert and possibly a racist, the show gleefully show Ailes rewatching one of his anchors describe the Obamas greeting each other as a possible “terrorist fist jab.” Just the whole thing makes me queasier than most horror movies. Maybe it is apropos that the show is being produced by Blumhouse who made such movies as The Purge and Get Out.

The Loudest Voice airs Sundays at 10:00 on Showtime.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

57 Channels and Only This Is On: June 23, 2019

Big Little Lies: I was a bit worried there would be a sophomore slump but my fears were eased by how on fire everyone was in the premiere but everyone but Meryl Streep seemed to cool down in the second week. Maybe they do need a mystery and a rich text to pull from to keep the show going.

Claws: Am I really supposed to think Uncle Daddy has changed because he had a heart to heart with Virginia? I am highly suspicious of that. What angle is he playing? And what a horrible witness protection program Desna is running. How about not hiding the Tat for Tit chick with a friend? $50,000 should get you a ticket out of town.
You can download Claws on iTunes.

Fear the Walking Dead: Yeah, I completely forgot what exactly happened to Dwight on the main show. I vaguely remember his wife leaving. Hopefully we get a montage next week catching us up on that. And, wait, the kids have been setting up those zombie roadblocks this whole time? I feel like I missed something.
You can download Fear the Walking Dead on iTunes.

The Handmaid’s Tale: I was wondering why Fred did not have some secret plan to kidnap his kid (or the kid he thinks is his); instead he was planning what seems to be a pretty bad plan. A least I assume that Canada is not going to give a kid that he cannot prove paternity to. But then again, Luke does not lay any claim other than being the husband of the mother. Interesting legal question.
You can watch The The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu.

Krpton: I never thought Brainiac was dead last week, but, um, Brainiac is in Seg now? Huh? That makes no sense.
You can download Krypton on iTunes.

Swamp Thing: Wait, did Scarecrow pass through the bayou? Although I guess his terror gas was sprayed, not a communicable disease.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Seeing younger Simmons just made me realize how bad she looks now with those bangs. Time to pull your hair back Simmons. And I think we have seem more brain simulations of Daisy in the last couple episodes than real Daisy.
You can download Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.