Saturday, October 05, 2019

Around the Tubes: October 5, 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 Castle Rock, Marvel's Runaways, Reprisal, Huluween, The Kingmaker, Get a Clue, The Life of Earth, The Avett Brothers, Nova Miller, and Apple Music.

- We are excited to share the official trailer for the new season of Hulu Original Castle Rock. Castle Rock season two premieres Wednesday, Oct. 23 with the first three episodes. New episodes stream weekly on Wednesdays only on Hulu.

- Just in time for New York Comic Con, Hulu has shared the official teaser for the newest season of Marvel's Runaways. Marvel's Runaways will return for season three on Friday, December 13th with all 10 episodes.

- Hulu released the official teaser for upcoming drama series Reprisal from the executive producer of The Handmaid’s Tale. The series stars Abigail Spencer, Rodrigo Santoro, Mena Massoud, Rhys Wakefield, Madison Davenport, Gilbert Owuor, David Dastmalchian, W. Earl Brown, Craig Tate, Wavyy Jonez, Shane Callahan, and Rory Cochrane. Reprisal will premiere all episodes Friday, December 6th only on Hulu.

- A month’s worth of scary programming heads to Hulu with its annual “Huluween” celebration starting this week. Viewers can head to Hulu’s personalized, Halloween-themed hub for a bone-chilling selection of popular Halloween TV episodes and movies, featuring 800 premium Halloween titles and more than 5,000 episodes of new and library TV series. The curated experience will also bring fans exclusive, new content throughout the month, including seven spooky short films from up-and-coming filmmakers, selected in collaboration with Sundance Institute, and the premieres of returning Original series Castle Rock, Light as a Feather, and Into the Dark and the highly anticipated Hulu Original Films Little Monsters and Wounds.

- Showtime Documentary Films announced that The Kingmaker, the new film from Emmy® winning director Lauren Greenfield (The Queen of Versailles), will open in theaters in New York and Los Angeles on Friday, November 8. Showtime is teaming up with Greenwich Entertainment, which released last year’s Academy Award-winning documentary FREE SOLO, for theatrical distribution and will open The Kingmaker at The Quad in New York City and Laemmle’s Royal Theater in Los Angeles. The Kingmaker, recently named to the DOC NYC Short List, debuted at the Venice Film Festival in August and traveled the festival circuit to sold out houses with premieres at the Telluride Film Festival, TIFF and Camden International Film Festival. The film will continue to play at festivals across the country before this theatrical run begins.

- Game Show Network, the leader in game shows and competitive entertainment, has greenlit Get a Clue, its new word-guessing game show hosted by actor Rob Belushi (“How I Met Your Mother”). The new half-hour series will premiere in early 2020 and will air Monday through Friday. Get a Clue is a fast-paced, high energy clue game in which two teams compete to see who can successfully guess the most answer words before time runs out. In each round, teams will receive a list of answer words they get to play. The fun starts as the first player gives clues to the second player until they guess the correct word, then the second player gives clues to the third player, and so on, until the team either guesses all the words in the category or runs out of time. The team with the most points advances to the bonus round to play for $10,000. They’ll have 60 seconds to guess eight words but the entire team has to stay on their toes because the clue givers, and guessers, change randomly with every new word.

- Since the dawn of humanity, we’ve wondered – how did our world come to be? Today, thanks to hundreds of satellites orbiting the planet, science is uncovering the full, epic story – including clues to our own role in its future. Travel through eons of fire and meteor storms – from the arrival of oceans and freezing global ice sheets to volcanic eruptions and mass extinctions – to discover The Life of Earth. Combining spectacular visuals, pioneering research and exciting expeditions, a new two-hour series from Smithsonian Channel reveals fresh evidence to age-old questions. The Life of Earth premieres Sunday, November 3 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel.

- Yesterday Grammy Award®-nominated collective The Avett Brothers release their tenth full-length album, Closer Than Together [American/Republic Records], in stores and at all digital retailers. Check out The Avett Brothers Closer Than Together Here!

- Nova Miller takes listeners on a time travel with her bop “Do It To Myself” - listen here. The single, which is about one recognizing their own toxic behavior, showcases Nova's retro pop sound. Although the message may be perceived as dark, Nova see's her musical purpose as positive and is determined to be the 'anti emo' disrupter in the pop space today. The track features The Mama's & The Papa’s Sample 'California Dreamin' and is produced by The Monsters and the Strangerz, the production team behind Zedd’s “Middle” featuring Maren Morris, Grey, and Ariana Grande.

- Apple Music proudly announces the launch of R&B Now, the new home for the vanguard of R&B music, formerly known as The A-List: R&B. The signature playlist cover artwork for R&B Now will feature a different artist each week and that artist's latest release will receive the highly coveted #1 spot on the playlist. R&B Now premieres today with rising-star Atlanta singer Summer Walker and features her brand new track "Come Thru"-a sexy duet with Usher about late-night urges off her official debut album Over It. This sultry song bridges two generations of Atlanta royalty and represents the present and future of the genre. The song even samples Usher's 1997 hit "You Make Me Wanna..

Monday, September 30, 2019

Ready for a Story About Superheroes? Or, What if I Told You This Was Actually a Story About Super-Zeroes?

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this blog post. The opinions I share are my own.

Doom Patrol: The Complete First Season

Disney+ made big waves by saying you can stream their service in 4K compared to Netflix which costs an extra three dollars. None of this really matters to me because I do not have a 4K TV. And even if I did, I am not sure I would be able to stream in 4K because I sometimes have trouble streaming in 1080p. One of the secret big disadvantages of the streaming era is that broadband in America kind of sucks. Other nations pay less for much better speeds. So if you want to watch something in the best quality, the be best to watch is to purchase the physical copy so you do not have to worry about buffering or internet outages.

Case in point, Doom Patrol. I watched earlier this year on DC Universe, which also offers 4K streaming at no extra cost, but like I said earlier I do not have a 4K TV. Not that I could watch on my HD TV either because DC Universe did not have an app for my Playstation or Android TV (it has since released one for the latter) so I was stuck watching on my laptop. I have to say, re-watching the season on the Blu-ray looks so much better. You have not lived until you have seen a horde of butt with teeth in glorious HD.

Okay, watching Doom Patrol on a laptop with a mediocre connection was still pretty good, it did top my list of the Best Television Shows of 2018-19. The group was introduced in the best episode of the first DC Universe show Titans and there were some tweaks to their own show from that episode (the Chief got recast, Negative Man got moodier, Beast Boy got forgotten), it was still mostly the same weirdness that made the Titans episode so good.

Timothy Dalton (Penny Dreadful) plays the Chief who hosts this group of outcasts in his mansion. Elasti-Girl has been there the longest after the actress who has trouble controlling her body and April Bowlby (The Slammin’ Salmon) is great with a pithy comment when one is needed. Then came Negative Man, who has some sort of negative energy with a mind of its own living inside of him. The latest addition (not counting Beast Boy) is Robotman, voiced and played in flashbacks by Brendan Fraser (Encino Man), as a former race car driver who was save by the Chief after a car accident where only his brain was save and put into a robot body, natch.

Returning to the mansion after a decade’s long hiatus is Crazy Jane and her sixty-four personalities, each one weirder than the next with their own abilities. Diane Guerrero (who voiced Jessica Cruz in Justice League vs. the Fatal Five) is great as all of them and it is a shame that could not get a whiff of attention at this year’s Emmy. Granted it took Tatiana Maslany three seasons to get nominated for Orphan Black and did not win until the fourth. Rounding out the group of heroes is Cyborg who was never in the Doom Patrol in the comics yet was a founding member of the Teen Titans, a show he did appear on.

Of course every superhero needs a good supervillain and Alan Tudyk (Firefly) chews all the scenes he can fit in his mouth as Mr. Nobody who is also the show’s de facto narrator. There are plenty of other Doom Patrol rouges gallery and allies that pop up throughout the show like Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man (be sure to always watch the background for more on him), Danny the Street (a living sentient street) Joshua Clay, Beard Hunter (who, um, hunts beards... so I guess his name is self-explanatory), the Bureau of Normandy, Willoughby Kipling (a Constantine rip-off because DC would not let Doom Patrol use Constantine in their comics so they made their own), Cult of the Unwritten Book, Lodestone, Flex Mentallo (who can alter reality with his flexing leading to one of the weirdest scene on the show which is saying a lot). Oh yeah, and Butts with Teeth.

As superhero fatigue slowly creeps (or much faster for some people) in as we keep seeing the same themes over and again, Doom Patrol is the cure because you have never seen anything like this team on the big or small screens. And as Disney dominates with the PG-13 shows and movies, Doom Patrol is very R. Sure I am not sure I needed to see Brandon Frasier naked but we do get to hear Crazy Jane’s most vulgar personalities in their most profane (really, the episode where we go inside her mind may be the best of the season). Oh, and did I mention the Butts with Teeth? This show is awesome.

Doom Patrol: The Complete First Season comes with all fifteen episodes across three disks (five per disk). The Blu-ray also comes with about fourteen minutes of deleted scenes. All deleted scenes are put of the disk with its corresponding episode, but you cannot watch them individual, they are grouped together on the disk. The final disk also has two bonus features, both about five minutes each. Firsts is a gag reel and boy, do the actors on this show like to break out into dance. The other is “Doom Patrol – Come Visit Georgia PSA about scouting locations for the show. The Blu-ray also comes with a digital copy (I know a started this review complaining about streaming) but keep in mind the code that came with my copy expires 12/31/2020.

Own Doom Patrol: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray and DVD October 1!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

57 Channels and Only This Is On: September 29, 2019

The Affair: Oh hey, even Sierra gets her own segment. Kind of weird to devote half an episode in the final season to someone who just popped up last season but was barely there even then. Considering the Helen-Noah exchange, I am a bit surprised that we did not get both sides of that scene. But I guess maybe we will see Noah’s side of it next week. Also a little weird that we got our first Joanie free episode, she is only getting about five minutes per episode to begin with and now she is getting nothing. I wonder when they will give her a full thirty minute segment or this is basically how they will be using her all season.

Fear the Walking Dead: I never understand why everyone on zombie shows find a place overrun by zombies so daunting. Create a bottleneck and kill them as they come out.
You can download Fear the Walking Dead on iTunes.

Survivor: Island of Idols: I was not expecting much because there are very few things I ever want on my television less than Rob but I have to say, somehow this premiere did not even meet my already low expectations. I may even go as far as calling it the worst season premiere in the history of the show. The season stated off on a bad foot because there was no Probst, no big mad dash for supplies, not even a challenge, just dudes walking onto a beach. So nothing really excited happened for about a half an hour.

Then after the challenge we got the Island of Idols, and boy was that excruciatingly bad, in an eighties train video on how to camp bad. Seriously, those two are just going to give everyone who visits a survival lesson each week. That is just boring. And why are they pulling names out of a bag? Have the winning team pick in the old day. Games of chance are boring.

As bad as the episode was, at least we got a happy ending with the most annoying dude going home first. Although, I cannot say there is anyone worth rooting for of those that are left. I guess I kind of am rooting for Elisabeth because I remember her watching her at the Olympics. But as a prediction, I will say… um, Vince I guess.
You can download Survivor: Island of the Idols on iTunes.

The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2: Usually competition shows go to an ad break leaving you thinking that the challenge is still in doubt so very weird to have TJ tell Johnny he missed something and then cut to break. So as a person who watches way too much television, it made me think that then Theo would screw up leading to a Johnny comeback. But no, after the break, Theo rolled to an easy victory after the Johnny mistake. But at least TJ told Johnny of the mistake compared to telling Laurel she won last week only to be, “oops” on review. But hey, good riddance Johnny, I really hope we never see you again.
You can download The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2 on iTunes.

The Good Place: I almost got the twist right. After spending the summer thinking of whom the two remaining people the demons picked, I settled on there being a real Real Eleanor whose Vicky skin-suit was based on. And then Vicky would kidnap her and torture the humans. Instead the demon who is always taking off his shirt was masquerading as a random old lady. Then the other new human was just a generic WASP who misses the good ol’ days. Actually kind of disappointing that the four new humans are the generic WASP, some random blogger, Chidi’s ex-girlfriend, and then Chidi himself. No Donkey Doug. No Dress Bench. No Blake Bortles. No Stone Cold Steve Austin. Oh well.
You can download The Good Place on iTunes.

Titans: Ew gross, Wonder Girl forked a fish. But it was nice to have an episode without the actual teen Titans around. But the question now is just who hired Deathstroke to kill off the Titans? Is Lex Luther too obvious of an answer? Though a Superman sidekick is not in the Titans so why exactly would he care?