Saturday, November 09, 2019

Around the Tubes: November 9, 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 Reprisal, Jack Johnson, Mary J. Blige, Snow Patrol, Chelsea Cutler, Maja Kristina, The Russian Five, Desus and Mero, Billions, and Wrongful Conviction.

- Hulu released the official trailer 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.

- Multi-platinum recording artist and environmentalist Jack Johnson announces the release of Brushfire Records’ This Warm December, Vol. III, the latest in a trilogy of coveted holiday albums from his label. This Warm December, Vol III features both original and holiday-classic songs from Jack Johnson and friends, including G. Love, Bahamas, Mason Jennings, Zach Rogue (of Rogue Wave), Zach Gill, Paula Fuga and more. Fans are able to pre-order This Warm December Vol. III, with an immediate digital download of the original first track, “New Axe” by Jack Johnson starting today, November 8. The full-length album will be available on November 22 with limited-edition vinyl available on December 13, all through Johnson’s own Brushfire Records. To pre-order the album visit,

- Mary J. Blige, the legendary Grammy and Golden Globe winning and Oscar nominated singer-songwriter, actress, philanthropist and honorary Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, will release an immersive box set of her biggest 1990s hits along with rare remixes, HERstory, Vol. 1, on December 6 via UMe. The collection will be released in three physical forms: a set of eight standard-weight black 7" vinyl records, a 1CD version, a 2LP set and a digital version. From her solo 1992 hit "You Remind Me" to the 1993 remix of "What's the 411" featuring K-Ci (of K-Ci and JoJo) and the Notorious B.I.G., HERstory, Vol. 1 tells the story of Blige as she first established herself as a tour de force of '90s R&B.

- Snow Patrol have announced details of a new album. Reworked features 13 reimagined versions of some of the band’s biggest hits alongside three brand new recordings and will be released on 8th November via Polydor Records. The record accompanies a Reworked tour in November and December and follows the release of Reworked EPs 1 and 2. Twenty-five years into a career that has taken in one billion global track streams, five UK platinum albums, an Ivor Novello award and Grammy and Mercury Music Prize nominations, Reworked marks a period of looking back and taking stock. “After 10 years of no success, no-one – least of all us – expected us these last 15 years to sell 17 million albums, headline festivals and play to thousands of people all over the world,” says frontman Gary Lightbody.

- Singer, songwriter and producer Chelsea Cutler reveals her long-awaited debut album, How To Be Human, will be released in January 2020! In celebration of the album announcement, Chelsea debuts the video for her latest single “Lucky” feat. Alexander 23 today—watch it HERE!

- Bbuzzworthy 21-year-old Swedish songstress Maja Kristina shares her brand-new single entitled “Idiot. Check out “Idiot” HERE via Eddie O Entertainment/Republic Records. Known for alternative pop, straight shooting lyricism and raw emotions, Maja once again delivers an anthem that’s as confessional as it is catchy. On the track, vulnerable verses give way to a quick-witted refrain where she calls out an ex without pulling any punches.

- - Critically-acclaimed documentary The Russian Five will make its U.S. television debut on Wednesday, Nov. 6, at 11 p.m. ET on NBCSN, immediately following coverage of the Wednesday Night Hockey matchup between the Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers. The Russian Five tells the story of the first five Russians to play hockey together in the National Hockey League (NHL) and how they helped transform the Detroit Red Wings from perennial losers to back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions. Toward the end of the Cold War the Red Wings hatched an audacious plan to draft the best Soviet players from behind the Iron Curtain and help them defect to Detroit, sneaking them out under cover of night and whisking them to the Motor City where they won the fans’ hearts and changed the way hockey is played in North America forever.

- The most expansive and ambitious aerial series explores America’s great cities from breathtaking heights – filmed from helicopters and drones equipped with cutting edge 4K/Ultra High Definition cameras to see our iconic and most treasured landmarks from a birds-eye view. Aerial America returns with 3 episodes Sunday, December 8 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel.

- Desus and Mero on Showtime and The Bronx Brewery ( today announced that the iconic Bronx comedians, Desus Nice and The Kid Mero, and their home-borough brewery will collaborate this fall on the launch of a limited-release lager. Named Bodega Boys Beer after their wildly popular "Bodega Boys" podcast that put The Bronx-born duo on the map, the collaboration will be an easy-drinking and light-bodied lager with a refreshing, crisp flavor at 5.5% ABV. The limited-edition lager will be available in 4-packs of 16 oz. cans at The Bronx Brewery's Taproom & Backyard located at 856 E. 136th Street in the Bronx. To celebrate the launch, The Bronx Brewery and the late-night show will host an exclusive event at the brewery on November 15.

- Emmy® and Golden Globe® winner Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife) and Golden Globe nominee Corey Stoll (House of Cards) have signed on to guest star in multiple episodes of the fifth season of the hit Showtime drama series Billions. Margulies will play Catherine Brant, an Ivy League sociology professor and bestselling author. Stoll joins in a season-long arc as Michael Prince, a business titan from a small town in Indiana. Starring Oscar® nominee and Emmy and Golden Globe winner Paul Giamatti, and Emmy and Golden Globe winner Damian Lewis, Billions is currently in production in New York and will return to the network in 2020. Billions averages 4.5 million viewers per week across platforms.

- The 9th season premiere episode of the Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom podcast has been released here. The episode presents the case of Rodney Reed, the innocent man sentenced to death row in Texas after being wrongfully convicted for killing Stacy Stites in 1996. With overwhelming evidence of his innocence drawing international outcry from the likes of Rhianna, Kim Kardashian, Dr. Phil, the Texas State Legislature, law enforcement groups, and many others, the podcast - which has over 10,000,000 series listens - urges the public to join the petition to the Texas governor to halt this injustice.

Friday, November 08, 2019

Previewing Shameless: Season Ten

After being the most consistent show of the decade, Shameless ended with a big change as Fiona rode off into the sunset, heading south after a big payday leaving the rest of the Gallagher clan to fend for themselves. The shakeup was supposed to be bigger because after his character’s own happy ending, being reunited in jail with his one true love, Cameron Monaghan also announced his departure only to announce he was returning to the show a couple months later. Too bad they locked his character away for a pretty violent crime.

With no more Emmy Rossum we get what I believe is the very first update to the title sequence in the ten season history. So instead of getting to see Fiona urinate every week, we get to see Debbie urinate every week (it took me until the second episode to catch that). And instead of Debbie wrapping Liam in toilet paper, Liam is the one who wraps Frannie. Then instead watching Fiona fork the dude who left the show back in the first season but we still got to see his naked behind every week, Ian and Lip get busy in the Gallagher bathroom. Although they did not update all the scenes which leads to a very weird moment of seeing a very young Carl followed by a grown very naked Carl about a minute later.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same and Shameless is as consistent as ever. The new season even starts off with Fiona, sort of. Even without Fiona and Ian in prison, there are still five Gallaher’s livings in the house with another one on the way. Yep, Lip’s baby mama is now very pregnant but was worried about having a child with severe health problems in her family. But she is going to great lenths to make sure her kid comes out all right. Somehow Frank is still allowed to stay; I guess he is still recovering from the broken leg from last season. Luis Guzman is back as Frank’s lone friend but he may be worse off than Frank now.

Without Fiona around, Debbie has stepped up as head of the household, though she was kind of taking that role last season when Fiona was spiraling. But she is hording all the money Fiona left her but knowing her brothers and father, that may be the smartest decision. Micky got arrested to give Ian the fairytale ending, but months later, they are much more Married with Children inside a six by eight cell. Then there is Liam who is starting to embrace his black heritage. So Shameless is as shameless as ever.

Shameless airs Sundays at 9:00 on Showtime.

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Previewing Back to Life

In a measure of full disclosure I have to mention I have never seen Fleabag. I do know that swept the Emmy’s earlier this year but in the overabundance of streaming site, Prime has just fallen by the waste side as an extra pay service even if just for a month to steam everything and cancel. I bring this up because in every mention of Back to Life, everyone also mentions Fleabag, the two shows even share a producer. But I did like Hulu’s This Way Up which also got many Fleabag comparisons.

Since Fleabag won all the Best Comedy awards and This Way Up was pretty funny, I was expecting Back to Life to be humorous, but, it is not very funny at all. And I am not entirely sure if it was really supposed to be (British humour can be to us Yanks sometimes). The lead actress gives herself hideous bang early on and there is a lady cop hamming it up later in the season, but the laughs are far and few in between.

The subject matter is pretty heavy as the show revolves around who spent half her life in prison; she spent eighteen years there after being locked up when she was eighteen. And that is not the least of her parents problems as mom has been hooking up with a much younger man and poppa is oblivious to it all. Oh, and this being a small town so no one forgets what she did.

Except us the audience does not really know. Considering she spent almost two decades behind, it clearly is something serious. So really, Back to Life is much less a comedy as it is a mystery and breadcrumbs of what exactly happen through each of the six episode, the show is just delivered in the comedy like twenty-five minutes installments. I wish I knew this going in because going in thinking it was a comedy, I came away feeling very underwhelmed.

Back to Life airs Sundays at 10:00 on Showtime. Or if you just want to watch the show as a two hour and thirty minute movie, Showtime is releasing all six episodes at midnight this Sunday On Demand or via the Showtime Anytime app.

Sunday, November 03, 2019

57 Channels and Only This Is On: November 3, 2019

Watchmen: So we actually got a quick answer to kind of a silly question from the premiere, how do two black people have three white children. Everything else was mostly confusing and still kind of boring.

The Affair: Ooo, our very first duel perspective… whatever that means. I am still not entirely what different things happening during different acts means. When it went back to Noah, I was convinced Helen was dead. But are we officially done with Joanie now? She has been absent for a couple episodes now and there is just one left.

Mr. Robot: Wait, Tyrell does not want to be killed by The Dark Army so he just walked away to bleed out to death in the wood? But I guess whatever that glowing thing will save him. But that storyline was still better than the FBI storyline where she pleasured herself to sleep on Christmas Eve where she dreamed about being killed by the Dark Army.
You can download Mr. Robot: on iTunes.

Castle Rock: I do not think Pops is done as done as the doctor thinks. I think that he can be reborn like his nephew. It was all but confirmed this week that is not the same nephew since his dog, who has better sense than Ace, wanted to attack him. But what exactly is he and what exactly does he know of Ace’s life? And what are these invasion of the body snatchers type people’s obsession with eggs? He did mention this started four hundred years ago and we learned that some thought it was witches while others think Satanist. But neither are known for body snatching.
You can watch Castle Rock on Hulu.

Survivor: Island of Idols: They did a good job making me wonder which way Aaron was going… right up until the point where he did not reciprocate dude’s fist bump. I do not even care if that was kind of a huge spoiler because it was just so forking hilarious. Not quite, “Natalie, can I have your jacket?” but it was up there.
You can download Survivor: Island of the Idols on iTunes.

The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2: I understand having an alliance with the other team to keep yourself from going in, but you have to draw the line somewhere, and that was a colossal dumb move by Joss. I get Kayleigh, she is the weakest and she needs to stick around by any means necessary, but for Joss to put in Georgia instead of Smashley just handed the Americans the win right there. Had he picked Smashley, best case scenario, the Americans loose two strong players and you gain one, worst case scenario, the U.S. loses one and you stand pat. Instead you risk the truly worst case scenario which would have been Georgia going home and Tori staying with the U.S. Picking Smashley may have been the only way the Brits could have win, yet Joss stupidly stayed loyal to people who will not be sharing their winning with him.
You can download The Challenge: War of the Worlds 2 on iTunes.

The Good Place:Mmmm, Michael let Bad Janet go. Kind of makes me think if the whole show has been a test for Michael to see if demons can be reformed.
You can download The Good Place on iTunes.

Titans: So if Starfire is now mad that her sister is queen, why did she leave and refused to return when summoned? Makes about as much sense as Batman not having voice mail. But why even wait until Superboy woke up? Why didn’t Old Robin call him when he arrived to let Superman know?

The Blacklist: So Aram just happened to crash the same wedding and just so happened to get the nametag as Red’s buddy? There has to be something else to his lady friend. She was a part of that death club so she is not above shady things.
You can download The Blacklist on iTunes.