Saturday, February 08, 2020

Around the Tubes: February 8. 2020

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 Kidding, Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet, Utopia Falls, Pearl Jam, Arrow, First Ladies, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Yusuf / Cat Stevens, BENEE, Editors, SHAKIRA, Oh Wonder, Phantogram, The Kingmaker, World of Weapons, Infinity Train: Book One, and Katy J Pearson.

- The acclaimed Showtime comedy series Kidding, starring Golden Globe® winner Jim Carrey, returns to television for its second season on Sunday, February 9 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, airing back-to-back episodes at 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. ET/PT every Sunday. Season two hosts an impressive roster of guest stars including Grammy® winners Ariana Grande and Tyler, The Creator, NBA all-star Blake Griffin, Emmy® winner Dick Van Dyke (Mary Poppins), Rachel Boston (500 Days Of Summer), Mae Whitman (Good Girls) and Oscar® and Golden Globe nominee Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight). Tara Lipinski and Jenna Alvarez have signed on to return as guest stars for the second season.

- Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet, premieres February 7, 2020. Created by Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day, and Megan Ganz, “Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet” follows a team of video game developers as they navigate the challenges of running a popular video game. In addition to McElhenney, who stars as the fictional company's creative director, Ian Grimm, the ensemble cast also includes Academy Award-winner F. Murray Abraham, Danny Pudi, Imani Hakim, Charlotte Nicdao, David Hornsby, Ashly Burch, and Jessie Ennis. The series is produced by Lionsgate, 3 Arts Entertainment and Ubisoft. All nine, half-hour episodes of the live-action comedy will debut globally on Friday, February 7, exclusively on Apple TV+.

- About Utopia Falls: Hundreds of years in the future, in the last living colony on earth, a city called New Babyl, twenty-four teenage candidates are chosen to take part in an annual musical competition known as The Exemplar. For all of them it's a chance to write their names in the history books, but for Aliyah, the independent and adventurous daughter to a city government official, it’s the beginning of an incredible adventure. Through the discovery of a mysterious archive, she is exposed to hip-hop, an ancient form of music culture, which will lead her to question everything she has ever known and change her world forever.

- Pearl Jam released the official and final video for "Dance of the Clairvoyants", the first single from Pearl Jam's forthcoming album, Gigaton is out now. Watch the official and final music video for “Dance of the Clairvoyants (Mach lll)” HERE Listen to "Dance of the Clairvoyants" HERE.

- After eight remarkable seasons, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment and DC mark the end of an epic era with its final installment of the suspenseful and action-packed series with the release of Arrow: The Eighth and Final Season on Blu-ray & DVD April 28, 2020. Get ready for nonstop action from start to finish with all 10 action-packed episodes from the eighth and final season, plus the show’s 2019 Comic-Con Panel, the broadcast special Arrow: Hitting the Bullseye and deleted scenes! A limited edition bonus disc featuring all five DC Crossover Event: Crisis on Infinite Earths episodes will be available exclusively for fans who purchase the Blu-ray. Arrow: The Eighth and Final Season is priced to own at $24.98 SRP ($29.98 in Canada) and $29.98 SRP for the Blu-ray which includes a Digital Code (U.S. only), ($39.99 in Canada). Arrow: The Eighth and Final Season is also available to own on Digital via purchase from digital retailers.
Arrow: The Complete Series will also be available for fans to own on Blu-ray and DVD for $189.99 / $169.99 SRP ($249.99 / $229.99 in Canada). The bonus disc is included in the Blu-ray Complete Series set.

- Showtime has given a series order to the first season of the hour-long drama First Ladies, starring and executive produced by Oscar, Emmy and Tony® winner Viola Davis, who will play former first lady Michelle Obama. Produced by Showtime and Lionsgate Television, the series will also be executive produced by Julius Tennon, Oscar winner Cathy Schulman (Crash, Five Feet Apart), Jeff Gaspin (Rhythm + Flow, L.A.’s Finest), Brad Kaplan (Mr. Church) and author Aaron Cooley (Four Seats: A Thriller of the Supreme Court), who created the series and will write.

- The Marley family, UMe and Island Records have begun to roll out their yearlong MARLEY75 commemorative plans in celebration of the legendary cultural icon, Bob Marley's 75th birthday and 40th anniversary of the timeless classic "Redemption Song." In honor of Black History Month, now underway, and to mark the beginning of all MARLEY75 celebrations in 2020, the official music video for "Redemption Song" premieres today on Bob Marley's YouTube channel. Created by French artists Octave Marsal & Theo De Gueltzl, the breathtaking animation, featuring 2,747 original drawings, uses powerful symbols to amplify the magnitude of the song's timeless lyrics and importance in today's world. The video highlights Bob's contribution to the empowerment of black civilization, as well as his manifestation of hope and recovery for all mankind.

- Jimi Hendrix's immortal 1970 live album, Band of Gypsys, is one of his most influential releases, with the charismatic guitar icon testing the bounds of his creative approach to produce some of the most ambitious music of his career. Capitol/UMe will honor this landmark record on March 27, almost exactly 50 years from its original release, with special 50th anniversary vinyl editions of Band of Gypsys that recapture the album’s boundary-breaking spirit.

- UMe will reissue Yusuf / Cat Stevens’ first two albums Matthew & Son and New Masters on March 27, available on vinyl for the first time since 1982. Exquisitely ‘De-mixed’ with enhanced vocals at the world-famous Abbey Road Studios, both albums will be available on 180-gram vinyl with fully restored artwork. Featuring newly enhanced vocals, Abbey Road Studios have used their revolutionary ‘Demix’ software on the original master tapes to reinvigorate and breathe new life into both albums. Where vocals have always been buried by the subsequent orchestral backing track, ‘Demixing’ enables the studio to digitally extract and enhance the original vocals to create a superior listening experience for fans. As well as vocals, ‘Demixing’ has also considerably helped amplify the bass, something that was commonly strenuous to achieve with mixes in the late 1960s. Pre-order here.

- New Zealand’s indie pop sensation BENEE returns with the video for “Supalonely” featuring Gus Dapperton, today—watch HERE! “Supalonely” is featured on her latest EP, STELLA & STEVE, released to critical acclaim in November. BENEE worked with rising Australian director, Rome, on the video. Explaining how she wanted the video to match the song’s colorful and fun mood but also convey its contrasting lyrical theme, she says, “It starts with me being a lonely teen at home then turns into this weird dreamscape, where I end up dancing around with Gus who appears through a TV screen in the lounge!”

- Having kicked off the European leg of their Greatest Hits tour in Paris last week, Editors this week unveil the brand new video for "Upside Down", the latest single from their best-of album Black Gold, out now via Play It Again Sam. Watch it HERE. Directed by Rahi Rezvani, the striking video plays with shadows and light, enclosing the band in a room that beguiles and denies as they are illuminated one second and cast in darkness the next. The result is an uncanny sense of mental claustrophobia and that reflects the uncertainty of the track’s lyrics.

- SHAKIRA--the iconic, Colombian singer-songwriter and multi-GRAMMY® award winner–is drawing rave reviews for her electrifying and history-making live performance last night at Super Bowl LIV, the biggest sporting event on the planet. Performing on her birthday, SHAKIRA played a new Gibson Firebird guitar which was encrusted with 70,000 Swarovski jet hematite crystals. She treated the worldwide audience to a thrilling medley of her music hits celebrating Latin music with a few surprises including “She Wolf,” “Empire,” “Ojos Asi” and Led Zeppelin, “Kashmir” Remix, “Whenever, Wherever,” “I Like It” (Shakira and Bad Bunny), “Chantaje” and “Callaíta” Remix (Shakira and Bad Bunny), “Hips Don’t Lie” and a finale of “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)” alongside co-headliner Jennifer Lopez at the Pepsi Superbowl LIV Halftime Show at Hard Rock Stadium.

- Oh Wonder releases their third album, No One Else Can Wear Your Crown—listen HERE. The record was previewed by the beautiful video for their new song, “In And Out Of Love,” out now—watch HERE. The duo’s epic 2020 world tour begins this week with intimate album release shows across the U.K., followed by headline tour dates through the summer—see the full list of dates below.

- Lauded as an experimental and alternative band, and one that’s never been married to a particular genre, Phantogram—comprised of lifelong friends Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel—have continued to change the zeitgeist for almost a decade by consistently challenging it with their signature blend of hard-hitting beats, guitar-driven dark psychedelia and electronic pop. Today, Phantogram announces the release of their highly anticipated fourth studio album, Ceremony, set for release on March 6th. The duo celebrates the announce by dropping “Pedestal,” from the forthcoming project. Pre-order Ceremony HERE and listen to “Pedestal” HERE.

- The Kingmaker, nominated for a Critics’ Choice Best Documentary Feature Award and a WGA Award for Best Documentary Screenplay, will have its television debut Friday, February 28 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME. Written and directed by Emmy winner Lauren Greenfield (Generation Wealth, The Queen of Versailles, Thin), the critically acclaimed feature from SHOWTIME Documentary Films presents a searing portrait of Imelda Marcos, the former first lady of the Philippines whose behind-the-scenes machinations in the political careers of her husband, and later her son, cemented her indelible mark on the global political stage. The Kingmaker was named to several 2019 “Best Of” lists during its theatrical run last fall and premiered to sold-out audiences at prestigious film festivals across the world, including the Venice Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and BFI London Film Festival.

- Smithsonian Channel will explore the evolution of weapons throughout history and how they changed the course of mankind in the new documentary series World of Weapons. Weapons comprise an ever-evolving arsenal that has transformed combat – helping build empires, destroy them and deter aggression. This ten-part series highlights some of the world’s most important and innovative weapons and how and why they work, what problems they solve on the battlefield and give fresh insight into their role in history. Along the way, renowned international experts look at weapons and war as a way to explain human progress and how they may determine our fate. World of Weapons premieres Sunday, March 15 at 9 PM ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel.

- Created by Owen Dennis (former writer and storyboard artist from “Regular Show”), Cartoon Network’s mysterious and critically acclaimed series Infinity Train: Book One will be released on DVD on April 21, 2020 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. Go on a journey will all 10 episodes from the first season and bring home some extra magic with over an hour of epic bonus features including commentaries, documentaries, animatics, and more! Infinity Train: Book One DVD is priced to own at $14.97 SRP ($16.99 in Canada).

- New Heavenly Recordings signee Katy J Pearson has shared brand new track "Hey You" and its accompanying video. Watch it HERE. Written during solo sessions at community artist space Island Studios in her home city of Bristol, the track was later recorded with Ali Chant (PJ Harvey, M. Ward, Perfume Genius, Gruff Rhys) at his studio Toy Box.

Friday, February 07, 2020

Previewing Into the Dark: My Valentine

Like most of America, I did not see Jem and the Holograms but I could only imagine it may have been better as a horror film (hey, they repurposed Fantasy Island as one recently so why not). Maybe we will see what a potential Jem and the Hologram horror movie might look like with the latest Into the Dark installment, My Valentine.

The new episode stars Britt Baron (G.L.O.W.) as, well, Valentine, a musician performing for the first time since a really bad co-dependent relationship. Of course her first show back attracts said boyfriend… and his new girlfriend, who just so happens to be the spitting image of her because he took all her songs and looks (they both spot wigs that look like a mix of California Gurls era Katy Perry and Just Dance version of Lady Gaga, yet somehow more annoying looking) and turned it into Trezzure, the newest pop start with 21.9 million subscribers.

With it pop music sensibilities mixed with gratuitous violence, this is the weirdest episode of Into the Dark in a while. I am not going to say that is a good thing, but boy it is weird. I do appreciate they went in a different direction from last year’s Valentine’s Day episode, but did end up enjoying that one more. But for those that have been patiently waiting for any sign of a Into the Dark extended universe, I believe this is the first episode that actually references a previous installment (even though the episode ends with two music videos for mediocre songs, stick around for it in the credits).

Into the Dark Season Two Power Ranking:

1. Uncanny Annie (October)
2. A Nasty Piece of Work (December)
3. Pilgrim (November)
4. My Valentine (February)
4. Midnight Kiss (December)

Into the Dark: My Valentine premieres today on Hulu.

Thursday, February 06, 2020

Previewing Homeland: The Final Season

It struck me as I am slowly working on my best of the decade list is how different my greatest shows of the decade would look if I just ranked shows on their first season. I would not have to deal with the trash fires that were the last couple season of Game of Thrones. Mr. Robot would be much higher. But the biggest benefactor would undoubtedly be Homeland which had one of the best debut season ever but then the third was one of the worst ever and has been bouncing back and forth between good and bad for the next five season. This is not a problem confined to this decade; Lost also had a great first season but ended up in the middle of my top 100.

So here we are at the final season of Homeland and for all the talk we have about sticking the landing, after eight season, I am just glad we will finally get a conclusion be it bad or good. I kind of hope it ends with Saul and Carrie retiring because, boy have they been through so much this decade. Fork, Carrie ended the last season spending 213 days in a Siberian prison without her bi-polar medication. And yet, twenty-three minutes into the premiere, Carrie is back behind enemy lines doing spy work for her country despite a failed polygraph which most spies are taught to pass and still recovering from being tortured. Granted it is an interesting juxtaposition from the first season where you wonder if the Russians turned Carrie like the Taliban turned Brody.

But hey, Saul needs her in Afghanistan for a week or two. He is close to bringing peace to the region if it not for a Pakistani general who is acting like he is the villain in an eighties action film. Also in the region is Max, Carrie’s wire tapper she hired whenever she did not want her bosses to know what she was doing. Apparently Saul hired him to in an official capacity to repair a functional listening devise near an enemy camp. Also back is Beau Bridges who I forgot was promoted to president after his superior resigned last season. And he seems to be at odds with his VP as his predecessor was with him. But in Homeland world why you actually can lose your job as president for gross incompetence, I wonder if he will last the season. Maybe by the end of the series, maybe Carrie or Saul will fail all the way to the White House.

Homeland airs Sundays at 9:00 on Showtime.

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Previewing Kidding: Season Two

I know I spend a lot of time complaining bout how much I forget about a show’s previous season, but you would think a mild mannered children’s television host running over his wife’s boyfriend on Christmas Eve would have been pretty memorable. But there I was watching the previously on for the second season of Kidding and Mr. Pickles just ran over a dude… and that is where the season left off.

The first season of Kidding had to be the weirdest show in the history of television that was completely based in reality. It probably helped that Jim Carrey played his children’s show host in the vein of Mr. Rogers so straight that it got really weird. And then that character started to crack and shave what I guess you can call a reverse Mohawk into his head. Just as that grew back he gets another haircut early in season two, this one a little less funny, and he is not the only one who gets a haircut this season.

Another thing I forgot is last season also featured a speech by Mr. Pickle that was controversial enough to get his show pulled from the air for the first time in thirty years so not only is he losing his wife, he might also be losing his show. His sister’s divorce also complicates things as her husband wants half of everything, which includes half of the puppets she created for the show.

But not is all lost, we do get to see a full episode Mr. Pickle’s Puppet Time and much like G.L.O.W.’s show within a show, it is one of the best, and I would say in the case of Kidding, the best of its two season run so far. This episode features a special appearance of Pickara Grande, a pickle fairy played by Jim Carrey super-fan Ariana Grande. Really, this season is worth watching just for that. Although the season also features the second episode that I have seen in less than a month (the other being Mix’ish) that centers on the Challenger explosion. So yeah, that was also weird for different reason.

Kidding airs Sundays at 10:00 on Showtime with back-to-back episodes.

Sunday, February 02, 2020

57 Channels and Only This Is On: February 2, 2020

Dare Me: Just when you thought it was not going to get more gross than someone biting their own lip last week, someone gets their teeth kicked out this week. Except I guess it was implied this week that Beth did not bite her own lip, but that she was sexually assaulted. But was the pool of mouth blood on the mat the same pool of blood from the season premiere? I kind of assumed that someone died. But without actually looking back at that first scene, it did look similar.

Shameless: So the Frank storyline did not amount to anything but to add a car to Ian’s wedding? And was that car always a convertible? But the big news is that Debbie is about to be arrested (and Carl may be right behind her). Although what exactly is the law in Illinois? Most states have a grace period so kids a couple months older but just slightly above the adult line do not get in trouble for this kind of thing. I believe my state has a five year rule which Debbie would be easily inside. But that is it, just one more season left… until the inevitable reboot in ten years.

The Outsider: So that random prison storyline last week was the nurse at Jason Bateman’s father’s hospital? If that was expressed last week, I missed it. Then he opens this week again as we see how he got the “virus.” But the whole pain demon thing that feeds on destroying whole families make it just seems worse than just child murder. So how did the lady in jail survive?

Supergirl: Just when you thought it could not get worse than multiple Brainiac 5’s last week, this week we got multiple Toymen Jr.’s. Ugg. Now if only we could get multiple Saturn Girls.
You can download Supergirl on iTunes.

Manifest: So if that college student ends up forking the daughter who a year ago to him was just ten, would that not be kind of creepy?

Vikings: I thought the Resurrection episode title was going to be a huge spoiler that Floki would finally return after being trapped in a mountain for the last eight episode, instead we got an even more shocking return of Athelstan. Or, I guess someone who claimed to kill him. I had to look it up since it has been so long, but it was Floki who actually killed Athelstan. Umm, whatever that means. Another thing that I am not entirely sure what it means, Ivar brother does not think the queen looks like his dead wife. But he is crazy so maybe that may not mean anything.

The Good Place: So the suicide door turned out not to be a suicide door… but kind of still feels like a suicide door? Sure Eleanor turned into stardust that got Michael Realman’s neighbor to get him his lost mail, but it still seemed to endorse suicide to me. And Michael Realman kind of got a short shrift getting sent to earth in his current form of an old dude. How about giving him a baby skin suit and let live a full life? But I guess even with the suicide door it ended up being a solid finale but I feel like a great finale was sitting right there. Instead of a suicide door, make it a reincarnation door and have the final scene being the soul squad unbeknownst to themselves just happening to bump in to each other.
You can download The Good Place on iTunes.