Saturday, February 15, 2020

Around the Tubes: February 15, 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 Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, Pearl Jam, The Weeknd, Tears For Fears, Brain Games, Lucifer, Love Fraud, Spy Wars with Damian Lewis, More Women of a Certain Age, Visible: Out on Television, and The Circus: Inside the Craziest Political Campaign On Earth.

- Republic Records announces the release of a series of official soundtrack EPs in conjunction with the critically acclaimed new NBC television series Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. The series is produced by Lionsgate and Universal Television in association with the Tannenbaum Company, Feigco Entertainment and Universal Music Group’s Polygram Entertainment. Going live this morning, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist: Season 1, Episode 1 (Music from the Original TV Series) is available now at all digital retailers in advance of the show’s highly anticipated two hour premiere this Sunday, February 16th, beginning at 8pm ET on NBC. Get it via Republic Records HERE. New EPs will be released in tandem with each new episode of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, which will air weekly on Sundays at 9pm ET/ PT on NBC.

- Fans can experience the activation by heading to via their mobile device and pointing their phone camera at the moon to trigger the song snippet and pre-order the song. Pearl Jam’s highly anticipated 11th studio album, Gigaton, which will be released on March 27, 2020. The app will be available today through February 18th when “Superblood Wolfmoon” will be available at all digital retailers.

- The Weeknd has announced the name of his upcoming album, After Hours, coming soon via XO Records / Republic Records. The album has been led by his two Platinum singles "Heartless", which previously hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and "Blinding Lights" along with outstanding live performances on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. "Blinding Lights" also soundtracked the Mercedes-Benz EQC campaign which The Weeknd starred in and served as creative director for. Last week he also scored his first ever UK #1 song with "Blinding Lights" and also earned his 10th #1 song on Billboard's Rhythmic Songs chart. On March 7th, The Weeknd will be making his third appearance as musical guest on Saturday Night Live.

- Spring 2020 sees the 35th anniversary of Tears For Fears iconic ten million-selling album Songs From The Big Chair. The 35th celebrations will include the release of a limited picture disc version of the album and a reissue of the much sought after super deluxe 4CD/2DVD boxset which currently changes hands for hundreds of dollars. Songs From The Big Chair was Tears For Fears second album and spawned classic worldwide hit songs such as the US #1 singles “Everybody Wants To Rule the World” and “Shout” as well as “Head over Heels” and “Mother’s Talk.” Upon its first release, Songs From The Big Chair spent 30 weeks in the UK top ten-album chart, a whole year in the top 30 and only left the charts 18 months later. The story was very much the same all over the world, the album spent five weeks at #1 in the US, and much like the UK, it was in the Billboard Chart for 18 months.

- The Emmy-nominated Nat Geo’s Brain Games featured Jack Black as mentalist Lior Suchard was getting into his mind during the music themed episode which aired this week. Seen in the clip here: watch as Jack Black and his Tenacious D bandmate Kyle Gass learn how music affects the brain. Wonder what song he was channeling?? Well, it was none other than Don McLean’s "American Pie"!

- Your date with the Devil is soon to arrive, as Warner Bros. Home Entertainment brings you Lucifer: The Complete Fourth Season on DVD May 12, 2020. Put on your devilish grin as you indulge in all 10 hell-raising episodes from the fourth season and fulfill your deepest desires with tantalizing deleted scenes included in the bonus features. Lucifer: The Complete Fourth Season will be available at all major retailers and is priced to own at $24.98 SRP ($29.98 in Canada). Lucifer: The Complete Fourth Season will also available to own on Digital via purchase from digital retailers on May 11, 2020. Lucifer: The Complete Fourth Season will also be available on Blu-ray courtesy of Warner Archive Collection. The Blu-ray release includes all the bonus features on the DVD and is also arriving May 12, 2020. Warner Archive Blu-ray releases are easily found at and on your favorite online retailer sites.

- Showtime has released the trailer for the upcoming docu-series Love Fraud, premiering on Friday, May 8 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The series marks the first foray into episodic television for Emmy winners and Academy Award® nominees Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady. Love Fraud had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January, the first time in the festival’s history a television series screened on opening night. To watch and share the trailer, visit:

- Smithsonian Channel is set to investigate some of the most shocking and explosive cases of espionage over the last 50 years. Spy Wars with Damian Lewis features the incredible true stories of spy wars fought in the shadows, from the turbulent years of the Cold War to the Iran Hostage Crisis and the discovery of a complex web of sleeper agents living in the U.S. – a major inspiration for the plot of The Americans. Each episode of this new eight-part series sees host Damian Lewis revealing these remarkable tales of the secretive world of government intelligence, surveillance and international conspiracy plots with interviews from the experts and eyewitnesses that lived through them. Spy Wars with Damian Lewis premieres Sunday, March 22 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel.

- Caroline Rhea (Sabrina The Teenage Witch) will headline More Women of a Certain Age, a new comedy special premiering Saturday, March 14 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME. Carol Leifer (Seinfeld), Carole Montgomery (Comics Unleashed), Julia Scotti (America’s Got Talent), Tammy Pescatelli (Finding The Funny) and Thea Vidale (Last Comic Standing) round out the lineup for the hour-long special. Filmed at the Bell House in Brooklyn, the special features six of the funniest women in stand-up for a night of uninhibited, outrageous comedy. More Women of a Certain Age is the second installment of the hit comedy showcase from Montgomery and producer Dave Goldberg. Women of a Certain Age became the network’s highest-rated premiere of a stand-up special in 2019. To watch and share a trailer from More Women of a Certain Age go to:

- Visible: Out on Television investigates the importance of TV as an intimate medium that has shaped the American conscience, and how the LGBTQ movement has shaped television. The five-part documentary series combines archival footage with interviews with key players from the movement and the screen, and is narrated by Janet Mock, Margaret Cho, Asia Kate Dillon, Neil Patrick Harris and Lena Waithe. Each hour-long episode will explore themes such as invisibility, homophobia, the evolution of the LGBTQ character, and coming out in the television industry. The five-part docuseries premieres Friday, February 14, 2020.

- Coming up this Sunday on The Circus: Inside the Craziest Political Campaign On Earth hosted by John Heilemann, Alex Wagner, and Mark McKinnon: At the biggest rally of Amy Klobuchar’s campaign, The Circus speaks with the Minnesota senator backstage about her surge in momentum ahead of an expectation-defying finish in New Hampshire. For a preview go to

Friday, February 14, 2020

Previewing Utopia Falls

Utopia Falls on Hulu

John Landgraf of FX coined the term “Peak TV” when he counted 400 scripted television shows that year and since then it has only gotten peakier and will explode even more this year with the launch of HBO Max, Peacock, and something called Quibi which apparently you will only be able to watch on your phone. I do not think anyone even bothers to count how many shows are being aired anymore (the best I could find is 1400+). So with so many different options, there are shows for every little niche you can think of.

But watching Utopia Falls, a Canadian import coming to Hulu today, I have to ask, who exactly this show is for. Having watched every episode, the best I can describe this show is “Hunger Games meets Fame”; feel free to put that in your promos Hulu. I just do not know who would see that and think, cool, I have to watch them. At best, there may be a couple people who read that and think, what the fork, that sounds so stupid I have to watch to see if that is what the show really is.

But seriously, Utopia Falls takes place hundreds of years in a dystopian future where a city within a dome has been split up into four sections, Progress, Industry, Nature, and Reform (which seems to be the lowest rank). The dome is to protect them from the poisonous outside world that was turned into a wasteland from endless wars. Then for the past seventy-three years twenty-four exemplars from the sectors are chosen, but instead of a fight to the death, Hunger Games style, they compete in a talent competition, be it dance, singing, or playing a musical instrument. See, I told you, Hunger Games meets Fame. I was not joking.

Like any good dystopian future, everyone wears very boring clothing and hair styles but there has not been any civil unrest in five decades. Of course most of them have weird names but unlike other YA adaptation, these are just dumb, like Tempo, Apollo, Bohdi, Mags, and Sage and their last names are numbers. Then most everyone is hot and ambitiously ethnic with some weird parentage. The vaguely Asian chick has a black and white mother. The Latina has a redhead mother. If it is ever explained how the parentage does not make any biological sense, I missed it.

Though they are currently living in Utopia, as the title suggests, that will not last long. While celebrating their selection as an Exemplar, two happen upon a secret library outside the city limits which houses a library of media from present day that had been long lost. And really, there are very few things more entertaining that watching a bunch of people who clearly were hired for the dancing ability try to act like they have never heard hip-hop before. Oh, and did I mention, the Alexa of this library is voiced by the disembodied voice of Snoop Dogg?

So despite never hearing rap music before, one dude is able to spit verses an hour later. The Exemplars become so versed in modern music, before long they are debating Old School and New School. And yet the person that claims there was no good rap before N.W.A. (umm, I think someone got their old school/new school and East Coast/West Coast debates mixed up) starts rapping The Message less than five. So I really cannot call this show at all good with its paint by numbers dystopian YA trope presented with bad acting, yet I am kind of hoping it gets renewed.

All episodes of Utopia Falls are now streaming on Hulu.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

57 Channels and Only This Is On: February 9, 2020

The Outsider: So the weird Fear Demon is now haunting the cop’s wife, kind of like apparently it did with the kid early on. But it seemed to vaguely suggest she was just seeing thing. Is this a Freddy Kruger situation? And can it just haunt anyone the person who body it snatches come in contact with? But then why haunt a child and a woman to threaten the cop instead of just haunting him? I guess it is kind of scarier this way.

Stumptown: Yeah Dex, all those Twister knockoffs should have been a very huge warning sign. But I am beginning to wonder just how long that cassette that is stuck in her car is? Should start replay songs at some point. A cassette tape is at most forty-five minutes, unless that crappy broke tape deck and auto flip.
You can download Stumptown on iTunes.

Vikings: Oh wow, the Russians won and Ivar (it looks like) killed Bjorn. That was totally unexpected. Though I do not believe this is the end of the Vikings Empire like the promo for the second half of the season suggested. They did already announce a sequel. But I wonder how that is ending up on Netflix. The show was successful enough that it ran for fairly long on History and then Hulu has the streaming rights so it is weird that Netflix would swoop in for a continuation about those two.

Briarpatch: Well that was mostly boring.