Saturday, April 04, 2020

Around the Tubes: April 4, 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 Normal People, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Showtime, Impractical Jokers: The Movie, Master Minds, Disgraceland, The Weeknd, Oh Wonder, KIANA LEDÉ, Basketball Country: In The Water, Autism: The Sequel, Robin Williams, and Hustlers

- Hulu released the official trailer for Normal People, a 30-minute drama series based on Sally Rooney’s best-selling novel. Normal People premieres with all 12 episodes, Wednesday, April 29th, only on Hulu.

- "Weird Al" Yankovic Turns "One More Minute" into a Social Distancing Anthem:

- Given the suspension of production operations due to the COVID-19 virus, SHOWTIME is making the following scheduling adjustments for its series BLACK MONDAY, BILLIONS and THE CHI: BLACK MONDAY will air through the sixth episode of its second season on Sunday April 12, then will return with the final four episodes of the season later this year. As previously announced, BILLIONS will premiere its fifth season on Sunday, May 3 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The first seven episodes of the season will debut starting in May, with the remainder to also air later this year. The season premiere of THE CHI will move up to Sunday, June 21 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. The entire third season will air without interruption. Also, the entire season of PENNY DREADFUL: CITY OF ANGELS is currently scheduled to air beginning with its season premiere on Sunday, April 26 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. In the cases of both BILLIONS and BLACK MONDAY, the pause in new episodes will come at a natural point in the story arcs of their seasons.

- Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is bringing the pranks into homes this April Fool’s Day with the early digital release of Impractical Jokers: The Movie on April 1, 2020, only five weeks after its successful theatrical debut. The film, an extension of the wildly successful Impractical Jokers series, was directed by Chris Henchy (Daddy’s Home, “Eastbound & Down”). A truTV original production and produced by Funny Or Die, Impractical Jokers: The Movie carries a suggested retail price of $19.99 for the Digital ($24.99 in Canada) and is rated PG-13.

- Master Minds, the new expert trivia game show hosted by Emmy®-nominated Game Show Host Brooke Burns (“Baywatch”; “The Chase”) and featuring Jeopardy! G.O.A.T./Trivia Legend Ken Jennings premieres next Monday, April 6 at 4 p.m. ET on Game Show Network. This engaging, fun, and educational show is family-friendly entertainment that every age group can enjoy and strives to be an uplifting respite and dose of playful competition for families who are at home together during this tumultuous time.

- The explosive music and true crime podcast Disgraceland continues its 5th season with a new episode on Little Richard. The episode will be distributed through the iHeartPodcast Network beginning today and can be heard now on the iHeartRadio app and wherever podcasts are available. So far in season 5, host Jake Brennan has released an epic two part episode on Guns N' Roses and an episode focusing on Jay-Z.

- The Weeknd’s latest album, After Hours (XO/Republic Records) was released to massive critical and fan acclaim and has now been crowned the year’s biggest release, earning over 2 billion global streams and nearly 2 million in global consumption. The Grammy Award winning artist has not only captured a #1 album debut, but the single “Blinding Lights” has simultaneously captured the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming his 5th #1 on the chart. In addition, After Hours has become the #1 R&B streaming album of all time, breaking the record previously held by The Weeknd’s 2016 release, Starboy. The artist now holds the #1 and #2 top streaming R&B albums of all time with After Hours and Starboy. After Hours is topping the charts across the globe, debuting #1 in Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy and New Zealand. The album debuted at #1 on Apple Music in over 85 countries and dominated the global Spotify Chart, capturing 7 of the Top 10. Additionally, "Blinding Lights" has been the #1 airplay song and #1 official single in multiple countries for several consecutive weeks as well as Spotify's #1 Global Song for 37 days and counting. The record has also has crossed over 5 million in Single Consumption.

- Oh Wonder launches a new series called Home Tapes, which will see the duo write, record, produce and release a string of new songs from their home studio in South London. The first arrives today in the form of twinkling and gently hypnotic track “Lonely Star”—listen HERE. It’s been a whirlwind year so far for Oh Wonder—the idiosyncratic musical partnership of Anthony West and Josephine Vander Gucht. February saw them release their second U.K. Top 10 album, No One Else Can Wear Your Crown, and subsequently embark on their momentous “Wear Your Crown” World Tour to celebrate. The tour began with a magnificent homecoming show at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire but was put on hold three days later in Paris as the world was brought to a standstill.

- Affirming herself as the boldest and brightest breakthrough R&B songstress of 2020, gold-selling Phoenix-raised and Los Angeles-based artist KIANA LEDÉ reveals her highly anticipated full-length debut, KIKI, today. The album was Executive Produced by longtime collaborator Mike Woods (Rice N' Peas) and Kiana co-wrote the entire project as well. Get it HERE via Republic Records.

- Short-form sweepstakes program GAME SHOW NETWORK DAILY DRAW, which turns network viewers into winners, will return to Game Show Network on Monday, April 6 within the 4:30pm airing of GET A CLUE. Hosted by Rob Belushi, actor and host of Game Show Network’s word giving and guessing game, GET A CLUE, the one-minute interstitial will give viewers the opportunity to win up to $500 each weeknight.

- SHOWTIME this week announced the new documentary titled Basketball Country: In The Water, a collaboration with NBA star Kevin Durant and sports business executive Rich Kleiman’s Thirty Five Ventures. The film explores how one county in Maryland, Durant’s hometown, has recently produced more elite basketball players than anywhere else in the world. BASKETBALL COUNTY: In The Water will premiere on SHOWTIME on Friday, May 15 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. A fascinating examination of a remarkable community, BASKETBALL COUNTY: In The Water tells the story of Prince George’s County, Md., and its social, economic and cultural evolution through the lens of some of the game’s biggest stars—Durant, Victor Oladipo, Michael Beasley, Quinn Cook, Rebekkah Brunson, Marissa Coleman and many more. Since 2000, the county just outside the nation’s capital has spawned some 25 NBA players, more than a dozen WNBA players, and countless more who have competed at elite universities, highlighting the decades-long prevalence of basketball within a region of roughly 800,000 residents.

- In 2006, HBO debuted the 2007 Emmy®-winning Autism: The Musical, a poignant, heartwarming film that followed five children on the autism spectrum as they wrote and performed their own musical. We revisit the stars of this musical 12 years later in Autism: The Sequel as the original subjects, now in their early 20s, navigate what independence means to them as they manage challenges and triumphs as adults. Weaving together present-day interviews with footage of the subjects and their families shot 12 years ago, the uplifting short documentary Autism: The Sequel debuts Tuesday, April 28 at 9pm on HBO.

- While Robin Williams started performing stand-up comedy in the mid-'70s, most of America first fell in love with him as the naïve and hilarious alien from the planet Ork in Mork & Mindy. He became an instant superstar and went on to do five HBO stand-up specials and dozens of feature films. Robin performed steadily for nearly four decades-from comedy clubs to stadiums, from talk shows to USO tours-and continually amazed audiences with his frenetic energy and unbelievably quick wit. This April Fools' Day, the comedy connoisseurs at Time Life will launch The Official Robin Williams YouTube Channel, celebrating Robin's comic genius. Whether you know Robin from the stage or from the screen, as a comedian, an alien, or a genie-home audiences can subscribe to the channel and be prepared to laugh and cry at unforgettable and hilarious performances by the singular talent.

- The television premiere of the smash hit film Hustlers will air on SHOWTIME on Saturday, April 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Network subscribers will also be able to watch the movie across all platforms including SHOWTIME ON DEMAND®, SHOWTIME ANYTIME® and the SHOWTIME stand-alone streaming service. Acclaimed by critics and beloved by audiences, HUSTLERS netted star Jennifer Lopez her first Golden Globe nomination since 1998’s Selena. Inspired by a viral New York Magazine article, the film follows a crew of savvy former strip-club employees who band together to turn the tables on their Wall Street clients. The ensemble cast of HUSTLERS includes Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians), Julia Stiles (DEXTER®), television personality Keke Palmer, Lili Reinhart (Riverdale) and music superstars Lizzo and Cardi B.

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Previewing Into the Dark: Pooka Lives!

During my review of the My Valentine episode of Into the Dark I mentioned how I thought the Pooka cameo was the first time an episode referenced a previous one but it turns out I was wrong as that was the second time the creepy doll popped up. The first time was during the thanksgiving episode Pilgrim. Now Pooka is the first character to get a full sequel. I did see they gave My Valentine a shout out in response. But if there is a Pilgrim reference, again, I missed it.

Pooka Lives! is I guess April Fool’s Day themed, though it seems like a made up Pooka Day is the actual “holiday” here. Granted Easter is also referenced, so who knows. Yeah, sometimes they play fast and loose with the holidays. Though I wonder if this will be the last episode for a while or have there already filmed these episodes in advanced. It would be cool if someone aspiring filmmaker was able to create a Memorial Day episode from quarantine.

Pooka Lives! stars Malcolm Barrett (Timeless) who has to move back home and become a copywriter for the Pooka company after being publically scored by an influencers who decides to destroy his life. He then comes up with an internet challenge for retribution involving the creepy doll which now has countless different versions, including one that looks like Pooka forked the Donnie Darko rabbit which is truly horrifying.

The episode also stars Felicity Day (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Wil Wheaton (Star Trek: The Next Generation) but for some reason the two nineties nerd culture stars never share the screen. This episode seemed like it was going to be another slasher flick, the second this year after there was none in the first season, but the body count ended up pretty low. Maybe they are waiting for the third one for that, because this time it ends with a bit of a cliffhanger. But I have to say this was one of the few sequils better than the original. Here is how it ranks on my Power Ranking:

Into the Dark Season Two Power Ranking:

1. Uncanny Annie (October)
2. A Nasty Piece of Work (December)
3. Pooka Lives! (April)
4. Crawlers (March)
5. Pilgrim (November)
6. My Valentine (February)
7. Midnight Kiss (December)

Into the Dark: Pooka Lives! airs tomorrow exclusively on Hulu.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

57 Channels and Only Is Is On: March 29, 2020

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist: You know what makes a good show: The small details. Like having some random extra with a fake baby deliver a line like, “That’s usually not a very good sign.” That just had me laughing throughout the commercial break. Just having a flash mob which Zoey, and, well me, thinks is one of her mental breaks was pretty brilliant too.
You can download Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist on iTunes.

Homeland: Wait, they have lady judges in Pakistan? Who knew they were that progressive? But does the lady who was evil earlier this season, plotting with the military 80’s villain, really want peace now? Or is she the reason they changed the judge? So we were left with two cliffhangers: the Taliban leader is going to go in front of a firing squad any minute. Am I really supposed to feel bad for a dude who killed countless numbers of people, because I sort of did before remembering he was a mass murderer? Then Max is about to have his head cut off. But I really doubt after being so lucky the first half of the season, he goes out like that. So will it be the three man Russian crew (four if you count Carrie) or the American extraction team that saves him. Granted, since he did give Carrie all the information she needs to get the black box, so maybe they will shock us and kill both at the start of the next episode. Homeland season one would have killed at least one, later Homeland will probably find a way to save both.

Supergirl: Oh hey, our first Miss Tessmacher sighting in post Crisis. I believe when we last saw her, Lena essentially turned her into AI. I guess that did not happen. I predict she is back to being Lex’s mole inside Catco.
You can download Supergirl on iTunes.

The Walking Dead: Oh yeah, Michonne inexplicably left her children earlier this season to help some random dude find his family. And of course that random dude turned out to be crazy and almost killed her. But then led her to a ship that had something of Rick’s? Huh? And now Michonne is going to keep being away from her children to look for Rick with little clues? Huh? But speaking of people who have not been on the show for a while, the dream sequences reminded me that Maggie just disappeared without any explanation.
You can download The Walking Dead on iTunes.

Good Girls: That is pretty brilliant to bury a body in a cemetery. Doubtful anyone would dig up the other grave and find it. What was not brilliant was leaving the phone on so the boyfriend could find it. I thought the boyfriend would find the bird when he went over to Beth’s but instead he had a chance meeting with the bird when donating bird feed. How convenient. So I guess the boyfriend will continue to be a little bit of a problem going forward.
You can download Good Girls on iTunes.

Black Monday: There are fewer things I needed to see than Horatio Sanz’s little Horatio. But I kind of want an episode in the Rubber Room. That place sounded interesting.

Project Blue Book: Wait, are they implying that Quinn went through some portal to Antarctica? Isn’t this show supposed to be based on fact? This is going to be a hard thing to sell if there is a next season.
You can download Project Blue Book on iTunes.

Little Fires Everywhere: Well that escalated quickly. Elena just went after Mia who dished I all back. But is that custody battle really going to take up the rest of the season because it seems pretty open and shut. If you give up your child, you give up your child. You just cannot put a child on layaway indefinitely. Then what is up with Reece’s eldest? What teenage boy goes limp in the middle of sex? Seems as believe able as no assigned seats in high school.
You can stream Little Fires Everywhere Hulu.

Survivor: Winners at War: There is nothing more annoying on this show than whatever name gets thrown out in the confessional right after the Immunity Challenge and before the ad break almost never is the person that gets voted out. It is essentially a spoiler at this point. So when Yul said I was going to be Wendell, I knew at that moment is was almost certain to be Yul going home. Though I am not sure it was wise for Michelle and Nick to side with the guy at the last Tribal admitted he was willing to stab everyone in the back and front and could be bought with some Fire Tokens.
You can download Survivor: Winners at War on iTunes.

Devs: Just a reminder people, do not talk on the phone while driving. Wifey just blew right through that stop sign. But I was not entirely sure what I was seeing for most of the episode.
You can download Devs on iTunes.

The Bold Type: So Kat was fired and just like the season that ended with Jane taking another job, she will be back at Scarlett within an episode or two next season. But shouldn’t she be in prison? Especially if dude’s daughter is some high powered lawyer who already threatened her. Although the look those two had at the end of the episode seemed a little thirsty.
You can download The Bold Type on iTunes.

The Blacklist: There was a point for sure that Red was the one killing everybody off. Although, it did turn out to be a pretty entertaining Ten Little Indians episode.
You can download The Blacklist on iTunes.