Saturday, April 25, 2020

Around the Tubes: April 25, 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 The Great, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, Beastie Boys Story, Into the Dark, Black Monday, Pearl Jam, Kōkua Festival 2020- Live From Home, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, BENEE, James Blake, The Score, Planet of the Humans, Jesus Trejo: Stay at Home Son, and FilmRise.

- Check out the official trailer for Hulu Original comedy series The Great. All 10 episodes of The Great will premiere May 15, only on Hulu.

- Showtime has released the series premiere of its new drama Penny Dreadful: City of Angels early for free online sampling, on streaming platforms and on demand. The series stars Tony® and Emmy® winner Nathan Lane, Natalie Dormer, Daniel Zovatto, Kerry Bishé, Rory Kinnear, Adriana Barraza, Michael Gladis, Jessica Garza and Johnathan Nieves. Tony and Golden Globe® winner and three-time Oscar® nominee John Logan, the creator, writer and executive producer of the Emmy-nominated series PENNY DREADFUL, continues in those same roles. Michael Aguilar (KIDDING) also serves as executive producer. The premiere episode is available for free now on YouTube and The 10-episode series will officially premiere on-air this Sunday, April 26 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime. Showtime is also supporting the Farmworkers Covid-19 Pandemic Relief Fund to help raise funds for farmworkers and their families, similar to the Vega family depicted in the series. California produces over two-thirds of the fruits and nuts and over a third of the vegetables consumed in the U.S. With this series set in Los Angeles, the network is donating in support of those who feed us through their labor and ensure our food supply, as these communities may be among the hardest hit due to lack of resources.

- Beastie Boys Mike Diamond and Adam Horovitz tell you an intimate, personal story of their band and 40 years of friendship in this live documentary experience directed by their longtime friend and collaborator, and their former grandfather, filmmaker Spike Jonze. "Beastie Boys Story" is set to premiere on the heels of the 26th anniversary of the release of Beastie Boys' No. 1 charting 1994 album, "Ill Communication." The film reunites Beastie Boys with director Spike Jonze over 25 years after directing the music video for the album's immortal hit single, "Sabotage." On Apple TV+ now.

- Check out the new trailer for Into the Dark's May episode, DELIVERED! In the series' Mother's Day installment, a pregnant woman's life is upended when she realizes someone close to her has darker plans for her and the baby.

- The final four episodes of the second season of the acclaimed Showtime comedy series Black Monday will premiere Sunday, June 28 at 8 p.m. ET/PT, concluding with the season finale airing on Sunday, July 19. The series, which began its 10-episode run in March, aired six episodes of its second season before pausing due to post-production issues related to COVID-19. Viewers can catch up on the first six episodes Sundays, starting May 17 at 8:30 p.m., or watch On Demand or streaming.

- Pearl Jam announced the Gigaton Visual Experience – a special audio-visual event available free to all Apple TV app users in over 100 countries for seven days before being available to rent or buy. This immersive visual album experience pairs the band's inspired visuals, produced by the award-winning Evolve Studios, to create an unparalleled experience that enhances Gigaton's massive scope. The event will be available in Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision, revolutionary audiovisual technologies developed by Dolby, which will bring the album alive through immersive audio and ultravivid picture quality.* This audiovisual album experience is only available as a limited time event on Apple TV 4K and on the Apple TV app in over 100 countries and regions for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac users. Their eleventh album, and first in nearly seven years, Gigaton has received acclaim as their greatest and most adventurous work to date. Watch here:

- In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day and in support of the Kōkua Hawaiʻi Foundation and Covid-19 relief efforts, multi-platinum artist and environmentalist Jack Johnson announces Kōkua Festival 2020- Live From Home, a livestream on Saturday, April 25th in partnership with Amazon Music. Jack Johnson will host and perform within a two-hour livestream from his front porch in Hawai‘i and share the digital stage with special at-home performances from Kōkua Festival alumni including: Ben Harper, G. Love, Ziggy Marley, Lukas Nelson, Paula Fuga, Kawika Kahiapo, John Cruz, Anuhea, Ron Artis II and his brother Thunderstorm Artis. Viewers will also be treated to at home cooking lessons from some of Hawaii’s top chefs, Ed Kenney and Mark Noguchi. Additionally, fans can get ready for the festival with the Kōkua Festival 2020 Playlist, and tune into Amazon Music’s Twitch channel at 12pm HST/3pm PT/6pm ET on April 25th at or Jack Johnson’s Facebook to watch the show.

- Republic Records releases Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist: Season 1, Episode 10 (Music from the Original TV Series) in conjunction with the critically acclaimed new NBC television series Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, produced by Lionsgate and Universal Television in association with the Tannenbaum Company, Feigco Entertainment and Universal Music Group’s Polygram Entertainment. 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.

- Poised to be one of the best new artists of 2020, New Zealand’s indie pop sensation BENEE has become one of the most-listened to artists in the world this month as her latest track reaches over 200 million in total streams and over 1 million in global consumption. Within a short time, BENEE has gone from canvasing Soundcloud with covers out of her teenage bedroom to rising the charts with her latest song “Supalonely” [feat. Gus Dapperton] and amassing over 400 million streams of her catalog around the globe. Listen to “Supalonely” ft. Gus Dapperton HERE.

- You’re Too Precious' marks James Blake’s first release of 2020, and a period in which James has also won widespread praise for his intimately uplifting live streams under lockdown. These have already featured a 2-hour production masterclass, on top of career-spanning sets including fan favourites, intimate covers, and a further taste of brand new material...

- Gold-certified and critically acclaimed LA-based, New York-born rock band The Score—Eddie Anthony and Edan Dover—reveal their new single “Best Part.” Get it HERE via Republic Records. On the track, bold percussion echoes beneath the sing-song refrain, “I can be a liar, I can be a cheat, I can be neurotic, I can be a freak, I can be everything in between, but you always find the best part of me.” Bold guitars roar as “Best Part” resounds with raw rafter-reaching power.

- Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Michael Moore announced today that he is releasing a brand new documentary film on his Rumble Media label – and is offering it as a gift, free of charge, in the midst of the global pandemic. On Tuesday, April 21st, beginning at 9:00 am EDT, Planet of the Humans, directed by filmmaker and environmentalist Jeff Gibbs and executive produced by Michael Moore, will make its world premiere on Michael Moore’s YouTube channel at (click here for direct link to the full film: Moore is scheduled to be the main guest on CBS’s The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Tuesday night to make his first appearance for the film.

- Jesus Trejo takes the stage in his first Showtime comedy special Jesus Trejo: Stay at Home Son, premiering on Friday, May 29 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Filmed at the El Portal Theater in North Hollywood, the hour-long special is full of candid humor as Trejo gives us a front-row seat into his amusing family dynamics. An only child of immigrant parents, Trejo learned many life lessons in some of the most unconventional ways. From running his first marathon to winning his first fight, JESUS TREJO: STAY AT HOME SON explores the lengths he’ll reach to meet his parents’ expectations.

- In this new frontier of self-quarantine and sheltering in place, streaming TV has become a must in providing some much-needed comfort and distraction while we’re indoors and staying safe. FilmRise, the company at the forefront in shaping the ad-supported free streaming landscape, is happy to help with its selection of nostalgic and comforting TV shows streaming for free. FilmRise content can be seen on free streaming platforms including The Roku Channel, Pluto TV, Tubi, IMDb TV, Crackle, Vudu, Sling, Stirr, Samsung TV Plus, Stirr, Xumo and many more – including FilmRise’s own apps on Roku, Fire TV and on iOS and Android powered devices. FilmRise is happy to announce that two very popular classic TV series - “My Favorite Martian” and “The Rifleman” are now available to stream for free beginning this month. “My Favorite Martian” stars Ray Walston as a Martian who gets stranded in Los Angeles and is rescued by a newspaper reporter played by “The Incredible Hulk” star Bill Bixby. “The Rifleman” chronicles the adventures of a Wild West rancher (Chuck Connors) who wields a custom rapid-fire Winchester rifle. The series had many notable guest stars throughout its run, including Dennis Hopper, Harry Dean Stanton, Martin Landau, and Sammy Davis, Jr., to name a few.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Previewing Penny Dreadful: City of Angels

Penny Dreadful had one of the weirdest flex in the history of television; they announced the show would be ending simply by putting a “The End” title card of what ended up being the series finale. No long march to the end, they just killed off Eva Green and before you start to wonder where the show would do without its lead, they just said peace out. Kind of wish more shows did that.

Four years later, the creator John Logan (writer of Gladiator) apparently wants to play in that playbook again but instead of a full reboot, he is making what he call a spiritual sequel. Where the original features a team up of a bunch of 19th century Victorian monsters, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels features characters from Mexica folklore set in the 1930’s. But where pretty much everyone in the original cast was a monster of some sort, only two members of the show are supernatural (or so far in the episodes I have seen, we did not learn Josh Hartnett was the Wolfman until the season one finale) and one of those is not even in the main cast.

Instead the show mostly focuses on the first Mexican-American detective on the Los Angeles police force plated by Daniel Zovatto (It Follows). It helps that with his haircut he can pass as just tan for those that are ignorant. But most of his family is still very weary of the cops so he is stuck between two worlds. Pulling him to the other side of the tracks is the only person on the force willing to be his partner, Nathan Lane (Joe vs. the Volcano) who happens to be the only Jewish cop in LA.

Making this divide worse is Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell) as the dark goddess Magda who is a shape shifter (okay, they just put the actress in different wigs, though she does have a few other tricks up her sleeve) who is whispering in ears on both sides to speed up a race war. One of her biggest marks is an American first Nazi played by Rory Kinnear (Frankenstein’s monster in the original; feel free to think that after the event of the first show, he traveled to Germany only to later show up in Los Angeles). On the other side she is shacking up with some dude named “Fly Rico” and their scenes together just seem to ripped from West Side Story. Though Dormer’s explanation of how she is Hispanic is pretty convoluted.

I do kind of miss the folklore elements of the original as much of that takes a back seat to the historical crime cases that are featured here. Though none have supernatural elements, it feels like thirties crime in Los Angeles have been well documented. Dormer’s mythical counterpoint, Santa Muerte (Lorenza Izzo, The Green Inferno), the angel who takes souls up to heaven, is only listed as a guest star and is not as interested in involving herself in the lives of humans. Though there is still time for other supernatural beings to come forward. There are some religious characters introduced in the second episode that seem like prime candidates. But I do like the idea of Penry Dreadful turning into an anthology featuring different folklore. Maybe future series can delve into Native American, African, Japanese, the possible stories are endless.

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels airs Sundays at 10:00 on Showtime.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

57 Channels and Only This Is On: April 19, 2020

Homeland: Mmm, is Carrie really going to burn Saul to get the Black Box back? Why not tell him of the Russians plans so they can devise a way do get the Black Box back without naming the mole? Just how is Carrie going to find out who the mole is, inform the Russians, all while under arrest?

Black Monday: Oh hey, the gang is finally back together. Only took half the season. Most other shows would have annoying done that by the end of the season premiere. Be interesting where all the allegiances align now and going forward. I do wonder if Ken Marino is still playing both Lehman Brothers. I would be a huge time commitment to put Ken in all that makeup and then film another version of him as the other normal brother.

Killing Eve: Meh, I was really hoping that the show lived up to its name with that final scene last season. Kind of had to know Eve was not really dead, I mean, she was in the marketing to the season. But after Eve stabbed the crazy French assassin at the end of the season, and the crazy French assassin shot Eve at the end of the second season, where exactly do they go from there? I am assuming the crazy French assassin was not the person to kill the son, but who did then? The Thirteen? The Crazy French assassin's even crazier Russian assassin trainer? are the crazy French assassin and Even going to team up to shoot her at the end of this season?

Run: This felt like someone dared Phoebe Waller-Bridge to write a show within twenty-four only with the rule that it starts with someone getting a text that simply reads, "run." Hopefully it adds a plot soon.

Briarpatch: Okay, mostly half watched most of the season because I found it mostly boring, so who killed the sheriff? I assume that can she reached for is a huge clue but I missed it. But watching the dude get eaten by a tiger just highlights how much better the show could have been had they added more escaped animals. That was pretty much the only thing that set the show apart for other paint by numbers murder mysteries but the animals just seemed to quickly disappear.

Little Fires Everywhere: What really struck me about last episode is that for the first five episodes, Elena was this picturesque put together almost Stepford Wife, in episode six we just saw her completely crack multiple times. And then we saw her finally snap at Izzy. Then I found it interesting is than in the very next scene we see Pearl just snap at her mother. They have been clearly tying together Mia and Izzy but I am just now realizing that Elaina and Pearl are more tied together. Of course it is Elaina tells Pearl who she really is, not her mother. That just kind of confirmed to me that Mia is the one that burns down the house. Really, Izzy is the only other suspect at this point.
You can stream Little Fires Everywhere Hulu.

Survivor: Winners at War: My least favorite episode of any season somehow got worse: a full half an hour of loved ones, and even more than usually. But you have to feel bad for Michele who only had her sister show up when other had a spouse and three children. Really Fiji airlines, she and the others who only have their fiancés show up could not also have a parent or also a buddy show up?

Speaking of Michele, why the fork did she vote for Tyson? Did she just want to be part of the majority or was hoping to avoid a tie which would lead to rocks? Then did the group of five fork up? Shouldn’t they have gone three-three? Did they know Michele was with them? And how did Nick find himself in the majority after being on the bottom the last two weeks? How did Tony go from wanting to align the big threats to find himself in an alliance full of hyenas this week? Maybe the editors should not have spent half the episode on the family visit.
You can download Survivor: Winners at War on iTunes.

Devs: If Forrest was such a tech genius, how did he not realize that the reason Devs stopped seeing in the future was because Lily did something that it could not predict? When they first said that the program stopped when she went to Dev, my first thought was, oh, she just does not go to Devs. And yet both die anyway and meet up in a computer simulation. That may have been a more nonsensical ending than Annulation.
You can download Devs on iTunes.

Motherland: Fort Salem: I noticed this week that Will Ferrell and Adam McCay were producers. Wait, what?!? Have I been watching this right? I thought I have been watching a crappy sci-fi show, is this really a farce? I guess have the big bad being blue balloons makes more sense if we are not supposed to take the show seriously.

In the Dark: Two person consent laws are stupid. But seriously, the captain is really going to reinstate someone he knows murdered a child and is working for a drug queen pin because he says wants to bring her down? That is a stretch even by television standards.

The Blacklist: Well that was a weird episode. Red wants to go after the dude who makes guns after seeing someone get gunned down after murdering countless people himself after using the same weapon. Probably not the best vehicle to tell this story.
You can download The Blacklist on iTunes.