Saturday, June 20, 2020

Around the Tubes: June 20, 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 Chi, Desus and Mero, Prince, Killing EveGreenleaf: Goin’ Up Yonder, Unsetteled, The Comey RuleIndie Music Battle, Solar OppositesCrossing Swords, and Dopesick.

SHOWTIME announced a virtual concert dedicated to raising awareness and funds for the Equal Justice Initiative, along with a $500,000 donation by the network and ViacomCBS on behalf of its drama series THE CHI. The one-hour special will feature an appearance by Lena Waithe (creator and executive producer of THE CHI) and a headlining performance by Oscar® and Grammy® Award winner Common (executive producer of THE CHI), along with notable Chicago-based artists and series cast members. The event will transform each artist’s “from home” performance into a unique concert experience. THE CHI WITH LOVE will air on the series’ YouTube page on Sunday, June 21 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, ahead of the drama’s on-air season premiere that evening at 9 p.m. ET.  “In this moment and always, SHOWTIME has a responsibility to support the change our country so sorely needs,” said Michael Engelman, Chief Marketing Officer, Showtime Networks, Inc. “We’re proud to stand with Lena and Common as storytellers and as activists as we present an evening of music, joy and reflection. Inspired by all the artists involved, it’s our hope that THE CHI WITH LOVE will be just one of many catalysts designed to inspire togetherness and action.”  “In this moment and always, SHOWTIME has a responsibility to support the change our country so sorely needs,” said Michael Engelman, Chief Marketing Officer, Showtime Networks, Inc. “We’re proud to stand with Lena and Common as storytellers and as activists as we present an evening of music, joy and reflection. Inspired by all the artists involved, it’s our hope that THE CHI WITH LOVE will be just one of many catalysts designed to inspire togetherness and action.”

DESUS & MERO returns from hiatus with all-new episodes starting Sunday, July 5 at 11 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME, joining acclaimed series THE CHI and BLACK MONDAY in the network’s Sunday night block. Previously airing Mondays and Thursdays, the late-night show will now air weekly on Sunday and Thursday nights in the same time slot, and will continue to shoot remotely from the hosts’ own homes. Each episode features Desus Nice (Daniel Baker) and The Kid Mero (Joel Martinez) giving their take on the day’s hot topics and chatting with guests at the intersection of pop culture, sports, music, politics and more.

Hurry Before It’s Too Late! Prince’s legendary 1987 concert film SIGN ‘O’ THE TIMES is available to stream for free now on PlutoTV, Tubi, The Roku Channel, and the FilmRise App.  Shot at both Prince’s home base of Paisley Park and live in concert in Rotterdam and Antwerp, the film features the iconic Prince at the height of his powers and features performances from singer Sheena Easton and drummer Sheila E, among others in Prince’s canon. 

- The Emmy-winning spy show Killing Eve has concluded its third season, which, just like both seasons before, featured an abundance of Unloved tracks including new singles "Strange Effect" and "Why Not." The latter first appears against a backdrop of horror in the first episode of Killing Eve’s third season, when a young Dascha (the woman who trained Villanelle) commits her first kill. The brand new video for "Why Not" was directed by Julian House, who has worked with the band since their inception to craft the iconic, visual world of Unloved. Watch it HERE.

OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network will air the new one-hour special ‘Greenleaf: Goin’ Up Yonder,’ Tuesday, June 16 at 9pm ET/PT.  Hosted by Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Patti LaBelle, who played Christian motivational speaker Maxine Patterson during Season Three of ‘Greenleaf,’ the special celebrates the first four seasons of the landmark drama series, with a look forward to the show’s fifth and final season which one week later on Tuesday, June 23 at 9pm ET/PT on OWN.  Featuring new interviews with series stars Merle Dandridge, Keith David, Lynn Whitfield, Lamman Rucker and Deborah Joy Winans, clips of unforgettable moments from throughout the series, as well as a sneak peek at what is to come in the new season.  “Greenleaf’s” fifth and final season will premiere on Tuesday, June 23 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. See teaser trailer for the new season HERE.

Open Door Productions LLC is proud to present the broadcast premiere of UNSETTLED: Seeking Refuge in America, a documentary revealing the untold stories of LGBTQ refugees and asylum-seekers, produced and directed by Tom Shepard and co-produced by Jen 
Gilomen.  UNSETTLED had its World Premiere at the San Francisco International Film Festival, is the winner of the Best Documentary Feature Film at 2019 Outfest, and played at 55 festivals worldwide - winning 14 other top awards.  UNSETTLED will lead Doc World’s new season which broadcasts on public media’s WORLD Channel on June 28 and will be available for streaming on through July 12.

SHOWTIME has announced that the new limited series THE COMEY RULE starring Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom) as former FBI Director James Comey and Brendan Gleeson (Mr. Mercedes) as President Donald J. Trump, will premiere on back-to-back nights in late November. The two-part, four-hour event series was adapted for the screen and directed by Oscar® nominated screenwriter Billy Ray (Captain Phillips, Shattered Glass) and executive produced by Shane Salerno, Alex Kurtzman, Heather Kadin and Ray. The series was produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Home Run Productions, The Story Factory, and Secret Hideout.  Based on Comey’s No. 1 New York Times bestselling book A Higher Loyalty and more than a year of additional interviews with a number of key principals, THE COMEY RULE is an immersive, behind-the-headlines account of the historically turbulent events surrounding the 2016 presidential election and its aftermath, which divided a nation. THE COMEY RULE is not a biopic of one man, but is instead the story of two powerful figures, Comey and Trump, whose strikingly different personalities, ethics and loyalties put them on a collision course.

REELZ announced a new late-night series Indie Music Battle that puts a twist on music competitions with the music videos from unsigned independent artists across all genres battling it out for the top spot as chosen by live viewer voting via text message. With new videos introduced every week getting to number one is hard but staying there is even harder. Indie Music Battle makes its late-night premiere on Monday, June 29 at 3am ET/ 12am PT with new episodes weeknights at 3am ET/ 12am PT. Indie Music Battle is produced by IndieCast TV.

Hulu has renewed 20th Century Fox Television’s adult animated series Solar Opposites for a 3rd season (12 episodes). The series was initially picked up for two-season order.

Hulu has renewed Stoopid Buddy Stoodios’ adult animated series Crossing Swords for a 2nd season (10 episodes). The first season debuted on Hulu on Friday, June 12 and is distributed by Sony Pictures Television Studios.

Hulu announced a straight-to-series order for Dopesick from Emmy Award-winning writer Danny Strong (Empire, RECOUNT, GAME CHANGE). The eight-episode limited series will star Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner Michael Keaton and will be directed by Academy Award-winning director Barry Levinson (Paterno, RAIN MAN). The project, based on the New York Times bestselling book of the same name by Beth Macy, comes to Hulu from FOX 21 Television Studios and The Littlefield Company.  “The minute we met with Danny Strong about Beth Macy’s bestselling book, we immediately knew it was the kind of groundbreaking series we just had to bring to Hulu. Danny’s unflinching and deeply compelling take on America’s opioid crisis will bring to life one of the most important stories impacting our culture.  Add to that the cinematic vision of Barry Levinson and the extraordinary talent of Michael Keaton, and we’ve got an undeniable series that perfectly embodies our Hulu Originals brand,” said Craig Erwich, SVP of Originals, Hulu.  Although we were sharply aware of and empathetic to the horrifying pain caused by the Opioid crisis for millions in this country, we were blown away when Warren Littlefield showed us Beth Macy’s book Dopesick. Consequently, Danny Strong had been crafting his own telling of the opiate epidemic and in typical Danny form, it was mesmerizing. The fact that Warren and Danny are collaborating on this is a studio’s dream. Together with Barry Levinson and Michael Keaton, we have every reason to believe this important story will be one of the tv events of the coming year,” said Bert Salke, President, FOX 21 Television Studios.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Previewing The Chi: Season Three

It is not every day when the lead of a show gets fired. Though we may see it happen more often after three high profile cases in recent memory with Lethal Weapon and Roseanne getting the boot from her own show as co-worker are less likely to put up with a lead that does not respect their co-stars. The third was Jason Mitchell who was posed to be the next big thing but was booted from The Chi after allegations from multiple people on the show. One of his accusers also has left the show.

That is not the only trimming to the cast as Reg was killed off at the end of the last season and Detective Cruz is completely absent, at least in the first couple episodes. Still, the cast is still big enough that those loses are not missed, really, Mitchell’s storylines were always the least interesting. The three young boys were always the most interesting and they continue to be as the third season goes on as they embark on a new chapter in their lives at a new, mostly white, school.

The third season starts with two life events on the opposite end of the spectrum happening on the same day. It is probably not too hard to guess who is involved in one of them. By the second episode, we are introduced to a mystery that at the very least takes up half the season. But as reminiscent of the first season mystery of who killed Coogie, it really does not take up a big chunk of the time and seems a bit gratuitous. But after some cast shake up, it is good to see The Chi remains consistent.

The Chi airs Sundays at 10:00 on Showtime.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

57 Channels and Only This Is On: June 14, 2020

Billions: I predicted in the premiere that the college professor and the painter would be new love interests, but extremely weird that both showed up to the hospital for Chuck’s father.

Snowpiercer: Well, as, meh as the first four episodes were, at least they solved the crime pretty quickly. I just hope they do not unfreeze the cop every time they need a crime solved. They need the tailey to escape and slowly move up the train like in the movie.
You can download Snowpiercer on iTunes.

Penny Dreadful: City of Angels: I believe that was the first time the two Gods came face to face since the premiere. And I think it was the first time Margary Tyrell showed her true form to any human. Although all of that could have just appeared in her mind.

Barskins: Oh, that is why the new groom was so disappointed. Granted I did not get to see how bad the scar is, but really, when the rest of her looks like that, it would not be a big deal breaker for me.
You can download Barkskins on iTunes.

Stargirl: I found the first couple episodes to be a little to geared to small children but nothing like a little selfie scandal to make the show a little more adult. Probably the best episode of the bunch so far. I am a little more excited for the Justice Society than I was just Stargirl fighting crime.

The Challenge: Total Madness: I am not sure we really needed a disclaimer, but whatever. It seemed to line up just perfectly, having Dee go out after suffocating in Purgatory, except she then pulled out the win. Now I am beginning to think Dee may actually win this season.
You can download The Challenge: Total Madness on iTunes.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: I guess I was wrong that the good robot could just meet back up with the rest of the team when they are back on the time line. Maybe not next time, but I am sure it will happen eventually. But this episode had a nice tie in to Agent Carter, unfortunately they could not get Peggy herself.
You can download Marvel's Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.

In the Dark: Wait, why did the blind chick tell the Queenpin about the raid? If the Queenpin is taken down, she is free. Now with all the drugs in the basement, and telling the other Kingpin, you have to worry about the Queenpin retaliating and the Kingpin keeping his word. Oh, and clearly the drug addict brother is obviously going to find the stash and be murdered for it.
You can download In The Dark on iTunes.

Blindspot: Of all the people they could have brought back, Jane’s first handler and Kurt’s dad? I thought for sure the Reade would show up since he had already a bunch this season. But I guess future daughter was a nice touch.
You can download Blindspot on iTunes.