Saturday, January 22, 2022

Around the Tubes: January 22, 2022


I have gotten a plethora of cool press releases have been flooding my inbox recently that you may find interesting.  This post includes blurbs on Billions, John Mellencamp, Joy Oladokun, Kiss, Conan Gray, The Weeknd, Everything’s Gonna Be all White, Yellowjackets, and Bite Size Halloween.

SHOWTIME has released the upcoming season six premiere episode of the hit drama series BILLIONS® for free sampling on streaming platforms and on demand. The episodes will be available from January 21 to April 10 on,, and YouTube, as well as across multiple SHOWTIME partner platforms including Amazon Prime Video Channels, Apple TV App, Roku, Sling TV, Xfinity, Spectrum, DISH, DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM, Cox, ATT Uverse, Verizon Fios and more.  Starring Oscar nominee and Emmy winner Paul Giamatti, Corey Stoll and Maggie Siff. BILLIONS is created and executive produced by showrunners Brian Koppelman and David Levien. Season six is also executive produced by Beth Schacter. The series was also created by Andrew Ross Sorkin. BILLIONS will officially premiere on Sunday, January 23 at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

John Mellencamp’s new album Strictly A One-Eyed Jack is out now on Republic Records. Stream and purchase it HERE and listen to the new album single “Did You Say Such A Thing” HERE.  The album—written and produced by Mellencamp himself at his own Belmont Mall Studios in Bloomington, Indiana—features three collaborations with Bruce Springsteen including the first album single “Wasted Days.”

Acclaimed singer, songwriter, and musician Joy Oladokun’s new song, “Keeping the Light On,” is out today via Amigo Records/Verve Forecast/Republic Records.—listen/share HERE.  Reflecting on the song, Oladokun shares, “My next body of work is about the human will to keep trying in the midst of all the tragedy that we’ve seen and perpetrated. ‘Keeping the Light On’ is my little musical way of saying it’s really hard to keep trying but I think part of life is doing so anyway and seeing what magic comes out of it.”

KISS premiered the first unreleased live version of “Lick It Up” from KISS – Off The Soundboard: Live In Virginia Beach, being released on March 11. The original album version of “Lick It Up” was released in 1983 and is the title track from the band’s platinum selling release Lick It Up. The song quickly became a fan favorite with the promotional video featuring the band without makeup for the first time.  KISS – Off The Soundboard: Live In Virginia Beach was recorded at the Virginia Beach Amphitheatre on July 25, 2004 and is the second in a series of official live bootlegs released by the band. Available as a 3-LP standard black vinyl set, a 2-CD set, a limited edition 3-LP set pressed on 180g opaque green vinyl, and to stream and download, Live In Virginia Beach can now be pre-ordered and pre-saved, here.

Gearing up for a massive year, platinum selling, chart topping, pop singer and songwriter pop singer songwriter Conan Gray unveils a brand-new single entitled “Jigsaw” today.  Listen to “Jigsaw” HERE via Republic Records.

The Weeknd’s album, Dawn FM, continues it’s global domination by setting a new record on the Billboard Global 200 chart - charting 24 songs, the most ever by a solo male artist.  The compilation The Highlights also occupies the Billboard Top 10 at #6,  alongside Dawn FM, earning The Weeknd a rare two albums in the top 10.

In honor of Black History Month, SHOWTIME Documentary Films is premiering the provocative new three-part docu-series everything’s gonna be all white, which explores the history of race in America from the perspective of people of color. From the ever-shifting classifications of racial identity, to the generational effects of racism on housing, education and healthcare, to the singular fight of Indigenous populations to reclaim their land from constant encroachment, the docu-series delves deeply into the root causes of racial inequities in this country. Directed by Emmy® nominee Sacha Jenkins (BITCHIN’: THE SOUND AND FURY OF RICK JAMES), the first part of the docu-series will premiere on-air on Friday, February 11 at 8 p.m. ET/PT. SHOWTIME will release all three parts, along with a bonus episode, to its subscribers On Demand at 12:01 a.m. ET, prior to the on-air debut of the first episode later that night at 8 p.m. ET/PT. 

The hit drama YELLOWJACKETS on Sunday completed its first season on SHOWTIME as the second-most streamed series in network history, behind only the recently aired DEXTER: NEW BLOOD. Buoyed by its inclusion on nearly 50 year-end “Best of” television lists, a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes and snowballing buzz (yeah, we went there) on social media, YELLOWJACKETS delivered one of the biggest SHOWTIME debut seasons ever. The series has averaged over 5 million weekly viewers across platforms – the highest for a freshman series on the network since BILLIONS in 2016.  Sunday’s YELLOWJACKETS season finale amassed 1.3 million viewers across platforms on Sunday alone, more than doubling its audience from the series premiere. Streaming viewership for YELLOWJACKETS has quadrupled over the course of the season. Last week, the series received WGA Award nominations for Best Drama Series and Best New Series. In December, SHOWTIME renewed YELLOWJACKETS for a second season.

The partnership between 20th Digital Studio and Hulu is set to include nine horror features over the next few years. The films will expand directly on the shorts from the “BITE SIZE HALLOWEEN” collection, featuring previous writers or directors, or inspired by past shorts. The films deal with topical social issues such as mental health, ecological collapse, reproductive rights, interracial adoption and online hysteria.  Horror short film APPENDAGE by writer/director Anna Zlokovic and starring Rachel Sennott (SHIVA BABY) and Eric Roberts, now playing at the Sundance Film Festival, will expand to a Hulu Original feature film with 20th Digital Studio as part of the nine-film slate currently in development.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Previewing Billions Season Six


I do not know what it is, but Damien Lewis always stays a season or four too long on a Showtime show.  Maybe he is just a great hang.  But he spent three seasons on Homeland even though had he blown himself up on the season finale of the first season, it may have made that one of greatest season in the history of television.  But he stuck around; the second season was fine but had some diminishing returns, though season three was one of the worst seasons in the history of television.


Shortly after being written of off Homeland, Lewis then showed up on Billions and once again, the show would have been much better in the long time had it written him off after a season or two.  The cat and mouse routine between his hedge fund manager Bobby Axelrod and Paul Giamatti’s District Attorney was fine for the first two season but, once again, diminishing returns for subsequent seasons.  The show would have been much better off had Chuck had a new antagonist each season (or even better, had it been a limited season where they both ended up in prison cells next to each other at the end of it).


Though this time it feels like it was not a creative reason as to why Lewis was written off the show because nothing really has changed for the new season except for the person sitting in Bobby’s chair and the name on the side of the building.  Dollar Bill and McPhee took off at the end of last season, but everyone else returns whether they like it or not. 


Sure, the show wants you to think there are big changes, the season starts with Chuck on a tractor, Wendy looks like she is working as an ice cream maker, Sacker is doing combat training, Taylor is watching The Bachelor (or maybe random engagement videos), Wags is actually exercising, and Bobby’s replacement Mike Prince is, well, that is hard to explain.


Okay, there is a slight difference between Bobby and Mike Prince; Bobby would cut every corner to win.  Mike Prince on the other hand is a Boy Scout (or wants you to think that) who wants to do things with honor and want you to know just how on the straight and narrow he is.  Basically the worst kind of foe for Chuck, a guy who is not going to slip up because he cannot be tempted in doing something illegal.  Or so we are led to believe, he did double cross Chuck to get Bobby out of the way.


While the show wants you to think there are big changes  by the opening montage, it is still the very same Billions at its course and even pull off their way overused “One week earlier” trope and even doubles down on that trope by dropping a “Two weeks ago” title card while we were already a week in the past.  And really, nothing says Billions more than starting the episode with a classic rock song and then ending it with a rap song that samples the exact same classic rock song that opened the season.


Billions airs Sundays at 9:00 on Showtime.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Who the fork is Lottie Matthews!?!?!


Well, there went my two biggest theories for Yellowjackets: that Lottie was pit girl and that Jackie was left for dead but has come back to haunt the remaining girl and that Lottie was the Pit Girl.  The thing is, Jackie was my back up for Pit Girl and she seemed to be the consensus for the top two for most people (the person was wearing her necklace).  Stupid casting red herring.  Those predictions were basically made mostly because Ella Purnell was a full cast member while Courtney Eaton (kind of wonder if she was cast solely for her name) was just recurring.  Though Coach Ben is a cast member and I am shocked he made it this far.  But they better sign up Eaton for future seasons soon now.


But I guess I can just slide Lottie into my Jackie theory that she was left for dead and also stole Shauna’s wilderness baby.  But how many people stayed with her?  There were four people who kidnapped Nat, including one dude.  Javi?  Wilderness baby?  Has Lottie recruited more people to her cult?  I did not notice any of the chicks having facial scares though we saw Van worship at the altar of Lottie.  But then again, so did Misty and she apparently left.  Or did she?  Tai is still doing ritualistic killings; I am guess to help win her election.  Of course, this begs the question; Simone is just now noticing there was a draft in the basement?


So we do have confirmation of one other survivor who made it to 2021.  But another of my predictions, that there would be another survivor that would turn up at the reunion also turned out to be wrong.  Though we did get a surprise attendee in Allie who I believe was just a freshman in 1996.  That actress just kept on throwing heaters.  The Rewatchables Podcast has something called the Dion Waiters award for the character who puts up a lot of shots in a little amount of times and that actress really was gunning for that award.  One nit-pick about the reunion, the trophy case only had fifteen players on the team.  The show has been fast and loose with the numbers, but there were nineteen survivors, minus Coach, Travis, Javi, and Misty, plus the three that can be seen dead in the cabin, plus Allie who was not on the flight should be nineteen.


Misty Psycho watch:  I knew there was no way Misty was going to let the fixer go even though it seemed like she was Stockholming her.  She definitely showed she knew how to get rid of a body earlier in the episode, but lacing the cigarette that she threw away was some next level planning.  Then Nat asking Shauna if she remembered how to cut up a body was chilling  Speaking of dead bodies, Callie was weirdly stone-faced was Adam’s missing report came on television.  Besides Pit Girl’s identity, that was the big hanging thread from this season, who was that dude?  That he had no digital footprint seems like a huge thing.  But why drag that mystery into season two?  Or is there no reveal coming and he was just some dude.  There were people thinking he was working with Callie and they were the blackmailers.  Other people thought Misty sent him but she had no such reaction to his body.  Either he is nobody or part of Lottie’s cult.  Probably the latter.


Despite getting everything wrong so far, that is not going to stop me making more predictions for season two.  Like I previous suggested, I will slide Lottie into my Jackie was left for dead in the wilderness and also stole Shauna’s wilderness baby prediction.  Pit Girl kind of has to be Mari at this point because she is the only dark haired girl left in 2016 that we do not know is alive in 2021 yet (while I love it, the Callie is Pit Girl theory makes no sense since Van clearly looks down on the dead body in that scene).  Unless they bring one of the background girls to the forefront, by my math, there are still six unnamed Yellowjackets that are still alive as of now.


Then, who else joins Lottie cult?  We learned last week, Lottie is the Antler Queen.  We have always known Misty was a part of it.  It also tuned out Van’s Co-Ed Naked Soccer shirt was not a red herring, but that is really her.  That leaves four other people from the dinner scene in the premiere.  Could it be simply the four other people we knew survived: Shauna, Tai, Nat, and Travis?  Could it be the four people who abducted Nat?  Considering her shrine and her ties to Van, Tai seems like a lock.  Nat asks Shauna if she remembers how to cut up a body so they seem like a possibilities.  Unless Javi, who was last seen running away from Shauna, ended up like Jackie, seems like he would be willing to join a cult too.  Yet, I am not entirely sure.  It is going to be a long wait until season two.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

57 Channels and Only This Is On: January 16, 2022


Dexter: New Blood:  So we are never going to learn just how Kurt found out that Dexter killed his son?  That is something fairly big to yada yadda.  But I guess that was a fitting to Dexter Morgan’s story.  Well, having his son kill him so he could not kill anyone else.  Not the part where Angela being so adamant for Dexter to be locked up for killing the evil people, but letting Harrison go and acting like she killed Dexter.  I just hope they do not try and spin off a Harrison show with Dexter talking to him, that actor was really boring.


Claws:  My prediction of a Desna and Jenn split really had a roller coaster.  First Desna let Jenn run the new show.  Expect one of the first things Jenn does was assault a rival which set them up for blackmail.  Oh, to avoid getting sued for assault, Desna just shot her son.  Huh.  She is willing to sue you for assault, maybe she will report you for murder.  But since Desna is the star, of course that did not hvppen.


Yellowjackets:  So Lottie said something is coming and they will not be hungry for long.  Well, that was ominous.  She also said he doesn’t belong to her about Travis to Jackie, but her visions can be fairly vague so maybe not.  But if it is those two, who does Travis belong to?  By the looks of it, everyone else.  But a letdown with the ritualistic killing because we know Travis was not going to die (though it cross my mind for a half a second that maybe Javi was posing as adult Travis, but alas).


I was halfway through the season by the time everyone got to watch the first episode and I was surprised with how obsessed Reddit was with whom they dubbed the “Antler Queen” was and they finally got that reveal.  Though that does not necessarily mean Lottie will still be the one wearing antlers when we get to that scene in the Pilot, but my theory that Lottie is the girl in the pit is not looking very good.  One thing that may complicate things is it looks like Misty’s wheels were spinning and maybe she does more drugging and tries to out Lottie as she looks to be the leader of the Wild Bunch clan.  I got strong leader vibes from her in that scene from the Pilot.


Another theory that went up in flames this week was that Jackie was sending the postcards (as well as another Reddit theory that Adam was really Javi).  While I found the reveal that Jeff was behind this the whole time because he owed Loan Sharks disappointing, I weirdly enjoyed Adult Jackie’s storyline for the first time this season.  I loved how Jeff said she could not get away with the murder because they watched too much Dateline to know she could not.  But still, all of this does not add up.  Like Nat brought up, why would Jeff murder Travis?  And who cleared out his bank account?  If Jeff cleared it out, why would he still need to blackmail Tai and Nat?  So maybe my Jackie theory is still in play. 


I also have a prediction that Jackie steals Shauna’s wilderness baby and if that baby is what Lottie says is coming that will make them hungry no more, I could see Jackie being the one sane person not tripping on shrooms and heads off into the wilderness to keep it from being eaten.   I do wonder if Jeff knows about the wilderness baby.  After reading Shauna’s diaries, I was expecting he would bring that up.  Did she tell him already and claims it died out there?


Misty psycho watch:  has she actually become friends with the person she kidnapped?  I thought maybe the reporter was just playing along hoping being nice would get her released but maybe she has been successfully Stockholmed because she did not even call for help when Nat was at the door.  That would have been fun, Misty saying she would help clean up the body if Nat did not tell anyone about the person in her basement.  But we should definitely get the reunion in the finale and hopefully we learn of another survivor or five.  Though, who else graduated with them?  Van seems like the only other Senior on the team, maybe Lottie.


The Book of Boba Fett:  Oh wow, bringing in the guest stars.  First Steven Root.  Then Young Nat from Yellowjackets pops up still sporting that mullet with bangs, but at least it was one color.  But maybe not wise to make her do an accent.  Which was confusing because this is Luke Skywalker’s planet and he had an American accent.  Then the guy who brought in the monster for the Hutt’s really looked like Danny Trejo and when they finally gave him a close up I realize, oh, wait, that really is Danny Trejo.


The Real World Homecoming: Los Angeles: Poor David, could not make it to the end of another season.  But two straight seasons where a cast member did not make it to the end.  Maybe for season three, stop goading them in to these past traumas until someone breaks.  Just let them have fun.


The Challenge: All-Stars: That was some weird editing, Darrell and Janelle were in second place while Nehemiah and Melina were dead last and wasted a lot of time going to the caves first.  Sure Darrell and Janelle went to the memory game not realizing they read the wrong directions, but then got the full memory board the very next try.  So how exactly did Nehemiah and Melina, who twisted her ankle, edge out Darrell and Janelle?  Did the bike just really gas you out for the rest of that part and just one team doing it first and the other doing it last make the difference.


But it seems like production did not expect everyone to take that long to run TJ’s final because they had to use headlights to provide lighting because the sun went down before anyone could finish.  It seems like production forgets these are middle aged people doing these challenges.  But the team that came in third (and only because the other team quit) ended up winning because Darrell still did not learn to read.


The Blacklist:  One thing that never crossed my mind was how was Dembe involved with Lizzy’s murder.  I really rather they not go back to that storyline because it was bad enough the first time.