Saturday, April 15, 2023

Around the Tubes: April 15, 2023


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 The GreatThe ClearingLauren Spencer Smith, Kenny Rogers, Al Green, Lyn Lapid, Headliners with Rachel Nichols, Yellowjacketsand AspireTV Life.

Check out the trailer for the upcoming third season of Hulu's "The Great."  The critically-acclaimed series returns to Hulu on Friday, May 12 with all ten episodes.  Season 3 of “The Great” sees Catherine (Elle Fanning) and Peter (Nicholas Hoult) attempt to make their marriage work after some seemingly insurmountable problems. Peter witnessed his own attempted murder at Catherine’s hands and she also imprisoned all of his friends. On top of this, Peter is at a loose end playing First Husband to Catherine’s reign, so he busies himself with fathering, hunting and salty culinary ventures. But they’re not enough to keep him contented as visions of his late father (played by Jason Isaacs), get in his head about his failures as Peter the Great’s son. Catherine the Great starts making a name for herself beyond her borders and inspired by a visit from the US ambassador, sets up a conference where peasants, nobles and merchants can all give their input on developing a new Russia. She learns that even the best political leaders sometimes need to make compromises in order to progress. 

- Get your first look at Hulu Original psychological thriller "The Clearing," starring Teresa PalmerMiranda Otto and Guy Pearce. "The Clearing" will premiere with two episodes on Hulu on May 24, followed by new episodes every Wednesday.  “The Clearing” is an eight-part psychological thriller based on the best-selling crime thriller ‘In The Clearing’ by author J.P. Pomare, inspired by the darkness of real-life cults in Australia and around the world.

- Multi-platinum singer-songwriter and generational talent Lauren Spencer Smith releases her latest single “Fantasy,” featuring GAYLE and Em Beihold. The energetic pop anthem showcases the Vancouver Island native’s booming vocals about overcoming a toxic relationship while GAYLE and Beihold echo the same sentiment. In the video, the three artists’ chemistry is undeniable as they embody the power of female friendship. Listen and watch “Fantasy'' available today via Island Records/Republic Records.

 Life Is Like A Song, a stunning and emotional new song cycle, featuring previously unreleased gems and coveted rarities performed by the legendary Kenny Rogers, telling the story of the love, life, loss, and faith between Rogers and his family, will be released June 2nd via UMe. The collection, comprising songs from Rogers’ archives that were deeply personal to him, will be available on CD and vinyl as well as digitally. The project marks the first new non-Christmas studio album by Rogers in 10 years and the only non-compilation/non-reissued full-length album to be released on vinyl since 1991.  Curated and executive produced by the late Country Music Hall of Famer’s widow, Wanda Rogers, Life Is Like A Song features eight never-before-heard recordings, spanning 2008-2011, and showcases Rogers’ range through an array of original material and covers, including interpretations of Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight and Lionel Richie’s “Goodbye,” as well as the artist’s long-sought-after duet with Dolly PartonTell Me That You Love Me.” A digital deluxe edition includes two bonus tracks: a cover of the Mack Gordon/Henry Warren standard, “At Last” (made famous by Etta James), and the Buddy Hyatt-penned original, “Say Hello to Heaven.”  Pre-order Life Is Like A Song here:

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Al Green’s Call Me, and to celebrate, Hi Records/Fat Possum will reissue the 1973 R&B classic on vinyl on May 26. With lacquers from the original master tapes by Ryan Smith at Sterling Sound, Call Me will be available on standard black vinyl as well as limited edition pressings on both Tigers Eye colored vinyl for independent record stores, and Red and Green colored vinyl via Fat Possum’s website. All versions are available to be pre-ordered, HERE.  Al Green’s Call Me was originally released in 1973 and debuted at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts and remained on the charts for 11 weeks. The album features timeless Gold certified classics such as “Here I Am (Come & Take Me),” which reached No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 2 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts; “Call Me (Come Back Home),” which went to No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 2 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts; and “You Ought To Be With Me,” which hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts.

Kicking off her next era, 20-year-old breakout songstress Lyn Lapid releases her new single “poster boy” today via Mercury Records/Republic Records—listen HERE. The song is the latest track from her soon-to-be-announced sophomore EP and follows her recent collaboration with Canadian singer and songwriter Ruth B. on “do u really?”.  On “poster boy,” a faintly plucked ukulele melody twinkles and gives way to a propulsive drumbeat. Lyn’s voice leaps over a lush bridge as she confesses, “I got a good feeling about you and I.” Her vocals ride a tidal wave of energy towards one final crescendo. Once again, “poster boy” illuminates her eloquent songcraft, uplifting energy, and lovelorn emotion.

Top NBA MVP contender Joel Embiid is the featured guest on the premiere episode of HEADLINERS WITH RACHEL NICHOLS, available Thursday, April 13 on SHOWTIME streaming and on demand platforms. The episode features veteran journalist, host and NBA reporter Nichols’ in-depth, personal interview with the Philadelphia 76ers star. To watch and share a first-look clip from the debut episode, click HERE. New episodes will premiere every Thursday through the NBA Playoffs.  Embiid shares stories about his early years in Cameroon and reveals how he needed to sneak out of the house to play sports. He also discusses the times he considered giving up basketball, the tragic death of his brother, his social media presence and the criticism he’s faced from other legendary centers about his style of play. Finally, the 29-year-old six-time NBA All-Star reveals details about his off-court life and describes how fatherhood has changed him.


 Seven-time Grammy® Award-winning singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette today releases the new single, “No Return” (Extended Version), a brand new version of the main title theme song from the SHOWTIME Emmy®-nominated drama series YELLOWJACKETS. The new single debuted in the fourth episode of the hit series’ second season and is available now to download and stream globally via Universal Music Canada. “No Return” (Main Title Theme) by YELLOWJACKETS composers, Craig Wedren and Anna Waronker, was originally released in January 2022.  “I love the original version of ‘No Return,’ It's just a perfect song. It was a little daunting to be asked to reinterpret it but I see parallels between YELLOWJACKETS and my perspective while songwriting: the sheer intensity, that going for the jugular with no fear around going for the profane,” said Morissette. “I’ve strived my entire career to support the empowerment of women and sensitives, and see the world through the female lens, and what's so wonderful about this show is that each character is allowed to be dynamic and complex as opposed to oversimplified, reduced versions of women. I feel honoured to be a part of the legacy of YELLOWJACKETS.”  Listen to Alanis Morissette’s “No Return” (Extended Version), HERE.  Watch and share the YELLOWJACKETS Main Title sequence with Alanis Morissette’s “No Return” (Extended Version), HERE.  Watch and share a special behind-the-scenes video with Alanis Morissette speaking about “No Return”, HERE.

AspireTV Life, the first free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) channel dedicated to sharing the experiences of the multicultural audience through cooking, fashion, travel, design and more, is now live on Pluto TV. AspireTV Life celebrates positive, authentic lifestyle content, and portrays the reality and diversity of Black viewers and those moved by the culture.  AspireTV Life is seeing great momentum as we continue to expand distribution,” said Angela Cannon, senior vice president, multicultural networks and strategy, UP Entertainment. “The launch on Pluto TV furthers our commitment to reach as many viewers as possible so more people can see themselves authentically represented on screen, while also being highly entertained by our diverse lifestyle programming.”

Friday, April 14, 2023

Previewing Waco: The Aftermath


Yellowstone is the most popular show on television, yet I could not name a second show that has ever aired on The Paramount Channel aside from their very first scripted show based on the Waco tragedy starring Tim Riggins in a mullet.  Studios love digging for intellectual property, but I would have never guessed that we would get a Waco Extended Universe.  Waco: The Aftermath will not actually be airing on The Paramount Channel, or even the streaming service of the same name but a different channel in the Paramount family: Showtime.


Despite having “Aftermath” in the title, there are actually three storyline, one of which sees a younger David Koresh (sadly someone other than Tim Riggins is under the mullet this time).  The show also follows Michael Shannon, the lead FBI negotiator from the first show who has moved on to a new case about white nationalist that clumsily tries to tie into the Oklahoma City bombing.  The third storyline deals with the trial of four Branch Davidians that followed the siege, granted only one of the actors were actually on the original show, and I do not even remember that one.  Though the press release actually listed “Waco” as a previous credit so apparently she has not done much since if that was the biggest credit they wanted to highlight.


There are a couple other actors who reprise their roles like John Leguizamo (Super Mario Bros.), who played an undercover ATF agent, and Shea Whigham (Boardwalk Empire) as the FBI agent who oversaw the siege.  Apparently his character was able to grow a mustache in the days between when that series ended and this one started.  But really, both of these roles just come off as glorified cameos, which is probably why Whigham did not bother to save off that mustache.


The three storylines come off as really disjointed.  The new David in the earliest timeline lacks the charisma to pull off being a cult leader.  While Shannon does his serious drama acting, two new additions come across as more as Saturday Night Live characters.  While being the over the top Wags on Billions works there, David Constable’s southern fried judge in the Davidian case is a little over the top.  Same goes to Gary Cole (Pineapple Express) who also seems to think he is a comedy playing a private investigator and part time conspiracy theorist who claims he used to be in the CIA. 


But to be honest, those two are the most entertaining part of the show along with possibly the weirdest needle drop in the history of television (though, another Showtime series, Yellowjackets, has an upcoming episode that ends with a needle drop that is also in the running) featuring George Michael.   But I kind of hope Waco: The Aftermath is successful if only for it to inspire Hulu to do The Dropout: The Aftermath featuring the trial of Elisabeth Holmes.  


Waco: the Aftermath airs Sundays at 10:00 on Showtime, but episodes are available to stream as well as On Demand the Friday before the linear premiere.   Which means the premiere is available now.