Monday, January 22, 2018

Previewing The Alienist

Let’s get this out of the way first: The Alienist is a horrible name for a television show. Sure not Better Off Ted bad where the name is so bad it keeps me from watching, but it just does not flow off the tip of the tongue and I doubt many people will be going to work or school asking “Did you watch The Alienist last night?”

But I will give TNT credit that they have really gone all in on trying to become a prestigious television network after being the CBS of cable for over a decade. Even if mixed results, their last period piece, Will, was dead on arrival, Animal Kingdom never really got me while Good Behavior and Claws are watchable, the both have glaring flaws. Which is why it continues to get shut out of awards contention. But The Alienist may be its most ambitious show as it just begs nominations with its meticulous period setting and top notch acting. (I am also very looking forward to the just greenlit Snowpiercer show based on the movie.)

The Alienist is set in 1896 New York City, Teddy Roosevelt is the police commissioner and cops communicate via banging their nightsticks on the lampposts. This is also a time when mental health practitioners are called “Alienist” because they treat people who alienate themselves from society. These doctors “Alleviate the conditions, not to cure them.” Daniel Brühl (Captain America: Civil War) is the titular character who links a teenage boy prostitute to a previous murder three years ago when the police for is ready to close the case with a murder already to die probably before it goes to trial.

The Alienist has a weird group around him making the weirdest superhero team up ever. Luke Evans (Professor Marston and the Wonder Women) is a newspaper illustrator who likes too much fun. On the other end of the fun spectrum is Dakota Fanning (Push) who only wants to be taken seriously as the first woman to hold a position with the police department in New York City. Oh and there is history between the two. She does not seem to care for him while he seems to be oblivious to it and still think they are good friends. This friction is the best part of the early episodes.

A close second is a pair of brothers who may have very well be the very first CSI team, they are one of the first to use fingerprints to help solve a case), who are the closest thing to comic relief this very serious show gets. But where the show lacks in humor, it more than makes up for in detail. The sets are exquisite, looking just as good as any movie set in the time period right down to the clothing. Although you may feel bad for Fanning that the corsets are too historically accurate as her character is very vocal of her displeasure of the eveningwear as we the audience get to see the busies they leave behind.

As good as the show looks; I fear the show may suffer from the same problem other shows that just focus on one case for another season. As good as The Killing was its first couple episodes; it became a growing slog with every new red herring. Hopefully The Alienist has found a way to keep the show fresh episode after episode instead of feeling like a two hour movie that is stretched into ten (or God forbid, more) episodes even though as of the first couple episodes there is nothing that comes close to a B-plot. On the bright side, none of the main characters have children they will have to spend an entire episode looking for.

The Alienist airs Mondays at 9:00 on TNT.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 1/21/2018

Shameless: The Gallagher just cannot have nice things. Just when something goes their way, some bad will undoubtedly happen. Clearly the apartment building was too good to be true and it is surprising it took this long for something to epically go wrong. Poor Fiona. Then I would normally say if you are going to marry a crazy chick, make sure she is rich, but if I were Carl, I would have to worry about her murdering you in your sleep… or worse, a John Wayne Bobbit situation.

Supergirl: Wait, did Mon-El not only spoil the episode, but spoil the whole season when his explanation as to why he did not want to fight Reign was he knew being from the future he knows Supergirl would be fine and Reign will just eventually leave? What the fork, man? I hate that guy. Oh well, at least Saturn Girl was there to randomly quote Bon Jovi.
You can download Supergirl on iTunes.

The Gifted: So next season will be the Hellfire Club versus the handpicked X-Men replacements? Awesome. Why was that not this season which mostly sucked? Now if the only kill off the teens. And, pretty much everyone else but the triplets.
You can download The Gifted on iTunes.

The Challenge: Vendettas: When they announced the Grenade was a choice, I thought, well, might as well just take the money, it is the only guarantee. Now I wonder if anyone will choose the other two options.
You can download The Challenge: Vendettas on iTunes.

The Path: “You’ll die like the rest of them”? I knew Vera was an opportunist but I did not realize she was evil. Who are the rest of them are and just what is Vera’s motives? Then later her mother says, “The martyrdom is coming.” They have to be secret cultist right? Also, I’m calling it, the black Christian kid is gay.
You can stream The Path Hulu.

Vikings: I was wondering all season where Rollo was this whole time? I remember Bjorn asked to sail the Mediterranean with him but they got side tracked with Ragnor’s death, but I forgot what happened to Rollo. Apparently he went back to France. Though backing Ivar is a strange play and we do not even get to hear from him why. But as Lagathha and Bjorn plan on how to fight off Ivar and the French army, isn’t the answer obvious: get the brits who already hate Ivar to join in. Granted they just lost a king to a bee sting. Seriously, how did anyone survive back then if a bee sting can take down a king.
You can download Vikings on iTunes.

Knightfall: Things are picking up, Landry found the Grail (presumably) and his mother. The king’s former advisor finally figured out who the real father of the queen’s baby is (but how will he use ths information?). That cannot end well for Landry. Even more shocking is the new Templar took a sword through him. Granted, just a flesh wound, nothing the Holy Grail wouldn’t fix.
You can download Knightfall on iTunes.

The Good Place: Of course Dax Sheppard was part of The Bad Place. And I have not watched one football game this season, but if the Buddhist Monk manages to will the Jaguars to the Super Bowl, I may have to actually watch that game.
You can download The Good Place on iTunes.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Well that was confusing. So those “flashbacks” were of the history had the SHIELD team had not been taken? And we only get May, Fitz and Simmons. And the latter died (I think). Though Daisy is last seen on footage and presumably breaks up the world moments later? I wonder had it been better had they just done an entire alternative universe episode. Or at the very least put all the “flashbacks” at the start of the episode instead of sprinkling them in.
You can download Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Around the Tubes: 1/19/2018

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 Hulu, Eddie Griffin: Undeniable, The Lost Tapes: Malcolm X, CONAN, and Late Night with Seth Myers.

- This week at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour, Hulu announced: Hulu officially confirms a new order for Catch-22 Limited Series Event from George Clooney, Paramount Television and Anonymous Content. ER makes its streaming debut on Hulu today in a new deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. All 331 episodes are now streaming. The Handmaid’s Tale S2 will premiere on April 25th with two new episodes. Hulu picks up March of The Penguins 2: The Next Step to Hulu Documentary slate. Hulu adds a second installment of National Treasure – titled Kiri – to the Hulu Originals slate. All four parts will premiere on April 4th. Fourth and final season of Casual will premiere on July 31st.

- Celebrating his 30-year anniversary in comedy, veteran comedian Eddie Griffin takes to the stage in the hilarious new special Eddie Griffin: Undeniable, premiering on Showtime on Friday, February 9 at 10:00 on-air, on demand and over the internet. Filmed at the Berklee Performing Arts Center in Boston, Massachusetts, Griffin offers his prolific and entertaining point of view on the state of the world, tackling politics, racism, relationships, religion and humanity as a whole. Ultimately reflecting on his long-standing career, he pays tribute to close friends and late comedians Charlie Murphy, Bernie Mac, Dick Gregory and Richard Pryor (among others) with flawless impersonations. With his quick wit and animated delivery, Griffin does not mince words in this comedy event.

- A historic voice in the 1960s civil rights movement, Malcolm X was and continues to be a fascinating yet controversial figure. During his life, he gave voice to the anger and frustration that African Americans experienced during the tumultuous 1950s and 60s in the United States, gaining a reputation for his fiery rhetoric and spellbinding speeches. THE LOST TAPES: MALCOLM X relives the pivotal years of this trailblazing activist using rarely seen footage and audio tapes, including never-before-seen footage of Nation of Islam rallies and recordings made at the Audubon Ballroom on the day of his assassination. The Lost Tapes: Malcolm X premieres Monday, February 26 at 8:00 on Smithsonian Channel.

- TBS’ CONAN will travel internationally for the eighth time in three years for CONAN Without Borders: Haiti, a primetime special premiering Saturday, January 27 at 10:00 on TBS. After hearing President Trump’s disparaging remarks about Haiti, O’Brien immediately decided to announce his intentions to visit the island nation. On January 14, he tweeted “Still reeling from @realDonaldTrump’s very negative Yelp review of Haiti, which means I’ll love it. Headed to Haiti later this week to explore and make some new friends. Stay tuned for my report.”

- Jillian Jacqueline: “Reasons” on Late Night with Seth Myers:

Thursday, January 18, 2018

2018 Winter Music Preview

It is the usual ho hum nothing too much to get excited about winter music preview. The most interesting artists are all listed in the TBA section which probably means we will not actually get any new music from them until summer. Then I read an article with Dr. Dre saying Detox is not entirely dead. To catch people up, after releasing 2001 in 1999, Dre started working on Detox, which he claimed to be his last album. And it kept being pushed back. Even Guns 'n Roses managed to release Chinese Democracy first. Then Dre popped up in a Dr. Pepper commercial in 2009 (ironically the same brand that said every person in America would get a free can if Chinese Democracy came out the previous year; granted I never got my free can because the website was down and have not Dr. Pepper since out of spite) making everyone think this was the start of the Detox campaign. Kush was then release the following to general meh. Same with I Need a Doctor the next year. And once again Detox was shelved. Word then broke that Dre was releasing music inspired by the biopic Straight Outta Compton in 2015, except that was all new music and not Detox. And it seemed Detox was dead. Until last week when Dre dropped by a Golden State Warrior practice and an ESPN reporter asked if Detox is permanently shelved to which the producer replied, "I’m working on a couple songs right now. We’ll see." We have been waiting for Detox fifteen years now, and there is a chance we will hear it someday. Sure it may not be until after he is dead and his next of kin needs more money, but someday. Never give up hope. But here are that we will definitely (probably) get to hear this year. Click on the album name to pre-order on Amazon and the artist's name to go to their iTunes page.

Last Week
Phases - Caroline Pennell
Encore - Anderson East

Ruins - First Aid Kit
Primal Heart - Kimbra
M A N I A - Fall Out Boy
Between Two Shores - Glen Hansard
I can feel you creep into my private life - Tune-Yards
Fleetwood Mac (Deluxe) - Fleetwood Mac

January 26
The Snake King - Rick Springfield
The Brown Tape - Ghostface Killah and Apollo Brown

February 2
Strawberry Moon - Amy Vachal
Walk Between Worlds - Simple Minds

February 9
Sleepwalkers - Brian Fallon
Always Ascending - Franz Ferdinand
Black Panther: The Album

February 16
See You Around - I'm With Her
Uncle, Duke and The Chief - Born Ruffians
By the Way, I Forgive You - Brandi Carlile

February 23
Nation of Two - Vance Joy

March 2
Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt - Moby
A Productive Cough - Titus Andronicus
You're Not Alone - Andrew W.K.
All Nerve - The Breeders

March 9
Both Sides of the Sky - Jimi Hendrix

March 16
I'll Be Your Girl - The Decemberists

March 23
Castles - Lissie
Ivory - Gin Wigmore
Beasts of Burgundy - Squirrel Nut Zippers

Golden Hour - Kacey Musgraves
Boarding House Reach - Jack White
Music for Cars - The 1975
Masochism - Sky Ferreira
Forever - Phife Dawg
Stanger Songs - Ingrid Michaelson
Ariana Grande
Bruce Springsteen
Butthole Surfers
Carly Rae Jepsen
Dave Matthews Band
Frank Ocean
Gnarls Barkley
Kanye West
Paul McCartney
Selena Gomez
Vampire Weekend

And of course, this could be the year we hear Detox.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Previewing The Path: Season Three

When the second season of The Path premiered, it was the marquee show on Hulu. And heavy is head that wears the crown. Hulu just seemed to be getting by as Netflix racked up all the awards, even Amazon Prime, which did not even seem to be trying much until it recently bought the rights to Lord of the Rings had Transparent. But since then, Hulu has premiered three great shows, Harlots, Future Man, and The Handmaid’s Tale, the latter of which swept last year’s Emmys including outstanding Drama Series, beating out three Netflix shows. So now that the crown has been passed, expectations has been lowered, we can now enjoy The Path as simply the fourth best show on Hulu (and maybe going lower with multiple promising new shows premiering in 2018).

When the second season finished with Eddie leading a group of rejected Meyerist into the compound after performing a legitimate miracle, I thought this season would be a fight between Eddie and Carl for control of the moment. I was wrong. After another miracle in the opening moments, we get a six month fast forward and Carl is out. Dude bounced to Florida with his wife and baby and is being bankrolled by a former professional athlete and hoping to start his own moment down south which to me kind of sounds like a Pyramid Scheme.

Back in the tristate area, Eddie is trying to be the nicer and kinder cult leader and as his son tells him, “You are trying so hard not to be a cult leader; you forgot to be a leader.” Pretty profound for a teenager. That is where Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) comes in as the Meyerist new Oxford educated publicist who worked for Greenpeace Breitbart oxford educated which means the only green she cares about is the shade of George Washington’s skin. Granted the most ruthless thing she does in the first two episodes is threaten ICE on an illegal alien.  Then things get interesting in episode three which makes her motives even more murky.

Then there is Sarah who is still caught in the middle. She does not really care for the nicer Meyerist movement under Eddie and even though Cal still believes in some of the more hard core pillars of the faith, he is hundreds of miles away… at least for now. I have a feeling he will find his way back to New York before the end of season three.

New episodes of The Path are released on Hulu every Wednesday with the first three episodes up now.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

I Want My Music Television: 1/16/2018

End Game - Taylor Swift featuring Ed Sheeran and Future

I have said it before, but let me say it again: I miss the old Taylor Swift. Seriously, why is she making a nineties rap video? Now that I think of it, is Reputation Swift’s attempt at a hip-hop album? She needs to go back to making folk pop.

Reasons - Jillian Jacqueline

Taylor may not be doing the country pop thing anymore, but newcomer Jillian Jacqueline is filling that void very nicely with a stellar EP she released last year, the best to combine country and old school pop music since Swift's heyday at the start of this decade. Bonus points for the Wes Anderson inspired music video.

Fireworks - First Aid Kit

Oh my, eighties hair on the ladies of First Aid Kit. Though the Farrah Fawcett wave is kind of a cheat. If you are doing eighties hair, you have to go full bad perm. Although this begs the question, did they have bad Jersey mall hair in the eighties in Sweden?

Finesse (Remix) - Bruno Mars featuring Cardi B

Okay let’s move up one decade with the new Bruno Mars video. Unfortunately he brought Cardi B with him. Goodness those vertical color stripe shirts are horrible. I had about five. But it did get me to go down an In Living Color YouTube rabbit hole.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 1/14/2018

Shameless: Maybe not as Shameless as digging up your dead wife’s coffin, but oh my goodness, Frank punched a little girl. Oh Carl, you do not get down on one knew for a promise ring. Amateur.

Marvel’s Runaways: The Runaways finally ran away! Quite literally, in slow motion during the last frames of the season. Granted they are still in Los Angeles so they did not run very far. Are they just going to live on the streets next season? And was that who the black father calling, issuing an Amber Alert? Seems a bit harsh way to get your son back home. Sure the Pride has a detective in their back pocket.
You can stream episodes of Marvel's Runaways on Hulu.

The Challenge: Vendettas: It is amazing how everyone still lets Johnny run everything, the other two just going with putting in Bananas’ vendetta into elimination. Sure Cory did not help much by spreading not particurly good lies about Brad. Speaking of Banana’s, does his win of Champs vs. Pro count as breaking his curse of screwing Sarah out of money? Or does winning a micro season for charity not count?
You can download The Challenge: Vendettas on iTunes.

The Blacklist: C’mon, Red does not have anyone following Liz? That is two near death experiences since coming out of her coma.
You can download The Blacklist on iTunes.

Vikings: Kind of a cheap fake out with Ivar saying he was not going to fight and renounces his threat to kill Lagatha then when he comes back from the commercial break he throws water into his brother’s face and vows again to kill Lagatha. But I guess it was better to do that at a commercial break instead of at the end of an episode. And then we have yet another person who saves the Bishop. He did seem to glance at Lagatha before he died, I am not sure if that really happened or I am misinterpreting the editing. But I am surprised no one we knew died. I thought for sure when they started showing Bjorn’s wife and son fighting, two characters we have barely seen up do that point, at the very least one of them was not going to make it out of the battle alive.
You can download Vikings on iTunes.

Knightfall: After all the creepy uncle stuff, I finally googled and found out he was not the real uncle to the princess, just an advisor to the King. But who exactly is his “uncle” who I thought was Godfrey when he first revealed himself.
You can download Knightfall on iTunes.

Blindspot: Obviously Weller did not kill Jane’s kid; the bigger question is why Kurt said that. So apparently he shot her and left there to die. What? How about going back Kurt? Whatever happened to no man left behind?
You can download Blindspot on iTunes.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Everyone is back together! (Well except for May.) So it is time to split up again. But who was the old chick at the end? It has to be the little girl that draws the future right? The bird is probably the key but my memory is not that good to remember a little girl I think we have only seen twice.
You can download Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.