Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Previewing Harlots




Prostitution has been called the oldest profession and brothels routinely pop up in prestige historical dramas (real or fake) from Deadwood to Game of Thrones. Yet despite being as populous as one in every five women in Victorian England in the profession, these prestige dramas usually just use them as gratuitous nudity and we rarely get to know many of these women. Until now. Harlots put these women up front. And not only are the women the focus of the show, they are also behind the scenes with all the producers, writers and directors being women too so the scene come off as less exploitative as those shows where these women are more background characters.

Harlots features two warring brothels in eighteenth century England. Samantha Morton (John Carter) is a madam of the people who goes up against Lesley Manville (Maleficent) who appeals to a more high class clientele who expect their companions to known an instrument and can converse in French. Morton has two daughters, Jessica Brown Findley (Downton Abbey) is the one who got out and is now not quick to sign a contract to be someone else’s wife. Newcomer Eloise Smyth (look out for her, she is going to be big) has yet to join the family business but there are plenty of suitors looking to be the highest bidder to take her virginity.

We have seen the spunky upstart vs. high class stalwart many of time before, but never like this. We have seen historical dramas set in 1700’s England, but never like this. Ever since The Handmaiden’s Tale trailer premiered at the Super Bowl, I have thought that show was going to be Hulu’s first great series, well, it looks like Harlots, which kind of came out of nowhere, may win that title a month sooner.

Harlots premieres today on Hulu.

Monday, March 27, 2017

I Want My Music Videos: 3/27/17



Legend Has It – Run the Jewels


I thought the twist would be that Run The Jewels would not be fingered, maybe the police dog. Instead they went with the obvious Usual Suspects ending. Oh well.


Down - Marian Hill


Okay it is a simple camera trick, the new Marian Hill video is kind of cool.


Feels Like Summer – Weezer


It feels like a bi-yearly occurrence that I complain about the latest underwhelming lead single from a Weezer album, and this is no exception.


Don’t Look Back – Dia Frampton


Aw, Dia Frampton, still my favorite contestant from The Voice. I actually liked her big pop album Red, but this song has a great slow burn build to it.



Sunday, March 26, 2017

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 3/26/17




Homeland: Oh my goodness, Carrie calls out Saul for sleeping with a Russian Spy only for him to throw Brody back in her face. Seriously, how do those two still have jobs for our government? But we finally get to what this season is all about: bringing down Dar, which Quinn almost did by himself. But who did he call? It kind of looked like they guy who ran Max’s new internet rebel rouser group but I do not think it was him.

The Walking Dead: Well that did not take long for Eugene to choose a side, I figured we would have to wait until next season at least. Then you had Rosalina wanting to go in guns a blazing only for Sasha to beat her to the punch. Alrighty.
You can download The Walking Dead on iTunes.

Billions: Wait, is Axe now a member of the Nerds of Doom? Did Jerry O’Connell already with draw? But they should have hired someone more distinctive looking to replace Wendy at Axe Capital because I always forget who he is until after his scenes are over.

Into the Badlands: No “Previously On” after a year layoff, pretty bold… and stupid, I was kind of lost most of the episode.
You can download Into the Badlands on iTunes.

Supergirl: I am trying to think what happened this week on the show but cannot because my mind is completely clouded by the horrible crossover on The Flash. It started out alright with Supergirl singing Moon River mediocrely but the episode went way downhill after that. It somehow was worse than I expected.
You can download Supergirl on iTunes.

The Path: Wait, were they really painting little coffins? Creepy. But that was cold Richard, granted you reap what you sow and she just got down using other people’s unburdening against them. Turn about fair play.
You can stream The Path on Hulu.

Survivor: Game Changers: The promo monkeys spoiled there were going to be two tribes going to Tribal Council this week but left out one huge detail: they are going at the same time to vote one person out. I could not decide when it was announced if this was a good twist or not, but in the end it turned out to be a great twist as it turned out to be the most chaotic Tribal Councils ever. It even made Hali, who has been completely worthless for a season and a half, actually interesting. Seriously, what did, “I didn’t consent” even mean? You really need to re-watch Tribal just to keep an eye on Hali. She jumps up right after JT goes and tells Brad they are voting for Sierra for no apparent reason and tells her old tribe to vote for Brad. Which, great strategy. But then she sits down while her new tribe is huddling (there was also a moment where Sierra and Malcolm were just randomly talking while everyone else huddled). Then Hali joins her new tribe’s huddle. Thing settle down and we get her, I didn’t consent” line. Only for Sandra (who has been way over confident this season) stupidly telling Hali to vote and votes with her new tribe. Then Tai pulls out an Idol asks if Not-Dante Cullpepper if he wants it and in his first entertaining thing in two and a half season, Not-Dante nonchalantly points to Sierra despite his name being bandied around by his own tribe, which turned out to be a wise because Hali’s old tribe did not take her suggestion and voted for Sierra, which did not count. Awesome. Even better, Hali’s new tribe targeted Malcolm (who got a kiss of death from Sierra, her first good moment in a season and a half) pretty much taking Hali’s suggestion to target strong players when her old tribe did not do the same. This is why I still watch this show thirty seasons plus latter.
You can download Survivor: Game Changers on iTunes.

Legion: Well they explained that better than the two people living in the same body situation. I kind of understand what is going on now.
You can download Legion on iTunes.

Grimm: Wait, did the really kill off the token black dude and the token Asian in the penultimate episode? Kind of racist. Well, though I predict the stick will bring them back to life by the time the series ends.
You can download Grimm on iTunes.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Around the Tubes: 3/24/2017





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 Barenaked Ladies, Sublime, The Handmaid’s Tale, Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman, Bob Hope Salutes the Troops, The Lost Tapes: LA Riots, Amy Lee, Kansas, The Looming Tower, Difficult People, and Shut Eye.

- Barenaked Ladies have partnered with PledgeMusic in support of their forthcoming album, Ladies And Gentlemen: Barenaked Ladies And The Persuasions, a collaboration between BNL and the legendary "Kings of A capella". As part of their pre-order campaign, the band is offering a collection of exclusive merchandise, available today. Ladies And Gentlemen: Barenaked Ladies And The Persuasions is set for release on April 14, 2017.

- Sublime has something special brewing for their fans in celebration of the 25th anniversary of their seminal debut album "40oz. to Freedom." The band, hailing from Long Beach, has enlisted the help of craft beer stalwart AleSmith Brewing Company, operating out of San Diego, to brew this namesake beverage. AleSmith Brewing Co. is brewing a Mexican-style lager on behalf of Sublime. There are plans for national distribution of the beer in 12oz. six-pack cans through AleSmith's supply channels with an initial small batch of limited edition 40oz. bottles to be made available for sale from the brewery, as reported by Rolling Stone.

- The Handmaid’s Tale Trailer (Official):


- Morgan Freeman returns to host the final four episodes of the multiple Emmy® nominated series Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman beginning Tuesday, April 25 at 10PM ET/PT on Science Channel. Freeman will challenge audiences once again to think about daring questions while taking a deeper look at the science behind topics such as hidden forces in the universe, aging, the future of Earth, and gun violence.
-
Bob Hope's legendary NBC-TV comedy and Christmas specials - some of the most-watched programs in television history -- spanned five decades, from President Truman to Clinton. And, this May, Bob Hope Salutes the Troops, a timeless 3-disc set from Time Life®, collects some of the legendary performer's greatest and most patriotic holiday specials, including seven classic shows from the '60s to the '90s, re-mastered from original broadcast elements for optimal viewing

- On the afternoon of April 29, 1992, the acquittal of four white LAPD officers in the beating of a black motorist named Rodney King set off an explosion of anger and frustration that erupted into deadly riots and devastated the already precarious social climate in Los Angeles. Resentment against the police, which had a reputation for using excessive force, turned the city into a war zone. This latest installment of Smithsonian Channel’s chilling series The Lost Tapes recaptures the chaotic days following the Rodney King verdict with powerful media coverage, home videos, gripping photographs and LAPD recordings. The documentary also includes some never-before-heard Los Angeles Fire Department dispatch calls, in which firefighters in the field are desperately pleading for police backup as they were being fired upon. The ultimate in authentic storytelling, this unique and immersive approach features no interviews or recreations – just the story as captured by video cameras and media reports at the time. The Lost Tapes: LA Riots premieres Sunday, April 23 at 8:00 to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the events.

- Evanescence frontwoman Amy Lee is proud to unveil her new single, “Speak To Me,” the end title theme from the upcoming suspense/drama, Voice From The Stone. Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke stars in the film alongside Marton Csokas, Caterina Murino, Remo Girone, Lisa Gastoni, and Edward Dring. Directed by Eric Howell and scored by Michael Wandmacher, the haunting thriller set in 1950’s Tuscany opens in the US on April 28th in limited theaters and VOD everywhere. USA Today premiered the movie trailer on Tuesday, which can be viewed here. The trailer received over 1 million views in its first 24 hours.

- Kansas will be expanding their highly successful Leftoverture 40th Anniversary Tour to more parts of the United States in the fall of 2017! Billboard announced the expansion of the tour in an exclusive article and interview here.

- Hulu announced this week that Peter Sarsgaard (Jackie, Experimenter, Blue Jasmine) has been cast in Hulu's original new drama series The Looming Tower.

- Hulu announced this week that John Cho (Star Trek Beyond) has been cast in season three of Hulu’s original comedy series Difficult People.

- Hulu announced this week that Original drama series Shut Eye will return for a second season.



Thursday, March 23, 2017

2017 Spring Music Preview


Oh wow, looking over the list of albums coming out this spring that I am kind of excited about. Sure not enough to make a most anticipated list, but it is inching that way. I already went on about the return of Michelle Branch dung the winter preview, then add to that Lorde and Fleet Foxes. It has been four years since Lorde debuted and changed the pop landscape and it sound like it has changed her too with two big piano based songs replacing her drum heavy sound of her first album. I has been six years since Fleet Foxes put out the excellent Helplessness Blues and it does not sound like they have chance much. Of course both albums are supposed to drop on the same day. Here is a list of other albums coming out in the next couple months that will at least be worthy of a spin on Spotify. Click on the album title to pre-order on Amazon, click the artists name to be taken to their iTunes page.


Tomorrow
The Wild - Raekwon
WildHorse - RaeLynn
We All Want the Same Things - Craig Finn
Souvenir - Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors
Damage and Joy - The Jesus and Mary Chain

March 31
Triplicate - Bob Dylan
The Ride - Nelly Furtado
Emperor of Sand - Mastodon
Bloodlust - Body Count

April 7
Hopeless Romantic - Michelle Branch
L.A. Divine - Cold War Kids
Pure Comedy - Father John Misty
Whiteout Conditions - The New Pornographers

April 14
Ladies & Gentlemen - Barenaked Ladies & The Persuasions
The Seven - Talib Kweli & Styles P

April 21
Sad Clowns & Hillbillies - John Mellencamp
Be Myself - Sheryl Crow
8 - Incubus
Americana - Ray Davies
Wrangled - Angaleena Presley

April 28
God's Problem Child - Willie Nelson
Pleasure - Feist
Something Else - The Cranberries
Pussycat - Juliana Hatfield

May 5
Pollinator - Blondie
In Spades - The Afghan Whigs

May 12
Welcome Home - Welcome Zac Brown Band

May 19
One More Light - Linkin Park

June 2
Kaleidoscope EP - Coldplay

June 9
Relaxer - alt-J

June 16
Melodrama - Lorde
Crack-Up - Fleet Foxes
The Nashville Sound - Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit

TBD
Forever - Phife Dawg
Fake Nudes - Barenaked Ladies
Mosaic - 311
As You Were - Liam Gallagher
Beck
Pat Benatar
Aretha Franklin
Shania Twain

And of course this could be the quarter Dr. Dre finally releases Detox

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I Want My Music Television: 3/21/17



Lavender – BadBadNotGood featuring Kaytranada and Snoop Dogg


So I have been hearing about this Snoop Dogg video where he shoots Donald Trump for a week before finally looking at it. How extremely lame. All Snoop does and aims a toy gun at a clown and a “bang” flag comes out. Again lame. Any conservative complaining about this can no longer be allowed to condemn liberals for being snowflakes. I remember when Snoop carried a real gun around him and he was not aiming them at silly clowns.


Super Crip – Snoop Dogg


Now that is more like the Snoop Dogg I remember, even if it is in cartoon form. Well, the Snoop made better music.


Heavy – Linkin Park featuring Kiiara


Linkin Park’s last album seemed to be heavily influence by eighties metal so it is weird just how mellow their new some, even featuring Kiira who is part of a new crop of shoe gazing indie pop scene. Kind of got me interested in a Linkin Park album for the first time… maybe ever.


Believer – Imagine Dragon



C’mon Imagine Dragons, why would you want to get in a boxing match with Dolph Lundgren? Dude killed a guy once in the ring. He will break you. Although, when is there going to be a Creed sequil with Vince Howard taking on Dolph’s kid?

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Voice Season Twelve Blind Auditions Power Rankings



I knew Miley Cyrus was going to be annoying to the point I had to skip all the coach’s interaction (which has gotten professedly worse since the start) but the Blake-Gwen relationship was just as unbearable. And almost as worse as that was the new rule change lowering the age limit to thirteen when they should be raising it. And three middle schoolers who tried out were jus horrible and somehow two found their way on team. Scarily one on Team Gwen as it is hard not to forget how she drug a no way ready for primetime Braiden Sunshine to the Live Shows (even more inexplicable was the voting audience took him all the way to the semi-finals). What would be worse is for some reason, Gwen was able to recruite some decent three and four chair turns to her team. If they go home so Gwen can promote a middle schooler, I may finally call it quits on the show.

1. Lilli Passero (Team Alicia)
2. Kawan DeBose (Team Adam)
3. Lauryn Judd (Team Alicia)
4. Lauren Duski (Team Blake)
5. Troy Ramey (Team Gwen)
6. Micah Tryba (Team Blake)
7. Felicia Temple (Team Alicia)
8. Jesse Larson (Team Adam)
9. Josh Hoyer (Team Blake)
10. Gaby Borromeo (Team Adam)
11. Caroline Sky (Team Gwen)
12. Kenny P (Team Gwen)
13. Ashley Levin (Team Blake)
14. TSoul (Team Blake)
15. Josh West (Team Adam)
16. Johnny Hayes (Team Adam)
17. Hanna Eyre (Team Adam)
18. Nala Price (Team Adam)
19. Sammie Zonana (Team Gwen)
20. Malik Davage (Team Adam)
21. Julien Martinez (Team Adam)
22. Jozy Bernadette (Team Gwen)
23. JChosen (Team Gwen)
24. Vanessa Ferguson (Team Alicia)
25. Johnny Gates (Team Gwen)
26. Chris Blue (Team Alicia)
27. Dawson Coyle (Team Blake)
28. Valerie Ponzio (Team Blake)
29. Autumn Turner (Alicia Keys)
30. Sheena Brook (Team Adam)
31. Jack Cassidy (Team Alicia)
32. Casi Joy (Team Blake)
33. Brandon Royal (Team Gwen)
34. Aliyah Moulden (Team Blake)
35. Anatalia Villaranda (Team Alicia)
36. Brennley Brown (Team Blake)
37. Andrea Thomas (Team Blake)
38. RJ Collins (Team Alicia)
39. Edith Oritz (Team Blake)
40. Davina Leone (Team Gwen)
41. Stephanie Rice (Team Gwen)
42. Taylor Alexander (Team Adam)
43. Savannah Leighton (Team Gwen)
44. Mark Isaiah (Team Adam)
45. Hunter Plake (Team Alicia)
46. Missy Robertson (Team Alicia)
47. Quizz Swanigan (Team Alicia)
48. Aaliyah Rose (Team Gwen)

Even though the thirteen year olds were mosty a disaster (as well as most of the teenagers as usual), it is an improvement over last season and really the last two. As I usually do, I ranked the teams and here is how they rank:

Adam – 357
Blake – 309
Gwen – 266
Alicia – 257

I was a little surprised with how things turned out, Adam seemed to be kind of meh going through this season but I guess he did not have any truly horrible team members. Where I was thinking Alicia would be higher. The thing is she has some blue chippers, but a lot of bottom dwellers too. If she chooses wisely, she could be on top by the next round. Except since I did not pay attention much last season I am not sure how much I can trust her. But who cares what I think, here is who the iTunes buyers purchased the most:


1. Chris Blue (82)
2. Lauren Duski (135)
3. Taylor Alexander (153)
4. Stephanie Rice (173)
5. Casi Joy (196)
6. JChosen (274)
7. Troy Ramey (294)
8. Lilli Passero (316)
9. Valerie Ponzio (325)
10. Sammie Zonana (338)
11. Kawan DeBose (576)
12. Johnny Gates (577)
13. Mark Isaiah (612)
14. Johnny Hayes (642)
15. Josh West (679)
16. Hanna Eyre (747)
17. Jack Cassidy (783)
18. Sheena Brook (915)
19. TSoul (926)
20. Josh Hoyer (940)
21. Vanessa Ferguson (1002)
22. Autumn Turner (1061)
23. Anatalia Villaranda (1067)
24. Nala Price (1091)
25. Felicia Temple (1110)
26. Brennley Brown (1129)
27. Hunter Plake (1129)
28. Caroline Sky (1156)
29. Kenny P (1161)
30. Gaby Borromeo (1297)
31. Lauryn Judd (1387)

Wow, this is kind of pathetic, no that no one buys music anymore, it should not be hard at all to get on the iTunes charts with ten million viewers every night, but seventeen contestants this season could not crack the top 1500. It even took the very last person to gain a team to even crack the top 100. The third highest was a novelty audition by someone I doubt will advance any further. And what happened to Blake? Dead last with only half his team charting. Was it the lack of boring male country crooners? But as it always seems, Adam was in the lead, Gwen surprisingly in second, but a lot of people surprisingly picked her this season.

Usually it is easy to pick who makes the Live Shows even after the Blind Auditions because the show would completely telegraph it with their Best of the Blinds recap. Except this season it seemed like that showcased everyone but three or four on every team. And it is unclear anymore if placement in the show means anything are if they are putting singers there because of the coaches commentary. No better way to end the show this season than to have Alicia sing to you. But they did release all the Battle Pairings on their YouTube page and I listed who I think will win first and listed them by how confident I am with my picks as well as my usually way off picks of Steals. But really, nothing says you have no chance of advancing than being one of the three or four people on your team that did not even get a quick feature on the Best of the Blinds recap.

Team Adam:
Josh vs. Nala
Jesse vs. Taylor
Hanna vs. Sheena
Mark vs. Gabby (steal to Gwen)
Johnny vs. Julien
Malik vs. Kawan (steal to Alicia)

Team Alicia:
Lilli vs. Lauryn
Anatalia vs. Missy
Chris vs. RJ (Steal to Adam)
Felicia vs. Quizz (Steal to Adam)
Hunter vs. Jack
Autumn vs. Vanessa

Team Blake:
Valerie vs. Enid
Aliyah vs. Dawson
Casi vs. Ashley
TSoul vs. Josh
Andrea vs. Micah (Steal to Alicia)
Lauren vs. Brennley (steal to Gwen which Blake will steal back in the Knockouts because he always annoyingly does that)

Team Gwen
Troy vs. Jozy
Brandon vs. Davina
JChosen vs. Kenny P (Steal to Blake)
Johnny vs. Sammi
Stephanie vs. Caroline (Steal to Blake)
Aalyiah vs. Savannah

So with little help from the Best of the Blinds, I have a feeling that my prediction of who will make the Live Shows will be way off, but here they are ranked by confident that they will survive:

Team Adam: Josh, Hanna, Jesse, Malik, Gabby
Team Alicia: Felicia, Anatalia, Lilli, Chris, Hunter
Team Blake: Aliyah, TSoul, Cassie, Lauren, Brennley
Team Gwen: JChosen, Johnny, Aalyiah, Caroline, Brandon

Picking a winner this early is usually easy (even if I end up being really wrong). Either there is just a standout performer or the producers tip their hand by shoving one person down our throuts during the intro and outro of every ad break, but in recent seasons, they are shoving down the annoying coach’s banter. So if there is no obvious chose, might as well go with Team Blake, so here are my picks for the finals:

Casi over Johnny, Chris and Lauren