Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Previewing March of the Penguins 2: The Next Step

Penguin mania swept the world a decade ago with the documentary March of the Penguins. Director Luc Jacquet took home Best Documentary that year for following a group of Emperor Penguins as they left their land locked home to head to the sea to get food for themselves and their family. It was funny and heartbreaking and sure to touch the heart of every child and those young at heart.

Not much has changed in the past decade, the penguins still have their regular march to the sea, sure climate change starting to have some effect but that is barely mentioned in the sequel March of the Penguin 2: The Next Step. Though warming, it still gets to -50 degrees below. What has changed is technology. High definition televisions were still new in 2006 when the original came out, I did not get one until 2010 so I probably saw the first film in standard definition on a DVD player.

The Next Step utilizes new technologies and techniques to give a fresh new look at these majestic creature. Jacquet spent two months shooting in the Antarctic winter using the new technology of 4K cameras, airborne drones, and under-ice diving cameras. And though some things change, Morgan Freeman is back to narrate the new documentary just like the first.

Where the first film spend most of the time following the marchers, the sequel tells the story of two penguins, a father and son, out of 60,000 in Antarctica as they face and overcome the almost unimaginable challenges of life in this hostile land. We follow the son from the time as an egg up until the point he is ready to head to the sea himself. Keep in mind only one in ten penguins make it to adulthood.

Still the film hits many of the same beats as the original, it is tense when there are lives at stake, heartbreaking at time, but a lot more slipping than I remember. Still, March of the Penguin 2: The Next Step is worth checking out just to see the breathtaking advances in picture quality. Although I guess it may be time for me to upgrade to a 4K TV.

March of the Penguins 2: The Next Step premieres Friday, on Hulu. The original March of the Penguins is on Hulu now.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Five Most Anticipated Albums of Spring 2018

Someone pointed out to me that my list of the 100 Best Songs of 2017 was very chick heavy. Looking back at previous year end lists, it looked like a bit of an anomaly with the fairer sex lucky to make up a quter of previous list. But looking at my most anticipated music of this spring, maybe it was not an anomaly but a trend because most albums I am looking forward to are by female singer. Here are five albums I am really looking forward to over the next couple months

1. Love Is Dead - Chvrches (May 25) - There used to be a sophomore slump, but I wonder if maybe the third album is the hardest. If you have a great sound, you can just duplicate that on your second album and still have it sound good. But it is hard to stretch it into three albums without sounding tired. Chvrches released two very good album based around melodic electronic sounds. From the first single they did not sound like they were switching things up but things got a little more interesting with the second single where they brought into the singer from The National whos voice is a start difference to that of the Chvrches singer. Hopefully the album takes more chances.

2. No Shame - Lily Allen (June 8) - Speaking of third albums, Sheesuz was a turning point for Lily Allen. It seemed like half of the songs were he same snotty songs that she sculpted to perfection of her first two albums, but the other showed huge growth with a more mature Lily. I am actually hoping for more maturity from her fourth outing.

3. Dirty Computer - Janelle Monáe (April 28) - Janelle Monoe started out as this weird alt-RnB songstress but her latest Prince inspired song, Make Me Feel, may be the catchiest pop song you hear this year but still does not lose that coolness from her early work.

4. Golden Hour - Kacey Musgraves (March 30) - Musgraves is also on that tricky third album. Except her second album was a bit rougher. But both singles released from the new album definitely do not sound anything like the down home songs from the first two albums.

5. When My Heart Felt Volcanic - The Aces (April 6) - Rock's demised has been discussed for a while now, but one causality that does not really get talked about is that pop rock or power pop is pretty dead. Whether you consider it pop with a little edge or rock with a heavy dose of sugar, you just do not hear that anymore. Here are four friends from Utah, just a guitar, bass, and drums, and no weird computer sounds to be heard. Very familiar but very refreshing since no one does it anymore.

Here are a bunch of album that will at the very least be worth a spin on Spotify including the first album from a nineties one hit wonder, their first since that decades, and a bizarre collaboration from an eighties New Wave singer and nineties reggae artist.

March 23
Boarding House Reach - Jack White
Staying at Tamara's - George Ezra
The Two of Us - Chloe x Halle
Paradox (Original Music from the Film) - Neil Young & Promise of the Real
Castles - Lissie
Sex and Cigarettes - Toni Braxton

March 30
Yesterday Was Forever - Kate Nash
Liberty - Lindi Ortega
Electric Café - En Vogue
No Mercy in This Land - Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite

April 6
The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs - Wye Oak
Revamp: The Songs of Elton John and Bernie Taupin

April 20
44/876 - Sting & Shaggy
Vide Noir - Lord Huron
Primal Heart - Kimbra
Sparrow - Ashley Monroe
Volunteer - Old Crow Medicine Show

April 27
Last Man Standing - Willie Nelson

May 4
Good Thing - Leon Bridges
Free Yourself Up - Lake Street Dive
Lost Friends - Middle Kids
Dove - Belly

May 18
Electric Light - James Bay
Wide Awake! - Parquet Courts
Tell Me How You Really Feel - Courtney Barnett

May 25
Wildness - Snow Patrol

June 1
The Future And The Past - Natalie Prass
Hell-On - Neko Case

Ariana Grande
Black Star
Busta Rhymes
Christina Aguilera
Herbie Hancock
Kanye West
Smashing Pumpkins

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

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Voice Season Fourteen Blind Audition Power Rankings

As an avid watcher of Survivor, Mark Burnett’s other competition show juggernaut which seems to have one new stupid twist per year; I am a bit surprised that The Voice has pretty much been the same since season three. Sure the Knockout Steal was later introduced that was just copycatting the Battle Round Steal. The other changes since were pretty innocuous, they tried two Battle Round once which was stupid, same with twice not allowing voting during the Playoffs. The biggest twist was the Comeback Artist but really that is just the Knockout Steal for your own team. The Twitter Save was just a shameless brand integration.

We finally got our first real big twist in a while this season with the Block. Much like every Survivor twist, the Block was mostly lame and poorly executed. And really kind of cruel because if a singer really wants to be mentored by a coach that turned around, forcing them to pick a coach which may not a good fit kind of hampering their chance of making a run (unless they just happen to get Stolen later). I also find it conspicuous that each coach just happened to be Blocked once. Why wouldn’t everyone Block Blake from getting a country artist? Seriously, Adam always complains about everyone with twang going with Blake yet he ends up Blocking some Spanish singer from picking Kelly?

But I guess they really did need something to spice things up (though half the Blocks were burned in the first episode) because this may have been one of the bottom five talent pools in the show’s history. Maybe The Voice should copy another Survivor tradition and bring back former contestants. Until then, here is how I rank those who made this season:

1. Terrence Cunningham (Team Alicia) – I cannot confirm nor deny he is number one on my list solely because of his hair.

2. Hannah Goebel (Team Kelly) – What a smooth. Complete and utter shame she could not pick Alicia.

3. Spensha Baker (Team Blake) – People like to go gaga of belters, but this was just simple and beautiful.

4. Dallas Caroline (Team Blake) – Is this the first time someone has done Willie Nelson on this show? I believe Amber Carrington did Crazy which he wrote but mostly is considered a Patsy Cline song. Such a sweet song you would think someone would have done it before.

5. Wilkes (Team Blake) – Finally someone cool enough to sing The Wallflowers. But it is weird that this is the second country singer recently Lauren Duski being the other) who auditioned with a nineties pop-rock song.

6. Amber Sauer (Team Kelly) – A piano version of Shape of You was really interesting.

7. Kyla Jade (Team Blake) – I was surprised it took so long for anyone to turn. After three underwhelming performances to start the season, I thought the first compitant singer of the season was not going to turn any chairs.

8. Davison (Team Adam) – Decent voice but I was still kind of bored.

9. Johnny Bliss (Team Alicia) – There was a stretch of three seasons coinciding with Shakira being a coach where they had a bunch of Latin artists (this was in the early days when they had a bunch of shocking auditions instead of today’s where everyone fits into four different categories). So it was nice to get some diversity, even if was just shamelessly because there was a huge Latin hit last year.

10. Jackie Verna (Team Adam) – Overdid it in a few places but I mostly enjoyed the performance.

11. Molly Stevens (Team Kelly) – Another decent but utterly boring performance.

12. Jackie Foster (Team Kelly) – Another alright but kind of boring performance.

13. D.R. King (Team Kelly) – Going outside your genre is usually interesting, but RnB doing alt rock rarely works (except Maxwell doing Nine Inch Nails, look it up kids) he was fine, but never really came completely together.

14. Dylan Hartigan (Team Kelly) – Again, mostly boring but I guess that was slightly better than bad.

15. Livia Faith (Team Alicia) – One of my biggest pet peeves of this show is when singers try to do a song that someone already did a definitive version of. Amy Vachal’s version was one of the five best Blind Auditions of all time and Livia is no Amy Vachal.

16. Mia Boostrom (Team Adam) – has an interesting voice, but that was not a very inspiring song selection. I would be interested in hearing her try a better song.

17. Jaclyn Lovey (Team Alicia) – If she is going to be this season’s token indie young girl, I hope she has something a lot more interesting than what she did in the Blinds.

18. Genesis Diaz (Team Adam) – She needs better taste in music.

19. Sharane Calister (Team Alicia) – I was kind bored for this.

20. Pryor Baird (Team Blake) - There has been a rash of guitar playing blues men who are probably better guitarist then singers, and he may be the weakest singer of them.

21. Shana Halligan (Team Alicia) – I usually like singers like this on the show but but she was a little too weird for me. Maybe it was the weird song.

22. Alexa Cappelli (Team Kelly) – Well that was mostly boring.

23. Rayshun LaMarr (Team Adam) – A little too over the top for me. And by a little I mean way too much. Very show choir.

24. Jamai (Team Alicia) – He seems much more interesting than his song selection.

25. Kaleb Lee (Team Blake) – Interesting gravelly voice, boring song seletion. Unfortualy since I is Team Blake, he will probably do more boring country songs all the way to the final.

26. Brynn Cartelli (Team Kelly) – She was fine, probably mostly because the song selection, but fourteen is way too young. I would say fodder, hopefully Kelly does not have the creepy obsession with teenagers that Gwen Stefani does.

27. Brett Hunter (Team Blake) – Novelty acts have a very short shelf life on this show(I bealieve Cole Vosbury is the only one who did a novelty song and made it out of the Battle Round) so this was fun, but dude is clearly fodder.

28. Tish Haynes Keys (Team Adam) – So many good RnB singers, Tish performind so late n the Blinds was just too hard for her to stand out. Doing an overused Areatha Franklin song did not help

29. Reid Umstattd (Team Adam) – I have spent a lot of time this season blasting song selection by people with interesting voices. This was the exception where an mostly annoying voice sang an inspiring song.

30. Christiana Danielle (Team Alicia) - Meh, she is no Amy Vachal. I am actually a little offended Adam turned around.

31. Gary Edwards (Team Adam) – I really did not like what he did with that song.

32. Megan Lee (Team Alicia) – The Voice has a weird bad track record with Asians in that they get montaged at a very high percentage. I also find it weird that they finally put no chair turns on YouTube but not the montage singers.

33. Bransen Ireland (Team Blake) – Tulsa Time was a song on an Eric Clapton so I got excited when I saw that was the song he was singing. Unfortunately I did realize it was also a country song. Yawn. Seriously people, more Clapton on this show.

34. Teana Boston (Team Kelly) – Her voice just sounded off, like too nasally.

35. Drew Cole (Team Adam) – Though the bluesy twist was somewhat interesting, Sex and Candy is maybe the second worst one hit wonder of the nineties after What’s Up.

36. Jorge Eduardo (Team Kelly) – Obvious fodder.

37. Kelsea Johnson (Team Alicia) – Horrible song selection, and she was oversinging too.

38. Stephanie Skipper (Team Adam) – I have to wonder if anyone would have turned around had she not been singing a Kelly Clarkson song.

39. Austin Giorgio (Team Blake): It has been a while since we had a crooner on the showprobably because they rarely made the Live Shows. A good reason for that.

40. Justin Kilgore (Team Kelly) -Boring country dude alert!

41. Britton Buchanan (Team Alicia) – Tony Lucca was one of the best Blind Audition ever and this performance was not even half that. But it was wise for Blake to Block because sadly this is the same type of boring white dude that goes far.

42. Jordan Kirkdorffer (Team Blake) – Ugg, this seems to happen once a season, Adam turns for a horrible country singer that did not deserve a chair turn, then Blake turns just out of spite upping the number of crappy country singers.

43. Miya Bass (Team Adam) – It is hard to find a song we need less than a shouty version of that horrible song. I guess Adam needs fodder.

44. Jamilla (Team Kelly) – Montage, yawn.

45. Jordyn Simone (Team Alicia) – Montage, Yawn.

46. JessLee (Team Blake) – Montage, yawn.

47. Angel Bonilla (Team Adam) – Just how bad do you have to be to be the first every transgender dude on the show and get montaged? Listening to the studio version, it apparently is really bad.

48. Jaron Strom (Tea Blake) – Seriously Blake, what the fork?

Alright, time to see how each team stacks up in my patent pending ranking formula:

Kelly: 328
Alicia: 297
Blake: 289
Adam: 262

So much like Miley last season, the newer token pop coach seems to have the same taste in music with me. It does seem Blake and Adam pander to the bored housewife voting block and stocks their teams with boring white dudes. But who cares what I think, here is how the iTunes buyers rank the singers at the highest peak on iTunes.

1. Terrence Cunningham (49)
2. Christiana Danielle (149)
3. Molly Stevens (156)
4. Livia Faith (168)
5. Drew Cole (173)
6. Brynn Cartelli (211)
7. Jorge Eduardo (226)
8. Johnny Bliss (239)
9. Justin Kilgore (246)
10. Britton Buchanan (266)
11. Jaclyn Lovey (274)
12. Davison (347)
13. Pryor Baird (417)
14. Rayshun LaMarr (465)
15. Jordan Kirkdorffer (474)
16. Shana Halligan (508)
17. Brett Hunter (513)
18. Stephanie Skipper (530)
19. Sharane Calister (533)
20. Hannah Goebel (538)
21. Wilkes (559)
22. Dallas Caroline (561)
23. Kelsea Johnson (615)
24. Dylan Hartigan (657)
25. JessLee (671)
26. Spensha Baker (673)
27. Reid Umstattd (721)
28. Gary Edwards (739)
29. Jackie Verna (823)
30. Kaleb Lee (926)
31. Genesis Diaz (989)
32. D.R. King (1040)
33. Amber Sauer (1046)
34. Jackie Foster (1195)
35. Bransen Ireland (1245)

Now time to see who has the strongest team according to my formula:

Alicia: 230
Kelly: 140
Blake: 136
Adam: 124

Oh, wow, Alicia is dominating. The only problem is, as you will see from the Battle pairing, four of Alicia’s top five ranking singers on iTunes are in the same Battle pairing. I wonder if we will have another situation like last where three of the four finalists start out on Team Miley but Blake gets the win and Adam comes in second. Speaking of those pairing, The Voice YouTube page already announced all the pairings and also “leaked” a pretty uninspiring Battle of a lackluster Reputation track. I guess the loser will end up being Stolen and the promo for next week so allude to a Kelly Battle being the recipient of a three coach Steal. Ugg, these coaches are stupid. So here are the pairing with the singer who I think will win being listed first and ranked by how confident I am that I am right (which is not very confident because how overwhelming mediocre this year is).

Team Adam

Gary Edwards vs. Angel Bonilla
Mia Boostrom vs Genesis Diaz
Drew Cole vs Miya Bass
Reid Umstattd vs. Davison (Steal)
Jackie Verna vs. Stephanie Skipper (Steal)
Rayshun Lamarr vs Tish Hayes Keys

Team Alicia
Johnny Bliss vs Megan Lee
Kelsea Johnson vs. Jordyn Simone
Christiana Danielle vs Shana Halligan
Terrence Cunningham vs Livia Faith
Britton Buchanan vs. Jaclyn Lovey (Steal)
Jamai vs Sharane Calister (Steal)

Team Blake
Kyla Jade vs JessLee
Bransen Ireland vs. Jaron Strom
Austin Giorgio vs. Brett Hunter
Pryor Baird vs Kaleb Lee (Steal)
Jordan Kirkdorffer vs. Wilkes
Dallas Caroline vs. Spensha Baker (Steal)

Team Kelly
Hannah Goebel vs. Alexa Cappelli
Brynn Cartelli vs. Dylan Hartigan (Steal)
Molly Stevens vs. Justin Kilgore
D.R. King vs. Jackie Foster
Teana Boston vs Jamella (Steal)

Jorge Eduardo vs. Amber Sauer

Saturday, March 17, 2018

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 3/17/2018

Homeland: Carrie was a little too obsessed with the two bugs being ineffective, especially when she already bugged the house that lady was going to. But maybe she is on to something (she may be crazy, but at her craziest, she tends to be right) since in lieu of mention her being blackmailed to her possible co-conspirator she instead just had sex with the dude. Maybe he was not the one who got her to make the payments. Maybe she is there to put him in a compromising position by whoever she was working with. She did seem to have an undecipherable accent.

The Chi: Oh, that is why that old guy came back and was so interested in the kid who got killed. Now that it was said out loud, it seems so obvious. But I am still a little fuzzy about how he knew Trice did it and of course why. The bigger shocker, Ronnie turned himself in. Wow.

The Alienist: Oh snap! I thought this was going to be a fairly innocuous episode with everyone chasing ghosts of someone who may be the killer. Then Lazlo and Moore get run off the road in an attempted assassination. But the big shocker is Mary falling to her death after a push by The Swede. I thought for sure it would be the other way around thought the fight. As we go to the inevitable crawl of catching the killer presumably in the finale, that murder adds a level of intrigue of what happens in the last two episode. Lazlo’s driver was there but will The Swede do something to keep him from talking? How will Lazlo retaliate? This should be interesting.
You can download The Alienist on iTunes.

Good Girls: Did they really need to destroy that car? To me the wife of a dealer “borrowing” a car for the day does not seem that bad. I guess if you think it can be tied back to your money laundering you might get spooked.
You can download Good Girls on iTunes.

The Challenge: Vendettas: Again, many of the Mercenaries this time around did not really strike fear in the hearts of many people. Is anyone really shaking in the boots going up against Smashley? Although Smashley vs Britni and Kam vs. Laurel would have been much more interesting draw. Also who is scared of Frank? Sure I might be scared of Frank if he turned out to be my opponent in an insult contest, but nothing physical. Ad for someone who is so against people giving up, why did TJ throw in the towel on the elimination calling it a draw after just an hour? What did he have somewhere to be?
You can download The Challenge: Vendettas on iTunes.

The Path: Well that fifties gay conversion was very creepy. But they do allow interracial dating so they were more progressive than I expected. But what was that other creepy scene at the end with Cal, Steve, and Eddie. Is Eddie tied to Cal so he could feel Cal casting out Steve or is Eddie tied to Steve and felt being cast out by Steve? Considering the final scene I am leaning to the former.
You can stream The Path Hulu.

Rise: So I really want to love this show considering its pedigree (producers of Hamilton and Friday Night Lights) but there are a lot of nit picking going on. Really Rosie Perez and her thick accent was a former student of that principal in rural Pennsylvania? The school could not afford to license Grease but the school’s choir can do Pearl Jam? The school changed their school musical three times in basically a week? And really the most absurd plot point in that the football player decided to do the play because of a rousing speech from his English teacher whose class he sleeps in. C’mon, he is totally doing it to make out with the Tyra Collette stand in. Which I guess would make the other theater girl Lyla. Then the football player is kind of obviously Sarasen. Which would make the closeted gay dude (seriously, dude, it is hard for me to believe that everyone does not already know that) Jason Street. I guess that leaves the girl who thinks she is a boy Landry. But is Riggins the teacher’s son or the kid he brought into his home?
You can download Rise on iTunes.

The Looming Tower: I have seen enough crime show like this where the writers sprinkle in hint at how the bad guys get caught that you see things like the CIA tagging the eventual 9/11 hijackers and you think, oh this is how they get them. But then you realize, oh yeah, they actually did carry out their attacks and them following these guys into the country and keeping tabs on them did nothing at all to stop the attacks. This show is kind of a weird show in that regards.
You can stream The Path Hulu.

Survivor: Ghost Island: When Kellyn passed on the advantage I thought it was a bad idea; never pass up on an advantage. Except not giving up her vote seemed to be the right choice because she needed it at Tribal Council. And now that I think about it, maybe all advantages are cursed. Maybe that is the lesson of Ghost Island. Just how many people have won using an advantage? Sarah comes to mind because without the Legacy Advantage, she would have gone home that week. But even then, she was gifted it.
You can download Survivor: Ghost Island on iTunes.

Gotham: Ivy is killing people now? Ug, I miss the old Ivy.
You can download Gotham on iTunes.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: So Deke finally realized that Fitz-Simmons are his grandparent, but before then, they annoyingly played up Fitz as a grumpy old man and Deke as an annoying kid way too much. Oh, and holy Von Strucker kid sighting! I had to look him up to remember where he has been this whole time. And there kind of goes my theory Ruby is a robot (though she is very robotic) if Von Strucker knew her when they were kids. But then again, she does not remember, so she could be a replacement.
You can download Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Around the Tubes: 3/16/2018

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 Little Fires Everywhere, Leaving Earth: Or How to Colonize a Planet, Paul Simon, Snoop Dogg Presents The Joker’s Wild, Drop the Mic, Defining Hope, and Kidding

- After a competitive bidding war that ignited Hollywood, Hulu has obtained the rights to develop Little Fires Everywhere, the highly-anticipated limited series from Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, based on Celeste Ng’s 2017 bestseller, as a Hulu Original Series. The project will be produced by Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, Washington’s Simpson Street and ABC Signature Studios, and will join Hulu’s award-winning slate of original programming. Witherspoon and Washington will also star as leads in the series. Liz Tigelaar (“Life Unexpected,” “Casual”) will write and serve as showrunner and executive producer.

- In what may be Stephen Hawking’s last major television project, Smithsonian Channel explores his controversial position that the survival of the species depends on inhabiting another planet. Planet Earth has been home to humankind for more than 200,000 years, but with a population of 7.3 billion and counting and limited resources, some scientists believe it might not support human life forever. Stephen Hawking, one of the world’s most prominent scientists, believed that humans must have an interstellar escape plan in place within the next 100 years. He asserted that this is the only way to safeguard the future of the human species from the next mass extinction – by leaving Earth and making a new home on another planet. The program visits an exo-planet observatory in the heart of the Atacama Desert, reveals a plasma-powered rocket engine that could revolutionize space travel, explores the giant greenhouses of Biosphere 2 and showcases NASA’s own “robot army.” Hawking, top scientists, technologists and engineers around the globe investigate whether humans really do have what it takes to colonize another planet. Leaving Earth: Or How to Colonize a Planet airs Sunday, March 25 at 8:00.

- Legendary songwriter, recording artist and performer Paul Simon has announced the final leg of Homeward Bound – The Farewell Tour, culminating with four shows in the New York City area: the Prudential Center on September 15 in Newark, NJ (the city where Simon was born), and two nights at Madison Square Garden on September 20 and 21, with an additional concert to be announced soon. As previously announced, Simon and his band will embark on the artist’s final tour May 16 in Vancouver, bringing to the stage a stunning, career-spanning repertoire of timeless hits and classic songs. Tickets for the third and final leg of Paul Simon’s Homeward Bound – The Farewell Tour will go on public sale beginning Friday, March 16 @ 9am ET. Go to for ticketing information as it becomes available.

- An hour-long block of comedy, competition and hip-hop returns to TBS on Sunday, April 15 with the hit unscripted series Snoop Dogg Presents The Joker’s Wild at 10:00 and Drop the Mic at 10:30. The network renewed both series after they quickly emerged as the top two new unscripted cable comedies in 2017, reaching an average of 2.7M viewers per episode across TBS’s linear, VOD, and digital platforms, and earning over 250 million social and YouTube views to date.

- The ground-breaking new documentary feature film Defining Hope ( from director Carolyn Jones (The American Nurse) follows eight patients with life-threatening illness, and the nurses who guide them to make critical choices along the way as they face death, embrace hope, and ultimately redefine what makes life worth living. “Defining Hope is a documentary that has evolved over the course of my career,” says director Carolyn Jones. “It’s a journey with nurses and their patients that speaks to the universality of death and leads us to a place of knowledge and power as we recognize that we have agency over the way that we die. To know what we want at the end of life, we have to figure out what makes life worth living.” Produced by Carolyn Jones Productions, the award-winning team behind The American Nurse Project, Defining Hope is presented and distributed nationally by American Public Television (APT), and is slated for release nationwide on public television stations beginning April 1, 2018 (check local listings).

- Showtime has announced that Justin Kirk (WEEDS) has been cast in a recurring role in the upcoming Showtime half-hour comedy Kidding. Kirk joins Golden Globe® winner Jim Carrey, along with Oscar®, Emmy® and Golden Globe nominee Catherine Keener (Get Out), Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon) and Judy Greer (Married). Kirk will play Peter, the new boyfriend of Jill (Greer) who is Jeff’s (Carrey) estranged wife.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 3/11/2018

Homeland: C’mon, did they really have to kill a dog? And how do you let the militia sneak up on that FBI agent like that? They were out in a field. But we did get a poetic comeuppance to O’Keefe who used to run a Russian disinformation farm and then he gets caught and his militia buddies all die because of disinformation.

The Walking Dead: Did we really need the name cards? Sure I did not know the name of half the characters, and will probably forget them by the start f next episode, but that seemed to have no purpose. But at least they killed off almost all the trash people. They were completely worthless. But I do wonder what the leader does now without her flock. Teaming up with Rick against the Savior seems like the play but he clearly wants nothing to do with her. I guess there is always the lady tribe in the woods.
You can download The Walking Dead on iTunes.

The Chi: So Sunny was not dead, did dude just knock him over the head? There was a lot of blood. Then on the flip side, I actually thought the doctor was going to pop right up at some point up until his wife went to look for his pulse.

Lucifer: Wait, they killed Abel already? Are they done with him or are they just going to kepp bringing him back but in different bodies.
You can download Lucifer on iTunes.

The Alienist: Well that was the second time John was chloroformed and nothing that bad happened to him, this time he woke up to a friendly(ish) face. Bad for him the Swede may be bringing more chloroform. Except he may have gotten knocked out again at the end of the episode too except this time the old fashioned way. Oh and that was a creepy way to start the episode with Lazlo stabbing the corpse. I am beginning to realized that maybe most alienists need an alienist of their own.
You can download The Alienist on iTunes.

Good Girls: Oh, creepy manager was not actually dead, they just hilariously tied him up in a treehouse. I guess good old fashion blackmail to stop a blackmailer is a good plan.
You can download Good Girls on iTunes.

The Challenge: Vendettas: I never understood why no one beside Wes ever went up against Johnny. On Survivor winners get targeted instantly but Challengers just let Johnny slide every season and he rarely even sees an elimination. Hopefully this is the sea change know that everyone sees him as vulnerable. But it was weird the anti-bullying angle of the episode. The show was built on bullying. Getting punched by CT was like an initiation.
You can download The Challenge: Vendettas on iTunes.

The Path: Alright, all the cards are finally on the table. Well, I guess Vera did conveniently leave out the whole Eddie has to die thing. But everyone does finally knows that Vera’s mother was an original Mirist member who wants credit for the movement. Also that Steve is her father. Wait did we know that before? It may have been hinted at but I think this is the first confirmation. Which makes thing complicated between her and Cal, not only does he now know they knew each other, but her father got a little too handsy with Cal. But what was with that final scene? Vera’s mom wants to talk with Eddie but she does not answer only for us to see her motionless and eyeless in a chair. Was she dead? Was she having a vision?
You can stream The Path Hulu.

The Looming Tower: Wait, they fired Saarsgaard already? Sure he was a bit prickly but the guy is right. In the first couple episodes it seemed like Jeff Daniels was the protagonist, but Saarsgaard is right in his predictions. And the thing that got him fired, it sounds like the famous story of the time a sniper had Osama bin Laden in the crosshairs but President Clinton called it off because there were roytals there at the time. But I still do not care about Daniel’s personal life and his newest girlfriend maybe moving to New York City while his other girlfriend wants to get married.
You can stream The Path Hulu.

Survivor: Ghost Island: So they need a unanimous vote to send people to Ghost Island or they draw rocks? That means they will be drawing rocks until the merge. Lame. Then when dude gets to Ghost Island, there is no advantage again. Double Lame. And speaking of Ghost Island advantages, the first one is switching hands again as the third straight person I actually liked got voted out. Triple Lame. If Kellyn gets the boot next week I may stop watching this season.
You can download Survivor: Ghost Island on iTunes.

Gotham: I still miss the old Ivy. And by the old Ivy I mean the middle Ivy.
You can download Gotham on iTunes.

Blindspot: Whenever there is a Groundhog’s Day episode I fully expect a death montage, but this episode was still entertaining enough.
You can download Blindspot on iTunes.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: I appreciate the Stay-Puff Marshmallow man reference. When they first said this new portal was a manifestation of their fears. It was the first thing I thought of. But for the big one hundredth episode, all they could get back was Deathlok? They even had Gemma play a LMD instead of getting Ada. That was kind of lame. But we did get the big reveal that Deke is Fitz-Simmons’s grandson(?). I put the question mark there because he does not seem to know who they are to him. So maybe great grandparents. But if that is the case, they really need to get started at making a family.
You can download Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Around the Tubes: 3/9/2018

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 Pitch Perfect 3 Special Edition, U2, New Wave: Dare to Be Different, Glen Campbell and Willie Nelson, Record Store Day, Bill Nye: Science Guy, Arabian Seas, and Sklars and Stripes.

- Pitch Perfect 3 Special Edition, the highly anticipated follow up to the smash-hit and platinum-selling soundtracks Pitch Perfect & Pitch Perfect 2, is available digitally now. The Special Edition contains the 15 songs from the original, standard CD, along with 7 bonus tracks (22 total). Two additional on-screen performance tracks are also included, “Bend Over” and “Don’t Speak x Hard For Me to Say I’m Sorry,” which is a new mashup from a deleted scene available on the bonus content for the home entertainment release. Pitch Perfect 3 Special Edition soundtrack from UMe/Republic is available digitally here now.

- UMC/Island/Interscope are proud to announce the release of 3 new vinyl reissues from Irish rock giants, U2: Pop (1997), Wide Awake In America (1985) and All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2000).

- U2, Talking Heads, Depeche Mode, Blondie, Duran Duran, Tears for Fears, The Clash, The Cure – over half a billion records sold, but you might have never heard of them if not for a small suburban radio station on Long Island, NY called WLIR 92.7. New Wave: Dare to Be Different, premiering on Showtime on Friday, March 30 at 8:00 on-air, on demand and over the internet, is a nostalgic look back at the rogue radio station on the cutting edge of music throughout the 1980s. Program director Denis McNamara, the station crew and the biggest artists of the era tell the story of how they battled the FCC, record labels, mega-radio and all the conventional rules to create a musical movement that brought New Wave to America.

- Music legends Glen Campbell and Willie Nelson have been nominated for the Academy of Country Music Award for Vocal Event of the Year for their poignant duet “Funny How Time Slips Away.” The 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards will air live on Sunday, April 15, at 8 PM ET/PT on the CBS Television Network. Listen to “Funny How Time Slips Away” here.

- UMe is pleased to announce details for several exclusive, limited edition vinyl releases confirmed for Record Store Day 2018. With special releases from Bobbie Gentry, Chet Faker, David Bowie, Def Leppard, Ella Fitzgerald, Elton John, Frank Zappa, Gloria Gaynor, Marvin Gaye, Soundgarden, Sublime, The Police, The Who and more, UMe’s slate for April’s hotly-anticipated music shopping bonanza is filled with an eclectic and exciting mix that includes re-pressings of classic albums and singles, as well as several U.S. vinyl release debuts. All the special releases will be available at Record Store Day-participating record stores on Saturday, April 21. Visit for more details and to find your local shops.

- Bill Nye is on a mission to stop the spread of anti-scientific thought and action. Once the host of a popular kids’ show and now the CEO of the Planetary Society, he’s leading a mission to launch LightSail, a satellite propelled by sunlight, while in turn fulfilling the legacy of his late professor and Planetary Society cofounder Carl Sagan. Bill Nye: Science Guy by David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg has its national broadcast and streaming debut on the PBS documentary series POV and on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at 10 p.m. (check local listings). The broadcast precedes Earth Day on April 22. POV is American television’s longest-running independent documentary series and will begin its 31st season on television and streaming in summer 2018.

- On May 6th, 1882 – on the eve of the greatest wave of immigration in American history – President Chester A. Arthur signed into law a unique piece of federal legislation. Called the Chinese Exclusion Act, it singled out by name and race a single nationality for special treatment: making it illegal for Chinese laborers to enter America on pain of imprisonment and for Chinese nationals ever to become citizens of the United States. The Chinese Exclusion Act, a two-hour film for national broadcast on PBS Tuesday may 9 at 8:00, will explore in riveting detail this little known, yet deeply resonant and revealing episode in American history – one that sheds enormous light on key aspects of the history of American civil liberties, immigration, and culture – during one of the most formative periods of U.S. history.

- NBA Hall of Fame basketball star and platinum hip-hop artist Shaquille O’Neal reads the immersive Edward Hirsch poem “Fast Break” about the universal experience of playing basketball in a remarkable new 12-part television series Poetry in America that aims to bring poetry to millions of viewers. New episodes of Poetry in America will be on public television stations nationwide starting Wednesday, March 28 through Wednesday, May 2. (Check local listings as some stations will debut the series at other times during the spring.)

- The waters bordering the Arabian Peninsula are home to a host of unique marine animals, from predators like zebra sharks and giant stingrays, to camouflage kings such as the cuttlefish and sea horse. Wade into this little-seen world of ocean oddities with Arabian Seas, now streaming on Smithsonian Earth. Smithsonian Earth is available on Apple®, Roku®, Amazon, Android™ and at Kicking off the five-part series is the premiere episode, Carnivores of the Coral Garden, which is now available to stream for free at Nine miles off the coast of Oman, a zebra shark scans the ocean floor for crustaceans, while a menacing giant stingray floats by. Soon, night becomes day and new killers emerge, from toxic scorpion fish to crown-of-thorns starfish, both bringing coral devastation.

- Randy and Jason Sklar's upcoming long-form audio documentary, Sklars and Stripes, is poised for an April 5, 2018 release on Audible. The comedic audio documentary captures their experiences on the road and, as a bonus on Audible, all listeners receive a full album of the Sklars' stand-up from the tour: The Tour Tapes. The 6-hour Sklars and Stripes is exclusively available on Audible for pre-order now, and will be free with an Audible 30-day free trial or as a premium Audible credit for members.