Sunday, June 25, 2017

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 6/25/2017






Claws: The South really knows how to do a funeral. Up here we got the silly car processional. I want one of those New Orleans marching bands leading my death match (I will pass on Roller’s stripper brigade though). But goodness this show is much better than I expected. That opening scene was great, the running on the beach was hilarious. But that they only found Roller’s grills and random body parts really send up my Spidey senses. As I always say, if you do not see the body, they probably are not dead (and even then I may not be convinced). Sure dude almost drowned, got shot in the head, sank in a pool for probably minutes, got doused with gasoline, set a flame, and pushed out into the bayou. On the other hand, what exactly happened to the other body in the boat?
You can download Claws on iTunes.

Fear the Walking Dead: Last week everyone wondered just how Daniel survived the fire from last season. Except the episode started with him fleeing a zombie with a burn on his leg. Later he said he did not know how he survived. Meh.
You can download Fear the Walking Dead on iTunes

I’m Dying Up Here: I thought they set the show in the seventies so they could be as racist and sexist as they could but who would have guessed it was a puppet who crossed the line? And then kept going? But oh my, dude cannot continue being a comedian after that haircut, he looks like an accountant now.

Casual: Wait, Leon and the receptionist? Did I miss something or were they keeping that from the audience as well as everyone else on the show?
You can stream Casual on Hulu.

Pretty Little Liars: I completely forgot that they yet to reveal who killed Charlotte. And that was mostly lame. Mona did it… sort of, I guess it was self-defense? And so AD just ends the game because it? She does not even punish Mona? I guess it is not the end end because we still have the two hour finale.
Pretty Little Liars on iTunes.

The Challenge: Champs vs. Pros: I understand why they do the thirty-five percent of your weight thing, but man, that really does put the biggest guys at a massive disadvantage. And I do not understand the stagigy of the eating challenge, I would have eaten all the deserts first and only go to the other tables as a last resort.
You can download The Challenge: Invasion of the Champions on iTunes.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Around the Tubes: 6/24/2017



- TBS's newest comedy series The Guest Book is set to premiere Thursday, Aug. 3, with back-to-back episodes starting at 10:00. The Guest Book emerged from Emmy® winner and series creator Greg Garcia's habit of writing fictitious stories in the guest books of various rental cabins in an effort to freak out the next renters. Now he is bringing those stories to life on TBS. While the house and cast of characters living in this small mountain town remain the same, each episode will feature a different set of vacationing guests.


- TBS's hit comedy People of Earth will return for its second season on Monday, July 24 at 10:30. Executive-produced by Emmy® winners Conan O'Brien and Greg Daniels, along with creator David Jenkins and showrunner Norm Hiscock, the series centers on a group of alien abductees – or "experiencers" – living in the small town of Beacon, N.Y. New cast member Nasim Pedrad joins returning cast Wyatt Cenac, Ana Gasteyer, Oscar Nuñez, Michael Cassidy, Alice Wetterlund, Luka Jones, Brian Huskey, Nancy Lenehan, Tracee Chimo, ;Da'Vine Joy Randolph, Björn Gustafsson and Ken Hall.

- For the first time in 99 years a total solar eclipse will span the continental United States, the path of totality stretching from Oregon to South Carolina. The Great American Eclipse will likely be one of the most viewed events in history and Science Channel will be on the ground to capture the excitement with live coverage as it happens on Monday, August 21. In primetime, the network will premiere a one-hour special, The Great American Eclipse (wt), with same-day footage of the eclipse, on the 21st at 9:00. The announcement was made today, the Summer Solstice, by Marc Etkind, General Manager of Science Channel.

- Conan O'Brien will once again be immortalized with a set of four Pop! Vinyl figures to be available this July, when TBS's late-night series Conan returns to San Diego for Comic-Con® International. Created by Funko for TBS, a division of Turner, this year's collectible figure designs include "Conan as Spider-Man™," "Jedi™ Conan," "The Flash™ Conan" and "White Walker™ Conan." In addition, there will be a limited-edition figure entitled, "MonoConan," which will only be available through activations & giveaways taking place in San Diego. During the week of Comic-Con® International, CONAN will be taped at San Diego's historic Spreckels Theatre on Wednesday, July 19 – Saturday, July 22. Episodes will air that Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday at 11 p.m. (ET/PT) on TBS and will be available across TBS and Team Coco's digital, mobile and VOD platforms the day after airing. Fans can keep connected with CONAN during Comic-Con and share their excitement about the new Pop! Vinyl figures by using #ConanCon on social media.

- Some of the biggest names in movie and TV comedy will be making their way to YouTube Red this Fall. From a hilarious reinvention of the traditional cop drama by renowned comedy director Rawson Marshall Thurber, to an all-new comedic scripted series from Rob Huebel, YouTube Red is building up its comedy lineup with Hollywood veterans in front of and behind the camera.

In the eight-episode, half hour comedy Ryan Hansen Solves Crimes on Television*, the LAPD thinks it’s a good idea to form a task force partnering actors with homicide detectives so they can use their “actor skills” to help solve murders. Starring Ryan Hansen (“Veronica Mars,” “Party Down”) who plays himself and guest star Samira Wiley (“The Handmaid's Tale," “Orange Is The New Black”) as his no-nonsense partner Detective Mathers, the series features a who’s who of broadcast and cable television stars playing bizarro versions of themselves including, but not limited to, Joel McHale, Jon Cryer and Kristen Bell. Rawson Marshall Thurber (“Central Intelligence,” “We’re the Millers,” and “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story”) serves as the director, writer, creator and executive producer of this super meta half hour comedy procedural which is as much about Hollywood as it is an action-comedy cop show. The series is executive produced by Thurber, Scott Stuber, Beau Bauman, Krysia Plonka and Tracey Baird.

Do You Want to See a Dead Body? is an eight-episode comedy series that follows comedian Rob Huebel (“Childrens Hospital,” “Transparent”) and his celebrity friends who begrudgingly join him on adventures that see them frolicking at the beach, getting tacos, ...oh...and seeing a dead body. Celebrity guest stars include Adam Scott, Judy Greer, Terry Crews, Craig Robinson, and John Cho along with many more. Huebel, Owen Burke, Nick Jasenovec, and Jonathan Stern serve as executive producers. The series is being produced by Abominable Pictures and Funny or Die.

- Comedian and I’m Dying Up Here star Erik Griffin (Workaholics, Blunt Talk) makes his hour-long debut in the new comedy special Erik Griffin: The Ugly Truth premiering Friday, July 7 at 9:00 on Showtime. Griffin’s hilarious special is the third standalone comedy event from the stars of the network’s newest drama series I’M DYING UP HERE, which airs on Sundays at 10:00 on Showtime.

- Hulu announced Alexis Bledel will return as a series regular for the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale. Alexis Bledel will reprise her role in the second season of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale as a series regular. Bledel starred in season one as a guest star and received rave reviews for her heartbreaking performance. The 13-episode second season is scheduled to go back into production this fall and will premiere in 2018.

- Hulu announced a new cast of characters joining the upcoming second season of Hulu Original Freakish. See below for casting information as well as a special casting video released today.



- The critically acclaimed Showtime Documentary Film Whitney. Can I Be Me, originally scheduled to premiere Saturday, August 26 on Showtime, will now air on Friday, August 25 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. On August 26, Showtime will offer the much-anticipated pay-per-view boxing match between undefeated world champion Floyd Mayweather and UFC champion Conor McGregor live from Las Vegas.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer 2017 Music Preview


To curate a list of albums coming out this summer I headed over to the Pre-Order page on Google Play and on the top line was an album by Goldfinger. That pretty much sums up music these days that one of the albums coming out over the next couple months that Google is hyping the most is by a band who it would be kind of generous to call them a One Hit Wonder. There is not much else to say about this crop of albums so lets just get to the list of albums that should at very least a stream on Spotify.

June 23
Purple Rain Deluxe (Expanded Edition) - Prince
Evolve - Imagine Dragons
Mosaic - 311
New Waves - Bone Thugs-n-Harmony
Despicable Me 3 Soundtrack

June 30
The Storm - ZZ Ward
TLC - TLC

July 7
Something to Tell You - HAIM

July 14
Low Blows - Meg Mac
Ultralife - Oh Wonder
Kaleidoscope EP - Coldplay
Something's Changing - Lucy Rose
Hitchhiker - Neil Young

July 21
Lust for Life - Lana Del Rey
Sacred Hearts Club - Foster the People
Barefoot In the Head - Chris Robinson Brotherhood
The Knife - Goldfinger
Defying Gravity - Mr. Big

July 28
All I Ever See In You Is Me - Jillette Johnson
Everything Now - Arcade Fire
Powers of Piece - Santana and The Isley Brothers
Paranormal - Alice Cooper

August 11
Anchors - Will Hoge

August 25
A Deeper Understanding - The War on Drugs
Beast Epic - Iron & Wine
Villains - Queens of the Stone Age

September 8
Shade - Living Colour
Sleep Well Beast - The National

September 15
Prophets of Rage - Prophets of Rage
Concrete and Gold - Foo Fighters
Walk into a Storm - The Lone Bellow
M A N I A - Fall Out Boy

September 29
Shania Now - Shania Twain

TBA
Music For Cars - The 1975
From A Room: Volume 2 - Chris Stapleton
Aretha Franklin
Nas
Paul McCartney
Steve Perry
U2

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



Sunday, June 18, 2017

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 6/18/2017



Orphan Black: I needed that "previously on" segment to be longer. This show just got way too complicated over the years.
You can download Orphan Black on iTunes.

Fear the Walking Dead: Well preppers are an interesting character study in an actual apocalypse, but has society ended that quickly? They were on a boat and in Mexico for maybe a month and society has already fallen? And didn’t the Mexican daddy burn up last season? I guess this could be a hallucination. And where is his daughter? She is still in the credits.
You can download Fear the Walking Dead on iTunes

I’m Dying Up Here: Oh my, Let’s Make a Deal. I was going to say how seventies, but I think there was a reboot recently with Wayne Brady as host. But what a horrible show.

Casual: Oh Leon, you need to be on this show more. Oh course you are into Magic: The Gathering. And oh hey, Judy Greer: always a plus.
You can stream Casual on Hulu.

Pretty Little Liars: Last week when Hannah and Caleb got engaged, following Aria and Ezra’s engagement (still icky) and Emily and Allison bizarrely having a kid together, I felt bad for Spencer whose one night stand with a detective has gotten worse and worse. But of course Toby came back this week so they could do one huge Lairs’ sex montage. Le sigh. Only two more episode until I can start wearing my I Watched Every Episode of Pretty Little Liars and all I Got Was This Stupid T-Shirt t-shirt.
Pretty Little Liars on iTunes.

The Challenge: Champs vs. Pros: Oh wow, I actually thought Kameron maybe could win that challenge by himself. But poor Ashley and Lolo, going into every elimination this season.
You can download The Challenge: Invasion of the Champions on iTunes.

The Handmaid’s Tale: So why exactly are they taking Offred? The easy answer is that it is because of the stunt she pulled in the stoning. But that was everyone who refused to throw a stone, they are not going to round up all the Handmaids are they? It could be because of the package, which was kind of lame, just a bunch of letters. There could be a very small chance the resistance is poising as the black van people. But my best working theory is that the driver, who is part of the eye, is getting who he thinks is his baby mama out of a dangerous situation. Wherever Offred ends up going, I just hope she runs into Rory Gilmore, my one complaint is she got hauled away early in the season and we never got to see what happened to her. And with a season of great musical cues, American Girl was another one. Remember America is not much of a thing anymore, but Offred but the show reminds us as the show goes on hiatus that Offred is still an American girl ay heart.

The show has been cruel since the beginning but they really racheted that up for the finale. Making the Handmaids stone one of their own (but “don’t throw too hard” was a great line), the Waterfords were equally harsh to each other. But number one on that list was Mrs. Waterford driving Offred over to where Offred’s daughter is being kept, Waterford talked to the daughter within sight but out of earshot completely out of spite. But here is the thing: that is secretly a gift because now Offred knows where her daughter is. I can imagine Offred will find her way there in season two.
You can stream The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Around the Tubes: 6/17/2017



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 Ray Donovan, From the Ashes, Will, How it's Made, Family Feud, Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party, RaeLynn, Power, Snatchers, Outrageous Acts of Science, and Gay for Play Game Show Starring RuPaul.

- Showtime has released the first trailer for season five of its hit drama series Ray Donovan, which will premiere on Sunday, August 6 at 9:00. Starring Liev Schreiber in his two-time Emmy nominated role as L.A.’s best professional fixer, the new season of RAY DONOVAN finds Ray turning his attention back to Hollywood and his celebrity fixer firm. Also beginning on August 6, the limited event series TWIN PEAKS will move to its new timeslot on Sunday nights at 8:00.


- TNT is releasing a new trailer for its brand new drama series Will, which tells the wild, rowdy story of young William Shakespeare. Newcomer Laurie Davidson plays the title role in this period drama told in a bold, contemporary style and played to a modern soundtrack that exposes all of Shakespeare's recklessness, lustful temptations and tortured brilliance. Also starring are Olivia DeJonge, Ewen Bremner, Colm Meaney, Mattias Inwood, Jamie Campbell Bower, William Houston, Lukas Rolfe, Max Bennett and Jasmin Savoy Brown. Will is slated to launch on Monday, July 10, at 9:00 across TNT's U.S. platforms.


- From the Ashes is a National Geographic Channel documentary that captures Americans in communities across the country as they wrestle with the legacy of the coal industry and what its future should be under the Trump Administration. From Appalachia to the West's Powder River Basin, the film goes beyond the rhetoric of the "war on coal" to present compelling and often heartbreaking stories about what's at stake for our economy, health, and climate. The film invites audiences to learn more about an industry on the edge and what it means for people's lives in America. The film asks the question -- do we continue to invest in a 19th century form of energy production that has clear and present risks or do we move forward and if so what are the options in our energy future? What are the new jobs that will be produced in former coal-dominated states? From the Ashes premieres Sunday, June 25 at 9:00 on National Geographic Channel.

- The Science Channel series that has for more than a decade put the spotlight on how everyday items are manufactured, goes inside U.S. factories to see how some of world’s most essential and innovative products are created. The 10 episode How it's Made: American Made, premiering Thursday, June 22 at 9:00, will look at a wide variety of products that are produced in America including 3-D printers, NASCAR engines, apple pie, barber poles, and more. In addition, the new season of How it's Made premieres on the 22nd at 9:30.

- All next week (6/19-6/23), GSN will feature episodes of Family Feud where the contestants gave some epically bad responses. Tune in each night at 7:00 ET (6pm central) to catch the contestants and answers that made Steve go "Wait...what?"

- On the heels of early awards’ buzz,  VH1, in partnership with Sequential Brands Group, MERRY JANE and 495 Productions, today announced the hit series Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party will return on Monday, October 16th at 10PM. Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg continue to light up the kitchen in season two by putting a personal spin on favorite dishes to create a themed meal with celebrity friends.

- Tune in to the AUDIENCE Network concert special RaeLynn airing Friday, June 16, at 9:00 via DIRECTV Ch 239, AT&T U-verse Ch 1114 and on-demand through DIRECTV NOW. The show features a playful interview with series host Ted Stryker.

- Starz’s most watched series Power: The Complete Third Season is out now on Blu-ray and DVD. With record-breaking ratings for its premiere, season three — with its all-star cast, including Omari Hardwick (TV’s ”Being Mary Jane”), Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson (The Hangover), and Naturi Naughton (TV’s “Mad Men”) — finds James St. Patrick fighting to maintain his new lifestyle on the right side of the law.

- Verizon’s go90 and Stage 13, a fearless digital content brand under Warner Bros Digital Networks, today announced that the original scripted horror-comedy series Snatchers will be premiering on June 22nd exclusively on go90. Snatchers marks Stage 13’s first series launch.

- From MacGyver-like scientists to amateur stunt artists, the internet is filled with clips of crazy homemade experiments and misadventures. Science Channel’s team of top science minds are back to break down the ingenuity – and sometimes insanity – behind each week’s most out-of-this-world experiments, incredible inventions, and jaw-dropping stunts when Outrageous Acts of Science returns Wednesday, June 21 at 9:00.

- Logo today announced that Gay for Play Game Show Starring RuPaul will return with six new episodes beginning Thursday, June 29th at 9:00. The fun-filled trivia series, with Emmy award winning host RuPaul, features pop culture savvy contestants competing to win over $5,000 in cash prizes. You don’t need to be gay to play, but it sure does help!


Friday, June 16, 2017

Previewing Cardinal



In this era of too much television, it is impossible to keep up everything that is being made in America. And that does not even count the numerous imports streaming services buy up to bolster their libraries. Do excuse me for never have hearing of the Canadian show Cardinal until Hulu sent me a press release about it. That came with a trailer which made me go, oh, so it is The Killing: Frozen Tundra Edition and they even got the mayor to star in the show. But hey, I like a good murder mystery. I even like bad ones: I have almost made it to the end of Pretty Little Liars. But what really got me to watch was the show is only six episodes which means I could easily knock it out in a pair of two hour blocks.

So Billy Campbell (The Killing, natch) is the titular John Cardinal who was kicked of homicide but is brought back when his case of an Indian girl is reopened when the body is finally found. Just transferred from the financial division is Karine Vanasse (Pan Am) who is naturally skeptical of her new partner and is hiding a big secret herself which you learn at the end of the first season. And there is another plus of the show, at just six episode there is a big plot twist at the end of each episode and unlike show of its ilk, with just six episodes, there are no red herrings, each of these twist have big significance to the show.

And the biggest selling point of them all, unlike The Killing which had the biggest cop out in the history of television with its first season finale, solving the murder of Rosie Larson only be say ”Psyche!!!” in the final moments, everything has a natural and mostly satisfying conclusion on Cardinal. I am not up on the inner workings of Canadian television, so I do not know if there is going to be a second season or not, but there really does not need to be one. If you are looking for something to watch during the summer duldrums, you could do a lot worse than Cardinal. At the very least the frozen tundra landscape you remind you of cooler days while the temperature continues to rise in the next couple months.


All six episodes of Cardinal are streaming now exclusively on Hulu.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Previewing Claws




TNT and USA got on the scripted cable shows train before everyone else. But at the start of the decade every other cable channel got their own shows, some of the channels even carved out a niche in the prestige drama niche like AMC. With dwindling ratings, the originals had to evolve. USA fired the first shot with one of the best shows this decade, Mr. Robot, and TNT has been playing catch up ever since. I did not have much interest in their first attempt Animal Kingdom and the critics were mostly mum on the show. I really enjoyed their next new show Good Behavior, but again it never really caught on much with the critical kingmakers. Then there was Claws which is getting a lot of buzz. And it is well deserved.

What I liked most about Good Behavior is that I did not know where it was going and the few times I thought I knew where it was going, it went somewhere else and I really liked that feeling of uncertainness when on most shows today you know exactly where they are going sometimes within the first five minutes. Claws is like that in a way but when Claws goes in a surprising way, it is more like a soap opera cliffhanger than its prestige counterparts for better or worse (mostly the latter but the big cliffhanger in the third episode has a lot of explaining to do in the next episode).

Claws stars Niecy Nash (Reno 911) as the owner of a nails salon who has a tightknit employee base inkling Judy Reyes (Scrubs), Jenn Lyon (Saint George), and Carrie Preston (Crowded). Karrueche Tran, whose name I have heard before but I thought she was basically famous for being someone(s?) girlfriend who I did not care about, is the newbie who is not fitting in well with the crew. And that is really an understatement.

Oh yeah, and this nail salon is a money laundering front for Dean Norris (Under the Dome) affectionally known as Uncle Daddy by Jack Kesy (The Strain; he was the junkless rock star turned Master), who brings Nash into this operation, and being this is taking place in central Florida I spent most of the first episode wondering if Dean Norris had a couple kids with his sister, hence Uncle Daddy (the relationship becomes clearer in the second episode). And the other kid in the messed up family is Kevin Rankin (Friday Night Lights) who is mostly out of the fray of the business with his wife Lyon (though it is still unclear to me why they have one white child and a black one).

The weakest part of the show is when Nash goes home to her somewhere on the spectrum brother played by Harold Perrineau (Wedding Band), followed by Norris's bayou accent, and I really do not buy the nurse from Scrubs as a gangsta dressing lesbian, but everything else is just firing on all cylinder. And really do not tune in late because the beginning of the episode that I have seen so far are some of the best things I have seen on television recently.

Claws airs Sundays at 9:00 on TNT.