Saturday, September 25, 2010

Best of the Week vol. XLV

Quote of the Week: You watch Mad Men but you don’t watch The Hills? They are the two smartest shows on television. (Bill Simmons, Pardon the Interuption)

Song of the Week: Africa - Toto IV – Toto (as sung by Abed, Troy and Betty White; Community)

Big News of the Week: Premiere Week Redux: CBS took the biggest gable of the fall shuffling two of its biggest shows around and managed to increase viewers at both timeslots. The other big story of the fall is how ambivalent everyone is to the new shows, none of which made much of a splash. But I find it humorous that the most hated new show among critics, $#*! My Dad Says had one of the bigger audiences while no one seemed to watch the most buzzed about pilot, Lonestar. (Sorry Tyra, you should have stayed blonde.) If you missed them, some of the premieres are currently free to rent or download on iTunes.

Pilot - My Generation, Season 1
Pilot - Outsourced, Season 1
All Mixed Up - Cougar Town, Season 2
Pilot - Detroit 1-8-7, Season 1
Pilot - Raising Hope, Season 1
A Deadly Affair - Castle, Season 3
I Haven't Told You Everything - The Event, Season 1
Pilot - Lone Star, Season 1
Pilot - Outlaw, Season 1

Gratuitous Token Hot Chick Picture of the Week:

Yvonne Strahovski sexting

Free Download of the Week: At or With Me - Jack Johnson (iTunes) Not only is the video featuring Andy Samberg available for free, you can also pick up a remix of the song for the same price.

Deal of the Week: Spotlight Deals: Television (Band of Brothers, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Bored to Death)

Video of the Week: The plot of The Dilemma seems like it is better suited for a sitcom episode rather than a full length movie, but if there is anyone who can stretch turkey meat it is Vince Vaughn.

Next Week Pick of the Week: No Ordinary Family, Tuesday at 8:00 on ABC: Look out for my full review of the show coming Tuesday.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Around the Tubes vol. LXVIII

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 Chuck, Sons of Anarchy, Eastbound and Down, Sharktopus, The Event, The Biggest Loser, Small Town Sound, The Seven, Sportiqe Boutiqe, Deadliest Catch, Martha Speaks, Showtime and Lifetime renewals and premiere dates.

- If you missed the season four promo after the Chuck premiere or just want to watch it again, here it is.

Season 4: Twist and Turns

- If you want to hear Stephen King talk about his appearance on Sons of Anarchy this week and his passion of Harleys will want to head over to the Sons of Anarchy Production Blog.

- Eastbound and Down returns for its second season Sunday (premiering after the latest episodes of Boardwalk Empire and Bored to Death) at 10:30. Check out the trailer below.

- Fans of 30 Rock will want to head over to where they can win tickets to the October 14 live show which will air live on both coasts with two separate shows. The winner will also receive round trip travel, a two night hotel stay, and dinner for two.

- B-Movie lovers rejoice, Sharktopus finally premieres tomorrow at 9:00 on Syfy. Here is a promo to tide you over until then.

Sharktopus – Sporkupine

- For those that cannot get enough of The Event, NBC has plenty of online resourced to elve deeper into the show. Creator Nick Wauters participated in a Twitter chat which you can find the transcript here. Nick also updates his The Event blog here. Lastly, there is a mysterious figure blogging about the events on the show (and may even show up on future episodes over at Truth Seeker 5314.

- Fans of The Biggest Loser will want to check out the interview with Farm Sanctuary.

- If you are in an all female band you will want to head over to who are looking for the next best independent female rockers in a nationwide talent search called “Small Town Sound” which will be judged by The Bangles and Akron’s own Chrissy Hynde. Grand prize winner will perform locally and have a chance to open for The Bangles and Sick of Sarah at a major music festival in the spring

- MTV has a new pop culture driven live news show starting Monday called The Seven which will be counting the top ten biggest news items of the day (just kidding, just seven items). Tune in at 5:00 for inaugural guests Drake and the cast o the Social Network, Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield & Justin Timberlake. The Seven will be hosted by Kevin Manno and Julie Alexandria,

- Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose was recently spotted filming a commercial for ESPN wearing a Sportiqe Boutiqe t-shirt which will hit the store next week.

- Apparently something fishy is going down with the Deadliest Catch proposed spin-off with the Discovery Channel suing two of its stars. For a full rundown of the case head over to The Hollywood Reporter.

- For those with youngin out there, the new season of Martha Speak returns October 11 on PBS Kids (check your local listings. Here is a preview:

Martha Speaks The Making of the Show

- The moderately attractive Emmanuelle Chriqui (who was lucky number 13 on my list of The Hottest Hot Chicks of the 00’s) will have a three season arc on the upcoming Showtime period piece The Borgias coming to Showtime spring of next year. In other Showtime in 2011 news, Californication returns January 9 at 9:00 followed by new shows Episodes starring Matt LeBlanc and Shameless starring William H Macy and Emmy Rossum. Also both The Big C and Weeds have been picked for another season.

- In other renewal news, Lifetime has ordered up more second of Army Wives and Drop Dead Diva.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Previewing Outsourced

The cast of Outsourced

We have gotten so politically correct over the past decade that that the people who cry racism more any other group these days are white dudes. And I am not even referring to the Glen Beck type nut jobs who claim President Obama is a racist (he is half white and was raised by that half you morons), but those liberal communist white dude who cry racism on behalf of minorities even when they really are not that offended at all.

Case in point, Outsourced, a sitcom about a mid western mid level employee of a novelty supply company who gives the new employee two choices, move to India where they shipped their customer support or join the unemployment line. All the WASP-y critics cry foul at stereotypes yet no Indian rights group have stepped forward to complain (which begs the question, who is the Indian Al Sharpton anyway). And these jokes are really no more or less offensive than the ones made at the expense of Raj on The Big Bang Theory.

Really it is us Anglos, if anyone, who should be offended by the depiction of their ethnicity on the show. For instance it is the white dude who doesn’t know that cows are sacred in India, calls his co-worker’s head gear silly, think a guy whose name sounds like Man Meat is funny, and in the lunch room would rather sit with the only other white dude that he has never met than with his Indian co-workers.

What truly is offence are these critics that use racism as a crutch because what they are really upset about is that Outsourced is not pretentious enough for the other NBC comedies and they think it is taking the slot of Parks and Recreations (seriously, point me to one review of Outsourced that doesn’t mention the absence of Parks and Recreations this fall which is befuddling because it got some poor reviews when it came on too). Like if Outsourced becomes a hit, NBC will decide never to air Parks and Recreations or even cut the number of episodes for the show. CBS should buy Outsourced, put it after The Big Bang Theory instead of the unwatchable $#*! My Dad Says and watch it double the ratings all the pretentious NBC sitcoms.

Another complaint I do not get is the critics who wonder who would want to see a show about telemarketers when Americans hate them. Do you know what are the three least favorite professions in the country are, even more than telemarketers: doctors, cops, and lawyers. That makes up ninety percent of primetime scripted programming. (Note to self: if Outsourced is successful, pitch used car salesman series to the networks.)

Enough about pretentious television critics. Outsourced is actually just like any other workplace comedy (even, gasp, The Office, of course Outsourced is created by the guy who directed the first and one hundredth episode of The Office). There is the annoying guy that everyone tries to avoid. The office kiss up. There is the co-worker angling for the boss’s job. And it seems like there are even setting up a love triangle. But my favorite character, who conspicuous looks like Adam Goldberg with a darker tan and a turban, who doesn’t actually say anything in the first episode but has the best reaction shot on television.

I will not go into the individual characters because the only one I recognized was Diedrich Bader (The Drew Carey Show) who plays a call center vet that the lead sits with instead of his employees who is solid as always. There is also a hot Australian (and NBC knows a little something about hot Aussies) who runs another call center in the building. Okay, there might be something legitimately to be offended about that all the call centers in India are run by Caucasian foreigners.

Where the show will work is that it is a fish out of water story from both sides. The American that has to adapt to living in a new country, and the Indians who have to learn about American culture because their job is to sell American novelties. And if the show actually hits a stride (much like The Big Bang Theory, which was also universally dismissed by critics when it first aired, did in the middle of its first season) it may end up being the funniest show on NBC.

Outsourced airs Thursdays at 9:30 on NBC. You can stream the show after it airs on Hulu. You will also be able to download Outsourced on iTunes.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Previewing Undercovers


J.J. Abrams is a hack. There I said it. J.J. Abrams is a hack. Sure the first episodes of Lost and Alias were great, but knowing what you know now about how they turned out, would you begin watching the shows again? Didn’t think so. The guy is the king of high concept, low reward. Which makes Undercovers an interesting show in that for a J.J. Abrams show it is a pretty pedestrian concept to the point you wonder why it isn’t on CBS? There are no prophesies or polar bears in exotic locals, just a boring married couple who own a catering company.

Oh yeah, and that couple used to be CIA agents and the agency wants them back. Sure a slight twist, but it isn’t the first undercover couple that fights bad guys that we have seen on television. But that set the bar much lower for the viewer than any J.J. Abrams show before it that Undercovers can walk over said bar.

With the high concept out the door, J.J. Abrams still brings back some of his favorite go to’s, most notably the ability to make sure his female lead finds the way of her clothes as much as possible. And Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Dr. Who) is more than happy to oblige multiple times in the first episode. And we do travel to many European cities in the span of an hour, with city place cards that are very Aliasesque. And maybe my least favorite J.J.isms, there is plenty of non-English dialogue. Seriously, there are very few things I hate more than having to read while watching television.

After all the high concept, low reward shows in his past, Undercovers swings too far to the other way to the point it is almost too boring. The show goes too far out of its way to make the leads; Bori Kodjoe (Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion) is the male half, a boring married couple. There is a younger sister working at the catering business who is too frantic. They are quick to ruin Ben Schwartz’s (Parks and Recreations) character that starts out very fun; he is introduced in a very Pink Panther type fashion, but turns creepy real fact with his man crush on Kodjoe. The only thing more embarrassing than the man crush is how many times the writers tries to cram in the word sexspionage into the episode.

The only person that stands out performance that doesn’t turn creepy is by Gerald McRaney (Deadwood), a grumpy CIA man tasked to re-recruit the former agents that might as well be Chuck’s John Casey in twenty years after he has been forced into a desk job. If he gets more time in the field, the show may start being worth checking out as long as we are guaranteed that the show will not end with the cast members congregating in a church.

Undercover airs Wednesdays at 8:00 on NBC. You can stream recent episodes on Hulu.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Ten Most Anticipated Albums of Fall 2010

We are coming upon the fourth quarter which means record companies will actually start releasing albums in hopes that you will buy some to giveaway at Christmas. Please note that release dates are subject to change. Click the album name (or album artwork) to pre-order it on Amazon. Click the artist’s name for their iTunes page.

1. Dark Twisted Fantasy (working title) – Kanye West (11/16): He really shouldn’t be this high considering his last album was one of the worst of last decade. But this will be a return to rap, and it is hard not to get excited when the album will be headlined by two stellar tracks, Power and Runaway. I suspect there will be plenty of toasting to this douchebag this fall.

2. Speak Now - Taylor Swift (10/25): And how can you mention Kanye West without Taylor Swift? She gave us a definitive answer at the Video Music Awards to the question of if she would be addressing the Kanye incident from last year on the new album. Between Innocent and Mine, it sounds like Taylor is growing up quickly and moving further away from her country roots.

3. Wake Up!John Legend & The Roots (Today): Fall 2010 looks like the season of collaborations with Ben Folds teaming with writer Nick Hornsby, Elthon John recording with his idol Leon Russell, and Mark Ronson hooking up with, well, everyone. But the union I am most interested in is this one from The Roots and John Legend covering mostly obscure soul records.

4. Record CollectionMark Ronson & The Business Intl. (9/28): After bringing retro back in style with Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, and his second album, Ronson has been working with Duran Duran and that comes though in a big way on this album which sounds very synth heavy. Look for appearances by Q-Tip, Ghostface Killer, Boy George, D’Angelo, and Simon LeBon himself.

5. Come Around SundownKings of Leon (10/19): After their breakout with Only by the Night it is interesting how the Followell boys will follow up the success. From the sound of first single Radioactive, it will be more of the same.

6. Hands all OverMaroon 5 (Today): After a pretty good debut album, every successive Maroon 5 album has gotten blander than the previous one. First single Misery doesn’t give me too much hope that Hands all Over will turn that around, but the album was produced by hair-band uber-producer Mutt Lange, so maybe it will be worth a listen.

7. Second Chance - El DeBarge (9/28): C’mon, who isn’t down with an El Debarge comeback? One can only be disappointed in that he didn’t bring the whole family with him.

8. Lonely Avenue – Ben Folds and Nick Hornby (9/28): Here was an album I had to do a double take when I first saw it announced. Quirky pop master Ben Folds and novelist Nick Hornby. For illiterates like me that are unaware of Hornby, his books that have been turned into movies include High Fidelity (which was number 10 on my list of The 100 Greatest Movies of the 00’s), About a Boy, and Fever Pitch (but do not blame him about the horrible adaptation because his book was actually about soccer). Hornby contributed the lyrics with Folds coming up with the music including a song about Alaska’s least favorite son Levi Johnston.

9. The Lady Killer - Cee Lo Green (12/7): I really was not interested in a Cee-Lo album that didn’t involve Danger Mouse, but after hearing the ultra-catchy (Explative Deleted) You, color me intrigued. But seriously, after this, lets get another Gnarls Barkley album out please.

10. Hot Sauce Committee part 1 - Beastie Boys (TBA): Putting this on the list may be a bit of wishful thinking because there is no release date announced yet, but with Adam Yauch doing better these days, he’s hoping he is well enough to do the rigors that surround promoting a new album.

Other albums of note:

The Sound of SunshineMichael Franti and Spearhead
Guitar Heaven: The Greatest Guitar Classics of All TimeSantana
You Get What You GiveZac Brown Band
A Year Without RainSelena Gomez and the Scene

September 28
ClaptonEric Clapton
InventedJimmy Eat World
Pete YornPete Yorn
Le NoiseNeil Young
6: Commitment - Seal
The Dissent of ManBad Religion
Going BackPhil Collins

October 5
Tiger SuitKT Tunstall
GlowDonavon Frankenreiter

October 12
Charleston, SC 1966Darius Rucker
The Rock and the TideJoshua Radin
The Age of AdzSufjan Stevens

October 19
Sale el Sol - Shakira
The UnionElton John and Leon Russell
Libra ScaleNe-Yo
Fly Me to the Moon... The Great American Songbook Volume V - Rod Stewart

October 26
Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager - Kid Cudi

November 2
...Featuring Norah JonesNorah Jones
National RansomElvis Costello
DreamsNeil Diamond
SidewalksMatt and Kim

November 16
Born FreeKid Rock

November 23
Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes – Social Distortion

Unknown Dates
Songs of Ascent – U2
The Believer – Common
Walk with Me Now and Fly with Me Later – DMX
Give Till it’s Gone – Ben Harper and Relentless7
Nothing – N.E.R.D.

And what would a music preview be without an obligatory this may actually be the season that Dr. Dre releases Detox mention.