Saturday, June 23, 2012

57 Channels and Only This Is On - 6/23/12

Quote of the Week: The best way to get to know somebody is to talk to their friends… and their enemies. My friends are in the state house. My enemies are harder to find. (J.R. – Dallas)

Song of the Week: Picture In a Frame - Tom Waits (Bunheads)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: A New Member of the Asterisk Club: The Asterisk Club opened its doors to accommodate all the cheating that went on in baseball for the past two decades and has even opened its doors to Olympians, singing competition winners, and even a president. And this week it welcomed its latest member: LeBron James. As a Cleveland sports fan, we had the asterisk locked and loaded when he took his talents to South Beach so he could play with two other All-Stars, one of which was another top five talent in the league. But in the year he won his first championship, that asterisk got even larger. There shortened season, making it an abnormal win to begin with (keep in mind the last time there was a shortened season, an eighth seed made it to the finals). Then the asterisk grew even bigger when Derrick Rose, the best player on the best team, tore his ACL in the first game of the playoffs, giving the Heat an easy path to the championship, playing lower seeds. So enjoy your asterisk and say high to Barry Bonds for me. And if any of this sounds like sour grapes, that is because it is.

The Killing: After a bunch of painful to sit through episodes it was a total shock that the case of Rosie Larsen actually ended competently. A back room deal that Rosie overheard and Jamie had to get rid of her. But why did they wrap it up before the first commercial break. Of wait, this is The Killing and they had to find a way to screw it up. Just when Lynden went to the Larsen’s to tell them they found a broken taillight in a garage they had been in countless number of times. And that taillight was apparently enough evidence for the aunt to confess. Sure she could have lied about it, or gotten it fixed sometime in the last three weeks, or at least explain why the taillight was integral to the story (this is why you solve the case in the first season, everything we learned a year ago, most of us have forgotten). Now it is time to start up a class action lawsuit to get The Killing and AMC to pay therapists to erase any memory of The Killing from our collective minds.
You can download The Killing on iTunes.

Bunheads: A really weird way to start off a series based around someone’s death especially when that death is the husband the main character barely knew. One episode in and I am already content with the show jumping ahead a year where Michelle and Fanny are running the dance studio together with an Odd Couple living arrangement. But since it looks like there will be a fight, or at least some resentment over the estate (how could they be that shocked, even without a will, everything would have gone to the widow anyway).
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Bunheads on iTunes.

Pretty Little Liars: Yeah, Hermy the Hermaphrodite was totally nailing Mona. That is why he has been so moody lately. And I am beginning to think that it is not a good sign that three seasons in, I still have no clue what his real name is and have to resign to calling him Hermy every time.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Pretty Little Liars on iTunes.

Dallas: I am glad we got the silly e-mail storyline out of the way. And now that is out of the way, who exactly is Christopher’s new bride, and more importantly who is her brother and what is their agenda? And since this is a soap opera, it is safe to assume their parents are still alive, if they are even related in the first place.
You can download Dallas on iTunes.

Preview Picture of the Week:

The Great Escape, Premiering Sunday at 10:00 on TNT

Free Download of the Week: Love Don't Leave Me Waiting - Glen Hansard (Amazon MP3)

Deal of the Week: Going Solo for $2.99: This week’s ultra cheap albums all belong to group members who struck gold (and platinum) on their on including Lionel Richie, George Michael, Ben Folds and Kenny Loggins.

New Album Release of the Week: Write Me Back (Deluxe Edition) - R. Kelly

New DVD Release of the Week: Christopher Nolan Director's Collection (Blu-ray)

Video of the Week: Sometime when they announce a sequel to a movie you just have to roll your eyes. How many times does Brady Cooper have to get hunover before giving up drinking altogether? How many times are terrorists going to take over a building with Bruce Willis in it? And when they announced Taken 2 I could not help thinking, how many times will the Token Hot Chick from Lost get kidnapped? I originally thought that maybe the person that would be “taken” this time around would be the pop star at the end of the first movie. Nope. The trailer has been released and the family of all the henchmen Liam Neeson killed in the first movie is back for revenge (who knew redshirts had family?) and takes his (ex?)-wife and (presumably) the Token Hot Chick from Lost. But the biggest disappointment from the trailer is the lack of an epic monologue. They better be saving that for the actual movie because if what everyone talks about in the first movie is not in the sequel, you are going to be in trouble.

Next Week Pick of the Week: The Great Escape, Sunday (tomorrow) at 10:00 on TNT: For those going through withdrawals with no Survivor, The Amazing Race, or The Challenge on television for the summer, or wished those three shows would dump the social aspect from their shows and have stand alone episode will want to check out The Great Escape when it premieres tomorrow. Look out for my full review then.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Around the Tubes - 6/22/12

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 True Blood, The Newsroom, Parks and Recreations, Ice-T, Opening Act, Dexter, Audio Files, Flowers of War, NBC shows, Iceland Airwaves Music Festival, Stars Earn Stripes, Impractical Jokers, and 2 Broke Girls.

- The new season of True Blood continues to chug along this Sunday at 9:00 and here is the latest preview:

- In other HBO news, The Newsroom premieres this week and Emily Nussbaum previewed the Aaron Sorkin show in this week’s issue of The New Yorker.

- Parks and Rec’s fans can head over to where you can design your own t-shirt to be sold at the NBC store. The top three designers will all receive a Parks prize pack.

- With his The Art of Rap documentary on the horizon, the legendary Ice-T has created a How to Rap channel for an video series.

- A singing show with no auditions, no judges, no eliminations and no competitions? Not even twirling chairs? Alrighty. Opening Act premieres Monday at 10:00 on E! The show will feature Martina McBride, Pete Wentz, Jason Derulo, Nick Cooper and Antonina Armato who will choose acts to open for a superstar headliner during their current world tours including Nicki Minaj, Rod Stewart, LMFAO, Brad Paisley, Jason Aldean, Jason Mraz, and Gym Class Heroes, among others.

- Heading to Comic-Con next month? So is Dexter Morgan. Or least the person who plays him and other actors and producers of the show. In fact they are kicking off the convention Thursday July 12. Other Showtime shows will also be showing up to the yearly event including Shameless (July 14) and Homeland will share an exclusive first look at the second season.

- New Show Alert! Audio-Files will document the Indie music scene’s most ascending artists. First up in July 3 is Neon Trees with shows featuring Imagine Dragons, Paper Route, Mason Jennings, Joshua James, and Low to follow.

- Remember the “Leave Britney along” guy? Well Chris Crocker is getting his own HBO documentary Me @ the Zoo which premieres Monday at 9:00. Check out the trailer below:

- Before Christian Bale puts on the batsuit one last time, you can check him out in a very different story The Flowers of War based on the novel by Japanese author Yan Geling and directed by internationally celebrated director Zhang Yimon.

- If you missed Grimm, Parenthood, Smash and/or Up All Night, during the regular season, you are in luck, those and other NBC shows are streaming their full seasons on

- For the second year in a row, Reyka Vodka - the first vodka to ever be distilled and bottled in Iceland - will give two up-and-coming American bands the chance to play alongside some of the most cutting-edge names in music at the annual Iceland Airwaves Music Festival in Reykjavik. To enter, U.S.-based artists must simply upload three original tracks, as well as photos and a biography/website link to the official Reyka Vodka website. Iceland Airwaves will review and judge all eligible entries submitted.

- Last week I mentioned NBC’s newest show Stars Earn Stripes and now the show has its “stars” Laila Ali, Dean Cain, Terry Crews, Nick Lachey, Todd Palin, Dolvett Quince, Picabo Street and Eve Torres. Wait, Terry Crews? Is he not getting his fair share from the Expendable movies? Thankfully there are charities involved. The show will be hosted by General Wesley Clark (ret.) and Samantha Harris

- TruTV announced this week they have renewed Impractical Jokers for a second season.

- You will not be able to see it on the channel until 2015, but TBS recently obtained the off-net rights to 2 Broke Girls, televisions number one new comedy from last season.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

He Excites Me, Must Be Like the Genesis of Rhythm

The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do - Fiona Apple

Only Fiona Apple can release an album titled The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do and have no one bat an eye. That is because she previously released an album whose title was so long it could double the length of this review if I printed it in its entirely. Weirdly enough the number of words in the album title is more than the words in the album tracks combined. And though it has been seven years since her last album, the new album sounds like a rawer version of Extraordinary Machine (which can be explain by Fiona self producing this album unlike the last with polished producer Mike Elizando). Even her vocals become more unhinged during her darker songs than we have heard before.

Only the vibraphone enhanced Every Single Night, which crescendos into a big chorus, is the new song that could have fit well on Extraordinary Machine. The only other song that comes close is the bouncy Periphery. Though the rest of the album is rarely just Fiona and her piano, there is sparseness all over her new album even when there is a full band behind her. Fans of the striped down Fiona will definitely appreciate songs like Valentine, Jonathan and Regret. These songs may be hard to listen to the first time around, butstart to grown on you after a couple listen throughs.

The album is at its best when Fiona pusher her boundaries like when she occasionally includes tribal beats like at the beginning of Left Alone before transitioning into a frantic jazz track. Anything We Want sound like it uses Coke bottles as percussion. She really goes all out for the final track Hot Knife where Apple makes a weird analogy where she is butter and the guy in her life the preverbal hot knife. That is pretty much the entire songs with her scatting over a weird drum circle beat for four minutes.

Song to Download – Hot Knife

The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Five Most Anticipated Albums of Summer 2012

Usually I start off my quarterly music preview by complaining about the lack of good albums, but something strange happened last month, there was actually a dearth a good music released. And though the summer months may not see as many as we did in May, there may still be plenty of worthy music to bump at you cookouts and bonfires this year. Here are the five I am most looking forward to followed by a rundown of what else is coming your way soon. Click the album name (or cover art) to preorder on Amazon or click the artist's name to be taken to their iTunes page.

1. Handwritten – The Gaslight Anthem (July 24): Nas (who is also on this list) famously declared a couple years back that hip-hop was dead. Of course it was not dead, it was just bastardized by ringtone rappers and people who thought Lil’ Wayne, T.I. and Rick Ross were credible rappers. Rock on the other hand has been on life support for a couple years, basically since the month and a half when Kings of Leon was the biggest group in the world. The Black Keys (who also had a theory of why rock was dying revolving around people being fine with Nickleback being the biggest band in the world) brought rock back somewhat with their last two albums and if there is any justice The Gaslight Anthem will have their breakout with their upcoming album.

2. TBA – Mumford & Sons (September 25): Of course sometime the death of rock is not because no one listens to rock anymore, just the mainstream does not talk about it. I am sure everyone would think Katy PerryKaty Perry actually has sold the same amount as Teenage Dream since both were released two years ago. Of course this is what happens when you let teenage girls control the pop culture zeitgeist. It is doubtful the banjo strumming band will become “cool” after the release of their next album, but I bet they have a longer career than Katy Perry.

3. Life Is Good – Nas (July 17): But back to Nas. You want to feel old? The MC is releasing his tenth album this summer. Sure his albums have been hit or miss and sometimes uneven since his seminal debut Illmatic, but Nas has had four years to record a record so hopefully that was time well spent.

4. Write Me Back – R. Kelly (June 26): Kells last album was his best since the nineties and Write Me Back is a thematic sequel of more classic soul music of Love Letter, sharing a similar name. Hopefully more chapters of Trapped in the Closet, which Kells said were “coming soon” back in March will soon follow.

5. Uncaged – Zac Brown Band (July 10): As I grow older, I have been listening to more country music, especially the folksier side of the genre and the debut album from Zac Brown Band was heartfelt in the right place and fun in others. With any luck that continues on their follow up.

The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever DoFiona Apple
Rhythm And ReposeGlen Hansard
OceaniaSmashing Pumpkins
Attractive SinDel The Funky Homosapien & Parallel Thought
View From the BottomLit
Cherry ThingNeneh Cherry
The CrossingSophie B. Hawkins

June 26
OverexposedMaroon 5
Suzie Cracks the WhipBlues Traveler
Invisible Stars - Everclear
Days Go ByThe Offspring
Mindy SmithMindy Smith
The Flaming Lips & Heady FwendsThe Flaming Lips
The House That Jack BuiltJesca Hoop

July 10
Murdered LoveP.O.D.
Loma VistaFamily of the Year

July 17
Channel Orange – Frank Ocean
Ol Razzle DazzleMissy Higgins
Delayed ReactionSoul Asylum

July 31
A Thousand Miles Left BehindGloriana
The Soul Sessions, Vol. 2Joss Stone
Play Rock MusicToadies

August 14
Based on a T.R.U. Story – 2 Chainz

August 21
Mature Themes – Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
Fragrant World – Yeasayer

August 28
Havoc and Bright LightsAlanis Morissette
Music From Another DimensionAerosmith

September 4
NorthMatchbox Twenty
Centipede Hz – Animal Collective

September 11
The Spirit IndestructibleNelly Furtado
SunCat Power
Coexist – The xx
Ludaversal – Ludacris

September 18
Tomorrowland – Ryan Bingham
I Bet on Sky – Dinosaur Jr.

September 25
Food and Liquor 2: The Great American Rap Album Pt. 1 - Lupe Fiasco
Uno! – Green Day

October 9
TBA – Fitz & The Tantrums
Wrote a Song For EveryoneJohn Fogerty

October 15
The Haunted Man – Bat for Lashes

November 13
Dos! – Green Day
Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors – Big Boi

January 15
Tre! – Green Day

No Release Date
Born Battle - The Killers
James River - D'Angelo
West Coast Time – Michelle Branch
Indicud – Kid Cudi
Age of the Machine – Goodie Mob
Undisputed – DMX
The Diving Board – Elton John
Country God, or the Girl – K'naan
Rooted - Scarface
Cruel Summer – G.O.O.D. Music
Dave Matthews Band
The Avett Brothers
Taylor Swift
Ben Folds Five
Diane Birch
Bob Seger
Alice In Chains

And of course let me add the obligatory, maybe we will finally get to hear Detox by Dr. Dre this summer.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Best Television Shows of 2011-12

The very first year I ranked television shows was the hardest to pick the best show as I wrestled between Veronica Mars and Lost (remember when Lost was actually a great show, that was a long time ago). Since then Veronica Mars and Friday Night Lights took the top crown every year. And with both shows off the air, I had a harder choice than that first year. So without further ado, the ten best shows of the past year.

1. Homeland, Season 1 (Showtime)

2. Justified, Season 3 (FX)

3. Mike Judge's Beavis and Butt-Head, Season 8 (MTV)

4. Parenthood, Season 3 (NBC)

5. Suburgatory, Season 1 (ABC)

6. Revenge, Season 1 (ABC)

7. Mad Men, Season 5 (AMC)

8. Once Upon a Time, Season 1 (ABC)

9. The Big Bang Theory, Season 5 (CBS)

10. Community, Season 3 (NBC)

Below is a running tally for the past year of shows that had a Quote or Song of the week during my weekly television round up.

Quote of the Week
The Big Bang Theory – 7
Justified – 5
Rescue Me – 4
Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 –2
Friday Night Lights – 2
Homeland – 2
Leverage – 2
Modern Family – 2
Parenthood – 2
Survivor - 2
The Voice – 2
Weeds – 2
2 Broke Girls – 1
Castle – 1
The Challenge – 1
Community – 1
Dallas - 1
Death Valley – 1
Mad Men – 1
Pretty Little Liars – 1
Shameless – 1

Song of the Week
Mad Men – 5
Pretty Little Liars – 4
Suburgatory – 4
Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 – 3
How I Met Your Mother – 3
Community – 2
Friday Night Lights - 2
The Lying Game – 2
Modern Family – 2
Rescue Me – 2
Shameless – 2
2 Broke Girls – 1
Bent – 1
The Big Bang Theory – 1
Chuck – 1
Free Agents – 1
Happy Endings – 1
Homeland – 1
Justified – 1
Men at Work – 1
Parenthood – 1
Revenge - 1
Saturday Night Live – 1
Weeds – 1

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Eighth Annual Scooter Television Awards

Welcome to the 8th Annual Scooter Television Awards honoring show that aired a majority of their season between July2011 and June 2012. Without further ado, here are the winners of the 2012 STA's:

Best Scripted Show: Homeland

Best Sitcom: Suburgatory

Best Basic Cable Show: Justified

Best Reality Show: Survivor: One World

Best Animated Show: Beavis & Butthead

Best Talk Show: Pardon the Interruption

Best Talent Competition: The Sing-Off

Best New Show: Homeland

Best Mini-Series Hatfields and Mccoys

Guiltiest Guilty Pleasure: Pretty Little Liars

Best Awards Show: 2012 Grammy Awards

Best Hour of TV: Pilot - Homeland

Best Half Hour of TV: Werewolves of Highland / Crying – Beavis and Butt-Head

Biggest Shocker: Brody was working with Abu Nazir all along (Homeland)

Worst Idea: Bringing back The Killing for a second season

Worst Moment: Daniel not turning out to be the dead body on the beach (Revenge)

Best New Title Sequence: The Lying Game

Best Song Placement: It Was a Good Day – Ice Cube (Happy Endings)

Best Karaoke: Take On Me – Jeffster (Chuck)

Best Singing Competition Performance: Say Aah – Lindsey Pavao (The Voice)

Best Dance Sequence: Megan Draper’s Zoo Be Zoo Dance (Mad Men)

Best Promo: The Lying Game - Rumour Has It

Hottest Token Hot Chick:

Yvonne Strahovski coming out of a pool in a black bikini

Yvonne Strahovski in white

Best Character: Raylan Givins (Justified)

Best New Character: Dalia Royce (Suburgatory)

Best Recurring Character: Neal McDonough (Justified)

Best Guest Appearance: Carla Gugino as Karen Sisco Goodall (Justified)

Best Duo: Rumpelstiltskin / Mr. Gold and Regina Mills (Once Upon a Time)

Most Entertaining Reality “Star”: Kat Edorsson (Survivor: One World)

Most Annoying Reality “Star”: Colton Cumbie (Survivor: One World)

Best Quote: “You know what they say: getting old ain’t for pussies.” (Raylan, Justified)

Show That Should Be Brought Back: The Sing-Off

Most Anticipated New Show of Next Season: Masters of Sex (Showtime)

Biggest Question for 2011-2012: What does the purple mist mean for Storybrooke on Once Upon a Time