Saturday, November 23, 2013

Best of the Week: 11/23/13

Quote of the Week: I had people yell “Show me your boobs” so much you’d have thought it was hit song. (Rayna James, Nashville)

Song of the Week: Sabotage - Beastie Boys (How I Met Your Mother)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: The CW May Have Started Trying: I like to ding The CW because it is so easy. In successive years after its creation they canceled they only quality programs they inherited Veronica Mars and Everybody Hates Chris yet continued to renew crap like One Tree Hill and Supernatural past their decade mark. Now that the network is closing in on a decade itself, it routinely gets out rated by basic cable programs mostly because it continues to green light trashy teen focused dramas. Then news broke this week they were developing not one, but two Homeland type-show. Hopefully whichever one makes it to air stars Lyla Garrity as it could easily be one of the greatest hate watching shows of all time. Add this to the Rob Thomas / zombie show, and The CW may actually become watchable for the first time in eight seasons. But then again, these three shows will probably not make it to air but the proposed Fred Durst bio-series will instead.

Preview Picture of the Week:

Christmas Bounty, Tuesday at 8:00 on ABC Family

Free Download and Deal of the Week: 90’s Discount (Google Play): Last week Google had a rock fire sale and this week they go back into the nineties with free tracks and albums as low as $3.99 from artists like Boyz II Men, Mary J. Blige, 2 Pac, and Alanis Morrissette.

New Album Release of the Week: Foreverly - Billy Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones

New DVD Release of the Week: Breaking Bad: The Complete Series

Video of the Week: R. Kelly has a new album coming out next week and there really is only two things Kells is known for: Trapped in the Closet and weird sex songs. Unfortunately Black Panties does not have any new chapters of Trapped in the Closet but it does have songs entitled Crazy Sex and Marry That (Expletive Deleted) (the Deluxe Edition also has Show Ya (Expletive Deleted) and Every Position). So Rolling Stone tested the theory that Robert could write sex songs about anything and gave him three challenges. And they were awesome.

Next Week Pick of the Week: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday at 9:00 A.M. on NBC: Thanksgiving just is not Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce from a can and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This year will feature apprences and performances from Big Apple Circus, Kristin Chenoweth, Cherokee National Youth Choir, Chica and the gang from Sprout, Cirque du Soleil, Gavin DeGraw, Brett Eldredge, Fall Out Boy, Jimmy Fallon and The Roots with the cast of "Sesame Street," Fifth Harmony, Florida Georgia Line, Goo Goo Dolls, Ariana Grande, Jack Hannah, Megan Hilty, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings, Sandra Lee, Cher Lloyd, Austin Mahone, Mannheim Steamroller, Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri, NFL legends Bart Oates, Amani Toomer and Hines Ward, NHL legends Cam Neely and Mike Richter, as well as Kellie Pickler, The Robertson family from A&E's hit series "Duck Dynasty," Debby Ryan, Richard Simmons, and The Summer Set.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Around the Tubes: 11/22/13

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 Getting On, Ja’mie: Private School Girl, Barbra Streisand: Back to Brooklyn, Party On, Face Off, Dallas, and Being Human.

- HBO’s latest series Getting On premieres this Sunday at 10:00 which will be followed by Ja’mie: Private School Girl. Check out a preview for both below:

- Barbra Streisand's heralded hometown return at the brand new 19,000-seat, billion-dollar Barclays Center, Barbra Streisand: Back to Brooklyn, airs on THIRTEEN's Great Performances Friday, November 29 at 9 p.m. as part of the PBS Arts Fall Festival (check local listings). Mixing her trademark classics with rarer older material and selections from her more recent albums, Streisand, in her first concert appearance in six years, and backed by a 60-piece orchestra led by William Ross, keeps the capacity house enthralled. In all, she sings 27 songs, nine of which she never before performed live, and three which she sings in different ways; that is, either with different arrangements or with newly composed lyrics. Streisand masterfully holds the stage for two hours, joined by special guests Il Volo, trumpeter Chris Botti, and (making it a true family affair) son Jason Gould, who thrilled the audience singing solo and in a duet with his mother.

- Oscar® nominee, three-time Emmy® winner and Tony Award® winner Hugh Jackman is set to host TNT's annual holiday spectacular Christmas in Washington. Jackman will introduce this year's lineup of musical performers, including Backstreet Boys, Sheryl Crow, Anna Kendrick, Janelle Monáe and Pat Monahan. In addition, the concert will feature a special guest appearance by NBA Hall of Famer and analyst for TNT's Inside the NBA Charles Barkley. The star-studded Christmas in Washington will premiere Friday, Dec. 20, at 8:00, exclusively on TNT.

- E!'s new show, Party On, which takes viewers into the world's most glamorous destinations and huge A-list hotspots, hosted by The Bold and the Beautiful's Jacqueline M. Wood, will be premiering December 5th at 10:00. Each week, Jackie takes viewers to a new destination like the Croatian Island of Hvar, St. Tropez, and Istanbul, and Turkey. Get a sneak peek of some of the beautiful locations

- Syfy’s smash hit and acclaimed unscripted series, Face Off, is back for a bold and extreme sixth season Tuesday, January 14 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Fifteen up-and-coming special effects make-up artists are introduced, all eager for the opportunity to achieve success in the competitive special effects makeup field. And in a Face Off first, the contestants travel to the other side of the globe for a special episode shot in Tokyo, Japan, where they are tasked with creating a stylized anime character based on their own alter ego.

- Dallas now has a third season premiere date: Monday February 24 at 9:00 on TNT.

- If you like the music you hear on Being Human, now you can listen to the songs all in once place on the Being Human playlist on Spotify.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Previewing Nashville 2.0: The Rise of Americana

When you think of the Nashville music scene, it probably conjures up images of rednecks in a beat up pick truck blaring music that is played at the CMA’s but the city has been attracting more and more musicians that do not fit in the traditional country ideals like Jack White and The Black Keys. Nashville 2.0: The Rise of Americana premiering tomorrow on PBS (check your local listings) takes a look at that burgeoning sub-genre of country music: neo-folk from Emmylou Harris up to the new boom that bands like Mumford and Sons created.

The special includes an impressive list of artist performances and discussions about the genre and songwriting in general including Alabama Shakes, The Avett Brothers, Billy Bragg, Laura Cantrell, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Rosanne Cash, The Civil Wars, Elizabeth Cook, Rodney Crowell, Dawes, Jerry Douglas, John Fullbright, Shakey Graves, Emmylou Harris, The James Hunter Six, Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires, Jim Lauderdale, The Lone Bellow, The Mavericks, The Milk Carton Kids, Buddy Miller, Mumford and Sons, Shovels & Rope, Richard Thompson, and Dwight Yoakam. You may want to keep that list handy because I found myself searching many of them out after watching the special. Nashville 2.0: The Rise of Americana is a much watch for any fan of the genre or anyone who needs a deep dive into the scene. Sure there were a few holes (Fleet Foxes, Ryan Adams) and I was hoping it would take more of an Metal Evolution approach to storytelling where they took a deep dive into the lineage, but still a great watch.

Nashville 2.0 kicks off the “PBS Americana Music Weekend,” which pairs this documentary with an Americana music concert from PBS’ iconic Austin City Limits (ACL) series. In a special episode, ACL travels to Nashville to capture performance highlights from the 2013 Americana Music Association Honors & Awards. ACL Presents: Americana Music Festival 2013 airs November 23rd on PBS in select markets (check local listings for broadcast dates and times) with an incredible line-up of artists that highlights the best of Americana. Recorded in September at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium, the program -- like Nashville 2.0 -- showcases both established and rising stars. Many of the Americana Music Association award winners perform and participate in musical collaborations. ACL Presents features Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell, Shovels & Rope, Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison, The Milk Carton Kids, Old Crow Medicine Show, Holly Williams, Dr. John, Duane Eddy, John Fullbright, Stephen Stills, Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale. Full ACL episodes are available online at following their initial broadcast.

Nashville 2.0: The Rise of Americana premieres tomorrow (Friday) at 8:00 on PBS (check your local listings).

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Previewing Big Cat Week

Nat Geo Wild Big Cat Week

Next week is Thanksgivings and for those who are smart enough to stay in on Black Friday, you can cuddle up next to the television and watch another species go wild with the start of Nat Geo Wild’s Big Cat Week. First off at 9:00 is a showdown between two of the fastest humans, Tennessee Titans Chris Johnson and Chicago Bears Hester go head to head in a foot race… with a cheetah. Also showing up during Big Cat Week is Betty White. Here is a complete run down of all the new programming airing during the fourth annual Big Cat Week:

Man v. Cheetah
Premieres Friday, November 29, 2013, at 9:00
Take nature’s fastest land mammal vs. two of the quickest and most elusive athletes in all of professional sports: who wins ... and what shocking secrets are revealed? Nat Geo WILD gets a front row seat as the Tennessee Titans’ Chris Johnson — the NFL’s fastest running back — and the Chicago Bears’ Devin Hester — the super-agile wide receiver and kick returner — take part in an extraordinary first-ever one-on-one challenge against a cheetah. It’s the race of a lifetime that has never been attempted before as cheetahs from Busch Gardens Tampa’s Cheetah Run attraction race NFL’s finest. Who will win? Could a human beat the animal kingdom’s fastest cat? Anything is possible.

Super Cat
Premieres Friday, November 29, 2013, at 10:00
Take Kobe Bryant’s ability to jump, add Michelle Kwan’s grace and beauty, then mix well with Stephen Hawking’s problem-solving genius — and you’ve got the recipe for Super Cat. We’ve combined the most amazing features of big cats to showcase the most awe-inspiring capabilities ever seen in action. Watch this ultimate feline live all nine lives as its superpowers of strength, endurance and stealth are put to the test.

Killer Queen
Premieres Saturday, November 30, 2013, at 9:00
Soon after the summer rains have fallen, lioness Manyari’s pride faces trouble when two nomadic males seek a pride of their own to lead. With a sixth sense for imminent trouble, Manyari makes a bid to escape to ensure the survival of her young cubs. Forced to fend for herself and her cubs alone in the wild, Manyari sacrifices her own security for her offspring’s safety. Constantly looking for food and shelter, and doing her best to stay out of marauders’ lines of sight, this former queen and her cubs make the odyssey to find safety and security.

Cougar v. Wolf
Premieres Saturday, November 30, 2013, at 10:00
Wolves and cougars are increasingly at war because wolf packs continue to multiply and spread into parts of the Rocky Mountains dominated for decades by cougars. Now, big cat wrangler Boone Smith tracks the most recent wolf and cat skirmishes as he delves into why these two big predators carry on the cats vs. dogs rivalry. In his big cat forensic investigation, Boone’s goal is to pinpoint the places where cougar-wolf conflicts most often occur by gathering clues about each creature’s hunting, feeding and fighting behaviors. Boone applies all the skills he’s acquired tracking big cats around the world to unravel the truth about what happens in a cougar v. wolf showdown.

Game of Lions
Premieres Sunday, December 1, 2013, at 10:00
From award-winning filmmakers and National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert comes their next feature film, exclusively for Nat Geo WILD. According to Dereck Joubert, there are 20,000 lions left on Earth. Only 3,500 of those are males. Although they are born at a 50/50 ratio, by the time they reach maturity, only one in eight male lions survive. We follow the journey of the lives of young males in the African bush and their potential to be king. From the birth of a male to his exile from his pride, our cameras follow along as males roam the jungles in an effort to spread their bloodlines through the kingdom. The Jouberts take an unflinching look at what happens to these lions in this spirited, moving and heartbreaking film.

Betty White Goes Wild!
Premieres Tuesday, December 3, 2013, at 9:00
“If it hadn’t been for Hollywood, I’d have fulfilled my other childhood dream … to be a zookeeper,” says Betty White when speaking about her love for animals. We take a rare look into one of White’s true passions — big cats! Head with her to the Los Angeles and San Diego zoos to get up close to big cats. White weaves her natural wit as we look at the cats’ individual behavioral traits and learn where they live, how many are left in the wild and the challenges they face.

Additional programming to air during Big Cat Week includes Swamp Lions, Cat Wars, The Last Lions, Built for Kill: Lions, Tiger Dynasty, Lion Army, Cheetah: Fatal Instinct and Lion Battle Zone.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Feed Your iPod LXXIX: Don't Follow

With the new album by Pearl Jam and the 20th anniversary of In Utero (Nirvana Unplugged was also recorded twenty years ago yesterday) I have been thinking about grunge lately and let’s face it: the genre has not aged well. Sure you can blame it on the second wave of grunge acts like Bush and Candlebox and it got completely bastardized by the time Nickelback co-opted the sound. Lackluster reunions recently by Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and Stone Temple Pilots certainly did not help either (at least Bush has stayed retired). Despite the unnecessary reunion, Alice in Chains is one of the few grunge acts I still look back fondly at. Would? remains my favorite grunge song of all time (naturally it was on the Single soundtrack). The band also has some deep cut that need to be rediscovered mostly on their two lesser owned EP. Don’t Follow on the Jar of Flies EP is the rare power balled from the band that even had a down south vibe to it thanks to a well placed harmonica.

Don’t Follow – Alice in Chains

Monday, November 18, 2013

I Want My Music Television: 11/18/13

There have been a couple of videos that have caught my eye lately so I thought I’d give them some love since the death of Musical Television left a void for a forum on the art form. If you are interested in buying the video through iTunes, click the title link (where available). If you are interested in buying the song, look for a link in the analysis.

Hard Out Here – Lily Allen

Oh Lily Allen, it has been too long. At least she came back hard ripping on the duo who were responsible for the most embarrassing Video Music Award performance ever Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke. Sure the lyrics veer very close to that other song of 2013 Royals, Lily is much more cheechy in her delivery than Lorde. Here is hoping a full album will soon follow. The musical landscape really needs Lilly Allen right now.

Wake Me Up (Acoustic) - Aloe Blacc

I did not mind the Avicii version of Wake Me Up (but I was glad when Aloe Blacc released an acoustic version) but I hated the music video with a fiery passion as it co-opted the theme of No Rain and make the bee girl an impossibly hot chick and her annoyingly cute sister (brought to you by some product I refuse to mention because I am not getting any of that money), Blacc version is much more touching dealing with the real life implications of our current immigration policies.

What Now – Rihanna

If it is fall it is time for a new Rihanna album, she has released one in November each of the past four years. Except it is already fall and there is no release date. And she is certainly not the type of artist to drop an album within a month of announcing it like Jay-Z or Radiohead, she needs that promotional machine going for two to three months first. Instead she has just released the fifth single off her last album, and, um, it sounds like a fifth single off an album by a singer who usually only has two to three good songs per album. The video recalls her creepier efforts like Disturbia complete with The Last Exorcism contortion bending over backwards pose. But I do wonder with a lackluster fifth single being released in the fall instead of a new single off a new album, if we are witnessing the end of the Rihanna era as biggest pop star in the land.

Country Girl - Carolina Chocolate Drops

Over the weekend I watched a screener for PSB’s Nashville 2.0 premiering Friday about the rise of Americana music from Emmylou Harris to Mumford & Sons. I will have a full review later this week. But one new artist that caught my eye was Carolina Chocolate Drops which mixes Americana with soul music. Here is a music video for their first single, but if you have the time I highly recommend looking up their countrified version of Hit 'Em Up Style which was also featured in the special.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 11/17/13

Once Upon a Time: So the Darling boys grew old enough to be in their twenties before Peter Pan kept them in a un-aging state, but Wendy looks exactly the same she did the last time we saw her. Alrighty.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Once Upon a Time on iTunes.

Homeland: Most shows have a point of view character, someone who speaks for the viewers, usually a newbie to the team, who asks the questions that the people watching would want to know. I am beginning to think Senator Lockhart is such the character on Homeland. He is the new guy to the CIA and looks around and asks, what the frack is wrong with you people and they ends the episode locked in the dark. Yep, that pretty much sums up the viewing experience of this season on Homeland.

The Walking Dead: Just like Brody on Homeland, it was only a matter of time before The Governor showed up. Brody was given pretty much a whole episode, three into the season (and has not been seen since) whereas The Governor only got a cameo at the end of episode five. Last week I predicted he would run into Carol, but it looks like he did not travel that far away from the prison. So that puts him in play for feeding the zombies rats that we saw early in the season.
You can download The Walking Dead on iTunes.

Masters of Sex: Well that was the least sexy sex scene ever. At least between two relatively attractive people. I never thought anything involving Lizzy Caplan would be possible. I do wonder who Masters will impregnate first, his wife or his assistant. I am a little surmised the talk of contraception has yet to come up in the research. Did they even have readily available contraception back in the fifties?

The Voice: It is hard to quit the show cold turkey because I need something to watch between 2 Broke Girls and the Blacklist and The Goldbergs and Sons of Anarchy so I half watched those hour and a half while flipping around and making pithy comments on Twitter (#VoiceSave Holly Henry). I was a little interested to how the Instant Save turned out hoping it failed miserably. And it kind of did. After making my pithy comment I decided to scroll the hashtag results and saw about 80-90% of them for Jonny, Blake even pointed this out when Carson asked him who he thought America would save. Even the retweet of The Voice’s official tweets were the most for Jonny (followed by Josh with Kat in the hole). Yet the first person eliminated with the lowest amount of tweets was Jonny. Huh? My first thought was there must have been a lot of tweeters who misspelled his name (most people would naturally want to put an “h” in it like Johnny Cash) but supposedle the show allows five different misspellings (people like Jonny, Jaquie, and Tessann need such a thing but it is funny to see the five ways you are allowed to misspell Ray). This just does not pass the sniff test. Unfortunately the Instant Save will not be going anywhere, at least no time soon because the ratings were way up from last week’s results show which was a series low for the show and even matched last week’s Tuesday performance show. Hopefully the novelty wears off and ratings drop again like I thought would when you pull a stunt that alienates half the country and it is scrapped for next season. But really all I want next season is better talent than what makes up this top ten.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download songs performed this week with the widget at right.

The Blacklist: I thought the promo monkeys said there was going to be a big reveal this week? Did I miss it? All I saw was more speculation that Red is really Lizzie’s father but no real confirmation.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download The Blacklist on iTunes.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Yep, Simmons is quickly becoming the most entertaining character by a long mile on the show. Her awkward encounter with Agent Sitwell was hilarious.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.

Sons of Anarchy: Oh Tara, I told you that you should have turned on the club while you were in jail instead of concocting this elaborate plan that fell like a house of cards once you recruited a junkie and friend of the club. But now that she is at her breaking point, anything is possible with her. Speaking of anything is possible; Jax really tangled a web trying to get out of guns. Is he really going to turn rat and sell out both the Irish and the Koreans?
You can download Sons of Anarchy on iTunes.

Survivor: Blood vs. Water: I like when they start doubling up Tribal Councils post merge, especially when the votes are as obvious as Vytas and Tina. I also liked Vystas just throwing bombs all over Tribal on his way out. He called out Monica, pointed out the chicks could easily take over the game. I am surprised more people do not do it when they know their number is up. And though I am glad they retired the gross eating challenge seasons ago, I am glad they brought it back for Gervase to have to partake in it again. And he almost won this time. I wonder if he spent the last decade eating strange delicacies for this very moment.
You can stream recent episodes on You can also download Survivor: Blood vs. Water on iTunes.

Parenthood: It is weird the election storyline is expanding well past the real world elections. But I wonder if there will be a point where Amber goes to the press without Kristina’s consent. I was kind of assuming that was going to happen this week.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Parenthood on iTunes.