Saturday, May 17, 2014

Best of the Week: 5/17/14

Quote of the Week: How would I know to get back to the future? Who do I look like, Marty McFly? (Emma Swan, Once Upon a Time)

Song of the Week: Add It Up – Violent Femmes (Suburgatory)

Scene of the Week:

Big News of the Week: Michael Sams Gets Ready for His Close-up: As a Cleveland Browns fan I am happy for Michael Sams because his presence in the league because it is keeping Johnny Football from going full Tim Tebow on ESPN. And unlike Sams, Johnny Football does not have his own reality show. Yep, the first openly gay football player is getting his own reality show on the Oprah network. Sure the Rams are alright with Sams being homosexual, but I wonder how they feel about a seventh round draft pick getting a reality show. Not good I am assuming, an unnamed source already said as much and the team is banning camera from team facilities. Not only is the team reportedly unhappy, I am guessing the league is not thrilled considering they have their own reality show, Hard Knocks, and are not thrilled with the competition. Being one of the last picks in the draft means you will be battling for a spot on the roster, I wonder if the extra scrutiny surrounding the reality show means it will be more or less likely Sams will make the team.  Scooter Update:  New broke late Friday that OWN is postponing the show which to me means it is quietly going away for good.  Apparently even Oprah cannot cross the NFL.

Preview Picture of the Week:

“Echo” The Americans Season Finale, Wednesday at 10:00 on FX

Free Download of the Week: Klapp Klapp – Little Dragon (iTunes)

New Album Release of the Week: Ghost Stories - Coldplay

New DVD Release of the Week: Pompeii

Video of the Week: It is that time again, time for the Gathering of the Juggalos. No, not because I am interesting in going, nope I am only interest because there is a new Gathering of the Juggalos infomercial. Cypress Hill! Shock G!! Gilbert Gottfried!!! Mick Foley!!!! Ninja Olympics!!!!!

Next Week Pick of the Week: Survivor, Wednesday at 8:00 on CBS: It is rare that the Survivor finale actually airs in its regular day instead of Sunday, in fact, I do not remember the last time it happened. I cannot comment much on the final four considering I have yet to watch the episode yet because the penultimate episode here was preempted for tornado warning and therefore do not know who is even left (aside from Tony who seemed pretty invincible with the Special Idol). I just hope Woo is still around and somehow lucks into the win because no one else is really worthy of winning at this point.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Around the Tubes: 5/16/14

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 Coldplay, The Americans, Secrets of Underground London, Orange Is the New Black, Ray Donovan, Conan, and Hash at It.

- Who’s up for a good ghost story? Gather ‘round the TV this Sunday at 7:00 for the hour-long Coldplay: Ghost Stories special. A blend of live-performance footage and cinematic film, the cutting-edge special will feature impressive and innovative 360-degree imagery – around, above and below the band. Get your first taste of the immersive blend of storytelling in the trailer below.

- On the season finale of The Americans, no one is safe as Philip and Elizabeth evacuate their children while trying to complete the mission. Stan holds Nina's future in his hands.

- Following the success of the previous behind-the-scenes looks at England’s most notable landmarks, Secrets of Underground London premieres Sunday, June 22, 2014, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET.The special precedes Materpiece Mystery! “The Escape Artist” starring David Tennant. On the surface, London is a buzzing, modern metropolis — but underneath lies a hidden world, all but forgotten by the millions of people above. From ancient caves and preserved Roman remains to mysterious rivers and plague pits, Secrets of Underground London uncovers 2,000 years of subterranean history.

- Orange is the New Black returns June 6 and here is Crazy Eyes herself, Uzo Aduba talking about her favorite scenes from the first season.

- The highest-rated freshman series in Showtme history, Ray Donovan: The First Season was released simultaneously on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, Target Ticket, Sony Entertainment Network and Verizon FiOS earlier this week. Season one of Ray Donovan will also be released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 10, in time to catch-up before the broadcast premiere of the second season, which returns to SHOWTIME on Sunday, July 13th at 9:00.

- TBS and Conan O'Brien are continuing their partnership as the network has renewed the late-night series Conan through 2018. Since it premiered in November 2010, CONAN has been a hit with TBS's core audience of young adults, scoring a younger median age than any other hour-long talk show in late night.

- is set to sponsor former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Tito Ortiz in his first fight since July 2012, in the inaugural Bellator pay-per-view, scheduled for May 17, 2014. Officially launching last week, is the first social media search engine that gives users a way to gather information on any metadata tags (#hashtags) from popular social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, collecting all the results in one place.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Five Most (and Least) Anticipated New Shows of Fall 2014

Two major themes among the new shows for the upcoming season. First the most obvious, after dominating the cinemas the past decade, comic books are about to take over the small screen with five new shows based on comic books to add to the two that are already there. Another big trend is diversity. Kerry Washington and Omar Epps are currently the only top line star on any network show right now that are not white (unless you also count Neil DeGrass Tyson of Cosmos; also Hallie Berry is starring in the upcoming Extant). Next season high profile non WASPs Craig Robinson (The Robinsons), Octavia Spencer (Red Band Society), Terrence Howard (Empire), Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder), Anthony Anderson (Black-ish), Maggie Q (Stalker) all lead new shows. Add to that two ABC comedies based around Hispanic (Cristela) and Asian (Fresh off the Boat) families and a FOX show Hieroglyph that takes place in Egypt. Granted that last show is headlined by a white dude and the Egyptians in the cast are vaguely ethnic.

After pointing out how diverse the new shows are this season, I kind of feel bad that none of them made my Most Anticipated list which is mostly filled up with superhero shows, all of which are all white. Sorry Apache Chief, no show for you yet, maybe there will be a place for you in the Justice League movie. But hey, one has a female lead, so that is progress and it is not even Wonder Woman who NBC and The CW have tried to get on the air for years. And none of the minority led shows made my least anticipated list, so there is that. But anyway. Here is my Most Anticipated list:

1. Marvel’s Agent Carter (Midseason, likely Tuesdays at 9:00 on ABC when SHIELD goes on hiatus): A show with “Marvel” in the title occupied this spot last year which turned out to be mediocre to start but built to a entertaining climax around the Captain American movie so I should be a bit weary to put another one on top again this season. Especially considering there is no trailer yet (unless you count the One Sheet that was on the Iron Man 3 DVD and only the titular character is currently signed on for the show. Howard Stark was mentioned in the press release so it seems Dominic Cooper will be around in some capacity. If the One-Sheet is considered cannon, hopefully the newly unemployed Bradley Whitford can reprise his role as Agent Carter’s boss. Of course everyone can agree Neal McDonough would be a great addition as Dum Dum Dugan. One would also assume since he was mentioned on SHIELD, Agent Triplett’s Howling Commando could also play a role. But what could make Agent Carter better than SHIELD (aside from Hayley Atwell in period costumes every week) is that since it takes place in the past, it does not have to shoehorn in everything else that is currently going on in the Marvel Universe.

2. Gotham (Mondays at 8:00 on FOX): I already talked at length about the show when the trailer was released last week (see Best of the Week: 5/10/14), so just let me reiterate, this better be worth lifting my eight year ban on Fox.

3. Constantine (Friday at 10:00 on NBC): I vaguely remember the Keanu Reeves based on the same comic book and somewhat remember being ambivalent to it. Plus the show gets the Friday death slot right out of the gate. But if NBC give the show the leeway that current inhabitant Hannibal gets, the show could do the comics justice. I am caustically optimistic.

4. Manhattan Love Story (Tuesdays at 8:30 on ABC): One more minor trend this season, there are three sitcoms this season that are basically televised versions of romantic comedies filling the void of How I Met Your Mother (ironically one of them is not How I Met Your Dad which was not picked up by CBS). The most blatant rip off is A to Z which actually stars the titular mother from How I Met Your Mother and features narration for another former sitcom star, Peg Bundy. Marry Me had me laughing a few time during the trailer, and it is always nice to see Vinnie VanLowe more often, but created by the creator of Happy Endings gives me pause. Manhattan Love Story is the one I am looking more forward to mostly because of Analeigh Tipton who ranks fairly high on the likeability scale, it is about time someone gave her a starring role in something. Unfortunately the douchebag from Greek is not. And I have to admit I was disappointed that the trailer used Aretha Franklin’s Think instead of The Gas Face by 3rd Base. I cannot be the only person who think Gas Face first when her hears that piano intro right?

5. iZombie (Midseason, The CW): Gone in one season may be eight year ban on FOX and my five year ban on The CW. After creating Veronica Mars, I am willing to give the new show from Rob Thomas a shot even if it is a zombie show on The CW starring Tinkerbell. Trailer will probably not be out until later today and I will probably update this space then once I actually get a look at it.  Scooter Update:  The CW schedule was released and iZombie was resigned to midseason and they did not even release a trailer.  Not very promising.

As the great philosopher Butt-Head once pondered, “If it weren’t for things that sucked, how would we know if something was awesome,” here are the least anticipated shows of the season (click on their names to check out their trailers if you dare). And you know there are some stinkers when a Katherine Heigl show cannot even crack the bottom five.

1. Galavant (Midseason, likely Sunday at 8:00 on ABC during the Once Upon a Time hiatus): It is rare that I would watch something on my least anticipated shows list; actually this is the first time. In a time where marketers can make anything look watchable, the Galavant trailer looks epically bad. I am talking Cop Rocks bad. Sure, best case scenario it could turn into Robin Hood: Men in Tights, but I doubt it will last that long. But I will watch all two episodes that air.
2. The McCarthys (Thursdays at 9:30 on CBS): The show is a multicamera sitcom (strike one) about a loud, sports crazed Boston family (strike two) starring Joey McIntire (strike three). No, no, and no.
3. Jane the Virgin (Monday at 9:00 on The CW): A show called Jane the Virgin on The CW… do I need to say more?
4. Selfie (Tuesdays at 8:00 on ABC): Just when you though Jane the Virgin would win the Better Off Ted Award for worst show name of the season, here comes Selfie. I dare you to watch the trailer and not think to yourself, “They canceled Suburgatory and The Neighbors for this.” The trailer is so bad, I even found myself wondering, “They canceled Mixology for this.” That is how bad the Selfie trailer looks, it made me miss Mixology.
5. NCIS: New Orleans (Tuesday at 9:00 on CBS) and CSI: Cyber (Sunday at 10:00 on CBS): CBS is just Punk’ing us at this point, right?

Of course the most fun part of the schedule release is guessing which shows will be canceled first and here are the five most likely candidates.

1. Utopia (Tuesdays at 9:00; Fridays at 9:00 on FOX): Okay this may not get canceled out right, but it will be off Tuesdays very quickly.
2. Selfie (Tuesdays at 8:00 on ABC)
3. Bad Judge (Thursdays at 9:00 on NBC)
4. A to Z (Thursdays at 9:30 on NBC)
5. Scorpion (Mondays at 9:00 on CBS)

And here is what I will be watching next far including the new shows in italics that I will at least check out once or twice.

8:00 – Gotham (Fox)
8:00 – 2 Broke Girls (CBS)
10:00 – The Blacklist (NBC)
10:00 – Castle (ABC)

8:30 – Manhattan Love Story (ABC)
9:00 - Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)
9:00 – Marry Me (NBC)
9:30 – About a Boy (NBC)

8:00 – Survivor (CBS)
8:00 – The Middle (ABC)
8:30 – The Goldbergs (ABC)
9:00 – Modern Family (ABC)
9:30 – Black-ish (ABC)
10:00 – Nashville (ABC)

8:00 – The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
8:30 – The Millers (CBS)
10:00 – Parenthood (NBC)

9:00 – Grimm (NBC)
10:00 – Constantine (NBC)

8:00 – Once Upon a Time (ABC)
9:00 – Resurrection (ABC)
10:00 – Revenge (ABC)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Previewing The Carbonaro Effect

For fans of magic and hidden camera show are in for a treat with the premiere of The Carbonaro Effect where actor / magician takes over jobs like checkout clerk at a grocery store and help desk at a hotel and pulls magic tricks on unsuspecting patrons. Unfortunately like a good magician, Carbonaro does not reveal how he does his tricks so you will be guessing along with his marks. We do not even get to see Carbonaro explain to the marks that he is a magician except once which is usually the best part of hidden camera shows.

Michael Carbonaro is a magician by trade, but he's a prankster at heart. In each episode of The Carbonaro Effect, he will perform baffling tricks on people in everyday situations, all caught on hidden camera. Posing as an ordinary bartender or a seemingly unremarkable salesman, Michael astonishes marks by turning a tuft of hair into a puppy or pouring 12 pints of beer from an ordinary bottle. Whether the marks are alone or with their friends, everyone is left stunned and delighted, even though they have no idea what just hit them.

Actor, magician, comedian and improv artist Michael Carbonaro is a familiar face to television viewers thanks to his appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He has also played roles on Happily Divorced, The Newsroom, 30 Rock, Wizards of Waverly Place, CSI: Miami and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Michael hosts and performs shows of comedy, magic and other weird acts at various clubs around New York and Los Angeles, including Joe's Pub, Caroline's On Broadway, The Box and Hollywood's Magic Castle. Michael is an OutFest Best Actor Award winner, as well as a two-time nominee for the Academy of Magical Arts "Magician of the Year" Award.

The Carbonaro Effect airs Thursdays at 10:00 on TruTV. If you want to know more about Michael Carbonaro, he will be a guest on Hallmark Channel’s Home and Family this Thursday at 10:00 AM.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Acting Right Is So Routine, Fever Let Me Live a Dream

Turn Blue - The Black Keys

Not that long ago I was talking to someone about who the biggest rock band in the country was. After morning the slow decline of the genre we decided that The Black Keys held that titled depending on if you consider Mumford and Sons a rock band or not. It is amazing to think that considering that when they started they were either considered a more pure version of The White Stripes or a complete rip-off (I was in the former camp).

But with their past three albums, the Keys sounded like they were actively looking for rock stardom making short and compact rock songs like a modern day Creedence Clearwater Revival. And they achieved just that with back to back platinum album, an increasingly rare feat these days, with instant earworm guitar riff like on Lonely Boy. They even managed to cram a Led Zeppelin song into three minutes on Little Black Submarines.

So what you do when you are not the biggest band in the country? You go weird just like U2 did on Achtung Baby or Metallica with Load. After all the great riffs the duo came up with on previous albums, the first single off of Turn Blue, Fever featured a fuzzed out bass and keyboards that sound like they came from a sixties garage band. And Fever ended up just being a transition song to ease you into the new Keys, the rest of Turn Blue gets much weirder.

The album starts off with Weight of Love where the nice compact songs the duo has been crafted built around tight riffs turns into an extended near seven minute jam with multiple and lengthy guitar solos. You do not even hear Dan Auerbach’s voice until the two minute, the then the mood it set. Danger Mouse has co-produced two of the last three albums by the band, but Turn Blue is the first time his influence is truly felt as Turn Blue (I have a feeling the multiple bass grooves that populate the album are by his design) feels more like Mouse’s Broken Bells project, moody and psychedelic that seems influenced by early Pink Floyd, but the Black Keys sound is much more complete than either of the Broken Bells albums.

The best parts of Turn Blue is actually when the goes in near ballad mode. Bullet to the Brain sounds like a moodier version of Never Gonna Give You Up from Brothers. And where Broken Bells tried for a hippie version of the Bee-Gees on Holding on For Life, the Keys do a much better job at that with back to back songs Waiting on the Words and 10 Lovers.

The album closer Gotta Get Away reminded me a lot of Bound 2. No, not that I could envision Dan and drummer Patrick Carney recreate the video Seth Rogan / James Franco style, but after such a sound departure of Yeezus, it seem like Kanye West put the song at the end of the album as to say, “yeah this album may have been rough, but here is one for the long time fans who were with me back when all my songs had sped up soul samples.” For the Black Keys, after an album filly with trippy psychedelic sounds and lengthy guitar solos (the longest coming at the end of the second to last song In Our Prime), it ends with a song for those who jumped on the band’s bandwagon on the previous three albums as Gotta Get Away is their most Creedence sounding song yet. Turn Blue may not be the band’s best (and it certainly will not be its most successful), but it is definitely an album where you cannot wait to hear where the band goes next. Keep in mind Achtung Baby and Load were followed up by ever weirder Zooropa and Reload. Unfortunately both of those were followed by Pop and St. Anger.

Song to Download - Weight of Love

Turn Blue gets a Terror Alert Level: High [ORANGE] on my Terror Alert Scale.

Monday, May 12, 2014

I Want My Music Television: 5/12/14

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.

Headlights – Eminem featuring Nate Ruess

Eminem has to be the last guy I would think would release a touching music video on Mother’s Day (directed by Spike Lee to boot), but here it is, a Debbie Mathers stand in (presumably) looking for her son, with Marshal even giving her a hug.

I Choose You – Sara Bareilles

On the other end of the emotional spectrum, Sara Bareilles participated in a couple elaborate marriage proposals because how can you say no if Sara Bareillies is standing right there. I would have to think about it if Post-It Note origami was also involved..

The Wall – Willie Nelson

At eighty, Willie Nelson is getting a little nostalgic with his latest music video, listing his numerous accomplishments over his career. One stat that stood out to me was that the video listed only one Grammy Award. I had to look it up, if Wikipeadia is to be believed, he only won two more in the Country Collaborations category. That seems low for someone who has been around as long as he has.

Dare (La La La) – Shakira

It looks like Shakira is also getting a little nostalgia, at least that opening looked a lot like her first English language music video for Whenever Wherever. Or maybe I am just reading too much into it. Unfortunately this new song is annoyingly bad. Maybe she should go back to her old sound.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 5/11/14

Once Upon a Time: They may have foiled the Wicked Witch but it looks like some sort of curse was enacted when she was converted to porcelain and shattered by Mr. Gold. Could that have been her plan all along, or possibly a back up plan?
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Once Upon a Time on iTunes.

Resurrection: So Agent Bellamy is the son of the black family that drowned in the flood. Except I am guessing that he grew up in the seventies even though his family looks like they are dressed from the time of the Dust bowl. Does this mean Agent Bellamy was the first to return about thirty years ago? I guess the timing could link up that he returned right when Jacob died. The first season was pretty pedestrian, but I am still intrigued by a second season.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Resurrection on iTunes.

Mad Men: Drunk Don Draper already? That did not take long. But I have to wonder if Rodger would have stayed at the commune had some hippie did not try to have sex with his daughter with him right there.
You can download Mad Men on iTunes.

Crisis: The weakest part of the show has always been the icky teacher-student relationship but they somehow were able to come to a satisfying ending to the storyline. Not only did the creepy guard kill the teacher, the student ended up killing the creepy guard in some weird love triangle ending of Romeo and Juliet. Awesome.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Crisis on iTunes.

Revenge: I have been mostly underwhelmed by the last two seasons of Revenge after a strong debut season but who Emily brought down Conrad was the biggest “Oh snap” moment of the show, better than even anything in the first season. Hopefully the show can carry that over to the season finale and a fourth season… if there is a fourth season.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Revenge on iTunes.

The Blacklist: So this whole time, Red has been hunted by Bane? At least I got a distinct Bane vibe from the airplane scenes except the television show cannot afford to rip a plane in two.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download The Blacklist on iTunes.

Castle: Wow, they actually ended the Beckett’s mother case. In the past, once the perp is caught, they move onto the next case, I do wonder if we will actually get to see any of the court proceedings with the Senator. And catching him a week before the wedding seems a bit ominous. I wonder if the Senator will be sending anyone to speak now before forever holding their peace. Assuming he does not do it himself if he is award bail.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Castle on iTunes.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: It continues to look like Ward is still full evil, dude shot a dog. Though it is unclear if him sending FitzSimmons to the bottom of the ocean (how Angel of the writers) was a Bond villain type plan of letting them die out of sight when it is plausible they could escape, or he did that knowing the duo would find a way out and it would be safer than being on a plane with Deathlock 1.0.

We did learn a little more about Skye… sort of. The Woman in a Flower Dress thinks they are the same inside (though we have no clue that she actually is) and that it was her parents they destroyed her village and they were monsters, but no clue if they are literal or figurative monsters. One more episode left, hopefully they give some definitive answers. I also wonder if there will be any set up to Guardians of the Galaxies as this will be the last episode before that film premieres. Could Skye unknown origin be related to a character in the movie?
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.

The Goldbergs: Great George the Animal Steele reference.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download The Goldbergs on iTunes.

Survivor: Cagayan: It seems clear that some people come on the show gunning for second place knowing that it is easier to stay on the show longer trying for runner up instead of winner. I would say Russell Hantz was the first to do this, but he may have been delusional to think he could be a douchebag to everyone and they would hand over a million dollars to him. So Russell may have just been a template for people Philip Sheppard to copy, where you just act a fool and assume someone would be smart enough to want sit next to you in the final Tribal. This season Cass is clearly the person everyone would want to sit next to at the Final Tribal except I do not think she is playing for second, she actually thinks Tony is Russell Hantz, but if she thinks she can beat Tony, or anyone else, she is as delusional as Russell. Plus Cass ruined what could have been an alltime great Tribal Council with a three way tie and a use of a Special Powers Idol all at the same Tribal. Boooooooo.
You can stream recent episodes on You can also download Survivor: Cagayan on iTunes.

The Americans: Oh wow, they went ahead and killed the new handler. Did not see that coming. I wonder if they are hoping Margo Martindale will be able to return next season. (Unfortunately The Millers was renewed, she and Beau Bridges deserve The Americans and Masters of Sex more than this horrible sitcom; I weep every time I watch). With only two episodes left, I am guessing Larrick will find the Jennings’ home by the end of the season. Hopefully this means Paige will finally learn of her parent’s secret lives.
You can download The Americans on iTunes.

Nashville: I found it interesting that they cut off the First Lady during her speech. I wonder how they came to this decision. Did she write her speech herself (or, well her own speechwriters) and they cut away from her because it got too boring. Did the show’s writers write it and then decided it went on too long? Did they write a break in the speech and when we could not hear her she was only speaking gibberish. At any rate, I was disappointed that her cameo did not involve coming to Maddie’s school to warn her the dangers of doing drugs.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Nashville on iTunes.

The Challenge: Free Agents: I am really beginning to hate Jordon with a fiery passion. I hate him so much I am even siding with Johnny Bananas for the first time in his long history on the show.
You can download The Challenge: Free Agents on iTunes.

Hannibal: Last week, for the second time this season, I assumed that the female in a dire situation would be eventually revealed to still alive by the end of the season. I was extremely wrong when it came to Beverly and it looked like I was wrong about Freddie too. I figure Will could store her out of sight until he catches Hannibal but did he really have the power to fake dental records. Apparently yes with help from Jack.

And just when you thought the show could not get any more messed up, here comes the Verger’s. I get that Mason performed an abortion on his sister to make sure he is the lone male Verger heir, but did he also remove her lady parts to make sure she would never conceive again? That was the impression that I got.
You can stream recent episodes on Hulu. You can also download Hannibal on iTunes.