Saturday, June 21, 2014

Best of the Week: 6/21/14

Quote of the Week: Have you seen Dexter? Random scuba divers are finding everything Donnie. (Alison Hendrix, Orphan Black)

Song of the Week: Silver Springs – Fleetwood Mac (Californication)

Big News of the Week: I Hate the 00’s: When I heard VH1 was dusting off their I Love the… series for last decade, I said to my, Um, did they not already do that with I Love the New Millennium?” Apparently they would like us to forget they tried to do that before the decade even ended because we got a name change to I Love the 00’s pronounced the two thousands not like the oo’s as in Cheerios which was its first mistake. Actually the first mistake was the “Love” part because there were few things in pop culture to love about that decade.

So the mini-series was not appointment for me like prerious installments. But I did check in during commercial breaks during other shows I was watching this week. One thing catch the opening to the 2004. The opening of each episode pretty much teases everything that they are going to talk about that episode and 2004 was just laughably bad: White Chicks, Pimp My Ride, Fat Joe, The Swan, Napoleon Dynamite, Howard Dean, George Bush getting reelected. What the frack? Bret Michaels (?) has a segment each year counting down the guiltiest pleasures of the year (oh yeah, Rock of Love); what could have possibly be the guilty pleasures of 2004 if those crap were in the In Love part of the show?

The only things that did not suck about the 2004 episode was a double bill of Rachel McAdams (isn’t time for a Rachel McAdams comeback?) So I had to look at my Greatest of the 00’s list to see what they missed or if 2004 was truly the worst year ever. It turns out 2004 was a really good year boasting the album that topped the Greatest Albums of the 00’s The College Dropout (other music they missed in included Hey Ya!, The Grey Album, American Idiot) and the Greatest Television Show of the 00’s Veronica Mars (also premiering that year were Deadwood, Rescue Me, Lost). Some movies worth mentioning include Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, Shaun of the Dead, and the two biggest documentaries up until that point Fahrenheit 9/11 and Super Size Me. In video games two of the most successful games had sequels: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Halo 2. The Olympics happened that year, the first time since the first modern games it was held in Greece. Other firsts at those games included the first loss ever for NBA players at the Olympics, and Michael Phelps winning his first gold medal. He would go on to win the most medals at one Olympics in a non boycotted Game.

But still, I wish instead of the first I Love the 00’s VH1 would have just done a third I Love the 90’s (the 80’s have three installment). Since that looks like it will not be happening anytime soon, there is National Geographic’s The 90’s: The Last Great Decade? premiering in two weeks. It will certainly be better than I Love the 00’s as it will be a Fat Joe free mini-series.

Preview Picture of the Week:

“Pilot” Young and Hungry, Wednesday at 8:00 on ABC Family

Free Download of the Week: Stolen Dance – Milky Chance (iTunes)

New Album Release of the Week: x - Ed Sheeran

New DVD Release of the Week: Masters of Sex: Season One

Video of the Week: I had my issues with the first season Ray Donovan but the trailer for the second season has gotten me excited for it again. Sure whoever makes trailers these days have perfected the art and can make anything seem much better than it actually is. We do get a look at some new blood with Hank Azeria as the new FBI agent on the case, Wendell Peirce (who is one of those actors who is great in everything they are in even if what they are in are not great; see The Michael J. Fox Show as the most recent example) as a new parole officer, and Vinnessa Shaw who never quite lived up to the Next Big Thing label from the late nineties (40 Days and 40 Nights ruined a lot of up and coming stars just like her new channel mate Josh Hartnett). Ray Donovan returns Sunday, July 13 at 9:00 on Showtime.

Next Week Pick of the Week: Tyrant, Tuesday at 10:00 on FX: Last year FX essentially declared they were getting into the prestige business targeting the most talented creative minds even if just for a miniseries event. Those first announcements are starting to debut: The Coen Brothers Fargo small screen reboot just ended this week, The Strain, written directed, and produced by Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy) premieres next month. The other big name announced at this time was Ang Lee, coming off his Academy Award for Best Director, who was set to direct the Pilot for Tyrant from the producers of Homeland. Tyrant debuts this week but without Lee’s name on it. Instead he was eventually replayed by David Yates, best known for the last couple Harry Potter movies. And that was just the start of some behind the scenes turmoil surrounding its production (which was detailed at length in the Hollywood Reporter). So I am a bit weary of Tyrant (especially when you also consider Homeland’s last season and a half). But given FX’s track record, I will at least give it a try.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Around the Tubes: 6/20/14

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 Legends, Wilfred, Cold Justice, Love Thy Neighbor, Sullivan and Son, Mainland, The Bridge, Kidnapped for Christ, Aerial America: Alaska, Quincy Jones, Skin Wars, Idiot Test, Roadies, and Syfy casting.

- TNT’s new series The Last Ship premieres Sunday and I am guessing the show will be inundated with adds for their next show Legends coming in August. The latest trailer just premiered on the internets and it looks like a prequel to Liam Neeson’s Taken where we see just how he got his “skills” and puts them in action for what they were meant for with Ned Stark subbing in for Neeson. I would have no problem if that is what the show turns out to be.

- Wilfred is moving and he’s taking an extra X with him. The boys are back Wed, June 25th on FXX.

- TNT's fascinating real-life crime series Cold Justice is back on the case with brand new episodes beginning tonight, at 9:00. The series follows former prosecutor Kelly Siegler and former crime-scene investigator Yolanda McClary as they travel to small towns around the country in order to help local law enforcement look into murder cases that have lingered for years without answers or closure. TNT's summer run of Cold Justice will include Justice Served, a special episode created in response to fan requests for case updates. Hosted by John Walsh (America's Most Wanted) and set to air Friday, July 18, Justice Served will look back at the remarkable results achieved by investigators on the show.

- OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network’s popular comedy series Love Thy Neighbor from Tyler Perry will return with all-new episodes on Wednesday, June 25 at 9:00. As the new summer premiere episodes unfold, Linda struggles with her feelings for Will and her growing attraction for Phillip. However, when Linda catches Will in a lie she begins to question his true character. Tired of being the good girl who always gets hurt, Linda decides to throw all caution to the wind and follow her heart…with some very unexpected consequences.

- Pittsburgh's favorite family-owned watering hole is open for business, and the bar regulars are back for another round of laughs as TBS's original sitcom Sullivan & Son returns for its third season, beginning with back-to-back episodes on Tuesday, June 24, at 10:00. As season 3 of Sullivan & Son opens, the marriage of Susan and Jason (guest star Ken Jeong) faces a big test when Jason realizes that he’s never fully pleased his wife in bed. Jason then learns that Owen (aka "The Big O") gave Susan the Big O in high school. Meanwhile, Jack and Hank lead separate sides in a Civil War reenactment, and Hank is determined to win and "change history."

- Mainland began with an eclectic record collection, 4 New York City transplants and a cavernous rehearsal studio underneath the Manhattan Bridge, culminating in a spontaneous recording session with Jim Eno of Spoon. Mainland show their raucous merit with their 2nd EP, Shiner, produced by Eno at his Public Hi-Fi studio in Austin, Texas. A gritty and erratic collection of scuzzed out indie-rock, Shiner idles somewhere between the vintage sensibilities of The Pixies, and the carefree aesthetics of The Drums. It's a genre they've affectionately coined as "puke-up punk," and it's a term that couldn't be more perfect. Check out Leave the Lights On below:

- Seeing the unseen. A new threat crosses The Bridge July 9th at 10:00 on FX.

- On Thursday, July 10th at 7:30 Showtime will premiere Kidnapped for Christ, a powerful, award-winning documentary that chronicles the shocking truth behind Escuela Caribe, a controversial Christian behavior modification program in the Dominican Republic for “troubled” U.S. teenagers. Initially hoping to document the positive effects a boarding school like this could have on struggling youth, evangelical filmmaker Kate Logan is granted unprecedented access and allowed to live on campus for the summer. Once there, Logan’s eyes are opened to the truth beneath the sunny façade of this remote reform school—kids being taken by force in the middle of the night, rumors of physical abuse, and staff imposing arbitrary and degrading punishments on the young students—and encounters students who change her life.

- Soar across the dizzying heights of Mount McKinley. Swoop down on the glimmering seas surrounding Kodiak Island. Hover above stunning aqua-blue melt ponds on the world’s largest glacier and crawl across the barren landscape left behind by the biggest volcanic eruption of the 20th century, as the most expansive aerial series in U.S. television history takes flight on a stunning journey across our nation’s largest state: Alaska. In a special extended back-to-back two-hour programming block, Smithsonian Channel celebrates the last great frontier, taking flight in Aerial America: Alaska, premiering Sunday, July 6 at 8:00 and 9:00.

- Quincy Jones is coming to Turner Classic Movies (TCM) this month as part of an all-night tribute to the entertainment legend. Jones will join TCM host Robert Osborne on Monday, June 30, for a night of films featuring scores composed by Jones. The evening is scheduled to kick off at 8:00 with Jones' debut film as a composer, The Pawnbroker (1965), starring Rod Steiger. Also included in the lineup are The Slender Thread (1965), starring Sidney Poitier and Anne Bancroft; In the Heat of the Night (1967), the Best Picture Oscar® winner starring Steiger and Poitier; The Italian Job (1969), starring Michael Caine; and $ (Dollars) (1971), starring Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn.

- GSN, the leader in game shows and competitive entertainment, announced this week the premiere dates for its two new original summer series, Skin Wars, on Wednesday August 6 at 9:00 and Idiot Test, on Tuesday, August 12 at 8:00. Skin Wars, hosted by actress Rebecca Romijn (X-Men) is an eight-episode, hour-long competition show that seeks to find the most talented and versatile body painters in the country. Judges in the series include legendary entertainer RuPaul and body painting icons Craig Tracy and Robin Slonina. Idiot Test, hosted by comedian Ben Gleib and based on the highly popular app games, gives two pairs of contestants the opportunity to face off in several rounds of rapid-fire questions whose answers any "idiot" should know: Every question involves a fun, colorful and often whimsical scene that tests observation and attention to detail as much it tests general knowledge. Contestants play the game on a giant touch screen in the center of the set.

- Showtime has given a pilot production order to Roadies, a comedy that follows the day-to-day life of a successful rock tour as seen through the eyes of music’s unsung background players – the crew members who help get the show on the road. Cameron Crowe, who won an Oscar® for brilliantly chronicling the highs and lows of rock and roll life as witnessed by a Rolling Stone magazine cub reporter in his semi-autobiographical film Almost Famous, wrote and will direct the one-hour pilot (for a potential half-hour series).

- Syfy’s fan-favorite series Haven will get a new resident when Laura Mennell (Alphas, The Watchmen) joins the cast in a recurring role playing Dr. Erin Reid, a brilliant and beautiful epidemiologist from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who fears the town of Haven is on the verge of a deadly viral outbreak. Filming for the series’ 26-episode fifth season is currently underway on location in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In other Syfy casting news, they also announced the cast of Z Nation, an all-new zombie series set to debut in the fall. From production company The Asylum (Sharknado), the 13-episode action-horror series depicts the epic struggle to save humanity after a zombie apocalypse. Harold Perrineau (Oz, Lost) Tom Everett Scott (Southland, Beauty and the Beast), DJ Qualls (Supernatural), Michael Welch (Twilight trilogy) and Kellita Smith (The Bernie Mac Show) have joined the ensemble drama, currently in production in Spokane, WA.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Previewing The Last Ship

Eric Dane and Adam Baldwin of The Last Ship

Two falls ago ABC premiered an ambitious new show called Last Resort about a submarine ship that refused its ordered to fire its nuclear warhead which undoubtedly would have started World War III. The Pilot was one of the best ion recent memories with an idea that was a great idea… for a movie. A television show? Not so much. By the second episode they were docked at some island in the Pacific and declared themselves their own nation. That and subsequent episodes never came close to that first episode.

This summer TNT is launching a similar sounding show called The Last Ship. Instead of a submarine this is a war ship and instead of nuclear warheads, they are hosting a possible cure for a virus that has wiped out half the world’s population and another half a million each day. But the biggest difference is that where Last Resort docked at a remote island and rarely went back to sea, it seems, at least for the first couple episodes, the titular vessel will stay on the move, from the arctic to France to Gitmo (where, of course, there are a few Al Qaida rebels still alive) to keep away from the infected on land and away from rouge Russian who want the cure for themselves. Still, The Last Ship sounds like it would have been better suited as a movie instead of a weekly series.

One major downgrade from Last Resort is the cast. Instead of the great Andre Braugher, we get Eric Dane who is hard to take serious after being pegged with a silly nickname on some crappy nighttime soap. I spent most of the first couple episodes wishing he would switch roles with his second in command Adam Baldwin (Chuck) someone actually worthy of going into battle for. And since this is a show about a virus, of course there is an absurdly hot doctor set to save the world, this time it is Rhona Mitra (Hollow Man).

There are others in the cast but there is no reason talking about none of them are flushed out because this is a Michael Bay production, the guy who like to blow up things from Bad Boys to all four of the Transformer movies. So in lieu of any character exposition, there is plenty of kiss, kiss, bang, bang. And more than enough of the latter, there are more explosions in the first three episodes than most action television shows have in their entire run. The Last Ship really is a mini-summer action blockbuster every week. But I do not think anyone want to see a ten hour action movie so at some point hopefully they make the characters engaging otherwise The Last Ship will likely be sunk after one season.

The Last Ship airs Sundays at 9:00 on TNT. You can download The Last Ship on iTunes.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Previewing Falling Skies:Season Four

While the middle of the seasons can get meandering, Falling Skies can produces some very thought provoking season finales. At the end of season four, Tom was finally reunited with Ann and their weeks old daughter who has already grown into the size of a gradeschooler. The previous season finale introduced a new player, the Volm, who we later learned have been in an intergalactic war with the Espheni and helped the 2nd Mass beat back the original invaders. By the end of season the 2nd Mass learned that Cochise’s father wanted to keep the humans out of the war and ship them to the safe haven of Brazil.

Apparently the 2nd Mass decided they did not want the free trip to the World Cup (I assume that would still go on even after an alien invasion) and instead split with the Volm and go back to Charleston on their own. We meet back up with them twenty-two days after the end of last season as they arrived on the outskirts of Charleston. Being Falling Skies, this is not a warm welcome as they are greeted with an attack by the Espheni that separates the group and we are introduced to a new kind of skitter which somehow manages to be significantly scarier than the kind we have already seen.

Four months later, the 2nd Mass is now in four smaller groups. Most importantly, over those four months the gradschooler sized Lexi has now grown into an absurdly attractive woman with strikingly white hair (as played by new cast member Scarlett Byrne from the Harry Potter movies). She is clearly from the house of Targaryen but without the dragons or nudity, but she does have some special powers of her own. One o my main problem with the show are no characters worth caring about but Lexi shoots right up to the top of the Most Interesting Characters Power Rankings for the show. And with the plot twist at the end of episode two, she only gets even more interesting.

Falling Skies airs Sundays at 10:00 on TNT. You can download Falling Skies on iTunes. For those that cannot wait until Sunday, the season premiere is currently available on iTunes for free.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Previewing Rizzoli and Isles: Season Five and Perception: Season Three

In the second time in as many years, a TNT show lost an actor while on the air. Dallas had to change course in the middle of the season when Larry Hagman died. Rizzoli and Isles only had to alter the season four finale when Lee Thompson Young took his own life during the filming of the finale. In the episode Barry Frost “went on vacation” and he stays there for first episode of the new season and the viewers will learn the character’s fate by the end of the season premiere with most of the fall out coming in the second episode of the season.

The big news on screen was that Jane is pregnant and Maura continues to be the only one to know at the beginning of the season. Maura had her own secret with her shared kiss with Frankie Jr. Of course there are some cases and the first one of the season hits a little too close to home to the soon to be mother when a woman is killed in the park and kid is taken from the scene. Next week seems like an easier case when a woman comes into the station covered in blood saying she has killed someone. Since the show is an hour long, and cases just do not solve themselves this easily, there is more to this story.

Rizzoli and Isles airs Tuesdays at 9:00 on TNT. You can download Rizzoli and Isles on iTunes.

When we last saw Dr. Daniel Pierce on Perception, he quit his job after it was downgraded at the university and went to Paris to reunite with the Cellist that got away. This season opens up with the Eiffel Tower in the background and despite being in a different country; the FBI still needs his help. Or does it? As always with Dr. Pierce, it could all be a figment of his imagination. All of Perception’s episode end absurdly but the season three premiere may be its most absurd yet. Back in the States, we get some entertaining comic relief as Lewicki and Dean Haley try to get Daniel’s job back without him knowing or with his blessings. Later this season, Daniel will be getting a visit from his father in the form of Peter Coyote.

Perception airs Tuesdays at 10:00 on TNT. You can download Perception on iTunes.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Previewing Miracle Landing on the Hudson

It has been five years since a flock of Canadian geese flew into the engines of a U.S. Airways Flight 1549 resulting in an emergency landing on the Hudson River during a cold day in January. This Sunday the National Geographic Channel will take an in depth look at the event with Miracle Landing on the Hudson. The two hour special will feature firsthand stories of the passengers on board (some of which actually contradict each other) with reenactments to give you a better idea of what they went through.

The special starts off with someone retelling of a dream of them standing on the banks of a river watching a plane crash. She went to the airport only decide not the board the plane. The next plane she boarded days later turned out to be the fateful U.S. Airways plane. Another tells a story of the day before the flight praying to God to take him instead of his wife who was wait on a cancer result. It came back negative and found himself on the plane the very next day thinking God was collecting on the bargain.

About ten passengers in all share their stories, including a family with a small child and a baby, and a woman and the husband she called moments before impact. Also interviewed are a stewardess, the air flight controller on duty that day, a couple of the first responders, and the co-pilot on the flight (Captain Sully Sullenberger is noticeably absent). After hearing these firsthand accounts it becomes even more amazing that all 150 passengers not only made it off the plane alive, but there were very few serious injuries that occurred that day.

Miracle Landing on the Hudson premieres this Sunday at 9:00 on the National Geographic Channel.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Previewing Combat Rescue: The Last Stand

Last year National Geographic Channel premiered Inside Combat Rescue that followed around Pararescuemen while they try to save critically wounded soldiers in Afghanistan. Tonight the channel returns to the front lines with the two hour special Combat Rescue: The Last Stand. Operation Enduring Freedom may be winding down there are still plenty of insurgents left ready to put American soldiers in harm’s way.

For the special, camera will follow around “Reapers” an elite Air Force unit tasked with capturing or killing the highest level Taliban targets who threaten lives of the 36,000 people who call Bagram home. The specific Taliban commander is Subhanullah who is suspected of orchestrating multiple attacks on American in Afghanistan including possible involvement in a rocket attack that killed four soldiers waiting at a bus stop on base. Camera will follow a high ranking colonel into a Taliban-controlled village that may be harboring him in hopes that the town will give him up all the while the potential of an ambush still in play.

The special will also head to the skies once again to follow Pararescuemen, this time of the 83rd Rescue Squadron as they fly into hostile territory to rescue wounded comrades, coalition forces, and Afghan citizens. During the tumultuous month of July, when Independence Day attacks are known to spike, the PJs spring into action, flying into the heat of battle to save the critically wounded following a massive attack at a compound in the city of Kabul that killed seven people. Much like the series, Combat Rescue: The Last Stand is a well done documentary of some of the hardest jobs at war.

Combat Rescue: The Last Stand premieres tonight at 9:00 on the National Geographic Channel.