Saturday, May 16, 2015

Around the Tubes: 5/16/15

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 The Strain, The Mindy Project, 3AM, Live Nation Music Awards, Breaking Bad, Mummies Alive, TruTV, and The Carol Burnett Show.

- This Summer, fight or die. Watch the OFFICIAL TRAILER for the all new season of FX's hit original series, The Strain.

- Hulu announced this week that it has ordered season four - 26 new episodes - of the critically acclaimed series The Mindy Project. The series will join Hulu’s Original Programming slate in a new agreement with Universal Television. Hulu subscribers will be able to stream past and future episodes of The Mindy Project exclusively on Hulu. Since its network premiere in 2012, The Mindy Project has been a top show on Hulu and has consistently remained popular with Hulu subscribers. Hulu is currently the exclusive streaming home to all past episodes of the series, which were previously acquired in a library deal with NBCUniversal announced in April 2014.

- 3AM is a docu-series that weaves together the stories of five New Yorkers – Josh ("The Fat Jew"), an internet celebrity and self-described “Magellan” of nightlife in the Big Apple; Kirill (“Kirill Was Here") a nightlife photographer who gets even the most uptight girls to strip in the clubs; Vashtie ("Va$htie") a gorgeous DJ forced to deal with her troubled past; Markus, a glamorous doorman and stand-up comedian who decides who’s in and who’s out; and Samantha (“Abby”) a beautiful escort who longs for a more normal life but struggles to walk away. In each episode, characters are tracked across a single night, building to a special “3am moment,” when something important and life changing happens. Stories cross not only the night but also the season. Our subjects’ lives may all be different but they all share one thing in common – a love for the wild ride that only happens at 3am. Buckle up! The late night docu-series premieres Thursday, May 28 at 11:00.

- Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. and Live Nation Entertainment (NYSE: LYV) today announced the Live Nation Music Awards, a new television event honoring the best live musical performances of the year. Set to be simulcast on TNT and TBS on Oct. 1, 2015, the star-studded ceremony will be produced by Live Nation Entertainment in collaboration with IMG and dick clark productions.

- Breaking Bad: the Official Book (Sterling, April 2015) is the ultimate guide to the show—covering everything from the pilot, to the final episode, and beyond! Adapted and expanded from Breaking Bad: Alchemy, the winner of iTunes Best Multi-Touch Book of the Year for 2013, it highlights the groundbreaking elements that made the series so magnetic. The book is filled with insider secrets about the making of the show and the meanings behind its iconography, as well as a complete timeline of Breaking Bad moments. It includes an in-depth look at the series’ groundbreaking cinematography, music, special effects, and “Easter eggs.”

- A new Smithsonian Channel series narrated by two-time Golden Globe nominee Jason Priestley (Beverly Hills 90210) traverses four continents to reveal the extraordinary stories behind the world's most enigmatic mummies. Mummies Alive, premiering Sunday, June 7 at 9 p.m. ET/PT, spans 5,000 years of history, with each of the six episodes focusing on one mummy including: a legendary cowboy gunslinger of the American Wild West, a 3,000-year-old Egyptian pharaoh, and a 14-year-old girl found on top of a 22,000-foot volcano in South America. These mummies are time travelers from the past and the most precious human link we have to our ancestors. By investigating their incredible preserved remains and bringing them to back to life through cutting-edge CGI, their stories and the secrets of past civilizations come to light.

- As truTV prepares to join its sister brands for Turner Upfront 2015, the network is building on the momentum of its recent brand refresh with several major original programming moves. First up, truTV has greenlit two new series: Adam Ruins Everything, an investigative comedy in which Adam Conover hilariously debunks social conventions that most people take for granted, and The Driver's Seat (working title), a show that literally hits the road to discover what people really dish about in the privacy of their own cars. truTV has also given the go-ahead on three specials from the fan-favorite Impractical Jokers. And on the development front, the network has ordered five new pilots, including a television version of CollegeHumor's long-running Jake and Amir. Also going to pilot are a guerilla-style game show, a docu-series about a weed distribution business run by four women, a new project from How to Be a Grownup's Tom Segura & Christina Pazsistky and a docuseries that will follow a season of the FXFL's Brooklyn Bolts football team.

- Every legend has a beginning. And this fall, Time Life, one of the premiere distributors of Classic TV on DVD, will unveil the very first steps of a TV icon with The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes. Showcasing the early days of one of the most honored and beloved shows in television history, the DVD set will feature episodes from the program's first five seasons - unseen by the public for more than 40 years! Fans of the show interested in receiving updates and exclusive content from THE LOS EPISODES can visit, the official Time Life site for this highly-anticipated release.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Previewing Barkfest

When I received the screener for Is Your Dog a Genius? my initial response was, "that is easy: no." Really I have considered my dogs to be dumb and dumber. But as I watched the couple of episodes included, the answer became a little murkier. The three part series airs part of Barkfest running all weekend starting tonight on Nat Geo Wild with a three hour block starting at 8:00 each night devoted to our canine friends the next three days.

Barkfest starts off tonight with World's Greatest Dogs where viewers will be introduced to special dogs that range from surfing therapy dogs, a dog with four bionic legs after a frostbite incident as a pup, as well as a dog who owns the world record for scootering which needs to be seen to believe (next up for the dog: breaking the world record for riding a bicycle). That is followed at 9:00 by the season finale of Cesar 911. The episode sees Cesar Millan being recruited by a father who's daughter's pit bull attacks every dog he sees including the daughter's boyfriend's dog. Be warned: there will be blood in the episode and a twist ending.

Saturday starts off with a special episode of The Incredible Dr. Pol: Deja Moo!: Dog-a-POL-ooza, followed by a canine focused episode of Unlikely Animal Friends: Barktacular! featuring uncanny pals like cheetahs, rats, and goats. Sunday starts off with the special Super Underdogs where you will meet the largest and smallest living dogs (the former of who costs his owners over a hundred dollars of food every week). You will also be introduced to medical marvels like the boxer who rejected any mechanical legs and only gets around on two and another who only has a half sized spine. While some of you may already be familiar with Tuna, a Chiweenie with over a million followers on social media.

The highlight of Barkfest is Is Your Dog a Genius? which airs new episodes at 10:00 the next three nights. The series follows Dr. Brian Hare to determine the personality traits of all dogs best on five criteria. And his test are so simple all you need to do them at home are two plastic cups, two bowls, aluminum foil, and a decent amount of treats. Then by the end of the weekend you should have a better understanding if your dog a genius or not. Since the show if fun and interactive, it is basically the dog version of Brain Games which airs on Nat Geo Wild's sister station the National Geographic Channel.

Barkfest runs all weekend with forty-eight hours of all dog programming with all new specials and episodes premiering every evening starting at 8:00.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Five Most (and Least) Anticipated New Shows of 2015-16

When the descriptions of the new fall shows came rolling in over the weekend, my first impression was they better release some great trailers for these new shows because right now Blindspot is the only one that sounds interesting (well, I would probably end up hate watching Supergirl too). Some of the trailer did give some some hope, but overall the crop of new shows are pretty dreadful this year. To be honest, this list should be called The Single Most Anticipated Show of 2015-16 and Four That Hopefully Do Not Suck.

1. Blindside (Mondays at 10:00 on NBC): A Memento rip off starring Lady Sif with tattoois all over her body? Sign me up. My only complaint is that it is airing after The Voice, I was kind of hoping it was going to get the post-football Sunday treatment which is where NBC puts its high concept one and done shows because I am not sure this concept can hold up for over fifteen episodes.

2. Quantico (Tuesdays at 10:00 on ABC): The show that benefited most from a really good trailer. The logline made it sound like another boring rookie law enforcement type show but the trailer unveiled a deeper conspiracy that makes the show a lot more interested.

3. Wicked City (Tuesdays, Midseason at 10:00 on ABC): Not only did ABC renew bubble shows Agent Carter and Galavant, the network is doubling down on filler winter break type shows with seven different time slots taking winter breaks while a different show takes its place. Wicked City will be taking over Quantico over the winter (or possibly full time if that show fails). The show has a weird American Psycho vibe to it but instead of cooperate America, it takes place on the Sunset Strip in the eighties.

4. The Muppets (Tuesdays at 8:00 on ABC): I was tepid on a faux documentary show on The Muppets, and then Wynn Duffy showed up as the father of Fozzy Bear's girlfriend. Fine, I will watch.

5. Supergirl (Mondays at 8:00 on CBS): Odd that CBS would put this on opposite Gotham. Granted pre-pubescent Batman vs. female Superman might be as interesting as the movie that is coming out on the big screen next year. I really cannot comment on the show that much because as I wrote this, CBS had not released a trailer yet, but it has to be better than the one they released for Superman v Batman: Dawn of Justice? Right?
Scooter Update: CBS finally released a trailer and to answer my own question: shockingly no. The first two minutes I thought I was watching a trailer for a bad nineties rom-com where Ally McBeal stole Anne Heche's face Face-Off style. And then it somehow got worse from there. Oh goodness, why can DC seem to not do anything right? Still I will watch every episode, which may not be that many as I expect this may not even make it to Christmas, and that is even with it not starting until November.

As the great philosopher Butt-Head once pondered, how would we know if something was cool if there weren't things that sucked, here are the five shows you could not pay me to watch next fall (click on their names to watch the trailers).

Heartbreaker (Tuesdays at 9:00 on NBC): After three failed seasons, NBC has abandoned trying to launch comedies after The Voice on Tuesdays, but looking at Heartbreaker (about, oh goodness, a heart surgeon) maybe they should tried one more time because this looks like a Greys Anatomy parody that Lorne Michaels passed on airing on Saturday Night Live. Melissa George should really fire her agent after being on the two worst new show in consecutive years with this and The Slap.

The Catch (Thursdays Midseason at 10:00 on ABC): "From Shonda Rhymes" is an instant pass for me, but this looks like her worst show yet. Seriously, what is with the chick from The Killing's voice? And who thought she could pull off sexy? Go back to shows where you can wear oversized sweaters.

Limitless (Tuesdays at 10:00 on CBS), Minority Report (Mondays at 9:00 on Fox), Rush Hour (Midseason, CBS), and Uncle Buck (Fridays Midseason at 8:30 on ABC): Networks have tried before to take a big screen and shrink it to the small screen, but to the best of my memory, Parenthood was the only one that was good. Sure the Captain America spin-off Agent Carter was great, but do not ask me why next season will feature four shows based on movies (five if you want to count Supergirl) each sounding more dreadful than the next.

Dr. Ken (Friday at 8:30 on ABC): Ken Jeong is funny at bursts on Community but I really have no desire seeing him top line a show. Then the trailer made it look worse than I expected which stole a plot from the About a Boy trailer from two seasons ago.

Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (Midseason, CBS): Another year, another CBS spin off I will not be watching.

Here is the full schedule of what I will be watching come next fall

8:00 - Gotham (FOX)
8:00 - Supergirl (CBS)
8:00 - The Voice (NBC)
10:00 - Blindspot (NBC)
10:00 - Castle (ABC)

8:00 - The Muppets (ABC)
8:00 - The Voice (NBC)
9:00 - Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (ABC)
10:00 - Quantico (ABC)

8:00 - Survivor: Second Chances (CBC)
8:00 - The Middle (ABC)
8:30 - The Goldbergs (ABC)
9:00 - Modern Family (ABC)
9:30 - Blackish (ABC)
10:00 - Nashville (ABC)

8:00 - The Big Bang Theory (CBS)
9:00 - The Blacklist (NBC)

9:00 - Grimm (NBC)

8:00 - Once Upon a Time (ABC)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 5/10/15

Mad Man: I do not care that an organ just randomly popped up in the desolate offices of Sterling Cooper and Partners, I am just glad it did because those were some of the best scenes in the history of the show, especially Peggy drunkenly roller skating around. Don, on the other hand, chasing down the waitress' ex-husband was not.
You can download Mad Men on iTunes.

Revenge: Holy Abbott reunion! Nice of Amy to retain the services of her father after getting arrested. It is weird to think both of the Abbott children are now superheroes. But anyway. Oh yeah, Courtney Love the hitman that I believe Margot hired to kill Emily is still out there and for some reason she is hanging out with a not so surprisingly not dead Victoria. Does Courtney also do security too and that is why she is there or is she there in a hitman capacity? Thankfully there is only one episode left ever.
You can download Revenge on iTunes.

American Odyssey: I was harsh on the the premiere because it was looking like another rich people are evil and will stay in power by any means necessary type story, something we have seen many times before and done much better. And yeah, that story line is still kind of annoying, but the show has managed to get more entertaining thanks to the transvestite Arab television star who seduces the Malian general for help. Yeah the show has not gotten to Homeland levels of absurdity yet (you know Carrie would have seduced Aslam by now) but at least it has gotten watchable.
You can download American Odyssey on iTunes.

Gotham: What a cluster of a finale, and yet it was still very enjoyable. That was one of the best chick fights in recent memory. I cannot remember a time before when a character has had that many personality changes in one season than Barbra did this season. Where do they actually go from here with her? You pretty much has to turn her into a supervillian at this point because it is hard to redeem her at this point after attacking the good doctor. And there seems to be some darkness lurking in the doctor too, knowing to beak the mirror to make a weapon to banging Barabra's way more than she really had too.

But my favorite part was all twists at the Falcone "safe house." Just when you thought it was the end, some one else would turn or someone else would randomly find a gun. My favorite point was Harvey just hanging out in the gallery while his partner still was hung by a meat hook.

My two biggest problems were they really just shoehorned in the Riddler, they might as well have just ended the last episode with that scene and left him out of the finale where it felt out of place. Then the ending was just annoying because they teased that scene about three or four weeks ago.
You can download Gotham on iTunes.

Castle: I was really hoping Carly Rae Jepsen, as her self, was going to turn out to be the killer. Instead it just turned out to be the accountant. Yawn.  Seriously, why even go on a cop show if you do not get to be the killer?

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Well that was a tense meeting. You had to figure something bad was going to happen, the big question was what. Ward with the twin jet seemed like the most likely considering Raina's premonition; Raina herself was another contender; you of course could not count out the two people meeting, both seemed to be on the right side but a little shady. Now just how long will this SHIELD / Inhumans war goes on? Is it over at the end of the season which is just two hours away, or does this drag into next season (or does it drag on until the Inhumans movie comes out in, oh goodness, 2019, eleven Marvel movies away)?
You can download Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.

Survivor: Blue Collar vs. White Collar. vs. No Collar: When the vote came down to Dan and Tyler I figured Dan had to use his special vote now right and hope Mike and Seirra also vote Tyler just in case? Shockingly not only does he keeps it in his pocket he does not even vote for Tyler, sticking with the Mike split vote. Tyler even did the same thing. Wow, those two were morons. But the biggest part of the episode happened during the commercial break when Probst announced the next season of Survivor will be Second Chances with us the viewing public voting. This got me excited until I saw the list which was fifty percent who and thirty percent why. But, hey, at least they included Ciera, the most entertaining contestant of the past decade. On the other hand there was Mike and Carolyn, and since this is a second chance season of non-winner it pretty much means neither of them will be winning this season (after someone asked him about it, Probst said if either of them win, their votes would be null and void, but c'mon, they already knew if those two won or not why include them if they did; and anyway, who would even vote for Carolyn anyway?). Here are the twenty people I will be voting for everyday until the finale:

Kelly Wiglesworth
Peig-Gee Law
Monica Padilla
Natalie Tenerelli
Mikayla Wingle
Sabrina Thompson
Abi-Maria Gomes
Ciera Eastin
Tasha Fox
Kelley Wentworth (after seeing them on the same list, maybe Kelly Wiglesworth and Kelley Wentworth on the same season will be extremely confusing; I may switch to Shirin instead)

Jeff Varner
Andrew Savage
Stephen Fishbach
Troyzan Robertson
Vytas Baskauskas
Woooooooooooooooooooooooo Hwang
Spencer Bledsoe
Jeremy Collins
Keith Nale
Max Dawson
You can download Survivor: White Collar vs. Blue Collar vs. No Collar on iTunes.

The Blacklist: It seems like I have been lost most of the season having little to no clue. I again had trouble keeping up with most of this episode until everything finally became clear at the end when it seemed like the whole season was leading up to Lizzie being outed as a Russian spy. A little clunky getting there, but hopefully it plays out a lot better. Maybe Lizzie should get on that boat with Tom.
You can download The Blacklist on iTunes.