Saturday, July 11, 2015

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 7/11/15

Penny Dreadful: So the creepy Vanessa doll was the Earthly vessel for the Fallen Angel... Awesome. But did destroying the doll end the Fallen Angel or will he just be stewing in hell until he find another witch to do his bidding (and could the witch's daughter be that person; though I have a feeling if she shows up again it will be to help Ethan escape)? I did not quite understand the absorbing the scorpion, was she absorbing the Fallen Angel and is now an angel herself? Is that why she burned the cross. Maybe that was the Fallen Angel processing her, maybe? Though it does seem that they are setting up Lilly and Dorian as the big bad of season three.
You can download Penny Dreadful on iTunes.

Tyrant: Offering his services as baby sitter for the woman who is leaving the village for six months really makes it looks like Barry will be spending the whole season there and not trying to get home to his family which would be a bummer. At least the promo monkeys make it seem he will be going to Syria next week.
You can download Tyrant on iTunes.

Mr. Robot: That bar scene basically just confirmed to me that Christian Slater is just a figment of Elliot's imagination. Then you had Tyrell going as close as you can get to going American Psycho without having Huey Lewis and the News playing in the background (which begs the question who is this decade's Huey Lewis... Maroon 5?) But still, I need more than one or two scene of Dalia Royce per episode. This is the worst tease in television history.
You can download Mr. Robot on iTunes.

Hannibal: Leave it to this show to make even hot lesbian sex seem creepy. And I finally figured out who Mason looks like with his new face: he looks like a resident of Whoville. Now I will probably start laughing whenever he comes on screen.
You can download Hannibal on iTunes.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Around the Tubes: 7/10/15

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 Homeland, Twinning, The Expanse, Chris Cornell, Other Voices, Showtime on Hulu, Incredible Flying Jet Packs, Hell on Wheels, and WAGS.

- Hot on the heels of launching its stand-alone streaming service, Showtime is giving viewers a first look at the upcoming fifth season of the Emmy® and Golden Globe®-winning drama series Homeland. Premiering this fall, the series will pick up two years after Carrie Mathison’s (Emmy®, Screen Actors Guild® and Golden Globe® Award winner Claire Danes) ill-fated tenure as Islamabad station chief. Struggling to reconcile her guilt and disillusionment with years of working on the front lines in the “war on terror,” Carrie finds herself in a self-imposed exile in Berlin, estranged from the CIA and working as the head of security for a German philanthropist.

- For the first time ever, VH1 is putting “twin-tuition” to the test with new reality competition series Twinning premiering Wednesday, July 22nd at 10:00. With ten hour-long episodes and hosted by Angie Greenup, Twinning is an arc’d competition series in which 12 sets of twins will go head-to-head for a grand prize of $222,222.22. But getting there won’t be easy. Viewers will experience double the meltdowns, double the hook-ups, and, of course, double the fun when twin teams are pushed to their limits in unexpected ways. As the strengths and weaknesses of each twin pair is revealed, relationships will be tested and resentments will be exposed. In the end, one pair of twins will be left standing and win the cash prize, and be crowned as “Twinners!”

- Syfy has announced the launch of a virtual reality app for The Expanse, the network’s highly-anticipated drama series from Alcon TV premiering in December 2015. Utilizing Google Cardboard, the app immerses viewers into the vast world of The Expanse, giving them the opportunity to enter into settings from the show and experience them in virtual reality. “The Expanse VR” app – available for iOS and Android devices – takes users on a 360-degree tour of the spaceship Canterbury (the massive ice freighter introduced in the first episode of The Expanse). Additional virtual reality content will be added to the app in the months leading up to the series’ premiere in December.

- When Grammy-winning, Golden Globe® nominated singer/songwriter and rock icon Chris Cornell was about to release his 1999 solo debut on Interscope/A&M/Geffen Records, he was dissuaded from his first choice for the title, Euphoria Mourning, and reluctantly dubbed it Euphoria Morning. Now, 16 years later, Universal Music Enterprises is correcting that admitted misjudgment, re-releasing the re-mastered album under its original name on August 14, for the first time on vinyl as well as reissuing digitally and on CD. Euphoria Mourning will be pressed on 180 gram vinyl and include a download card featuring 320 kbps MP4 audio ripped directly from the vinyl.

- The latest special from the acclaimed Irish music series Other Voices is headed to North America. The one-hour program, featuring worldwide sensation and Grammy Award-nominated artist Hozier, will be broadcast on Smithsonian Channel in the U.S. and Canada. OTHER VOICES is distributed by Monster Entertainment. Hosted by Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones and The Wire), Other Voices is filmed in the spectacular seaside town of Dingle, Co. Kerry, Ireland, where the main performances are shot in the very intimate and beautiful 200-year old St. James’ Church. The announcement was made today by David Royle, Executive Vice President of Programming and Production, Smithsonian Channel and Andrew Fitzpatrick, Chairman, Monster Entertainment.

- A new era has arrived. Starting today, Showtime is available as a stand-alone streaming service on Apple TV®, iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch® and the Roku streaming platform, and consumers can subscribe to the service for one monthly price of $10.99. Viewers can also subscribe to Showtime via PlayStation Vue’s cloud-based TV service, or can get the SHOWTIME service through their Hulu subscription and stream on a wide range of the most popular internet-connected streaming devices. The launch of Showtime through these new internet distributors coincides with the new seasons of the critically-acclaimed, hit series Ray Donovan, starring Liev Schreiber, and Masters of Sex, starring Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan, premiering this Sunday, July 12th. In addition, Showtime is also available to subscribers via cable, DBS and telco providers.

- Jet packs have sparked our imaginations for decades. They’re fast, they’re cool, and people dream of them becoming part of everyday life in the 21st century. A new Smithsonian Channel one-hour special, Incredible Flying Jet Packs, premiering Sunday, July 19 at 9:00, explores their past, present and future.

- Season Three of Hell on Wheels ended with Cullen married to a pregnant Naomi and living in a Mormon fort where the Swede (Christopher Heyerdahl) was impersonating church leader, Bishop Dutson; Thomas "Doc" Durant (Colm Meaney) back in control of the Union Pacific Railroad which had successfully expanded westward to Cheyenne; and Elam (Common), gravely injured by a bear while searching for the missing Cullen. And, as Hell on Wheels: The Complete Forth Season unfolds on blu-ray and DVD exclusively from Entertainment One (eOne), civilization makes its way west with the railroad, bringing with it men who attempt to do with their pens what rougher men did in seasons past with their guns. Conflict between government and big business, ranchers, homesteaders and the railroad will continue to define the drama as all of those interests compete with one another for control of Cheyenne, Wyoming, the "Magic City of the Plains", and the most important railroad hub in the country.

- E! takes a wild ride into the world of some of today’s hottest professional athletes from the perspective of the women who stand by their side, otherwise known as WAGS (Wives and Girlfriends of Sports Stars). These WAGS are playing the most competitive sport out there: getting and keeping that pro-athlete man. As part of an elite, exclusive group, the WAGS are close friends who are bound together by a strict hierarchy, unspoken rules and plenty of drama – and those who have the coveted ring and a husband with a contract are the ones with all the power! As in sports, this game is all about getting that “W” and this pack knows how to play the field… Jump into the competitive, fast-paced, glamorous world of “WAGS” when the new series premieres on E! Tuesday, August 18th at 10:00.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Previewing Masters of Sex: Season Three

Late last season on Masters of Sex, Virginia's ex-husband George showed up looking to alter their custody arrangement much to her chagrin. I actually thought he had a good case because at that point I had completely forgotten she had children, they were MIA for most of the season and the only time I even remember them being mentioned was when Libby wanted to piggyback Virginia's babysitter to spend more time with her nanny's brother. It seems like there will not be a lack of Johnson children this season because they have enough of a storyline this year to warrant a title card at the end of each episode (or the very least the first two) letting us know that though the sex study is based on their real research, the children on the show are completely fictitious.

When the Johnson children did pop up at the end of last season during the custody battles I was a bit surprised that with all the time jumping that happen last season (five years had passed since the series started) the kids were played by the same actors that played them in the first season despite the five years that had passed in the time. Since another four year has passed since the end of last they have finally recast the kids to more age appropriate actor. Henry is now seventeen and looking like Steve Rogers before he got his Captain America super powers. While fifteen year old Tessa is now being played by Isabelle Fuhrman (the creepy girl from Orphan who did such a great job in an otherwise mediocre film that I had to go straight to her Wikipedia page to see if she really was a forty year old like her character or an actual teenager like she looked). Focusing more on teenagers has always been a drag on otherwise great television shows, but the best part of the early season is when Ginny suggests Dr. Masters, who has spent his life studying the subject, give Tessa the birds and the bees speech.

This comes when the Johnsons and Masters (who have added a third child since the last episode) descend on a cabin for vacation on the even of their book finally being publish. When we last left Libby she was finally admit her husband was having an affair and it seems like everyone now know this but never speak of it which leads to a bunch of awkward conversations even before the subject of birds and bees is brought up. The end of the premiere bring a bombshell that will shake up the new season which will result in the addition of Maggie Grace as fellow doctor (yes, the token hot chick from Lost will be playing an MD) who assists Dr. Masters when a very important person is in need of Masters's expertise.

Over two season, Masters of Sex has established itself as one of television's best, combining drama and sexual education with a wry sense of humor (thankfully Betty and Lester still working at the clinic) and it only continues to get better in its third season. And it may end up being the first great television show that can make kids of the characters entertaining.

Masters of Sex airs Sundays at 10:00 on Showtime. You can download previous season of Masters of Sex on iTunes.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Previewing Ray Donovan: Season Three

For seven years fans of Justified were hoping that Raylan Givens would run into his alter ego's nemesis Al Swearengen. Unfortunately all we got instead was a dreadful Michael Rappaport season. We may have never gotten the Deadwood reunion we wanted on Justified but we will be getting one on Ray Donovan with Ian McShane showing up on his favorite prostitute's show. He plays a very powerful (and kind of shady) billionaire in need of Ray's by any means necessary approach when his son is held for ransom. That one favor turns into two and when Ray needs a favor, McShane then completely owns Rays (but it is a really big favor).

I had some big problems with the first season of Ray Donovan. It really epitomized what I considered the post-golden age era television is currently in: the acting is ghe writing is good, but something is just missing, and in this case, the show just was not entertaining. The show did improve in its sophomore outing as it found its humor; the Conner birthday was a highlight of last season. Yeah it did still have some rough spots; Bunchy was still a useless character (well so are the kids, but that was the case even during the Golden Age). The show also would have been better off had they just killed off Micky at the end of the first season instead of Sully. But Wendell Pierce was a great addition as Micky's parole officer.

Unfortunately we may not be see much of Pierce this season as apparently his parole expired in between seasons (he does show up in the third episode) and Micky has moved on to babysitting a five year old girl (seriously). Instead we get a recurring Katie Holmes as McShane's sports agents daughter which disappointingly brings Ray back to his first season self where Ray finds himself bailing athletes out of sticky situations that the lower half of their bodies get them into. And it does not happen early in the run, but it seems safe to assume Ray will forcibly have sex with her at some time and will disturbingly like it.

Much like Ray himself, the show is seriously flawed but is working hard at what he does. It is not clear if the third season is where the show can finally turn a corner but at the very least, it will be nice have l Swearengen back on a channel where he can say his favorite word (which sadly, I doubt will chance, a lot has changed in the decade since Deadwood) but it will be interesting if the writers can figure out a reunion with Trixie. But at the very least the second episode is worth checking out just to hear Terry's (who is absent in the season premiere) cellmate sing his favorite Huey Lewis and the News song.

Ray Donovan airs Sundays at 9:00 on Showtime. You can also download previous seasons of Ray Donovan on iTunes.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Previewing Destination Wild

In a measure of full disclousure I should mention that I have never actually played Angry Birds. I think I got the Star Wars edition when some site offered it for free but never got around to tranfering it to a mobile devise let alone play it yet. But I understand that the mobile game is a cultural phenomanon. It is even getting its own tie in special on Nat Geo Wild this Sunday with the appropriately titled Real Angry Bird. And these birds more than live up to their title with the birds going wild on other animals and even some bird on bird action like one species who go one on one with what look like a female cheering them on like someone is filming a white trash family reunion. And in a rarity on these animal specials, us human beings get featured as a target o some aerial assults.

Real Angry Birds is part of a twelve week Destination Wild branded events all starting Sundays at 9:00. Here is a full down of what is airing this summer:

Real Angry Birds
Premieres Sunday, July 12, 9/8c
“Angry Birds” is an addictive game, but are there real angry birds out there? What happens when they stop being polite and start getting mad? For the aviary set, every day is a battle to survive, find food and shelter, and stay out of harm’s way. Tune in for a bird’s-eye view of our feathered friends’ fights, singing battles and dance-offs.

The Eagles
Premieres Sunday, July 12, 10/9c
Eagles are top predators that battle fiercely for survival and diligently raise their young. This eagle clan has 60 members, united by their acute eyesight, powerful wings, sharp talons and hooked beaks. We follow one eagle from hatchling to home ownership. Her fight to survive shows what it takes to be queen of the sky. In the words of another reality diva: “It’s Gone With the Wind fabulous.”

Premieres Sunday, July 19, 9/8c (two hours)
From the rolling mountains and luscious rain forests to the scorching desert and the iconic Amazon River, meet the extreme wildlife of Brazil. And we’re not talking about an episode of “Botched.” We’re talking giant anteaters, venomous snakes, capuchin monkeys, dolphins, boa constrictors and many more.

Clever Monkeys
Premieres Sunday, July 26, 10/9c
Narrated by natural history legend David Attenborough, Clever Monkeys opens our eyes to a world filled with intelligence, love, sadness, empathy, language, lying, social manipulation, stress and humor more touching than anything you might see on Bravo! Scientists around the world are listening to monkey calls and finding language with grammar. They have even discovered lying monkeys. Some monkeys suffer from depression, high blood pressure, ulcers and stress. Come along to a monkey world that looks strikingly similar to ours.

Kings of Baja
Premieres Sunday, Aug. 2, 10/9c
There are few places on Earth more forbidding and beautiful than Baja, Mexico. That said, Laguna Beach came close in its reality heyday. Eight hundred miles long and 10 million years in the making, Baja is home to a punishing desert and the most diverse sea on the planet. Kings of Baja showcases the unique evolutionary adaptations of the flora and mega fauna to survive in their slice of the ecosystem including sea lions, devil rays, great white sharks, hammerheads, giant mantas, whale sharks and gray whales.

Fur Seal Battleground
Premieres Sunday, Aug. 9, 9/8c
If you’re looking for the ultimate survival reality show, you won’t want to miss the adventures of Ruby and Oliver, two New Zealand fur seal pups struggling to learn the secret to staying alive. From the very start, they must stay out of the way of testosterone-charged bulls so they aren’t trampled to death. Every few days the pups are left to themselves while their mothers go off to feed. Only half of all fur seal pups survive the first year of life, so these pups must learn fast if they want to beat the odds.

Lemur Island
Premieres Sunday, Aug. 9, 10/9c
Millions of years ago, hundreds of castaway creatures crash-landed on Madagascar’s rugged shores. Isolated from the mainland, evolution went into overdrive. Of the tens of thousands of species found on the island, approximately 80 percent are unique. This myriad of bizarre life forms had a huge impact on the early human settlers — lemurs in particular shaped their culture, fueling folklore and legend that still guide their lives today. Legend has it that early reality sensation Puck is descended from a lemur.

The Kangaroo King
Premieres Sunday, Aug. 16, 10/9c
The scorching interior of the world’s oldest continent is home to the toughest kangaroo on the planet, the mighty Red. You won’t want to miss extremely rare footage of a red kangaroo birth and specialized in-pouch cameras that capture an intimate portrait of Red’s development. We are also introduced to the kangaroo’s formidable neighbors through close encounters with wedge-tailed eagles, dingoes, venomous snakes and giant monitor lizards. This is a story of survival against the odds and what it takes to endure drought, heat wave and bushfire.

Alpine Underworld
Premieres Sunday, Aug. 23, 8/7c
The Alps’ lofty mountain world is a holiday destination from January to December, but there is an unknown side to the picturesque vacation spot. Using the latest technology, our cameras summit lofty peaks and dive into ice-cold lakes to reveal zones of life and death. We’re talking real-world Life Below Zero here. The lakes’ abyss includes ghostly shipwrecks complete with ghastly residents, medieval trees felled by too much snow and fascinating sea life. High up on the mountaintops we meet the animals that breathe this rare air including lynx, the poisonous asp viper and the stone eagle. This alpine tour brings an entirely new perspective to one of Europe’s most fascinating landscapes.

Wild Spain
Premieres Sunday, Aug. 23, 9/8c
Arab emirs called it the Great River; today it is called the Guadalquivir and it flows for 400 miles from the Carzola mountain range in Spain to the Atlantic Ocean. Together with a lone fox, we embark on the ultimate reality road trip along the banks of the Guadalquivir, from the snow-covered summits to the seashore, enjoying the greatest biodiversity in Europe. The fox’s goal is safer ground, and on his way he meets a motley crew of animals including an Iberian lynx, golden eagle, spider crab, dragonflies and sturgeon. This spectacular variety of landscapes and fauna is a must-see.

Elephant Queen
Premieres Sunday, Aug. 30, 9/8c
After the tragic death of her daughter, the herd matriarch must lead her elephants to safety. This epic journey will take them across an arid desert, past mud swamps, a valley of dust storms and beyond the lion gatekeepers of a forbidden kingdom, into the herds’ ancient feeding grounds in the Okavango Delta. The route they will follow is an ancient one, etched in elephant memory that stitches waterhole to waterhole in an invisible map across the dry lands. However, if Mensah loses her way, her herd could all die of thirst, or worse.

Premieres Sunday, Sept. 6, 10/9c
Twenty years of drought has turned the Boteti River into Botswana dust. The animals that live here endure hardship to stay alive and must adapt their behavior to survive. Herds of zebra fight over water, crocodiles dig tunnels to stay cool and elephants practice water conservation. Now for the first time in 30 years, rain has fallen, sending a stream of water through the riverbed. After years of extreme drought, the Boteti has returned in all its glory, transforming the landscape and bringing dramatic changes to the resident animals. It’s like when the contestants on “Survivor” get a food reward — buckle up for a wild ride.

Premieres Sunday, September Sept. 13, 8/7c (90 minutes)
WINGS OF LIFE is a stunning adventure full of intrigue, drama and mesmerizing beauty. Narrated by Academy Award® winner Meryl Streep, this intimate and unprecedented look at butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, bats and flowers is a celebration of life, as a third of the world’s food supply depends on these incredible — and increasingly threatened — creatures.

Behind Russia’s Frozen Curtain
Premieres Sunday, Sept. 20, 9/8c
Explore the stark landscape, frigid sea and wild animals in Franz Josef Land, one of the most remote and inhospitable places on Earth. National Geographic Pristine Seas Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala leads a group of scientists and adventurers on the first international scientific expedition to Franz Josef Land. His team will work with some of Russia’s most formidable biologists, geomorphologists and ornithologists to see how climate change is affecting this untouched world. Behind Russia’s Frozen Curtain is also featured in Sala’s new book, “Pristine Seas: Journeys to the Ocean’s Last Wild Places,” on sale Sept. 22.

Land of 10,000 Grizzlies
Premieres Sunday, Sept. 27, 8/7c
Russia’s Far East is a wild and isolated realm that was closed to outsiders by the Soviet military for most of the past hundred years, but wildlife was left to flourish. Compelled by the instinct to reproduce, millions of salmon journey to Russia’s remote Kamchatka Peninsula every summer, drawing some 10,000 grizzly bears to its shores. Talk about an “Amazing Race.” Journey with us to this harsh and beautiful terrain to find Northern fur seals, the artic fox and Steller’s sea eagle.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 7/5/15

Penny Dreadful: Last week I was beginning to think that Sembene was special after he was able to shake Sir Malcolm from his enchantment. Well it turns out the marks on his face was because he was a slave trader and he is, as he claims, just a man. Of course if he is still around next week after surviving a wolf attack he is more than just a man. But the show did set up what looks to be a tense finale. Malcolm and Dr. Frankenstein are locked up in a room of illusion. Vanessa was introduced to a creepy doll version of herself (or I assume even though it looks less like her than the bust of Lionel Richie made by a blind woman looked like him). Then you have to wonder if Lyle is still playing both sides because he is safest of them all right now.
You can download Penny Dreadful on iTunes.

The Last Ship: The two hour premiere was pretty intense, defeating the evil dictator o Utopia. But is that going to get the whole show now that they have the cure: go into a new area, overthrow a dictator, pass out the cure? Hopefully they find something more interesting to do this season because that could get old soon. This week's searching for surviving family members was kind of boring.
You can download The Last Ship on iTunes.

American Odyssey: Oh, how did the writers think they were actually going to get a second season? There really was no need for a cliffhanger here. It really put a damper on a stupid fun season which is becoming a NBC post football Sundays tradition. But at least the show went out stupid with Aslam just running the streets of Spain looking for Odell, the weird thing in the cemetery, plus there should have been no reason for a cliffhanger because shouldn't Peter's flashdrive backed up everything Odell said? Oh well. It will not put a damper on whatever cheap Homeland ripoff NBC puts in this slot next spring.
You can download American Odyssey on iTunes.

Pretty Little Liars: Can we just please get to the point where Allison starts coaching the church's soccer team please. Forget the summer of answers, all I want this season is her coaching. For some reason we will have to wait at least two weeks or that because the show is randomly off next week. In non soccer news, let me go ahead and predict the little dancing girl is actually the younger version of Spencer.

Tyrant: So is Barry just going to spend the whole season in a desert town? Even in the middle of nowhere and with a beard, it is kind of hard to believe no one noticed the brother of the president.
You can download Tyrant on iTunes.

Mr. Robot: The show does paranoia better than I can remember being depicted on screen before. It crossed my mind last week but I am becoming more convinced that Christian Slater is just a figment of Elliot's paranoia, basically the person he want, or thinks he should be. And maybe all the hackers are parts of him. But as good the first two episodes have been, I am going to need more Dalia Royce than just one scene going forward.
You can download Mr. Robot on iTunes.

Hannibal: If Danny DeVito's momma cannot survive being thrown from a train it is hard to believe Will Graham can. And I thought European countries had bullet trains now. Oh well. At least Jack got some form of revenge on Hannibal as we know he will not be able to capture him (not that Jack looked like he had any intention of capturing). I am just hoping Hannibal's capture happens soon so they can move on to the next capture because I am not sure if I want to sit through a whole season of near captures.
You can download Hannibal on iTunes.