Saturday, August 29, 2015

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 8/29/15

Aquarius: Even for the season finale and the most interesting part of the show did not happen on screen. It is a bit odd that they would preempt the show for gymnastics the week before the finale. And instead of debating what will happen on screen next season (I particularly do not care if the gay daddy or his buddy died in the car or what is going to happen to Fox Mulder's son) the big question is how NBC will release it. Will they again stream all episodes on line, if so does the show get a mid week timeslot or start out in the Saturday deathslot? Will NBC quietly dump it or move it to another network? Wait, I do care about one thing that happened on scree: what the frack happened to the chick with the historically bad accent?
You can download Aquarius on iTunes.

Hannibal: I was going to start off by saying poor Dr. Chilton but the dude is extremely slimy. Kurt Sutter on Sons of Anarchy is the only character I can think of that has been tortured more than Chilton. Except Sutter did that to himself. What did this actor do to Bryan Fuller to piss him off. Someone removed his organs in the first season, got shot in the face last season, and now was set afire. I guess it is good for him that the show was cancel because I do not want to think what else Fuller had in store for Chilton in the four other seasons he had planned.
You can download Hannibal on iTunes.

Ray Donovan: I am beginning to wonder who made the worse business partnership: Ray with Al Swearengen and family or Mickey with the Armenians (we soon may have to add Bunchy with his luchadora bride). But c'mon Mickey, bringing a lead pipe to a meeting with the guys that just pistol whipped your son (key word: pistol) was not the brightest idea. Unfortunately the rest of the episode dealt with Ray and his priest problem which has always been the weakest part of the show. Hopefully now that he has been excommunicated, there will be no more religious figures on the show, but sadly I fear we probably have not seen the last of that priest.

The Last Ship: Holy Ben Linus daughter sighting! Was she really just hanging out on an oil rig this whole time all alone? And is this going to be the every episode from now on? The navy rescues someone who bought into Immunes propaganda and bring them on the ship to show them they are the good guys?
You can download The Last Ship on iTunes.

Fear the Walking Dead: Well that was kind of boring.
You can download Fear the Walking Dead on iTunes.

Masters of Sex: As soon as you hear the female ape wrangler was given the boot, you knew what was coming, but, boy did Virginia cross the proverbial line this week made worse by Bill egging her on. But the most interesting part of the episode was Tessa's interactions with the scent guy. Interesting that she just outted the affair between her mother and Bill and nothing came about it.

The Strain: After all the trouble getting to Washington, it seemed like Eph had no problems getting back to NYC even with a bullet in his shoulder. Alrighty. And I have spent a lot of time making fun of the Muppet looking Master, but at least that was a distinct look, rocker star Master looks like every other cheap vampire on screen. And that was a weak attempt to kill the Master, c'mon Fett, if you are going to bring down the building, bring down the building.
You can download The Strain on iTunes.

Falling Skies: So no one thought to check to see if hot alien daughter had black blood like the army lady? That would have been high on my list if I suggested Lexi was a plant. And is Pope really die (I have said it before I never believe someone is really dead until I see the body and even then I am still a little suspicious; but this was the penultimate episode)? That was kind of an anti-climatic way to die. It seemed like the writers had this big story line for him this season but by the time they got to the finale they realize they did not have the time for it and just decided to blow him up a week before. They might as well just killed him off during the fight at Lois Lanes.
You can download Falling Skies on iTunes.

Murder in the First: Well the second season was better than the first but that was an odd ending. First I barely remember the head man up until this point. And the hypothetical scene was just silly. Then they kill some random black dude, wasting screen time, just to make us think that it was Sugar who just ended up on a beach with the hot cop. But hey, it is summer, I have watched worse this season.
You can download Murder in the First on iTunes.

Tyrant: It has been clear that the firs two seasons that Jamal was the titular character, but he cannot possibly end the season still in power. But who will? Barry seems like the obvious choice along with Ahmed and the illegitimate son. But my money is on his scheming wife. And if he is outted where does that leave Jamal, is he exiled (his adviser plated that seed this week), rots in prison, or executed, or "executed" like he did his brother.
You can download Tyrant on iTunes.

Under the Dome: Julia pushing down on Barbie's baby mama's stomach to force labor was probably the funniest thing on television this season. You have to wonder if the writers are even trying at this point or are basically seniors with just a week or two left of school assuming there is no way the show is getting another season. I am pretty sure I have caught some of the actors rolling their eyes at their dialogue this season.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Around the Tubes: 8/28/15

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, Explorer, Austin City Limits, Epix, From Dusk Till Dawn, Skin Wars, The Missing Evidence, MTV VMAs, VH1 Family Therapy with Dr. Jenn, and American Dad.

- In advance of the highly-anticipated fifth season premiere of Homeland on Sunday, October 4th at 9:00, Showtime has released the full-length trailer for its Emmy and Golden Globe®-winning hit drama series. To watch and share the trailer, go to:

- After a five-year hiatus, National Geographic Channel (NGC), in conjunction with National Geographic magazine (NGM) and National Geographic Studios, relaunches the critically acclaimed documentary series Explorer (, #NatGeoExplorer) as a monthly series this August. The series opener, Explorer: Warlords of Ivory, premieres Sunday, Aug. 30, at 8:00, taking an in-depth look at the devastating effects of the global illegal ivory trade. And to continue National Geographic’s cross-platform commitment to this important cause, Nat Geo WILD premieres the one-hour special Elephant Queen the same night at 9:00, further reinforcing why these majestic creatures are so worthy of our protection.

- The television music series Austin City Limits (ACL) follows four decades as a music institution with more unforgettable performances as it gets ready to write its next illustrious chapter. Providing viewers with a front-row seat to the best in live music, ACL unveils Season 41’s stellar line-up of legendary artists, trend-setting innovators and many highly-anticipated debuts. ACL airs weekly on PBS stations nationwide (check local listings for times) and full episodes are made available online for a limited time at immediately following the initial broadcast. Select tapings are also live streamed to enable music fans everywhere to experience the performances as they happen, live and unedited. Viewers can visit for news regarding future tapings, episode schedules and live stream updates. The show's official hashtag is #acltv. The program returns on October 3rd with the 2015 ACL Hall of Fame Special, a special hour showcasing unique collaborations and tributes from this year’s induction ceremony and celebration, held June 18, 2015. Artists Lyle Lovett, Dwight Yoakam, Vince Gill, Gillian Welch, Jason Isbell and more perform in honor of the newest class of inductees: Asleep at the Wheel, Guy Clark, Flaco Jiménez, Loretta Lynn and Townes Van Zandt.

- Find all the stars in one place this September as EPIX kicks off Fall with lots of laughs and even more drama! Get a healthy dose of honesty from Craig Ferguson in the world television premiere of his latest comedy special Craig Ferguson: Just Being Honest, coming to EPIX on Thursday, September 10th, 10:00. Experience the thrill of Christopher Nolan's Interstellar all over again on Sunday, September 13th, at 8:00. Be moved by the gripping Selma, starring Golden Globe®-nominee David Oyelowo, on Sunday, September 20th, 8:00. See Mark Wahlberg put it all on the line in Rupert Wyatt's The Gambler on Sunday, September 27th, 8:00!

- Last year, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series premiered as El Rey Network/Miramax's first scripted drama and drew critical acclaim for the reimagining of Rodriguez's cult classic film From Dusk Till Dawn. On August 25th at (9:00), the sophomore season of this fan-favorite, supernatural crime saga returns with 10 new episodes that expand the universe of the story from Mexico to the edgy, tricked-out Texas of Rodriguez, who also directs the first episode. And on August 26, Entertainment One will begin to release each episode for purchase on all leading digital platforms.

- The “battle of the brushes” continues as GSN, the leader in game shows and competitive entertainment, announced today it has ordered a 10-episode third season of the top-rated original hit series Skin Wars, hosted by Rebecca Romijn (X-Men, The Librarians). The announcement comes on the heels of a successful season two finale, which drew over 1.1 million viewers.

- Smithsonian Channel tackles conspiracy theories and enduring mysteries in a new probing six-part series, The Missing Evidence. Each week, the series includes new insights from authorities, investigators, scientists and journalists, and uncovers new leads surrounding some of the most famous tragedies, unsolved crimes, persistent mysteries, and other phenomena that have piqued the public interest. The Missing Evidence premieres Sunday, August 30 at 9:00.

- The performer line-up for the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards just got MAJOR. Joining previously announced performer The Weeknd, MTV today unveiled that Pharrell Williams, Demi Lovato, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Tori Kelly, A$AP Rocky and Twenty One Pilots will perform on the LIVE telecast airing this Sunday, August 30 at 9:00 on MTV.

- From John Irwin’s Irwin Entertainment, the producers of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, new series VH1 Family Therapy with Dr. Jenn hopes to shed a little light on the complicated and often misunderstood world of celebrity families who still have to grapple with universal issues – but under a microscope. From the executive producers of VH1 Couples Therapy with Dr. Jenn, VH1 will premiere the new series VH1 Family Therapy with Dr. Jenn in early 2016.

- TBS is doubling down on American Dad!, ordering two more seasons of the top-rated animated hit from Twentieth Century Fox Television, ensuring that the Stan Smith clan will have a home on the network through 2018. An important programming initiative for the Turner portfolio, American Dad! also has a second home on TBS's sister network, Adult Swim, which presents an encore of each new episode after its TBS premiere. Today's announcement adds 44 episodes to the series – 22 each for seasons 12 & 13. It marks the second time in less than year that TBS has renewed the series. In November, the network announced a 22-episode order for season 11, which is set to air on TBS and Adult Swim in early 2016.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Previewing Public Morals

The good guys of Public Morals

2015 is the year network and basic cable channels have started to throw everything against the wall to combat the Netflix watch whenever you want format. NBC made big waves by releasing every episode of Aquarius to Hulu, On Demand, iTunes and the like (for limited time). Apparently this was successful for NBC to renew the show for a second season after breaking streaming records. Of course weeks later the show was resigned to the Saturday burn off slot so it will be interesting t see how NBC releases season two... if at all. NBC's sister station USA also got creative with the release of season two of Playing House by releasing the next episode On Demand the night after the previous episode airs on the cable channel (sure Showtime has released episodes a week before for the last couple seasons of another David Duchovny vehicle Californication). FX also did something interesting recently to fight the lax standards and practices of streaming sites by uploading "Explicit" versions of episodes of Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll On Demand the day after the for basic cable version aired through to my best guess you just hear an extra F-bomb or two per episode and does not show the amount of skin you see on Netflix originals (there is an explicit version of Aquarius floating around but as for now it has just aired in foreign markets and now words when us more prudish Americans can see it).

TNT is getting into the experiment this summer with a different type of release for its sixties crime drama, Public Morals. After tonight's premiere, they are going to put the first four episodes On Demand for people to binge watch. Of the four new ways to release a show I mentioned so far in this post, the Public Morals release is the worst way to watch as a viewer. I always find it bad form to complain about receiving screener for television shows, but this complain is relevant to how TNT is releasing Public Moral. Really my biggest complain when it comes to screeners is that when a network makes available multiple episodes available to watch it is harder to get back into the show weeks, or months later when new to me episodes start to air. What makes this decision even more head scratching is that if someone were to take TNT up on its offer to watch the first four episodes this week, the first new episode not On Demand does not air until September 22, right dab in the middle of the network premiere week. This just seems like horrible planning in my view. And I have seen those first four episodes and there is really no big event or plot twist in episode four that made me go, "oh my goodness, I cannot wait until episode five." Really , if you decide to watch Public Morals, I highly recommend to just watch it week to week (which is how I ended up watching Aquarius passing on binge on it all in a month's time). And for those that prefer binge watching, you might as well just wait until the end of the season instead of watching four now and the last six sometime in November.

Of course how to watch Public Morals is completely moot if it is not worth watching at all. The show takes place in 1960's New York (Red Hook specifically) with Ed Burns, who also created the show, as a cop assigned with dealing with making the city look nicer by riding it of prostitutes and gamblers. Okay, the Public Morals division does not really get rid of these activities, they just make sure they happen in the shadows and get their cut of the take. The balance is threatened when some gets wacked at the end of the first episode. For those hoping for a good murder mystery, sorry, the viewers will know who did it by the middle of episode two even if most everyone on the show is still investigating the murder through episode four.

Elizabeth Masucci of Public Morals
Also working with Burns is his partner Michael Rappaport (The War at Home), Wass Stevens (Brooklyn's Finest) Ruben Santiago-Hudson (American Gangster) is the Lieutenant. There are also a bunch of twentysomethings on both sides of the law that just seem to blend into each other which may be the only reason to binge the first four episodes as it is easier to tell all those characters apart then having to try to remember who is who after waiting a week. As for the fairer sex, Katrina Bowden (Sex Drive (Unrated)) is one of the girls the cops bust who has an, um, interesting Brooklyn accent on the show (which randomly goes away about halfway through the season). Lyndon Smith (she was Drew's more fun college girlfriend on Parenthood) is one of the around the way girls in Red Hook who can play on both sides of the tracks. There is also Burns's wife who may be the greatest trophy wife on television since Betty Draper (but a lot less icy) played by Elizabeth Masucci (TNT's press lists her main credit as The Americans which I did not recognize her from; after some googling, it turns out she just dubbed "prostitute" in a first season episode so this is really her first recognizable role, but I will say her accent is much better than most on the show).

The show also has an impressive list of guest stars including Timothy Hutton as Burns's gangster uncle who's son chose to take after his cousin not his father. Hutton's boss is Brian Dennehy who also has children problem, Brian's comes in the form of Neil McDonough (the resemblance is uncanny). Kevin Corrigan (it is weird that both male leads of Grounded for Life have gone on to be strong dramatic character actors) is also part of the organization. Also hanging around is Robert Knepper who like Burns and McDonough starred in last year's TNT period cop show Mob City. I will say I have enjoyed Public Morals more so far.

But the thing is, the show does not pick up until the fifth episode when it becomes perfectly clear that the whole season is building towards an epic turf war following the death in tonight's episode. The longer the season progresses the harder it is for the people in charge and the police, who profit from the more salacious activities stay in certain areas and the more entertaining and interesting the show gets. This war spill over from the street and really says a lot about class in the sixties much better than the similarly themed sixties cop show Aquarius. It does help that the other show is spread out in the sprawling Los Angeles while this one is a more compressed area of Red Hook where one small spark could take out an entire city block.

If TNT really wanted to experiment with nontraditional roll outs, they really should have included the fifth episode which the version I looked ready for broadcast (which is not always the case with screeners, it was always weird watching Raylan Givens "drive" down a country road with only green screens in the background). It seemed like TNT wanted to release enough episode to get people hooked but not enough that they would not come back to come back to watch live when those episodes are done. But still, I recommend just watching week to week because I really do not see this experiment working well for either TNT or the viewers who choose to watch the four episodes all this week.

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