Friday, September 16, 2016

Around the Tubes: 9/16/16

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 Mission Critical, Global Citizen: The World on Stage, Mars, Star Wars, National Museum of African American History and Culture, and Waylon Jennings.

- Thursday, September 22, is World Rhino Day. As a network dedicated to animals and the people who love them, we aim to showcase and celebrate the brave individuals and organizations that are fighting to preserve and protect our world’s amazing wildlife. In honor of this special day, Nat Geo WILD is premiering Operation Sumatran Rhino: Mission Critical on Sunday, Sept. 18 at 9:00 with a special encore on Thursday, Sept. 22 at 9:00. This is the second installment of our new monthly series Mission Critical. In Borneo, Sumatran rhinos’ numbers are down to just single digits. Conservationists are on a desperate mission to save the country’s last individuals. The only way to ensure the safety and survival of these last rhinos is to capture all remaining in the wild — a dangerous and costly operation. Follow Malaysia’s foremost rhino scientists in their incredible quest to save this critically endangered species.

- Tom Morello (Prophets of Rage) and Jon Batiste (The Late Show with Stephen Colbert) will curate musical performances for Global Citizen: The World on Stage, an evening bringing renowned artists, world leaders, and influencers together as they address the world’s greatest challenges and make major policy commitments towards ending extreme poverty. The evening of advocacy and impact will take place at New York University's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, September 22. The event will feature performances by Tom Morello, Jon Batiste and Stay Human, Regina Spektor, Aloe Blacc & Maya Jupiter, Moxie Raia, and The Kenyan Boys Choir. Speakers will include Cecily Strong, Forest Whitaker, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, The Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Nigerian Minister of Environment Amina Mohammed, and Yazidi human rights campaigner Nadia Murad.

- Of all the planets in our solar system, none has captured our collective imagination like Mars — a mysterious, indelible part of the zeitgeist. The quest to send humans to Mars has engaged the top minds in science in a modern-day space race, and it has infiltrated pop culture through blockbusters like Andy Weir’s “The Martian” and through out-of-this-world tweets from astronaut Scott Kelly. Now, National Geographic Channel; Academy Award- and Emmy-winning producers Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Michael Rosenberg of Imagine Entertainment; and Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning producer Justin Wilkes, Academy Award- and Emmy-winning producer Jon Kamen, and Dave O’Connor of RadicalMedia and visionary Mexican filmmaker Everardo Gout (“Days of Grace”), have joined forces to launch viewers farther into outer space than ever before with the global event series Mars. Premiering on the National Geographic Channel and Nat Geo Mundo in the U.S. on Monday, Nov. 14 at 9:00 and internationally in 170 countries and 45 languages on Sunday, Nov. 13, Mars — which is set both in the future and in the present day — will redefine television storytelling by combining feature film-quality scripted drama and visual effects with best-in-class documentary sequences to drive forward a cohesive, edge-of-your-seat story of mankind’s thrilling quest to colonize Mars.

- Global media company Turner has entered into multi-year licensing agreements for the Star Wars movie collection through unprecedented domestic deals with The Walt Disney Studios and 20th Century Fox that grant TNT & TBS the exclusive linear basic cable and companion ad-supported on-demand rights to Star Wars. The agreement with Disney for 10 films includes the network premiere windows to last year's record-breaking Star Wars: The Force Awakens and this year's highly anticipated Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which opens in theaters on December 16, 2016. The Disney agreement also includes five of the six original classic Star Wars films, as well as the network television premieres of the next three yet-to-be-released movies. The installment that launched the franchise, Star Wars: A New Hope, comes to Turner through a separate arrangement with 20th Century Fox, thus making Turner the only company with basic cable rights to all 11 titles in the collection. The Star Wars movies will come to Turner beginning Tuesday, September 20, when TNT kicks off six consecutive nights of the original classic films (complete schedule below). The movies will also air in December, in conjunction with Disney's theatrical release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. TNT is set to premiere last year's blockbuster Star Wars: The Force Awakens in early 2018, followed in 2019 by this year's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

- On September 24, 2016, the Smithsonian will open the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history and culture. The opening will welcome President Barack Obama and some of the biggest influencers in politics and Hollywood. Smithsonian Channel has partnered with the National Museum of African American History and Culture to produce 130 videos for the inaugural exhibits. The videos, comprised of 450 minutes of footage with an estimated 8,000 images, will be displayed on monitors ranging in size from 22 inches to a massive 186-foot overhead screen.

- Country Rewind Records (a division of Hindsight Records, NY), will introduce one of its newest collections of country music’s hidden treasures—The Lost Nashville Sessions (Waylon Jennings). The project will be available October 21, 2016* via all major digital retail outlets.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Most and Least Anticipated Questions of Fall 2016

Fall cable shows have been trinkling back all month but tonight is the start of fall television for me with the first network premiere Blindspot (okay, Dancing with… um Vanilla Ice and Rick Perry did start Monday, God help us all) after the season finale of America’s Got Talent even though next week it will be airing at an earlier time. I do wonder if these special times before regular timeslots work. But alas.

People have been talking about Peak TV for a while now, it was not until I saw there were 350 new and returning show having a premiere this fall, more than half (150) starting up in September alone. My goodness. Right now I plan on watching 28 of them which seems like a lot, 23 hours a week seems slightly more manageable but that is still over three hours per day even though some seasons will end before others begin. And I may still give try to some new show; I really have not been grabbed in by the trailers from Good Behavior, Notorious, People of Earth, This Is Us, and Search Party but may give an episode or two a try. And these numbers do not even include The Voice which I have demoted watching performances on YouTube to avoid Miley Cyrus. Maybe if I am lucky, some of these shows get canceled. But anyway. As I do every year, is my list of the most anticipated questions of the new season:

1. Who will be playing the Life Model Decoy? We got a tease at the end of the third season of Agents of SHIELD going ahead six months. We learn Daisy has gone rouge and Coulsen is no longer in charge. The more interesting tease came after the commercial break when we see the Irish doctor that the team saved earlier in the episode working on something called a “L. M. D.” which I think is safe to assume stand for Life Model Decoy, a life like android. But who did he model it on? It looked kind of feminine so is this how they bring back Mockingbird after her show did not get picked up? Not that could not end up being a dude. Electro-boy is the first person I thought of. If it ends up being Ward, I just may stop watching.
2. Where does Blindspot go in the second season? Last year I said I was going to enjoy the first season but was weary of it going on for multiple season. They almost reset the show with Jane avoiding the memory erasing serum, instead the season ended with Jane being arrested for Mayfair’s murder. So is the show going to be even more like The Blacklist with Jane as a federal prisoner helping the FBI or are we going to get something new?
3. Will Powerless get demoted to The CW next year? One of the more shocking news out of Upfronts this year was Supergirl moving from CBS to The CW giving DC Comics four straight nights on the network. Powerless was the lone network superhero show picked up this year (fear not funny book fans, there are countless new DC and Marvel properties coming to cable and streaming sites over the next year) and another DC property. If it fails on NBC, will The CW be willing to go five for five?
4. Will TNT and/or USA be the next prestige cable network? For years viewers flocked to USA for “blue skies” shows and TNT for CBS type procedurals why channels like FX and AMC racked up the awards with usually fractions of the audience (The walking Dead notwithstanding). But viewers are shrinking across the board (The Walking Dead notwithstanding). USA was first to breakout of the mold last year with Mr. Robot. Since then both channels have gone bold with little success this past summer be it Queen of the South or Animal Kingdom. Both have ambitious shows coming this fall; TNT has Good Behavior, a rare female lead anti-hero show at a time when male anti-hero shows are waning (see the previously mentioned Animal Kingdom). The USA has a weird looking show Falling Water that is about people entering other people’s dream. Mr. Robot was able to hit during a downtown in television, can these two show hit when there are so many other new shows to try?
5. Will The Good Place live up to its name? The show had me at “starring Veronica Mars and Sam Malone.” And though I laughed multiple times at the trailer, I fear for the show. Will it be too high brow comedy to those that watched NBC back when it was Must See TV around the last time Ted Danson was on the Peacock Network? Will it get crushed by the CBS comedies (and that is after NFL for the first couple weeks)? And just where does a show about a bad person in heaven go? Will Ronnie be sent to the Bad Place for the second season? If there is one?

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 least antedated questions

1. Will Premier Trump ban NBC from airing the Arnold version of The Apprentice? I fear for this country.
2. How many episodes of Miley Cyrus before I (and the rest of America) give up on The Voice? Seriously, I fear for this country.
3. Will people watch music on MTV again? It seems like every five years MTV tries to remember what the M in their name stands for and this fall they are going to give it a try once again with an Unplugged reboot which was last dusted off with an embarrassing Miley Cyrus special two years ago, but its been five years since it was an actual series. Then there is Wonderland which is being described as “first weekly live music performance series in nearly twenty years” (Um, wasn’t there a short live Pete Wentz live show that aired on Fridays a couple years ago?) which will feature three live performances and stand up acts. If these show are populated by the acts that were featured during the most recent VMA’s, or really any VMA’s in the past decade, hard pass on both shows. But to answer the question: no, people only watch music on YouTube these days.
4. Will Quantico continue to suck? I believe this was the worst show ever that I made it through a full season of. I was shocked that ABC renewed it. Now the question is will I bother to continue to watch?
5. Will The CW ruin Supergirl? No Cat Grant, a musical crossover with The Flash, not to mention a week long crossover with all the other DC show. I think we already know the answer to this.

And here is my way to big list of show I plan on watching this fall (Seriously, what happed to Tuesdays? Can we move some Monday or Sunday shows there?).

8:00 – Gotham (September 19)
8:00 – The Big Bang Theory (September 19)
8:00 – Supergirl (October 10)
9:00 – Lucifer (September 19)
9:00 – 2 Broke Girls (October 10)
9:30 – The Odd Couple (October 17)
10:00 – Timeless (October 3)
10:00 – Conviction (October 3)

8:00 – The Middle (October 11)
10:00 – Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD (September 20)

8:00 – Blindspot (September 14 at 10:00; timeslot premiere September 21)
8:00 – Survivor (September 21)
8:00 – The Goldbergs (September 21)
9:00 – Modern Family (September 21)
9:30 – Black-ish (September 21)

8:00 – The Big Bang Theory (October 27)
8:00 – Superstore (September 22)
8:30 – The Good Place (two episode after the Voice September 19; timeslot premiere September 22)
10:00 – The Blacklist (September 22)

8:00 – Last Man Standing (September 23)

8:00 - Once Upon a Time (September 25)
8:00 – The Librarians (November 20)
9:00 – Fear the Walking Dead (already started)
9:00 – Shameless (October 2)
9:00 – The Walking Dead (October 23)
10:00 – The Strain (already Started)
10:00 – Masters of Sex (September 11)
10:00 – Quantico (September 25)
10:00 – The Affair (November 20)

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

I Want My Music Television: 9/13/16

Side To Side - Ariana Grande feat. Nicki Minaj

I have not watched the VMA’s since… oh my, it is been a while, I think the Frank Ocean year was the last one. But I did notice most of the performances made it on the YouTube legally I think for the first time (I have never understand why the live performance rarely pop up on iTunes to buy, but I guess this is why the music industry is on life support). Not that I had any interest in any of them beside Ariana Grande. I wondered why she was she was in some spin cycle class until the actual music video dropped the next day with its Olivia Newton-John inspired theme (though I wish they gone full homage and had the fat guys training with her). But much like every Grande song, a guest comes along and ruins what otherwise is cheesy fun.

City Lights – The White Stripes

Michel Gondry directed the Lego inspired video that put The White Stripes on the map so it is apropos that he directed what very likely will be the last video from the group (barring a new album in support of a big buck reunion tour in twenty years). The song is from a new collection of unreleased acoustics songs spanning Jack White’s entire career.

Nobody Speak - DJ Shadow feat. Run the Jewels

Holy DJ Shadow sighting! Who would have guess that guy would put out a great track in 2016? And I am guessing the video is what our government will look like after Premier Trump is sworn in. Seriously, Donald Trump just recently said Hilary Clinton slandering people was disqualifying. Seriously, Trump is mad at someone else for slander!?! And why I am being political, so the nut job wing of the Trump party keeps hammering Clinton health. That may actually get me to vote for her because if you are telling me she may not make it to her inauguration? Great, I would much rather have President Tim Kaine than Clinton or Trump.

Run – Bell Biv DeVoe

Speaking of artists not seen since the nineties, holy Bell Biv DeVoe sighting!!!!!! Seriously, BBD was the favorite group of the thirteen year old version of myself.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Previewing Masters of Sex: Season Four

Masters of Sex Season Four

Every season Masters of Sex has a time jump a couple months or years, but the way last season ended, with Virginia hoping Bill would stop her from getting married to the Smell King and Bill giving up and then getting arrested, I was hoping the new season would start of not that far in the future. As luck will have it, season four starts up while Virginia is still on her honeymoon and Bill still behind bars for paying one of his sex surrogates, which kind of made it prostitution.

Despite being on her honeymoon, Virginia’s new husband is conspicuously absent throughout the whole first episode though Virginia still manages to keep herself busy attending a sex seminar that just so happens to take place at her hotel and by, um, other means. Bill on the other hand is out of jail pretty quickly but is slow to make it back to the office where Betty hilariously holds down the fort after everyone takes an unannounced extended leave.

Even though the season resumes in 1968, the gang will eventually find themselves in the swinging seventies. Libby will find that her name may be short for “liberation” a she will be part of bra burning crowd after finally admitting her husband is having an affair. One new face this year is Niecy Nash as a local AA - chairperson running Masters’ court-ordered daily meetings. And what would be the swinging seventies be without a little Hef as the Playboy founder plays a pivotal role in at the end of the premiere.

Masters of Sex airs Sundays at 10:00 on Showtime.