Friday, September 23, 2016

Around the Tubes: 9/23/16

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 Freakish, Crowded House, Hooligan Sparroww, Jago: A Life Underwater, UNDERFIRE: The Untold Story of Pfc. Tony Vaccaro, Meet the Press, and Dice.

- Check out the new official teaser for upcoming Hulu Original Freakish. The teen, horror series premieres all episodes on Hulu on Monday, Oct. 10 and stars digital influencers Liza Koshy, Meghan Rienks, Hayes Grier and Melvin Gregg as well as traditional actors such as Leo Howard (“Kickin’ It”) and Aislinn Paul (“Heroes Reborn”). Also, as part of a special launch week promotion called #FreakWeek, Tumblr will debut two new episodes of the Halloween event series from AwesomenessTV on a custom Freakish Tumblr page every day for a period of five days (October 10th – 14th). #FreakWeek is a first-of-its-kind event that will allow all fans and viewers to preview and discover Freakish for free on Tumblr (for a limited time), or stream the entire series on Hulu anytime.

- Crowded House will be celebrating their 30th anniversary by reissuing their entire catalogue in two disc deluxe CD packages and 180-gram heavyweight vinyl, unlocking a wealth of rare material that has been personally selected by Neil Finn and the band. They will be released on Friday, November 18 through Universal Catalogue, and are available to pre-order at the official Crowded House Store. Digital versions will also be available on November 4.

- The riveting documentary Hooligan Sparroww, which follows the incredible story of a group of activists in China who risk their lives to protest against the sexual abuse of school girls by their principal debuts on the PBS television series POV on Monday, October 17, 2016. (Check local listings.)

- Smithsonian Earth, the subscription video streaming service from Smithsonian Networks™ that delivers spectacular original nature and wildlife content, will feature the award-winning one-hour 4K film Jago: A Life Underwater, starting on September 22. The film tells the life story of Rohani, an 80-year-old seafaring hunter who lives in a Bajau village in the Togean Islands of Sulawesi, Indonesia.

- UNDERFIRE: The Untold Story of Pfc. Tony Vaccaro chronicles the life of a man who played two risky roles in World War II: a combat infantryman on the front lines and a photographer who took and developed roughly 8,000 photographs of the war. Director Max Lewkowicz visits European locations where Vaccaro shot some of his most powerful photos, tracing his evolution from a young GI eager to record the war, to an elderly man increasingly horrified at man’s ability to wage it, having vowed never to take another war photo on the day the conflict ended. The HBO Documentary Film UNDERFIRE: The Untold Story of Pfc. Tony Vaccaro will debut on HBO on Monday, November 14 at 8:00.

- After meeting with President Obama today in the Oval Office to discuss TPP, Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) sat down with Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd, telling him “the chances are miniscule” that he will be voting for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. “It’s very, very likely I will not” vote for Trump, said former presidential candidate Gov. Kasich. “It is country first, and I am unlikely to cast that vote.”

- Showtime has picked up a second season of the comedy series Dice with seven new, half-hour episodes to air in 2017. Produced by Fox 21 Television Studios, season two of the scripted, semi-autobiographical series will dig deeper into the many facets of Andrew Dice Clay – beyond the character who once sold out Madison Square Garden – as the unemployed comic struggles in the Vegas suburbs to be a loving father, a devoted boyfriend and a professional gambler who is stuck dealing with the effects of his outrageous brand of fame. Production will shoot in Los Angeles and Las Vegas next year.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Fall 2016 Music Preview

This is usually the time when I bemoan the lack of marquee releases being released over the next couple month, even in the fourth quarter when tent-poles were usually released. Except there are a couple of albums coming out soon. Metallica released a first single that was straight fire. The new Green Day song is better than anything off their last trio of albums. The mellower side of me is also excited for new Norah Jones and Regina Spektor whose last albums were really good. Okay, that is about it, of those with solid release dates so far, Sting may come in at number five most interesting album coming out before Christmas. But here are a couple more albums that will at least b worth a spin on Spotify when they are released. Click on the album title to pre-order on Amazon. Click the artist's name to be take to their iTunes page.

Last Week
We're All Gonna Die - Dawes
Braver Than We Are - Meat Loaf
Three - Phantogram

Chapter and Verse - Bruce Springsteen
Tightrope Walker - Rachael Yamagata
Natural Causes - Skylar Grey
Young as the Morning Old as the Sea - Passenger
Leap of Faith - Timothy B. Schmit
A Loud Bash of Teenage Feelings - Beach Slang
The Art of Elegance - Kristin Chenoweth
The Prelude Implicit - Kansas

September 30
Remember Us To Life - Regina Spektor
The Alter - Banks
American Band - Drive-By Truckers
22, A Million - Bon Iver
Following My Intuition - Craig David
Atrocity Exhibition - Danny Brown
Keep Me Singing - Van Morrison
Dream too Much - Amy Lee
New City Blues - Aubrie Sellers

October 7
Day Breaks - Norah Jones
Revolution Radio - Green Day
The Malibu Sessions - Colbie Caillat
Swallowed by the New - Glen Phillips
13 Voices - Sum 41
50 - Rick Astley

October 14
Walls - Kings of Leon
The Heart Watches While The Brain Burns - Mike Doughty
Ruminations - Conor Oberst

October 21
saintmotelevision - Saint Motel

November 4
Being No One, Going Nowhere - STRFKR
Eternally Even - Jim James

November 11
57th and 9th - Sting
Jessica Rabbit - Sleigh Bells
Goodnight City - Martha Wainwright

November 18
Hardwired…To Self-Destruct - Metallica
Amateurs - Royal Teeth

Dia Frampton
Jimmy Eat World
Liam Gallagher
Robert Randolph & The Family Band
Ryan Adams
The Shins
Wu-Tang Clan
Zac Brown Band

And of course this could be the quarter when Dr. Dre released Detox.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Twenty-Five Best Battle Round Performances from The Voice

In honor of the tenth season of The Voice, I decided to make a list of the best Blind Auditions in the shows run. Instead of doing the same for the subsequent round when they started, I decided just to do a new best of each round at the start of every new season. So of course Battle Rounds were the next up. Except I realized, oh yeah, I hate this round. So I decided at a smaller number because it was hard to even find twenty-five I did not hate. The general problem with this round is these contestants are stuck singing with someone they may not match with singing a song that may not even fit them and most end up boring. But at least there were a few trainwreck pairings that were so bad they were entertaining (see Shields Brothers vs. Erin Martin) except starting in season three they started montaging most of these so were never get to see how awesomely bad Beat Frequency vs. Laura Vivas really was. Of course some trainwrecks did sneak through since them because there have been plenty of inexplicable Steals throughout the seasons (seriously, Nic Hawk was saved for some reason). Oh well, here are the few Battles I did not hate:

1. Put Your Records On - Danielle Bradbery vs. Caroline Glaser
2. Vision of Love - Trevin Hunte vs. Amanda Brown
3. If I Ain't Got You - Jesse Campbell vs. Anthony Evans
4. Heart Shaped Box - Lindsey Pavao vs. Lee Koch
5. She's Gone - Nicholas David vs. Todd Kessler
6. As Long As You Love Me - Caroline Pennell vs. Anthony Paul
7. Ain't No Sunshine - Ryan Innes vs. Orlando Dixon
8. Put the Gun Down - Mis Z. vs. Ashley Morgan
9. Wherever You Will Go - Andi and Alex vs. Chance Peña
10. No More Drama - Kim Yarbrough vs. Whitney Myers
11. I Wish it Would Rain - Preston Pohl vs. Barry Black
12. Message in a Bottle - De'Borah vs. Nelly's Echo
13. Dog Days Are Over - Suzanna Choffel vs. Lelia Broussard
14. Sweater Weather - Ellie Lawrence vs. Tim Atlas
15. Everything Has Changed - Madilyn Paige vs. Tanner James
16. Samson - Korin Bukowski vs. Chance Kirby
17. Have You Ever Seen the Rain - Sawyer Fredericks vs. Noelle Bybee
18. Antes de las Seis - Mary Miranda vs. Cáthia
19. Elastic Heart - Hannah Huston vs. Maya Smith
20. When Will I Be Loved - Audra McLaughlin vs. Alaska and Madi
21. You Know I'm No Good - Jess Kellner vs. Taylor Beckham
22. Sugar - Abby Celso vs. Brian Nhira
23. Leather and Lace - Casey Weston vs. Tim Mahoney
24. Baggage Claim - Liz Davis vs. Nicole Johnson
25. Old Time Rock and Roll - Blind Joe vs. Blaine Mitchell

Battles by Coach

Blake - 5
Adam – 4
Pharrell - 4
Cee-Lo – 3
Christina – 3
Usher - 3
Gwen – 2
Shakira – 1

Battles by Season

Season 1 – 1
Season 2 – 4
Season 3 – 4
Season 4 – 4
Season 5 – 2
Season 6 – 2
Season 7 – 0
Season 8 – 2
Season 9 – 4
Season 10 - 2

Like I said, the Battle Rounds are a drag because of bad matchups and bad song selections, but almost as bad as some really head scratching picks. What makes some of these picks so bad is sometimes they seem purposely bad for instance it seems like Adam has one favorite every season then rids his team of any challengers to his chosen one. Then there are Shakira and Pharrell who literally said they pick people who need more of their help, and I am pretty sure Gwen goes by this philosophy too. With that said, here are the ten worst coaches’ decisions during the Battle Rounds:

1. Erin Martin over The Shields Brothers (Cee-Lo Season 2)
2. George Horga jr. over Juhi (Cee-Lo Season 5)
3. Ryan Sill over Jessie Pitts (Gwen Season 7)
4. Daniel Passino over Kristen Marie (Christina Season 10)
5. Taylor John Williams over Amanda Lee Peers (Gwen Season 7)
6. Deja Hall over Ddendyl (Shakira Season 6)
7. Nick Hagelin over Jessica Crosbie (Pharrell Season 10)
8. Olivis Henken over Stephanie Anne Johnson (Christina Season 5)
9. MacKenzie Bourg over Emily Earl (Cee-Lo Season 3)
10. Devon Barley over Rebecca Loebe (Adam season 1)

Some of the decisions in the first two seasons were so bad that starting in season three they added the Steal to keep some of the good talent from going home so soon, except there were some mind numbingly bad Steals which were clearly used by coaches as Knockout Round fodder and so here are the ten most wasted Steals in the history of the show:

1. Nic Hawk (Blake Season 5)
2. Collin McLoughlin (Blake Season 3)
3. Chevonne (Christina Season 3)
4. Music Box (Usher Season 4)
5. Jacob Rummell (Pharrell Season 8)
6. Alessandra Guercio (Christina Season 3)
7. C. Perkins (Usher Season 4)
8. Orlando Dixon (Adam Season 4)
9. Clinton Washington (Adam Season 8)
10. Anthony Paul (Christina Season 5)

Sunday, September 18, 2016

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 9/18/2016

BrainDead: The one thing that defeated the bug people was shame because that is the one thing politicians do not feel? A little too much on the nose but still a pretty entertaining little show. Probably for the best there is no second season (aside from the lack of Ramona Flowers on my television every week) as this was a good enough end.
You can download BrainDead on Amazon Instant Video, free with a Prime membership.

Ray Donovan: So Micky is some sort of ping pong savant? Who knew? I figured something had to go wrong; the bookie going out like Elvis was not what I was expecting. I figure Hector would end up not throwing the fight (which could very well still happen) or the stripper would steal the cash, or Micky would give it to her outright. But he ended up giving the markers to the Russian dude. The big twist was the FBI found the niece who spilled everything. Is Ray going to have to turn rat to get out from under this? What a horrible turn of events for him if that is the way he has to go. He spent the first season trying to kill his father and eventually turns into him.

The Strain: So the first season, the exposed the Muppet looking Master to sunlight and all he had to do was shed the body and moved into the rock star. Now they cut off the rock star’s head and the worm slinks to the sewers. Hurumph. Not that I expected them to actually kill the Master during the third episode of a season.
You can download The Strain on iTunes.

Mr. Robot: When they brought in the little girl at the Commodore 64 with the whip marks and asking Angela if she ever cried during sex, I figured this has to be her version of Elliot’s eighties television delusion and the little girl will actually be young Angela. Nope, that apparently really happened and was just White Rose testing Angela for some reason. Alrighty. But the bigger news was the return of Tyrell… maybe. Elliot was not sure if he was really there or not so us the audience is left to wonder the same. I leaning towards he is a delusion, the driver would not confirm there was another person in the car and this Tyrell certainly did not act like he did in the first season and looked not as irate as I would expect someone to act one when seeing the person who set him up to take the fall for the worst economic collapse ever.
You can download Mr. Robot on iTunes.

Blindplot: After spending an entire season of is she or isn’t she Taylor Shaw only to be like, nope, in the season finale, it is interesting that in the second season premiere we got a definitive answer of who Jane really is and we get to meet her brother and her “mother” (that is not to say these people are not lying and that is the twist in this season’s finale). And was that a nuclear warhead at the end?
You can download Blindspot on iTunes.