Friday, January 06, 2017

Around the Tubes: 1/6/17

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 Sea of Hope: America’s Underwater Treasures, OBAMA: The Price of Hope, Independent Lens, The Detour, Rock'N’Roll Inventions, Let It Fall: LA 1982-1992, Titanic: The New Evidence, Debbie Reynolds, The Handmaid's Tale, and Shameless.

- As the country prepares for Donald Trump to be sworn in as the 45th U.S. president, both critics and supporters believe they’re saying farewell to one of the most memorable presidencies in the nation’s history. On Sunday, Jan. 15, just days before the inauguration, National Geographic commemorates President Obama’s legacy with a night of programming, beginning at 8:00 with the one-hour documentary Sea of Hope: America’s Underwater Treasures, followed by the two-hour special OBAMA: The Price of Hope, premiering at 9:00.

- BS uncovers the awesome and terrifying power of the atom in a three-night marathon of nuclear-themed programming from January 9-11, 2017 (check local listings). Exploring nuclear power and global nuclear arsenal, the programming block will explore the many sides of the nuclear issue by looking to history, examining the present and imagining the future. The following programs will air January 9-11, 2017: Independent Lens’ “Containment”, a disturbing documentary that explores attempts to plan for a radioactive future and the failures in managing millions of gallons of waste left over from the Cold War, premieres Monday, January 9 from 10:00-11:30 p.m. ET.

- Hospice care is rarely associated with song and dance, unless the songs happen to be dirges or solemn hymns. But a new hospice-centered documentary, Seven Songs for a Long Life, sings a very different tune. Filmmaker Amy Hardie goes inside Strathcarron Hospice in Scotland, where six patients, some stricken with terminal illness, face pain and uncertainty with song and bravery. Three years in the making, Seven Songs for a Long Life captures the often quirky patients’ reflections on life and their own mortality, as well as their heart-tugging renditions of pop music classics by everyone from Sinatra to R.E.M. The film debuts on the PBS POV series on Monday, Jan. 30.

- TBS's hit comedy series The Detour is making its way back for its second season, slated to launch with back-to-back episodes on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 10:00. Created, written and executive-produced by Jason Jones and Samantha Bee, The Detour stars Jones, along with Natalie Zea, Ashley Gerasimovich, Liam Carroll and Daniella Pineda.

- A new Smithsonian Channel series is about to make some noise as some of the biggest names from the recording industry break out their drumsticks, synthesizers, and everything in between to explain the technology and innovations that have provided the soundtrack to our lives. The new six-episode series, Rock'N’Roll Inventions premieres Monday, January 16 at 8:00.

- Academy Award-winner John Ridley has teamed up with ABC News’ Lincoln Square Productions to produce a feature-length documentary titled Let It Fall: LA 1982-1992 about the Los Angeles uprising of April 1992. The two-hour documentary is scheduled to air on the ABC television network in the spring of 2017 pegged to the 25th Anniversary of the rioting, looting and gun violence that unfolded after the verdict in the Rodney King case.

- The sinking of the RMS Titanic has been the subject of countless investigations, and the true cause of the tragedy is hotly debated. Now, explosive new photographs have surfaced containing shocking revelations about a series of shortcomings which contributed to the legendary ship’s tragic sinking. The images are unveiled in a new one-hour Smithsonian Channel documentary that tells the story of the unluckiest ship in maritime history. Titanic: The New Evidence (WT) premieres Saturday, January 21 at 8:00.

- Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will celebrate the life and career of legendary actress Debbie Reynolds, the vivacious actress, singer and dancer who entertained audiences in musicals such as Singin’ in the Rain (1952) and Tammy and the Bachelor (1957) with a 24-hour film tribute on Friday, January, 27. Reynolds, who passed away Wednesday, Dec. 28 at the age of 84, became a sensation after starring with legendary hoofers Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor in the immortal MGM musical Singin’ in the Rain (1952) and received her only Oscar® nomination for pla ying the title role in The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964). Reynolds recording of “Tammy” spent five weeks at No. 1 in 1957 and was nominated for an Academy Award for best Original Song.

- Last week, Hulu announced Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale will premiere on Wednesday, April 26th, 2017. The drama series, based on the award-winning, best-selling novel by Margaret Atwood, is the story of life in the dystopia of Gilead, a totalitarian society in what was formerly part of the United States. Facing environmental disasters and a plunging birthrate, Gilead is ruled by a twisted fundamentalist regime that treats women as property of the state. As one of the few remaining fertile women, Offred (Elisabeth Moss) is a Handmaid in the Commander’s household, one of the caste of women forced into sexual servitude as a last desperate attempt to repopulate a devastated world. In this terrifying society where one wrong word could end her life, Offred navigates between Commanders, their cruel Wives, domestic Marthas, and her fellow Handmaids – where anyone could be a spy for Gilead – all with one goal: to survive and find the daughter that was taken from her.

- On the heels of its seventh season finale last night, Showtime has ordered an eighth season of Shameless. The announcement was made today by David Nevins, President and CEO, Showtime Networks Inc. One of the network’s longest-running and most successful series ever, Showtime season seven ranks as its highest-rated season to date. The series stars Oscar® nominee and Emmy® winner William H. Macy and Golden Globe® nominee Emmy Rossum. Production on twelve new episodes will begin in 2017.

- ast week, Main Street Alliance member businesses joined a national day of action–urging their Senators and Representatives in Congress to oppose efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The GOP leadership's health plan, to be voted on in early January, would take health coverage away from 30 million people nationwide and collapse the insurance market–leaving small business owners scrambling to find health insurance.

Monday, January 02, 2017

The Seven Most Anticipated Events of 2017

2016 sucked. Massively. We lost too many people who shaped my childhood to named. I have not been as ashamed of my Best Songs of the year’s list since 1999. Music was so bad last year; somehow Justin Beiber landed a Best Album nomination. Really, since music was so bad last year and so many great artists, died, the Grammy’s this year should just be a three hour tribute show. In some years, Leon Russell or Leonard Cohan would have gotten a lengthy tribute but they may just get stuffed in the In Memorium package this year as neither are in the top five this year (and that is not even counting David Bowie or Glen Frye who were paid tribute at last year’s ceremony). Oh yeah, and we also witnessed the worst presidential election in my lifetime, probably ever. Also as hit musical Hamilton taught us, at least no one is participation in duels. Instead we had dudes bragging about the size of his penis at a televised debate, bragging about being able to molest women, claiming political opponent’s father was involved in the JFK assassination, openly admitted to wanting to have sex with his daughter, promising to lock up his political opponents, and siding with Russia over our CIA. And that is just the guy that won. But as the great philosopher Adam Duritz one said, there is reason to believe that this year will be better than the last. So with that said, here are seven things to look forward to in 2017.

7. Obligatory Superhero Movie Mention: Superhero movies have been a mainstay on my Most Anticipated lists for a while now but honestly I am getting a bit worn out. I have had the Batman v. Superman blu-ray sitting on my desk for about a month now unopened, and I am two movies behind on the Marvel movies. Basically I did not watch one Superhero movie that was released in 2016. I am sure I will eventually and it may not happen this year, but eventually I am sure I will get around to watching Logan (March 3), Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (May 5), Wonder Woman (June 2), Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7), Thor: Ragnorok (November 3), and Justice League (November 17). And really, you might as well put Star Wars: Episode VIII (December 15) in this category too.

6. Kong: Skull Island (March 10), The Mummy (June 9): Superhero’s are no longer the only films getting their own cinematic universes, now other movie studios are getting in on the action. Kong: Skull island takes place in the same universe as 2014’s Godzilla. Although that is a pretty limited universe because it is just the two large mutant animals that will not even appear on screen together until 2020. As lackluster the concept is, it is a pretty impressive cast: Tom Hiddleston, Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, and John Goodman. Universal is getting a bit more ambitious, rebooting the very first shared cinematic universe with its monster movies, first up, The Mummy. If all goes well, there will also be movies featuring Frankenstein's monster (starring Javier Bardem), Count Dracula, the Wolf Man, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Invisible Man (starring Johnny Depp), and Bride of Frankenstein.

5. A Few Good Men Live!(?): Hiding at the bottom of NBC’s press release for their upfronts last year was one line about adapting the Aaron Sorkin play, a break from their string of live musicals. Supposedly it was coming “early 2017.” Well here we are in early 2017 and I have not heard anything about it since. does have a page for it and it just says, “coming soon.” Hopefully they are just making sure they are getting it right and not just quietly forgotten about it because I am much more interested in it than the Jennifer Lopez starring Bye Bye Birdie.

4. The Ends of Orphan Black and Pretty Little Liars: Two show on the opposite of the quality spectrum are ending this year. After introducing one of the more adventurous ideas in television history, Orphan Black will be coming to a close. Here is hoping there is an Alison spin-off into a bad CBS sitcom. Then there is Pretty Little Liars which stretched a murder mystery further than any show before. I long ago lost track of how many different A’s there have been. And yet, I was never able to stop watching.

3. Prisoner - Ryan Adams (February 17): In the first decade of this century, Ryan Adams put out ten albums, this decade he has only put out two proper albums and none since 2014 (obviously I am not counting his Taylor Swift cover album a “proper” album. After his output last decade, three years is a long time sso hopefully he has a lot of great tunes lined up and no Rihanna covers.

2. Powerless (February 2) – The last couple years saw multiple superhero shows hit the small screen but this current season will only see one network superhero show, and that does not even star someone with powers, hence the title. (Do not fret traditional funny book fans, Legion premieres next week on FX, the ongoing Netflix shows, and ABC has already greenlighted Inhumans to premiere this fall as well as the return of Young Justice to some yet announced channel or possibly streaming service). Instead the show will follow incurrence agents living in a superhero world that sees city blocks destroyed regularly. I cannot wait to not watch this show when it gets demoted to The CW in the fall.

1. On second thought about 2017…