Friday, January 20, 2017

Around the Tubes: 1/20/2017

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 Atlantis Eising, Uncensored with Michael Ware, The Weapon Hunter, TNT and TBS news, The Great British Baking Show, All Eyez On Me, and The Mindy Project.

- The legend of Atlantis has sparked controversy and debate for thousands of years — is the story fact or fiction? And if Atlantis was a real place, can its ruins be found today?
Atlantis Eising, which premieres on National Geographic on Sunday, Jan. 29, at 9:00, follows executive producer and Oscar-winning legend James Cameron; three-time Emmy-winning filmmaker Simcha] Jacobovici; and a group of archeologists, scientists and historians as they set out to search for the true “Atlantean” civilization and for a possible location for the mother city, the lost city itself. The team draws clues from “Timaeus” and “Critias,” the source of the story of Atlantis, penned by fourth century B.C. Greek philosopher Plato.

- Audacious journalist Michael Ware is best known for his coverage as a war correspondent, spending nearly a decade of his life in some of the most brutal and hostile combat zones on the planet. Famous for his coverage of the Iraq War, Ware was given access that he deemed to be frightening, witnessing the horrors of war and the birth of ISIS. Now, in National Geographic’s new eight-episode series Uncensored with Michael Ware, Ware is leaving the trenches to embark on a new adventure as he investigates some of the most fascinating people, places and cultures on the planet. Ware brings his style of gritty, unapologetic journalism to some of the world’s buzziest areas, ranging from the rough and savage highlands of Papua New Guinea — where women who are thought to be witches are hunted and killed — to the glamorous streets of Los Angeles where celebrities are sought out and snapped by paparazzi. Uncensored with Michael Ware WARE premieres on Tuesday, Jan. 24, at 10:00 on National Geographic and globally in 171 countries and in 45 languages on Sunday, March 19.

- Season two of the Smithsonian Channel original series The Weapon Hunter shines a light on true American heroes as series host, history buff and restoration expert Paul Shull partners with veterans to spotlight iconic moments and artefacts in military history. This is history that leaves a mark. From a Vietnam era gun truck and a World War II B-25 bomber, to a giant 20mm Oerlikon anti-aircraft cannon and more, The Weapon Hunter is history up-close and personal. Season two of the six-episode series premieres Sunday, February 12 at 9:00.

- Turner's TNT has picked up a sixth season of the hugely popular crime-drama Major Crimes, from Warner Bros. Television, which has consistently ranked as one of cable's most-watched drama series since its chart-topping debut in 2012. The show's stellar ensemble cast – including two-time Oscar® nominee Mary McDonnell, G.W. Bailey, Tony Denison, Michael Paul Chan, Raymond Cruz, Phillip P. Keene, Kearran Giovanni, Jonathan Del Arco and Graham Patrick Martin – will return for the 13-episode sixth season. Major Crimes will close out its fifth season with an eight-episode run that begins on Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 9:00.

- TBS's The Guest Book is filling up quickly with notable entries. The new comedy series from Emmy® winner Greg Garcia (My Name Is Earl) has locked its first-season cast and guest cast. The Guest Book is slated to premiere on TBS in August. Among the regular and recurring cast members joining The Guest Book are Kellie Martin (Army Wives) as Officer Kimberly Leahy, who serves on the police force in the small mountain town of Mount Trace. Charlie Robinson (Hart of Dixie) is Wilfrid, an easygoing, friendly gentleman who manages a group of mountain rental cottages with his wife, Emma, played by recurring guest star Aloma Wright (Suits), Carly Jibson (Broadway's Hairspray) is Vivian, a tough, strong-willed woman who runs a bikini bar called Chubbys with her stepson Frank, played by Lou Wilson (Tween Fest). Rounding out the first season cast in recurring roles will be Garret Dillahunt (The Mindy Project), Laura Bell Bundy (Scream Queens) and Eddie Steeples (My Name Is Earl). The Guest Book has also lined up an impressive list of guest stars, reserving the talents of Danny Pudi (Community), Jenna Fischer (The Office), Tommy Dewey (The Mindy Project), Lauren Lapkus (Orange Is the new Black), Michaela Watkins (Casual), Mary Lynn Rajskub (24), Michael Rapaport (Sully), Kate Micucci (Raising Hope), Jaime Pressly (My Name Is Earl), Stockard Channing (The Good Wife), Andrew J. West (The Walking Dead) John Ortiz (Togetherness), David Zayas (Gotham), Shannon Woodward (Westworld), Margo Martindale (The Good Wife) and Stephnie Weir ( The Comedians) for the anthology-style series.

- Dakota Fanning (American Pastoral) is set to star in TNT's The Alienist, the eagerly anticipated series based on the Anthony Award-winning New York Times bestseller by Caleb Carr. Playing Sara Howard, a headstrong secretary at Police Headquarters, Fanning joins recently cast Daniel Brühl (Rush, Inglorious Bastards, Captain America: Civil War), who stars as forensic psychologist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, and Luke Evans (The Girl on The Train, The Hobbit trilogy), who will play reporter John Moore. The series will follow the three of them as they investigate a series of brutal murders in New York during the Gilded Age.

- Turner's TBS has greenlit ten episodes of the animated series The Cops (working title), starring and co-created by Louis C.K. and Albert Brooks. The two also serve as executive producers on the series with Greg Daniels, Dino Stamatopoulos, Dave Becky and Howard Klein. The Cops is produced by FX Productions, Louis C.K.'s Pig Newton and Turner's Studio T, and is slated to premiere in 2018. The Cops follows Al (Brooks) and Lou (C.K.), two Los Angeles patrolmen trying their best to protect and serve, sometimes failing at both. Ride with them as they patrol one of the biggest cities in the world, then go home with them and be glad you're not married to either.

- Turner's TNT has ordered a second season of its hit drama series Good Behavior, starring award-winning actress Michelle Dockery. Juan Diego Botto, Terry Kinney and Lusia Strus also star in the seductive thriller, which is executive-produced by Chad Hodge and Blake Crouch and based on a series of books by Crouch. The entire first season of Good Behavior is currently available on TNT On Demand and TNT's digital and mobile platforms. The second season is slated to launch in the fall.

- PBS announced this week at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour that The Great British Baking Show will return for a fourth season on June 16, 2017, airing Friday nights at 9:00 p.m. ET (check local listings). This upcoming season is the BBC’s most recent season, which received the highest-ever viewership for the series. PBS also announced it has committed to a fifth season of the series that has previously aired on the BBC.

- Lionsgate (NYSE:LGF.A, LGF.B) and Morgan Creek Entertainment announced today that Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment label will distribute All Eyez On Me, the biopic on Tupac Shakur, in the U.S. The film is scheduled to be released in theatres nationwide on June 16, 2017, on what would have been Tupac’s 46th birthday.

- Get a behind-the-scenes look at the amazing costumes and design on The Mindy Project. Season five of The Mindy Project returns Tuesday, Feb. 14.

- This week the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report finding that if the key provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are repealed 32 million Americans will become uninsured over the course of 10 years, and more than half of those people—18 million Americans—will lose their insurance within the first year. A report by Policy Matters Ohio found that 964,000 Ohioans would lose health coverage in 2019 if the ACA were repealed.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Previewing Six

The Seals of Six on History

As it has been written many times before, we are truly in the era of peak television. There are hundreds of new scripted shows (352 in 2014 and probably rising) coming every year now so it is easy to miss them. Seriously, I have never even heard of The Crown until it won the Golden Globe for Best Drama (so good promotions dollars to whoever bribed the Hollywood Foreign Press for that award). So I have never even heard of Six until History made it available for me to watch the first couple episode. And to be honest, the only reason I watched was because Boyd Crowder was in it.

If you are like me and only hearing about the show now, Six is for Seal Team Six, led by Crowder back in 2014. For fans of action, there are two firefights in the first ten minutes, three in the first twenty-five. Not surprising, Crowder is kind of a psychopath who makes a question kill on the last mission we see with him as the team leader.

Fast forward two years, Crowder is now employed by a private contractor who is building a new school in Africa, right in the middle of Boca Haram country. Naturally Crowder gets captured setting up the season where his old team has to rescue him and the schoolgirls who were also taken. The team is still in tack sans Crowder and a newbie replacing him while the team is now being led by Barry Sloane (who I best know as the guy who ruined Revenge). The only other cast member I recognized is My Name Is Earl’s Nadine Velazquez as one of the team member’s wife who is a little irritated at her husband’s insistence that it is “one last mission.”

And that is kind of the downfall of Six, I really do not care when they go home as all the (ex)wives are kind of wet blankets. Sloane’s wants to have children while he is more reluctant. The only home storyline that is remotely interesting is that of the playboy who grown teenage daughter starts popping up all of the sudden much to his dismay. But aside from those home diversions, added to the race against the clock to save Crowder is unknown to the team, they are racing against someone else looking for Crowder, remember the question kill I mentioned earlier, that guy’s brother also learns of Crowder’s capture. Six should appeal to those who have enjoyed History’s first foray into scripted fair Vikings (even though Six is not actually based on real events and is not even that historic taking place three to one years ago). But I guess it makes more sense than the unscripted shows that History currently airs.

Six airs Wednesdays at 10:00 on History.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Previewing The Story of God with Morgan Freeman:Season Two

When Morgan Freeman talks, people listen (okay, we will forget the ads he lent his voice to last fall). And now it is time to listen to his golden voice as his show The Story of God with Morgan Freeman. Tonight’s premiere sees Freeman travel the globe to find “chose ones” of various religion. He starts off with probably the most famous living “chosen one,” the latest Dali Lama a nine year old who Morgan goes his first ever public speaking event since being declared the next Dali Lama at age two. From there Freeman talked to someone who was convicted in North Korea for “attempting to overthrow the government,” or just praying to God in North Korea.

For those who always wondered is the difference between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, Freeman goes back in time to look at the split where the Shiites believe in a chosen one that the Sunni do not. Also in the episode are Thailand religious people mutilate themselves in the name of god with multiple piercing including swords and pipes.

Later this season, Freeman tackles how different faith look at Heaven and Hell and looks for proof of God. The series also visits some of the world’s most sacred places, including Angkor Wat in Cambodia, constructed in the 12th century as a model of Hindu heaven; Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, which the Lakota tribe believe to be one of the power points of their worship; the underwater caves, or “cenotes,” of the Maya in Mexico, which they believed were the entryways to heaven and hell; rare access inside the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, the holiest shrine of the Sikh faith; and the Meskel celebration in Ethiopia that commemorates the discovery of the true cross by Helena, mother of Roman Emperor Constantine.

The Story of God with Morgan Freeman airs Mondays at 9:00 on the National Geographic Channel.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Previewing Homeland: Season Six

At the end of last season of Homeland, it looked like this season would revert back to familiar time when Saul offered her a job back at the CIA with full autonomy of her team. But shockingly, she turned it down to continue working with her philanthropist fiancée. The other big new from the end of last season was Quinn pretty much dying after being the giunie pig for a chemical bomb Except the show left his death ambiguous as the season went to black, but basically he needed a miracle to survive,

I thought the show was going to tease out Quinn’s fate after the lack of a title sequence to see if the actor’s name was still in the credits, but it is easy to deduce his fate in the first scene of the season and confirmed in the second. At the start, Carrie has moved back to the United States (which means a return of computer guy Max), taking up roots in New York City still working for the foundation But instead of working for the poor like in the past, she has steered the new New York chapter towards unjust Muslim arrests.

Saul and Dar are still at the CIA and start the season meeting with the new Madam President Elect. Before you decry the presumptuous liberal Hollywood for already electing Hilary Clinton before the votes were cast, this female president is vert dovish whose one of the first questions she has is why do we just pull out of the Middle East completely? But what exactly does this have to do with Carrie who last we saw had no interest with the CIA. Well the first time Saul and Carrie meet this season, he points out the President Elect is friends with Carrie’s boss and point blank accuses her of being the president-elect’s secret council.

Okay, enough beating around the bush, I am going to talk about the fate of Quinn since the premiere has been on the internet for a while. So SPOILER ALERT if you have not watched it.

Brody should have died at the end of season one. Clearly in hindsight because of the horrible and eventual Carrie/Brody romance that completely ruined the show for a season and a half, but I think most people in the moment knew he should have exploded his vest at the end of the first season. I fear things will be repeating itself. Quinn should have died last season. It is completely inexplicable that he survive the chemical booth. And goodness is he annoying this year as a half dead person who still pining over Carrie. If they actually hookup it may be worse than Brody because that means the writers have not learned their lesson. But other than that, a female president elect… how novel.

Homeland airs Sundays at 9:00 on Showtime.