Saturday, April 15, 2017

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 4/15/17

Once Upon a Time: Plot twist! So Gideon was controlled by the Black Fairy this whole time. And apparently the Buffy rules apply here and dying temporary is good enough.
You can download Once Upon a Time on iTunes.

Homeland: So Dar is evil enough to discredit the President Elect (and use enhanced interrogation on a sitting Senator) but not enough to actually kill her. After time jump, the first question I had was what happened to Dar. Sure he orchestrated much of this up to the assassination attempt, but he did save the president’s life by calling Carrie. But if the president is arresting Saul, of course Dar would get tapped too. But of all the people arrested, they did not grab the talk radio guy? The guy had a huge role in all of this. And just what did he do to Max. He gets detained, almost escapes, next we see is three months later and he shows up drunk at Carrie’s. Clearly he could point out radio guy was more involved than Saul. And for the second time in the show’s history, they killed off a male lead probably a season too late. The story of this season was really good, but watching Quinn being barely human was just unbearable at times.

Billions: It happens so few times but when Axe and Chuck get in the same room it is going to be epic. There was a point in the episode where I thought the two were going to team up to take down “The Kingmaker” but Chuck decided instead to kiss his ring. I take it this season ends with Axe ruining Chuck’s gubernatorial run? But Chuck still has the former Axe worker in his back pocket for emergencies now.

Into the Badlands: Oh hey, dude killed his son. I guess the Badland in turmoil should be entertaining… I hope.
You can download Into the Badlands on iTunes.

Harlots: There is the case for commercials. When Lucy shoots her gun and cuts to commercial, if you have the ad version of Hulu, you actually have to sit there and stew about who she just shot, but without the ads, it comes back and it is just a deer. Yet apparently she ended up being punished for something else, granted off screen (for a premium show where presumably anything goes, a lot of the more graphic things happen off screen).
You can stream Harlots on Hulu.

The Challenge: Invasion of the Champions: So we got our Underdog Bloodbath but apparently that is not it looks like they are going to eliminate two more people on each team before the final leaving just one dude and one chick per team. Meh. I am kind of ready for this season to end all ready.
You can download The Challenge: Invasion of the Champions on iTunes.

The Americans: So Elizabeth learned yoga this week. Interesting. But I guess the bigger news was that Paige met Gabriel before he goes home. Can she just go on a mission already?

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: So Ward is a secret agent in the Framework too. He better not come back with them whenever they escape. The Framework is just inside their heads right? There would be no physical form for him, right?
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.

The Path: Man, Hawk is the only one with actual conviction on a show about faith. Seriously, how do you trade Sarah’s freedom, someone who clearly deserves to be punished, for someone who is making whole comminutes sick? Sarah was even splattered with black cow’s blood and will let that continue to happen to avoid jail time. Just kind of a letdown of an episode. I spent most of the first season wanting more especially coming from the guy who created Friday Night Light. And this season actually seemed to be building to something, I started to care about some of the characters, and then in the end no one is punished for their bad deeds. At least we got that final scene of Eddie brining in his Denyers which clearly sets up a fight between him and Cal next season.
You can stream The Path on Hulu.

Survivor: Game Changers: When they did not cut to commercial after the Immunity Challenge I knew something was up. When they went to Tribal Council about ten minute earlier in the episode than they usually do, I thought, oh no, they are going to rocks. But when they sat down and there were seven, that would be odd for a split vote (though I guess the Varner voting for Ozzie, the other guys voting for Varner, and the girls voting for Zeke would be plausible).

Then Varner turned to Zeke and asked why he has not told anyone he was transgendered. Oh, that is why we are getting an extended Tribal. Pretty cheap Probst canceled voting, it could have been a very cathartic exercise to write Varner’s name down after that. Of course my big question now is does Zeke just get the pity win now? If not, who is the first person to broach the subject of targeting Zeke? These are all returning players so they have to know Zeke is now the biggest threat in the game, and in a game where they are continually talking about getting rid of the big threats, they all have to be thinking of it, who will be the first to mention it? And the first who does get axed like Cierra who was the first voted out because she was the first person to being up someone else’s name.
You can download Survivor: Game Changers on iTunes.

The Blacklist: Redemption: So Tom’s dad turned out to be the bad guy all along. Alrighty. But why did Scotty’s hot assistant walk all the way to Tom’s to give him the hard drive? Get to a hospital. Now the question, does he stay there and get his mother out of prison or go home for the birthday party? (Looking at the ratings, that may be resolved off screen and he will be back next season on the main show. So the real quiention is will he mention it, only mention it in passing, or will they devote an episode to resolve his family’s storyline.)
You can download The Blacklist on iTunes.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Around the Tubes: 4/14/2017

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 BarkFest, Rise, Hollywood Game Night, The Path, and The Arrangement.

- Nat Geo WILD’s third annual BarkFest weekend is a celebration of our furever friends. We turn up the cuteness factor with new specials Puppies vs. The World, and Boss Dog, and are serving up fun dog-focused episodes of Cesar Millan’s Dog Nation, Pet Talk and The Incredible Dr. Pol. The third annual BarkFest premieres on Friday, April 14, on Nat Geo WILD.
Highlights include:

Puppies vs. The World (Premieres Friday, April 14 at 8:00): For puppies, it’s a brand-new world out there, full of obstacles, setbacks and amazing new experiences. We challenge puppies to do the simplest tasks like drink water, climb stairs and escape the clutches of a toddler, and the outcome is uproarious misadventure. Along the way, we include quick and fascinating facts about puppy development and peek in on The Puppy House, which is just what is sounds like: a house full of puppies!

Boss Dog (Premieres Saturday, April 15 at 9:00): As one of Los Angeles’ top dog trainers, Stevo Henderson is on a mission to help dog owners achieve their perfect dog through his innovative training methods and uncanny understanding of canine behavior. Stevo doesn't just train dogs — he saves relationships through his coaching and assured leadership. Watch Stevo work through struggles with owners, help dogs that others have given up on and ultimately celebrate small and large victories together.

- Showtime Documentary Films will release Rise, the latest documentary from Academy Award winner Laura Poitras (CITIZENFOUR). Filmed over six years including through the 2016 presidential election and up to the present moment, RISK takes viewers closer than they have ever been before to Julian Assange and those who surround him. With unprecedented access, Poitras give us the WikiLeaks story from the inside, allowing viewers to understand our current era of massive leaks, headline-grabbing news, and the revolutionary impact of the internet on global politics. RISK is a portrait of power, principles, betrayal, and sacrifice when the stakes could not be any higher. It is a first-person geopolitical thriller told from the perspective of a filmmaker immersed in the worlds of state surveillance and the cypherpunk movement. RISK confirms Poitras' directorial ability to record history as it unfolds on camera, and craft narratives at the highest level. Showtime Networks has partnered with NEON to release Rise theatrically nationwide, with a television premiere on SHOWTIME this summer.

- GSN, the leader in game shows and competitive entertainment, announced today it will begin airing the first four seasons of the hit game show, Hollywood Game Night, beginning with a special five-night event, with the show airing Monday through Friday at 9:00 beginning Monday, April 17. The show will then move into its regular Tuesdays at 9:00 and 10:00 timeslots beginning April 25.

- Hulu renewed The Path for a third season.

- Discover the fascinating musical fusions that propelled Latin music to the top of the US charts with Latin Music USA, coming back for audiences on Fridays, April 28th and May 5th at 9:00 P.M. ET (check local listings). Produced by public media leader WGBH Boston in co-production with the BBC, this two-part, four-hour documentary explores the Latin rhythms that influenced jazz, rock, country, and rhythm and blues, highlighting the enduring contributions made by Latino musicians to the American songbook.

- This week, Hulu renewed The Path for a third season.

- E! Entertainment has greenlit a second season of its latest original scripted series The Arrangement. From Universal Cable Productions and Emmy Award-Winning writer/EP Jonathan Abrahams (“Mad Men”), the series debuted Sunday, March 5 at 10:00. Starring Josh Henderson (“Dallas”), Christine Evangelista (“The Walking Dead”), Lexa Doig (“Continuum”) and Michael Vartan (“Alias”), this multi-layered, sophisticated Hollywood love story brings to life the darker side of fame. Season two will consist of 10, one-hour episodes.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Previewing Guerrilla

I am anti-spoiler, have not actively looked for them in over a decade, but there is something about historical dramas that make me want to at the very least go to Wikipedia to see what really happened. Luckily Guerrilla is more in the vein of The Americans where most everything is fiction instead of a show like Deadwood which was a mix of real and fake characters. Guerrilla is set in Britain 1971 where prison reform and immigration are hotly debated subjects, so yeah, kind of timely for current affairs too. A Character even says, “They’re changing the laws on us,” in the first episode.

Guerrilla comes from John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) who wrote, directed and executive produced most of the six episode limited series. Idris Elba (Luther) is also an executive producer who stars in the show. But the focal point are two lover Frida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) and Babou Ceesay who get caught up in the black radial movement after a friend is beaten to death by the police during a protest match. The question for the main characters is just how far they should go to get their message out. Even after actions are taken, there still a lot of debate.

While the main characters may never have existed, the target of these protesters, the Black Power Desk, a true-life, secretive counter-intelligence unit within Special Branch dedicated to crushing all forms of black activism was very real and sets an even more harrowing tale with some basis in reality. And what is fascinating having the show set in 1971 is the primitive detective tactics at the disposal of Scotland Yard. You think about the Boston bombing the police were able to catch the perpetrators in days. But four and a half decades ago there were no surveillance camera, no social media, cell phone camera, so criminals could almost walk around almost freely, while the police had to rely heavily on informants, either those that were doing it willingly or heavily coerced. There is particularly graphic interrogation scene later this season.

Guerrilla is billed as a “limited series” at just six episode which is nice as it can essentially be viewed as about a five and a half hour movie. But the one thing that gave me pause is the amount of “limited series” recently that got renewed for a second season, though most of those ended up being anthology series after the fact. There is finality to these six episodes and it will be fine as is, but there is a speech at the end of the final episode that definitely sound like this character looks to be returning at some point.

Guerrilla airs Sundays at 9:00 on Showtime (yes the season premiere is Easter night).

Monday, April 10, 2017

Previewing Angie Tribeca: Season Three

Oh yeah, Angie had a kid last season on Angie Tribeca. I completely forgot about it. So the season starts off with a retirement party so she can raise the kid. Okay, clearly the retirement does not stick (though that would be funny if the show just became a bad family sitcom for a season). The kids ends up getting shipped off to boarding school not to be seen for a while (ever?) so Angie can get back to her police work.

The first season was you token police procedural with the second taking a serial approach. Season three seems like a weird hybrid. A serial killer is introduced in the premiere (his victims are the most vulnerable in our society: rich white dudes). But it seems like every other episode they forget that is an open case and just do a random killer of the week episode. There also seems to be a joke where the team goes to a new city (Miami! Mardi Gras!!), but again it is not every episode.

Still the show remains dumb fun. My favorite case of the episodes I have seen revolves around a college badminton player and the best episode title is easily This Sounds Unbelievable, but CSI: Miami Did It. And like previous seasons there are plenty of familiar faces including Chris Pine in the Hannibal Lecter role of the serial killer storyline, Rob Riggle, Buddy Garrity, Natalie Portman, Michelle Dockery very different from her Downton Abbey/Good Behavior roles, and Heather Graham returns.

Angie Tribeca airs Mondays at 10:30 on TBS.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 4/9/2017

Homeland: I wonder if the “not my president” protesters were hired extras or if the show just took Mandy Patikan to Trump Towers. But anyway. So the talk radio guy plotting to kill the president-elect and frame Quinn? How do Quinn’s old running buddies fit in, are they in cahoots with radio guy? I thought it was strange that they did not get rid of the van. They are smart enough to frame someone for a terrorist attack but not smart enough to dispose of the evidence? Or was this the plan all along, lure people to the house and make it explode? And just how many times has Carrie realized there was a bomb moments too late but just so happened to be far enough away from the blast radius? Still I am looking forward to the finale even after an uneven season. Considering one of the biggest flaws of the series was not having Brody blow up the vice-president in the first season, will they actually kill off the president-elect now?

The Walking Dead: When they revealed Sasha was stuck in the coffin, I first thought, um, aren’t those air tight. It turns out I was right. At least Eugene mentioned that possibility in the aftermath though I will not be surprised if he gets blamed for giving her those drugs. The bigger surprise is that the trash people turned on Rick. And then we had yet another near miss with a Carl death. Meh, but if the guy can survive a bullet to the eye, he may very well be indestructible.
You can download The Walking Dead on iTunes.

Billions: With the lawsuit gone away, this was the first episode Chuck and Axe were not intertwined and it felt weird. I wonder if Chuck did something to mess up Axe’s gaming license deal. Maybe Chuck’s father is involved. They got to pull these two back together somehow.

The Challenge: Invasion of the Champions: So no Underdog elimination this week but next week there will be a “bloodbath.” Does that mean they will go down to four to be even with the Champions for the final?
You can download The Challenge: Invasion of the Champions on iTunes.

The Americans: When Stan was in bed with his new beau, I thought, what if she was actually a secret KGB agent that the Jennings do not know about. Then the very next scene is them discussing the very same thing.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Bizzaro world can be interesting for an episode or two, but they are not really going to stuck in the framework for the rest of the season are they?
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.

The Path: Oh Richard, I thought when he locked the building, he was going to light that on fire, but, oh man, instead he burns the unburdening tapes with him in it. Oh my. He was was the best part of the show. And I just assumed last week that Mary knew where she was going, but she actually ran into a forrest in the dark without knowing where she was going while pregnant? Worse was Sean just let her go. Well, unless he knows in his heart that the kid is Cal’s (and the baby looked pretty whit), then it does not seem as cold. And is season three going to be warring cults? Sarah and Cal vs. Eddie and his group of deniers?
You can stream The Path on Hulu.

Survivor: Game Changers: The best thing I saw this week about the episode happened on Twitter when someone asked, what would be worse, being stuck on a boat with Debbie or being stuck on a boat with Cochran? But a pretty iniquitous return considering the possibilities that ran through my head. At least they are not letting Malcolm back in the game (yet… after the return of Exile Island, could Redemption Island be next).

Then we had yet another explosive Tribal where I actually started to think Tai may end up being the second person ever to be voted out with two Idols in their pocket. But in the end, the Queen was voted off for the very first time, and congrats to Sandra who made it this far, outlast all the former winners this season (really, was the person who sent both home) and it took a swap where she was in the severe minority to get voted out. And was really a dumb Tai move away from staying too.
You can download Survivor: Game Changers on iTunes.