Friday, April 28, 2017

Around the Tubes: 4/28/2017

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 American Race, Labyrinth, Diana Ross, Full Frontal with Samantha Bee's "Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner", Losing Sight of Shore, Site Unseen: An Emma Fielding Mystery, People of Earth, and The Detour.

- TNT has released a trailer for its new docu-series series American Race with host Charles Barkley:

- Extending the 30th anniversary celebration of the beloved film, Labyrinth, Jim Henson’s mesmerizing and enduring fantasy classic, David Bowie and Trevor Jones’ iconic soundtrack will be remastered and reissued on vinyl on May 12 for the first time since its original 1986 release. Long out of print, the album, which was remastered at Capitol Studios, will be available on high quality 120gm black vinyl and include the faithfully replicated original jacket and artwork, including the original EMI America logo and the printed inner sleeve featuring photos of Bowie from the film. Pre-order Labyrinth here.

- Sought after by collectors and considered the rarest of Motown’s rare grooves, Diana Ross’ diana – the original CHIC mix, will make its long-awaited debut on vinyl on April 21, on Motown/UMe/UMGI, with a twist: it will be a double-LP set on pink vinyl at 45rpm for maximum fidelity. This edition of diana includes alternate-mix versions of such classics as “Upside Down” and “I’m Coming Out,” as envisioned by Chic’s Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame member Nile Rodgers and the late Bernard Edwards.

- Turner's TBS is crying-with-joy-emoji to announce that Full Frontal with Samantha Bee's "Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner" will stream on Twitter following the special's premiere on TBS. Hosted by Samantha Bee, the event will take place at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, April 29. It will then air that evening as a one-hour special on TBS at 10 p.m. (ET/PT), with an additional broadcast on Twitter at 11 p.m. (ET). Fans on Twitter in the United States will be able to access the stream by going to, as well as via the @FullFrontalSamB Twitter handle.

- Elvis Costello will bring his legendary guitar licks and vocal stylings to Washington, D.C., this Saturday, April 29, when he performs at the official after-party for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee's first annual Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner, presented by TBS.

- Losing Sight of Shore follows the extraordinary journey of four brave women known as the Coxless Crew that set out to row the Pacific Ocean from America to Australia unsupported. As they row over 8,000 miles during their nine months at sea, they face extreme mental and physical challenges they must overcome in order to go down in history. Available on Netflix May 1.

- Site Unseen: An Emma Fielding Mystery; Stars: Courtney Thorne-Smith (“According to Jim,” “Melrose Place”) and James Tupper (“Revenge,” “Big Little Lies”). Emma (Thorne-Smith) is a brilliant, dedicated, and driven archaeologist who discovers artifacts that have been lost for hundreds of years--and she's very, very good at it. Emma has recently unearthed evidence of a possible 17th century coastal Maine settlement that predates Jamestown, one of the most significant archaeological finds in years. But the dead body she uncovers on the site pushes Emma into a different kind of exploration. Her dig site is suddenly in jeopardy of being shut down, due to the meddling of local treasure-hunters and a second suspicious murder. Emma must team with the handsome FBI Agent investigating the case to dig up dirt on the killer, before Emma and her excavation are ancient history. Premieres Sunday, June 4 (9 p.m. ET/PT) on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.

- Saturday Night Live alum Nasim Pedrad (Scream Queens, New Girl) has joined TBS's hit comedy People of Earth as a series regular, beginning this summer with the show's second season. People of Earth centers on a group of alien abductees – or "experiencers" – living in the small town of Beacon, N.Y. The series is executive-produced by Emmy® winners Conan O'Brien and Greg Daniels, along with creator David Jenkins and showrunner Norm Hiscock.

- Turner's TBS has ordered a third season of its hit series The Detour, cable's most watched original comedy for the year-to-date. Created, written and executive-produced by Jason Jones and Samantha Bee, The Detour is an all-too-honest look at the family dynamic. Jones stars in the acclaimed comedy with Natalie Zea, Ashley Gerasimovich, Liam Carroll and Daniella Pineda.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Previewing The Handmaid's Tale

“Better doesn’t mean better for everyone.” There are many striking things about The Handmaid’s Tale, but this quote sticks out more than them all. In our highly polarized society, it is surprising a politician has not come right out and said this while defending legislation like health care where there seems to be no good law that helps everyone in a fiscal way. Of course if any politician said that it would probably be a good way to not get reelected.

But that is a thing you can say in a totalitarian regime that is in control of the alternative timeline of The Handmaid’s Tale. It is a little unclear how he got here but flashbacks slowly put the puzzle pieces in place. At first this regime slaughtered Congress, blamed terrorists, and suspended the constitution temporary until it became permanent. Anchorage is now the capital and there are only two states left while there is still war going outside.

This unrest all started with a plague of infertility over the majority of women and much like the Biblical plagues, some religious types thought this was brought on by God punishing us for birth control and other immoral acts. And now this new world is being run by the Leaders of the Faithful who make the Westboro Baptist Church look like Sodom and Gomorrah in comparison. The abduct fertile women and turn them into sex slaves for Commanders whose wives cannot give birth resulting in maybe the creepiest sex scene you will ever see. But yet aside from being devotedly religious, these people seem to forget one of the Ten Commandments is Thou Shall Not Kill. And the whole thing about coveting your neighbor’s wife is mostly of broken by them too.

Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) plays the titular character and narrator who is taken prisoner because she had just given birth so the Leaders of the Faithful know she is fertile. It is a little weird seeing Peggy Olsen in modern time except she is quickly outfitted in a handmaid’s garb which looks straight out of the Puritan’s collection, a muted red floor length dress with a “winged” white hat. The Leaders on the other hand are always dressed like they are heading to the opera. Moss’s Leaders are played by Joseph Fiennes (FlashForward), who utters that first line, and Yvonne Strahovski (Chuck) who is really good in this Stepfordian role.

But it is Moss who is great here. She always seems to have this dead behind the eyes stares as the life has been almost completely sucked out of her in the two short months she has been a Handmaid. And the camera always seems to be in a close up shot of that black stare. Juxtaposed her creepy blank stare to her very lively narration where she plots a way to get back to her son. Alexis Bledel (Sin City) shows up as a fellow Handmaid, they are not allowed to travel by themselves, with a secret which gets very dark by the third episode.

And just when the show starts getting too dark, there are moments of levity, a quick quip from Moss as narrator, a random game of Scrabble, and most notably a weird and random musical cue that closes out the second episode. Really, the weirder the show gets the more I enjoy it. It has been a rough start for Hulu since it has flipped over to their pay only tier, but The Handmaid’s Tale is finally a new show worth paying for their service.

The first three episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale are now able to stream on Hulu with new episodes premiering every Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Previewing Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman has filmed fifty-eight episodes of Through the Wormhole and tonight premieres the one of the last four episode ever (or at least until it is rebooted because shows never truly die anymore). For seven years Freeman has been asking the hard questions like the existence of god, the science of racism, life on other planets, the future of robots and many others.

Tonight’s episode is dedicated to the fortieth anniversary of Star Wars this year by asking is there really a mystical “force” out there? On the surface kind of a silly question but there really are forces out there that we cannot see that are working in mysterious ways. Einstein even theorized that space is not truly empty. Other topics discussed tonight is the idea of entanglement, the double split where light can split in two to go into two different places, and can we send messages to our future selves through wormholes, because I guess a time capsule is just too easy.

Later this season Morgan will also be asking, can we cheat death? Death is life’s greatest certainty. But that may be about to change. Scientists have discovered an immortal animal that may hold the secret of endless regeneration. They’re on the brink of editing our DNA so that we can cure death like a disease. Or is dying necessary for the survival of our species? Can we hack the planet? Humanity is under threat – from storms that seem to get ever fiercer, earthquakes that seem ever more deadly, and killer viruses that are engulfing the globe. Some scientists think it’s time for us to fight back. Can we – should we –hack the planet? And is gun crime a virus? Every seventeen minutes in America, someone is killed with a gun. Politicians can’t seem to stop the violence. But epidemiologists, psychologists and big data crunchers are discovering that gun crime spreads like a virus –and science may be able to stop its spread.

Through the Wormhole with Morgan Freeman airs Tuesdays at 10:00 on Science.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

57 Channels and Only This Is On: 4/22/2017

Once Upon a Time: Was this our first look at Tigerlily on the show? They ruined Peter Pan so much it is hard to remember. But Emma being able to bring Hook back to Storybrooke seemed silly. He had some curse that preventing him from getting back there so what was so different about the door Emma created?
You can download Once Upon a Time on iTunes.

Billions: Does a billionaire really a VR experience with a doomsday bunker when he can build one that is real and probably better? How about a bunker on the moon or Mars? But what exactly do you get a man who can buy anything?

The Voice: Someone mentioned their team on The Voice App and I thought, oh yeah, I have one of those but I have not even looked at it since the Battle Rounds. I was shocked to see my team was still in tack (Lauren, TSoul Chris, Lilli, and Jesse). Usually I am lucky to have two people make it to the Top 12. Aliyah was the big shock getting voted through over Casi (though I think Blake would have saved her anyway). Vanessa was another big shock that night, she was singing a crappy EDM song and still made it in over the overhyped Stephanie and Partridge legacy Jack. The big shocks Tuesday came with the coaches saves, I figured Gwen would save either Quizz because of her creepy obsession with teenagers or the much hyped JChosen. Instead she went with the easily forgettable Troy who has to be most likely to get booted first next week. Then I thought Adam would save one of his rockers but instead boring teen singer Mark who is most likely to be in the bottom two every week yet inexplicably saved by Twitter up until the Semi-Finals. Ugg. But anyway, here is my top 12 Power Rankings:

1. Lilli Passero
2. Lauren Duski
3. Chris Blue
4. Aliyah Moulden
5. TSoul
6. Vanessa Ferguson
7. Brennley Brown
8. Troy Ramey
9. Stephanie Rice
10. Jesse Larson
11. Hunter Plake
12. Mark Isaiah

Harlots: You know what they say, a party never truly starts until someone brings a goat. And poor Lucy, again stuck the war between her sister and her fiancé. That final song was so sad.

Pretty Little Liars: Should I remember who Holden is. Wasn’t the murdered cop named Detective Holden? And please more Ali and Paige mean women scenes.
You can download Pretty Little Liars on iTuness.

The Challenge: Invasion of the Champions: Do you believe in highly unlikely’s!!! Camilla over Laurel. Wow. And Camillia is the only Champion girl left. Double wow.
You can download The Challenge: Invasion of the Champions on iTunes.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: So The Patriot is dead dead right? Dead in the framework is dead in real life. That is not to say they cannot bring him back somehow I guess.
Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on iTunes.

Survivor: Game Changers: Oh my, two hours is just too much. And it was turning out to be a horrible two hours: Debbie grinding on Cirie, Tai streaking, Hali getting booted, and then Andrea almost went home. Instead Ozzy got the boot so it was not all bad. A lot of bad game play this week. When Cirie was debating bringing in Michayla to her alliance and get rid of Hali instead, I had to wonder, why not bring in both and then vote out someone like Brad or Sierra? And did these people really think Hali was smart enough to find an Idol? Really, she could have had come in handy for Cirie’s alliance at the second Tribal. But before that Zeke made a horrible move breaking from what looked like a very tight alliance with Andrea. So Andrea tells Zeke not to tell Debbie her plan, Zeke tells Debbie and they should target Andrea, Debbie than says forget than and then conspires to get rid of Ozzy and does not even let Zeke in on the plan as he is the only one who votes for Aubrey for no apparent reason (did we miss a scene where they told them they were splitting votes just in case Andrea had an Idol and that is why Zeke voted for Aubrey?). So now Debbie does not trust Zeke, Sierra does not trust Zeke, Andrea is still in the game and gunning for Zeke (on the flip side, Andrea will have to go back to camp after saying, “see you never” in her vote). So note to future players, if Andrea tells you to not do something do not do it.

You can download Survivor: Game Changers on iTunes.

The Blacklist: Wait, Red’s cleaner used to be Lizzy’s babysitter? Huh? But really, I am not sure we really needed an entire episode devoted to her.
You can download The Blacklist on iTunes.