Saturday, June 17, 2017

Around the Tubes: 6/17/2017

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 Ray Donovan, From the Ashes, Will, How it's Made, Family Feud, Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party, RaeLynn, Power, Snatchers, Outrageous Acts of Science, and Gay for Play Game Show Starring RuPaul.

- Showtime has released the first trailer for season five of its hit drama series Ray Donovan, which will premiere on Sunday, August 6 at 9:00. Starring Liev Schreiber in his two-time Emmy nominated role as L.A.’s best professional fixer, the new season of RAY DONOVAN finds Ray turning his attention back to Hollywood and his celebrity fixer firm. Also beginning on August 6, the limited event series TWIN PEAKS will move to its new timeslot on Sunday nights at 8:00.

- TNT is releasing a new trailer for its brand new drama series Will, which tells the wild, rowdy story of young William Shakespeare. Newcomer Laurie Davidson plays the title role in this period drama told in a bold, contemporary style and played to a modern soundtrack that exposes all of Shakespeare's recklessness, lustful temptations and tortured brilliance. Also starring are Olivia DeJonge, Ewen Bremner, Colm Meaney, Mattias Inwood, Jamie Campbell Bower, William Houston, Lukas Rolfe, Max Bennett and Jasmin Savoy Brown. Will is slated to launch on Monday, July 10, at 9:00 across TNT's U.S. platforms.

- From the Ashes is a National Geographic Channel documentary that captures Americans in communities across the country as they wrestle with the legacy of the coal industry and what its future should be under the Trump Administration. From Appalachia to the West's Powder River Basin, the film goes beyond the rhetoric of the "war on coal" to present compelling and often heartbreaking stories about what's at stake for our economy, health, and climate. The film invites audiences to learn more about an industry on the edge and what it means for people's lives in America. The film asks the question -- do we continue to invest in a 19th century form of energy production that has clear and present risks or do we move forward and if so what are the options in our energy future? What are the new jobs that will be produced in former coal-dominated states? From the Ashes premieres Sunday, June 25 at 9:00 on National Geographic Channel.

- The Science Channel series that has for more than a decade put the spotlight on how everyday items are manufactured, goes inside U.S. factories to see how some of world’s most essential and innovative products are created. The 10 episode How it's Made: American Made, premiering Thursday, June 22 at 9:00, will look at a wide variety of products that are produced in America including 3-D printers, NASCAR engines, apple pie, barber poles, and more. In addition, the new season of How it's Made premieres on the 22nd at 9:30.

- All next week (6/19-6/23), GSN will feature episodes of Family Feud where the contestants gave some epically bad responses. Tune in each night at 7:00 ET (6pm central) to catch the contestants and answers that made Steve go "Wait...what?"

- On the heels of early awards’ buzz,  VH1, in partnership with Sequential Brands Group, MERRY JANE and 495 Productions, today announced the hit series Martha and Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party will return on Monday, October 16th at 10PM. Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg continue to light up the kitchen in season two by putting a personal spin on favorite dishes to create a themed meal with celebrity friends.

- Tune in to the AUDIENCE Network concert special RaeLynn airing Friday, June 16, at 9:00 via DIRECTV Ch 239, AT&T U-verse Ch 1114 and on-demand through DIRECTV NOW. The show features a playful interview with series host Ted Stryker.

- Starz’s most watched series Power: The Complete Third Season is out now on Blu-ray and DVD. With record-breaking ratings for its premiere, season three — with its all-star cast, including Omari Hardwick (TV’s ”Being Mary Jane”), Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson (The Hangover), and Naturi Naughton (TV’s “Mad Men”) — finds James St. Patrick fighting to maintain his new lifestyle on the right side of the law.

- Verizon’s go90 and Stage 13, a fearless digital content brand under Warner Bros Digital Networks, today announced that the original scripted horror-comedy series Snatchers will be premiering on June 22nd exclusively on go90. Snatchers marks Stage 13’s first series launch.

- From MacGyver-like scientists to amateur stunt artists, the internet is filled with clips of crazy homemade experiments and misadventures. Science Channel’s team of top science minds are back to break down the ingenuity – and sometimes insanity – behind each week’s most out-of-this-world experiments, incredible inventions, and jaw-dropping stunts when Outrageous Acts of Science returns Wednesday, June 21 at 9:00.

- Logo today announced that Gay for Play Game Show Starring RuPaul will return with six new episodes beginning Thursday, June 29th at 9:00. The fun-filled trivia series, with Emmy award winning host RuPaul, features pop culture savvy contestants competing to win over $5,000 in cash prizes. You don’t need to be gay to play, but it sure does help!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Previewing Cardinal

In this era of too much television, it is impossible to keep up everything that is being made in America. And that does not even count the numerous imports streaming services buy up to bolster their libraries. Do excuse me for never have hearing of the Canadian show Cardinal until Hulu sent me a press release about it. That came with a trailer which made me go, oh, so it is The Killing: Frozen Tundra Edition and they even got the mayor to star in the show. But hey, I like a good murder mystery. I even like bad ones: I have almost made it to the end of Pretty Little Liars. But what really got me to watch was the show is only six episodes which means I could easily knock it out in a pair of two hour blocks.

So Billy Campbell (The Killing, natch) is the titular John Cardinal who was kicked of homicide but is brought back when his case of an Indian girl is reopened when the body is finally found. Just transferred from the financial division is Karine Vanasse (Pan Am) who is naturally skeptical of her new partner and is hiding a big secret herself which you learn at the end of the first season. And there is another plus of the show, at just six episode there is a big plot twist at the end of each episode and unlike show of its ilk, with just six episodes, there are no red herrings, each of these twist have big significance to the show.

And the biggest selling point of them all, unlike The Killing which had the biggest cop out in the history of television with its first season finale, solving the murder of Rosie Larson only be say ”Psyche!!!” in the final moments, everything has a natural and mostly satisfying conclusion on Cardinal. I am not up on the inner workings of Canadian television, so I do not know if there is going to be a second season or not, but there really does not need to be one. If you are looking for something to watch during the summer duldrums, you could do a lot worse than Cardinal. At the very least the frozen tundra landscape you remind you of cooler days while the temperature continues to rise in the next couple months.

All six episodes of Cardinal are streaming now exclusively on Hulu.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Previewing Claws

TNT and USA got on the scripted cable shows train before everyone else. But at the start of the decade every other cable channel got their own shows, some of the channels even carved out a niche in the prestige drama niche like AMC. With dwindling ratings, the originals had to evolve. USA fired the first shot with one of the best shows this decade, Mr. Robot, and TNT has been playing catch up ever since. I did not have much interest in their first attempt Animal Kingdom and the critics were mostly mum on the show. I really enjoyed their next new show Good Behavior, but again it never really caught on much with the critical kingmakers. Then there was Claws which is getting a lot of buzz. And it is well deserved.

What I liked most about Good Behavior is that I did not know where it was going and the few times I thought I knew where it was going, it went somewhere else and I really liked that feeling of uncertainness when on most shows today you know exactly where they are going sometimes within the first five minutes. Claws is like that in a way but when Claws goes in a surprising way, it is more like a soap opera cliffhanger than its prestige counterparts for better or worse (mostly the latter but the big cliffhanger in the third episode has a lot of explaining to do in the next episode).

Claws stars Niecy Nash (Reno 911) as the owner of a nails salon who has a tightknit employee base inkling Judy Reyes (Scrubs), Jenn Lyon (Saint George), and Carrie Preston (Crowded). Karrueche Tran, whose name I have heard before but I thought she was basically famous for being someone(s?) girlfriend who I did not care about, is the newbie who is not fitting in well with the crew. And that is really an understatement.

Oh yeah, and this nail salon is a money laundering front for Dean Norris (Under the Dome) affectionally known as Uncle Daddy by Jack Kesy (The Strain; he was the junkless rock star turned Master), who brings Nash into this operation, and being this is taking place in central Florida I spent most of the first episode wondering if Dean Norris had a couple kids with his sister, hence Uncle Daddy (the relationship becomes clearer in the second episode). And the other kid in the messed up family is Kevin Rankin (Friday Night Lights) who is mostly out of the fray of the business with his wife Lyon (though it is still unclear to me why they have one white child and a black one).

The weakest part of the show is when Nash goes home to her somewhere on the spectrum brother played by Harold Perrineau (Wedding Band), followed by Norris's bayou accent, and I really do not buy the nurse from Scrubs as a gangsta dressing lesbian, but everything else is just firing on all cylinder. And really do not tune in late because the beginning of the episode that I have seen so far are some of the best things I have seen on television recently.

Claws airs Sundays at 9:00 on TNT.