Recent Posts in TV
February 16, 2015
The Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary was a spectacle, bringing together most of the show's famous cast, guest hosts, and favorite musical guests for a three-and-a-half hour extravaganza (with commercials, and not counting the extra hour of red carpet interviews that started an hour earlier on NBC). On the musical front, Kanye West got a lot of air time, performing "Jesus Walks" (while on his back), then getting up for "Only One" and new song "Wolves" (complete with ice-blue contact lenses) with Sia in a white wig, and Vic Mensa. Class skits were revisited, and Kanye was the target of some jokes in the new "Wayne's World" segment where "Kanye, Sit Down" came in at #5 on their Top 10 List.
Sia's wig would later appear on Zach Galifianakis when he introduced new Digital Short, "That's When You Break," that starred Andy Samberg and Adam Sandler (and clips of SNL actors cracking up ["breaking"] on camera). There was also Paul McCartney, who played Irving Plaza the night before, performing "I've Just Seen a Face" with Paul Simon and then "Maybe I'm Amazed." (He was very memorably, hilariously introduced by Keith Richards.) Later in the show Simon, introduced by Jack White, would come back out for "Still Crazy After All These Years" Related: Miley Cyrus covered Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" (with Fred Armisen on invaluable tambourine, and Paul McCartney's drummer Abe Laboriel, Jr. playing as part of her band too). Miley was introduced by Win Butler and frequent guest-host Candice Bergen.
Best buds Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon opened the show with a pretty impressive Beasties-style rap that chronicled the history of SNL. Later in the show Martin Short and Maya Rudolph (as Beyoncé) did a tribute to the many comedy musical sketches over the years many of whom made their return: Bill Murray's lounge singer (still great), Joe Piscopo as Frank Sinatra, Marty & Bobbi Culp (Will Ferrell & Ana Gasteyer), and The Blues Brothers (Dan Aykroyd was wearing his Crystal Skull vodka knit hat on the red carpet).
The SNL band got a big shout-out too, which saw the return of longtime guitarist G.E. Smith. Late bassist Tom "T-Bone" Wolk, who Smith played with on SNL and in Hall & Oates' band and died in 2010, was acknowledged in the "In Memoriam" segment that, hilariously, also included Jon Lovitz (who, not dead, was in the audience waving incredulously both times he was referred to as dead during the show). There was also a tribute to Tracy Morgan who is still recovering from a near-fatal car crash.
We got a lot of updates of classic sketches including the welcome return of "Celebrity Jeopardy," the maybe less welcome "The Californians" (with original cast member Laraine Newman, Taylor Swift> and a game Bradley Cooper who got to make out with Betty White), and Ackroyd did his famous "Bass-O-Matic" sketch again.
What else: Tina Fey and Amy Pohler did Weekend Update with Jane Curtain (and Edward Norton as Stefon and Melissa McCarthy as Chris Farley character Matt Foley); Jerry Seinfeld fielded questions from audience members Michael Douglas, John Goodman, James Franco, Larry David, Tim Meadows, Dakota Johnson and Sarah Palin; and Chris Rock paid tribute to Eddie Murphy who came out on the SNL stage for the first time in 30 years. That may have been one of the most awkward moments of the night. Everyone was hoping Eddie, who also talked to Al Roker on the red carpet in the pre-show, would perform, but that unfortunately didn't happen.
There was lots more: Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin, a sports montage, a shorts montage.... You can watch the whole thing over at NBC.com. More pictures and clips of many of the highlights, below...
would you call that shade of green "avocado"?
Jack White was one of the many, many famous folk who appeared on last night's Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special. He didn't perform a song, but looking very smart in a tux and slicked-up hair, Jack did introduce Paul Simon's musical performance.
Earlier Sunday, he vented some steam about the whole "guacamolegate" thing via a letter on the Third Man website. It seemed to stem from a story NPR did over the weekend where they tested Jack's recipe with a chef (a London-based Peruvian chef, which was an odd choice?) who called it more of a salad than a traditional guac. Jack says not only is it not "his" recipe, he's never eaten it:
first off, this is none of your business, but i have no specific demands in my dressing room. i know i could ask for lots of things but i actually don't ask for ANYTHING. i take with me what i need, and that ain't much. anything on the rider is for the band and the crew. this "guacamole recipe" is my hilarious tour managers inside joke with the local promoters, it's his recipe, not mine. it's just something to break up the boredom, seeing who can make it best. though i wouldn't know because i've never had it. i can't even make kool aid let alone cook any real food enough to have a "recipe." sorry, i don't have that talent.He gets a bunch of other stuff off his chest, too, and you can read the whole thing below.
February 11, 2015
There will be a second official Game of Thrones mixtape coming in March and featuring Method Man, Snoop Dogg, Yandel and other hip hop artists. Catch the Throne: The Mixtape Vol. 2 will incorporate score and dialogue samples from last year's fourth season. Says Snoop:
Off the top, I love Game of Thrones - I even gave my expert analysis of this season on my GGN show. It's like the rap game, it's gangster, about family, loyalty and trying to get to the top. I had to get involved. Give the fans a little b it of how I see it.Changing things up for this second go-round, metal bands Anthrax and Killswitch Engage will be involved in this one too. Says Anthrax's Scott Ian:
As fans of Game of Thrones, we are extremely excited to collaborate on this project. Recording a song about the Lannister family allows us to connect more with our fans and Game of Thrones fans in a way we would have never imagined.Maybe this takes the sting off losing a Metal Grammy to Tenacious D, just a little.
Catch the Throne: The Mixtape Vol. 2 is, of course, part of the hype leadup to Game of Thrones' fifth season which premieres on HBO on April 12. HBO recently aired a half-hour GoT special, Game of Thrones Season 5: A Day in the Life, which follows the show's production units filming in three different countries on the same day. You can watch that, along with the Season 5 trailer, below...
February 10, 2015
During tonight's taping of The Daily Show, host Jon Stewart told the audience that he'd be stepping down from the anchor chair at the end of 2015. While the show obviously doesn't air till later tonight, the news hit Twitter and then was confirmed by Comedy Central:
UPDATE: Watch Jon Stewart break the news to The Daily Show's studio audience, below...
February 9, 2015
by Bill Pearis
Grooms' drummer Steve Levine (left) on 'Better Call Saul' series premiere
While some folks were watching The Grammys, others tuned into AMC for the series premiere of Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul. Set in the '00s before Saul became Saul or met Walter White, the show (well, first episode at least) is a little lighter in tone than Breaking Bad but to call it a comedy would be incorrect. I thought it was great. Many of the laughs in the first episode come from twin skateboarding scam artists, Lars and Cal, who Saul enlists for help. Lars is played by Steve Levine who also spends time as drummer for Brooklyn indie rock outfit Grooms. His twin brother Daniel plays Cal. AMC is re-airing the Better Call Saul premiere tonight (2/9) at 9 PM, immediately followed by the second episde at 10 PM.
With Season 1 in the can (and the fate of Lars and Cal unknown at this point), Steve Levine's immediate future will be spent with Grooms, whose terrific new album Comb the Feelings Through Your Hair is out next week (2/17). Stream the title track below. They'll play a joint NYC record release show with A Place to Bury Strangers at Music Hall of Williamsburg on February 17 with Ed Schrader's Music Beat and tickets are still available.
A Place to Bury Strangers' new album, Transfixiation, is out next week as well. Weirder, tighter and more varied than anything they've done to date, while still sounding like APTBS, I think it's also the band's best yet. You can stream the whole thing right now over at NPR.
February 6, 2015
by Bill Pearis
FOX's pulpy hip hop music biz drama Empire has been a surprise smash, making rap a suddenly hot commodity on mainstream network TV. That's good news for Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann, who had been trying to bring a hip hop series to the screen for the better part of a decade. Netflix has bitten and ordered a 13-episode first season of The Get Down, which is set in 1970s New York City. From The Hollywood Reporter:
Consigned to rubble, a rag-tag crew of South Bronx teenagers are nothings and nobodies with no one to shelter them -- except each other, armed only with verbal games, improvised dance steps, some magic markers and spray cans. From Bronx tenements, to the SoHo art scene; from CBGBs to Studio 54 and even the glass towers of the just-built World Trade Center, The Get Down is a mythic saga of how New York at the brink of bankruptcy gave birth to hip-hop, punk and disco -- told through the lives and music of the South Bronx kids who changed the city, and the world ... forever.Bringing a little grit to the series is co-producer Shawn Ryan, who created The Shield (and the barely-seen but great Terriers). Baz will direct the first two episodes and the first season finale. There's a teaser trailer you can watch below and The Get Down will hit your Netflix queue in 2016.
In related news, VH1 is producing a made-for-TV film, The Breaks, which was inspired by Dan Charnas' book The Big Payback, and will be a narrative history of the hip-hop business. That begins shooting this spring.
February 2, 2015
by Bill Pearis
It's been eight years since Happy Mondays' Unkle Disfunctional and 12 since the amazing mess that was Shaun Ryder's 2003 solo album, Amateur Night in the Big Top. But things are twisting in Ryder's melon with hints that Black Grape may play gigs this year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of that band's debut, It's Great When You're Straight...Yeah. He's also got "something in the pipeline" -- a new album of some sort? We shall see.
Ryder has stayed busy recently as host of History Channel UK series Shaun Ryder on UFOs since 2013.
Convinced from an early age that UFO's exist after spotting one in the sky above his house in Salford, Shaun sets off on a quest to find out the truth. Along the way he scans more than just the sky, speaking to experts and witnesses, academics and abductees, skeptics and believers in an attempt to get to the bottom of their stories and separate fact from fantasy.Americans can watch Shaun Ryder on UFOs on Netflix and you can check out a few clips from the show, and stream Amateur Night in the Big Top via Rdio, below...
As mentioned, Saturday Night Live will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a three-hour live special on February 15 (which is Sunday, by the way). Former castmember Eddie Murphy, who hasn't appeared on the show (which he doesn't have especially fond memories of) since 1984, will return for the special which also features a cavalcade of other past castmembers: Chevy Chase, Jimmy Fallon, Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, Martin Short, Tina Fey, Molly Shannon, Mike Myers, Andy Samberg, Bill Murray, Amy Poehler, Dana Carvey, Kristen Wiig, Dan Aykroyd, Chris Rock, Garrett Morris, and Maya Rudolph.
There will aslo be lots of former SNL hosts as well, including Five Timers Club members Tom Hanks, Alec Baldwin, Paul Simon, Justin Timberlake, Christopher Walken, and Steve Martin, plus Emma Stone, John Hamm, Derek Jeter, Melissa McCarthy, Jerry Seinfeld, Robert De Niro, Jack Nicholson, Jim Carrey, Peyton Manning, Betty White and many more yet to be announced.
In addition to Timberlake and Simon, other musicians appearing on SNL 40 will be Kanye West, Paul McCartney, and Taylor Swift. The Saturday Night Live Special runs from 8 - 11 PM on 2/15. You can watch a couple of promos for the special below.
And in related news, Eddie Murphy, who has dabbled in music in the past, having scored a hit in 1985 with the Rick James-produced "Party All the Time," recently released a reggae single "Oh Jah" which you can stream below. It's not his first dip into the genre -- he released a single with Snoop Lion in 2013 and collaborated with Shabba Ranks in 1993.
This past week's SNL featured D'Angelo.
February 1, 2015
To quote Fader, "D'Angelo made his debut Saturday Night Live performance tonight and his first TV appearance since releasing his surprise album Black Messiah. Accompanied by his backing band The Vanguard, the '90s icon sang through "Really Love" and "The Charade," both of which appear on his latest record."
As CoS also points out, "During the latter, D'Angelo wore a hoodie, the Vanguard members donned "I Can't Breathe" t-shirts, and a stencil of a body outlined the stage floor -- powerful references to the recent killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner."
Catch D'Angelo live at the Apollo on 2/7, or in Europe. All tour dates are also listed below...
January 30, 2015
Varys & Tyrion / Jon Snow & Stannis, Game of Thrones S5 (courtesy HBO)
Last night was the big IMAX Game of Thrones event where they screened the show's Season 4 finale at theaters around the country. A lot of people went just to get a first look at the Game of Thrones Season 5 trailer which premiered at the event. Reports are, the show will seriously begin to diverge from Georger RR Martin's books, and will likely merge 2005's A Feast for Crows and 2011's A Dance with Dragons' stories, which followed different characters along parallel timelines. Vulture points out that, at least from the trailer, a new contender to the Iron Throne that makes his debut in A Dance with Dragons may have been excised from the story entirely. We shall see. Of course, an "unofficial" version of the trailer has made its way to the internet today which you can watch in its muffled, in-and-out-of-focus splendor, below. One thing you can make out is TV on the Radio's cover of David Bowie's "Heroes" which was recorded in 2009 for a Warchild benefit album.
UPDATE: They've released the official trailer online, and you can watch that below.
In other news, it looks like fans of Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series are going to have to keep waiting for the next book. HarperCollins told The Guardian today that Winds of Winter (the title of the next book) is not on their 2015 release schedule. "I have no information on likely delivery," Jane Johnson of HarperCollins said. "These are increasingly complex books and require immense amounts of concentration to write. Fans really ought to appreciate that the length of these monsters is equivalent to two or three novels by other writers."
Clearly, GRRM is busy, busy writing. Or turning a former bowling alley in his Santa Fe hometown into something called the House of Eternal Return:
The artist collective Meow Wolf outlined its vision Thursday for the complex, which was purchased and is being renovated by author George R.R. Martin with Meow Wolf as the tenant. It is slated for a fall opening.To tide you over till Game of Thrones Season 5 premieres on April 12, the S4 DVD/Blu-Ray set will be out February 17 and you can buy illustrated compendium The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones now.
It will include a room for children's arts programs, as well as 19 affordable artists' studios with shared space for collaboration. A gift shop, gallery for emerging artists, and murals on inner and outer walls are planned.
But the major draw will be a House of Eternal Return, built on the 14,000 square feet where the bowling lanes used to be and offering 20,000 square feet of explorable space as different levels are added. More than 75 artists will collaborate on creating niches and crannies - some 50 to 70 of them - to give visitors a feeling of passing through a portal to a different time and place every time they open a door. - [Albuquerque Journal]
Watch the S5 trailer, below...