new and noteworthy tv: 9/8-9/14

September 6th, 2014

sons-of-anarchy-season-7-poster-fx

SAMCRO enters its final season and for all the ups and downs I can’t imagine missing Jax burning it all down. And I’m dramatically less caring about Oprah adding another Tyler Perry with Loving and Syfy trying its hand at Zombie fun.

  • Monday: Rewrapped, Season Premiere (Food, 8pm), Love Prison, Series Premiere (A&E, 10pm)
  • Tuesday: Masterchef Canada, Series Premiere (Cook, 9pm), Fashion Rocks (CBS, 9pm), If Loving You Is Wrong, Series Premiere (OWN, 9pm), Sons of Anarchy, Season Premiere (FX, 10pm), Adam Devine’s House Party, Season Premiere (Com, 10:30pm)
  • Wednesday: Hell’s Kitchen, Season Premiere (Fox, 8pm), Under the Lights (CBS, 9pm), Couples Therapy/I Heart Nick Carter, Season/Series Premieres (VH1, 9/10pm), South Beach Tow, Season Premiere (Tru, 9:30pm), The Ultimate Fighter, Season Premiere (FS1, 10pm)
  • Thursday: The Biggest Loser, Season Premiere (NBC, 8pm), Haven, Season Premiere (Syfy, 10pm)
  • Friday: Oscar Pistorius the Verdict (CBS, 8pm), Real Time with Bill Maher/Live, Season Premiere (HBO, 9/10pm), Z Nation, Series Premiere (Syfy, 10pm)
  • Sunday: Countdown to/Miss America (ABC, 8/9pm), The Roosevelts, Miniseries Premiere (PBS, 8pm)

The procrastinator lists items that may not be on your regular season pass, though notation does not imply recommendation other than those underlined. Times noted are typically PST.

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watch this: ink master

September 2nd, 2014

ink-master

As I mentioned in this week’s New and Noteworthy we’re looking at a new season of Ink Master! I also mentioned that I had a moratorium on adding new reality shows (only so much time to watch tv even for the procrastinator) but you know how it is you’re home sick or you’re at the gym and they only show Bravo or you’re sitting around waiting for someone to deliver an update to some work that was due ‘end of day’ and it’s like 11pm… and you run into a marathon of something somewhat mindless. Well after a couple of episodes of this I was hooked.

So you have your standard reality fare, people who are talented in their own right (or in their own minds) and are brought together to see who is the best. There are some choice interpersonal dramas but that’s not the focus. There’s a challenge round, sometimes a tattoo and sometimes something skill related (think graffiti or car detailing or body painting), and winning gives you the power to assign the human canvases (peeps who get tattooed). And then final elimination round, typically a four hour tattoo.

Each week the focus is something different and the collection of these skills is what sucked me in. Some people are always clearly better than others but as each week looks at a different focus area, lines, precision, proportion, contrast, dimension, and the challenges show the incredible skill that these artists have to have and surprisingly the challenge that having all the breadth of all these skills is. Each person has their own style but to really be the master you have to be able to do it all. Technical skills vs artistry, black and white vs color, realism, portraits, new school, Asian, portraits, Celtic, bio-mechanical, tribal… the list goes on and in a timed format with a real live person.

Oh and about those human canvases, volunteering to get a tattoo on a competition show is just ridiculous but they seem in no shortage of volunteers. In almost all of the challenges there is a balance between giving the client what they want within the given challenge and creating something that showcases your skills. In all but a few challenges the client gets to say what they want and where, within the designated criteria. Newbies wanting rib tattoos to be avoided. Some compromise well and others not so much making the winning of a challenge an advantage as well as an opportunity for interpersonal drama.

While there are a lot of other tattoo shows on air the competition format seems to be the only one where you really get a sense of the skills. I should note that there is another very similar format show Best Ink which is also worth checking out. It has some things I quite like about it but think Ink Master maintains a better format for truly testing and showing the breadth of skills. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Details: Ink Master, Spike, Season 5 Episode 1 Tuesday at 10pm, seasons 1 & 2 currently available on Netflix Streaming.

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new and noteworthy tv: 9/1-9/7

August 30th, 2014

league2While we await fall here’s a little League, which is ridiculous but has grown on me, and Ink Master, which broke my no new reality shows rule.

  • Monday: CBS Fall Preview (CBS, 8:30pm), Houdini, Miniseries Premiere (Hist, 9pm), The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story (Life, 9pm), Highway to Sell, Series Premiere (Disc, 10pm)
  • Tuesday: The Story of Frozen (ABC, 8pm), 19 Kids & Counting, Season Premiere (TLC, 9pm), Inside the NFL, Season Premiere (Show, 9pm), Yukon Men, Season Premiere (Disc, 9pm), Ink Master/Tattoo Nightmares: Miami, Season/Series Premieres (Spike, 10/11pm)
  • Wednesday: Fool’s Gold, Series Premiere (AnPl, 9pm), The League/Ali G, Season Premieres (FXX, 10/10:30pm),
  • Friday: Stand Up to Cancer (Various, 8pm), Bellator MMA Live, Season Premiere (Spike, 8pm), Pond Stars, Series Premiere (Nat Geo Wild, 10pm)
  • Saturday: Iyanla: Fix My Life/Six Little McGhees, Season Premieres (OWN, 9/10pm), The Chair, Series Premiere (Starz, 11pm)
  • Sunday: Super Soul Sunday/Help Desk/The Specials, Season/Series Premieres (OWN, various),  Utopia, Series Premiere (Fox, 8pm), Boardwalk Empire, Season Premiere (HBO, 9pm), Total Divas, Season Premiere (E!, 9pm), Angels Among Us, Series Premiere (TLC, 10pm)

The procrastinator lists items that may not be on your regular season pass, though notation does not imply recommendation other than those underlined. Times noted are typically PST.

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and the emmy goes to…

August 26th, 2014

breaking_bad

Every year I feel compelled to note that I don’t typically watch or care about the Emmys (my one awards show is still the Oscars). With my dedication to all things television it might be surprising but the vastness of the landscape of tv is probably the thing that makes the Emmys the least relevant, at least to me. Surprisingly I don’t watch everything, my delay of ‘real cable’ and of course preference selections means some of the things they’re talking about I’m not watching, and of course some of the stuff I’m watching they’re not talking about.

And then there’s just the fact that it often feels off. The same shows or people being nominated each year leaves little room to truly feel like they’re recognizing objectively. And as some of us were discussing the continued blurred lines, comedy vs drama, series vs miniseries, lead vs supporting vs guest, make the categories a bit forced. So it sometimes feels justified and sometimes a bummer (Modern Family, really?) but I can’t even really get all that worked up about injustices. I don’t even know who was nominated or snubbed (other than the talented Tatiana from Orphan Black).

But, for those who may have missed it here are some of the winners:

  • Outstanding Drama Series – Breaking Bad
  • Outstanding Comedy Series – Modern Family
  • Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series – Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
  • Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series – Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
  • Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series – Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
  • Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series – Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series – Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama Series – Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series – Allison Janney, Mom
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Comedy Series – Ty Burrell, Modern Family

For a full list of nominees and winners check out:

http://www.emmys.com/awards/nominees-winners

 

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new and noteworthy tv: 8/25-8/31

August 23rd, 2014

Roger Federer

Maybe go out to enjoy the final official week of summer…

  • Monday: U.S. Open Tennis (ESPN, various), Emmys (NBC, 5pm)
  • Tuesday: The iHeartradio Album Release Party with Maroon 5 (CW, 8pm), Chelsea Lately, Finale (E!, 11pm)
  • Wednesday: Mud Lovin’ Rednecks, Season Premiere (AnPl, 8pm), Girlfriend Intervention, Series Premiere (Life, 10pm)
  • Thursday: World’s Wildest Commercials (ABC, 10pm)
  • Sunday: MDA Show of Strength Telethon (ABC, 9pm)

The procrastinator lists items that may not be on your regular season pass, though notation does not imply recommendation other than those underlined. Times noted are typically PST.

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summer series roundup

August 21st, 2014

worst Summer has been in full swing, and although fall season is on the horizon, we still have time to take a look at what’s we’ve been watching.

  • Backpackers (CW) – I think this is either a web series or based on one where two college dudes travel cross Europe so one can find his true love, pass.
  • Breathless (PBS) – I mostly don’t consider these Masterpiece things new series but if you dig them check them out.
  • Chasing Life (ABCF) – Another series with some potential that was a little too family to get me to stick with, girl gets cancer and of course some family and romantic drama, pass.
  • Dominion (Syfy) – It’s a bad sign that I’m pretty sure I watched an episode of this and can’t remember what it was about, come from the future (?), pass.
  • Working The Engels (NBC) – Misfit family sticks together, and it wasn’t quite together enough to warrant future watch, pass.
  • Extant (CBS) – I just deleted my backlog on this show, some potential with Halle Berry, space impregnation, and a robotic kid, stay tuned.
  • Garfunkle and Oates (IFC) – I don’t have this channel but rumor has it this was an uneven but quirky comedic musical duo, stay tuned?
  • Girl Meets World (Dis) – If you are a child or have extreme nostalgia from the Boy Meets World series might be worth checking out otherwise… pass.
  • Gunslingers (AHC) – I don’t get this channel but gunfights (?), your guess is as good as mine.
  • Halt & Catch Fire (AMC) – I tried but failed to stick with this somewhat intriguing look at the start of the modern computer, renewed for another season, stay tuned.
  • Happy Valley (Net) – A BBC woman cop drama that was almost engaging, might catch another but might not, stay tuned.
  • The Honorable Woman (Sund) – I think this is more of a miniseries than a series and while I don’t get this channel I saw some great critical reviews, tune in.
  • Intruders (BBCA) – People are about to get possessed or something, looks intriguing, stay tuned.
  • Jennifer Falls (TVL) – Almost cute in that predictable sitcom sort of way but Jaime Pressly’s character didn’t quite captivate me enough in her fall from grace, pass.
  • The Knick (Cin) – Another channel I don’t get but Clive Owen might be worth a watch in his turn of the century start of modern medicine, stay tuned?
  • The Last Ship (TNT) – I tried but neither the virus that wipes out the world nor the single boat’s struggles to save it quite captivated me, pass.
  • Legends (TNT) – Undercover always has possibilities but not sure where it’s going, stay tuned.
  • The Leftovers (HBO) – This series of those taken (or left behind) is garnering some mixed reviews but might be worth a watch, stay tuned?
  • The Lottery (Life) – If people stopped being able to bear children… I don’t know, it just wasn’t good, pass.
  • Manhattan (WGN) – I am still somewhat in on this take on the development of nuclear weapons, intriguing but not enthralling, stay tuned.
  • Married (Fx) – I love the idea of an off kilter comedy but these two people just seem miserable, and not entertaining, pass.
  • Murder in the First (TNT) – I almost liked this slow unravel of a season long mystery but didn’t find myself keeping with it, stay tuned.
  • The Musketeers (BBCA) – I have been sticking with this revisiting of the old musketeer tales, not a serious drama but fun, tune in.
  • Mystery Girls (ABCF) – I couldn’t resist checking out the original 90210’s Garth and Spelling playing up their personas, but not quite enough to stick with, pass.
  • The Outlander (Starz) – No channel for me so not sure how good it is but renewed for another season, stay tuned?
  • Partners (Fx) – Grammer and Lawrence as odd couple lawyer partners didn’t have much to say for itself, pass.
  • Reckless (CBS) – Oh those Southern attorneys with their crazy behavior, pass.
  • Rush (USA) – I guess we’ve all seen the antihero thing done, this is like a mix of all the personas as the drug addict doc working out of his car plays by his own rules, pass.
  • Satisfaction (USA) – An oddly zen take on relationships, lies, and sex while this guy causes problems and solves some falling into the life of a gigolo, pass.
  • The Strain (Fx) – I wonder if the CDC can take legal action on the depiction of their inept quarantine… ridiculous vampirish takeover, pass.
  • Taxi Brooklyn (NBC) – What if play by her own rules cop had to pair up with a previously felonious yet charismatic cabbie, I tried but at the end of the day couldn’t stick, pass.
  • Tyrant (FX) – I was just too irritated with everyone including the American family returning to the patriarch’s ruling of some Middle Eastern country, pass.
  • Vicious (PBS) – Note re Breathless above.
  • Welcome to Sweden (NBC) – This just read like a slightly amusing story your brother would tell you that doesn’t quite work in a sitcom, pass.
  • Young and Hungry (ABCF) – Remotely cute but utterly stupid look at a downtrodden and troublesome yet adorable personal chef, pass.
  • You’re the Worst (Fx) – I’ve been sticking with this anti couple comedy, it has potential in its irreverence, tune in.
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new and noteworthy tv: 8/18-8/24

August 16th, 2014

intruders

Netflix adds a BBC police woman drama to the lineup, Intruders introduces another peculiar possibly paranormal tale of some peeps, and Masterpiece kicks off another mystery. As for reality I can’t really recommend ANTM to anyone who’s not already on-board but did find the intro of dudes last season to be a good one, and though it’s not a tattoo competition show will check out Epic to tide me over ’til the others return. And of course prepping for more tennis.

  • Monday: ANTM, Season Premiere (CW, 9pm), Atlanta Exes, Series Premiere (VH1, 9pm)
  • Tuesday: Wizard Wars, Series Premiere (Syfy, 10pm), A Young Doctor’s Notebook, Season Premiere (Ova, 10pm)
  • Wednesday: Happy Valley, Series Premiere (Netflix, 12:01am), Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles, Season Premiere (Brav, 9pm), Preachers of L.A., Season Premiere (Oxy, 10pm), Epic Ink, Series Premiere (A&E, 10:30pm)
  • Thursday: The Simpsons, Marathon of all eps (Fxx, 10am-9/1), Gypsy Sisters, Season Premiere (TLC, 9pm)
  • Friday: Bering Sea Gold/Airplane Repo, Season Premiere (Disc, 9/10pm)
  • Saturday: Doctor Who/Intruders, Season Premiere (BBCA, 8/10pm)
  • Sunday: CBS Solutes the U.S. Open/Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day (CBS, 10:30/3), Masterpiece Mystery: Breathless, Series Premiere (PBS, 9pm), Music Video Awards (MTV, 9pm)

The procrastinator lists items that may not be on your regular season pass, though notation does not imply recommendation other than those underlined. Times noted are typically PST.

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now available on dvd: bad words

August 15th, 2014

Bad-Words

It’s summer and a great time to catch up on movies in addition to tv. And apparently one international round trip can get me almost all caught up. So it’s time for a little reminder as to what’s recently become available, are people still getting dvds?

  • 3 Days to Kill (5/20) – This movie had too much going to really be great but a palatable action flick for when there really is nothing on.
  • 12 Years a Slave (3/4) – Quality film that may not be fun but the performances are worth a watch.
  • American Hustle (3/18) – A fave of last year, love the fashions, the characters, and the hustle.
  • Anchorman 2 (4/1) – I’m not a huge fan of these but for a plane ride it passed the time.
  • Bad Words (7/8) – This Jason Bateman off color small comedy was the one plane flick that was far better than plane fare, and made me laugh out loud (not always a good idea on an overnight flight).
  • Divergent (8/5) – Another one of these teen things, I didn’t find the story particularly compelling, or sensical, but good enough for a plane.
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel (6/17) – If you like Wes Anderson then this was a great addition to his collection, if you don’t I might pass.
  • Her (5/13) – Another fave of last year this odd take on futuristic romance hit some great notes.
  • Homefront (3/11) – I feel compelled for some reason to watch every Jason Statham flick and even at their worst I kind of like them, this wasn’t the worst, but it wasn’t the best.
  • Inside Llewyn Davis (3/11) – Bummer of a guy and although the movie had some good attributes I didn’t love it.
  • Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (6/10) – Another plane flick, passable enough plane action.
  • Need for Speed (8/5) – This felt like what it probably was an attempt to capture some of the Fast & Furious fun, and although stupid a decent enough plane flick.
  • Out of the Furnace (3/11) – I love Christian Bale and though this was another bummer of a flick I thought it was worth a watch.
  • Robocop (6/3) – Should I just repeat, good enough for a plane.
  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (3/15) – The last of my plane listings, a sweet and entertaining enough quest.
  • Vampire Academy (5/20) – I can’t say this was a good movie but it was a fun campy flick that I enjoyed.
  • Veronica Mars (5/6) – I loved me some Veronica and although I’m not sure this was 100% successful as a standalone movie, and it’s tough to do justice to all the characters of a series, it was good visit back to Neptune.
  • The Wolf of Wall Street (3/25) – This movie was fun for about the first half and then it just kept going.

Though one international trip got me caught up on some of the backlog the one that I missed, that I’ve been told is more than just schmaltzy is Philomena (4/15).

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new and noteworthy tv: 8/11-8/17

August 9th, 2014

legends_2014

For those of you not in the CIA know, a legend is like an undercover persona, sure I’ll take a look, and for the rest of you more reality.

  • Monday: Shark Week (Disc, various), Candid Camera, Series Premiere (TVL, 8pm), The Approval Matrix, Series Premiere (Sund, 11pm)
  • Tuesday: 4th and Loud, Series Premiere (AMC, 9pm), Below Deck/Singles Project, Season Premiere (Brav, 9/10pm), Sisterhood of Hip Hop, Series Premiere (Oxy, 9pm), Cement Heads, Series Premiere (A&E, 10:30pm)
  • Wednesday: Legends/Franklin &  Bash, Series/Season Premiere (TNT, 9/10pm), The Wahlburgers, Season Premiere (A&E, 10pm)
  • Thursday: Braxton Family Values/SWV Reunited, Season Premieres (WE, 9/10pm)
  • Friday: Four Weddings, Season Premiere (TLC, 9pm)
  • Sunday: Rachel vs. Guy/The Great Food Truck Race, Season Premieres (Food, 8/9pm)

The procrastinator lists items that may not be on your regular season pass, though notation does not imply recommendation other than those underlined. Times noted are typically PST.

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bruges, amsterdam, copenhagen

August 7th, 2014

IMG_1909

So you’ve heard about the impetus for some of my trip planning and a week’s worth of activity, check out this post if you missed it. But wait there’s more! Before and after the cycling I spent some time on our bookend cities, plus while I was there seemed like a good time to dip my toe into something Scandanavian. I’d been to Belgium before but not to Bruges (Brussels only) or the Netherlands or Denmark, fun! I booked flights and hotels ahead of time, SFO to Amsterdam to Copenhagen back to good ol’ SFO. Upon arrival to Amsterdam with the help of a nice guy at the train ticket center, two transfers and what felt like a million hours later, the fun could begin.

Upon arrival and a quick taxi ride in Bruges I checked into the lovely Fevery Hotel. The location was good, breakfast included plus jellybeans offered in room, a bit outside of the city center but just a short walk. And the front desk gave some lovely recommendations. Most notable recco was my map marked for a stroll through sites including churches, canals, windmills, and my first Belgian beer of the trip at the oldest pub Café Vlissinghe. In some ways Bruges was my favorite city in that it was the most charming and unlike other cities, though of course that trades off for lack of some of the perks of a big city. As noted it’s walk-able, though put on a cushie comfort shoe because it’s all cobblestones which it turns out is murder on the foot. I also enjoyed the canal tour, you don’t necessarily see anything you wouldn’t on foot but the perspective and the historical narrative are a nice way to spend the time. Three days was really enough to feel like I saw things. I picked up one of the museum passes which gave access to the Groeningemuseum as well as a series of other options. And don’t miss the climb up 366 stairs for a great view of the city and Belfort itself. Not covered by the pass but totally worth it was a Picasso exhibit which showcased some great pieces of his and some peers. And a stroll through the main market square and the two key shopping blvds Zuidandstraat and Steenstraat didn’t leave me empty handed. And yes chocolate, fries, and waffles.

Post cycling and upon arrival to the harbor at Amsterdam we had a nice view of Nemo as well as the Maritime museum, though neither got an inside visit from me. A taxi to drop stuff at the bizarrely ‘hip’ and modular CitizenM hotel, which was a little too far out of downtown but right on an easy rail line. The main city area is walk-able but it’s extensive enough that you don’t necessarily want to walk it all every day so a one or three day pass makes on-and-offs the central transpo that much easier. About four full days in Amsterdam can be enough and too little. I had a little museum overload as I tried to take in the biggies Van Gogh, Stedelijk, and Rijksmuseum which were all well worth the visit. Each day post museum it was on to strolls through neighborhoods and parks as well as ordering meals back in restaurants, mmm pastries and apple pie, and another canal tour. Shopping could of course also be found around the neighborhoods and the Nine Streets area again didn’t leave me empty handed.

And then on to Copenhagen. Hotel Alexandra was in a great location and I again took off on foot for a walk through shopping areas to the Nyhavn for a beautiful view and a much needed meal and cold bevvie. Available but skipped this time was another canal tour. I will admit that two plus weeks in my energy was maybe starting to wane. But with a new city to stroll, more sites to see, more museums to hit I was mostly up for the challenge. I’d also been restauranting pretty well along the way and with world famous Noma not being an option (booked well in advance) and the prices being more significant than anticipated I still somehow made due. Favorite find was the Torvehallerne, an in/outside market with meals and meal fixings aplenty, and plenty of good restaurants to be found in the Meatpacking District. The shopping surrounding the main strip of Strøget as well as on the main bits of Istedgade continued to offer lots of options for purchase and just plain pretty design views. And of course museums, both the Statens Museum (located in a great park area) and the Designmuseum were worth a look. The highlight though was heading just outside the city for a day at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, the landscape, architecture, and art are worth the visit and I could and did spend all day between viewing art inside and out and just looking at the beautiful coast view past amazing sculpture, and of course eating.

For more check out my Pinterest boards for mapped sites for BrugesAmsterdam, and Copenhagen.

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