TV Review: Catch-22 Begins in a Nightmare and Spirals All the Way Down

The Pitch: The ostensible idea of military training is to break a man down. The normal end of that saying is “so you can build him back up,” but what Joseph Heller’s 1961 novel Catch-22 posits is that there’s no actual building up to follow. A man is given enough training to be fitted for a uniform and sent off to fight, and the war itself continues to break him down, and down, and down, until he’s either dead, a beast, or a walking shell with marching orders and a set of dog tags. However, Catch-22 is also a comedy, in the way that a novel about the bottomless sadism of warfare can be funny. Previously adapted as a film in 1970, Catch-22 now comes to Hulu in the form of a six-part miniseries. Where the novel inhabits numerous characters’ points of view, the miniseries specifically focuses on Air Force bombardier Yossarian (Christopher Abbott), a young man desperate to meet his mission quota and finally be sent home from the cyclical terror of his tour. After all, on the Mediterranean island of Pianosa, the men mostly just kill time in brothels, drink beer, and wait to die or go home, whichever comes first. Each day he wanders […]

TV Review: Game of Thrones Gets Mad and Throws One Hell of a Party in “The Last of the Starks”

The Pitch: The good guys (so far as there are any good guys in Game of Thrones) are licking their wounds and burying their dead after the Battle of Winterfell. But after a time to mourn, there’s also a time to celebrate, and to start thinking about what tomorrow looks like, now that there is a tomorrow to think about. The first half of “The Last of the Starks” builds to that festive atmosphere, one that lets our heroes bask and joke and revel in the afterglow of their victory, before whatever comes next. What comes next, though, is more goodbyes, more friction, and more plans to firmly and finally take the Iron Throne. After “The Great War” is finished, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and company want to immediately turn their attention to dethroning Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) and taking King’s Landing before her enemies have time to regroup. But Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Arya (Maisie Williams) have their doubts over whether she’s fit to rule, while Euron’s (Pilou Asbæk) forces have been lying in wait all this time. It’s a series of blows from within and without for the Dragon Queen, and a big win for Cersei. It all […]

Contestants are forbidden from betting $69 or $666 on Jeopardy

Nerds are currently in a tizzy about Jeopardy! ’s reigning champion James Holzhauer. Using hyper-aggressive betting tactics backed with quick reflexes and a massive knowledge base, the pro sports bettor has been breaking records on a near nightly basis and is close to surpassing Ken Jennings’ $2.5 million in total winnings. During a discussion about Holzhauer’s unique gaming style, Jennings divulged details of a rule that prevents contestants from wagering certain amounts during Final Jeopardy. The conversation started after Jennings quipped that “I don’t feel I get enough credit for making small, sensible Jeopardy wagers, which helped the show with its prize budget.” After a fan joked about him consistently betting $69 each night, Jennings confirmed that the amount was now “officially forbidden on Jeopardy now, as of last year.” Turns out $69 is one of five banned wager amounts, though the other four are drastically less sexy. The devil’s number, $666, is similarly banned, as are three numbers associated with neo-Nazi propaganda ($14, $88, and $1488). this is officially forbidden on Jeopardy now, as of last year.not even joking. — Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) April 23, 2019 In other Jeopardy! related news, in March, Alex Trebek revealed that he was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic […]

Saturday Night Live Highlights: Kit Harrington Watches the Thrones on a Mostly Enjoyable SNL

Hey, have you heard that Game of Thrones is coming to its end pretty soon? It’s pretty impossible to avoid the April 14th return (for six long episodes, anyway) of the HBO series that made labyrinthe fantasy storytelling cool by firmly rooting it in heinous body violence and frontal nudity. Everything from beer to Oreos is shilling Thrones these days, so it stands to reason that Saturday Night Live would likewise get in on the fun. In that spirit, series breakout and general know-nothing Jon Sn … Kit Harington hosted in a decent enough showing, one that kept the overall GoT references to a palatable minimum, with only the opening monologue and a single effective pre-taped sketch about HBO’s desperation to spin the show off into as many things as possible. Also, the monologue segment was mostly in the trademark SNL business of getting pops for other surprise famous people, but c’mon. Who’s ever going to get upset about seeing Samwell Tarly? [embedded content] So, Uh, About All That Joe Biden Stuff… [embedded content] I’ve written about this a lot in my share of this site’s SNL coverage, but ever since everything went tilt and Donald Trump became the goddamn President of the United States, the show has found itself at […]

Luke Perry Redefined Cool and Slayed My Heart

“I always felt like something of an outsider, but I identified with people on the screen.” –Luke Perry Hearts didn’t just stop at the sight of Luke Perry; they doubled, at least for this writer. As a young and easily confused six-year-old, seeing Dylan McKay show up on the third episode of Fox’s Beverly Hills 90210 was confounding. Here was this loner, this rebel, this real James Dean type, who was a complete juxtaposition from the rest of the hunks — from Jason Priestley’s kindhearted braniac Brandon Walsh to Ian Ziering’s insufferable Steve Sanders. He defined “slacker chic”: he was effeminate, he wore his heart on his sleeve, and he won over the coolest of the West Beverly girls. It was an instant first sell, too. When we first meet Dylan, he’s literally surrounded by bolts of electricity as he slinks out of the shadows of West Beverly’s computer lab. From there, he scares off two jocks, gets Brandon to cut school, cruises around in a vintage Porsche convertible with a copy of Byron, surfs the big waves, breaks the big boards, and orders hamburgers in his millionaire father’s hotel suite with some Beverly babes. Though, as we all learn […]

Jussie Smollett officially indicted, now faces felony charges

Chicago police have confirmed that Empire star Jussie Smollett has been officially indicted by a grand jury. He now faces felony charges for filing a false police report and disorderly conduct. Detectives will be contacting Smollett’s legal team to make arrangements for his arrest. If Smollett is ultimately found guilty, he could face up to three years in prison. The actor is expected to appear in court on Thursday. Smollett is accused of orchestrating his own attack with the assistance of Nigerian brothers and Empire extras Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo. The brothers are expected to testify before the grand jury. Smollett initially told police that he was attacked by two men outside a Subway restaurant in Chicago during the early morning hours of January 29th. The 36-year-old actor, who is openly gay, described his assailants as white men wearing ski masks, who asked Smollett if he was “that f***ot Empire n*****?” before attacking him with a rope and bleach. As they fled the scene the men yelled, “This is MAGA country!” according to Smollett. In reality, the Osundairo brothers say they rehearsed the attack with Smollett in the days prior. They told police that they scouted a location where they believed a camera would capture the […]

All of Marvel’s Netflix series have been cancelled, with Jessica Jones and The Punisher getting the axe

In the past few months, the Netflix arm of Marvel’s film and TV empire has clearly been winding things down. Whether it’s because of Disney’s forthcoming streaming service, or simply because the pop culture mega-conglomerate is trying to bring all of its properties in-house from now on, Netflix previously announced that Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist have all been cancelled. Now the last dominoes have fallen, as Deadline reports that The Punisher and Jessica Jones have been axed. The former leaves just after its second season debuted on the streaming service, while the latter will air its already completed third season before ending its run. There’s no current release date for the final season of Jessica Jones, but it will mark the conclusion of a five-year run on Netflix for the far more adult side of Marvel’s output. Here’s Netflix’s statement to Deadline about the cancellations: “Marvel’s The Punisher will not return for a third season on Netflix. Showrunner Steve Lightfoot, the terrific crew, and exceptional cast including star Jon Bernthal, delivered an acclaimed and compelling series for fans, and we are proud to showcase their work on Netflix for years to come. In addition, in reviewing our Marvel programming, we have decided that the upcoming third season will also be the […]

Police release Jussie Smollett attack suspects without charges

In the latest in a string of bizarre twists, police have released two Nigerian men from custody just hours after arresting them on suspicion that they were involved with the attack on Empire actor Jussie Smollet. “Due to new evidence as a result of today’s interrogations, the individuals questioned by police in the Empire case have now been released without charging and detectives have additional investigative work to complete,” Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a tweet Friday night. The men — identified by TMZ as Olabinjo and Abimbola Osundairo — are brothers from Nigeria. At least one of them — Olabinjo — previously appeared as an extra on Empire. Police raided the brothers’ home on Thursday, where they found several bottles of bleach. Smollett initially told police that he was attacked by two men outside a Subway restaurant in Chicago during the early morning hours of January 29th. The 36-year-old actor, who is openly gay, described the assailants as white men wearing ski masks, who asked Smollett if he was “that f***ot Empire n*****?” before attacking him with a rope and bleach. As they fled the scene the men yelled, “This is MAGA country!” according to Smollett. Yesterday, police ruled out local media reports that Smollett staged the attack himself. Consequence […]

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Beatles: When the Fab Four Met Ed Sullivan

The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, Courtesy of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery “Struck by lightning.” That’s how my father describes the sensation of watching The Beatles’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964. “I had never been so excited by any musical group or performance like that.” It’s a definitive event from his childhood — as it was for millions of other Americans — as monumental as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy or the Apollo 11 Moon landing. The next day at school, it was all he and his classmates (and their teachers) wanted to talk about; in the days that followed, he remembers spinning his copy of “I Want to Hold Your Hand” while he and his sisters pretended to be The Beatles, playing along on broomsticks as if they were guitars. [embedded content] Listening to him talk about his memories of that performance 55 years ago, I realize that it can never happen again. The world’s gotten smaller, but the culture’s gotten larger; TVs have more than three channels, and “rock music” is no longer synonymous with “pop music.” It’s impossible now for any musical act, let alone a rock […]

HBO announces Asian horror anthology series Folklore

HBO is capitalizing on the latest horror wave by bringing one of its spooky foreign series to the States. Starting next month, the network will begin airing Folklore, their six-part hour-long anthology series that aired back in October via HBO Asia. Set across multiple Asian countries, including Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, each of the six episodes is based on the country’s respective superstitions and myths and uses its local language. The six directors helming the episodes include Indonesia’s Joko Anwar, Japan’s Takumi Saitoh, Korea’s Lee Sang-Woo, Malaysia’s Ho Yuhang, Singapore’s Eric Khoo, and Thailand’s Pen-Ek Ratanaruang. Watch a trailer for the series below and catch its premiere on Friday, February 1st. [embedded content] Consequence of Sound RSS Feed