Zombies and human fallibility aside, The Walking Dead needs a true villain, a neo-mustache-twirler who's abandoned all shred of new-world reason. The One-Eyed Gov was megomaniacally eeeevil by his grisly end, and the show was better for it -- a Bad Guy that gooses the Good Guys. When Rick & Co. 'sploded Terminus and set out on a Road to Nowhere in the Season 5 premiere, I feared the show would once again wander and weave into a sloggish, too-many-plotlines pace. And blame it on my ADD, but Sunday's followup ep -- titled "Strangers" -- was a slow-builder for almost its entire length. Here we go againzzz. Then Gareth, the subtly creepola Terminus chief, showed up in the final frame...AND SNACKED ON BOB'S BBQ'D LEG RIGHT IN FRONT OF BOB! "You taste much better than we thought you would." Dannnggg!! I'm hooked and, oddly enough, hungry....
Not gonna lie: I've listened to new Taylor Swift song Out of the Woods approximately 322 times in the past two days. I'm officially on the record (vulnerable, shivering) saying it's the best song of her career thus far. So here's hoping the 24-year-old -- on a massive promotional swing for upcoming album 1989 (out Oct. 27) -- plays Out of the Woods at one of her myriad TV appearances. On Thursday, Oct. 23, on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Swift will set up smack-dab in the middle of Hollywood Boulevard. On Monday, Oct. 27, she'll do a sit-down interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America; then, on Thursday Oct. 30, she'll come back to GMA to play "in the heart of New York City." Finally, on Wednesday, Oct. 29. America's Sweetheart will be the featured guest on The View. ...
Hey you gore-hungry boys and girls, only a few days away from the second ep of The Walking Dead's so-far-so-cutthroat fifth season. I'll do a full excitable recap right here after the show Sunday. (Morgan's back! Maybe Singing Beth, too? And am I the only one who loves-hates Gareth? We need a good villain a la the One Eyed Gov.) I'll check in on The Feed's Twitter page, too. If you're catching up (or just can't get enough), you can read my review of the premiere then check out my feverish debate with rabid Dead-despiser Michelle Stark THEN marvel at the show's record-breaking ratings. Plus if you're a colossal nerd, and you remember Morgan's epic "Clear" episode, check out our creepy walking tour of Grantville, Ga. Until then, here's a teaser for this Sunday's show......
10/15/14 Music & Concerts
Beauty, brains and a broke-down pickup. A platinum blond with a gold-plated conscience. Mostly classy, sometimes trashy, never dumb. That's the Miranda Lambert aesthetic, and it's the hot trend in Nashville.
Sure Music Row will always adore its party stars, its Luke Bryans and Carrie Underwoods. But the buzziest country movement, headed by Grammy champs Lambert and Kacey Musgraves, is rebellious singer-songwriters with more on their minds than kicks 'n' keggers. Loretta Lynn is their patron saint: Look pretty and speak the truth....
10/14/14 Music & Concerts
Earth, Wind & Fire's September, arguably the feel-good-iest song of all time, was actually released in November — Nov. 18, 1978 to be exact. And for the past 36 years, the upbeat R&B classic with gibberish as its main hook has been a pop culture juggernaut. It's still a staple in dozens of TV shows and movies, at wedding receptions and even political rallies. • That's right: Al Gore may not be the funkiest dude, but when he needed a theme song for his 2000 presidential run, he went with those infamously silly but irresistible ba-dee-ya!s (oh, and Republicans have used it, too — it's a bipartisan get-down). • Earth, Wind & Fire will almost certainly play September when they headline Thursday's opening of the four-day Clearwater Jazz Holiday (which, celebrating its 35th year, is almost the same age as that signature song). And those in attendance will almost certainly respond as millions of others have: by dancing, warbling along and for a few blissful minutes, feeling really good....
10/14/14 Music & Concerts
Out of the Woods is Taylor Swift's best song yet. Like, ever.
There, I said it. It's out there.
Released via iTunes on Tuesday, Out of the Woods is the second cut to be heard from upcoming album 1989, which is due Oct. 27. Not only is the new track far superior to cheerleader-cheeky first single Shake It Off, but the Out of the Woods is vastly different from anything the 24-year-old gone-pop dynamo has ever done. And that goes for lyrical maturity as well as a big booming sound that borrows from circa-'80s MTV....
So Much for a 'Dead' Dropoff: AMC is 'Walking' tall after zombie hit's Season 5 premiere scores best ratings ever10/14/14 Blog
You can pick on The Walking Dead all you want -- tottering pace, too many dang characters, gaping logic loopholes -- but you sure can't ding the AMC smash for viewer swoon. Sunday's slam-bang Season 5 premiere scored the record-breaking series' highest ratings EVER, with 17.3 million of us tuning in to see Rick & Co. shoot their way out of Terminus. (That number is 7 percent higher than the previous record: TWD's Season 4 premiere.) You folks sure do dig zombie entrails!...
Did we just witness the tautest hour in the history of The Walking Dead, a cutthroat Season 5 premiere for the flesh-eating ages? Sean Daly thinks so. Or is the AMC phenomenon (the highest-rated series in basic-cable history) a beyond-tedious mess at this point? Um, super casual Dead fan Michelle Stark thinks so. Herewith, the Tampa Bay Times TV nerds debate Sunday's kickoff episode. Needless to say, they don't agree....
Did you bail on The Walking Dead last season? Or maybe the season before that? Too many characters, too much talking, too much much-ness from a show whose brilliant first season was so spare and moody and horrifically suburban? Hey, I've been as critical & cranky as anyone in bemoaning the show's tottering imbalance. But Sunday's Season 5 premiere is a doozy -- and a good, gory reason to give the AMC hit one more chance. HERE'S MY REVIEW....
10/09/14 The Feed
The Walking Dead stumbles into its fifth season Sunday with all the imbalance of its star flesh-eaters. The fourth campaign was wildly uneven, lurching from inspired installments involving that one-eyed governor and those two dead girls to frustrating go-nowhere episodes on the slow crawl to Terminus, a hoped-for safe haven where the living could find refuge from the not-so-living. There were too many characters, too many plots and tonal shifts. Critics and fans were losing patience....
10/09/14 Music & Concerts
It's a good day for bad boys: First-time nominees Green Day, Nine Inch Nails and Morrissey's the Smiths, plus Lou Reed and N.W.A., are all on the ballot for the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Depending on how voting goes, that could be quite the incendiary jam session on April 18, 2015.
And by incendiary, I mean they might just burn the Cleveland joint to the ground.
Other nominees announced Thursday include Sting (who's already in as a member of the Police), the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Kraftwerk, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, the Marvelettes, the Spinners, War, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Bill Withers. Top vote-getters (the public gets a say along with artists and industry mucketies) will be announced sometime at the end of this year. (Artists are eligible 25 years after their first recording — yes, Green Day fans, you're getting old.)...
ST. PETERSBURG — When I tell Cody Meacham that maybe it's time for my two preteen daughters to toughen up and finally brave his annual Radley Haunted House, the 26-year-old self-taught spookmeister flashes me a dead-serious look:
"This would not be the best year for that." ...
10/03/14 Music & Concerts
TAMPA — Much like french fries and summer flings, boy bands have a short shelf life for a reason. No offense to the cutie-pie rapscallions in 5 Seconds of Summer and One Direction, who paired up to pack Raymond James Stadium on Friday with more than 50,000 caterwauling young ladies, but these shaggy scamps were never meant to last. They are but a tasty moment in time, to be devoured quickly and with gusto, then remembered fondly and forever....
09/30/14 Music & Concerts
About a year ago, my daughter Ava, 10 going on intense, taped a crinkled Tiger Beat picture of One Direction's Harry Styles on her bedroom wall. He was her newest crush, adoring Taylor Swift's ex-BF with giggly bursts of OMG.
Today, well, she likes him fine, I guess, you know, kind of. She'll nonchalantly join the big-haired Brit for a sing-along when Story of My Life or One Thing comes on the radio. Harry's pic still hangs on her wall not out of steadfast loyalty anymore, but because my daughter is simply used to it being there. Or maybe she's just too lazy to take it down. ...
09/30/14 Music & Concerts
Greed, glam, Debbie Gibson: The 1980s are a lovingly maligned time, a cultural span often associated with the silliness and ephemerality of DayGlo legwarmers. And yet, as time moves on and anniversaries pile up, retrospective re-evaluation can give profound and lasting weight to that decade of decadence.
Case in point: the chart-topping pop albums of '84.
On this day 30 years ago — Oct. 1, 1984 — U2's The Unforgettable Fire was released, its robust sales and legacy driven by the anthemic oomph of lead single Pride (In the Name of Love). That's a mondo record for sure, but it had equally epic company that year. ...