TimeWarnerCableOffers Preview: Lindsay on OWN

Lindsay airs Sundays on OWN at 10/9C, available through Time Warner Cable!

On Sunday, March 19, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) debuted a new documentary series featuring Lindsay Lohan, the troubled celebrity and once-lauded actress whose bad behavior and rehab stints have made international headlines over the past several years. In this reality show, Lindsay hopes to improve her public image and set the record straight, on her own terms.

The first episode follows Lindsay as she graduates from a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program in Malibu and moves to New York City to attempt to settle down and rebuild her acting career. Since this is the sixth time that Lindsay has gone to rehab, critics are skeptical of the prospect that she is truly clean and able to return to her previous successes.

The eight-week docuseries will not only show Lindsay’s life and times as she moves forward with a new outlook, but is interspersed with clips and interviews with the actress by Oprah Winfrey herself. The participation of the warm and fuzzy media mogul brings cachet and gravity to what would otherwise be another reality show about an addled starlet.

While Lindsay seemed fairly stable in the first episode, spouting self-help cliches and taking Oprah’s advice on her workload and priorities, by the end of the episode the actress was notably tense and frazzled. That pattern looks like it will continue throughout the series, as the previews for next week’s episode showed Lindsay having a full-on meltdown while being chastised by Winfrey.

Despite this predictable pattern, the show will appeal to both fans of Lindsay who hope that she has the moxie to mount a comeback, as well as trainwreck-seekers and those who are simply curious about how the other half lives. With that combination, Lindsay looks to be a triumph for OWN, which has few hits to date despite Winfrey’s star power.

TimeWarnerCableOffers Preview: 300 – Rise of an Empire

In 2006, the film 300 hit theaters with much box office success. Though mixed reviews followed, the film continues to be well remembered. 300: Rise of an Empire is a followup that will be coming to theaters March 7, 2014.

This has been in the works since at least June 2008. The plot, like the first movie, covers Greek history of 480-479 BC, and focuses on the second Persian invasion of Greece. The original 300 centered on the Battle of Thermopylae. This time around, The Battle of Artemisium will be covered, as well as the Battle of Salamis. Also included will be some of the backstory of Xerxes. This seems like a natural choice, considering the original 300 ended in a manner that made a sequel taking place later on seem impossible.

The movie will feature Sullivan Stapleton as Themistocles, Eva Green as Artemisia, and Hans Matheson as Aeschylus. Rodrigo Santoro will be reprising his role as King Xerxes, and Lena Headey will be back to play Queen Gorgo. It is directed by Noam Murro, and produced by Zack Snyder.

Reviews so far have been mixed, but generally are positive. Though a different air pervades this movie than the original 300, it seems capable of standing on its own merits. As one would expect, the visuals promise to be fantastic. The soundtrack is written by Tom Holkenborg, otherwise known as Junkie XL, and gives the film a very surreal feel.

Anyone looking for thrills will not be disappointed. The large scale battles and over-whelming feel of the 300 is still present here, though tweaked to provide something slightly different. There’s an almost reflective nature to the movie, which is an interesting variation on such large scale violence. Fans of the original 300 will find an enjoyably similar experience, while newcomers will be able to enjoy the film for reasons of their own.

TimeWarnerCableOffers Recap: American Idol

American Idol airs Wed & Thurs at 8/7 C on FOX, available through Time Warner Cable!

Jena Irene kicked off Wednesday’s show with “Suddenly I See” by KT Tunstall and she wowed both judges and audience with a spirited

performance, probably her best to date. Alex Preston was up next, using electric guitar on Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Want To Be.” The judges praised his vocals but still reminded him that his eye contact and passion needs work. Jessica Meuse then sang “White Flag” by Dido, and going by her pitchy, so-so performance, it wouldn’t be shocking to see her in the Bottom Three on the results show. Both Keith Urban and Harry Connick, Jr. advised her of the importance of being either on-key or filled with conviction, and reminded her that she was neither. Country boy Dexter Roberts did an admirable job on Montgomery Gentry’s “Lucky Man,” staying close to his rural roots. Next up was Lopez’s “Let’s Get Loud” from contestant Emily Piriz, and only Ms. Lopez had much positive to say from the panel. Next, Caleb Johnson rocked out the auditorium with “Working Man” by Rush. Lopez and Connick agreed that it was good, not great, while Urban suggested Johnson toss in more of his own personality rather than settle for “covering” a song. MK Nobilette performed Train’s “Drops of Jupiter, and her initial low-key delivery met with the judge’s approval; not so much her louder finish. C.J. Harris turned in a heartfelt “Waiting On the World To Change” by John Mayer, drawing praise from Lopez but left both male judges wanting more.

“Wanting more” was essentially the theme of the night’s commentary, and Sam Woolf was the next beneficiary of that advice following his performance of the obscure “Just One” by Blind Pilot. Malaya Watson sat at the piano for the gospel-tinged “Take Me to the King,” and she was obviously more comfortable, both with the material and instrumentation. Ben Briley’s song, “Turning Home” by David Nail, was received by the panel as being a bit “out of whack,” but he earned kudos for his delivery as well as a plate of deviled eggs from host Ryan Seacrest. Concluding the evening was Majesty Rose who continued to go against the expected with her turn on “Fix You” by Coldplay. Her performance was subtle and low-key, leading to the judges’ once again pleading for “wow” moments.

At this point in the competition, no clear-cut favorite(s) have emerged, and the reasons could be a combination of homesickness, fatigue, or simply “hitting the wall.” The contestants that find a way to overcome those obstacles have an advantage, and the next couple of weeks should separate the “true” contenders from the “pretenders.” Despite her so-so Wednesday night performance, Jessica Meuse appears to have the intestinal fortitude to succeed, while the somewhat overlooked Jena Irene looks to be becoming more and more comfortable each week and has a likable and versatile personality and style.

Season X1 winner Philip Phillips is scheduled to perform on Thursday’s results show, as are Irish rockers Kodaline, making their U.S. television debut.

TimeWarnerCableOffers Recap: Amish Mafia

Amish Mafia airs on Discovery Channel Tuesday night at 9/8c, available on TimesWanerCable!

The series Amish Mafia follows Lebanon Levi and his three assistants who are charged with protecting the Lancaster, Pennsylvania Amish community. Lebanon Levi runs Amish Aid, a charity operation that collects fees from local community members and businesses to help sustain those who have fallen on hard times. His assistants, Alvin, Jolin, and John, help carry out tasks that help protect the Amish and their traditional way of life.
Alvin is Lebanon Levi’s right hand man and is the one Levi typically goes to first for things that need to be done. Jolin is a Mennonite, which is similar to Old Order Amish. His status allows him to perform jobs outside of the Amish scope, keeping Levi and Alvin in good graces with the church. John, the third member, is the son of the former leader of the Amish Mafia, and there is a fair amount of discord between John and Levi. John feels that his family should be able to take back the Amish Mafia responsibility, but Lebanon Levi feels otherwise. Esther, John’s sister, is an outsider but still has close ties with the group – she uses her influence and knowledge of Levi having feelings for her to maneuver her brother into a better position to benefit. Caleb is a new member to the group who is eager to please Levi, yet takes a dangerous step in starting a relationship with the bishop’s daughter.Levi’s rival group from Ohio is led by Merlin, a fanatical leader looking to take Levi’s place and rule over Lancaster County. Levi’s foot soldier, Wayne, is a dwarf who doesn’t let his size indicate what he is capable of doing. Merlin learns that Alan, a former member of Levi’s group, is being released from prison and decides to pair up with him to enact revenge on Levi.In previous seasons, Lebanon Levi has had to deal with English people selling fake Amish goods, hut parties that have gotten out of hand, and Merlin moving in on his territory. Season three kicks off with Merlin vowing to get revenge on Levi after having him ousted as the operator of the Ohio Amish Aid. Levi arranged to have Merlin shunned, leaving him an outcast in his community until he confesses and repents publicly. In turn, Levi became shunned himself and has been trying to get back into the Lancaster community’s good graces.Season three kicks off with Esther feels guilt over having her brother John sent away at Levi’s request to prove her loyalty to him and looks to bring him back into the group. Levi allows Caleb to return after his misdeeds with the bishop’s daughter and puts him to work doing menial jobs. Wayne takes action on English teens destroying Amish crop lands by dragging their ATV’s behind his truck, rendering them useless. Levi gets word that the Kentucky Amish have it out for him and sends Alvin and Jolin down south to take care of the situation.

TimeWarnerCableOffers Recap: The Voice

The Voice airs on NBC Mondays and Tuesdays at 8/7c

The March 3 episode of  The Voice  featured more blind auditions in the first phase of the popular NBC singing competition. Now in its sixth season, the show features four musical celebrities: Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Shakira and Usher. In this initial round of competition, each celebrity coach chooses a team of talented singers based solely on their voices. If more than one coach wants the contestant, the singer gets to choose.

In the next round, the coaches, along with other celebrity musical advisors, will work with their contestants and pit two team members against one another in a sing-off called the battle round. Each coach must them determine which singer he will keep, leaving the other available to steal by another coach. Each coach has two steals.

The coaches will continue to mentor and guide their team members into the knockout rounds. Soon only the strongest singers on each team will advance to the live rounds of competition. For the first time, the audience will get to vote on its favorites, and the contestants are eliminated based solely on that vote. The votes are based on individuals, so every member of every team is at risk each week.

Both Levine and Shelton have won “The Voice,” so Shakira and Usher are hungry for a win this season.

In tonight’s episode, each coach wins the confidence of two contestants. In between the typical friendly but competitive banter, the coaches also offer some encouraging advice to the contestants who are not chosen, often encouraging them to try to audition again.

Levine’s new team members include Sam Behymer who sang “Royals” and Patrick Thomson who sang “Can’t You See.”

Shelton’s picks from tonight include Ryan Whyte Maloney who sang “Lights” and Sisaundra Lewis who sang “Ain’t No Way.”

Shakira added two singers to her team, as well. Clarissa Serna sang “Zombies,” and Deshawn Washington sang “Twistin’ the Night Away.”

Usher’s team now includes Cody and Clinton Walker, identical twins who sang “Keep Me in Mind,” and Melissa Jiminez who sang “If I Ain’t Got You.”

TimeWarnerCableOffers Recap: The Oscars

It was another night of glamour with the stars shining brightly for the 86th Annual Oscars. Ellen DeGeneres hosted, keeping things light-hearted and lively as she strolled the aisles among the stars throughout the night passing out scratch off lottery tickets to the losers and ordering pizza, after which she took up a collection from the stars who had a slice.

The musical performances were quite enjoyable beginning with Pharrell Williams making everyone happy with his song, “Happy” from
the movie Despicable Me 2. Pink sang a beautiful rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” during clips from The Wizard of Oz to honor Judy Garland and the 75th anniversary of the beloved movie. Her three children were all present for the occasion.

The oldest nominee of the night, at 84 years old, was June Squibb for her role in Nebraska. Ellen noted that Meryl Streep has been nominated for an Oscar 18 times. Bruce Dern, nominated for his role in the movie Nebraska, was there with his daughter, Laura. Notable presenters were Kim Novak, Sidney Poitier, Sally Field, and Bill Murray.

A lovely tribute to the stars and film contributors who have been lost over the last year was set to the “Theme from Somewhere In Time”. Among the stars lost were Annette Funicello, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Shirley Temple, Sid Caesar, and Harold Ramis. After the In Memoriam, Bette Midler stepped out and sang “Wind Beneath My Wings.” Standing ovations were given throughout the night for almost every performance.

The big winner of the night was Gravity with 6 wins. Winners and losers alike were gracious. If I had to pick one word to describe the night, it would be ‘class’.

Here is a list of winners in the main categories:

  • Adapted Screenplay – John Ridley – 12 Years a Slave
  • Original Screenplay – Spike Jonze – Her
  • Director – Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity
  • Song – “Let It Go” – Frozen – Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez
  • Supporting Actor – Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
  • Supporting Actress – Nupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave
  • Actor – Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
  • Actress – Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
  • Best Movie – 12 Years a Slave

TimeWarnerCableOffers Review: Non-Stop

The suspense film Non-Stop, which is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, stars Liam Neeson as an air marshall who is under tremendous pressure to save the lives of passengers aboard a plane. This movie creates a frightening scenario that is every passenger’s worst nightmare.

Neeson plays U.S. Air Marshall Bill Marks, who is on board a flight from New York to London. Marks begins to receive text messages from a terrorist demanding that $150 million be deposited into an offshore account The terrorist threatens to kill every passenger on the plane, one at a time, if his demands aren’t met.

Marks is a man who has problems of his own, even before this incident begins. We see early on that he has a drinking problem and is estranged from his family. What Non-Stop is really about, however, is the terror of being trapped on a plane where an unknown lunatic might kill everyone at any moment. Julianne Moore co-stars as a woman on the plane who helps out Marks.

Non-Stop is not a perfect movie. At many points, we can question how realistic it is. For example, the passengers are surprisingly calm levelheaded considering the danger they are in. In this film, Neeson is playing a very similar type of character that he has played in many recent films. As with his role in Taken, Neeson is the aging, flawed hero who is courageous and resourceful enough to defeat the bad guys. Although this is not very original, Neeson is actually quite good at such roles, and does a good job portraying someone who is battling personal demons while trying to save the world.

Non-Stop is the type of movie you can enjoy if you don’t think about it too much. It provides some thrills by creating a truly terrifying situation where people are trapped in an enclosed environment without even knowing who is threatening them. While the movie fairly predictable at times, it is still worth seeing if you like action films. Non-Stop, which is rated PG-13, opens in theaters on February 28, 2014.

TimeWarnerCableOffers Review: Late Night with Seth Meyers

Born in suburban Chicago and raised in New Hampshire, after high school Meyers returned to his home base by graduating from the prestigious Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, before honing his comedy writing and improv skills in a number of US and European troupes.

Joining NBC’s Saturday Night Live in 2001, Meyers worked on his writing and comedy skills, working his way up to head writer for the skit show, and eventually taking over the spotlight “Weekend Update” anchor chores, which he shared with cast member Amy Poehler.

In May of 2013, NBC announced Meyers would succeed Jimmy Fallon as the host of Late Night, when Fallon moved up to host the Tonight Show.

Years behind the SNL “news” desk, performing before a live studio audience, plus his past improv experience, has given Meyers the chops to be fully at ease and relaxed on stage at Late Night. His intelligence and knowledge of the political arena promises to give Late Night more of an edge that previous hosts have dared. He has big shoes to fill, as the legacy of Late Night hosts in addition to Fallon include David Letterman, and Conan O’Brien, who sat behind the desk for sixteen years.

Opening night guests included Poehler and Vice President Joe Biden. Other celebs that dropped by the first week included Patrick Stewart, Kanye West, Kelly Ripa, Brad Paisley, and the John Mayer Trio.

The program originates from NBC’s Studio 8G, the former home of the Howdy Doody Show, NBC Nightly News and the Today Show. Sticking with the format of having an in-house band, the musical themes and interludes at Meyer’s version of Late Night will be provided by the “8G Band”, fronted by former SNL co-star (and creator and star of Portlandia), Fred Armisen. The music provides a harder, edgier set of riffs than previous host’s offerings.

The challenge that lies ahead for Meyers as he settles in is how he wants the program to be known and identified; will it end up just being a second hour of Fallon and following the cues set by that program for pace and content, or will Meyers be able to make it his own, defined either by a unique brand of commentary or scintillating political discourse. The next few months will reveal the result, and audience size will cement, or kill the Meyer’s longevity as host of Late Night.

Late Night airs weeknights at 12:35 on NBC.

TimeWarnerCableOffers: Review of the TV Series House of Cards

House of Cards is an award winning Netflix original series based on the 1990 U.K . series of the same name. It stars Kevin Spacey as house majority whip Frank Underwood, Robin Wright as his wife Claire, Kate Mara as Zoe Barnes a gung-ho journalist having an affair with Frank and Corey Stoll as the substance-abusing politician Peter Russo.

The series starts with house majority whip Frank Underwood being passed over for the position of Secretary of State even though President Walker had previously promised him the position. This betrayal angers Frank setting the whole plot for revenge — and for the series — in motion. With the help of his wife, Claire, who runs an environmental non-profit, Frank devises a plan to ruin his replacement and bring down President Walker. Frank also enlists the help of a young and beautiful reported Zoe Barnes and down-on-his-luck politician Peter Russo who was recently arrested for drunk driving.Frank uses his resources to manipulate the drug-addicted editor of the Secretary’s old college newspaper to release an article allegedly written by the Secretary about the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. Zoe — the brash young reporter who Frank is having an affair with — breaks the story and gets her first CNN appearance because of it. All the negative media attention causes President Walker to select someone else for the Secretary of State, Catherine Durant, a senator from Missouri and personal friend of Frank. His close connection with Durant gives Frank a considerable influence over her opinions and allows Frank to “pull the strings”.

Frank then begins to groom Peter Russo for governor of Pennsylvania, encouraging him to stay clean. However, Frank’s true plan cannot be successful if Peter actually wins the election. When Peter relapses — as Frank expected he would — and goes on a morning radio show clearly drunk, Frank suggests that the vice president — who was the former governor of Pennsylvania — should once again governor the state. Once Frank realizes that he can no longer control Peter, he murders him making it look like a suicide.

Zoe begins to suspect that Frank may have had something to do with Peter Russo’s death and begins to investigate the matter. Knowing her intent on finding out what actually happened to Russo, Frank pushes Zoe in front of a train, killing her.

The vice president decides to take Frank’s advice and become the governor of Pennsylvania once again. This leaves the position open and President Walker offers the job to Frank. With Frank now the vice president, he begins to manipulate the impeachment and resignation of President Walker.

TimeWarnerCableOffers Recap: The Bachelor

During this Monday, February 24th’s episode of The Bachelor, Juan Pablo spends the week visiting the remaining four ladies’ hometowns to meet with their families. His first stop was made at Nikki Ferrell’s hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. She opted to take Juan Pablo out for a delicious BBQ meal at one of her favorite spots. Surprisingly enough, Juan Pablo was impressed with the food and Nikki’s choice of date for the day. Their BBQ date was followed by a round of mechanical bull riding where Nikki wanted to see how much of a cowboy Juan Pablo could really be and was happy with the results. After their date, Juan Pablo and Nikki arrived at her parents’ house, who seemed happy with The Bachelor star and told him that they trust Nikki to make the right decision and that they have their support.

Andi Dorfman’s hometown date consisted of a trip to the shooting range with Juan Pablo before sitting down with her family for dinner. Andi’s father seemed a bit concerned about their relationship and was skeptical of the outcome, considering that Andi and Juan Pablo did not have as much alone time as some of the other women. After asking Andi’s father for his approval in the event that Juan Pablo asked her to marry him, he simply stated that he was unable to accept him into their family until the only woman that he loved was Andi.

Juan Pablo next headed to Sarasota, Florida where he met with Renee Oteri for her hometown date. The day started with a trip to Renne’s sons little league baseball game. Juan Pablo saw the love that Renee has for her son Ben and seemed overall happy and excited about their date. Later on, they sat down to dinner with Renee’s mother and brother, who both seemed cautious yet pleased with The Bachelor and their relationship. Renee expressed to her mother that she was falling in love with Juan Pablo, but had not yet told him her true feelings.

Clare’s hometown date in Sacramento, California started out with a trip to the rose garden at her favorite park that she would visit throughout her childhood. There she expressed her feelings about her dad and his passing. During the visit with Clare’s family including her sisters, brother and mother, things seemed to take a drastic left turn. Clare’s sister Laura kept interrupting Clare’s discussing with her mother and overall did not feel that they could give Juan Pablo their blessing.

This two-part episode of The Bachelor continued Tuesday at 8 PM Eastern Standard Time. It looks like we may see multiple fights throughout the episode as well as a very surprising experience within the Fantasy Suite.