Dr. Lonnie Smith's 'All in My Mind': A master of the Hammond B-3 organ and an influential figure in the groove-heavy sound of soul-jazz in the '60s and '70s, Smith hasn't lost a step at 75. In his second album since returning to Blue Note Records in 2016, he sounds as swift and imaginative as ever on a collection of burning live tracks released Jan. 12 that includes a take on Wayne Shorter's "Juju" and an inside-out cover of Paul Simon's "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover." Primarily backed by guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg and drummer Johnathan Blake, Smith sounds like he's just getting started.
'The End of the … World' on Netflix: Maybe the most heartwarming teenage love story between a budding psychopath and his rebellious but unwitting prey, this British import adapted from a comic by Charles Forsman is more than another quirky, dark-for-dark's-sake sort of streaming series. Helped by strong, affecting performances from young leads Alex Lawther and Jessica Barden, the series initially plays like a sort of dysfunctional "Bonnie and Clyde," but as it moves forward, it becomes a more relatable story about two alienated adolescents who, psychosis or not, find and support one another. Check out the trailer here.
'President Oprah': For all the stabs at real-world relevance made by a suddenly far less goofy Golden Globe Awards last weekend, a dramatic, inspiring speech from Oprah Winfrey upon accepting the Cecil B. DeMille award spurred many into fantasies about her political future, which led to the "#Oprah2020" hashtag. While there's something undeniably human in hoping to be led to a better world by a charismatic celebrity, pointing to the most famous person we know and speculating about their skills handling global problems seems better suited to a reality show than a functional government.
The expanding 'Bachelor' universe: For every internet essay that extols the virtues of "Peak TV" and its ambitions that often exceed today's multiplex, there's a new installment of "The Bachelor" to prove no peak is possible without a valley. The latest is a recently announced "Bachelor Winter Games," an Olympics-adjacent twist on the show's format that combines romantic entanglements with what appears a genuine threat of bodily harm amid the rigors of frozen sports like ice dancing. While you can't fault ABC for trying to replicate their success, why play these games when the real Olympics are on?
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