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New year starts with a BANG

Welcome back, Bomb Girls -- and how about a musical massacre next time?

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BIG RELEASE: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3-D (Jan. 4)

THE BIG PICTURE: Well, 2013? What do you have to say for yourself? A 3-D version of a chainsaw massacre is your first wide release of the year? Really? Have you no shame? Do you have any idea what kind of precedent you're setting for poor, impressionable 2014? (I hear 2014's already planning on releasing a two-hour 3-D documentary of people kicking puppies.)

FORECAST: In this, the seventh instalment of this "venerable" franchise, a young girl named Heather learns of an inheritance -- and heads on a road trip with her friends to collect the goods. Little does she know, the inheritance includes "Cousin Leatherface," a chainsaw-wielding maniac. He ain't no "kissing cousin" either -- he's a "killing cousin."



BIG EVENT: Bomb Girls (Jan. 2, Global, 8 p.m.

BIG PICTURE: Don't let the title fool you. This is not a new goth-punk version of the Spice Girls. It's a high-quality Canadian TV drama. But music does play a big role in this period piece and this season even features guest performances by Canadian artists Jill Barber and Royal Wood. The sassy Canadian gals who laboured at home to win the war overseas are back -- or at least the fictionalized version of them. Season Two of the period drama finds the tension mounting as body bags and wounded veterans return home in increasing numbers. Set in 1942, the Axis is winning nearly every battle. While the Victory Munition's women are still churning out weapons, under ever-present hazardous conditions, there is a very real threat it might all be for a lost cause. Meanwhile, many of the girls' personal lives are in shambles. First and foremost, factory matron Lorna (Meg Tilly) -- the heart of the series -- is dealing with the fallout of her affair and surprise pregnancy.

FORECAST: Bombs away! Bomb Girls officially kicks of TV's winter season, which means the best is yet to come with the third season of Game of Thrones starting at the end of March and Season 6 of Mad Men rumoured to return this spring. The womanizing Don Draper is just lucky he works in the ad business. These Bomb Girls would be too explosive for even him to handle.

HONOURABLE MENTION: Transporter: The Series (Jan. 4, HBO Canada, 8 p.m. Chris Vance takes over from Jason Statham in the film. Chances are he'll have just as many lines of dialogue as tough-guy, law-breaking courier Frank Martin. He'll deliver anything, anywhere -- no questions asked -- for the right price (Possible exception: emotion). Tonight offers a two-episode premiere.



BIG RELEASE: Nashville (soundtrack)

BIG PICTURE: The new year and its tantalizing new releases await. For now, let me highlight one of the musical surprises of 2012 and sing the praises of the newly released (Dec. 18) soundtrack for the ABC musical-drama. (On a side note: Am I the only one who has always wanted to see a musical about Leatherface? Texas Chainsaw Massacre 8, anyone?) Nashville, the show, is about the twang-filled, Machiavellian world of the country music business. The beauty of Nashville is its original score puts many of today's most popular country musicians to shame and is often infused with the rugged and soulful country forged by the likes of Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn and June Carter Cash. Nashville has a genuine cast of crooners. The proof is in original songs like the sensual, swampy duet If I Didn't Know Better sung by the show's aspiring duo Gunnar Scott (Sam Palladio) and Scarlett O'Connor (Clare Bowen). What does it say when a network drama is out-writing the real Nashville?

FORECAST: Nashville makes country music feel earthy, grounded, rootsy and homespun -- without all the studio magic tricks and pop-infused gimmickry that often define today's Country Music Television stars. And I promise you one thing: This is not yet another cloying Glee soundtrack thanks to producer T. Bone Burnett. Taylor Swift could learn a thing or two from the show's feuding sirens Rayna James (Connie Britton) and Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere). Put on your cowboy hat and get dancing.


-- Postmedia News


"You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows," but these days, a guide through the seemingly endless flurry of pop culture offerings is just what we need. With that in mind, here is what's on the radar screen in TV, music and film for the coming week.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 30, 2012 ??65525

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