Friday, October 10, 2008

Weekly Roundup: iPod to 8-track

It will be interesting to see where it goes, but for now Life on Mars is a series to watch based on both it's impressive cast and it's potential to be great. The Americanized Brit import had a lot going against it going in. A scrapped pilot from David E. Kelly, and a reworked cast helmed by the folks that brought you October Road (groan). But then a casting domino effect started to happen: Michael Imperioli, Gretchen Mol, Clarke Peters (The Wire,) Lisa Bonet, and finally, the great Harvey Keitel. Suddenly, it looked like something you might wan't to see, and last night's premiere mostly delivers on that hope.

It has nearly 75% of the dialogue intact from the import, and of course the pivot of David Bowie's "Life on Mars," providing both the title to the series and the auditory link to the past. The song has always felt like a soundtrack to something (The Life Aquatic,) and if you're going to travel from iPod to 8-track, it's the way to go. The other music choices thankfully didn't scream 1973, which so often happens with period drama on TV. Here's hoping it's exploration of anachronistic themes at least approach the level of Mad Men.

Playlist: Life on Mars - Episode 1.01
1. "Ground Zero" - Chris Cornell
2. "Life on Mars" - David Bowie
3. "Signs" - 5 Man Electric Band
4. "Baba O'Reilly" - The Who
6. "Little Willy" - Sweet
7. "Out of Time" - The Rolling Stones

The Sarah Silverman Program
Started their third season this week with two episodes, with the first one (Wednesday) featuring amusing uses of both The Flaming Lips' "It Overtakes Me" and The White Stripes' "Conquest," along with sister Laura singing the touching "Lost Boy Slash Friend." But it's last night's episode that had me in stitches, thanks to the spot on Bachelor Party homage, complete with the Oingo Boingo tribute band Ouncy Bouncy, performing their take on the theme song.

Chuck - Episode 2.02 (playlist)
Schwartz and co. pay homage to the Peter O'Toole classic My Favorite Year, and continue to breath life into the career of Huey Lewis, airing their third song in only two episodes ("Do You Believe in Love"). Should we expect to hear "I Want a New Drug" or "The Heart of Rock n' Roll" in the coming episodes?
More thoughts and full tracklisting

Life - Episodes 2.02-2.03 (playlist)
We've had two episodes from Life since we last checked in, and it's good and bad. Friday's episode seemed almost like a throwaway, providing little in plot development nor mystery, but Monday's seemed to deliver the goods. Ending with Cat Power's "Metal Heart," providing the kind of moment we began to expect by the end of last season's strike-shortened run.
More thoughts and full tracklisting

Skins - Episodes 1.09/Secret Party (playlist)
The season finale of Skins kind of isn't really a finale at all here in the US, considering that BBCAmerica is broadcasting the seasons back-to-back. Nonetheless, it's got all the elements of a classic finale, complete with a 'will he or won't he die' cliffhanger and a change in tone different from the series. The ending, with the cast stepping out of the moment and singing Cat Stevens' "Wild World," was reminiscent of Magnolia, just surreal enough to pull us out of a difficult scene and provide something more uplifting. Anwar's party, meanwhile, provided some interesting music choices from his tosser of an uncle as DJ.
More thoughts, full tracklisting and video

Moral Orel - Episode 3.01
This might just be the most tragically comic, and disturbing 15 minutes of animation that I've ever seen. The Mountain Goats' "No Children", perhaps the greatest song about a dead-end marriage, starts in place of the normal theme, letting us in on the fact that this episode is going someplace else entirely... and boy does it.
More thoughts and video

90210 - Episode 1.06 (playlist)
I stopped watching this, but looking at the playlist, there obviously was some references to Alfred Hitchcock going on here somewhere. Composer Bernard Hermann's iconic work dominates the latter portion of the soundtrack.
Full tracklisting

True Blood - Episode 1.05 (playlist)
Bill still amazes with his worldly choice in music (the throat singing of Huun-Huur-Tu, in this case) which serves as a metaphor for Sookie in the need for her to expand her world, which her brother is able to do through the use of V. ("Sparks Fly Out" is what he experiences, and I finally caught on that every episode is named for a song - duh!) Even Sookie's grandma is pleading with her to broaden her horizons. Right before she... ouch... grandma didn't deserve that.
Full tracklisting

The Office has an amusing take on Olivia Newton John's "Physical" ("Let's get ethical!",) Mad Men utilizes The Tornados' "Telstar," and Californication visualizes the classic Lennon/Ono 1981 Rolling Stone cover. Now that Hank is writing a music producer's bio, there should be a lot more musical references coming soon (and songs, more than this week's us of Tom Petty's "Wake Up Time," at least). The Simpsons always pull out the classics and this week was no different, with Merle Haggard's "Workin' Man Blues" and Elvis Costello's "Watch Your Step." See ya next week.


drake lelane said...

90210 - Episode 1.06
1. "Tomorrow" - Sixx:A.M.
2. "Cacophony" - Tilly and the Wall
3. "Hot n Cold" - Katy Perry
4. "Worry About You" - 2am Club
5. "You May Be In..." - Simone White
6. "Blitzkrieg Bop" - The Ramones
7. "Not to Hurt You" - Ananova
8. "Be OK" - Ingrid Michaelson
9. "Feather" - Ananova
10. "I Don't Know Why" - A-501
11. "The Knife (Psycho)" - Bernard Hermann
12. "The Search" - Bernard Hermann
13. "The Cellar" - Bernard Hermann
14. "Any Other World" - Mika

drake lelane said...

True Blood - Episode 1.05
1. Karagyraa - Huun-Huur-Tu
2. It's Alright - Phil Phillips
3. Feel Alright - Steve Earle
4. Sparks Fly Out - Paul Burch
5. I Play Chicken With The Train - Cowboy Troy
6. It's All Over - Southern Culture on the Skids
7. Wiggle Stick - Reverend Horton Heat

nick said...

Just a movie.