Category Archives: television

Soundtrack Review: Kid Cosmic and the Sonic Courage (2021)

Yesterday (February 26th) Netflix released the official soundtrack album for Kid Cosmic titled: Kid Cosmic and the Sonic Courage-Music by Andy Bean from the Netflix Original Series. Andy Bean is an Emmy-nominated songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist specializing in music for animation. Through his work with The Two Gentlemen Band, Andy landed his first composing gig scoring Disney’s Emmy-nominated animated series, Wander Over Yonder. His frantic banjo-driven sci-fi scores and heartfelt songwriting for the show earned him two Annie award nominations. For his latest project, Netflix’s Kid Cosmic, Andy created much of the soundtrack under the guise of a fictional 70s psychedelic garage punk band, Dr. Fang & The Gang. The propulsive rock and roll score combines with the show’s distinctive art style to create exhilarating musical-action sequences unique in children’s television. 

The soundtrack album includes 20 songs by fictional bands conceptualized by show creator Craig McCracken (The Powerpuff GirlsFoster’s Home for Imaginary Friends) and Andy Bean (Muppet BabiesWander Over Yonder), playing with the idea that the show was scored as if they pulled existing music from the Kid Cosmic world.

Speaking about how the series’ unconventional score was dreamed up, Bean said:

“Craig [McCracken] described his vision for Dr. Fang and The Gang (the fictional band that provides much of the score) to me more than five years ago, and I started writing songs in character as the group immediately – even before I knew any other details about the show. We wanted the music in Kid Cosmic to sound like it was being pulled from an old record in The Kid’s collection. This is that record!”

I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a soundtrack quite like this one. The music for Kid Cosmic and the Sonic Courage really does sound like a collection of records that comes straight from the insane world of Kid Cosmic. I’ll be honest, I usually prefer soundtracks that are purely instrumental (it’s nothing personal, just the way I am), but for this collection I’m willing to make an exception because it just sounds so good! Each song puts me right back into the story of Kid Cosmic and his friends. It wasn’t until listening to the songs apart from the animation that I realized just how much these songs by this faux-band dominate the story in the best way possible.

It’s really no wonder I enjoyed watching Kid Cosmic so much. Aside from being a great story, the music in this soundtrack is just so upbeat and happy that after a few tracks you can’t help but smile and bop your head to the beat.

My favorite track out of all of these is ‘The Kid’ (aka The Kid Cosmic Theme). Not only is this the perfect theme for the show, with its off the wall energy, but it’s also the perfect theme for the Kid himself. This music is just like the Kid, it’s non-stop go go go and it just pumps you up, just like the Kid pumps himself up with his boundless enthusiasm for all things superhero. I also really like ‘Rosa Y Rolla’, because it reminds me of Rosa, my second favorite character in the show. The way ‘Rosa Y Rolla’ is put together I can just imagine Rosa in her giant form stopping around the desert and wreaking havoc as only a giant 4 year old can.

If I have one gripe about this soundtrack, it’s that it doesn’t appear to include all of the instrumental music used in the show. Specifically, I would have loved to hear the dark sci-fi music (from the episode where the spaceship is discovered) in its own separate track, and maybe those will be released some day in the future. For now, Kid Cosmic and the Sonic Courage is a great collection of the music of Kid Cosmic and the perfect way to experience Andy Bean’s wonderful songs.

Hopefully season 2 of Kid Cosmic is on the way and will give us even more of Dr. Fang and the Gang.

Kid Cosmic and the Sonic Courage Track List

  1. The Kid (Kid Cosmic Theme) (2:01)
  2. Vacation Boogie (2:55)
  3. Airborne Shuffle (2:11)
  4. The Gravity Ball (2:38)
  5. Galactic Interference (2:44)
  6. Somebody Call the Doctor (1:59)
  7. Talkin Tuna (2:50)
  8. Groundspeed Hustle (2:33)
  9. Desert Jungle (2:24)
  10. Here Comes the Gang (1:50)
  11. I’ll Do the Best That I Can Do (1:56)
  12. Fetch Me My Bicycle (1:46)
  13. The Kid (Live) (2:09)
  14. Tuna on the Road (2:05)
  15. Rosa Y Rolla (2:03)
  16. The Papa G Stomp (2:54)
  17. Papa G’s Jam (1:44)
  18. Greasy Spoon Space Gal (2:02)
  19. Superkid Surf Party (2:01)
  20. Party Back at My House (2:13)

Kid Cosmic follows the adventures of an imaginative and enthusiastic boy who lives with his free-spirited Grandpa in a sparsely populated desert town. The Kid’s dreams of being a hero seem to come true when he discovers 5 Cosmic Stones of Power in a wrecked spaceship. He forms a team of local heroes to stop an onslaught of alien attacks to steal back the stones. Though the Kid and his team are the good guys, they’re really bad at it,and the Kid learns that his fantasy of being a hero is very different from the reality of what it actually means to become one.

Let me know what you think about Kid Cosmic and Kid Cosmic and the Sonic Courage in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Kid Cosmic: Season One (2021)

A New Music for Superheroes: Talking with Composer Andy Bean about Kid Cosmic (2021)

TV Soundtracks

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A New Music for Superheroes: Talking with Composer Andy Bean about Kid Cosmic (2021)

Recently I had the opportunity to talk with composer Andy Bean about his work on the Netflix animated series Kid Cosmic, which premiered on Netflix on February 2nd, 2021.

Andy Bean is an Emmy-nominated composer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. He began his career barnstorming across the U.S. and Europe for nearly a decade with The Two Man Gentlemen Band before landing a gig writing music for the Disney animated series, Wander Over Yonder. He is currently songwriter and composer for Netlix’s Kid Cosmic, Disney’s Puppy Dog Pals, and Disney’s Muppet Babies re-boot. Between the latter two, he’s written over three-hundred songs across dozens of genres and scored over one-hundred episodes.

Enjoy this interview about his work on Kid Cosmic!

How did you get started with being a composer?

I was writing songs and performing with The Two Man Gentlemen Band back in 2012 when I was asked to submit a theme song demo for Craig McCracken’s last show, Wander Over Yonder. Craig and the team liked the theme song and asked me if I wanted to try composing for the show and I said… sure! Half the show was frantic banjo music, which I was comfortable with. The other half was synth-driven space orchestral stuff, which I’d never done before. I was a total novice writing and producing music for TV, so I basically locked myself in a room for 6 months and figured it out the best I could.

So I just finished watching season 1 of Kid Cosmic and I loved it! I have to ask, were you really not told anything about the premise aside from “imagine a 70s garage band”? How do you start composing for a show from that kind of starting area?

That’s definitely how it started. As Wander Over Yonder was finishing, I met with Craig and he basically said, “I’ve got this new idea for a show, but I’m not going to tell you that much about it. Just that the main character in the show has a favorite band called Dr. Fang and The Gang, and I’d like you to start writing music for them.” He showed me a drawing of the band and gave me some references – some older stuff and some contemporary fuzzed out garage bands – and I started writing music that night. I was a songwriter first before ever writing music for TV, so a “write songs like this” assignment was in my wheelhouse.

Of course, as I learned more about the show I started tailoring ideas to particular characters and refining the sound. But a handful of the tunes that I wrote early on are part of the score and soundtrack.

What was it like working with Craig McCracken again after Wander Over Yonder?

It’s great! On both shows we’ve worked on together, he’s given me really specific guidance on the concept he has in mind for the show’s sound. Then he gives me an incredible amount of creative license to figure out the nuts and bolts of it. For me, that balance of clear guidance and creative freedom is my favorite way to work. And just as importantly, we seem to be on the same wavelength musically. We like the same kinds of stuff.

It sounds like the story was written to accommodate your music, which doesn’t happen all that often. How did the process of making the story and music work together happen? Were there any unexpected difficulties?

Not so much the story, but I know Craig and the team built specific scenes around certain songs. Before writing and storyboarding started on season 1, I gave the team all the stuff I’d been working on while we were in development – songs and score sketches. I had some ideas about how they’d use some of them – fast rock songs for action scenes for example – but they also incorporated some of the ambient desert score stuff I did in really cool and surprising ways. So for me, it was great. I wrote a bunch of music then sat back and watched the incredible artists working on the show build super cool scenes around it.

Of course, the stuff I wrote ahead of time only covered a portion of the score. So one of the challenges was trying to match the energy and spontaneity of the early tracks when I was writing new music to picture. Most of the songs on the soundtrack were written before production started . But a handful are extensions of shorter pieces I wrote to picture.

How much time did you spend working on the music for Kid Cosmic? Where did the musical ideas start and how did it branch out as you kept writing the music?

Years. I started contributing musical ideas in late 2015 and actual scoring to picture didn’t start until late 2019. During that whole period, I was kicking around musical ideas and submitting demos whenever I had time in my schedule. The abnormally long development period allowed for a lot more experimentation than if I’d come on closer to post production. A lot of time was spent trying to incorporate synth and spacey sci-fi elements into the garage rock sound we started with. The songs ‘Galactic Interference’ and ‘Groundspeed Hustle’ are examples of that.

Also, If I write a bunch of songs in a short period of time, they tend to sound way too similar. So, getting to space out the writing over a long period helped with that.

What instruments are used in the musical score?

Traditional rock band instruments – guitars, drums, bass, organ – make up a lot of it. I leaned pretty heavy on some fuzz effects for guitar and vocal sounds. Distorted vocals with a slap-back echo are a big part of the Dr. Fang and the Gang sound.

I also got to work some pedal steel guitar into the desert country stuff. That’s always been a favorite instrument of mine, and I learned how to play just for the show. The rest of the score is a mix of traditional orchestral score, and synth-heavy stuff for the more sci-fi-y parts.

Did you create specific musical themes for each of the Local Heroes? As I watched the show I thought I heard musical ideas that recurred for different characters, particularly Rosa and Kid Cosmic.


Absolutely. The Kid has his theme. Papa G’s got a few hippy country cues I use for him. And Rosa’s got a recurring cue, too. We worked up most of those early on.

What inspired the “serious sci-fi” part of the score? For example, the awesome music when Kid Cosmic and the group are exploring the wrecked ship, it sounds like regular science-fiction music. It’s all dark and ominous and really fun for me to listen to, and I’d love to know how that came about.

Thanks, that episode was fun to work on. That was some great guidance from Craig and the team, to score an episode featuring a cat who can see the future with something John Carpenter-y.

Do you have a favorite part of the soundtrack?

“Greasy Spoon Space Gal” is one of the jukebox source tunes I wrote for the show. That kind of simple country rockabilly with silly lyrics is right up my alley.

Thanks again to Andy Bean for taking the time to talk with me about his work on Kid Cosmic!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Kid Cosmic: Season One (2021)

Composer Interviews

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My Thoughts on: Kid Cosmic: Season One (2021)

2021 has absolutely not gone according to plan so far, but there’s finally been a pleasant surprise in the form of Kid Cosmic on Netflix. This show debuted on February 2nd and comes from the brilliant mind of Craig McCracken, who also brought us The Powerpuff Girls, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, and Wander Over Yonder.

Kid Cosmic takes place in New Mexico and follows the titular Kid Cosmic, a 9 year-old who lives for his dream of being a superhero. His wish appears to be granted when he finds the 5 Cosmic Stones of Power, ultimately distributing them between himself and his friends to make up the team of Kid Cosmic and the Local Heroes:

-Kid Cosmic: The Green Stone of Flight (and something else which is a plot spoiler)

-Jo: The Purple Stone of Portal Creation

-Papa G (Kid’s grandfather): The Yellow Stone of Multiplication (you can clone yourself infinitely)

-Rosa: The Blue Stone of Giant Size (picture a 4 year old 40 feet tall)

-Tuna Sandwich (a cat): The Red Stone of Foresight (it lets you see the future)

Kid Cosmic, Jo, Papa G, Rosa and Tuna Sandwich are all the total opposites of what you’d expect a superhero team to look like, but that’s also what makes them so lovable, because they’re misfits and a lot of people (like me) can relate to that. Jo is my personal favorite out of the group, because I can totally relate to being young and wanting to travel to exciting places around the world.

Don’t let the animated format of the show fool you, the ten episodes that make up season one of Kid Cosmic are among the best superhero content that I’ve seen in almost 12 months of pandemic-enforced boredom (I miss movie theaters). It starts out with a typically cute format, but it quickly gets super serious, especially once you realize that Kid Cosmic, for all his bravado, has no idea what to DO with his superpowers now that he has them. The entire series could be described as an object lesson in how actually being a superhero usually bears little to no resemblance to how it’s described in comic books.

That’s not to say that the series completely subverts all superhero cliches. Without getting too specific, there’s at least one predictable plot twist halfway through the season (predictable but enjoyable), and one plot twist that I guarantee you will not see coming until it actually happens.

Another thing I love about Kid Cosmic? All of the Easter Eggs referencing different comic book or superhero moments. Aside from the obvious reference to the Infinity Stones, my personal favorite? An honest to goodness parody of the Power Rangers, right down to the witty banter and moveset. I won’t say where this Power Rangers shoutout happens, but if you’ve seen any seasons of Power Rangers, ever, then you’ll know it when it happens and it is hysterically funny.

I am somewhat frustrated by how the first season ends, if only because it leaves me dying to see what happens next and there’s no telling when season 2 will be coming out. The good news however is that season 2 of Kid Cosmic will be coming eventually, so until then I think I’m going to have to watch this season several more times because it is just that good. I laughed, I wanted to cry, I apologize for ever doubting that I would enjoy this series.

I know 2021 is still really young, but Kid Cosmic is easily one of the best things to happen on Netflix this year. Go check it out if you can, you won’t regret it!

Let me know what you think about Kid Cosmic in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

TV Reviews

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My Thoughts on: Total Drama Action (2009-2010)

The drama of Total Drama Island was just the beginning, as the story continues in the second season, titled Total Drama Action. After the first season technically ends in a multiway draw (long story, it’s easier to just watch the season finale), most of the first season cast returns for another chance at the million dollar prize. The biggest difference between this season and the last is that instead of being on an island all season, Total Drama Action takes place on a run-down movie set (that actually has an eerily similar profile to Camp Wawanakwa if you squint).

Because Total Drama Action takes place on a movie set, everything revolves around the movies, with each episode being devoted to a different movie genre: science fiction, monster movies, superhero films, spy films, etc. As such, there are numerous Easter Egg references to different movies, with my personal favorite being the shout out to Alien. After each challenge, one contestant is voted out at an honest to goodness awards ceremony where those who stay are given a Gilded Chris Award (yes, really, McLean’s ego really starts to flare up this season). And in between story arcs, there’s now an aftermath show starring all the contestants who didn’t make it into Total Drama Action. It’s a great addition to the story, and a great way to break up the action (not to mention Geoff has a great character arc set during the aftermath episodes).

Beyond that, though, the season is largely a continuation of everything that started in season 1. If you didn’t watch the first season, a lot of the relationships between characters will not make sense to you. I’m pretty sure that counts as a flaw, though it’s really a minor one.

My favorite part of this season? Watching Courtney slowly become the big villain of the season. Heather starts out the season maintaining this position in the story, but once she leaves, Courtney fills those shoes perfectly, and does she ever! She’s bratty, demanding, and it’s oh so fun to watch because you know her comeuppance is coming eventually.

Total Drama Action is a great continuation of the story and is also the final season that is remotely close to “normal.” Once season 3 starts, things get weird….really weird.

Let me know what you think about Total Drama Action in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Total Drama Island (2007-2008)

TV Reviews

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My Thoughts on: Total Drama Island (2007-2008)

I’m not shy about my love of my guilty pleasures, and the Total Drama series has been one of my favorite guilty pleasures for years. As I remember, I discovered the series in college and I’ve been binging it on and off ever since. The show is split into five seasons: Total Drama Island, Total Drama Action, Total Drama: World Tour, Total Drama: Revenge of the Island, Total Drama All-Stars (Season 5 part 1) and Total Drama: Pakhitew Island (Season 5 part 2). I’ll be going through the seasons one by one, so I’ll be starting with Total Drama Island, where it all started.

For those not familiar, Total Drama Island is a completely and utterly shameless parody/rip-off of every reality show wrapped up in one. Though to be fair the show is primarily a parody of Survivor, as seen by the show’s elimination format and host Chris McLean’s uncanny resemblance to Survivor host Jeff Probst. There’s also a healthy dose of Fear Factor, Master Chef and Big Brother thrown into the mix for good measure. Of the show’s five seasons, this is the most “normal” season there is, though even in season 1 there’s hints of how crazy the story will get in later seasons. For example, the very first episode involves the contestants cliff diving into shark infested waters (yes, really! It only gets crazier from there).

And the show’s format isn’t the only parody/rip-off element of the story: each contestant is a walking, talking stereotype of contestants that always show up in reality TV shows. The 22 contestants in season one are: Beth, Bridgette, Cody, Courtney, DJ, Duncan, Eva, Ezekiel, Geoff, Gwen, Harold, Heather, Izzy, Justin, Katie, Leshawna, Lindsay, Noah, Owen, Sadie, Trent, and Tyler.

Of those contestants we have, just to name a few, the “Type A” girl Courtney, the “Girl you love to Hate” Heather, the “loner Goth girl” Gwen, the “delinquent with a heart of gold” Duncan, the “ditzy blonde” Lindsey, the “chauvinistic one who always gets voted off first” Ezekiel, and “the loud one” LeShawna (this is just a handful of the contestants but you get the idea). You’d think it would be boring with every character being a walking stereotype, but it’s quite the opposite. The show completely embraces this part of the premise and it’s so incredibly funny.

Now, all this being said, there are some moments even in this season where it becomes a little hard to suspend your disbelief that this is an actual reality show (albeit an animated one). For instance, late in the season, there’s an episode centered around horror films where the contestants have to evade a serial killer to win the challenge. Right up until the end we’re shown that the “killer” is Chris’ right hand man Chef in disguise. But then….it turns out there’s a REAL killer loose on the island!! It’s a shocking moment, but one that almost takes me out of the story….almost. Honestly, if you accept from the beginning to just roll with whatever happens, it’s almost impossible to not enjoy it.

If you haven’t tried Total Drama Island, it (and all the other seasons) is currently available on Netflix. I highly recommend it, it’s a really fun series to binge, as it’s the perfect blend of reality fun and mindless entertainment. It also helps that the series goes by really fast ( can easily binge two seasons a day if I start early enough).

Let me know what you think about Total Drama Island in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

My Thoughts on: Total Drama Action (2009-2010)

TV Reviews

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Soundtrack Review: Blood of Zeus: Season 1 (2020)

Milan Records has released the original soundtrack for season 1 of Blood of Zeus, with music composed by Paul Edward-Francis. The album features score music written by Edward-Francis for Netflix’s hugely-popular original anime series set in the world of Greek gods and goddesses.

Paul Edward-Francis is a British composer from Manchester who today lives and works in L.A, California.  Paul started working as a composer back in 2006 when he co-compose the music for an all-star adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s classic novel Hog-father. The two part TV series was a huge hit and Paul went on to score the follow-up, this time being The Color of Magic, which once again featured an all-star cast of greats such as Jeremy Irons, Tim Curry, and Christopher Lee and Brian Cox among others. Paul has worked on numerous productions for film and television with some of Hollywood’s biggest studios including Warner Brothers and Nickelodeon. He has also worked with some of the world’s leading orchestras which include the likes of The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and The City of Prague Philharmonic.

Of the soundtrack for Blood of Zeus, composer Paul Edward-Francis had the following to say:

“Working on Blood of Zeus was an experience I shall always treasure. The moment we sat down to watch the first episode we knew the score would play an important role. Just as we had seen on screen, we wanted to pay homage to Hollywood’s Golden Age within the score, but without losing sight of the world we were creating. The music ultimately had to ensure that Blood of Zeus had its very own unique themes and distinctive sound. As much as the music had to be big grandiose (“A Call to Arms”) or dark and threatening (“Heron Vs the Demon”), it also had to be heartfelt and provoke an emotional response (“Zeus and Hera’s Theme”). I could not be prouder to have worked on Blood of Zeus. It was simply an honor and I hope the music we created brings you as much joy to listen to as I had making it.”

The music for Blood of Zeus certainly does play an important role throughout the season, though I still struggle to describe in words how awesome it is. It feels ancient and modern all at the same time, with pompous fanfares giving way to music that comes straight out of a modern horror film. Edward-Francis. I really like this recurring fanfare motif that puts me in mind of Mt. Olympus every time I hear it. It’s everything that music about gods, goddesses and Ancient Greece should be. I wish I could get more specific, but that is the phrase that describes it best for me: the music just feels right.

One thing is for sure, Blood of Zeus would not be nearly as good as it is without this fantastic music. My favorite track has to be “The Titans.” It starts out like a piece by Ligeti and quickly grows into something bigger (no pun intended). The Titans being the insanely powerful primal forces that they are, Edward-Francis needed to create music to match them and he succeeded. Listening to this track, you get the feeling that you’re staring down something immense and ancient, with more power than you ever dreamed possible. All of that is what I feel while listening to “The Titans.”

I also really like how Edward-Francis was able to inject some humor into the music as well. For example, “Training a Demigod” includes some funny moments where you can almost see Heron’s epic fails in the early stages of his training (you know, when that robot flings him across the arena). I love when composers can replicate those little moments in their music and it’s just one of the details that make up why I love the music of Blood of Zeus so much.

BLOOD OF ZEUS (MUSIC FROM THE NETFLIX ANIME SERIES)
TRACKLISTING –

  1. One of Those Tales
  2. Heron Vs the Demon
  3. The Titans
  4. A Peasants Way of Life
  5. A Call to Arms
  6. A King’s Despair
  7. Heron’s Journey
  8. Past Is Prologue
  9. Hera’s Vengeance
  10. Convert or Die
  11. The Son of Zeus
  12. Electra’s Death
  13. Seraphim’s Theme
  14. Herme’s Run
  15. Seraphim’s Story
  16. Escape or Die
  17. Mount Pelion
  18. Alexia and Chiron
  19. Seraphim’s Quest
  20. Escape
  21. The Power of Zeus
  22. Flight to Olympus
  23. Training a Demigod
  24. Seraphim’s Rage
  25. Seraphim’s Revenge
  26. Journey to the Deep
  27. Apollo Vs Ares
  28. Talos
  29. Preparing for Battle
  30. War for Olympus
  31. Zeus and Hera’s Theme
  32. Gods and Heroes
  33. A Proud Father
  34. Blood of Zeus End Credits

You can enjoy the soundtrack for Blood of Zeus now!

Let me know what you think about Blood of Zeus (and its soundtrack) in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

TV Soundtracks

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My Thoughts on: Fate: The Winx Saga (2021)

When I received the opportunity to check out Fate: The Winx Saga on Netflix I was really excited about it. I love stories about magic and fairies and the fact that this show centers around five female leads was a big plus going in. For those not familiar, Fate: The Winx Saga follows a school full of fairies learning about magic while strange and deadly mysteries unfold later forcing them to save the world (predictable but usually satisfying fantasy fare). I plugged in the first episode, ready for whatever adventures lay ahead.

And almost instantly got bored.

Fate: The Winx Saga has committed the almost unpardonable sin of making magic mundane. Sure, we hear that the show’s central location is located in the “Otherworld” but the Otherworld sure looks a heck of a lot like our world. Add in a regular looking school building (with the exception of a cool Stonehenge like circle), regular looking dorm suites, even regular looking cars! Except for the instances of magic (which are admittedly cool when they happen), the school setting of the show feels like any other teen drama set at an elite boarding school. I missed the fantasy clothing, magic animals, heck, even some pointed ears would’ve helped. Everyone looked normal and in a story set in a fantasy world, that’s not a good thing.

And speaking of drama, my God this entire show is one giant cliche. There’s the predictable love triangle, the entitled “mean girl” student who manipulates everyone around her to get whatever she wants, the adorkable one with one moment of awesomeness, and of course the completely out-of-her-depth new to this world student who we’re supposed to be rooting for. I can’t watch regular teen dramas for a reason, and let me tell you adding magic to the mix does NOT make it better. In fact, the scenes with the “mean girl” were so on the nose that I almost got triggered with my own memories of being bullied as a child and a teen (I really hate shows that trigger me like that).

I also have a major problem with whoever wrote the dialogue for this show. The exposition dumps are….okay, and they do a fairly good job with explaining how the elemental magic works in the show, but the teen to teen dialogue is…oh boy, it’s bad, it’s really bad. A lot of it feels so clumsily written, like they had a great idea and very little idea of how to execute it. For instance, the show blurts out a huge twist in the FIRST episode. And when I say huge, I mean this is the kind of twist that should have come halfway through the season or later, not something you find out in the first 30 minutes. And even before you find out, the dialogue leading up to the reveal is so bad that it’s obvious what’s coming.

I admit, I couldn’t finish the first season, if the first few episodes couldn’t win me over, there’s not much the last few episodes could do to change my mind. Fate: The Winx Saga takes a great premise and utterly ruins it with the execution. I wish it had been otherwise, but I am not a fan of this show.

Let me know what you think about Fate: The Winx Saga in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

TV Reviews

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Soundtrack Review: Stargirl (season 1) (2020)

WaterTower Music is pleased to announce that the Season 1 soundtrack for DC’s Stargirl is now available on all platforms.

DC’s Stargirl: Season 1 (Original Television Score) features 22 tracks from the debut season of the hit series. Recently wrapping its first season on both The CW and DC UNIVERSE, DC’s Stargirl was recently renewed for a second season exclusively on The CW. Based on the character created by Geoff Johns, DC’s Stargirl features an epic score by the award-winning film and television composer Pinar Toprak, who received her first Primetime Emmy® nomination this year for her work on HBO’s McMillions.

Toprak was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, where she began her classical music education at the age of five. After studying composition and multiple instruments at the conservatory, she moved to Chicago to study jazz, before continuing on to Boston for a degree in film scoring from Berklee College of Music. She then moved to Los Angeles, earned a master’s degree at CSUN in composition at age 22. In addition to DC’s Stargirl, she has composed for major Super Hero sagas like Captain Marvel, and Warner Horizon Scripted Television’s Superman prequel series Krypton. She also scored HBO’s six-part docuseries McMillions, which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and earned her a 2020 Emmy® nomination. In addition, she has written music for Epic Games’ massively popular online video game Fortnite.

Regarding season 1 of Stargirl, composer Pinar Toprak had the following to say:

“I’m a huge fan of show creator Geoff Johns and everything he’s done,” remarked Toprak. “When we met, the way he talked about Courtney, the character, and his vision for DC’s Stargirl really touched my heart. Obviously, I love this genre to begin with, so it was a no-brainer to compose the score. Working with Geoff was just one of the best experiences of my career, to be honest.”

From a purely musical standpoint (I have yet to see the actual show), I love Stargirl. I loved it even before I heard it because I knew that Pinar Toprak would be scoring the series, and I’m a big fan of her work on Krypton (an underrated series with a severely underrated soundtrack and, of course, Captain Marvel. And the music of Stargirl is just as amazing as her previous works in the genre. Pinar Toprak has this amazing ability, that I first noticed in Krypton’s first season soundtrack, to take a television series and give it a “big screen” feel with the powerful themes she creates. Such is the case with Stargirl. If you didn’t know better, you’d swear this was a movie soundtrack, and that’s not a bad thing. I feel like any work in the superhero genre, be it film or television, should have a certain sound to it. You almost need that brassy, heroic sound to chart the adventures of the fledgling heroine (there are exceptions of course, the short-lived Constantine and Swamp Thing come to mind).

On a side note, speaking of Krypton, it may be my imagination but a few of the tracks in Stargirl sound similar to that earlier show. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as any string of works by the same composer are bound to sound similar in certain areas. I just find it interesting that Krypton (a series based on Superman’s home planet), and Stargirl (another DC comics series) have a similar sound.

Another detail I really enjoyed about the soundtrack of Stargirl is its almost symphonic quality. That is to say, the main theme that Pinar Toprak introduces at the beginning of the soundtrack album recurs throughout, but in slightly different ways, exactly as it would be if this music were in a symphony played in the concert hall. I feel like the superhero genre is ideally suited to symphonic music (similar to the Star Wars films), and listening to this great music just reinforces how well the two fit together.

I highly recommend checking out the soundtrack for Stargirl’s first season. It’s a stirring soundtrack from a great composer and one that any fan of superhero music should check out. On one final note, I’ve seen Stargirl get some mixed reviews here and there. Whatever your thoughts are on the series itself, don’t let that stop you from checking out the soundtrack. There’s a world of difference between hearing a soundtrack during the actual show and listening to the music with no distractions. So please, give the soundtrack a chance, you won’t regret it.

Let me know what you think about the soundtrack for Stargirl season 1 and have a great day!

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My Thoughts on: Transformers: War for Cybertron: Siege (2020)

*very minor spoilers for Transformers: War for Cybertron: Siege below

When I was offered the chance to view a screener of Transformers: War for Cybertron: Siege on Netflix, I immediately leapt at the chance. Few know this about me, but I was actually a pretty big Transformers fan when I was a kid (watched all the G1 cartoons growing up), enough of one that I sat through the first few Transformer movies when I was older. Thus, when I learned of a Transformers prequel series that was set entirely on Cybertron, I just had to check it out.

Divided into six episodes, War for Cybertron: Siege details the closing days of the war between the Autobots and Decepticons that traditionally ends with the Autobots crash landing on Earth in the Ark. That being said…if you go into Siege expecting a familiar story then I’ve got news for you: this is not quite the story you thought you knew. Sure, all of the recognizable figures are there: Optimus Prime, Megatron, Bumblebee, Starscream and yet…they’re not quite the same.

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It’s hard to explain, but it’s done so well that I need to try. As an example, Megatron is, as expected, the tyrannical ruler of the Decepticons and he practically rules what’s left of Cybertron. And yet, despite his tyranny, Megatron’s motives for starting the fight were pure: he wanted to liberate himself and his brethren from pre-programmed oppression. On the flip side, Optimus Prime is recast in a way that makes him seem like Megatron’s mirror image. Both are driven towards an identical goal, to the extent that the code phrase for ultimate victory “Till all are one” is used on both sides (but obviously with VERY different implications). The Autobots, for their part, are described as having lived “above it all” before the war started, something that really makes you reconsider what you think you know about the Autobot/Decepticon war.

Please don’t think that these differences take away from enjoying the story of War for Cybertron: Siege, because they don’t. In fact, the episodes flow together very seamlessly and I found myself surprised several times that I’d reached the end credits already. What I enjoyed the most about this story is how it takes the story elements that longtime fans know (the Autobots fleeing Cybertron on the Ark) and explaining in detail how they got to that point. Newcomers to the Transformers story should have no trouble following along, as plenty of backstory is dropped throughout to give context to certain developments.

Transformers-War-for-Cybertron-Plot-Cast-Trailer-Netflix-Release-Date

There are a number of Easter Eggs harkening back to Transformers over the years. The classic “transforming” sound appears throughout, the Ark is practically identical to its G1 appearance (and includes Teletraan 1), and there are even references to Alpha Trion, another character from the G1 series, just to name a few examples. Even with the differences, War for Cybertron: Siege definitely feels like part of the Transformers universe. And the best part of all of this? It’s set entirely on Cybertron!

Cybertron is a place I felt we didn’t get to see enough of in earlier incarnations of the Transformers story, so I was very excited to see the planet partially explored in this series. Having gone through a planetary war, much of the architecture is in ruins, but there’s just enough left to give you an idea of what Cybertron was like in all its glory.

I was also pleased to see Elita-1 given such a prominent role in the story. I don’t remember that much of Elita-1 in the original G1 cartoon, but I do know I absolutely love her design in this series. Considering most of the Transformers characters are male, it’s nice to see a female character be relatively prominent.

As an introduction to the origin of Transformers, War for Cybertron: Siege gets the story off to a rousing start, but it ends in a way I didn’t expect. There’s a surprise waiting for anyone who thinks they knows how Siege ends, which isn’t a bad thing. It’s good to leave the audience guessing as to what will happen next, and that’s what this ending certainly does.

I highly recommend Transformers: War for Cybertron: Siege, which premieres on Netflix on July 30th, 2020.

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Soundtrack News: ‘Barkskins’ Original Series Soundtrack Available June 5th

Milan Records is pleased to announce that the National Geographic Original Series Soundtrack for Barkskins will be available on June 5, 2020. Barkskins examines the mysterious massacre of settlers in the vast and unforgiving wilds of 1690s New France that threatens to throw the region into all-out war. The series tells a thrilling story of exploration, adventure and ambition among dreamers and fighters — some with a utopian vision of the world, others crass and conniving, but all navigating the perils of a treacherous new frontier. As tensions escalate, unlikely alliances are forged, old antagonisms deepen and new families are formed against the seemingly endless natural riches and hidden dangers of the new American continent.

 

The soundtrack for Barkskins was composed by Colin Stetson, who is a highly-coveted collaborator to Bon Iver, Arcade Fire, Tom Waits, LCD Soundsystem, The National and more. More recently, Stetson has focused on scoring a number of original soundtracks, including Color Out of Space (2019), Lavender (2016), which he co-scored with Sarah Neufeld, A24 production Hereditary (2018) and Hulu series The First (2018). He also contributed to the score for award-winning game Red Dead Redemption II (2018) and is set to score the new Adult Swim anime miniseries Uzumaki, an adaptation of Junji Ito’s renowned horror manga, which arrives in 2020.

Of the soundtrack, composer Colin Stetson says:

“The ‘sound of the forest’ was what I was first tasked with in generating the overall aesthetic and character of the score for Barkskins. Taken both literally and metaphorically, I based much of the sonic backbone on two pillars: Of an essence and feeling of wild and heavily wooded places, I combined the sounds of low bowed strings and my own voice, in unison and extreme glissando, to create an undulating melodic bed, deeply creaking and airy, as trees swaying in the wind. And literally, the actual sounds of the forest, those of red squirrels, finches, ravens, and I think a sea lion (whoops) all twisted and modified into a supporting sonic landscape within which to compose.”

BARKSKINS (NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ORIGINAL SERIES SOUNDTRACK)
TRACKLISTING –
1. Forest Fire
2. Company Man
3. The Tree
4. Renardette
5. True Warrior
6. English Scum
7. Lie Down
8. The Company Way
9. Marth Burns
10. Father Clape
11. A Proposal
12. Aftermath
13. With Death Upon You
14. First And Last Meals
15. The Letter
16. Retrieving The Dead
17. Punishment
18. Alive
19. Awake You Sleepy Hearts (feat. David Thewlis)

The official soundtrack for Barkskins will be available on June 5, 2020.

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