Category Archives: television

My Thoughts on: Muppets Haunted Mansion (2021)

I understand that this is several months late, but to be fair, the last few months of 2021 were a particularly insane time for me, so much so that I’m just now starting to get back on track (that’s why I posted next to nothing the last few months of the year). Part of getting back on track includes posting about some of the things I saw last year that I really liked before I dive into what’s coming in 2022. And one of the things I enjoyed way more than I thought I would was Muppets Haunted Mansion, a special that aired on Disney+ this past October.

Unbelievably, this was the first Halloween special the Muppets have ever done, which is mind boggling to me. How is it the Muppets haven’t covered Halloween before? I suppose better late than never. I set the bar for this special extremely low because I’ve not been the biggest fan of what Disney has done with the Muppets (remember their Disney+ series? Yea, me neither), but to my delight Muppets Haunted Mansion was pretty entertaining.

The setup for the special is relatively simple: instead of celebrating Halloween with the other Muppets, Gonzo and Pepe the King Prawn are going to a special “VIP party” at a famous mansion, which turns out to be none other than the Haunted Mansion. The challenge is for the pair to spend the entire night in the mansion. If they survive they’ll be allowed to leave, but it not…they’ll become permanent residents of the Mansion.

The overriding theme of the special, once the stakes are laid out, is confronting one’s fears and the fact that Gonzo claims to have none, despite being confronted by a number of scary horrors throughout the Mansion. This leads to a legitimately terrifying scene where Gonzo finally confronts his fears in the mysterious Room 999. In a million years I never would’ve thought a Muppets special could create nightmare fuel, but oh my good lord, the moment Gonzo realizes what his particular fear is….that was the stuff of nightmares. I had no idea a Muppets show could be that intense and I never want to see the Muppets go that intense ever again because it was TERRIFYING, even if it did make a good point about spending time with your friends while you can.

The Mansion itself was a lot of fun once Gonzo and Pepe got inside. I loved all of the musical numbers, particularly the “Tie the Knot Tango.” I’d actually forgotten about Constance Hatchaway, the bride who kills all of her husbands, so once I realized who this was, she immediately became my favorite ghost in the mansion, just because Pepe was so oblivious to the danger he was in. I also didn’t mind the big number that ghost-Kermit did to introduce Gonzo to the Mansion. I know a lot of people criticized Matt Vogel’s performance as Kermit the Frog, but honestly I had no trouble accepting his voice as belonging to the character.

I wouldn’t mind seeing the Muppets do more Halloween specials if they’re all going to be this good. Bravo to Muppets Haunted Mansion for brightening up my Halloween.

Let me know what you thought of Muppets Haunted Mansion in the comments below and have a great day!

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Soundtrack Review: Panic (2021)

Milan Records has released Panic (Music From the Amazon Original Series) by composers Isabella Summers and Brian H. Kim.  Available everywhere now, the album features score music written by the duo for the latest Amazon Original series based on the best-selling young adult novel by Lauren Olivier.  

Best known as “the Machine” of Florence and the Machine and an Emmy®-nominated composer in her own right, Isabella Summers brings her extensive writing, producing and recording experience to the project, joining forces with classical pianist turned composer Brian H. Kim to create the show’s soundscape.  The resulting 15-track collection is an intensely visceral and emotionally evocative soundtrack that encapsulates the show’s narrative of desperate teenagers competing for a chance to escape their small town roots.  Also included within the soundtrack is a new original song performed by breakout pop singer-songwriter Tate McRae entitled “Darkest Hour.” Panic premieres all 10 episodes exclusively on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, May 28 in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide. 

Panic is a new Amazon Prime Video one-hour drama series, written and created by Lauren Oliver (based on her bestselling novel).  It takes place in a small Texas town, where every summer the graduating seniors compete in a series of challenges, winner takes all, which they believe is their one and only chance to escape their circumstances and make their lives better.  But this year, the rules have changed — the pot of money is larger than ever and the game has become even more dangerous.  The players will come face to face with their deepest, darkest fears and be forced to decide how much they are willing to risk in order to win. 

Of the score for Panic, co-composers Isabella Summers and Brian H. Kim had the following to say:

“The score for Panic needed to be visceral and modern.  The story is told through the perspective of 21st century teenagers, but the stakes are life and death, with challenges that border on tribal.  We used aggressive synths — tons of Virus, distortion and effects — combined with huge war drums and attacking strings.  Many synth arpeggiations bordered on abstract, but everything was always grounded in the emotion of the characters.  We were able to branch those sounds into more subtle cues about family strife, tension between friends, and romance, as the show explored more personal themes.  We are thrilled with how the music turned out.  We think it is like nothing else out there.  It is a gut punch.”

Wow, the music for Panic is really good. I was already intrigued by the premise of the series: an almost dystopian setting where high school seniors compete in a twisted competition for enough money to go to college; but hearing the music raises my interest to another level. This is the kind of music I can sink my teeth into: it is indeed quite visceral (as the composers said) and almost manic in places due to the intense synths that can be found throughout the score.

Appropriately, those aggressive synths give Panic the feeling of a horror story in many places, which, given the premise of the series is more than appropriate. I mean the concept is somewhat horrific isn’t it? The idea that teenagers feel compelled to compete in a twisted competition just for the opportunity to go to college and leave town, like there’s no other options, if that isn’t a horror story I don’t know what is. And with these synths, you can almost feel the raw emotions that they represent. This isn’t a clean or pretty score like you might find in Game of Thrones, this is very rough around the edges and gritty and I love every single moment.

To repeat what I’ve said before, the soundtrack for Panic is really good, one of the best I’ve heard this year for a series. I highly recommend checking this soundtrack out if you get the opportunity to do so.

Track List

1. Headed to the Farm (0:57)
2. Don’t Know What to Believe (1:39)
3. Cortez Will Joust (3:33)
4. The Spurlock House (5:18)
5. Falling (1:59)
6. We’re Both Trash (1:25)
7. Darkest Hour – Tate McRae (2:41)
8. Invitation Was From Cortez (2:29)
9. Marquee Clue (0:37)
10. It’s Starting (1:13)
11. Graybill Legend Murders (2:14)
12. Joust, Part 1 (5:18)
13. Joust, Part 2 (3:33)
14. Tiger Lilly (3:10)
15. Heather Jumps (4:12)

Let me know what you think about Panic and its soundtrack in the comments below and have a great day!

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TV Soundtracks

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Music in Wrestling #2: Origins

Now that I’ve established an idea of what I want to talk about with music in wrestling, it’s time to go back to the beginning and look at how the tradition of having music in wrestling entrances got started.

Unfortunately, it may be impossible to know exactly who started this tradition and when it started. Given wrestlings connection to fairs and carnivals, it’s probable that music’s association with wrestling goes back several hundred years at least. But as for how the modern wrestling entrance got started, there we at least have a vague timeline in place.

While we still don’t know (and probably never will know) the name of the first wrestler to incorporate music into their entrance, we do have a few names connected with the start of the tradition. Now, usually Gorgeous George (George Wagner, 1915-1963) is credited as one of the first wrestlers to use music in his entrances, as he would famously strut to the ring to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstances” at the height of his fame in the 1940s and 50s. Equal credit should also be given to Mildred Burke (1915-1989), who also began using music in her wrestling entrances at the same time (and some have argued that she actually started doing so before Gorgeous George).

There’s no doubt that Gorgeous George’s iconic entrance to “Pomp and Circumstances” inspired a whole host of wrestlers who followed in his footsteps, from Ric Flair (who entered to “Also Sprach Zarathustra”) to the late Macho Man Randy Savage (who also entered to “Pomp and Circumstances) and more. Believe it or not, his entrance even merited a parody in a Looney Tunes cartoon, ‘Bunny Hugged’, in 1951:

As the cartoon implies, Gorgeous George’s entrances were the stuff of legend (particularly by the peak of his career). Even before George made his appearance, rose petals would be sprinkled in his path, the air would be “cleansed” with perfume and then “Pomp and Circumstances” would play as the final element as Gorgeous George would finally grace the crowd with his presence. Gorgeous George was a true showman and helped to establish what would become the modern wrestling entrance, as did Mildred Burke, who incorporated similar elements into her own entrances as I said before.

Mildred Burke

But while Gorgeous George and Mildred Burke may be the best known of the early examples, neither of them were the first. In the case of Gorgeous George, he was inspired by the work of “Lord” Patrick Lansdowne (died 1959). Lansdowne portrayed himself as a snobby British aristocrat who would strut to the ring while “God Save the King” blared out. Since Lansdowne’s gimmick inspired the work of Gorgeous George, it stands to reason that Lansdowne made use of entrance music first. Though he may not be the very first to do so, Lansdowne does remain one of the earliest known wrestlers to use entrance music. And if you think about it, what better music for a heel to use in America in the early 20th century than “God Save the King”? It instantly sets the crowd against you because you’re establishing yourself as someone “other” and, more importantly “not-American.” It’s one of the easiest ways to get a crowd to boo you.

It should be noted at this point that even with the high profile examples of Gorgeous George and Mildred Burke, using music in wrestling entrances was not common at this point. There were a few high-profile examples (probably those who could afford it) and that would be all. It would be a few more decades until music in wrestling started to become commonplace and then, oh boy, things really started to get interesting.

I hope you enjoyed this brief look into the origins of music in wrestling. Next time I’ll be leaping forward into the 1980s, when the modern wrestling entrance as we know it really began to take shape.

See also:

Music in Wrestling #1: Why Talk About It?

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Music from the Netflix Original Anime Series ‘EDEN’ Out Today!

Milan Records today released the EDEN (Music From the Netflix Original Anime Series) by composer Kevn Penkin (Tower of God, Made in Abyss, Florence). Available for preorder now, the album features music written by Penkin for Netflix’s latest original anime series, which follows the last remaining human girl as she navigates an unfamiliar robot-inhabited world. Created by Justin Leach (Ghost in the Shell 2) and directed by legendary Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood director Yasuhiro Irie, Eden debuted on Netflix on Thursday, May 27.

Kevin Penkin, based in Melbourne, is a BAFTA-nominated composer for Japanese animation and video games. He is best known for composing the award-winning score to Made in Abyss, and the music to the BAFTA award-winning game Florence. Kevin moved to London in 2013 to complete a Masters degree in Composition for Screen at the Royal College of Music. During this time, Kevin collaborated with legendary video game composer Nobuo Uematsu on a number of Japanese video game titles, which eventually led him to break into the Anime industry. After releasing his breakthrough score for Made in Abyss, Penkin continued to compose music for Japanese animation, with scores for both The Rising of the Shield Hero and Tower of God.

Thousands of years in the future, a city known as “Eden 3” is inhabited solely by robots whose former masters vanished a long time ago. On a routine assignment, two farming robots accidentally awaken a human baby girl from stasis questioning all they were taught to believe — that humans were nothing more than a forbidden ancient myth. Together, the two robots secretly raise the child in a safe haven outside Eden.

Of the soundtrack for EDEN, composer Kevin Penkin had the following to say:

“Eden is one of those projects that I will cherish forever. The love put into this project not only from the team, but also the musicians, is humbling. Being able to work with people who gave so much trust in the direction of the music is something I will forever cherish. Please enjoy the unique world of Eden, as we combine the unique worlds of a 3D-printed 6-string violin, female voices and electro-acoustic sound-sources. We have tried to put our best foot forward to honor the amazing work of this team.”



  1. The Garden of EDEN
  2. Genesis
  3. The Capsule Under the Tree
  4. Recharge
  5. Ocean Way
  6. Reprogram
  7. Sunrise Over the Cube
  8. Uncle John
  9. Sara
  10. VR
  11. Valhalla
  12. EDEN 3
  13. Dreams
  14. Chasey
  15. Return to Base
  16. EDEN.Waltz
  17. Sunset
  18. Liz Projections
  19. ZERO
  20. Appledrop
  21. Penrose Steps, A.I. Bloom
  22. Password:
  23. Truth Is
  25. Archive
  26. Mama & Papa
  27. Detonation
  28. Removal
  29. 4
  30. Dr. Fields
  31. Memory Fields
  32. The Place Where Everyone Laughs
  34. Rain
  35. Demolition
  36. Red vs Blue
  37. Strawberry Blonde
  38. The Girl in the Field
  39. The Robotic Code of Ethics

Enjoy the music of EDEN, which is available now.

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Music in Wrestling #1: Why Talk About It?

If you’ve followed my blog for more than a few years, you might remember that I briefly attempted a series sometime back where I wanted to talk about music in wrestling, particularly during major WWE events like Wrestlemania. As I was deeply engrossed in my dissertation at the time, the series never went anywhere and I ultimately deleted the article I did write. But now that I’m long since done with grad school, and I find my love of wrestling to be alive and well thanks to AEW, I think it’s high time I attempted this series again.

So that’s what this series will be about: in a series of posts I’m going to talk about music in wrestling, its history, notable examples, and why it works to make wrestling shows and events completely awesome.

However I understand that some longtime readers might be confused by this decision, wondering “This is Film Music Central, why would you want to talk about music at a wrestling show? Isn’t that a completely different topic?” It might seem completely unrelated at first glance, but hear me out, because there is a connection, albeit a tenuous one. If you consider the wrestling shows that are held on television, any music produced for those events instantly falls under the genre of television music, and TV music is the younger sibling of film music. So….it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility that a film music blog could cover the topic.

“But….” the objection might continue “Why talk about the subject at all?”

Why indeed? I suppose this would be a good time to explain that I’ve been fascinated by the wrestling industry for years, how the shows are made, how the different elements come together, all of it. And being the musicologist that I am, it was only natural that I gravitated to the musical side of the industry. And make no mistake, there is a very musical side to the wrestling business. As I’ll discuss down the road, all of the major promotions employ house composers to put themes together for wrestlers and shows, and it’s a constantly evolving mix of music that has to tell a story every week on television. But more than that, I want to talk about music in wrestling because I feel like it’s not being given enough attention. There’s no comprehensive book on the subject (though I’m hoping to change that someday), and I feel like people need to know the major role that music plays in the wrestling industry.

Also, I feel like writing a series on this subject will help remind people that wrestling shows are far more than just watching people beat each other up. Wrestling is not just a series of fights, it’s a full-on experience, it’s being dropped into this crazy world where larger than life characters step into a ring and do feats that are almost superhuman. And the music is part and parcel with all that.

And yes, I am hoping to write a book on this subject someday. If nothing else, this particular blog series will be my first attempt to suss out my thoughts on the subject in something resembling a professional manner. Maybe it goes somewhere, maybe it doesn’t, but at least I’ll try. I hope you enjoy this series, I’m going to do my best to cover as wide a base of shows and promotions as I can, so if you follow a certain wrestling promotion and want to see me cover a particular theme or organization, let me know in the comments and I’ll see what I can do.

I hope this introduction explains why I’m going to be talking about music in wrestling. I’ve been thinking about a series like this for a long time, and I’m excited to finally move forward with it.

Let me know your thoughts about this subject (good or bad) in the comments below and have a great day!

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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!

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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!

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

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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)

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