Category Archives: television

Soundtrack Review: Le Bureau des Legendes (Season 5)

The soundtrack for season 5 of Le Bureau des Legendes (also billed simply as ‘The Bureau’) is now available from Crossover Media. The Bureau (original title: Le Bureau des Légendes) is a French political thriller television series created by Éric Rochant and produced by TOP – The Oligarchs Productions and Canal+, which revolves around the lives of agents of the DGSE (General Directorate of External Security), France’s principal external security service.

The music for this series was composed by Robin Coudert (whose stage name is Rob), a French pop/rock musician, singer-songwriter, producer and film score composer. His work on Populaire was nominated for a César Award for Best Original Music.

Originally aired in France from 27 April 2015, The Bureau was launched in the United States and Canada on iTunes on 1 June 2016 as part of a new international “Episodic Cinema” label, quickly reaching the Top Five. In the United Kingdom, the series was released exclusively by Amazon Prime on 17 June 2016. The NYTimes ranked The Bureau third on their The 30 Best International TV Shows of the Decade list.

The soundtrack for season 5 of The Bureau is nothing like what I expected. There’s a lot of synthesizer in the mix, along with a touch of techno in places. It all feels…well, different, not what you’d expect to hear in a series that covers this type of material. However, that’s not a bad thing. A big part of the reason why I listen to so many soundtracks is because it opens my ears to new sounds and different ways to score film and television. Listening to the soundtrack for The Bureau Season 5 reminds me that it’s important to check out international television whenever possible, because it helps to broaden your musical horizons.

Track Listing:
1. Inform 570
2. Ultima 591
3. Light 30
4. Frost
5. Trone 10
6. Light 540
7. Ultima 597
8. Inform 5221
9. Guts 13
10. Light 44
11. Guts Wave 22
12. Strate 530
13. Fronde 10
14. Guts Wave 21
15. Research 518
16. Research 54.2
17. Light 542

18. Finale

 

Be sure to check out the soundtrack for season 5 of The Bureau, available now!

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TV Soundtracks

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Soundtrack News: “Betty” HBO Original Series Soundtrack to be Released on May 15th

Milan Records, together with HBO, has announced that the original soundtrack for Betty, composed by Aska Matsumiya, will be released on May 15, 2020. Available for preorder now, the album features score music written by Matsumiya as well as additional tracks featured in HBO’s newest original series following a group of female skateboarders in New York City. Aska Matsumiya is a LA based Japanese composer and producer who has excelled across Film, Television, Advertising and music production. Aska provided the score for the Amazon feature film, “I’m Your Woman” for director Julia Hart. In addition, she partnered with A24 and acclaimed director Kogonada on his film “After Yang”, collaborating with composer Ryuichi Sakamoto starring Colin Farrell.

Making its debut today alongside album preorder is the lead offering from the soundtrack – listen to “Why Not Bambihere.  Based on Crystal Moselle’s original film Skate Kitchen and starring much of the film’s original cast, Betty premiered on HBO May 1 and airs every Friday at 11:00 PM ET/PT.

Of the soundtrack, composer ASKA MATSUMIYA says:

“Writing the music for Betty allowed me to be in touch with a side of myself that remains youthful and raw and spontaneous.  It was really so much fun and I tried to let that momentum carry the music.” 

Starring Dede Lovelace, Moonbear, Nina Moran, Ajani Russell, and Rachelle Vinberg, Betty follows a diverse group of young women navigating their lives through the predominantly male-oriented world of skateboarding, set against the backdrop of New York City.

BETTY (HBO ORIGINAL SERIES SOUNDTRACK)
TRACKLISTING –
1. Betty
2. Vibez
3. Space Ride
4. Why Not Bambi
5. Anxiety Attack
6. Chinatown Quest
7. Strawberry Field
8. The Sound
9. Feeling Blues Cloud
10. No Jordan
11. No Chill
12. Hypnotism – Bebel Matsumiya
13. AMNSA – Rosehardt
14. Strangers – Ruby Haunt
15. One of the Girls – Otha
16. Apocalypse – Cigarettes After Sex
17. Djougou Toro – Volta Jazz

The soundtrack for Betty will be available starting May 15, 2020 and can be pre-ordered now.

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Soundtrack News: ‘Succession’ Season 1 Soundtrack is Out on Vinyl now

Milan Records, an imprint of Sony Music Masterworks, has released the soundtrack for season 1 of Succession with music by Academy Award-nominated composer Nicholas Britell (If Beale Street Could Talk, Moonlight, The Big Short and Vice) in vinyl format. Created by Oscar and WGA nominee Jesse Armstrong (In the Loop), with the pilot written by Armstrong and directed by Oscar-winner Adam McKay (The Big Short), Succession tracks the lives of the Roy family as they contemplate their future once their aging father begins to step back from the media and entertainment conglomerate they control.

Academy Award-nominated composer and pianist Nicholas Britell is known for his critically acclaimed scores on feature films with close collaborators, Academy-Award winners Barry Jenkins and Adam McKay. His most recent work includes the score for JenkinsIf Beale Street Could Talk (2018) for which he received his second Academy Award nomination as well as a BAFTA and Critics Choice nomination, and was awarded Best Original Score by numerous criticsgroups, including LA, Boston, Chicago and Washington DC Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Online and the Online Film Critics Association. In 2018, he also wrote the score for McKay’s Vice, starring Christian Bale, which went on to receive eight Academy Award nominations

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Of the soundtrack, composer Nicholas Britell says:

“I am so excited to be releasing this music from Season 1 of Succession. The score features a juxtaposition of strings, winds, brass, pianos, odd electronic textures, 808 bass, and hip-hop beats. From the earliest stages of working on the show, I hoped for the music to have a sense of old-world gravitas, while also feeling strange and – at times – absurd. I’ve loved collaborating with Jesse Armstrong and Adam McKay to craft this musical landscape for Succession.”

Set in New York, Succession explores themes of power, politics, money, and family. Logan Roy (Brian Cox), the tough, powerful, aging patriarch, is head of Waystar Royco, a family-controlled international media conglomerate. He is married to his third wife, Marcia (Hiam Abbass), a loving, formidable partner. The Roy family, which includes troubled former heir-apparent Kendall (Jeremy Strong), his outspoken, fun-loving brother Roman (Kieran Culkin), and his savvy but conflicted sister, Shiv (Sarah Snook), jousting for power as they struggle to retain control of their father’s empire. Connor Roy (Alan Ruck), Logan’s eldest son, and only child from his first marriage, has pursued an independent life in New Mexico.

You can get the soundtrack to season 1 of Succession on vinyl now.

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Soundtrack Review: Tales From the Loop (2020)

Fox Music/Hollywood Records has released the digital soundtrack from the Amazon Original series, Tales from the Loop. From executive producer Matt Reeves and based on the acclaimed art of Swedish artist Simon Stålenhag, Tales from the Loop explores the town and people who live above “The Loop,” a machine built to unlock and explore the mysteries of the universe – making things possible that were previously relegated only to science fiction. In this fantastical mysterious town, poignant human tales are told that bare universal emotional experiences, while drawing on the intrigue of genre storytelling.

 

The album features original themes by Philip Glass and score by Paul Leonard-Morgan. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Philip Glass is a graduate of the University of Chicago and the Juilliard School. Glass has expanded his repertoire to include music for opera, dance, theater, chamber ensemble, orchestra and film. His scores have received Academy Award nominations (Kundun, The Hours, Notes on a Scandal) and a Golden Globe (The Truman Show). Paul Leonard-Morgan’s unique cinematic style of fusing orchestra with electronica has put him in high demand as a film composer, a producer and arranger for bands, and has led him to win a BAFTA award, and receive Emmy & Ivor Novello nominations. In 2016, Leonard-Morgan began working with Academy-Award winning director Errol Morris on a string of projects including the documentary feature The B-Side, the award-winning Netflix series Wormwood, and the newly-completed motion picture on Steve Bannon, American Dharma. Other credits include The Quiet One–the story of Rolling Stones founding member Bill Wyman, the feature Last Breath, the hit series reboot Dynasty for The CW, and Designated Survivor on Netflix.

Leonard-Morgan said (on working on Tales from the Loop):

“Collaborating with Philip Glass on Tales from the Loop was an incredible experience. Philip and I had a discussion with Nathaniel Halpern (showrunner) and Mark Romanek (executive producer) about their vision for the show, the incorporation of unusual instruments, and their shared desire of wanting the soundtrack to be an integral part of the show: ‘Music which could be listened to by itself, melodies which could be hummed, a soundtrack which will stand the test of time apart from the series.’ Philip went and scored a bunch of initial ideas, as did I, and we discussed where they all might work together. Both of us playing off each other’s sounds and melodies to create a truly unique score. Over and again, we kept coming back to the original idea: to make beautiful music, which would work hand in hand with Nathaniel’s brilliant visions and beautiful cinematography. The 8 episodes are so unique—they’re like nothing we’ve ever seen, and hopefully the score stays true to this. Melodies come back throughout the show, each guiding us through the world of the loop. During recording sessions every 3 weeks, the natural sounds of the solo violin and the solo cello gave a beautiful, haunting sound to the loop, becoming an integral part of the sound.”

Glass added:

“I’ve always tried to collaborate with people from many disparate perspectives; everyone from indigenous musicians to electronic musicians have expanded my musical sensibilities. Working with Paul was no exception and the intersection of our two styles has produced a score both unexpected and familiar that accompanies the series beautifully.”

The soundtrack for Tales From the Loop is like nothing I’ve ever heard for television before, and I don’t say that lightly. Television music, in my experience, is either quite minimal or very grandiose (think Game of Thrones for the latter). But Tales from the Loop strikes a middle ground that I don’t think I’ve ever heard until now. Everything, every single track, is perfectly symphonic, like something you’d hear in a concert hall. And I can’t emphasize enough how much of a good thing this is. This is music that can be enjoyed completely separate from the show as well as while you watch each episode. It takes phenomenal skill to make music that can thrive outside of the show and with Philip  Glass and Paul Leonard-Morgan in charge of the score it’s little wonder it worked out that way.

In hindsight, it actually makes a lot of sense that the soundtrack for Tales From the Loop would feel symphonic in nature. After all, Glass is well known for his concert works, and it’s only natural that that would bleed over into his work for film and television.

If you’re able to, check out the soundtrack for Tales From the Loop. It’s peaceful, it’s relaxing, and it’s like listening to a long, quiet symphonic work in a concert hall (and that’s a good thing).

Let me know your thoughts on Tales From the Loop (and it’s soundtrack) in the comments below and have a great day!

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TV Soundtracks

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Star Wars: The Clone Wars “Bad Batch Theme” (2020)

To the immense joy of Star Wars fans everywhere, episode 1 of season 7 of Star Wars: The Clone Wars finally premiered on Disney+. Not only does this new season reunite the original voice cast, it also sees the return of composer Kevin Kiner to the 12 episode season. Honored with multiple Emmy and Annie nominations, as well as 12 BMI awards, Kevin Kiner is one of the most versatile and sought-after composers in Hollywood. In creating intimate soloistic guitar music over the grim realities of the Juarez Cartel, to grand orchestral music for a galaxy far, far away, Kevin’s wide musical range has allowed him to take on such diverse projects as Netflix’s hit series Narcos: Mexico, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Showtime’s City on a Hill, AMC’s Hell on Wheels, CW’s Jane the Virgin, CBS’s CSI: Miami, and Netflix’s Making a Murderer.

The first piece of music released from the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars is the “Bad Batch Theme”, the main musical theme heard in the first episode. You can listen to this theme below

This theme shares all the hallmarks of a good Star Wars theme as established by John Williams: a rich, brass sound bound together with a strong melodic framework. It could be coincidence, but portions of the “Bad Batch Theme” put me in mind of John Williams’ “March of the Resistance” (one of the best motifs that came out of the sequel trilogy). There’s a certain thematic similarity that sticks in my mind every time I heard that theme. It would be interesting to know if Kevin Kiner had that motif in mind at all when he put the “Bad Batch Theme” together.

Aside from the release of the “Bad Batch Theme” there are three further soundtrack releases scheduled featuring music from the new season. Those release dates are as follows:

3/13: Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Final Season (Episodes 1-4)
4/10: Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Final Season (Episodes 5-8)
5/4: Star Wars: The Clone Wars – The Final Season (Episodes 9-12)

“The Bad Batch” is only the first episode in a 12 episode season that will conclude The Clone Wars in the manner they’ve always deserved:

Now it is the end of the historic Clone Wars, as the forces of darkness have amassed great power in their bid to transform the Republic into the Galactic Empire. In the conflict’s final days, clone troopers specialize for the dangerous missions ahead, Ahsoka Tano confronts life outside of the Jedi Order, and a familiar menace returns to wreak havoc. The explosive final chapters of the Clone Wars chronicle the end of a major era in Star Wars history. 

Let me know what you think about the “Bad Batch Theme” in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Star Wars: Rebels “It’s Over Now”

Film Soundtracks A-W

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Soundtrack Review: Anne With an “E” (2017-2019)

Original Music from the CBC and Netflix series Anne with an “E” is now available on CD exclusively from Varèse Sarabande Records. The soundtrack to Northwood Entertainment’s series can be ordered on VareseSarabande.com and other retailers. The album includes the theme song “Ahead by a Century” by The Tragically Hip and score from the composing duo of Amin Bhatia and Ari Posner.

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The series, a reimagining of the classic book Anne of Green Gables, is a coming-of-age story about a young orphan who is seeking love, acceptance and her place in the world. Amybeth McNulty stars as Anne, who has endured an abusive childhood in orphanages and the homes of strangers. Set in the late 1890s, Anne is mistakenly sent to live with aging siblings, Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert (played by Geraldine James and R.H. Thomson), who reside on Prince Edward Island. Anne, who proves to be uniquely spirited, imaginative and smart, transforms the lives of Marilla, Matthew and everyone else in their small town. While Anne with an “E” honors the foundation of L. M. Montgomery’s novel, the series explores contemporary issues of identity, racism, feminism, friendship, bullying, gender parity, and empowerment through the lens of its fierce, starry-eyed, irrepressible protagonist.

Regarding the soundtrack for Anne with an “E” the composers had the following to say:

Doing a soundtrack felt natural because much like an orchestra, the series Anne with an “E” contains a great many components that are all moving in the same direction to tell beautiful and inspiring stories contained within. There were certain instruments and styles of music that we decided on quite early in the process. The Celtic flavor was a natural choice from the very beginning, and this informed the instrumentation that usually includes fiddle, tin whistle, accordion and mandolin. However, we were encouraged to experiment and expand those parameters wherever it felt right for the story, so that brought in other woodwinds and strings, ambient and percussive textures, solo cello and of course piano.

A period piece though it may be, the stories in Anne with an “E” are universal and timeless. Every detail, including the costumes and sets, the writing, the acting and even the live instruments in our score are incredibly accurate to the time. Yet a contemporary light shines on the issues that these characters would have faced back then, issues that are old as time and still as true and meaningful today. In that sense, much like the Tragically Hip’s main title song “Ahead by a Century”, we have always felt that the whole concept behind the show was exactly that

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With nearly 50 scores to his credit, Emmy nominated composer Amin Bhatia has written music for film, TV and album projects for over 30 years. Versatile in both orchestral and electronic music, Amin’s television projects in addition to the CBC/Netflix/Northwood series Anne with an “E”, include internationally acclaimed series Flashpoint and X Company, the docudrama series Blood and Fury: America’s Civil War, as well as guest compositions on The Handmaid’s Tale. Ari Posner is a fixture in Canadian film and television, in addition to scoring Netflix/CBC/Northwood’s Anne with an “E”, Posner’s series scoring credits include X Company, Blood and Fury: America’s Civil War, and the critically acclaimed TV series Flashpoint, as well as the feature films All the Wrong Reasons, Borealis, and the romantic comedy My Awkward Sexual Adventure. The music composer’s repertoire spans from long-format work to ads to animated series, and everything in between.

TRACK LISTING
1.    Ahead by a Century Performed by The Tragically Hip
2.    Good Morning Anne
3.    Picking Up A Girl
4.    The White Way of Delight
5.    Tree Perspective
6.    A Big Day Ahead
7.    The Power of A Child
8.    Matthew And Anne
9.    Meet Miss Stacey
10.  A Nature Symphony
11.  Passage of Time
12.  Forgiveness
13.  Never Going Back
14.  My Daughter Anne
15.  You Can Ride to Back
16.  Forbidden to Fraternize
17.  Marilla Waits
18.  Unrequited Love
19.  The Growing Storm
20.  It’s All Broken
21.  Fire in The Town
22.  Dr. Gilbert Blythe
23.  Kindred Spirits
24.  My Friend Cole
25.  Mission of Magnitude
26.  Dearest Diana
27.  Simplest of Gifts
28.  We’re Rich Aren’t We
29.  No Regrets
30.  Make Your Own Decision
31.  Goodnight Anne

Let me know what you think about the soundtrack for Anne With an “E” in the comments below and have a great day!

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Film Soundtracks A-W

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Soundtrack Review: The Witcher Season 1 (2019)

Milan Records has announced that The Witcher (Music From the Netflix Original Series) will be released on January 24, 2020. The soundtrack was composed by award-winning pianist Sonya Belousova and critically-acclaimed composer Giona Ostinelli. The soundtrack album will also include the instant hit “Toss a Coin to Your Witcher.”

Of the soundtrack, the composers had this to say:

The best part of scoring The Witcher is the constant stream of unlimited creative opportunities this unique and vast universe provides. We wrote and produced songs, folk tunes, dances, and score, collaborated with virtuoso soloists and phenomenal artists, recorded unique historical instruments, many of which were crafted specifically for The Witcher, as well as personally performed and recorded over 60 instruments in order to create over 8 hours of an exciting original soundtrack.

The Witcher tells the story of Geralt of Rivia, a mutated monster-hunter for hire, as he journeys toward his destiny in a turbulent world where people often prove more wicked than beasts.

THE WITCHER (MUSIC FROM THE NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES)
TRACKLISTING –
1. Geralt of Rivia
2. Toss A Coin To Your Witcher (feat. Joey Batey)*
3. Happy Childhoods Make For Dull Company (feat. Rodion Belousov)
4. The Time of Axe And Sword Is Now (feat. Declan de Barra & Lindsay Deutsch)
5. They’re Alive (feat. Lindsay Deutsch & Burak Besir)
6. Tomorrow I’ll Leave Blaviken For Good
7. Her Sweet Kiss (feat. Joey Batey)***
8. It’s An Ultimatum
9. Round of Applause (feat. Rodion Belousov)
10. Marilka That’s My Name
11. I’m Helping The Idiot (feat. Arngeir Hauksson)
12. The Knight Who Was Taught To Save Dragons (feat. Rodion Belousov)
13. Ragamuffin
14. The Last Rose of Cintra (feat. Declan de Barra)**
15. Late Wee Pups Don’t Get To Bark (feat. Lindsay Deutsch)
16. You Will Rule This Land Someday
17. The Fishmonger’s Daughter (feat. Joey Batey)**
18. Blaviken Inn (feat. Lindsay Deutsch)
19. Man In Black
20. The Great Cleansing (feat. Lindsay Deutsch)
21. The Law of Surprise
22. Battle of Marnadal
23. Pretty Ballads Hide Bastard Truths (feat. Rodion Belousov)
24. Giltine The Artist
25. Everytime You Leave
26. Rewriting History (feat. Rodion Belousov)
27. The End’s Beginning (feat. Declan de Barra)
28. Gold Dragons Are The Rarest (feat. Rodion Belousov)
29. Bonfire (feat. Lindsay Deutsch)
30. Children Are Our Favourite
31. Do You Actually Have What It Takes
32. Point Me To Temeria
33. Djinni Djinn Djinn
34. Here’s Your Destiny
35. Two Vows Here Tonight
36. Bread Breasts And Beer (feat. Lindsay Deutsch)
37. Would You Honor Me With A Dance
38. Four Marks (feat. Rodion Belousov)
39. The Pensive Dragon Inn (feat. Lindsay Deutsch)
40. A Gift For The Princess
41. You’re In Brokilon Forest
42. Today Isn’t Your Day Is It
43. Lovely Rendez-vous à la Montagne
44. Blame Destiny
45. The White Flame Has Brought Us Together
46. He’s One of The Clean Ones (feat. Lindsay Deutsch)
47. You Lost Your Chance To Be Beautiful
48. Yennefer of Vengerberg
49. Shouldn’t You Know When Someone Is Pretending (feat. Lindsay Deutsch)
50. You’ll Have To Fight It Until Dawn
51. I’m The One With The Wishes
52. Chaos Is All Around Us
53. The Curse of The Black Sun
54. Battle of Soden
55. The Song of The White Wolf (feat. Declan de Barra)**
*Lyrics by Jenny Klein
**Lyrics by Declan de Barra
***Lyrics by Haily Hall

Enjoy The Witcher soundtrack when it becomes available and let me know what you think about it in the comments below! Have a great day 🙂

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TV Soundtracks

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The Twilight Zone S3 E5: A Game of Pool

“A Game of Pool” is an episode of The Twilight Zone that has become one of my favorites. I admit I ignored it at first, mostly because I wasn’t interested in an episode that centers around the game of pool. But once I checked the episode out, and then watched it several times, I realized it’s a particularly good entry in the series and one that I needed to write about.

The thing with “A Game of Pool” is that its premise is a little difficult to figure out at first. On the surface, this episode appears to be a clear-cut case of “be careful what you wish for.” Pool shark Jesse Cardiff (Jack Klugman), tired of continually being compared to the late legendary pool player ‘Fats’ Brown (Jonathan Winters), makes the mistake of saying he’d give anything to play one game with Brown to prove who is the best. This being the Twilight Zone, Brown appears to accept the challenge.

agameofpool

So in a sense this is “be careful what you wish for” but it’s also something more. As the episode plays on and Jesse eventually agrees to a game with Brown, it becomes obvious pretty quickly that something else is in play. While the episode acknowledges that there’s nothing wrong with becoming the best at something, it does remind the audience that this shouldn’t be done at the expense of having a life outside of that something. Jesse openly acknowledges that his entire life has revolved around pool for years, to a disturbing degree:

Do you know how many hours, how many years I’ve put of myself into this game? How many nights I slept on that table right there? Yea, I did that. I made a deal with the owner so I could practice after the place closed. I haven’t been to the movies in years, I haven’t dated a girl, read a book, because it would take time away from the game.

Jesse is so obsessed with being the best at pool that he’s literally withdrawn from life. If they were to remake this episode today, they’d probably replace pool with video games, because to hear Jesse talk reminds me of stories of gamers who shut themselves in for days at a time, relentlessly playing a game to hone their skills. It’s frightening to think about: he’s spent all this time working to perfect his skills at pool, even Fats Brown didn’t go that far, and he tells Jesse as much, but the pool shark doesn’t listen.

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And that’s the other thing about “A Game of Pool.” If you listen to Fats Brown’s dialogue closely, it’s clear that there’s a lot more to the stakes than what he’s telling. Given the stakes of the game seem to include Jesse “dying” if he loses, Fats tries several times to get Jesse to lose the game, right down to the last shot actually. But once he sees Jesse really won’t listen, he gives up and lets fate take its course. As with all Twilight Zone episodes, this one has its own doozy of a twist. When Fats said the pool game would be a matter of “life and death” he wasn’t speaking literally. Because Jesse won the game, he will now live forever (after death), until someone else can beat him the way he did Fats. If he’d lost, he would’ve “died” in the sense that he wouldn’t be a legend and would simply pass on once his life ended.

I suppose Jesse Cardiff’s fate isn’t the worse thing that’s ever happened to a character in The Twilight Zone. After all, Fats Brown was beat eventually, one would assume someone would beat Jesse in time also. But the way Jesse talked at the end about never letting anyone take the title of “being the best” away from him, I suspect it will be a long time before Jesse is allowed to “rest.”

Let me know what you think about “A Game of Pool” in the comments below and have a great day!

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The Twilight Zone S3 E 9: Deaths-Head Revisited

I’ve wanted to write about this particular episode of The Twilight Zone for a long time, but I hesitated because I was thinking about the right way to do it. Finally I decided to just dive in and have at it.

So here we are with Deaths-Head Revisited, one of the most powerful episodes of The Twilight Zone ever created in my opinion, not least because it deals with the aftermath of an event that was very much in living memory at the time: the Holocaust. The episode is set in Dachau (both the town and concentration camp of the same name), and sees Gunther Lutze (Oscar Beregi Jr.), a former SS officer once in charge of the camp, returning to visit its ruins and gloat over past memories. But of course, this being the Twilight Zone, Lutze is far from alone, and it’s long past time he received punishment for the crimes he committed.

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I said before that this is one of the series’ most powerful episodes and I meant it. Even Rod Serling’s introduction has a touch more bite in it than usual. Of all the despicable characters that have populated this show, Lutze is surely the worst. From the moment he enters the camp (at least until he meets a certain someone), the unrepentant Nazi is clearly in his element, strutting around as if tens of thousands of people didn’t die on the ground he’s walking on.  Every time I see this episode, I have to think that this is what Hell looked like for everyone responsible for the Holocaust.

And how Lutze’s punishment plays out is just…so fitting it’s hard to describe. The presence of their former tormentor is enough to rouse the ghosts of the dead and serve Lutze up with more than a taste of his own medicine. It would be frightening, actually, if the person at the center of it all weren’t absolutely deserving of everything he got. I should note that Oscar Beregi Jr. is absolutely brilliant in this episode, just oozing arrogance and a firm denial that he is at fault for anything.

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The biggest clue that something unnatural is going on comes the moment Lutze meets Becker (Joseph Schildkraut), a former prisoner at the camp. That Lutze doesn’t notice the following issues shows just how unrepentant and clueless he really is. First, Becker is still wearing his camp uniform, even though 17 years have passed since the war ended and there would be no logical reason for him to keep it on. Second, and more importantly, Becker hasn’t changed or aged a day since Lutze saw him last. It isn’t until nearly the end of the episode that Lutze remembers a very important truth: he killed Becker right as the war was ending, and he’s been talking to a ghost the entire time. That Lutze could ever forget that he killed the person he’s been talking to is just mind-blowing and indicative of how evil he is.

On a final note, while it might seem strange that the ghosts don’t kill Lutze, what happens instead is just as bad, if not worse. In his new condition, Lutze can’t do anything, he can’t enjoy life, he can’t talk, he certainly can’t run and hide. All he can do is be strapped to a bed in a hospital, pumped so full of sedatives he’s practically comatose. And that’s just what happens in this life, there’s so much more hinted to come once he enters the afterlife.

Everyone should see Deaths-Head Revisited at least once. It’s powerful, it’s intense, and its message is just as important today as it was then. Let me know what you think of the episode in the comments below and have a great day.

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My Thoughts on: The Mandalorian, Season 1 (2019)

As much as I love Star Wars, I will admit to being slightly dubious when I first heard about The Mandalorian, a show that is exclusive to Disney+. It’s not that I didn’t doubt the casting or talent behind the production, I was just more interested in learning if there would be any new productions featuring Ahsoka. Any doubts I did have quickly vanished once Disney+ arrived. One season in, The Mandalorian is a brilliant addition to the Star Wars universe, albeit one that’s currently left me with more questions than answers.

Let’s start with a few background details. First there’s the timing of this show: in the grand scheme of things, The Mandalorian is set 5 years post-Return of the Jedi. So the Emperor is dead, Vader is dead, there’s no Death Star, and nominally the New Republic is in charge of the galaxy. In truth though, taking out the Empire has left a power vacuum in large chunks of the galaxy, leaving many to scramble to get by as well as they can, which is where the titular Mandalorian comes in. He’s a bounty hunter, a good one too. But his bounty hunting lifestyle is turned upside down when he accepts one particular job.

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By the time the first episode was over, I was completely hooked on this show. The Mandalorian feels like Star Wars in a way that’s hard for me to put into words. From the gritty details, to the many, MANY hidden Easter eggs throughout the season, everything in this season just fits into the existing mythos. That being said, there are a few things this season left me thinking about, the first of which is baby Yoda.

I wish a camera could’ve recorded the look on my face when baby Yoda was first revealed (yes, I know that isn’t actually Yoda, but the name is cute). Of all the things I thought the asset could be…this wasn’t it. This is one of the details I have so many questions about: where did he come from? What is his name? What did the Client want with him? Was baby Yoda originally a youngling at the Temple? (hey, he’s 50 years old, that last one is technically possible) I’m hoping that at least some of these questions are addressed in season 2, because I need answers!

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Another major question, and one that I suspect will be answered next month: what the frack happened on Mandalore? Better question, what happened to Mandalore? I ask this question for several reasons. The first is that the Mandalorians are revealed to be few in number and in hiding, something that was not true the last time we saw any Mandalorians. The fact that the Darksaber is in the hands of an Imperial Moff (more on that in a moment) means that something really bad happened. Keep in mind, the last time we saw the Darksaber, it was about a year before the Battle of Yavin and it had been given to Bo-Katan Kryze by Sabine Wren. The latter was going to unite Mandalore against the Empire, a plan that obviously failed spectacularly. I’m hoping that the upcoming last season of The Clone Wars will give some insight into part of what happened to Mandalore, or at least lay the foundations for it.

Another thing, holy crap the Darksaber has made its live-action debut and I still can’t quite believe it. For those who might not know, the Darksaber is a legendary lightsaber made by a Mandalorian Jedi named Tarre Vizsla thousands of years ago during the Old Republic. Unlike traditional lightsabers, the Darksaber has a black blade, one shaped to look like a sword. The Darksaber eventually became associated with the rule of Mandalore itself, with would-be leaders challenging for the right to wield the blade and rule the planet. It cannot be overstated how important the Darksaber is to any surviving Mandalorians. Once it gets out that Moff Gideon has the Darksaber….oh heads will roll in an attempt to get it back.

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And speaking of Moff Gideon…who is he? How did he get his hands on the Darksaber?? And am I the only one who noticed that his armor bears a distinct resemblance to Vader’s? I’m secretly hoping Gideon gets introduced in the last season of The Clone Wars, because I need to learn more about this character as soon as possible.

Hopefully all of these ramblings demonstrate that I really, really liked The Mandalorian and I’m really excited for season 2 when it arrives this fall.

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

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