Tag Archives: television

Thoughts on Game of Thrones: an epiphany!

I’m literally vibrating with excitement right now, I realized something today that I should have noticed ages ago, and maybe I’m the last one to make the connection, but I want to talk about it anyway.

So one of the big questions of the series has been who will be the “three heads of the dragon?” This is based on a line that says “The dragon must have three heads” and implies that Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion must have separate riders. Dany was obviously one from the start ever since her dragons were born. Now that Jon’s Targaryen heritage is known (to the audience at least), he’s sure to be the second one, but who is the third? A leading theory implies Tyrion (based on the idea that Aerys, Dany’s father, had his way with Tywin’s wife). But I’m wondering now if the answer hasn’t been under our noses this entire time. What about Gendry?

Yes, I said Gendry. I made the connection about an hour ago as I was reading through the trivia for “Eastwatch.” In it, the authors made mention of the fact that Gendry is actually a cousin to Dany and Jon via his Targaryen ancestor. Considering Robert Baratheon died all the way back in season one, it completely slipped my mind that Robert was part Targaryen, in fact he was a second cousin to Rhaegar due to the fact that his grandmother was Princess Rhaelle Targaryen (a daughter to Aegon V). Being part Targaryen is part of what gave Robert the throne after the Rebellion was over (besides the fact that he killed Rhaegar and Aerys had been killed by Jaime Lannister), since he was related by blood to the royal family, he already had some (distant) claim to the Iron Throne.

The point is, Gendry is part-Targaryen, distantly to be sure, but maybe it’s enough. And keeping this in mind, doesn’t it seem striking that we have THREE known Targaryen relatives (Dany, Jon and Gendry) now? Maybe I’m stretching a bit too far, but at least we know for sure that Gendry is related, Tyrion is only pure conjecture at this point.

That’s my little epiphany, not sure if it’ll bear out, but it seems promising. What do you think? Could Gendry be the third head of the dragon?

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Cancelled Too Soon #13: Joan of Arcadia (2003-2005)

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While Joan of Arcadia had a longer run than most of the shows on this list (45 episodes to be exact), I still believe it qualifies as a show that was cancelled too soon and really could’ve been great.

Joan of Arcadia was presented as a modern spin on the story of Joan of Arc, a French girl who alleged that she spoke with God and angels. In the show, Joan Girardi (Amber Tamblyn) is a teenager in high school who is visited by God (who speaks to her through random strangers) and reminded of a promise she made (to God) to the effect that she would do whatever God asked of her if He let her brother survive a car crash that ultimately made him a paraplegic. To that end, each episode sees Joan given some “task” to perform, the benefits thereof not usually being seen until the very end of the episode. In one poignant example (and I feel it might be the best episode of the series), it is revealed that Joan’s actions in befriending a school bully directly prevented a school shooting from taking place the next day, with a short montage revealing who would have died in said incident.

The show debuted to critical acclaim and was promptly renewed for a second season. Even though the acclaim remained in the new seasons, the ratings began to slip (from an average of 10 million to 8 million, which doesn’t seem like that big of a drop) and the show was cancelled after season 2, despite campaigns by fans to bring the show back. Because of this, the show doesn’t quite have a proper conclusion (a dark character, hinted to be the Devil) is introduced and Joan is told by God that the past two years were all preparation for this moment. But due to cancellation the payoff never comes.

I liked the premise of this show and I was very sad to see it go. Did you see Joan of Arcadia during its brief run? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments below.

For more Cancelled Too Soon, see here

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Thinking about Game of Thrones

Note: this post may ramble somewhat

So, after several years of “not having time” to get caught up on Game of Thrones (until this past Sunday I hadn’t seen an episode in its entirety since “Mhysa” at the end of Season 3) the long-awaited premiere of Season 7 finally proved enough of a catalyst to get me to pick up with Season 4 and get caught up before we get too far into the current season.

Currently, I have finished season 4 and made it to “The House of Black and White” in season 5. My thoughts? WOW!! Even with watching the recaps, I’d forgotten how amazing this show is. Even though there’s a LOT of differences between the books and the show, Game of Thrones still remains one of the best adaptations of book-to-screen that I have EVER seen (and this is coming from someone who practically reveres Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings films not including the Hobbit trilogy).

I’d also forgotten how much I HATE Ramsay Snow/Bolton. One thing about Game of Thrones is that, just when you think you’ve met the absolute WORST character on the show in terms of morals (or the lack thereof), someone even slimier gets introduced. Though in this case I don’t think we can get any lower or slimier than that sadistic torture-loving creep Ramsay. The only thing that keeps me from screaming at the TV is knowing EXACTLY what’s going to happen to him in season 6 (I can’t wait!)

It was hard to say goodbye to Tywin Lannister. He’s a character I love to hate but Charles Dance played him to perfection. But now that he’s gone Cersei is going to find herself in over her head really fast (I’m somewhat looking forward to the walk of shame).

Over in Meereen, it was downright painful to watch Daenerys chain up Viserion and Rhaegal, mostly because you can tell the dragons have no idea what’s really happening. They’re sniffing around like their mother has given them a new place to play in and explore. It’s only when they turn around to leave with her that they realize they’ve been trapped and their snarls turn to cries of pain and confusion because their mother is leaving them in this dark place. It’s no wonder the next time she tries to see them that they snarl and spout fire at her.

Littlefinger.Needs.To.DIE

Seriously, he needs to die. Slowly. And PAINFULLY. It’s rather mind-boggling to consider that everything that has happened in this show is a direct result of his actions (Think about it: if Jon Arryn hadn’t been poisoned and died, King Robert wouldn’t have asked Ned Stark to be Hand of the King. If Catelyn hadn’t received a letter from her sister implicating the Lannisters, then Ned wouldn’t have grown suspicious of the Queen, he definitely wouldn’t have learned that Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen were the products of incest either. Bran wouldn’t be crippled, all of the direwolves would still be alive and Ned Stark would still have his head, etc.) I swear, if that weasel finds a way to survive all of this and is still breathing by the end of the series, I will scream bloody murder.

I absolutely love watching Varys and Tyrion talk to one another. I can’t wait to see Tyrion meet Daenerys.

The last thing I’d like to talk about has, in my opinion, major ramifications for how Cersei’s story will end. The opening of Season 5 sees a young Cersei and her best friend traveling to see Maggy the Frog (a woods witch) so they can learn about the future. The witch would rather be left alone but Cersei, being Cersei, persists and is then told she may ask three questions concerning what will happen in years to come. If you’ve read the books then you THINK you know what you’re going to hear: Cersei will marry the king (Robert), not the prince (Rhaegar) and she will be queen. Robert will have 20 (illegitimate) children while Cersei will have three (by Jaime). All of her children will die before her. And someday a younger, more beautiful queen will come to replace her (I’m almost certain this is Daenerys). And…that’s it. But that SHOULDN’T be it because the book contains one final line that is rather important:

“And when your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his hands about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.”

There’s not a WORD about the valonqar in the scene, which for the TV show means that Cersei will likely die by different means than in the books (I’m almost 100% certain that Jaime will kill Cersei in the books). But then how will she die in the show? I have a thought about that, and it’s based on something we saw in the premiere of season 7 (and the end of season 6 for that matter). Remember how Arya first murdered Walder Frey and then “all of the Freys who matter” while using Walder’s face? And then there’s her assertion that she is going to King’s Landing to kill the queen. If the “valonqar” theory is really off the table for the show, could it indeed be possible that Arya WILL in fact be the one to kill Cersei? Possibly, but I foresee a twist that will make show viewers AND book readers happy (I think). Suppose that Arya kills Cersei while wearing Jaime’s face? Cersei could die believing her own twin did the deed and only afterward would we learn that “Jaime” is in fact Arya. Of course that would mean Jaime has to die and I’m reluctant to see that happen.

I can’t wait to see where Season 7 takes us. Hope you liked my thoughts, if you have your own theory on how Cersei will die (because I’m sure she will die before this is over), please let me know in the comments below.

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Composer Interview with Scott Doherty

Scott Doherty is a lifelong musician, though some might say a reluctant composer. After moving from his hometown of Maine to Los Angeles at the age of 18, Scott’s early musical pursuits included playing live music to large audiences at venues like the House of Blues and the El Ray and performing in the South Coast Repertory Theatre production ‘Against Oblivion’, among other productions. He was led to study and pursue sound and music composition and since then, has composed music for numerous film and TV projects, including ‘Weeds’, ‘Orange is the New Black’ and most recently, ‘The Holdouts’. We sat down to talk with Scott about his career as a musician and composer.

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How did you get into composing for television?
Looking back, I feel like it was something I didn’t directly aim to do. I was in the band world playing keys for other bands and I hit a point with where I felt somewhat stilted, which moved me away from the record format and more into instrumental music. From there I dove into the recording studio and was just fascinated by everything. It was over the course of a year that I was asked to write a couple of score-based projects. I was asked to direct a few shows, music for a documentary called ‘Becoming Santa’, and these projects felt more like a perfect fit, using music to tell stories. Not long after, I ran into a friend who was a music supervisor and she’d become the head of music for the E! Network. I began to work on a string of shows for them, doing theme songs for different shows. I was still craving writing music to picture,  and about that time is when the opportunity for ‘Orange is the New Black’ came in. I was asked to join in the series that would be on Netflix, and at the time, digital wasn’t what it was today – so it was really a leap of faith.

 

Yeah, I remember at the time it was announced it seemed really weird like, television on Netflix? How does that even work?  *laughs* Yeah, people were really unsure of the platform, but I saw the entire first season of ‘Orange’ before the rest of the world did and I fell in love with it:  the story, the characters, the incredible actors. I just had no idea how lucky we would become with this series.

 

With each season (of Orange is the New Black’) being released all at once, what is the schedule for creating the score for each episode, compared to a regular television series? Has everything already been shot?  There are a lot of similarities actually, in the way that we have a similar production schedule to a regular show on network cable. There’s about a week to do each episode, and production is usually about three to four episodes ahead of us, but it is still the same production flow. The difference is that we’re not getting feedback week to week from audiences. Because all thirteen episodes are available at once, Netflix encouraged us (in fact they sent a note about it about halfway through the first season) to think of it really as a thirteen hour-long movie, rather than a normal, episodic TV show. And that changed the way that I look at the character theme arcs and making sure that whatever happens in episode one, that same day the audience could be watching episode eight, so the continuity needed to be there.

 

Right, so if each season is like a movie, does that mean there is more there in terms of character motifs?
Yes, and with ‘Orange’ there is such a diverse cast, with so many “lead” actors and actresses, so we really try and focus in on a specific melodic theme or sonic world that is created to support each character, and some of that makes its way into their flashbacks. Some of those themes are in fact born in flashbacks because with some characters we don’t get to really know them until those moments. But it really does feel more like scoring a film than a television show in that regard.

 

So with Season 5 coming on June 9th, have any of the (musical) themes changed over the years?
Oh most definitely. One of the biggest would be Dayanara’s theme, which started as her and Bennet’s love theme and as their relationship went on the rocks, it created a flipped version of the same theme, but more dark. Suzanne’s (“Crazy Eyes”) theme starts off more aggressive, but as we get to know her, the innocence comes out. And then there’s a hybrid of the two, and also there’s some situational themes that come back over time. I really feel the prison itself has a real character to it, there’s an “essence” of what prison sounds like.

 

 

Definitely. What about Piper? Because she’s the one who’s really thrown headlong into all of this at the start.
I feel like the way we’ve worked with Piper through the seasons is more situational in terms of themes. Some of them have been more whimsical, a theme to reinforce the isolation she was feeling (in the SHU), then in – I think it was season three –  there was the “Piper 2.0” theme with an aggressive Piper finding her voice and that carried over into season four. There really isn’t one central theme for Piper, it really changes from season to season for her.

 

I actually misunderstood what this show was going to be about. Because when the preview for the pilot came out, I saw that Piper was being sentenced to this relatively short time in prison, so I thought ‘Orange is the New Black’ was meant to be a one-off, a one season and that’s it sort of deal. And then I saw articles about season two, three and I’m like “why is this show still going?” And that’s when I read the summaries and realized this show was a lot more complex than I imagined.
*laughs* Oh yeah, but it’s really something like ’24′, which plays out in real time. And it’s also hard to gauge how much time is actually passing in these seasons. We’ve seen one Christmas and one Valentine’s Day so far. But it really does feel like we haven’t even covered a year yet. No one is too specific with covering sentences. But this latest season (season 5) will cover exactly three days. That was the story motif for this season.

 

Wow, so there’s a lot of stuff packed in to this season?
Yes! It starts off with a bang and keeps on going, I wish I could talk about it but there’s only a week to go now. What’s great about the first season though, is it uses Piper to introduce us to prison, to what it would feel like to have something from your past that you may have forgotten come back and affect you. And also what it would feel like to be one of those people outside of the walls and suddenly find themselves inside it. And so I think they were able to use her story to get us into prison, and as soon as the 2nd season started, the focus is now on every other inmate. It’s no longer about the singular struggle of this woman, it’s now more about the life of women in prison.

 

So in theory this show could run indefinitely?
Absolutely!

 

So, one last question, you said it was the same production flow as a regular television show. So is recording the music anything like film where you have the footage playing out in front of you?
Yes, it’s exactly the same. The way it breaks down is, we go to a spotting session where we sit down and watch the editor’s cut with temporary music put in. And we discuss it and say, “what do we like? Are there any character themes missing? Does it need to be funny or sad?”  And then we have about five to six days to complete twenty-five to thirty pieces of music for the show. We go to a music review and watch the cues one by one, and it’s usually “love it”, “change this one thing” or “try again”. Then we have another day to review it before we start all over again. I tend to write and record the music at the same time. The best-case scenario for me when writing is to turn the music off and watch the same scene five or six times to see if a natural pace or rhythm comes through. And a lot of times the performer’s work is so strong that I begin to hear the music in my head straight away. I try to capture that emotional reaction as quickly as possible.

 

Wow, that is so amazing! Well thank you very much for sitting down to talk with me about Orange is the New Black
No problem! Thank you.

Cancelled Too Soon #12: The Magnificent Seven (1998-2000)

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Did you know that CBS made a television series based on the popular western The Magnificent Seven (1960)?? If you didn’t, don’t feel too upset, up until a few years ago, I didn’t know the show existed either, but oh my goodness it is amazing!!

The show is loosely based on the same premise as the film, where a group of seven gunmen, led by Chris, band together to protect a town. Only in the show, they’re protecting a frontier town out West, and not a Mexican village south of the border. These are also not quite the same cast of characters from the film either. The ‘seven’ of the Magnificent Seven are:

Chris Larabee (Michael Biehn): The leader of the group, and based on the “Chris” character played by Yul Brynner in the original film

Vin Tanner (Eric Close): A bounty hunter and tracker, closely based on the “Vin” character played by Steve McQueen in the original film.

Ezra Standish (Anthony Starke): A southern con-man and gambler, who often struggles with moral dilemmas regarding what he does best. He really has a heart of gold though.

Josiah Sanchez (Ron Perlman): A preacher and former gunfighter who often provides spiritual aid to the group and others. He works on building a church for the town.

Nathan Jackson (Rick Worthy): A former slave who worked as a stretcher-bearer for the Union Army in the Civil War. He learned a lot about medicine and works as the healer for the group, as well as the town they protect. He is an expert with throwing knives

J.D. Dunne (Andrew Kavovit): A ‘city-slicker’ from the East Coast, J.D. has come West to make his fortune as a gunfighter, and has a hard time being taken seriously by the group (at first). Of all the seven, he gets hurts the most (he’s been shot, stabbed and royally beat up).

Buck Wilmington (Dale Midkiff): The ladies’ man of the group, Buck is the best friend of Chris, and has known him the longest. He’s always romancing at least two women at a time in town, though it rarely ends well for him.

With such a diverse cast of characters and great storytelling, it astounds me that this show ONLY ran for two seasons (and short seasons at that!!) Actually, it is my understanding that the reason The Magnificent Seven was renewed for season 2 was due to a fan campaign to keep the show going. I can only speculate that CBS ultimately killed the show because it wasn’t doing well enough in ratings to justify going forward into a third season, which is a shame because it’s one of the best TV shows derived from a film that I’ve ever seen. The late Robert Vaughn (who starred as one of the original Magnificent Seven in the 1960 film) was a frequent guest star as travelling judge Orrin Travis, and it was always fun to see him show up.

Fortunately, the entire series has been released on DVD, so it’s not too hard to pick up a copy and enjoy every single episode. Still, I can’t help but wish there were more seasons available, this is definitely a show that was cancelled too soon.

To see more shows that were cancelled too soon, see here

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Cancelled Too Soon #11: Kindred: The Embraced (1996)

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Kindred: The Embraced (1996) Opening Credits

Before Vampire Diaries, even before Buffy The Vampire Slayer, there was Kindred: The Embraced.

Unlike most television shows, which might be based on books or movies, Kindred: The Embraced is loosely based on a role-playing game called Vampire: The Masquerade. The story is set in San Francisco, where a detective named Frank Kohanek discovers that the city is home to a large number of vampires, including a supposed “mobster” that he has been pursuing for quite some time. In reality, this “mobster”, Julian Luna, is actually the “Prince” of the city, ruling five groups of vampires that are collectively known as The Kindred.

Julian and Frank form a reluctant alliance due to the fact that Julian used to be with Frank’s girlfriend, who was also a vampire (and who got Julian to promise to protect him shortly before her death). Thus, the pair find themselves working together to try and prevent a war breaking out between the different groups of the Kindred.

While the premise certainly held a great deal of promise, a massive flaw was that the show dealt with five separate groups of vampires, on top of any subplots with Julian and Frank, which led to a lot of characters to keep track of and a confusing plot. Also, the character of Frank was not very well received, while Julian was praised as a complex character, not quite good and not quite evil. Ultimately, the flaws outweighed any good points, and Kindred: The Embraced was cancelled after eight episodes. Ironically (in my eyes), Buffy The Vampire Slayer debuted the next year and went on to run for seven seasons. Perhaps if Kindred: The Embraced had been slightly different, it might have been the big vampire hit, and not Buffy, but I guess we will never know.

Have you seen any of Kindred: The Embraced? Do you think it had potential, or was it doomed to failure from the start? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear about it. If you haven’t seen the show and would like to check it out, the eight episodes are available on DVD.

For more shows that were cancelled too soon, see here

The 2nd Annual Remembering James Horner blogathon is coming in June, check out the sign up page here

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RIP Erin Moran (1960-2017)

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Ouch, this is one that really hurts. Over the weekend the world learned that actress Erin Moran passed away at the still-too-young age of 56. She is best known for playing Joanie Cunningham, the kid sister of Richie Cunningham (played by Ron Howard, then a quickly maturing child actor, now a very famous director) in the sitcom Happy Days. She also briefly reprised her role in a short spinoff entitled Joanie Loves Chachi (yes that is the real title).

Unfortunately, while other members of the Happy Days cast continued in their careers (be it acting or directing), work didn’t come easily to Moran in the years that followed, her last acting credit came in 2010.

It’s always said when they die too young, RIP Erin Moran