Archive for the ‘Grimm’ Category

hawk SOUNDTRACK: BAD RELIGION-Christmas Songs (2013).

brThere’s been plenty of press about this Bad Religion Christmas album.  Greg and Brett have been interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition.

So what is a Bad Religion fan to make of this disc?  Bad Religion has, as its name states, no tolerance for any religion, especially Christianity.  So what the hell?

Well, as anyone who has grown up in America knows, these songs are ubiquitous.  But more importantly, these songs are quite good.  So why not give a try at punking them up.  What I appreciate about his album is that the band plays these songs absolutely straight.  Whatever their beliefs, they do not mess with the songs.  (I have absolutely enjoyed mocking versions of these songs, and I have many many goofy versions of them, but Bad Religion has never been goofy, so they sound like real Bad Religions songs–lyrics aside).

And so we get fifteen minutes (seriously) of great respectful punk renditions of traditional religious and secular Christmas songs.  In true Bad Religion form, the songs barely make it over 2 minutes long, but the lyrics are completely understandable and their harmonies are outstanding.  (Bad Religion has always had great harmonies but they are used to wonderful effect here).  Their version of “Hark, The Herald Angels Sing” is amazing (even if I find it unsettling that some of his rhymes are weird (like that he pronounces it BethleHAIM to rhyme with proclaim).  The acapella opening is really impressive (Brett was in choir as a kid).  When the band hits the line where the drums play a counterpoint (for just one line), it’s really fantastic.  “O Come, All Ye Faithful” is just straight out punk.  “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” features some great backing vocals.  The Ramones-feel of “White Christmas” is a weird touch, but their delivery is spot on.

“The Little Drummer Boy” (a song I’m not terribly fond of in general) is quite good in this rendition–especially after hearing Brett say how complicated the measures are in this song.  It’s hard to do a bad version of “Angels We Have Heard on High” when you can harmonize as well as this band does.  And their version is great (I love the backing vocals on this as well).  Theirs is certainly the most aggressive version of “O Come O Come Emmanuel” I’ve ever heard (and I rather like it).  And “What Child is This?” has a solid riff to start with (it’s interesting to hear it on the guitar).  And again, the chorus is stellar.

They finish off the album with a remix of “American Jesus” a very anti-religion song (and perhaps a palette cleanser).  I didn’t notice how it is a remix, but it still sounds good.

Of course if you don’t like punk, you won’t like this, but I was really impressed with the care they put into these renditions.

[READ: December 24, 2013] Bad Santas

This book looks at the history of Christmas, but specifically at the creatures who caused mayhem and violence during the long winter holidays.  Indeed, our “traditional” Christmas celebration is a relatively new construct (you will be shocked to see how new it actually is).

kallikantzaroi_free_christmas_by_gpapanto-d5or453In Greece, during the twelves days of Christmas, goblins called Kallikantzaoi would steal things, destroy property and even abduct children.  In Finland, an evil goat called Joulupukki would demand gifts and punish evil children (he has since been turned into basically Santa Claus.

krampusAnd in parts of Italy and Germany, the witch Perchta would climb down the chimney.  But instead of giving presents to children, she would rip out their intestines and replace them with straw and stone.  (There’s a wonderful doll of Perchta here).  And anyone who has recently since the Grimm Christmas episode now knows of Krampus who is not only a real Christmas creature, (meaning Grimm didn’t make him up), he is still active and you can get Krampus cards.


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[WATCHED: November-December 2012] Sherlock & Elementary

sherlockThis has been the year of Sherlock Holmes for us.  We loved the first Robert Downey Jr Sherlock Holmes movie.  Sarah loved the second one (I fell asleep, but I don’t blame the film).  And then U.S. TV began airing Elementary this year.  It’s a contemporary version of Sherlock Holmes in which Watson is played by Lucy Liu–she is his “sober companion” trying to keep him off drugs and alcohol.  I kind of like this conceit–it’s a fun twist on Watson, and yet it loses some of the interplay that is fabulous between Watson and Holmes, especially since Holmes (played by Johnny Lee Miller) seems to be trying to get away from Watson.  Nonetheless, the show is quite enjoyable and is quintessentially Holmesian.

elementryA back story note: Sarah and I do not like police procedurals.  We don’t watch anything with any of the initials: SVUL&ONCISCSIER5-o, none of it.  Even if t he show is supposed to be awesome, as soon as I hear “police” I refuse to watch it.  And yet here we are hooked on Holmes.  So what is it about these shows?  Well, they focus on little clues (impossible clues, frankly).  They rely on being really smart.  And, this may be the key, they don’t rely on guns, police, judges, or any other tropes of police shows.  They’re like puzzles…puzzles that you don’t mind not being able to figure out yourself because Holmes is so damned smart.  I guess these are technically mysteries rather than cop shows, and that’s pretty cool. (more…)

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This season signals the end of a lot of shows, shows that have been with us for a long time.  This season also promised a slew of new comedies that were going to be amazing (I know they promise that every year, but some of them got really strong praise from objective sources).  And yet, here we are, half way through the season (Grimm is taking a Mid-Winter break or some such thing) and I didn’t really like anything new.

Next season is shaping up to be rather a wasteland. (more…)

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I was planning to wait until the season finales before writing about our spring/summer TV watching.  But then this week, NBC announced that they would be either not renewing or renewing in a very limited capacity 30 Rock, Community and Parks and Recreation.  Wow, talk about throwing a bomb on your programming.  Thursday night NBC has been a powerhouse for the last few years with 5 shows, (yes, five, with their crazy programming flip flops) that were strong.  Interestingly, The Office, the only show not chopped, has been the weakest of the bunch.  I wanted the season with Michael Scott to be good but it really wasn’t.

Since I first wrote that some more details have emerged and it seems that all three shows have been picked up for 13 episodes–with, as I gather, room to expand if the new shows that NBC tries to fill their shoes with suck.  If you want a positive spin on this, read the A.V. Club dude’s take on it (at the bottom of the post, final bullet point, although the whole post will tell you why it is such a good show if you’re not watching it.).

When I posted about TV last, Karen left a comment that we watch a lot of TV and that has stuck with me. I still don’t feel like we do…  We watch a lot of shows, but we don’t channel surf, we don’t just have the TV on.  We have appointment TV, is how I like to think of it.  And, of course, while there a lot of titles, many drop off the list (by us or the networks) and quite a few are only 13 episodes long.  But man, there has been a serious drop off in numbers after this season.

So let’s see what has been removed from the last post: (more…)

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The TV Season scheduling continues to confuse me.  It’s February and two shows are done already.  And new shows are starting this week.  I actually appreciate this rolling schedule because it means new shows instead of repeats.

So hey, networks, why not go all the way and just let the shows run for twenty weeks and then end.  Stop showing reruns (or better yet, rerun them at like 2 in the morning so we can watch them if we miss them) and the introduce a new show for the next half a year.  We wouldn’t have this six weeks off nonsense of Community and Glee or three weeks of repeats of other shows.

I’m picking this week to write this simply because of the ending of the two shows.  We haven’t had a look at the new ones yet, so it’s a clean slate.

Somehow we don’t even have time to watch movies anymore, so the TV shows must be very good. (more…)

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I was planning to write this post early in the TV Season.  I found out that the TiVo website rather helpfully includes a page of all the premiere dates of shows, which in addition to telling us when shows started, has also turned out to be a good way to keep track of the shows that were cancelled already.  Our goal is basically to get every good show cancelled so that we can watch our poor Netflix DVDs (which now that we had to change our policy we have mercifully fewer discs that we are not watching).  Um, thanks for the hike Netflix?

Anyhow, it’s now  about seven weeks into the season and we’ve already lost a number of shows–some as quickly as two weeks in…which, really?  I mean why bother.  Surprisingly, none of the FOX shows were cancelled yet.  That’s probably because FOX didn’t pick anything cool or interesting enough for me to want to watch–that’s actually not true, they have some good new shows this season, but nothing like Arrested Development.

So, this time I’m breaking it down by day of the week (which is silly since we TiVo everything and watch it whenever).  And this time red shows are shows we have given up on and Green ones are ones that we’re still enjoying. (more…)

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