Well, damn! People read my blog!!
I honestly never thought it would happen. So now does that mean I have to be nice? Because I haven't even talked about Heroes yet, so that would be a shame. I'm going to hold off on that for another post, because that's gonna be a doozy.
First, though, to the comments. Cynthia, who should win some sort of a prize for being the first to comment, says that her students seem reticent to share music with her. I don't know about you guys, but the last thing I was on the topic of "So what kind of music do you like?" was reticent. But then I went to a high school where the drama teacher had Beatles and Hendrix posters on the wall and the chemistry teacher had us take a test to Abbey Road. I didn't realize until later how freakin' cool they were. They were enthusiastic about sharing their music and I, with my horrid, crappy teenage musical taste, was enthusiastic about sharing mine.
I guess what rings most true about "Freaks and Geeks" is that the kids don't have sophisticated musical tastes. They liked Rush and Journey and Supertramp. Anything big and loud and obvious. When I see these shows that are so obviously music supervised to death, it just takes me out of the show and away from the characters.
Rob muses about how his musical opinions were absolute. I'm right there with ya, Rob! Because how can you have musical discussions unless you're totally holding your ground, standing in your corner, protecting Cock Robin or Frozen Ghost or, well, GOOD music? Where's the passion these days?? Do the kids of today slow down enough to even HAVE a soundtrack? I had a friend who grew up in the 60s and would talk about how there were about five bands then, and how there's just too much music now -- and this was about ten years ago, pre-iPod and mp3s. I'm not sure that's it. Because it's not like the radio is a sea of diversity, you know? The same crap gets played on fifty thousand Clear Channel stations. I think you have to look for good music just as much now as you used to. It's a little easier to get to music than it used to be, back when you had to go into a record store for it, but you still have to sift through all of it to find the gems. I'm not sure most people have the patience for that, but I think these same people wouldn't have had the patience ten, twenty years ago.
And what are the gateway bands of today? What leads to what? I was trying to think of today's musical movement, the equivalent of grunge or Britpop or shoegazing. And I honestly have no idea what it is. Is there one? There's the indie scene, which used to be called college radio (ah, college radio... good R.E.M.... Husker Du... Game Theory.... The Three O'Clock...). But it's a little disjointed to be a real movement. I know NME, still pining for the heady days when Britpop ruled the world, keep trying to turn Pete Doherty into Noel Gallagher, but that doesn't make it so.
Or am I just old?
I listen to a lot of stuff, but I will readily admit that I have a rather narrow musical focus. If you're a girl singer and you don't sound like you can kick my ass, I'm not interested. British boy with a guitar? Come on over. Anyway, there are a few distinctive sounds -- the Franz Ferdinand/Kaiser Chiefs/Dirty Pretty Things sound -- but I don't think it constitutes a movement. There was a tiny attempt at one when all the great bands were coming out of Liverpool, like The Coral and The Bandits, but they've all been rather quiet lately.
Enough about music for now. I mentioned Tim Powers in another post, and Roger was happy to find another fan. Tim Powers is one of those writers who should be living in Dan Brown's mansion. He just does that sort of thing SO much better, because he doesn't have to, erm, appropriate passages and ideas from other peoples' books. I'm only slightly bitter about Dan Brown for personal reasons, but more to the point, it's like the Harry Potter problem -- there are so many better writers who've done it brilliantly and more creatively before. So why does banal writing become a phenomenon?
I think that whatever the answer, that question is what's scaring the crap out of TeeVee executives. You barely get a chance anymore, so you have to hit it out of the park. You can't aim your show at the internet fans and hope it trickles down to the masses, because it doesn't. I'm of the opinion that people are indifferent when they watch TeeVee. They don't really engage. Unfortunately, they frequently get treated like they're stupid. I hate dumbing things down to a perceived lowest common denominator, and I haven't yet figured out how to pretend to do that while giving the true TeeVee fan something bright and shiny to play with.
Speaking of bright and shiny, some new shows premiered this week. I completely forgot to watch Jericho. I'll have to catch the second episode. I watched ten minutes of Smith, the new Ray Liotta/every other cool film actor heist show. Now, one thing you're told when you go out to pitch pilots is, DON'T BRING ME A GODDAMNED HEIST SHOW. Harumph. How do they decide who gets to do a heist show and who doesn't?? It's not fair. But I know why this one was picked up -- the family gimmick. Poor (underused)Virginia Madsen doesn't know her husband is the leader of a ring of art thieves. That's all well and good, but this is a HEIST SHOW. Good luck finding Virginia Madsen something interesting to do. I love heist stuff. We've always wanted to do an art theft show (but I guess we weren't chosen to). But Smith? Well, the ten minutes I saw weren't very interesting. There they were, the thieves, all introduced separately with their names onscreen like we're watching the Reservoir Dogs TV show. They all gathered, Ray Liotta started muttering about a Tintoretto, and I turned it off. Actually, I was reaching for the remote when a car drove up, and all you saw get out of were a pair of hot female legs.
WTF??? Seriously? You're going with the hot female legs?? That doesn't feel like the biggest cliche ever? Anyway, no thanks, Smith.
I also watched Six Degrees, which has an awesome cast, is beautifully shot, and feels so very distant for a TeeVee show. I don't envy the writers of this one, having to make these characters interconnect constantly. That's a lot of work. What really struck me about the show is how disengaged it is. TeeVee is about the audience inviting the characters into their living rooms. But the more TeeVee shows are written and shot like features, the less that is going to happen. I feel like I'm watching a movie, like I'm being asked to appreciate something, not live with it. And that makes these shows boring to me. I don't like this trend. I think TeeVee can be funny, warm, emotional, dramatic and scary... but if you put up a wall of professional sheen between the screen and the audience, they're not going to feel that. Let's go back to making TeeVee, and not trying to make movies.
Here's the one thing about Six Degrees that makes it totally worthwhile, though -- Hope Davis. She's magnificent.
That's about all for today. It's freakin' late. This is going to be another scarily long post. And I haven't even had my Heroes rant yet. Or a proper Dan Brown rant! So many rants...
I would like to give a HUGE shout-out to John Scalzi, who mentioned my blog on his blog. John is an awesome writer and a great guy. I met him at WorldCon and as John says, we totally bonded over Canadian hair bands. Oh, yes, it IS possible!!! As a matter of fact, I'm gonna go listen to Tom Sawyer RIGHT NOW. John's site is great, and he's way more plugged into the internets than I am! So go check it out.
I have NO idea how to post links on this thing, so let's see if this works.
np -- Cord, "Stay With Me Now." Not a bad little tune...