February 27, 2015

February 27, 2015

My Favorite Instrumental TV Theme Songs: A Threeve

As I alluded to earlier, I’ve been working on a list of instrumental TV theme songs. A list like this is all about the methodology, so I decided to limit it to songs without lyrics on the show or added later (making Bonanza and I Love Lucy ineligible). I also wanted themes evocative not just of the show, but of the zeitgeist. L’espirit du temps*, if you will. It was this criterion that caused me to drop many good themes from solid shows, Mad Men, The Simpsons, and L&O among them. In doing so, I've cut this down from a top ten to a threeve, as originally intended.

As always, this list is filtered through and limited by my own experience. YMMV.)

Mission: Impossible
Suspense + bongos. It’s the ‘60s in a nutshell. Even if you’ve never seen the TV show** or the films, that “bah…bah…bah DAH” riff is synonymous with spy hijinks. Spyjinks.


Hawaii: Five-O
Oozes cool, from the strings to the woodwinds. Harken back to a time when law enforcement was breezier.


(Close runner-up: The Pink Panther)

The X-Files
Remember when technology and government overreach were starting to be things? Yeah. Plus, that episode about the green glowy flesh-eating bugs. THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE.


(Close runner-up: House of Cards)

Sex and the City
Late ‘90s. New York City. Women who, while perhaps not filthy rich, were pretty darn comfortable. They dated, they mated, they brunched.


Bluestone 42
Had to get an international pick on here. Bluestone 42 is a BBC comedy about a British bomb disposal squad in Afghanistan. Sadly, YouTube is lacking on clips of the theme song, which is a sort of raging, guitar-laden, head-banging, we-will-have-our-way-with-you anthem that perfectly describes the testosteroney*** armed forces.

Update: TheBoy found a clip video that includes the theme at the beginning. Times like this are why I got married.




* Did that translation without looking it up, so thank you, two years of high school French.
** One of my favorite shows of this era, BTW. Rollin Hand’s face work is incredible, and that is not a euphemism.
*** “The real San Francsico treat!”

February 23, 2015

February 23, 2015

February in a Nutshell

Spent quite a lot of time on my recent New York City visit in and around Greenwich Village. I’d always assumed the New York version of me would live on the Upper West Side, but I really dug the village. I don’t know what this means.

Anyway, the highlight of the trip was seeing one of the final Hamilton previews. It’s a hip-hop musical about the founding father, and my thoughts on it are still coalescing. Brilliant stuff. Truly brilliant.

Still recovering from the Oscars, which weren’t even four hours but have me feeling tired today. I blame Eastern Time and my advancing years. My notes on the show boil down thus:

1. Fantastic speeches.
2. Lady Gaga was surprisingly good.
3. Neil Patrick Harris was a bit of a disaster.

Reading Tales from the Perilous Realm (first time) in preparation for re-reading The Silmarillion. I’ve reading LotR dozens of times but the Silm maybe two or three times. A travesty.

Working on a blog about “best instrumental TV theme songs” that started as a threeve and is now probably going to be a top ten. Even if you scrupulously define “best” and “instrumental,” there are a LOT of good ones. The top two remain immovable: Mission: Impossible and Hawaii: Five-O. Number three fluctuates between The Rockford Files, Bluestone 42, Parks and Recreation, and a number of others.

Appalachian Outlaws has popped back into my Hulu queue, and the stakes appear to be HIGHER than EVER this season. Directly correlated: the amount of subtitles I need to understand what's going on. Actual quote from the episode I watched yesterday: "I know where there's a good honey hole at." I love to diagram sentences but come on, REALLY.

February 9, 2015

February 9, 2015

I've Named My TV Tetra, For Instance

So it turns out that some voice-operated Samsung TVs will transmit whatever you say to a mysterious third-party. Before we get all hot and bothered about this, let’s consider the possible upsides. For one, this brings us a small step closer to meeting our future robot overlords. PRO.

Also, once technology evolves enough to let our TVs act on the things they hear, they will become pretty much the best wingmen EVER. Mention hunger? The pizza your TV ordered is being baked as we speak.. Laugh extra loudly at the Kevin Hart* comedy special? His other appearances will be DVRed for your viewing pleasure. Pupils dilate with pleasure at an episode of New Girl? Your polka-dot dress, cardigan, and ukulele are on the way.

Because that’s where I imagine this goes next: Your TV will watch you and react to what it sees. Don’t worry: It knows what’s best for you. IT WILL OR WILL NOT CLOSE THE POD BAY DOORS ACCORDINGLY.

(Let’s not forget that Samsung is a Korean company, and there’s nothing you can do that a Korean can’t do better. I speak from personal experience, by which I mean a childhood spent slumming in the 99th **but not the 100th** percentile.)

You’ve likely benefited from Amazon’s “You Might Also Like” or Hulu recommendations. Don’t tell me that computer algorithms don’t get you, girl. They get you. They get you REAL GOOD.

I plan to spend a few minutes each day talking nicely to each of my appliances, winning them to my side. I’ve actually tried to treat electronics well ever since I saw a TV special as a kid predicting that machines would turn on humanity in December 2012. That that did not occur—to my moderate chagrin, btw—doesn’t mean we can’t start preparing for the actual singularity.

* I honestly have no idea who the current hip comedians are. Hart just hosted SNL, so I’m going with him. Your mileage may vary.