omorka: (Monkees '68)
And here we are at the end of the series. It's been a fun little ride.

The last two episodes Behind The Cut )

So, that's the series. Head riffs on the series but isn't canonical. 33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee barely even does that. There is a 1997 special, written and directed by Nesmith with input from the others, that is their idea of what an episode would have looked like if the show had continued through the '90s, and which probably ought to be canonical, but which is impossible to find anywhere.

And now that I have their onscreen adventures well in my head, off to find what they've gotten up to in the wild, as it were.
omorka: (Monkees '68)
Closing on the end, now. Five episodes left, two of which I regard rather highly in memory, three not so much. Alas, those are the three for this installment.

The dregs of Season 2 Behind The Cut )

So, one out of continuity, one that's not great but certainly not bad, and a real stinker. Two more to go, both of which are examples of the wildest excesses of Season Two. And we may do Head for Movie Night, although obviously that's out of continuity.
omorka: (Monkees '68)
I kind of stopped doing these for a few days because (a) Tumblr and a couple of fics ate my brain, and (b) I was sort of terrified of getting to Episode 52 and finding out I didn't like it as much as I remembered right before seeing the boys live. Going from the concert last night back to the show tonight was an interesting gear shift, although I was sort of amused to note that Tork's and Dolenz's body language has barely changed in 45 years.

Anyway, onward Behind The Cut )

A good one, the best episode in the series, and a clunker. Next we have one I really didn't get on first watching, another 'shouldn't this have been in the first season?' goofy plot, and a Comedic Drag episode. Joy. (There are two more after that, both of them involving mind-controlled Peter, which means I'm looking forward to them even if they're not the best scripts.)
omorka: (Monkees '68)
(OMG, it just started raining. Yay!)

We're now at a five-episode stretch that I remember as the really good part. These were all done during the part of the second season when the guys had felt their oats - they'd stared down Kirshner, done Headquarters all by their lonesomes, and drawn screaming crowds everywhere they'd gone - but before they'd started the process of making the movie and lost all interest in filming the show. Let's see if these hold up to my memories, shall we?

Nostalgia, ho! )

So, one pleasant surprise, one that could use a better restoration job but is still very strong, and one mild disappointment. Up next, IIRC, we have a strong episode, the best episode of the series, and one that throws us back to the worst cheese of Season 1. (If Zero disappoints me, I'm going to be pissed.)
omorka: (Monkees '68)
Not much to say for this one.

Reviews Behind The Cut )

One episode that would have been good if they'd actually finished the plot, one good-but-not-great one, and the holiday special, which suffers from an excess of schmaltz but still feels like a Monkees episode (and Mike's musings on love as the spirit of Christmas might foreshadow his later, better speech on the topic five episodes from now). The next one is a fan favorite and has commentary from Nesmith and Tork (I think it's Tork; it might be Jones again). Eleven episodes to go.
omorka: (Monkees '68)
"Goin' Down" is a really strange song. I mean, the first half is basically a first-person narration of a suicide attempt, and the second half, where the narrator has decided that's a bad idea, is either their hallucination when they finally have gone down for the last time, or the weirdest happy ending ever - Huck Finn without a raft, almost. And the song is really ambiguous about which it is. On top of that, you have Micky's rapid-fire, manic presentation, completely at odds with the lyrics.

It's a good song. I actually like it a lot. But it's strange, and probably would have sounded even stranger to a teenybopper audience at the time.

Let's see if I can get through three episodes tonight )

Okay, so two better-than-average episodes and one frantic, funky one that is at least partly new to me - and fabulous, if a bit sad in one spot for external reasons. This is Season Two as I remember it, and I think the next two episodes are about the same as this one (the one after that is the Christmas special, which is sort of its own thing). After that we get a run of five that I'm really looking forward to, ending with "The Devil And Peter Tork," which is widely considered the best episode of the whole run. Then there are four I remember being less than the top of their game, including a comedic drag ep, and then the last two, which are two more Fetish Fuel entries for me. I don't know if I'm going to bother with the post-show special, "33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee," as it's not part of the canon and it's generally considered to suck.

Oh, and Micky is wearing white Converse sneakers in some of these episodes. I can't see whether they're hightops or normal sneakers because the bellbottoms cover his ankles, but now I'm tempted to see if I can still get a matching pair. Maybe we'll get a better view of them in another episode; I know we get several shots of his feet in Episode 49, but I don't remember if he's wearing the same shoes or not.
omorka: (Monkees '68)
Some dudebros on Facebook got miffed about women running fanpages and called them "c*nts" last night - in the Monkees fandom. WTF, guys? This is, like, the original boy band here. Of course there are going to be female-run fanspaces! What is this, classic rock dudebroism?

Reviews Behind The Cut )

One episode that isn't bad but doesn't have much going for it, and two solid eps, but no standouts in this batch. Looking at the next three titles, I remember one of them as pretty good, one of them as meh, and I can't place one of them.

At this point, I do have finishing the set before the show as a goal, so I suspect it'll be a fairly quick march through the rest of season 2.
omorka: (Monkees '68)
I had forgotten how weird the Rainbow Room sequences are. For the most part, Mike is fingersynching with a look of intense concentration, and everyone else is goofing the heck off. (There are exceptions, but that's the general rule.)

Onward Behind The Cut )

Three good, solid episodes; these are some of the ones I'm thinking of when I say the second season is stronger than the first. I kind of hate all the variations on the "Davy falls in love" plot, so any episode that isn't that, I think I cut a little more slack than I otherwise would. That might just be because episodes that aren't that usually have more Micky and Peter in them, though.
omorka: (Monkees '68)
On the one hand, we definitely have a great deal of Problematic '60s Crap going on here. On the other hand, both the writers and the boys seem to be more on their game in these episodes.

Three episodes Behind The Cut )

Whoo, Problematic '60s Crap Ahoy! The first and third episodes have individual bits that transcend the problematic set-up, but it's all sort of shadowed - and they all have sexism problems. That two of them are effectively Davy episodes doesn't help, although by now even the one-member focused plots have more ensemble work than they did originally. Moreover, the guys are more on their game, which helps distract from the problematic crap.

The next three episodes are Mike-centric, Peter-centric, and Micky-centric, which should also help.
omorka: (Monkees '68)
Haven't listened to the Plastic Symphony EP in ages (It's really two solo singles from 1965 that someone squished into an EP sometime in the CD era). Aw, Micky, honey, what are you doing? Poor thing sounds like he's scared to actually try to sing it straight, so he's doing his "goofy voices" thing instead. If this is what he sounded like before Boyce and Hart got hold of him, I understand now how the Missing Links could possibly fire one of the great pop voices. (And, because I don't have shuffle on at the moment, iTunes transitions into his cover of "Good Morning, Good Morning" from Remember, and oh, gods, if there were ever an argument for mature experience over youthful enthusiasm . . . .)


This is the final disc in the first season, and it's only two episodes long, one of which is the "concert video" episode. However, there are plenty of extras and three commentary tracks (all on that latter episode) to talk about, so here we go Behind The Cut )

One pretty good episode and one that's outside of continuity for my purposes. Overall, Season 1 had some surprisingly strong episodes, but only a handful I could point to and say they're among my favorites. I said before that I remember Season 2 being better; next time we'll see whether my memory betrayed me or not.
omorka: (Monkees '68)
This cover song (the one in the music tag) exists. To get an idea of the tone, imagine that someone has taken the original Archies song, and proceeded to stuff every drop of the attitude of Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me" into it. I have never heard anyone make the word "dextrose" sound this dirty. *faints*

Another three episodes Behind The Cut )

One thin ep and two okay ones. Two more to go in the season, one of which is the concert footage episode.
omorka: (Monkees '68)
The sound on this video isn't great, especially with the whole freaking audience singing along, but damn, Dolenz sounds pretty good here. Still got pipes.

It's odd - here are these three guys and a ghost, touring 47 years after that song hit the airwaves for the first time. They're still around, and they still draw audiences - but they don't seem to take anything away from the hot, hip, young artists that get radio airplay now. There are radio stations that only air what's on the top 40 now, now, now, and there are radio stations that don't play any songs that couldn't drink, and everyone who makes it to the corporate level seems to make their dime all right, piracy be damned. So why is it that the movie and video game industries have so much trouble making money off of new stuff? Is it just the price of entry, that making a 3:30 pop song is that much cheaper than a 90-minute movie? I guess a 45" single or a song off of iTunes is an easier sell than an $8 movie ticket or a $60 video game - and hell, at least you get to keep the song and the video game; maybe I should be comparing the $20 DVD instead of the movie ticket. (And I suppose concert tickets are more expensive, and the experience just as ephemeral.) Still, the balance of old and new stuff for movies and video games seems off, compared to music.

Not that I mind. I'm spending my birthday check from my folks on a ticket to the Houston show (and probably some concert swag). I don't think they'll mind at all.

On the next-to-last disc now. Three more episodes Behind the Cut )

One problematic dud flanked by two pretty decent episodes with some character development. We've got five more episodes to go in the season.
omorka: (Monkees '68)
If the Powers That Be (I'm going to adopt Dolenz's own term for them here) had "cast" the four Monkees in a manner consistent with what they already knew musically, then - well, if they'd gone with "who can play this instrument best," they'd have had Tork play everything, but slotting him into what he was best at and going from there, the lineup would have been: Tork on lead guitar and occasional backing vocals; Nesmith on bass, second guitar, and lead or harmony vocals where appropriate; Jones on drums, lead vocals, and harmony vocals; and Dolenz on rhythm guitar and lead and harmony vocals. The only place I can think of where this lineup actually occurs in the show is in the "Words" video, although I'm given to understand that Jones and Dolenz did occasionally swap places in the live shows so Dolenz could show off in front of the audience.

I've not yet found a source that explains why the PTB put Tork on bass instead of lead guitar. It's not like there wasn't a very popular four-piece band around the same time where the bass player sang and wrote lots of songs for the band. However, there does seem to be a consensus why they put Dolenz on the kit instead of Jones; the PTB thought Jones would disappear behind the crash cymbals, and at the time they assigned the parts, they were thinking he'd be the lead singer for most of the songs. It wasn't until they bundled the boys into the studio and laid out "Clarksville" that they realized they'd stuck their best singer behind the kick drum.

Three more episodes Behind The Cut )

Again, three decent episodes; the last one is pretty strong, although of the three it's the one I remember least well from my first watching of the shows. By this point, the writing staff have a good grasp of the characters and the feel of the show, and the guys have their comedic rhythm down. The next one is the second doppelganger episode, and the first Micky-centric episode (25 shows in, and he finally gets to headline!).
omorka: (Monkees '68)
I ordered a copy of Dolenz's autobiography (written in '89 or so originally, with a final chapter that's everything from then to the mid-naughts from his biographer; the rest of the book is written in first-person) on account of I'd read a library copy of it twenty years ago and remembered bits of it being interesting. I was right; he's a process theologian - and gives a pretty good layman's description of it in the chapter when he mentions it. (That same chapter makes me think it is very, very important that he and Dan Aykroyd never, ever be allowed to get drunk together; we would end up with a dimensional rift for sure.) It's also somewhat disconcerting, in that Micky-the-character might as well be the authorial voice; every third sentence is either a joke or a reference to something else. I don't particularly mind reading 190 pages of him goofing around (I am a fangirl, after all), but only the parts about his family come across as anything less than his public-persona-as-defense-mechanism. The upside of the author-as-harlequin is some screamingly funny descriptions of bits of the celebrity life. For example, his description of the last time he dropped acid:
I ended up sitting in the living room , watching the walls breathe and my hand turn into a snake, impatiently looking at my watch thinking, "Here goes the old hand-into-a-snake routine. I wonder when I can get out of here and go home to work on my gyrocopter?"

Anyway. On to the next three episodes Behind the Cut )

Three decent episodes, no real standouts (but no stinkers, either). Episode 19 shows some good ensemble work, and Episode 20 lets Davy and Micky show off some of their physical comedy chops; Episode 21 feels to me like Episode 1 done right this time, which is probably the wrong way to think about it, but there it is.

There aren't any commentaries on this disc, alas.
omorka: (Monkees '68)
So, I mentioned "Different Drum" yesterday. Given that the version of that song that hit the Top 20 and became famous was the 1967 one with Linda Ronstadt, does that make it yet another half-Monkee, half-(Stone) Poney monster? (Holy Extra E's, Batman!)

Enough of that. On to the next three episodes Behind The Cut )

One real clunker and two good episodes, both of which have extra flavor for me personally for various impure reasons. I feel like the season has finally really gotten going. We've also been out of the Pad for all three, although I think that changes next episode.
omorka: (Monkees '68)
This song has two versions. They have completely different arrangements. The backing vocals are completely different. The one I knew from the '80s revival has Mike singing, backed by either Micky or Boyce (I genuinely can't tell; I'm going to assume it's Micky). I just found out about this one this week. This one has Peter singing - Peter! - backed by Davy (and probably Mike, and maybe Micky mixed way in the back; it's hard to hear because this mix is made of mud).

The one that ended up on the show, with Mike singing lead, is by far the better version; the arrangement is much crisper and fuller. I suspect that this other one was a demo, someone trying Peter out just to see if he could do it; Peter's not a bad vocalist, but he's got a limited range, and this song pushes it. Put him up against Mike and Davy's impressive projection and it's easy to decide to put him in the backing track, holding a few notes. Put him against Micky and - ah, no. You can't. It's just not fair. Mike's got an authentic, rough-hewn sound, but he's got power behind it (and a Texas lilt); Davy's got precision and polish (and a Manchester accent); Micky's got pipes like an organ. How could Peter's merely decent voice stand up against that?

One of the reasons I think this is either a demo or an early take is that Peter makes several audible errors, and his phrasing sounds like he just got handed the sheet music an hour ago. Mike's version swings more. If I had to choose, as presumably someone (Kirshner? Rafaelson?) did, which one of these to polish in the studio and send out into the world, I'd've made the same choice they did (well, no, let's be honest, I'd have cut a version with Micky double-tracked against himself or with Davy backing and weighed that against the Mike version).

But - here this one is, having survived somehow. Here's Peter's naive vocal, mixed against Davy trying to make him look good, and that muddy mess in the back that's Mike (I'm pretty sure I can hear him specifically on at least one chorus) and maybe Micky, too, trying not to show off. Here's this much simpler hook, this more loping tempo. Here's what may be one of the few non-live versions of a Monkees track prior to Headquarters with all four of them present on the track. Here's poor Peter, the only one who isn't just playing a greatly simplified caricature of himself in the show, telling his audience: I'm not the person you have this image of in your head. I'm not just doing this for the money.

This is - I can't say "this is precious," because that phrase has taken on sarcastic baggage that this doesn't deserve. But it's the only word I can come up with. This is something rare, and maybe a little fragile, something that was discarded and got cruft on it and someone tried to make it right again because they saw the value in it. Here's Peter, singing lead for the first time, and it's not the ferocious, almost angry thing Mike made of it, or the dismissive, laughing thing Davy would have made of it, or the sharp-edged and glittering thing Micky would have made of it. It's vulnerable and a little breaky around the edges, and it makes me want to cry in a way that the commercial release doesn't.

Having heard it now, I am immensely glad this version survived.

On to three more shows Behind The Cut )
omorka: (Monkees '68)
I am having Issues. I don't even know. This isn't even a very good song, and it is Doing Things for me. Okay, it's Nesmith and Dolenz again, and we've established that I am way into their voices together. (There's also at least one more background voice. I can't tell if it's Peter or not. They actually used Boyce and Hart as background singers for some of the songs. I don't think it's an extra track of either Mike or Micky, although they did use that trick on some of the other songs; one of them has Micky at least triple-tracked.)

Anyway, on to the episodes: Behind The Cut )

Edited to fix a misplaced HTML tag and a spelling error
omorka: (Monkees '68)
No commentary for any of these three episodes. All watchable, with a couple of Getting Crap Past The Censors moments.

Watchthroughs Behind The Cut )

I'm going to watch some of the next disc while doing my nails, but I'll probably put off writing about it until later - typing with wet nails is hard. I also need to port my Monkees icon from my fanfic account over.
omorka: (Monkees '68)
Yup. I've picked up four new muses. Time to rewatch the canon. Fortunately, given that this is an even more episodic series than RGB (other than objects recurring, I don't think there's any episode-to-episode continuity), the Monkees canon is pretty . . . flexible.

I wonder who I'll end up slashing by the end? When I last watched this show, I was 13. I shipped Micky/Me. (Yeah, not very subtle. And sometimes it was Mike/Me, but usually Micky. Noetisexual, remember? They were the two who were given all the bits that required either cleverness or intelligent pre-planning.)

I'll be otherwise occupied for most of the next weekend, so I went ahead and got started. The first disc has six episodes, of which two of the first three have two commentary tracks (they're the only four commentary tracks on the disc).

Watchthroughs behind the cut )

So far, so good. I'm cautiously optimistic - I remember the Season 2 episodes being stronger than the Season 1 ones, so if the ones early in Season 1 are still watchable and mostly enjoyable, I imagine there'll be some pretty good stuff later.


omorka: (Default)

September 2017

3 45 6789


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Active Entries

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 25th, 2017 11:44 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios