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Thursday, March 10th, 2005

I Wonder Why The Wonder Falls On Me

I am slowing down. Used to be that I could power through an entire season of a TV show on DVD in no time at all. Was it that long ago I got through the entire first season and a quarter of the second season of 24 in a single weekend? Yes, it was at the expense of some personal hygeine, but nothing comes without sacrifice. So how on earth has it taken me so long to get through the entirety of Wonderfalls? It’s only 13 episodes, each one about 44 minutes. In theory, I should have been able to get through it all in under ten hours. That’s nothing! But still it took me more than two weeks to get through all three DVDs, not including the bonuses. For shame.

Anyway. Finished watching the complete series on DVD the other night and I can say without reservation that this was my favourite new television show in years, even though it was unceremoniously cancelled after just three (or was it four?) episodes to make room for that bellwether of the utter decline of Western civilization, The Swan. Premiering a year ago next week, the wickedly clever and hilarious show followed the quirky adventures of an overeducated, undermotivated and generally snarky trailer park-living twenty-something retail clerk to whom inanimate objects begin talking, instructing her to do bizarre things and help people… or else. I don’t know if that sounds appealing, but it was actually very very good. Lots of Canadian content in this show – besides being set in Niagara Falls (though they try to pass the Canadian side off as the American side), it was shot in Toronto (at the CNE? I see the wind turbine in some shots outside the store) and the lead role of Jaye Tyler was excellently played by Canadian Caroline Dhavernas, who is easily my #1 domestic celebrity crush du jour.

Even though it was cancelled so quickly (a save the show campaign began immediately after the first episode aired), all thirteen eps of the first season were already filmed and completed, making a DVD release possible (it came out last month) and thankfully, the first season arc ends quite nicely, allowing it to stand as a finite 13-episode mini-series rather than a cancelled mid-season replacement. Even though only a handful of episodes originally aired, another half-dozen or so leaked to the internet, ripped from DVD screeners or something, so I had managed to see most of the series regardless. It also found a second life on Canada’s Vision Television channel, which I believe aired the entire run late last year. I, however, waited for the DVD release and thoroughly enjoyed watching the whole thing start to finish – even the eps I’d already seen were funnier the second time around. Wonderfalls gets my heartiest recommendation – go rent it.

And oh yeah – Andy Patridge composed and performed the theme song, and it sounds like classic XTC.

MP3: Andy Partridge – “Wonderfalls”

The San Francisco Bay Guardian tries to figure out the secret of The Decemberists’ success. The answer? Geeks.

The Chicago Tribune introduces its readers to Stars. Last two links from Largehearted Boy.

Newsweek profiles M WardI CALLED HIM “MIGHTY” FIRST!!! Bastards. From Stereogum.

The ‘Gum also points us at this live Ted Leo performance at UGO. The irony police are all up in arms over his cover of a Kelly Clarkson song.

NOW talks to Jens Lekman about his sensitive side in advance of his Wavelength show at Sneaky Dee’s this Sunday night.

Ryan Adams’ new double-disc set Cold Roses has been pushed back a bit to May 3.

Yahoo! has some exclusive features to pump up the Sin City film, coming out April 1.

Aaah! The Blogroll! It is broken!

np – Sea Ray / Stars At Noon

By : Frank Yang at 9:13 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Torr says:

    Yeah, I’m so tired of indie acts doing pop covers. Come on guys, it hasn’t been funny or surprising for about 5 years! And the blogroll being broken is making my page load all weird!

  2. satellite says:

    the blog world is a funny place. i had a feeling when Ted’s last album was getting so much (deserved) love that they’re might be a backlash. Now it seems like there is some with this cover. I think the cover is fun. The song is catchy and Ted wanted to play it. he’s not the typical indie type to pretend to look down on popular music, while secretly enjoying it.

    oh, and wonderfalls kicks ass.

  3. Frank says:

    hey, just for the record, I’m not calling "ironic hipster" on Ted. There are few artists who I have more respect for than he – if he says he likes the song then I believe he does. I mean, say what you will about the prefab pop stars, but their writers know how to write a hooky song.

    any sort of hipster eye-rolling is directed more at the folks who don’t actually like the music, but pretend to for the sheer irony of it. I don’t have time for these people. They are easily identified by their trucker caps.

  4. satellite says:

    For my own "just for the record", my comment wasn’t directed at you, Frank. I was agreeing with your statement about the "irony police". I read your blog every day, I wouldn’t comment here just to bitch at you.

  5. Frank says:

    oh, well you really should. Lord knows I have it coming.

  6. cody says:

    i think ted leo would be the first to tell you that cover isn’t meant to be ironic. it’s admiration for a great song, from one pop artist to another.

  7. Hoyt Pollard says:

    I don’t care who sings it (I heard it’s an Avril throwaway), "Since You Been Gone" is a great song. And Ted kills it.

  8. Ike says:

    speaking of ironic covers, Avril, and "killing it", there is a live cover version in existence of her performing Chopsuey by System of A Down.

    The kid gives the song her AWLLLL.

    Maybe try and download it to hear it. Very fun, indeed.

  9. Nav says:

    Nice on the Wonderfalls recommendations. I watched the last nine episodes last weekend. If Lost had aired on Fox they’d have stuck it on Fridays and cancelled it ten episodes in.