Saturday, August 15, 2015

Series Review: The Office (U.S. Version)

This review is a lot more casual than my average review, as it was initially a Facebook status addressed to friends. It's a brief overview of my thoughts on the series, and it does not address the story, premise or characters in any detail.

I recently finished all nine seasons of the U.S. version of the sitcom The Office. When I started the show, my mindset was something along the lines of, "...What the heck am I watching?" As it turns out, I was watching what would eventually become a hilarious and amazing show that would bring me great enjoyment for nearly two months of binge-watching.

It's true, the show is pretty consistently stupid. It's full of crude humor and facepalm-worthy moments, but it's also full of quality humor, great one-liners and lovable characters. While it's designed so that you can watch most episodes without having seen the rest of the show, the subplots make it absolutely worth watching in order.

The Office does something that no other show I've seen has been able to successfully achieve. All of the characters have this perfect blend of being unrealistic for the sake of comedy, and being very believable and real. This is particularly apparent in the first few seasons, but it is noticeable throughout the series. Most similar shows completely butcher that attempted blend.

My personal favorite episode is "Niagara, Part 2". It's the only episode that I watched more than once before finishing the show. (I actually watched it thrice.) However, this episode will mean absolutely nothing to you without five seasons of build-up and context.

I realize the show's not for everyone. It can be very inappropriate, and I only recommend it to people who are not easily offended by crude humor. (Trust me, it can get bad.) If that's not a problem for you, I'd also like to point out that if you're really turned off by the first few episodes, stick around for a while. It very definitely gets better. Oh, and be prepared to cringe whenever the character Todd Packer comes around. If you think Michael Scott is bad... geez.

So yeah. There's my super short, not-very-in-depth review. It's a great show. Well, it's great when it's not being super stupid. Which, to be honest, does happen a lot. Still, I may have cried near the end. Like, legitimately cried. Because storytelling can be awesome.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Soundtrack of the Month: August 2015

Alone in the Dark is a complete piece of crap. It's an attempted reboot of a classic video game that pioneered the survival horror genre in the industry. While the original Alone in the Dark is a clever, well-designed piece of art, the 2008 reboot is the furthest thing you can get from that description. Its only real saving factor is its amazing soundtrack.

The music is composed by Olivier Derivière, and accompanied by Grammy award-winning choir The Mystery of Bulgarian Voices. It's everything the game is not: creative, well-designed, and actually rather scary. Its haunting themes will send a chill up your spine, which is something you cannot say about the game.

A fair amount of the soundtrack sounds rather like cues from a movie. This could be due in part to the game's attempt to adapt a television show-like format, in the form of episodes that you play through one at a time, that you can jump between. It was poorly implemented, and another reason why the game didn't deserve its soundtrack.

For a further elaboration on just why Alone in the Dark is an awful game, I encourage you to check out ProJared's review of the game. Caution: Alone in the Dark is rated Mature for blood and gore, strong language, and violence. Keep this in mind regarding the video, as the game and its reviewer are hardly censored.

Featured Tracks

Track 2: Edward Carnby – The protagonist is named Edward Carnby. He shouldn't be, but he is. One of many tracks to feature the game's main theme, "Shto Li".

Track 10: Crying New York – I could make a joke about New York crying about how bad the game is, but this really is a great track.

Track 18: Shto Li (A Cappella) – The Alone in the Dark theme, "Shto Li", shows up in many tracks. This track isolates the vocals into a bone-chilling a cappella piece.

Purchase Music From Alone In The Dark from Amazon or iTunes.
Or listen to it for free on YouTube.