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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

After Zeptember comes Rocktober—not, repeat, not, Trucktober or any other “-tober” extrapolation. Those are consumer market mind-control operations perpetuated by the Deep State government, aka the alien lizard people who run the planet. If you listened to my short-wave radio show, you’d know this already.

Anyway: The scripted rock ’n’ roll TV series has been attempted many a time, but few ever crack the two-season mark. This makes sense, because rock that goes on and on for an interminable amount time just devolves into “progressive” or “jam” (both also evil creations of the lizard people), and no one needs that.

Here are 11 rock ’n’ roll series to stream in honor of Rocktober:

Metalocalypse (Seasons 1-4 on Amazon and iTunes)

One of the rare exceptions to the two-season rule, Brendon Small’s Metalocalypse thrashed on Adult Swim from 2006 to 2013, chronicling the exploits of death-metal superstars Dethklok. The band members may be morons, but they rule the world and throw down insanely brutal grooves that concert attendees only occasionally survive. The heaviest show ever.

Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll (Seasons 1-2 on Hulu)

Denis Leary’s 2015-16 comedy Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll is the Spinal Tap-esque tale of The Heathens, a notoriously volatile ’90s rock band who released their debut album and broke up on the same day. Twenty-odd years later, they reform with the help of Leary’s young rocker daughter (Elizabeth Gillies); egomaniacal hilarity ensues. SDRR isn’t a thinker, but it is rock ’n’ roll.

Vinyl (Season 1 on HBO Go and Amazon)

One-season wonder Vinyl presented a skewed dramatization of New York’s ’70s rock scene that didn’t quite nail the take—even with Martin Scorsese, Terence Winter and Mick Jagger producing, it wasn’t excessive enough. It’s still a fun ride, though, with faux New York Dolls and Velvet Underground stand-ins, and glimpses of the Boogie Nights greatness that could have been.

Flight of the Conchords (Seasons 1-2 on HBO Go and Amazon)

After 22 perfect episodes between 2007 and 2009, New Zealanders Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie quit their very-loosely autobiographical HBO series Flight of the Conchords, because writing music and comedy was too much work—what do you people expect of a musical comedy duo? Kanye West could only dream of creating a jam like “Hiphopopotamus vs. Rhymenoceros.”

Garfunkel and Oates (Season 1 on Amazon)

Comedy duo Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci’s 2014 IFC series Garfunkel and Oates was sold short on arrival as a “female Flight of the Conchords,” which doesn’t do it justice: G&O is also dirty AF. Not to mention educational: “The Loophole” teaches young girls that anal sex is cool with Jesus, while “Weed Card” should be an anthem for medical marijuana. Women ahead of their time.

Roadies (Season 1 on Amazon)

It should have worked: Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous) made a 2016 tribute to the rock ’n’ roll lifestyle of touring starring Luke Wilson, Carla Gugino, Luis Guzmán and Imogen Poots; featuring drop-ins by Eddie Vedder, Lindsey Buckingham, Jim James and Gary Clark Jr.; and it all … went nowhere. Roadies mostly corrected its rom-com vs. rock course over 10 episodes, but it was too late.

The Get Down (Seasons 1-2 on Netflix)

While not as much of a mess as Vinyl, Baz Luhrmann’s 2016-17 musical history tour The Get Down, about the rise of hip-hop in the ’70s, still suffers from being a bit much (because, Baz Luhrmann). After a bloated debut episode, it gets waaay better and redeems itself over 10 subsequent hours, and the music is undeniably fantastic. Lament the coulda-been ’80s season.

Major Lazer (Season 1 on Hulu)

Major Lazer, a gonzo cartoon series that’s a mash-up of ’80s-style animation (think He-Man and G.I Joe), superhero culture, hip-hop and electronic dance music, premiered on then-obscure FXX’s even-more-obscure late-night ADHD animation block in 2015. Like the musical group it’s vaguely based on, Major Lazer is best experienced on quality drugs for maximum euphoria.

Dead Last (Season 1 on YouTube)

In 2001, The WB (known these days as The CW) launched and aborted a supernatural comedy series about a struggling bar band who stumbled upon the power to talk to ghosts—and then help them cross over from this realm. Yeeeah. Still, Dead Last’s Scooby-Doo charm and dark humor (the band doesn’t give a shit about the ghosts; they just wanna rock) is worth a YouTube binge.

Z Rock (Seasons 1-2 on Hoopla)

One of the more WTF? series in IFC’s WTF? history, 2008’s Z Rock followed the fictionalized hijinx of real-life Brooklyn power trio ZO2. By night, they were aspiring rock stars; by day, they were a children’s party band. ZO2 were apparently connected, with guests like Dave Navarro, Dee Snider, Gilbert Gottfried, Steel Panther and dozens more making hilarious cameos. But still, WTF?

Yacht Rock (Season 1 on YouTube)

In the mid-2000s, hipsters and music snobs alike were held rapt by Yacht Rock, a 12-episode mockumentary tribute to ’70s/’80s SoCal soft rock. Steely Dan, Kenny Loggins, Toto, The Doobie Brothers, Hall and Oates, The Eagles and even Van Halen are recreated (intentionally terribly) here; despite the grainy 2005 resolution, Yacht Rock is still vitally important. Just ask Weezer.

Published in DVDs/Home Viewing

Grimm (Friday, Oct. 25, NBC), season premiere: When last we left Law and Order: Special Wesen Unit, supernatural profiler Nick had been zombie-fied and stuffed into a coffin, and was about to be FedEx-ed to Europe, leaving his friends to fight off a rising horde of Portland’s walking dead. (Is there any wonder why NBC waited until Halloween weekend to bring back Grimm?) Spoiler alert: Nick doesn’t stay faux-undead for long, and zombies aren’t the only trouble brewing in Portland—Deposed Hexenbiest Adalind is still bent on regaining her powers and isn’t above leveraging her unborn mystery baby to do it, and there are hints of another Grimm (besides Nick) arriving soon. You should really be watching this.

Dracula (Friday, Oct. 25, NBC), series debut: Fortunately, this isn’t a present-day telling with CEO Jason Dracula running a tech company between bites. Jonathan Rhys Meyers (The Tudors) is perfect as the 19th-century vampire bent on revenge against those who killed his wife and made him fang-y. The hipster moustache can be distracting, as can Meyers’ role-juggling here (He’s Dracula! He’s Vlad Tepes! He’s the Victorian Tony Stark!), but the gorgeous Dracula looks like the most expensive new series NBC has ever dumped on Friday night. I wonder how much money they committed before every other fall Peacock show besides The Blacklist bombed.

Strike Back: Origins (Friday, Oct. 25, Cinemax), miniseries/prequel: Before he was a Southern lawman with a drawl and a zombie problem, The Walking Dead’s Rick was a counter-terrorism operative—with a British accent! And no stubble! The original 2010 U.K. incarnation of Strike Back (starring TWD’s Andrew Lincoln and The Hobbit’s Richard Armitage) isn’t too far removed from its U.S. Cinemax run; it has the action and explosions, but it’s not yet jacked up to the Team America hyper-levels of Season 2 though the just-completed Season 4—USA! USA! USA! Still, it’s fun to see Lincoln playing someone less loony than Rick, and Origins is a mere six episodes not split up over the winter—and 100-percent zombie-free.

Zombie Night (Saturday, Oct. 26, Syfy), movie: Seriously, when is this zombie thing going to be over already? The Only TV Column That Matters™ almost misses the Twilight days. Almost. Syfy’s Zombie Night is just another variation on the same ol’ small-town-overrun-with-the-undead story, but it has the distinction of starring Daryl Hannah, Anthony Michael Hall and Shirley Jones, and it’s directed by usually reliable horror-slinger John Gulager (the Feast franchise and, oh yeah, Piranha 3DD). At least there’s—not making this up—Beast of the Bering Sea (vampire sharks!) and Stonandos (tornado boulders!) to look forward to in November.

Metalocalypse: The Doomstar Requiem: A Klok Opera (Sunday, Oct. 27, Adult Swim), one-hour special: My love for Dethklok is well-documented; creator/guitar god Brendon Small puts on one of the best live metal shows I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen waaay to many). Metalocalypse ranks with The Venture Bros. in maintaining a deep backstory and consistent comedy—both of which are rarities on Adult Swim. But every good metalhead knows that the nadir of a band is the dreaded Symphonic Collaboration, if not the meaning of “nadir.” From Deep Purple to Metallica (let’s not even get started on the Trans-Siberian Orchestra), no good has ever come from overindulgent rockers mingling with “real musicians,” and even though Dethklok is the greatest cartoon band in the known universe (just ask ’em), The Doomstar Requiem: A Klok Opera—album version out Oct. 29, coincidentally—is no exception to that rule. But at least we get some closure on the fate of Dethklok guitarist Toki Wartooth, who’d been abducted at the end of Season 4 some 16 months (!) ago. Where’s Season 5, Brendon?


DVD RELEASE ROUNDUP FOR OCT. 29!

Bounty Killer

In a Road Warrior-y future in which corporations have destroyed society, the Council of Nine issues death sentences for white-collar criminals, making violent freelance bounty killers celebrities and, even better, Pabst Blue Ribbon a hot commodity. (Arc)

Byzantium

Mother-and-daughter vampires (Saoirse Ronan and Gemma Arterton) wind up in the Byzantium Hotel on the English coast—so, of course, mom turns the joint into a brothel while the kid looks for love and Deeper Meaning. It’s bitey and thinky. (MPI)

Family Tree: Season 1

A 30-something rootless Brit (Chris O’Dowd) inherits a box from a long-lost aunt, setting him off on a genealogy quest that leads him to meet the kind of weirdoes only creator/writer Christopher Guest can dream up. (HBO)

Home Alone: The Holiday Heist

In the fifth (!) Home Alone film over 20-plus years (!!), a new kid (Christian Martyn) fends off burglars (led by Malcolm McDowell) with the usual array of violent booby traps in the comedy that will have the whole family saying, “What else is on?” (Fox)

R.I.P.D.

Two mismatched cops (Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds) with the Rest In Peace Department protect the living from unruly souls who just won’t die—unlike this movie at the box office! Am I right? Thanks! I’ll be here all week! (Universal)

More New DVD Releases (Oct. 29)

All Hallow’s Eve, Margarita, Masters of Money, Monsters University, Running Mates, Silver Bells, Surrendered, Switchmas, Tabu, A Very Awesome Yo Gabba Gabba Christmas.

Published in TV

Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man) narrates and co-directs Happy People: A Year in the Taiga, a documentary about four seasons with trappers in Bakhtia, Siberia.

The film’s title had me thinking I’d be watching a movie about dudes partying it up in the snow, but it isn’t anything like that. These guys work their asses off to survive and get some animal pelts, with little to do but make skis with an ax and hang out with their dogs.

It’s actually quite fascinating to see what these guys go through to make a living, and it will make you feel like a douche for complaining about the coffee at your workplace. I always love to hear that Herzog voice telling a story (or just being scary on Adult Swim’s Metalocalypse).

While no humans get eaten by bears, somebody does tell a story about their dog getting eaten by a bear, so this is definite Herzog territory. These guys don’t have electricity at their trapping outposts, but they do have gas powered chainsaws and snowmobiles, so they do have some modern amenities. For the most part, as Herzog points out, these guys live caveman style and, while I wouldn’t call them “happy,” they seem relatively content.

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga opens Friday, March 8, at the Cinema Palme d’Or, 72840 Highway 111 in Palm Desert; 779-0730; www.thepalme.com.

Published in Reviews

It's the holidays, a time for giving people movies, because you love movies, and you want them to love movies, too.

You are bullish and pushy by nature, and this needs to stop.

This guide assembles some of the best releases from the past year. Let it assist you in the art of handing over a film to a friend to cherish and enjoy, rather than having him use it as a coaster or squirrel-decapitator.

And if you have a friend who would indeed ferociously fling a Blu-ray at a squirrel with the intent of taking the poor thing's head off ... perhaps you should reconsider this friendship.

The prices listed are for Blu-ray, unless otherwise noted. These were <Amazon.com prices at press time, and they change frequently. There are bargains all over right now, so shop carefully.

SPIELBERG!!!

Oh ... the Spielberg fans had a good Blu-ray year. Oh, yes, they did. If I have a movie-lover on my list, and that movie-lover isn't one of those lousy snobs who think Spielberg is a hack, I'll just buy him two or three of these selections, and call it a day.

Jaws (Blu-ray)

Universal, $19.96

The greatest movie of all time is on Blu-ray, and it's a winner. The transfer will bring tears to the eyes of those who were fortunate enough to see the film on the big screen in its heyday. It has some great documentaries on it, including The Shark Is Still Working.

Indiana Jones: The Complete Adventures (Blu-ray)

Paramount, $64.96

This has all of the Indiana Jones movies on Blu-ray for the first time in one affordable package. It's a perfect gift for that friend you sort of like, but not so much that you would fork over more than $100 for them. Not recommended for Secret Santa office parties. Way too extravagant.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: Anniversary Edition (Blu-ray)

Universal, $19.96

This is the old-school version of the movie, without the damned walkie-talkies replacing the shotguns.

AMAZING DIRECTORS, AMAZING PACKAGES!

Tarantino XX 8-Film Collection (Blu-ray)

Lionsgate/Miramax, $89.98

This contains all of the films directed by Tarantino these past 20 years, plus True Romance, which he wrote. For less than $100, you can give that Tarantino fan every movie he has made, or piss off the Tarantino-hater for that same amount. You can't lose!

Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection (Limited Edition) (Blu-ray)

Universal, $207.99

This has 15 discs loaded with 15 Hitchcock movies and special features. You get Psycho, The Birds, Vertigo, North by Northwest and many others. This was my holiday present to myself.

TELEVISION: RETRO AND NEW

Steve Martin: The Television Stuff (DVD)

Shout! Factory, $34.93

This gathers many of Steve's TV specials from the early days, along with music videos and more-recent awards-show appearances. This is bliss for any Steve Martin fan. It also includes new interviews, with the man addressing each special and appearance. This is one of my favorite DVDs of the year.

Get a Life: The Complete Series (DVD)

Shout! Factory, $30.49

The great Chris Elliott TV show features him as a grown-up paperboy living in his dad's house and putting huge toy submarines in his bathtub. This show was really weird and always funny.

Louie: Season 2 (Blu-ray)

20th Century Fox, $21.99

Louis C.K.'s creation is the best thing on television, and the second season was as good as the first. The third season has aired, but doesn't have a DVD or Blu-ray version yet (although you can watch it on iTunes). Give the gift of laughing so hard that socks go through one's nose.

Metalocalypse: Season 4 (Blu-ray)

Cartoon Network, $21.83

You don't have to be a fan of death metal to like this hilarious animated series (although the music is actually quite good). One of the year's greatest special features has Dethklok's lead singer reading Shakespeare's A Comedy of Errors for 90 minutes or so. This continues the Metalocalypse home video tradition of Nathan sharing the Bard.

SUPERHEROES

Marvel's The Avengers (Blu-ray)

Walt Disney, $24.96

The Dark Knight Rises (Blu-ray)

Warner, $18.99

The Amazing Spider-Man (Blu-ray)

Sony, $18.96

For my money, The Avengers offered the best superhero ride this year, with The Dark Knight Rises coming in a distant but solid second. The Amazing Spider-Man was stupid, but I'm in the minority on that one, so I'm sure lots of folks would appreciate seeing it under the tree.

THE BEATLES!!!

Yellow Submarine (Blu-ray)

Capitol, $22.78

Magical Mystery Tour (Blu-ray)

Capitol, $24.99

George Harrison: Living in the Material World (Blu-ray)

UMe, $17.99

Chances are, you have a Beatles-lover on your list who would find great value in the titles listed above. Chances are, you also have a Beatles-hater on your list. If, deep down, you actually hate that person, give her these discs, and enjoy her "WTF?" face. Beatles-haters suck, so make them really angry.

<h/2>SHIPS DON'T SINK

Titanic (Blu-ray)

Paramount, $21.49

A Night to Remember (Blu-ray)

Criterion, $17.81

Here are two awesome films about the same thing, coming to Blu-ray for the first time. One has Leonardo DiCaprio getting really cold in glorious color, while the other has a bunch of English actors going down with the ship. Both are pieces of incredible moviemaking, and worthy of your average stocking.

THE SINGLE COOLEST BLU-RAY THIS YEAR

Little Shop of Horrors: Director's Cut (Blu-ray)

Warner, $17.99

For the real collector, this Blu-ray has the best special feature of any disc this year: You get the original ending of this twisted musical, in color—a huge change. Instead of Rick Moranis triumphing over his evil plant, he is devoured by Audrey II, who then proceeds to eat New York City and hump the Brooklyn Bridge.

GREAT NEW MOVIES THEY PROBABLY HAVEN'T SEEN

Safety Not Guaranteed (Blu-ray)

Sony, $24.99

Ruby Sparks (Blu-ray)

20th Century Fox, $11.93

These two gems didn't light up the box office, but they have the capacity of lighting up the various holiday things people put gifts under or around. Lovers of independent, intelligent cinema will see two of the year's best performances by actresses (Zoe Kazan in Ruby and Aubrey Plaza in Safety).

COMPLETE THEIR ALIEN COLLECTION

Prometheus (Blu-ray 3-D/Blu-ray)

20th Century Fox, $29.49

Ridley Scott's return to his Alien universe was a stunner, and the Blu-ray is packed. Make sure to get 3-D Blu-ray, even if you don't have 3-D capacity yet. That's because there are many more bonus features on this disc, and they don't require the glasses.

A REMINDER THAT LIAM NEESON ACTUALLY MADE A GOOD MOVIE THIS YEAR

The Grey (Blu-ray)

Open Road, $26.99

This one came out early in the year, and I'm afraid the great Liam Neeson performance will get ignored come awards time. Oh well ... it does have lots of snow, which is sort of holiday-like. It also has lots of wolves eating people, which might put a damper on somebody's holiday joy. Give this one to the person who doesn't mind seeing people getting eaten by wolves while drinking his eggnog.

WES ANDERSON RULES

Moonrise Kingdom (Blu-ray)

Universal, $19.99

While the Blu-ray itself doesn't have nearly enough supplements, the movie is one of the year's best, and is currently at the top of my list. It's gift-worthy.

Published in DVDs/Home Viewing