Ruminations on TV Shows, Comics, And Music
Much of my reimagined discographies center around bands I know inside and out. I've owned every album. I've listened to them at least dozens of time. Years ago, I consolidated them to my favorite tracks.
Some of these, however, are learning experiences for me.
This Genesis discography is a little of each. I'm totally familiar with all of the Genesis albums. I know the post-80s output of Peter Gabriel. I've lived through all of Phil Collins career at a time when I was very impressionable. I've owned the first two Mike + The Mechanics albums. But until this project, I'd never listened to a Steve Hackett solo album. It's just not my thing. Steve Hackett is one of the primary reasons 70s Genesis sounds so prog rocky. And prog rock is something that doesn't hold my heart the way alternative rock,conscious hip-hop, 70s funk, or girl group R&B does. I can respect it. And, sure, in the late 90s, I owned every Rush album that they'd put out, which is at least seven million albums. But I wasn't popping on a Rush album and going for a walk. Same with Steve Hackett's material.
I respect it. I recognize why some tracks are more popular with his fans than others, but his stuff isn't really aimed at me so it doesn't hit me just right.
I debated doing a White Album approach, including tracks from the various solo members to make a more diverse sounding album, but, ultimately that would lead to me skipping around tracks when I listened to it, so I decided to keep things By Artist.
While Peter Gabriel was the first member to leave and have a big solo career, Hackett is the first departure who's post-Genesis material still sounds Very Genesis. I've pieced this together from his first three albums. I was going to use his first five but as soon as Deflector, his fourth album, started playing I said, out loud "Ok, this is when he decided to something new." I'm excited to get to that era of his solo work. But I like what's here. It's Way More Instrumental than almost any reimagined album I've put together/am ever going to put together. He just has more instrumental tracks in his output, and, well...some of the vocals on his non-instrumental tracks are too treacly 70s or wannabe spacey vocoder vibes for my taste.
The other day, I turned on the toaster and ended up with "No Son Of Mine" being stuck in my head for an hour. Metronomic drums are Monster Earworms. This track is like an even more soundtrackey version of Pink Floyd's "Money". It sounds very 70s in the way that a lot of soundtracks to 80s movies with low budgets sounded very 70s. This isn't a bad thing. But I see cops walking the beat while credits roll to this song. The rolling guitar riff in the middle is where the names of the cameo actors pop up. It is a completely instrumental track.
2. Ballad Of The Decomposing Man
In an alternate dimension, this is the theme song to a very silly British sitcom that only your coolest friends know about. It's got a mid-era Kinks vibe, a Monty Python vibe, and an out of nowhere, and yet recurring, Honkey Tonk section. The lyrics are very silly. It's a working class carnival dirge, and 100% my favorite Hackett track that I've heard so far. I would put this on a Greatest Hits of Genesis album as a counterpoint to "I Know What I Like". I fucken love this song, and wish I'd encountered it earlier in my life.
I'm going to put aside my prejudice against this name. This a is a beautiful, haunting instrumental flute and guitar ballad. I love how the strum and the mournful flute play off each other. I also appreciate that it does all it needs to in two minutes and then ends before it wears out its welcome. I do imagine this track plays on loop at a theme park with long ride lines. It's very calming.
Now we're back to early Kinks or 70s British hippie rock. Bands who listened to The Beatles but falsely viewed them as peers instead of inspiration. There's a sweet orchestral feel to it (again, lots of flute bouncing off guitars) . This is the outro music to a Lord Of The Rings knockoff from the 70s. Instead of a ring in a volcano, they need to throw a necklace into the sea while hiding from someone who is represented by a giant ear.
5. Hoping Love Will Last
Have you ever wondered what would early Genesis sound like if they had a talented soul/r&b female vocalist? You have? Really? WHY? How high were you? Well, it turns out, it's a good mix. It's definitely montage music for a 70s romance flick with a creepy vibe. Something they showed late in the afternoons on 1980s television stations that weren't affiliated with NBC, CBS, or ABC. Definitely Dialing For Dollars material. But damn does Randy Crawford sing the absolute shit out of this song.
6. Every Day
If you liked "Dance On A Volcano" by Genesis, here's its natural follow up. It sounds like it would fit right in on the post-Steve Hackett Genesis albums. Its vocals are by Pete Hicks, who I am unfamiliar with, but his harmonies with Hackett have a very Kansas vibe. But with definite Hackett Genesis guitar riffs. This would be in some crunchy coming of age sci-fi movie. Something Last Starfightery.
7. Icarus Ascending
Richie Havens serves as vocalist for the song that most sounds like it could have been played on commercial radio. I mean, the first section. There is a long schwoozy Mellatron infused breakdown in the middle before the vocals kick back in. Any movie with this on the soundtrack would have been written by someone who took the job to maintain their coke habit. It's eclectic and I can't decide whether I like the way it's sort of folky pop r&b, and then it's definitvely prog rock, and then it's some haunted hybrid. I think I do. I do much prefer the first half to the second. That sun is just too damned close.
8. Hands Of The Priestess (Part 1)
Another instrumental track. This is a flute ballad callback. Very New Age store trying to sell you crystals to soothe your chronic arthritis. It could also pop up in the soundtrack to a movie just after the love interest has died and the emo protagonist is trying to go about their life. There is a fake fade-out where, when it fades back in, it's just peppier enough to give you hope that things are going to be okay. Maybe.
9. Star Of Sirius
Somewhere between Kansas and Genesis is this harmony-vocaled track to close out the album. It feels like the logical musical conclusion to this album, and yet also a bridge to post-Hackett Genesis. It's definitely the scene in an adventure movie where the clouds clear and, whether everything is better or not, the characters are moving on to the next stage in their lives. There's even a na na na na sort of chorus before Hackett reminds us that this is Still A Prog Rock record.
The 1970s saw the birth of Super Groups. Rock and roll bands filled with legendary members of already famous bands, or successful solo artists, coming together to form commercial rock monsters. Cream, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Led Zeppelin, Journey. Genesis is a reverse-engineered supergroup. Nobody knew these theatre kid rockers with their flutes and special effect noises, recording their best Beatles riffs underwater and then stuffing a four minute jam solo in the middle of it. They were just a transient band credited with being one of the earliest progressive rock bands, and creating some of the most successful solo artists and side projects of 1980s pop. When their lead singer and, arguably, most interesting songwriter decided to go solo, they replaced him with their third drummer, and not only became More Commercially Successful, but also elevated him until he was one of the most successful artists of the 1980s.
When I was a college student in Florida, I was asked to audition for a prog rock band that was forming in Gainesville. Not because I had The Best Voice In Florida but because, when they asked me if I knew any prog rock bands, I was the only one who could name someone other than Rush or Dream Theater (but it was really only Yes, Genesis, and Queesryche). I ended up not joining the band because, honestly, I don't like most prog rock. Even much of early Genesis just isn't my thing.
When I was first discovering rock music as a pre-teen, Genesis was the Phil Collins pop rock band. And I loved them. I don't think I knew Peter Gabriel had been a member until I was in high school. Shortly after We Can't Dance hit, they released a couple of live albums. One of them called The Way We Walk 2: The Longs, which included several early songs that I'd been unfamiliar with. So when I went away to high school and started spending too much money on albums, I tracked down as many early Genesis albums as I could find.
This first album is really an early Best Of Genesis album. Sorry. I've listened to all their albums. Like many prog rock bands, I recognize their talent and complicated sound. But I'm not often longing to listen to eight minute slow build rock symphonies. I just don't get high enough. That's not a dig. I think there is a lot to early Genesis that I haven't been willing to take the time to properly appreciate. But here's what I like of their early work.
1. I Know What I Like
I love an opening track that climbs from silence. Slap a brief spoken word piece on it before the melody kicks in, and it's going to be the track I choose to open an album. I know what I like / and I like what I know. The vocal melding of Gabriel and Collins is lush here. This was the first song that charted, coming seven years after they dropped their first album. It really makes me think of a charming small-cast play in a black box theater.
Their first 80s hit, this is clearly a transition from progressive rock to pop rock. It's gott some background wooooo-oooo-ooohs behing Phil Collins's lead vocals. There's something both very Beach Boys and very early Phil Collins solo work about it. It's catchy but you might feel guilty if anyone saw you singing along to this in your car.
3. Turn It On Again
Sticking with the transition period of Duke is this fun track. I promise there's more Peter Gabriel tracks coming on this album. It's way chronologically out of order. But I love Collins's vocals on this. It just feels close to his work on Face Value, which is my favorite Collins album by a wide stretch.
We reach all the way into 1981 for this somewhat grimier rock. This is more of an evolution of prog rock than the previous tracks. But synthy. Definitely more synthy than early Genesis. But fear not, it's not as synthy as C- New Wave rock. It really works to the band's strength here. It's an organic part of a long jam break.
5. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
Ok, now we're going back to the early 70s Gabriel era for the intro track to the one of the greatest Broadway Rock Shows to never actually be performed. I won't get into the plot. But if you're curious, the whole album, for which this is the title track, is solid. I didn't know that when I first heard it. I just enjoyed the progression of several different musical tricks, and the very simple chorus. It's so Clearly a rock musical track. Jesus Christ Superstar, Tommy. It's very catchy in a very different ways from the earlier Collins tracks.
6. Follow You Follow Me
Before Collins became the centerpiece of the group, Genesis had a rotating cast of five or six members. And Then There Were Three signalled one of their final evolutions, which was also their most long-tenured and successful. Phil Collins is certainly soft rocky. But this song still has a heavy foot in prog rock instrumentation. This is the closing tack to that album. I think it works better as a bridge between Gabriel Theater Rockers.
7. The Musical Box
This is the earliest, and also longest, track on the album. The opening song on Nursery Cryme, which is the eldest album I bought from them in high school. The harmonies are beautiful. The flutes are oh so happy 1970s. It's a lovely, sleepy lullaby dream sequence.
8. Firth Or Fifth
Another early Gabriel track. This is very prog rock, and oh so 70s. There are a ton of great instrumental breaks on this, from Banks's opening piano solo to Gabriel's soothing flute to Hackett replaying the flute melody on the guitar. It's gorgeous. In live shows they segue the guitar section into "I Know What I Like" and it's perfect.
9. Dance On A Volcano
From the first Gabriel-less album, this song is mostly catchy riff and chorus. Collins hasn't yet figured out his Lead Singer vibe, but that's ok. It's kind of fun to have a track that sounds like it's just instrumental track and background vocals. It's also a bit of a preview of Face Value era Phil Collins. I also enjoy how it sort of deflates at the end, which brings us to the melancholic
10. More Fool Me
This is such a sweet, sad little Peter Gabriel number. It's shorter and poppier than most of his era, and sounds nothing like his later solo work. And yet, if it showed up as a slight departure track on any album in any era of his career, you'd sort of nod and go "Ok, I can see that."
11. The Light Dies Down On Broadway
Even though it's not the album that I love the most from their early work, if you were to ask me which early Genesis album held up the best as an album, it's definitely The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. This is a great callback to the earlier, title track from that album.
12. ...In That Quiet Earth
The previous track descends into ambient noise, and this sort of climbs out of it with a drum solo. A proper Phil Collins at the top of his game drum solo. This is the sole instrumental track on the album. Can you have a prog rock album without at least one? This is the one I like the best, and I love how it segues from the previous track to this album's finale.
A fitting end to this album, I think. It's the last track of Wind & Wuthering. It's not too far after the departure of Peter Gabriel, and it's the last track with Steve Hackett. It just feels like a closing track. It's got some ethereal "ahhhhhhhhing" to fade out on.
One of the reasons the Scream franchise (which just released its fourth sequel) is so successful is that it plays off of tropes, and slasher movies are positively riddled with some of the worst tropes in genre filmmaking. Often, you can predict when a sfranchise is going to jump the shark, when it's going to focus on humor over horror, when it's going To Space, etc.
This installment is all about breaking rhythms. Some of them are franchise entries that just don't seem to fit in with any of the other films in the series. Some change the series for the better (we're going to skip the ones that changed their series for the worst). And we're going to throw in some one-shot films that stand out from their peers.
1. Friday The 13th: Jason Lives
The first four installments of the series are Fuck Around And Get Killed. Jason and his mom being absolute prudes. The death scenes are a little creative but it's mostly Terrifying Unkillable Man terrorizes sexy teens. In this movie, we mix it up. The little kid from The Final Chapter has grown up, and he wants to kill Jason again. A lot of this film is pre-Scream Scream. Metahumor, creative deaths, etc. This is also when the series gets supernatural as (at the end of the previous film) the protagonist accidentally resurrects Jason, making him a sort of zombie for the rest of the franchise. This time when the death scenes are funny, they're meant to be.
2. Freddy's Revenge
Oh, did you think we were going to skip this movie? Hellllll, no. This is the weirdest metaphor for growing up gay ever commited to film as Freddy, instead of just attacking people in nightmares, takes over a kid's body and uses him to kill people while they're awake. It's a bonkers movie, and has the most accidental subtext of any other movie in the course.
3. Bride Of Chucky
Jennifer Tilly makes everything better. Here, she plays a jilted lover of Charles Lee Ray (the guy stuck inside the Chucky doll) who brings him back to life only for him to kill her and trap her in a different murderous doll. It's weird. And, like Jason Lives, brings a different style of humor into the narrative. There isn't any Andy in this movie, but don't worry, he'll be back.
4. Get Out
We've had subtextual metaphor, now let's go for something more Overt. Get Out is, without hesitation, the Best Movie in the whole Final Girl course. It's satirical horror about racism with easily the smartest script in modern horror. This is the kind of horror movie you can safely recommend to people who hate horror movies. And it's definitely a change of pace from all the movies that surround it.
5. Alone In The Dark
This is an almost Twin Peaks style of horror. A psychiatrist decides to work in an asylum with dangerous patients, and one of the patients decides that this new psychiatrist killed the psychiatrist he liked, and he convinces his most dangeous peers to escape the hospital and terrorize the psychiatrist's family. It's super creepy.
6. Final Destination 3
Death goes to the fairgrounds! There are no recurring characters from the first two films. A whole new batch of survivors flee from death with varying amounts of success. The story is really shunted to the side to focus on elaborate death scenes, which really are the highlight of all the Final Destination movies.
7. The Funhouse
Oh, we're staying at the faire, as this almost Ray Bradburyan tale of teens getting murdered because they didn't obey their parents takes place almost exclusively in a funhouse. These teens are much more likable than your Friday The 13th types, but it's still fun watching them get picked off after they witness a murder.
8. Urban Legends
The actors who played Freddy, Chucky, and the Well-Manicured Man from the X-Files are just some of the interesting characters in this meta-meta movie. That's right, people who are watching these movies as a course guide, this movie is about maybe serial killings that take place around a cirriculum about urban legends. It's very Scream-like. Thus, we'll be skipping a Scream entry this semester.
9. Happy Death Day
We Stay In School for Groundhog Day The Slasher Flick. Yeup, a girl keeps reliving the same day, and she and her friends keep getting murdered. It's a Time Loop story! So much fun.
10. Wes Craven's New Nightmare
At the beginning of the season, we saw Nightmare On Elm Street switched up into a subtextual coming of age gay film. Now the franchise gets rejuvenated again as we focus on the actors from the original film, as well as its creator (Wes Craven) dealing with the PTSD of the Nightmare On Elm Street franchise. Oh, and Freddy might be real.
HOW TO WATCH THE WWE IN A FOCUSED, FUN MANNER, WHETHER YOU'RE NEW OR A LONG TIME FAN, 4:MONDAY NIGHT WARS
This is, hopefully, the most complicated season I'll have to cobble together. WWE and WCW start this season at their creative peaks. The Attitude Era is in full swing at The Fed, and NWO is printing money for the former NWA. The heroes of the 80s and early 90s become the villains, the anti-heroes rise to the top of each company. Their weekly soap operas go from One Hour Superstar vs Enhancement Talent With Occasional Interview Segments to Two Hour Chaos Machines Where Superstars Are Frequently Arrested, Assaulted, And Who Knows What Else.
This was a terrible era to be female identified in the industry. The WWE frequently put on pillow fights, stripteases, and bikini matches. Those will not show up in this condensed history. We DO see the slow build rise of Chyna, who will be a huge influence on the eventual Women's Revolution, fifteen years later. We will also continue to see Alundra Blayze/Madusa be as massively underused in the WCW as she was in the WWE. Miss Elizabeth, an absolute delight in the WWE, will also be hugely miscast and misused in WCW.
Some of the highlights of this season are MMA star Ken Shamrock's time in the WWE, the Montreal Screwjob, the creation of the Mr. McMahon character and The Corporation, Stone Cold's ascendance, the formation of Degeneration X (though we will be skipping their problematic anti-Nation Of Domination and much of their phallus-obsessed nonsense, and focus on their war with WCW and then The Corporation), the dominance of Kane, and Goldberg's WCW undefeated streak. We'll also say goodbye to ECW with just one episode this season, as it became a self-parody due to Paul Heyman's bouncing checks. Oh, and we'll also say goodbye to WCW by the end of the season. Yeup, both of them will reappear next season as properties of WWE, as Vince Russo, Eric Bischoff, and Paul Heyman all take massive losses, establishing the WWE as THE main wrestling organization in the US (but stay tuned for the rise of TNA Impact and Ring Of Honor in Season Six).
The Monday Night Wars
Starring Stone Cold Steve Austin, Mick Foley (as Mankind and Dude Love), Goldberg, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Hulk Hogan, Undertaker, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Raven, Taz, Sabu, Vader, DDP, The Rock, Farooq, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Jericho, Chris Benoit, Rob Van Dam, Triple H, Eric Bishoff, Bobby Heenan, Paul Heyman, Dusty Rhodes, Jim Ross, Jerry The King Lawler, and Vince McMahon.
1. New World Order, 1996
Hulk Hogan shocked the wrestling world at the end of last season, and now begins his Reign Of Terror as the biggest villain in wrestling, not just in the ring but behind the scenes as he continues to squash the potential stars of the industry under his big, black boots.
Announcers: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Dusty Rhodes, Eric Bischoff, Gene Okerlund, Mike Tenay, David Penzer, Michael Buffer
1. Chris Benoit vs Chris Jericho
2. Big Show (as The Giant) vs Randy Savage
3. NWO vs WCW War Games
Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, NWO Sting vs Lex Luger, Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Sting
4. Harlem Heat (WCW Tag Team Champs) vs Outsiders
5. Hulk Hogan (WCW Champ) vs Randy Savage
2. Cold Day In Hell, 1996
To counter the shock of WCW's Hulk Hogan surprise heel turn, WWE executes an amazing slow burn heel turn as Bret The Hitman Hart becomes a villain for complaining about the way the industry is treating him while Stone Cold Steve Austin becomes a hero for doing pretty much the same thing.
Announcers: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Vince McMahon, Shawn Michaels, Todd Pettingill, Dok Hendrix, Howard Finkel
1. Bret Hart vs Steve Austin in a Submission Match
2. Undertaker (WWE Champ) vs Mick Foley (as Mankind)
3. Bret Hart Goes Full Canadian
4. Ken Shamrock vs Vader in a No Disqualification Match
5. Undertaker (WWE Champ) vs Steve Austin
3. Filling Vacancies, 1996
Some undercard fun in WCW here as the Radicalz get some time to shine and Chris Jericho wrestles a referee. Plus, the first appearance of spooky Sting, and then it's Antique vs Antique as Hogan and Piper renew their feud from the early 80s.
Announcers: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Dusty Rhodes, Larry Zybysko, Lee Marshall, Gene Okerlund, Mike Tenay, David Penzer, Michael Buffer
1. Ultimo Dragon vs Rey Mysterio for the J Crown
2. Chris Jericho with one hand tied behind his back vs Referee Nick Patrick
3. Dean Malenko (WCW Cruserweight Champ) vs Ultimo Dragon (J-Crown Champ)
4. Alundra Blayze (as Madusa) vs Akira Hokotu for WCW Womens Championship
5. Jushin Thunder Liger vs Rey Mysterio
6.William Regal vs Juventud Guerrera
8. Hulk Hogan (WCW Champ) vs Roddy Piper
4. Have A Nice Day, 1997
Mick Foley as Mankind was already a massive favorite in WWE, moreso than his WCW/ECW character, Cactus Jack. But his three part interview with Jim Ross turned him into a superstar. We also get to see our first WWE Light Heavyweight match as Taka Michinoku joins the party.
Announcers: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Vince McMahon, Dok Hendrix, Howard Finkel
1. Owen Hart vs British Bulldog
2. Steve Austin vs Shawn Michaels
3. Jim Ross Interviews Mick Foley
4. Taka Michinoku vs Great Sasuke
5. The Undertaker (WWE Champ) vs Vader
5. Ultimate Jeopardy 1996, 1997
ECW had devolved into a pale imitation of itself. The Monday Night Wars left the company in the dust, and this is the last time we'll see the ECW proper. WWE will snatch it up next season, and some of these stars will be a part of that, but this is Paul Heyman's company's swan song, and it's....ok.
1. RvD vs Tommy Dreamer
2. Bubba Ray Dudley vs D-Von Dudley
3. The Gangstas (WCW Tag Team Champs) vs The Eliminators vs Sabu & RvD
4. Sandman (ECW Champ) vs Raven
5. Taz vs RvD
6. Sabu vs Perry Saturn
7. Sandman (ECW Champ) vs Raven in a Barbed Wire Match
6. Radical Ascendence, 1997
The next generation of WCW stars steal the spotlight from the egomaniacs, apart from a spectacular Macho Man/DDP match.
Announcers: Tony Shiavone, Bobby Heenan, Dusty Rhodes, Eric Bischoff, Ted Dibiase, Mike Tenay, Gene Okerlund, Lee Marshall, Jeff Katz, David Penzer, Michael Buffer, Neil Pruitt
1. Eddie Guerrero (WCW US Champ) vs XPac (as Syxx) in a Ladder Match
2. Dean Malenko (WCW Cruserweight Champ) vs XPac (as Syxx)
3. Eddie Guerrero (WCW US Champ) vs Chris Jericho
4. The Outsiders (WCW Tag Team Champs) vs Lex Luger & The Giant
5. DDP vs Squire Dave Taylor
5. Rey Mysterio vs Ultimo Dragon
6. Akira Hokuto (WCW Womans Champ) vs Alundra Blayze (as Madusa)
7. DDP vs Randy Savage
7. Canadian Stampede, 1997
The Harts as Canadian diehards were the most fun group in an era of too many stables (The Nation Of Domination, Los Boricuas, and Disciples Of Apocalypse spring to mind). It's a pity how it all ended but their war with The Undertaker and Stone Cold was the highlight of this era of the WWE.
Announcers: VInce McMahon, Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, Todd Pettengill, Howard Finkel
1. Mick Foley (as Mankind) vs Triple H in a Steel Cage
2. The Hart Foundation (WWE Tag Team Champs) vs Steve Austin & Mick Foley (as Dude Love)
3. British Bulldog (WWE European Champ) vs Ken Shamrock
4. Owen Hart (WWE Intercontinental Champ) vs Steve Austin
5. Undertaker (WWE Champ) vs Bret Hart
8. Nitro, 1997
The WCW vs NWO angle stayed fresher a bit longer than I remembered, but still not that long, we begin to get a little long in the tooth here as more and more people defect from WCW, making NWO a little too big to take seriously.
Announcers: Tony Shiavone, Bobby Heenan, Larry Zybysko, Mike Tenay, Eric Bischoff, Dusty Rhodes, Gene Okerlund, Michael Buffer, David Penzer
1. Dean Malenko (WCW US Champ) vs Jeff Jarret
2. Akira Hakuto (WCW Womans Champ) vs Alundra Blayze (as Madusa) Title vs Career Match
3. Chris Benoit vs Ultimo Dragon
4. THe Outsiders vs DDP & Mr. Perfect
5. Roddy Piper vs Ric Flair
6. NWO vs Four Hoursemen WarGames
Kevin Nash, Buff Bagwell, XPac, Konnan vs Ric Flair, Mr Perfect, Chris Benoit, Steve McMichael
9. Road Wild, 1997
GOLDBERG! GOLDBERG! GOLDBERG! And also Sting in the rafters and The Radicalz in the ring. Truly, this is Golden Age WCW.
Announcers: Tony Schiavone, Boby Heenan, Mike Tenay, Larry Zybysko, Eric Bischoff, Dusty Rhodes, Gene Okerlund, David Penzer, Michael Buffer
1. Goldberg vs Hugh Morris
2. Eddie Guerrero (WCW Cruserweight Champ) vs Rey Mysterio
3. Goldberg vs The Barbarian
4. DDP vs Randy Savage
5. Goldberg vs Haku
6. Yuji Nagata vs Ultimo Dragon
7. Eddie Guerrero (WCW Cruiserweight Champ) vs Rey Mysterio
8. Mr. Perfect (WCW US Champ) vs Ric Flair with no DQs
10. The Montreal Screwjob, 1997
Y'all heard about this match, right? Easily the most important match in turning the tide from WCW to WWE in the Monday Night Wars.
Announcers: Vince McMahon, Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, Kevin Kelly, Albert DeFrusia
1. Steve Austin banned from Raw
2. Shawn Michaels vs Undertaker Hell In A Cell
3. Kane vs. Hardy Boys
4. Classic Survivor Series Match
Ken Shamrock, Ahmed Johnson, Legion Of Doom vs Nation Of Domination
6. Owen Hart (WWE Intercontinental Champ) vs Steve Austin
7. Bret Hart (WWE Champ) vs Shawn Michaels
11. Souled Out, 1997 1998
Fallout from WWE spills over into WCW in what should have been the momentum swinger to WCW. Instead, they completely botch the arrival of Bret Hart and continue the dinosaur stampede of 1980s stars, even beginning to phase out The Radicalz. The slow plod to WCW's collapse begins at this time, but we'll focus on the great matches that still managed to take place during this decay.
Announcers: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay, Eric Bischoff, Dusty Rhodes, Mike Tenay, Gene Okerlund, David Penzer, Michael Buffer
1. Chavo Guerrero Jr., Juventud Guerrera, Lizmark Jr. & Super Calo vs El Dandy, La Parka, Psychosis & Silver King in a Lucha Libre Rules Match
2. Goldberg vs Steve McMichael
3.Raven vs Chris Benoit in Ravens Rules Match
4. Scott Hall vs Lex Luger
5. Rey Mysterio (WCW Cruserweight Champ) vs Chris Jericho
6. Booker T (WCW TV Champ) vs Rick Martel
7. Chris Jericho (WCW Cruserweight Champ) vs Juventud Guerrera Title vs Mask
8. Bret Hart vs Ric Flair
12. D-Generation X
The crux of this episode is one of the greatest Royal Rumbles of all time. Like a couple of the rumbles that I've cut, there are a lot of filler characters in this who don't need to be remembered (The Godwinns, 8-Ball and Chains, the Headbangers ... I don't even know who Tom Brandi is, and I've seen this rumble dozens of times). But the pacing and storytelling of this match is superb. Plus, THREE MICK FOLEY CHARACTERS IN ONE MATCH!
Announcers: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, Howard Finkel
1. The Rock (WWE Intercontinental Champ) vs Ken Shamrock
2. Royal Rumble
Mick Foley (as Cactus Jack), Terry Funk (as Chainsaw Charlie), Tom Brandi, The Rock , Mosh, Phineas I. Godwinn, 8-Ball, JBL (as Blackjack Bradshaw), Owen Hart, Steve Blackman, D'Lo Brown, Kurrgan, Marc Mero, Ken Shamrock, Thrasher, Mick Foley again (as Mankind), (The Artist Formerly Known as) Goldust, Jeff Jarrett, The Honky Tonk Man, Ahmed Johnson, Mark Henry, The Godfather (as Kama Mustafa), Steve Austin, Henry O. Godwinn, Savio Vega, Faarooq , Mick Foley (as Dude Love), Chainz , Vader
13. War Of Attrition, 1998
Sure, WWE was already returning to their status as Top Empire In Wrestling but in order to pull in a record number of previous non-wrestling fans, they brought in one of the biggest names in the history of combat sports, Mike Tyson to play a part in the Shawn Michaels/Steve Austin fued. We also get a fun gimmick tag team match, and finally, Finally, Undertaker vs Kane (part 1 of roughly 1,000).
Announcers: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Vince McMahon, Michael Cole, Doc Hendrix, Kevin Kelly, Howard Finkel
1. Mike Tyson on Raw
2. War Of Attrition
Ken Shamrock, Ahmed Johnson, Chainz, 8-Ball, Skull vs The Rock, Farooq, Mark Henry, D-Lo Brown, The Godfather
3. Taka Michinoku vs Essa Rios
4. Mick Foley (as Cactus Jack) and Terry Funk (as Chainsaw Charlie) vs New Age Outlaws in a Dumpster Match
5. Undertaker vs Kane
6. Shawn Michaels (WWE Champ) vs Steve Austin
14. The Streak (1998)
WCW begins to circle the drain. And we can't even blame Vince Russo, yet. The Goldberg Streak and the WCW Undercard were putting on spectacular matches while Hulk Hogan, Sting, Kevin Nash, Roddy Piper, Scott Hall, and the rest of the main eventers involved in the NWO storyline put on some of the most unwatchably dull matches in wrestling history. SO we're not going to watch the NWO split into the Black and White and The Wolfpac, we're not going to focus on the washed up WWE stars trying to relive their glory years, instead, we're going to watch the future WWE stars put on the matches that would make them famous.
Announcers: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay, Gene Okerlund, Michael Buffer, David Penzer
1. DDP (WCW US Champ) vs Raven vs Chris Benoit
2. Goldberg vs Perry Saturn
3. Chavo Guerrero vs Ultimo Dragon
4. Booker T (WCW TV Champ) vs Chris Benoit
5. DDP (WCW US Champ) vs Raven in a Raven's Rules Match
6. Raven (WCW US Champ) vs Goldberg
7. Finlay (WCW TV Champ) vs Chris Benoit
8. Goldberg (WCW Us Champ) vs Hugh Morris
15. The War Zone, 1998
The Austin/McMahon feud is one of the surprisingly greatest feuds in the history of sports entertainment. And it really gets going here. The Rock also begins to properly ascend as the company's greatese heel, and the Mick Foley/McMahon relationship turns all sorts of weird. It's almost glorious.
Announcers: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, Dok Hendrix, Howard Finkel
1. Steve Austin (WWE Champ) vs Vince McMahon
2. The Rock (WWE Intercontinental Champ) vs Farooq
3. Triple H (WWE European Champ) vs Owen Hart
4. Undertaker vs Kane in an Inferno Match
5. Steve Austin (WWE Champ) vs Mick Foley (as Dude Love)
16. The Bottom Line, 1998
DX was a silly, profane, controversial group in WWE history. They were characterised as misognyist, homophobic, racist, but also supposed to be funny good guys. It aged Very Poorly. I've tried not to include their problematic material, and instead focus on their fun, such as their "attack" on WCW, and their feud with the McMahon family. We also see Dan Severn start to show up. I'd completely forgotten about him but he was an interesting counterbalance to Ken Shamrock for a few months in 1998, and his matches are worth the watches. Also, we don't get to hear it but while Triple H calls a match as a commentator, Chyna is commentating the match with the Spanish Announce Team.
Announcers: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Vince McMahon, Triple H, Michael Cole, Howard Finkel
1. DX vs WCW
2. Kane vs Vader
3. The Nation vs DX
D-Lo Brown, Owen Hart, Kama Mustafa vs Triple H, Road Dogg, Billy Gunn
4. Steve Austin (WWE Champ) vs Mick Foley (as Dude Love) in a Falls Count Anywhere Match
5. Ken Shamrock vs Jeff Jarrett
6. The Rock vs Dan Severen
7. Ken Shamrock vs The Rock
17. Last Gasps, 1998 1999
Here endeth The Last Great Thing in WCW history. These are all title matches with very little storyline developement because the stories were bad, but many of the matches were worse. There is an entire year's worth of Pay-Per-Views used as the basis of this episode. It's bleak.
Announcers: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Mike Tenay, Gene Okerlund, Michael Buffer, David Penzer
1. Goldberg (WCW US Champ) vs Scott Hall
2. Booker T (WCW TV Champ) vs Bret Hart
3. Hulk Hogan (WCW Heavyweight Champ) vs Goldberg
4. Kidman (WCW Cruserweight Champ) vs Juventud Guererra vs Rey Mysterio
5. Goldberg (WCW Heavyweight Champ) vs Sting
6. Bam Bam Bigelow vs Sandman in a Hardcore Match
7. Goldberg (WCW Champ) vs DDP
8. Goldberg (WCW Heavyweight Champ) vs Kevin Nash
18. Gimmickmania B'Gawd, 1998
There are some great gimmick matches in here, including The Greatest Hell In A Cell Of All Time, B'gawd!
Announcers: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, Howard Finkel
1. D-Lo Brown vs X-Pac
2. Owen Hart vs Ken Shamrock in a Dungeon Match
3. X-Pac vs Jeff Jarrett
4. Ken Shamrock vs Owen Hart in a Lion's Den Match
5. The Undertaker vs Mankind in Hell In A Cell B'Gawd
6. Steve Austin (WWE Champ) vs Kane in a First Blood Match
7. Kane (WWE Champ) vs Steve Austin
19. Socko Zamboni, 1998
Delightful shenanigans abound in this mostly fun Attitude Era classic.
Announcers: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, Kevin Kelly, Dok Hendix, Tony Chimel, Howard Finkel
1. The Rock vs Mick Foley (as Mankind) vs Ken Shamrock
2. Taka Michinoku (WWE Lightweight Champ) vs Christian
3. Ken Shamrock (WWE Intercontinental Champ) vs Mick Foley (as Mankind)
4. Mick Foley (as Mankind) vs Steve Austin
5. The Rock vs Undertaker
6. Mick Foley (as Mankind) vs The Rock for the WWE Championship
20. The Fingerpoke Of Doom & Butts In Seats, 1999
On January 4th, 1999, WCW signs their own death warrant in The Monday Night Wars. Their younger stars start to shift over to WWE while their geriatric headliners continue to put on the same boring shows over and over and over. At the beginning of the show that lost the war, host Tony Schiavone decides to roast the WWE by announcing that their show is taped and he spoils the new winner of the WWE title. As a result, millions of viewers switched over to Raw to see the title change. Those that stuck with WCW for that night were rewarded with what is widely regarded as The Worst Main Event in wrestling history.
Announcers: Tony Shiavone, Eric Bischoff, Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Gene Okerlund, Michael Cole, Dok Hendix, Michael Buffer, Howard Finkel
1. The Rock (WWE Champ) vs X-Pac
2. Triple H vs Mick Foley (as Mankind)
3. Goldberg vs Miss Elizabeth & The Detroit PD
4. The Rock (WWE Champ) vs Mick Foley (as Mankind)
5. Kevin Nash (WCW Champ) vs Hulk Hogan
6. The Corporate Rumble
7. Mick Foley (as Mankind) (WWE Champ) vs The Rock
To watch all of The Star Trek franchise, it would take you nearly a month of no-sleep-marathoning. Nearly 550 hours at this point. Twenty-four days. AND THEY'RE STILL MAKING MORE. You don't have that kind of time.
I've attempted to put together a much more condensed series of Star Trek. Dividing it into ten episode seasons. For the most part, these are My Favorite Episodes. I've left out some that are historically important episodes, in favor of things that I found fun to watch. If you're a Trekkie or Trekker, or just consider yourself a fan, I may have left off your favorite episode. Sorry. But this is more a list for people like me, who had seen an episode here and there, were interested in seeing more, but don't want to invest in the whole 530+ hours. I'm doing it, so others don't have to.
The previous season was focused on Deep Space Nine as war seemed imminent. Well, the war arrives this season. But we also check in with Voyager, which gets much more interesting with the arrival of a new character. And there's time travel. Lots and lots of time travel.
Star Trek Season 10:
There Is No Greater Enemy Than One's Own Fears
Serial 1: Generations
(Picard, Kirk, Laforge, Worf, Riker, Data, Troi, Crusher, Guinan, Chekov, Scott, Sisters Of Duras)
Hardly the greatest of Star Trek movies, this is on the list purely because it combines the casts of The Original Series and The Next Generation as Kirk and Picard work together to stop an alien played by Andy McDowell. So, not epic cinema, but at least a guilty pleasure.
Episode 3: Broken Link
(Odo, Sisko, Worf, Garak, Drax, O'Brien, Quark, Bashir, Kira, Gowron)
Odo isn't doing very well, and needs the help of The Founders to get better. Of course, shenanigans ensue as Worf and Garak are amongst the crew that heads to The Founders' home planet. This episode sets up a ton of different storylines for the rest of the season.
Episode 4: Apocalypse Rising
(Sisko, Odo, Worf, Kira, Bashir, O'Brien, Gul Dukat, Gowran, Quark, Dax, Jake)
Last season, it seemed like The Jem'Hadar were the all powerful enemies, but it turned out that they just serve The Founders. Then the Klingons got involved. Then we went to Earth and it looked like maybe The Founders had taken over Starfleet. But what if they actually took over the Klingons? They are Everywhere. And Sisko, Odo, O'Brien, and Worf have to go undercover to unmask Gowran (who, apart from Worf, has the longest ongoing storyline this season). And Sisko makes A Fantastic Klingon. It's a joy to watch.
Serial 2: Scorpion
(Janeway, Chakotay, Tuvok, Kim, Kes, Torres, 7of9, Doctor, Paris, Neelix)
What could possibly frighten The Borg? Why, a mostly terrible new alien race from another dimension who The Borg just can't seem to assimilate. This new enemy is such a threat that The Borg and the crew of Voyager must team up to stop them.
Episode 7 (of 20): The Gift
(7of9, Kes, Janeway, Doctor, Tuvok, Chakotay, Kim, Torres, Neelix)
The newest member of Voyager is A Borg! And it's up to the rest of the crew to teach her how to be more human. It's somewhat Data-ey, but with more potential murder than holodeck detective work.
Episode 8: Begotten
(Odo, Kira, O'Brien, Keiko, Bashir, Quark, Sisko, Worf)
Quark finds a baby changeling, and gives custody of it to Odo, causing him to rethink his relationship with the doctor who raised him. Alsowhile, Kira is having O'Brien and Keiko's baby and it is awwwwwwwwwwwwkward for everyone.
Serial 3: First Contact
Picard, Riker, Worf, Data, Crusher, Troi, Laforge, Ogawa, Doctor
It's fun to see them in action again (aside from Worf who just won't leave Deep Space Nine). Especially without the baggage of the TOS cast. In what's easily the best TNG movie, the crew follows the Borg into Earth's past, where everyone's favorite assimilators (unless you're a Cyberman fan) attempt to keep Earth's first contact with Vulcans from taking place.
Episode 11: Trials & Tribbilations
Sisko, O'Brien, Bashir, Worf, Dax, Odo, Kirk, Chekov, Scott, Kira, Uhuru, Spock
This may be my favorite episode in the whole franchise. Filmed like a TOS episode, the crew of Deep Space Nine goes back in time to keep the Klingon villain from "The Trouble With Tribbles" from changing history. There are a few scenes from the original TOS episode spliced in, and a lot of fun non-interactions between the two casts.
Episode 12: Affliction
(Archer, Phlox, T'pol, Reed, Tucker, Sato, Mayweather)
Why do The Klingons look so different between The Original Series, the Next Generation/Deep Space Nine era, and Discovery? Well, the crew of The Enterprise is back to try and answer that question as best as possible.
Serial 2: A Year Of Hell
(Janeway, 7of9, Tuvok, Chakotay, Paris)
There are species that even The Borg avoid. When this new threat attacks Voyager, they try a series of increadingly desperate tactics to survive.
Episode 15 Message In A Bottle
(Janeway, 7of9, Doctor)
It's finally time, the crew of Voyager sends a message back to the Alpha Quadrant, hoping that The Federation will acknowledge that they're still alive.
Episode 16: One
(7of9, Doctor, Janeway, Paris, Torres, Kim, Chakotay)
When radiation from a nebula threatens the lives of everyone else on the ship, 7of9 becomes the crew's favorite member as she and The Doctor team up to save the ship.
Serial 3: In Purgatory's Shadow/By Inferno's Light
(Sisko, Garak, Kira, Bashir, Dax, Odo, Worf, Gul Dukat, O'Brien, Nog, Rom, Martok, Jake)
The standoff with The Dominion gets a whole lot tougher when Gul Dukat leads The Cardassians into an alliance with The Dominion to take on Starfleet. There's a changeling spy on Deep Space Nine, AND Worf and Garak get trapped in a Jem'Hadar prison. This is the episode that cemented Garak as my favorite Cardassian, and soured me on Gul Dukat.
Episode 19: Drone
(7of9, Doctor, Janeway, Torres, Kim, Paris, Chakotay, Tuvok, Neelix)
Borg, Borg, Borg! There's a whole new Borg on the ship, and 7of9 wants to raise him. You'd think this would be too similar to "Begotten" to put in this season, but you'd be wrong, the story goes in a completely different direction. Until it goes exactly the same way.
Episode 20: Call To Arms
(Sisko, Gul Dukat, Odo, Kira, Rom, Ziyal, Quark, Jake, Garak, Worf, Martok)
Sisko comes up with a plan to blow up the wormhole and stop the seemingly inevitable war with the Cardassians and The Dominion. Spoiler Alert: It's not enough to prevent the war. Unrelated Spoiler Alert: This would have been one of my favorite episodes, but there is a gigantic Deus Ex Machina moment that undercut the crux of the episode's tension.
There are shows that take a while to get going but eventually become excellent, like "Bojack Horseman", "Star Trek The Next Generation", or "Parks & Rec". There are shows that are incredibly intriguing and fun to talk about when they start but eventually decay into almost parody, like "Lost", "Dexter", "Roseanne", or "Doctor Who". "Night Court" falls into both categories. Its first season is okay, it's last season is unrecognizably bad (a lot of '80s sitcome just fell apart when the 90s hit), but the middle seasons are a goldmine. So here's the middle season of "Night Court". As far as '80s sitcoms go, it's a masterpiece.
This season begins with an eleven episode run from the beginning of Actual Season Five, which are then followed by what are largely considered the best two episodes of the series.
Night Court Season 3: