Ruminations on TV Shows, Comics, And Music
I didn't know Brigham Young from Neil Young until one of them was playing guitar on stage with Pearl Jam at the MTV Video Music Awards. I didn't immediately go and hungrily hunt down Neil's previous work, though. Instead, I waited for his next album, which I kind of liked, then got one of his earlier albums, and wasn't in the right head space for it, so I stopped seeking his work out. Mea culpa.
But this era of Neil Young's work from the late eighties to the early nineties is the era I most enjoy. An angry forty-year old man still yelling at the system while playing loud guitars with a bunch of twenty and thirty year olds. Sign me up.
The synths are gone man. Someone plugged in an electric guitar, and Neil Young tried to reinvent the 1970s. Cocaine Eyes is pure Before I Was Born rock. The song uses the word soul a bit too much for my liking, but he's back to pushing his falsetto until it breaks, and I am Here For It. Listen to those guitars wail at the end. Welcome back, Neil.
White Lines seems to be, I don't want to say on the nose, but thematically related to the previous track. This song was actually written and recorded in the 1970s, but Young didn't release it until 1990 when he gave it a heavier guitar sound. But the background vocals are pure 1970s AM radio rock.
A light departure from all the guitars shows up with in the form of Inca Queen. The long instrumental intro, vamps, and outro would usually preclude me from including this song. It's long. Like a live performance from one of The Eagles Hell Freezes Over Tour tracks long. And, at times, it sounds like the kind of rock you could hear playing softly in the background at a resort your grandparents would rent in New Mexico. But I like it. It seems to know what it is, embraces it, and just refuses to end.
We stay chill and southern for a track with The Blue Notes...sorry, Ten Men Working. This song about lost love and cars, Coupe De Ville, would have felt nearly at home on The Damage Done. It's so Retro In The 1970s, you can almost imagine Roberta Flack or Linda Rondstadt covering it.
Eldorado bubbles up through the end of the previous track with a a Very Latin lick and ... castinets? Whle there are some guitar crunches, this continues to give the impression that this album has settled into soft rock.
Twilight does nothing to change your mind about the softness of this album. It's an occasional electric guitar plucked lovingly over saxophones, a very metronomic drum beat, and lyrics about how Neil is totally going to hold you when the twilight falls. It even goes instrumental for an absurd amount of time before Neil comes back in, requesting you not be sad because you're the best thing that he ever had. They're hardly challenging lyrics, but it's a sweet nostalgic love song with a very twangy electric guitar.
And then BOOM, the song that originally got me into Neil Young when he performed it live at the MTV music awards, along with Pearl Jam. It's Keep On Rockin' In The Free World, and it's a screamer, a banger, a call to revolution, and a jam all-in-one. Listening to the original version, just causes me to sing the Eddie Vedder portions of the duet version.
I bought a ton of Pearl Jam bootlegs in the 90s. For at least a couple of years, I thought Fuckin' Up was a lesser Pearl Jam B-side. I like it, mostly for nostalgic reasons, but I've always considered it a kind of whiny, self-reflective song, which is TOTALLY 90s alt rock. This continues the driving guitars of the previous track, with some excessive wammy work. It's exactly the kind of song an angry teenager would shout along with when their mom took away their computer privileges for something they absolutely knew they shouldn't have been doing. It, naturally, ends with an excessive amount of reverb. TAKE THAT, MOM!!!!
We return to acoustic folk rock land with Hanging On A Limb. This is another track that you could easily convince me came out in the mid-70s AM radio boom. Particularly because it's a duet with Linda Ronstadt. It's a political lullaby. It could easily have been the final track of this album.
From Linda Ronstadt to the return of Crazy Horse, Neil Young draws his 70s past into his 80s and early 90s work. Too Lonely sounds less nostalgic than the other tracks, and works as a very simplistic rock anthem.
Because Neil spent the 80s doing his avant-pop synth work, he didn't do the weird 80s transition rock that happened. The slightly crunchier arena rock style guitars with cleaner lead vocals but background vocal arrangements that hadn't yet powerwashed the stink of the 70s off them. Mansion On The Hill is as close as he comes. It's one of those self-reflective songs where a guy who got rich off of art realizes he's no longer the underdog, he's The Man! But it's not very specific and stays just distant enough from the self-reflection that you can focus on the guitars and not think This Is So Whiny because, miraculously, it isn't whiny at all.
Don't Cry should be from an 80s soundtrack. The protagonist is getting his shit together. He realizes he treated his lover bad and he's helping her leave him. He was never abusive, he just kind of sucked. But he could get better. But he knows it's not her job to stick with him while he gets better. His guitar riffs vacillate between grunge crunch and new wave noodling. I feel like Pearl jam is ust waiting for Neil to pass before they cover this song as well. It's right in their wheelhouse.
The previous epically long tracks on this album have been soft AM whispers with great beats and instrumentation. Love And Only Love starts with a minute and a half of This Is Definitely A Rock Song before the vocals kick in. At over twelve minutes ,I expected this to do more than just verse breakdown chorus bridge instrumental verse breakdown chorus bridge instrumental etc, but the guitat jams between bridges and the verses are so catchy, I don't mind that it's twelve minutes that never break form.
The transition to No More, a similarly toned but half the length jam was so seamless that I didn't notice it took place. It's really an echo of the previous track. I don't mean that disparagingly.
The Long Walk Home could be the last track on any previous Neil Young album. Harmonica, sweeping near-falsetto, complicated relationship with America, synth rise, wait ... gun sound effects? Ok, so it quickly veers from classic Young ballads, but then it settles back.The guns are a bit much. Using the drums instead would have been just as powerful, and not removed me from the song. I still like this as a closer, particularly when the harmonica wafts back in. Also, the song doesn't overstay its welcome, getting out in about five minutes.
The Freshman Year course of Final Girl University was all about The Classic Slasher Films: Psycho, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Black Christmas, Halloween, Friday The 13th, Nightmare On Elm Street, Child's Play, Final Destination, Scream, and Cabin In The Woods. Eight classics from the 1960s-1990s, a meta commentary from the 90s, written by one of the creators of the classics from the 80s, and one movie from the 21st century that goes beyond meta. Mostly we dealt with normal people who found themselves in a horrigying situation from realistic encounters with unbalanced people to supernatural nonsense involving possessed dolls and dead child killers with powers over dreams. But at the end of each movie, at least one person lived.
The easy way to craft Sophomore year would just be to throw Psycho 2, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, the Black Christmas Reboot, Halloween 2, Friday The 13th 2, Nightmare On Elm Street 2, Child's Play 2, Final Destination 2, Scream 2, and Final Girls at you. But I'm taking this educational opportunity seriously.
This "year" of horror will focus on people who've survived a major unexpected trauma and how they handle it, whether it turns them into killers or saviors. Yes, there will be sequels in this season, but we'll also meet new characters, and we'll skip over some films. Some because they're bad, and nobody should be forced to watch Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 or Halloween 2 without getting paid for it. But some of the part 2s will show up in future "years", so don't worry if your favorite sequel doesn't show up on this list. It might make the next one.
1. Friday The 13th Part 2
We'll start off simply. At the end of Friday The 13th, a single survivor was rescued from Crystal Lake by the local police force. She asked what happened to Jason (who was not the killer in the movie), and nobody knew what she was talking about. They had found the actual killer and all the dead bodies, but the franchise superstar seemed like it might have been a dream. Buuuuuuuuut, of course it wasn't. In this movie, we finally meet the unstoppable force, Jason Vorhees. While he does have a scene with The Final Girl, most of this movie concerns a new camp that opens up on the other side of Crystal Lake. If they'd just stayed on their property, perhaps the lusty teenagers could have been shooting a porn instead of a horror movie. Alas, a couple of them sneak over the line to the old camp, and Jason unleashes Hell. This is a surprisingly good 1980s sequel as it sets up a bunch of tropes, but mostly avoids them. Every time I was pretty sure I knew what was going to happen, I was wrong.
2. The Burning
We're going to stick with summer camps for a bit. This time we deal with different kind of survivors. We open with a scene where a group of campers and counselors seek prank revenge on a terrible counselor, but it goes awry and horribly burns him. He never fully recovers but he survives, and first seeks revenge on the general world that won't accept him, and then finds one of the prankers has grown up to work at a summer camp, and he sets on his path to revenge. There are lots of butts and boobs, and also Jason Alexander is supposed to be one of the campers, but I spent the entire movie assuming he was a counselor because he looks so much older than the rest of the cast. It's a somewhat typical morality horror where people who do bad things get their comeuppance, but also a bunch of innocent kids are just destroyed. It's not super thrilling until the final sequences, but once it gets going, it's great
3. Sleepaway Camp
If you don't know the massive spoiler in this film, don't look it up. This is about a child who survives trauma, becomes introverted, and then is sent away to a camp where they have trouble fitting in with the other kids. It's not long before people who who act cruelly start getting killed off, and it seems ridiculously easy to guess who the killer is. There are some very odd 80s dream montage / flashback sequences that briefly confuse the narrative but this ends up being a really interesting character study, and unlike the last two movies, the actors who play the campers are actually kids
4. Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors
Don't worry, we'll get to part two during Junior Year, but it's almost non-canonical. This film focuses on a group of kids who've been institutionalized for sleep related issues. Guess what, they all grew up on Elm Street, and their parents were part of the posse that killed Freddy Krueger. But unlike the generic teens from the first film, everyone in this group has a power that keeps them from getting killed. One of the psychiatrists in charge of studying the group reluctantly hires a young dream expert to try and connect with the kids, and, oh shit, it's The Final Girl from the first film! This is actually a much better film than the first one. The acting is better, the death scenes are more creative, and Freddy Krueger gets better one-liners.
We go from a movie about being attacked in dreams, to the first Woke movie of the entire course. Candyman is about gentrification and urban legends. The protagonist tries to debunk the sillier part of an urban legend she's researching, and everything goes horribly, horribly wrong for her. Like Sleepaway Camp, and The Burning, she becomes a Final Girl during the course of the film, and then has to try and overcome her trauma. It's probably the best written movie of this Sophomore Year.
6. Child's Play 2
Actually better than the original, this is a well-paced thriller. Not a cinematic triumph by any stretch but a prime example of 80s horror that's campy and unrealistic but not unbelivable and cheap.
7. Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter
And speaking of campy....eh? Eh? We return to Crystal Lake for the second time this semester. Why? Because there's a slight shift in tone. We start off with a historical recap of the first three movies, even though we've only seen the first two. The third movie isn't bad, but doesn't really fit into the cirriculum. Plus, this movie starts with them finding all the bodies from the third installment. We meet a bunch of new characters who vary slightly from the template of the first two movies, but only slightly. Then the movie really focuses on the Don't Fuck Or You Die trope with some fine ridiculous acting. There is a death scene near the end that takes so long that I'm not sure I'm not still watching the character yell "He's killing me. Ahhhhh. Run. Run. He's killing me. Ahhhhhhh."
Neither Sigourney Weaver nor John Hurt can catch a break. I always imagine how perfect an experience this would be if there were no more sequels to this. It's great to have three sequels in a row that improve upon the originals. This will ... not be a trend, unfortunately.
9. Final Destination 2
We pick up soon after the first film as we learn which person from the original cast survived when a new crop or idiot teenagers accidentally escape Death and begin being hunted down in creative fashions. This is a fun sequel, and stays true to the heart of the original film.
10. Scream 2
I debated beginning Sophomore Year with this, as one of our survivors from the original film gets super meta and lists the rules for how to survive sequels in horror movies. Then the film goes down the list of tropes and destroys them. It's just as meta fun as the original, and is also actually thrilling. And it's a nice way to see off some of our familiar faces, as Junior Year is mostly invested in the parts of slasher franchises that go off the rails and tell different kinds of stories.
Silk Sonic Reimagined Discography: Mysoginist Melodies By The Terrible Exes You Should Never Take Back
The song descriptions are going to tell the whole story here. Bruno Mars and Anderson.Paak would be terrible boyfriends to anyone. They're unfaithful, egomaniacal, misogynist dirtbags with incredibly smooth voices, and exceptional style. Silk Sonic is a pretty apt name for their collaboration, as I'm guessing Red Flag Lovers is already a band playing somewhere.
I could have done a Bruno Mars discography and an Anderson.Paak album with the Silk Sonic material split between them, but the truth is, I have to be exactly in the right mood to listen to either, so why not just have one double album that has all the songs I enjoy that they appear in. If they end up making even more music I like in the future, I'll just pretend this album is by Prince and throw a third disc on it.
I love a dirty funk groove that sounds like it was lifted from a low budget 1970s movie, so this is a perfect start for me. Bruno Mars is trying his best James Brown (which is great and all, but he ain't no James Brown). The party horns are also a great touch. The lyrics tell you right where this album is going to live. Bruno is straight up cheating with a woman, and "giving her permission" to blame him when they get caught. He also mentions making her drinks. I would not trust Bruno Mars or Anderson.Paak to mix me a drink. They have definitely each purchased roofies before. Bootsy Collins is probably a safer bet. I think he's a creepy enabler (I mean, shit, he played for James Brown) but I don't think he was ever going to hurt anyone directly, and certainly not now that he's 410 years old.
2. Watching Her Move
Bruno Mars is at his best when he's trying to be Michael Jackson. His voice has that perfect smoothness, plus he's actually believable as a womanizer, which Jackson was ... not. This is a straight up happy pop song with lyrics about a creepy dude watching a woman dance, which is right there in the title. What? Did you think he meant he was watching her move houses? I mean, if she lives in his neighborhood she SHOULD move houses, and maybe change her name.
3. Where Did She Go?
We're in the same club. There's a different, but similar, infectious bassline, and the woman from the last song has, understandably, beelined out of the club to get away from Creepy Bruno. So now he's doing an early 2010s bopper trying to track her down. I hope she got out of town safe, and never has to see this intensely inappropriate singer again.
4. Good Heels
Everything slows down to a breezy 90s rap ballad tempo, as we move from Creepy Bruno to Red Flag Anderson, as he and Jazmine Sullivan sing a duet about how they also suck and are cheating on their significant others.
5. Smokin Out The Window
This has been recommended to me a billion times in the last few weeks, and I get it. It's a definite future funk classic with a great hook about three guys whose dicks should be dry and flaccid for the rest of their heterosexual dogshit days. You reap what you sew, Bruno. You treat women like disposable sperm depositories, and the women who gravitate toward you are going to take advantage of you financially, and they deserve to be compensated for dealing with your shit. This "No Scrubs" take, except the women are the scrubs just doesn't sound at all realistic. But it does sound catchy as hell, probably because every musician involved has every strain of HPV ever recorded.
6. The Lazy Song
I can definitely relate to a song about not being motivated to do anything but stay home and masturbate. I was in my twenties once, too. This breezy pseudo-island jam, on its own merits, is a great song that might not be written by a complete piece of sh...oh, wait, I just heard the second verse. Anyone who feels the need to brag about having a degree (who wants to place bets that it's an associates degree in Women's Studies?), and talking about how girls that have sex with him think he's great at sex is 1.) Terrible In Bed, and 2.) Probably lying about having a degree.
Now we go mid-90s Metallica hard, as *checks notes* Chris Stapleton, and *rechecks notes* Ed Sheeran? join Bruno Mars to sing the most generically written song comparing sex to guns that has ever been written. I mean, as a piece of writing, this song is pure garbage, but it's three sweet sounding guys who can really sing juxtaposed with Bruno Mars going absolutely ham on guitar.
8. Lyk Dis
Now we fall back into the 70s-groove-reminiscent-2010s-with-that-early-Weeknd-production and Kendrik Lamar style vocals as Anderson.Paak tells you how he likes to fuck. That's all there is to this song, but it's solid and short.
9. Treasure brings the fun and 70s funk back. Bruno can't help but sound like a sweet, uplifting baby face. This song is all about how much he values the generic girl that he's singing to. But, like, you've heard his other songs, right? It can't last any longer than three minutes (and according to some of his exes, that's true about a lot of things Bruno Mars does).
10. Make It Better
There were a ton of white dudes, and morally questionable dudes of color trying to be Marvin Gaye. But let's be real, if Bruno Mars is the Michael Jackson of his generation, this song makes the case that Anderson.Paak is its Marvin Gaye. He loves singing about his dick (he doesn't have the religious angle, and that's fine by me). This is a cheeky and fun song about how he and his partner role play as if they're cheating to keep things spicey. This might be the healthiest song on this album.
11. Yada Yada
But he's Marvin Gaye with a filthy, filthy mouth. While "Make It Better" was straight out of the 70s, this is straight out of the 90s hip-hop that sampled the 70s, with a little 2010s thrown in. This is just a generic, but relatable Life Is Hard And I Don't Know What To Do Except Be Mad song. It's not hyper-focused, it's just generalized ... I don't want to say rage ... frustration expressed in a perfectly reasonable way that, nevertheless, would probably seem threatening to your whitest friends.
12. Chosen One
This is our third Anderson.Paak song in a row, and it really feels like the halfway point between the two previous songs. This is smooth guy at the open mic sings song to specific girl in the audience, but will take any girl who comes his way. The rap portion is tight. The chorus is a head bopper. There are references to sex as a gun that put "Blow" to absolute shame.
This was the first actual Silk Sonic single that I heard. I spent a weekend with my father a few months ago where we watched several Blacksploitation-era movies, including That's The Way Of The World, which has Harvey Keitel as a music producer trying to get Earth, Wind, And Fire over, only to discover that organized crime runs the music business and wants him to make an uninspiring family group The Next Big Thing instead. For a movie ostensibly about Earth, Wind, and Fire, there's way too much emphasis placed on Not Earth, Wind, And Fire, including a roughly six year long montage set to a song by the fictional, less-talented band. But there is a scene in a roller-skating rink where actual Earth, Wind, And Fire play, and they tear shit up (musically, they do not riot at the rink, though they would have been justified if they did). This track would have fit perfectly in that scene, too. It's totally a scummy-DJ-with-a-lot-of-talent-trying-to-get-with-a (probably underage) -roller-skater jam.
14. Talking To The Moon
I don't watch "The Voice" anymore, but I imagine this piano ballad by Bruno Mars has been used at least a million times in auditions. It's a perfect slice of emotional Gurl I Luv You But Can't Talk To You.
15. What More Can I Say
Not the Jay-Z song, though that's what I think of every time it shows up. This is an Anderson.Paak, 2010s rapper sings about trying to be good but he's attracted to a married woman. There's enough "Lord, give me strength" for me to realize he's more of a Marvin Gaye than I gave him credit for a few tracks previously.
16. Just The Way You Are
There's more 80s pop to this Bruno Mars classic. This is another generic, Gurl You're Perfect And You Don't Know It, Lemme Tell You How Great You Are but it fucken crushes. I first heard this when I was listening to tons of mash-ups, and djs were using both the music and the lyrics in a ton of different great tracks. But it is totally another red flag that this guy is a smooth fuckboi who can't be trusted. This is the end of the first disc.
17. After Last Night
If Prince made his 1990s erotic funk in the 70s, it might have sounded like this Bootsy-Collins first Silk Sonic song. I had to do a fair amount of research to discover who the female vocalists on this song were because, well, fuckboi production.
Another laid-back rap by Anderson.Paak, this one is a super brief reminder to the woman he's currently gifting his dick to that he's about to come home and they better be prepared for his fuckery. It's only really acceptable if you imagine this is part of that healthy role playing he was doing earlier.
19. Runaway Baby
An almost Lenny Kravitz groove at the start of the song decays into a basic riff-centric song where Bruno admits he's the shittiest boyfriend you could ever hope for and he tells women to run away from him. Solid advice. He's got King Crabs, which themselves have syphillis.
20. Fly As Me
From Kravitz riff back to Discount James Brown vocals. Bootsy and the horn section are all over this track about how lucky you'd be to be seen with any member of Silk Sonic because they're so hot and so good at The Sex. The music on this track is untouchable. The vocals just shouldn't be touched.
I'm pretty sure this is the first track where I identified it as a Bruno Mars song the first time I heard it. I had a couple of friends who would quote this song when they were being melodramatic about what good friends they were. This song, weirdly, sounds like it comes from The Lion King. I don't know if it's because young Bruno hasn't fully grown into his voice yet, or if it's the ... no, it's definitely the background vocals. I picture them as gazelles.
22. Uptown Funk
One of the most inescapable songs of the 2010s. It's a Mark Ronson track with Bruno on vocals, smoother than a fresh jar of Skippy. You definitely already know it. It was so hot, it made a dragon want to retire, man. The biggest ugh factor is that I listened to this song once over a week and a half ago, and it has popped back into my head every time I try to pause my thoughts and get some sleep. It's just too hot.
23. Blast Off
This could have been a fun opening track. It's my second favorite Anderson vocal track. It's an almost timeless, space-themed, funk ballad. Lots of effects offer the perfect accompaniment to his vocals. This has more movements than most of the other songs on this album, but still only clocks in at 4:38.
This is likely the first song I ever heard with Bruno Mars. It's a Travie McCoy rap with Mars on the chorus, and it's the most Hawaiian track Mars has been on. It's a precursor to his 24K Magic persona, which I mostly avoided on this album. I'm much more tolerant of "I want to be a rich piece of shit" than "I have become a rich piece of shit" songs.
25. Leave The Door Open
Back to the 70s disco funk ballads. There's a lot of self-talking about just how great Bruno is and how this lady he's singing about would be lucky to get some Bruno in her ... life. It sounds so sweet, and so tight, but it has the really trite lines that let you know it was written by an absolute dog. Whack him in the nose with a newspaper, and close that door, or he's going to run into the neighborhood and get every dog paw-regnant.
26. Locked Out Of Heaven
Uh, yeah. This very What The Police Thought Reggae Sounded Like In The 80s ballad banger is a bit of a departure from most everything else on this double album. This song is all chorus, no verse, but it's a damned catchy chorus. I'm not sure how many artists could have pulled this off. The lack of verses makes it so that there aren't any red flags here. A totally nice guy could have recorded this. But Bruno Mars did, instead.
27. Scared Money
This is almost an interlude track by Anderson.Paak. It starts off sounding like someone sing rapping over the music playing in an elevator thirty years ago but eventually transitions into 2010s meth rap.
28. Get Bigger puts us back in the elevator but Anderson positively folics over the beats with a song about the jobs he took to keep himself alive before he became a famous singer. It rings absolutely true, which is rarely the case with songs on this subject. This is one of the few songs on this album that I wish was a bigger hit.
29. Marry You
In the '90s, Paula Abdul released a single called "Will You Marry Me?" a proposal song to Emilio Estevez, who she married and divorced in rapid fashion. It had bells, and Stevie Wonder on harmonica, and was a big old bag of cheese ballad. This track is lacking only Stevie. It's otherwise an even more generically written but otherwise similar track. I'm glad this isn't to anyone specific, as that person should realize that if they married Bruno, the two year Abdul/Estevez marriage would look like Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn's.
30. Ladies Is Pimps Too
"This is an official DJ X-Factor mixtape session" is a great signal that this is going to be an early 21st century style alt radio track. Jay-Z samples behind autotuned rap-singing. This is actually an AKA joint that just heavily features Mr. Mars. Honestly, I like it more for the Hova sample than the Mars vocals.
31. Put On A Smile
Back to Bootsy and the actual Silk Sonic songs, this is just a solid groove. And the lyrics are a bit of a departure, but only a bit. It's that point when your horrible ex talks to you about their feelings, and how much they tried to be good but you make them just So Sad. If anyone serenades you with this song, RUN. If you hear someone do this song justice on a karaoke mic, shake their hand, buy them a drink, but DON'T go home with them.
32. Nothin On You
Ok, back to ballady Bruno crooning about how much he loves you and how perfect you are. It sounds so sincere, but how could he have written so many of these songs. This is a B.O.B. song where they do the verses inbetween Mars's catchy as hell chorus. It came out the same year as "Ladies Is Pimps To", though it sounds like it's from a different decade. The B.O.B. lyrics make Bruno Mars seem like the Poet Laureate Of The Planet.
33. When I Was Your Man
Whooo. We made it all the way through this double album, and hopefully no one who read this slept with anyone on this album (except maybe Bootsy Collins, if he's your type, I wish you both all the happiness a roll in the sack can grant you both). This is a piano drenched show closer with falsetto fade out magic, and lyrics about how he's an absolute dog who fucked up the relationship. No shit, Bruno, you're A TERRIBLE PARTNER. At least he's being up front about it here, even if he's trying to paint himself as somehow also sympathetic. Buying flowers and holding hands was the least you could have done, creepo.
The Justice League If It Were More Unlimited, In Twenty Fantastic Seasons, 3: The Brave And The Bold
Finally, The Justice League gets together. The Big Seven (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and ... Hawkgirl? (take that, Aquaman) assemble and form one of the most important superhero teams in comic history (the original version, The Justice Society, won't show up until later in our continuity).
I didn't watch this show when it originally came out. After following several seasons of the Batman Animated Series, I stopped watching superhero toons for a while. It was in the early 2000s when a coworker in a comic book store told me JLU was worth the watch that I decided to go back and watch all of the Justice League cartoon. I was not disappointed.
While I've excised some episodes of the list because this is intended to be The Best Of The Best Episodes, I don't remember a single episode of either Justice League of Justice League Unlimited ever being boring. Preachy, maybe, but never at the expense of the audience.
Of course, we'll still be seeding Batman and Superman episodes in, as well as some later DCEU movies because the loose continuity of the DCEU is fun to play with.
Season 3: The Brave And The Bold
Episodes 51 - 53: Batman Gotham Knight
A group of kids each claim to have encountered Batman, and tell their stories. Each story has a different animation style, a completely different looking Batman, and an enemy reminiscent of a Batman villain, but not quite the same. Its a visually cool set of episodes, and a fun way to start a new season.
Episode 54: Superman In Brightest Day
Continuity in this series is definitely squidgy, so please excuse the fact that Hal Jordan has appeared as The Green Lantern precisely once, and yet in this "Superman: Animated Series" episode we see the ring passed to Kyle Rainer, who battles with Jordan's nemesis, Sinestro.
Episodes 55 - 57: Wonder Woman
We didn't bother touching on Superman's origin, and Batman's origin has been told ad nauseum in flashbacks. Here we get the origin story for The Big Three of The Justice League. I'm not especially fond of this version of her origin, but she doesn't get as much screen time as the others, and I feel not as many people are familiar with her background.
Episodes 58 & 59: Batman Demon's Quest
Ra's Al Ghul shows up in the Batcave claiming his daughter was kidnapped, shortly after Batman believes Robin was kidnapped in the same manner. A Lazarus Pit and World Domination adventure follows alternating between Batman and Ghul working together, and being at odds.
Episodes 60 - 62: Justice League Secret Origins
An invasion from Mars sparks Superman to enlist Batman, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, and Hawkgirl's help, thus leading to the founding of The Justice League. (Finally, it's season three already, geeze.)
Episodes Justice League 63 & 64: In Blackest Night
How are we already on our third Green Lantern? John Stewart (not The Daily Show guy) ends up on trial for destroying a planet, and The Justice League must figure out how to prove his innocence.
Episode 65: Superman Demon Reborn
Ra's Al Ghul shows up in Metropolis and causes enough havoc that Batman has to come into town to save him.
Episode 66: Batman Read My Lips
Scarface and The Venriloquist head up the newest gang in Gotham.
Episodes 67 & 68: Batman Shadow Of The Bat
When Commissioner Gordon is framed for taking bribes, his adopted daughter Barbara goes to Batman for help, and thus we get the origin of original flavor Batgirl.
Episode 69: Batman Mudslide
Clayface is falling apart. Literally. And he believes the cure to his condition lies at Wayne Biomedical Labs. That ... can't be good for anyone.
Episodes 70 & 71: Justice League Injustice For All
Look, if the good guys are going to have an all-star team, it's only fair that poor Lex Luthor gets to create on of his own.
Episodes 72 & 73: Justice League The Brave And The Bold
Why do all the team ups have to have Batman and/or Superman in them? The Flash teams up with Green Lantern (John Stewart) to take down one of the many ridiculous gorilla-themed hijinks of Grod.
Episodes Justice League 74 & 75: Legends
Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, and Martian Manhunter close out the season when they're whisked into the world of comic book superheroes (meta, right?) The Justice Guild Of America (based on DC's Justice Society from the Golden Age of comics). This is a fun dventure where, once again neither Supes nor Batsy is the focal point.