RECENT VIEWING: EPISODIC

Some stuff I’ve been enjoying recently in the TV/ streaming realm.

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THE AMERICANS

(Drama/ Thriller; Originally on FX; now available on Amazon Prime)

One of the best TV shows I’ve ever seen, depicting a pair of 1980s Soviet agents posing as a “normal” American couple in the suburbs of DC. In particular the acting is quite nuanced, suggesting strong direction as well.

I’m also a big fan of the dizzyingly complex opening credits, which are broken down well here.

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THE CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA

(Horror/ Comedy; Netflix)

This show is apparently based on an old Archie comic or something. Anyway, I love what’s it’s been rebooted as: it’s kind of like an American take on Hammer horror with a fair amount of comedy sprinkled in. There’s an awful lot going on here, so it’s difficult to explain briefly. But if a campy brew of witches, demons, clairvoyance, shapeshifting, and undead stuff sounds appealing to you, then check it out. The lighting and overall production design are particularly sumptuous. And there’s a strategically placed “Night of the Lepus” poster at one point too.

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WILD WILD COUNTRY

(Documentary; Netflix)

This has been out for a while now, but if you haven’t seen it yet then do yourself a favor. Again, a sprawling narrative that’s hard to describe, and (despite its truth) even harder to believe. Netflix’s succinct decription is effective: “When a controversial cult leader builds a utopian city in the Oregon desert, conflict with the locals escalates into a national scandal.” The series apparently won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Documentary Series. I particularly love the haunting score by Brocker Way.

JUNIOR BIRDMAN AUDIO AT MSPIFF 2019

Films featuring sound and music by Junior Birdman Audio’s Mike Hallenbeck will screen at the 2019 Minneapolis St Paul Festival!

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DUAL

(Short, horror, d. Justin Staggs)

Sound edit, Foley, and mix by Mike Hallenbeck at Junior Birdman Audio

“A child psychologist attempts a breakthrough with a troubled little boy, unleashing the demonic fury of his ‘imaginary friends’ in the process.”

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BEEBOX

(Short, animation, d. Cable Hardin)

Sound edit, original music, and mix by Mike Hallenbeck at Junior Birdman Audio

A rough-hewn tumble of organic textures, the film explores organic farming via Hardin's generation, documentation and manipulation of frenetic imagery from Blue Dasher Farm in Estelline, South Dakota.

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Congrats to everyone involved on both of these films! Looking forward to the fest.