And Introducing… Korean TV

The excellence of Korean TV shows, introduced.

What’s The Topic? Korean TV, and the wonders thereof.

Even the most pop-culturally blind person in the world could not really have failed to notice just how dominant and mainstream K-Pop has become in the world. BTS are, of course, the big-ticket item there, and have secured an enduring legacy outwith their home country and around the world . Even just a few years would have seemed vastly unlikely except with a novelty hit like “Gangnam Style”. Yet music – and there’s a whole lot more to Korean music than just K-Pop – isn’t the only place Korean culture has been flourishing.

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And Introducing… Blakes 7

The seminal and highly influential 70’s / 80’s series, introduced.

What’s The Topic? Blakes 7

Blakes 7 (or is it Blake’s 7?  No.) is a British science-fiction series that ran from 1978 until 1981 on the BBC.  Although not especially well known in the U.S. and often lumped in with the pile of the many, many, many sci-fi series that got knocked out in the 70’s it is nevertheless one of the more influential and well worth exploring.  Babylon 5, Deep Space Nine, Firefly and, especially, Farscape owe a huge debt to its serialized storytelling, dark edge and focus on character, as well as its extreme pessimism.  It was created on the spur of the moment in a pitch meeting by TV writer Terry Nation – best known as the creator of Doctor Who’s Daleks back in 1963, but also an absurdly prolific TV writer on both sides of the Atlantic – who described it as “the Dirty Dozen in space”. From exceedingly modest beginnings it went on to critical acclaim but suffered from an absolutely miniscule budget which often couldn’t keep pace with the inventiveness of the concept or scripts.

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And Introducing… Pet Shop Boys

Electronica’s most enduring and successful stars, introduced.

What’s The Topic? Pet Shop Boys

It seems hard to imagine that Pet Shop Boys (never the Pet Shop Boys) have been around for thirty years and counting, but they have been, you know, and have gone on to be the most successful duo in British music history.  Formed in 1981 and still turning out engaging, interesting, and challenging material all these years later, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe’s somewhat unlikely survival in an ever-shifting pop and electronic music landscape is a testament not only to the quality of the material but to their inventiveness and their refusal to be pigeonholed or defined in any way but their own.  The electronic band were a permanent fixture of the late 80’s singles charts, and while there best-known work remains their earlier material they have continued to turn out interesting, challenging, emotional, pop music. 

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And Introducing… Kraftwerk

The most signifiact and influential text in electronic music, introduced.

What’s The Topic? Kraftwerk

It’s hard to overstate the influence Kraftwerk have had over the years on popular music.   Formed in Düsseldorf, West Germany in 1970 and initially part of the Krautrock scene that saw Germany start to produce popular, original music for the first time since the end of World War Two, the band rapidly outgrew its roots and went on to become one of the most important and influential bands of the 20th Century.  Always a four-piece revolving around core members Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider – at least until Schneider’s improbable departure in 2008 – the band’s obsessions with technology became their primary focus, starting with their fourth official album, 1974’s AutobahnAutobahn spawned an unlikely radio hit with an edit of the title track, helping to cement the band’s position, unexpected though that success was.

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