The first three episodes of A SHOW ABOUT ANTHEM LIGHTS, streaming on Pure Flix, launch a fun animation series with a musical comedy format about the work life of a real-life vocal group known as Anthem Lights. Each episode’s plot is about the fears, the pitfalls and the potential victories artists in the music industry wrestle with, day in and day out, all portrayed with humor and song. Challenges like members of the group agreeing on projects and working together against deadlines or reacting to criticism, even hostility, are mixed with lively tunes, lyrics and comical situations.
The first three episodes of A SHOW ABOUT ANTHEM LIGHTS have fast-paced scripts, relatable everyday experiences, and laughs for all ages. The episodes promote a strong Christian, moral worldview with strong values. For example, they depict healthy responses to inner struggles, quirky relationships and hostile forces. MOVIEGUIDE® advises parental discretion for brief toilet humor and mischievous, shadowy antagonists. Anthem Lights vocalist Caleb Grimm says, “We’re trying to make. . . wholesome, quality content that is safe for anybody.” The ANTHEM LIGHTS program fulfills that mission.
(CCC, BBB, Pa):
Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Very strong Christian, biblical, moral worldview promotes positive song lyrics, characters like Sister Esther Georgia Mabel who serves as a Christian mentor and choir director for the band members, the venue of the church campus is a place of spiritual formation portrayed in the episodes, the wrap up of each episode has healthy solutions that are grasped and celebrated, a counter worldview of a “whatever it takes” paganism, complete with cut-throat competition, is portrayed through the jealous musical group Handsome Knights
No obscenities or profanities, but there is brief light toilet humor where a “honey bucket” is placed and used in the studio of the counter group Handsome Knights
No alcohol use
Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
No smoking or drugs;
The first three episodes of A SHOW ABOUT ANTHEM LIGHTS, streaming on Pure Flix, launch a fun animation series with a musical comedy format about the work life of a real-life vocal group known as Anthem Lights. A SHOW ABOUT ANTHEM LIGHTS debuted in the 15th anniversary year of the group’s career and celebrates the group’s strengths of contemporary quartet harmony, diversity of musical styles, stunning cover versions of a wide variety of secular and Christian rock songs, and a pioneering use of Internet videos.
All of those same strengths are intentionally explored in the 15 minutes of the first episode, titled “In the Beginning.” The group members conduct a meeting to ponder what style of music to use that would best introduce Anthem Lights to their audience in their season opener. When each singer proposes their own favorite genre, from a mashup cover of Broadway show tunes to mumbling rap, an animated music-video is imagined, composed and performed (the closing credits verify) by that particular vocalist. By the end of the episode, the group realizes they can perform all the songs. They then proceed to perform another music video composed by them all titled “We Can Have It All.”
Two sinister forces are developed in Episode 102, titled “Oil of Algorithm.” The first sinister force is a Grim Reaper style character that personifies deadlines and other “have-to-or-else” expectations that musical talents fear and allow to intimidate their careers. The episode’s second dark-side force is another musical group that sees itself as a spiteful competitor to Anthem Lights, poetically named Handsome Knights. Introduced in the final seconds of the first episode and making another significant appearance in the third episode, the Handsome Knights promise to be a continuing feature of A SHOW ABOUT ANTHEM LIGHTS.
The focus of Episode 103, titled “Discontent,” is the band’s preoccupation with one negative comment consisting of one word that a fan posts on their most recent music video. Though the video received an overwhelming number of positive posted comments, that solo one-word critique begins to dominate their minds. A pattern emerges in this third episode, with each episode’s plot being about the fears, pitfalls and potential victories that artists in the music industry wrestle with day in and day out, all portrayed with humor and song.
In a MOVIEGUIDE® Backstage Pass interview with two of Anthem Lights’ vocalists just before the series began, host Cheryl Crisp points out that other pop musical groups had dabbled in the world of animation series, such as The Jackson Five in THE JACKSON 5IVE and The Partridge Family in PARTRIDGE FAMILY 2200 A.D., all from the 1970s. Overlooked by all was the original TV effort, THE BEATLES, that ran in the last half of the 1960s, not to mention the theatrical release, YELLOW SUBMARINE, from that same time period. No matter, the point can still be well taken that it has been around a half a century since any memorable sustained efforts have been made in this category. As such, A SHOW ABOUT ANTHEM LIGHTS promises a very worthy revival of this format.
As Anthem Lights vocalist Caleb Grimm explains in MOVIEGUIDE®’s interview, “We’re trying to make, much like our music, wholesome, quality content that is safe for anybody to listen to. I’ve got three kids, so I love the idea of a Pure Flix type platform where I could just put it on, and it’s safe.” Band member Spencer Kane adds, “We just wanted to do something different, something a little fun. We’ve never done anything like this before. So, hopefully people enjoy it as much as we’ve had making it.” (Readers can watch MOVIEGUIDE®’s full Backstage Pass interview at https://youtu.be/S9a6-Nk4hoE?t=87.) The first three episodes all have fast-paced scripts, relatable everyday experiences, off-the-wall song portions that are spot-on-the-circumstances, and plenty of laughs aimed at all ages.
The dominant worldview of A SHOW ABOUT ANTHEM LIGHTS: EPISODES 1.1-3 is most strongly moral and biblical: tinged with the inner doubts, struggles, even self-sabotage that human nature raises; and challenged by self-avowed enemies the Handsome Knights; by the wrap up of each quarter of an hour, healthy, wholesome conclusions are grasped and celebrated by Anthem Lights. Further, a strong, specifically Christian worldview is promoted through characters like Sister Esther Georgia Mabel, who is a Christian mentor and choir director for the band members, and the venue of the church campus as a place of spiritual formation portrayed in the episodes.
MOVIEGUIDE® advises parental discretion for some content. For example, Episode 102 has brief toilet humor during the sequences featuring the Handsome Knights. Of course, the presence of mischievous, shadowy antagonists like the Handsome Knights are a bad example. However, the depiction of good and evil in the first three episodes of A SHOW ABOUT ANTHEM LIGHTS is tame and positive enough to provide excellent fodder for media-wise family discussions encouraging children to choose the good and reject the bad.
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