Sunday, October 4, 2015

Being a Reality TV Junkie

During the last 10 years, many networks have proclaimed that their viewership for their reality TV show offerings have been steadily increasing. When you look at the fact that TV shows are essentially stories that portray a world outside of our normal lives, it comes as no surprise that may people get hooked on watching reality TV shows. With that said, let's take a look at how the reality television scene has grown over the last 10 years as well as a few logical reasons as to why people become reality TV Junkies.

The Opportunity to See How Other People Live Their Lives
Many people argue that a lot of what transpires on reality TV is staged. However, regardless if this may be the case for some shows, reality TV is a good way for us to look into the lives of others. Let's face it, while we may hate drama that involves us, to a certain extent we can be considered as a world of voyeurs who gain a certain degree of enjoyment by observing others who are dealing with drama. 

Provides an Escape
Many of us undergo a great deal of stress due to the responsibilities that we have to attend to, such as our children, jobs, school and our love lives. As such, the concept of incorporating "down time" is easier said than done. However, brief TV shows such as "The Real World" or "Big Brother" don't really require a significant amount of mental focus in order for us to understand what's going on and can be quite funny at times. This concept of "mindless entertainment" can prove to be especially fulfilling after a long stressful day. 

The Rise of Reality TV
From the early 50s up until the late 90s - early 2000s reality TV shows were primarily about families. Based on the fact that during those times, children were not growing up with the intention of leaving their hometown, but rather the intention of taking over the family business and remaining within their hometown, the fact that reality TV shows of those times were primarily about families, comes as no surprise. However, as technology continuously gets integrated into every facet of our lives, people are leaving the constraints of their hometown in an attempt to travel and explore the world and all the experiences that goes with it. It is due to this change in our mindset that has led to the change that can be seen in reality TV shows. They provide us with an opportunity to experience the lives of other people regardless of their distance or social/financial status.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Top 3 90s Nostalgia TV Shows

What pre-teen or teen in the 90's didn't watch at least one of the 3 TV shows that I’m writing about below? They were the best during that decade. On nights 90210 came on, I’d make sure that all my chores were done, dinner was cooked; everyone ate and kitchen was clean. The floor in front of the TV was my next spot that was taken up for the whole hour, I would even sit through commercials; they didn't last that long back in the day. 

Now let's break down why Saved by the bell, 90210 & Clueless were the best shows ever in the 90's.

Everyone could relate to all the characters in this show, we all loved Zack, Slater & Screech. The pranks they would play on each other always seem to backfire onto them one way or the other, but they would wiggle themselves out of trouble. Zack & Kelly were the best couple to watch on that TV show even as they went to college they were the ones that I watched for and they took you through your middle, high & college years. The TV station TBS here in Atlanta, GA would run marathons on Saturday nights and I would stay up all night by myself and watch the marathon. Slater & Jesse were the 2nd couple that everyone looked up to, although there were times that they broke up with each other they seemed to come back together and be happy with each other. 

What a hot TV show this one was, there was drama, drinking, sex & drugs that were very appealing to a high school kid, college kid & parents. I can remember my mom watching this show with me and it used to take over my nights too, I had to do everything before I could be ready to watch my TV show. All the characters now looking back were cool then and they had it all at one time, and some lost it all at one time. My favorite character was Dylan! I know that most people's favorite was Brandon, but he was too much of a goody, goody for me and his sister was such a stuck up. All shows must come to an end, in the late 2000's they tried to come out with a new age spin off of 90210 it took off for a little while but was burnt out after 5 years and went off the air. 

This show was a more comical and it basically portrayed what the normal 16 ywar old girl would do at school and how they love to shop at the mall. It was stereotypical comedy in a way. The show to me, as I didn't relate to it very much, was a very girlie show and I was more about watching it for the fashion than I was for seeing the ditsy drama that Dee Dee, Jasmine & Murray had to conjure up. The TV show also wasn't as hot because they weren't able to cast Alicia Silverstone in the show. 

Unfortunately, these shows are no longer on TV for our children to watch, the reality TV shows have taken over the next generation, when these TV shows are available on Netflix to watch you can bet that I’ll be binge watching the TV and/or computer for all the seasons! 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Top 5 Short-Lived Sci-Fi TV Shows That You Haven't Seen (But Probably Should)

Top 5 short-lived science fiction tv series
Television series come and go and for any number of reasons.  Yet, there have been many, especially in the science fiction genre that have been over-looked or canceled too soon.   Some simply just don't work, and some get ignored because they're on in a very competitive time slot.   For whatever reason somethings get canceled before they should, and there are just as many television series that probably shouldn't have ever been given the green light either.   What follows is our list of science fiction shows that for some reason only ran for just one or two seasons before they were unjustly canceled.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Adapting Popular Video Games Into Feature Length Films

The act of adapting popular video games into feature length films is something that may seem on the surface to be a modern trend but, but is in fact, a practice that goes back several decades. In almost every case, however, a popular video game usually ends up adapting into a not-so-popular movie. Why exactly video games just don't seem to translate well on the silver screen is unclear but the trend seems pretty consistent.

Several examples of video games series that have been adapted into movies are listed below to illustrate the point.

Super Mario Bros. (1993)
This beloved video game was pretty much a guaranteed flop on the big screen, featuring too many contradictory elements to fit firmly into any one established genre. Super Mario Bros. attempts to modernize a game that delights on the fact that it makes absolutely no sense. The result is a movie with a plot that makes no sense but ends up being more confusing than entertaining.

Mortal Kombat (1995)
Based on the popular fighting game known for its outlandish characters and excessive violence, the Mortal Kombat film was a mixed bag. Though its stunts and special effects don't really hold up to the test of time, Mortal Kombat was fairly successful, financially speaking. The game's intentionally over-the-top nature, however, is a little out of reach for the film's modest budget. Needing actors who could both act and fight, it settles for a main cast that couldn't really do either. It features a host of colorful but one dimensional characters pitted against each other in repetitive fight scenes.

Hitman (2007)
A shoot-em-up action movie based on the popular first person shooter of the same name. Both film and game feature the same character, Agent 47, a bald headed killer with a barcode tattooed on the back of his head. The film attempts to flesh out the games amoral protagonist by giving him a tragic backstory, but at the end both the game and the movie star an emotionless killer who murders other killers for money. The result is a bleak, depressing movie with very few likable characters. The movie does have a whole lot of cool action sequences though and was popular enough.

It seems pretty clear that games just don't translate well into movies. It's a matter of structure, games like RPG's that have complex and engaging stories are meant to be played over the course of several days and aren’t easily condensed into 90 minutes.

Meanwhile, more action oriented games, such as First Person Shooters or Fighting Games, tend to have clear, compact stories but relatively flat characters. The result is a muddled compromise that pleases neither fans nor casual movie goers.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Top 5 Wes Craven Movies (Ranked From Worst to Best)

Top 5 Wes Craven movies
We here at TVSO were quite saddened to hear a couple weeks back about the passing of horror movie master Wes Craven.   While, Craven certainly dipped his toes into the mainstream of film-making later in his career, and while he also made a few stinkers (Deadly Friend, anyone?  Okay, the Kristy Swanson throws a basketball at Ann Ramsey's head scene does kick ass),  Craven inspired a whole generation of movie-makers on the rise with the work be produced during the 70's and into the 80's.   He created iconic horror movie characters that we as a entire culture have been unable to surprise to this day and he set the standard for edgy mega-violence in the horror genre.

Here are our Top 5 Wes Craven Movies (we've leaving out the bad ones and only talking about the good ones, here....)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Top 5 Super Nintendo Games
As much as we all love the latest incarnation of the Sony Playstation or our Xbox, back in the day the Super Nintendo ruled the roost.  Back in the early/mid '90s there was an epic throwdown between video game fans as to what was the best system, the SNES or the Sega Genesis.    Which were you a fan of?   Or were you one of those gamers that had a preference.

We here at leaned toward the SNES and here is a list of our Top 5 favorite Super Nintendo (SNES) games....

StarFox SNES Game
Inspired by a love of the '60s British television series Thunderbirds!,  Starfox featured a fox spaceship flying hero named "Fox McCloud," who along with his band of friends/animals must battle the dark forces of Andross and save their home world of Corneria.     While many have exclaimed that Starfox was the first 3D video game for Nintendo, in fact, it actually wasn't.   That title was bestowed to the game "X" which was released the year before Starfox in 1992.    But the distinction that fans of Starfox can revel in is the fact that the game was another first for Nintendo.   It  was the first home system video game to employ 3D polygon graphics in its user interface.  This gave Starfox a very unique feel to it as well as a look that when the game was promoted heavily across various television outlets in the early 90's highlighted.   The game became a mega-success for Nintendo thanks to its innovation design as well as through its heavy marketing, in fact, it became one of Nintendo's best sellers of all time.

Super Mario World SNES
Arguably the most difficult Mario game ever released by Nintendo.   Also known, in some circles, as Super Mario Bros. 4, Super Mario World  saw Mario and Luigi setting out to save Dinosaur Island.  The game was more of a challenge than any of the previous Mario games to be released by the video game system.    And while most remember the game today because of how it marks the first appearance of Yoshi (and that damn tongue), the game was a massive success for Nintendo eventually resulting in it being re-released as many as four times in the following years after the SNES disappeared off the shelves.  Most recently it was released for the slowly fading Nintendo Wii system.  

Legend of Zelda A link to the past SNES
Who doesn't love Link, right?    Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was the third Zelda release at the time of it's unveiling for the Super Nintendo System in 1991.   In the game, Link's goal was to save Hyrule and destroy Ganon.   Importantly, A Link to the Past was the first Zelda game to re-imagine the format and game play interface that had been so frustrating to fans and game players of the original Zelda on Nintendo a few years prior.   In addition, the idea of Link being able to skirt across alternate worlds was first introduced in A Link to the Past.    The game was a huge success for NES that it, like Super Mario World, would be released in the wake of the death of the SNES across the game systems that would follow like the Wii, 3DS, and the Game Boy systems.

Super Metroid SNES Top 5 games
Certainly, and old school Nintendo gamer and fan alike has fond memories of staying up late at night trying to beat the original Metroid on the Nintendo System, but when SNES introduced Super Metroid, shit got real.   Released in 1994 (we remember it coming out earlier than that!),  Super Metroid was supposed to pick up in the wake of Metroid II: Return of Samus.    Super Metroid, unlike the Metroid games to come before it, featured a extreme upgrade on all fronts.  Fans of Metroid were treated to better weapons and a hodge-podge of secret moves.   The game is infamous also, in the circles of die-hard Nintendo nuts, as it was the first Nintendo game for the era to be released on a 24-megabit cartridge.   The game wowed Nintendo fans and video game critics when it was released.  No doubt, this is what garnered it the success it had.

Chrono Trigger SNES Favorite games
Perhaps the most underrated SNES Game that Nintendo ever released for the SNES, and without good reason either, except, that perhaps, video games nearing the mid/late 90's were shifting and there was more interest in first-person shooters as well as fighting games than there was in role-playing adventure in the spirit of The Legend of Zelda.  Released in the Spring of 1995, Chrono Trigger was your basic role-playing adventure but what the game made up for in it's lack of anything that the critics might have had with it was the innovations it had like the elimination of random run-in's with bad guys and much more detailed to scale maps of the worlds in which you were playing in.   There was an element of advanced realism that was brought to the game that no RPG game had ever had before, and this was why, fans of RPG's in the mid/late '90s went crazy for it the incoming-era of shooters like Doom.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Who Was The Best James Bond Ever?

There have been a total of 6 astounding actors portraying the role of James Bond throughout the years. Each of these men brings something unique and intriguing to the table when acting as the popularly-known British spy. Upon reviewing countless articles and enduring way too many late hours of watching each classic movie, I’ve come to the conclusion that Daniel Craig was, in fact, the best James Bond of all time.

My reasoning for this conclusion is quite simple: there’s a certain mysterious persona surrounding Craig that’s not presented in all of the other James Bond actors. I believe this is an extremely important characteristic when playing the role of a slick, top-secret spy. Also, even though he’s more "thuggish" than the traditional Bond is personified as, it’s my opinion that this characteristic intensifies the feeling that Bond’s not a person to mess with and you would have to be crazy to cross him. A spy’s supposed to be tough anyway, right?

Another reason why I feel Craig’s the ultimate Bond is because while he has this tough and mysterious exterior throughout most of the movie, viewers do get a glimpse of his vulnerable side, though this glimpse is as short as it sounds. It shows that he’s a true human being and not some mission-driven machine. I personally respect this being expressed about Bond in the film because it’s a side of him that we have rarely, if ever, seen. This allowed fans to connect with the character much better than if he was portrayed as a heartless super-spy.

Let's move on to the awesome award Craig earned for his role as James Bond. He’s the first ever Bond actor to receive an Empire Award and be nominated for BAFTA award as best actor in a leading role. This accomplishment should prove without a doubt that Craig triumphs over all over Bond actors.

In conclusion, it’s extremely easy to see who the overall contender is in the competition for best Bond. Daniel Craig provided an outstanding performance and strived to personally become the character to the best of his ability. Daniel Craig surpassed all expectations of him for this role. He succeeded in the task of living up to high expectations set by previous James Bond actors beautifully and has set the bar immensely high for aspiring James Bond actors for years to come.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Will Ferrell: A Step Above The Rest

Comedian actor continues to bring laughs to viewers in his films while remembering his humble beginnings.

Will Ferrell first became known to the entertainment industry when he was casted to be on a comedy show 'Saturday Night Live'. He was a member of the show from 1995 until 2002. In the late 90’s, Ferrell and several other up and coming actors – Jack Black, Vince Vaughn, brothers Luke and Owen Wilson, Ben Stiller, and Steve Carell all became known as the 'Frat Pac'k. The name Frat Pack was picked up by media outlets after USA Today used the term in a June 2004 story. Born in Irvine, California, Ferrell never wanted to get into show business, especially after seeing his dad, who was a musician, never have a steady paycheck. After graduating from the USC with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Information, Ferrell knew that his passion wasn't broadcasting. His mother pushed him to pursue doing something that he likes, comedy.

In high school, Ferrell would perform comedy skits over the school’s intercom system, as well as perform them at the school’s talent show. So, Ferrell auditioned for The Groundlings, a comedy group that helped you develop your skills and talents. Ferrell learned how to work on his improvisation skills and soon became to realize just how much he liked to impersonate people. Ferrell soon started getting small roles – Grace Under Fire (tv series), Living Single (tv series) as well as doing commercials and landed a movie role in A Bucket of Blood. Things were starting to look up for Ferrell even the more and by the year 1994, Ferrell had gotten a spot on The Groundlings. Then an even bigger opportunity rose to Ferrell when he auditioned for SNL’s where he was able to land a spot on the show and was there from 1995 – 2002. During his seven years Ferrell did very good impersonations of US President George W. Bush, Cuban President Fidel Castro as well as Jeopardy game show host Alex Trebek and many more. Ferrell did many skits for SNL – Family Portrait and Pace: The Infinite Frontier. 

Ferrell started getting bigger roles and starring in other major films such as Zoolander, Dick, Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery and The Ladies Man. Ferrell was able to create memorable moments throughout all ends of the spectrum from dead pan to manic. Ferrell is an American symbol that plays his characters well. Sometimes his characters are macho, overbearing and even Ferrell worked hard at his craft by spending time working to his perfect his comedic skills and impressions on people. The Groundlings taught him to be a very good impressionist as well as build on his techniques that helped him build on his skills also. The basic acting skills that he learned helped him in his professional career to be such successful actor in Hollywood today. 

What makes him so perfect as an American symbol is that all the characters that he plays, he does such a good job at his craft. Sometimes his characters can be overbearing and macho and totally not even aware of what’s going on but he’s hilarious and plays his roles great. He nails his character bringing an A game and he’s clever with his characters leaving viewers laughing for minutes from a scene. Ferrell continues to be one of the funniest actors in film today.