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by Michael Landweber

8 Apr 2010


TV shows in their purest form offer an escape into another world. Suddenly, however, there is a mini-trend where shows are serving up multiple versions of the same world. It’s enough to give a viewer whiplash. I’m trying to figure out if it is lazy writing or brilliant twisty storytelling. Let’s look at three shows that are using this device right now before we decide.

Be warned: spoilers abound.

by Steve Leftridge

7 Apr 2010


Well, Didi Benami is gone, which means, of course, that Ryan Seacrest can now formerly ask her out. American Idol has long been about ill-kept secrets, but Ryan’s crush on Didi was so obvious that I kept waiting for Simon to tell the two of them to get a room. Ryan’s frantic plea, “Sing for your life!” while the judges deliberated saving her with the special once-only grace card was telling enough, but when the judges let her elimination stand, Ryan looked like he himself had just been canned. “You are one brave woman”, he told Didi, and I thought he was going to propose right then and there.

Anyway, with Didi gone, the show got even more boy-heavy—just three girls left, and one of them, Katie, has been hanging by a thread the last couple of weeks. On Tuesday, the Top Nine had the Lennon-McCartney songbook to choose from, a treasure trove just asking to be screwed up. You likely remember Season 7 when they had contestants singing Beatles songs for two straight weeks, largely viewed at the time as a disaster. This time, they figured they’d have more success if they cut George’s songs, I suppose, since Beatles Night became Lennon/McCartney Night, with Sir Paul himself taping a good-luck message in his legendary winky, thumbs-up delivery. As it turned out, it was a night, like last week’s, that ratcheted up the competition with mostly solid performances. Let’s go to the board.

by Jessy Krupa

7 Apr 2010


While the episode opened with a “previously on” clip show, there wasn’t really much of a reason for it. This is especially true for last Tuesday’s episode, where most of the show was spent dilly-dallying around with useless information instead of advancing the plot lines.

The useless information I’m referring to is Adam and Kristina’s love life, which has been suffering because of the stress of keeping up with Max. Way too much time was spent on Kristina’s accidental complaining about her lack of romance to her husband and Max’s understanding behavioral aide, Gabby. This resulted in Adam discussing the same matter with Sarah, for who knows what reason. However, progress was made in showing Gabby’s complicated job of not only figuring out what makes a child with Asperger’s tick, but also counseling the parents involved. Gabby essentially taught Max discipline here, by using a book about lizards to get him to change his plans and convincing him to play foursquare with a little girl at the park through promising him another pet lizard. It seems as if she is just bribing Max, but I’m not going to question child psychology through a TV show’s interpretation of it.

by Jessy Krupa

5 Apr 2010


During this week’s “previously on Supernatural” montage, we heard Zachariah say, “How many times have you two died anyway?”, so it shouldn’t have shocked you to see Sam and Dean gunned down by two vengeful hunters in the show’s opening moments. They apparently knew how the apocalypse would be started if Sam accepted Lucifer, so they killed him to prevent it. Then they shot Dean to death because they feared his wrath. Also predictable was the fact that Dean wanted to be murdered after seeing Sam die.

But the predictably ended to the sound of “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, as Dean woke up in the Impala and was greeted by an adolescent Sam. Just as the two was having a happy moment, shooting off fireworks in a field, the vision disappeared. Dean then heard Castiel break in over the car radio in order to tell him that this was not a dream and he was actually in Heaven. In the Supernatural universe, despite the fact that the moon looks really weird, Heaven looks a lot like Kansas. Dean follows Castiel’s advice to drive down the road, but he finds himself in a strange house, watching a grown-up Sam eat Thanksgiving dinner with an unknown family. Sam then tells Dean that he woke up there, at the home of a classmate who once invited him over for the holidays. Therefore, Heaven, as Dean explains it, is “a chance to replay your greatest hits”.

by Steve Leftridge

31 Mar 2010


Going into Tuesday night, we were down to the Top Ten, and perhaps for the first time since the season began, voters finally axed the right singer. Paige Miles was pretty sore when her name was called, and you can’t blame her since she was so close to making the big tour. Nor, however, can you blame America’s speed-dialers and repeat texters, who liked everyone else better, including the much-maligned Tim Urban (barely). In any case, it’s time to turn the Paige so that the real bloodletting can begin, as the finalists start truly wishing the worst for each other. The stakes go up each week, knowing that the closer you get, the meaner your agent is going to be. That is, for every Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, there’s a Kellie Pickler and a Chris Daughtry out there who are also tipping with fifties these days.

One of the season’s most surprising developments, in a season full of them, is the fact that the boys, in the Top Ten, outnumber the girls six to four, especially given pre-season projections that the girls would run away with it. But here we are, and three or four of the boys stepped up even further on Tuesday. In fact, after Tuesday, the competition seems tighter than ever, with at least six of the singers having legitimate shots at winning the whole thing. So instead of coasting, knowing that the tour is set and that the odds of winning are long, everyone appears to be in it to win it and might even have improved enough to, in the final few weeks, salvage what has been a heavily derided year. R&B lothario Usher was on hand, by the way, to coach the Top Tenners, as each chose a tune from the great R&B hitlist. In honor of the Top Ten, here were the night’s Top Ten moments.

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