Tuesday, May 11, 2010

CrossTopix #10: American Idol, 2009-2010 TV Season Wrap-Up, Summer 2010 Movies, and Music Video Games

Hello everyone, STVO here. Welcome to the 10th Edition of CrossTopix! I appreciate he continued support of those that are viewing CrossTopix and hope to continue to reach new audiences. For those that are turning in for the first time, support CrossTopix by joining the fanpages on any of these three social networks: Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter. This week, we discuss our thoughts on American Idol, this summer's upcoming movies, and music video games such as Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Joining me this week is a friend from college, Nicole D.

Nicole: Hi, my name is Nicole and I'm a hair stylist that is obsessed with reality TV, not only do I love it, but that’s pretty much all we talk about in the salon. I would have to say that Survivor is my favorite reality TV show ever.


With that said, we'll open with this week with the Top 5!

1. Top 5 favorite TV shows your watching that currently still has new episodes.


1. South Park: Consistently funny this season and always pushing the limit just how I love it.

2. The Cleveland Show: Guilty pleasure cartoon that I find funny! I originally bashed it to be just another Seth Macfarlene show, but the first season of Cleveland is often funnier than the current season of Family Guy.

3. The Simpsons: Seasons 11-19 haven’t been too great (Season 12 is easily the worst season of that show.) The two most recent seasons seemed to have gone back to simpler story-telling and in return, I’ve been watching some decent to very good episodes!

4. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: I don’t always get to watch this FX original, but whenever I do, I always crack up! Danny Devito adds a whole lot to the show and the main cast are very enjoyable as well.

5. Secret Girlfriend: It’s a stupid show, yes, but d*mn it it’s entertaining! It reminds me of some old Sega CD or computer games from the 1990s where you watch movies of real people who talk to the screen like you’re actually there. In this you play a guy who has two goofy best friends, a deranged (yet super-hot) ex-girlfriend following all your moves, and of course, a sweet and pretty girl you’re always hanging out with but has a boyfriend. It sounds like an average life minus the “super-hot ex!”

Runner-Up: Archer. I don’t know why this didn’t make it to Adult Swim, but man is it funny! It’s from Adam Reed, creator of Frisky Dingo and Sealab 2021.


1. Survivor: It never disappoints. This season is especially interesting in bringing back all of the favorites from past seasons. They always add new twists and turns to the game so there is never a dull moment.

2. House: Not only is House super hot and brilliant, but there is so much substance in that one hour that I don't even get all week watching these other shows. I didn't really understand how great of a show it was until I really paid attention to all of the subtle jokes and dry humor the show has. Now it's a show I can't live without.

3. Real Housewives of New York City: Does anyone else wonder how these women can have so much drama in their lives? They had to be the girls in high school that gossiped non-stop, because it has followed into adulthood. I thought that went away eventually. In any case, I wouldn't complain if someone offered me that lifestyle. I really like seeing all of the fun parties and events they get to attend. The cat-fights are just an added bonus. Makes me want to move to NYC.

4. America's Next Top Model: Now I don't condone girls being a size zero to fit into the modeling world, but they take some amazing pictures and I find myself saying to

me and others when were taking pictures, “don't lose your neck”, “chin down.” Tyra can get a bit annoying since she knows everything there is to know about modeling, but I guess when you are trying to be the next Oprah you have to start somewhere.

5. The Hills/The City: I'm putting them in the same line, because they are basically the same show. It used to have more value, and I know it’s scripted, but it was never this bad. I'm glad The Hills is coming to an end. It makes me really realize how awesome my life is.

2. American Idol has been on Fox for nearly ten years! It has provided popular new talent and

has provided laughs for those attempting that talent. Who have been some of your favorite

performers that have won or been made famous by Idol? Any thoughts on the current season

and who will win?

STVO: First thing I want to open up saying; I’m not a fan of reality

television. I did enjoy the Surreal Life and am alright with Celebrity Fit Club due to lesser-known/forgotten celebrities living up life and Hogan Knows Best was sometimes watchable because it had one of my childhood icons as the main star. I give props to this show and Biggest Loser for actually making something positive for people over garbage shows like “Date My Mom,” “Laguna Beach,” or even “Jersey Shore.” Man I hate MTV!

I’m sorry I went off-topic but had to let the rage out. Anyway, I haven’t watched any of the current seasons of Idol but I would watch it from time-to-time in college (mostly the audition episodes.) To answer this question, I admire the work of Kelly Clarkson and even Rubin Studdard but neither of these two piqued my interest like William Hung!! This guy was hilarious as he sang very off key and actually got a music contract, released three CDs, hosted a kids’ Saturday morning block for one week, and does concerts. He’s a horrible singer, I’d never buy an album or download a song on iTunes, but William Hung, you rule!

Nicole: Wow, I can't believe that American Idol has been on for that long already. As much as I love the show there are definitely some things that I could do without. When the show first started it was one hour on Tuesday and only a half an hour on Wednesday. I think it’s something they need to get back to. It takes away from the focus of the show. Although, I love of all of the musical guests, it has become such a time commitment and find myself watching it after it has been Tivoed and skipping through all of the unnecessary parts.

My favorite contestants in the past have been Clay Aiken, who in

my opinion should have won. I'm still bitter about that now haha. Every single season I had always picked the runner up, I was starting to feel cursed, but then David Cook came into my life. He in my opinion redefined what American Idol was all about. Unfortunately now when people try to do what he did, whether it be, changing the song completely or trying to make it their own, the judges don't like it. I will never forget his rendition of “Billy Jean.” But this season I hope Lee takes it all. Not only is he a Mount Prospect native, but he is just all around awesome!

3. Summer is a big time for the movie industry where all the blockbusters are usually released.

What movies are you anticipating the most for this upcoming season?

STVO: Already saw Iron Man 2, that’s it I’m done, summer has ended… No seriously, this one may be hard to top, but there are plenty of movies I’d like to see (and I recommend you all start it with the second Iron Man.) I will be honest; it’s looking like a much weaker summer than previous years have been. Three movies I’m very sure I’m going to see are Toy Story 3, Inception, and Prince of Persia. The first movie is a Pixar movie so I know it’s going to be good and I loved the first two Toy Story movies. Inception is from Christopher Nolan, has an interesting story (similar to Dark City though), and looks promising from the trailer. So far, I think I’m the only one with any faith in Prince of Persia. Yes it’s a video game based movie, but it’s from Jerry Bruckheimer/Disney and they did a good job with the Pirates of the Caribbean series and I do get a strong vibe of that from the trailer and as far as I know, it seems to be accurate with the Sands of Time.

Robin Hood is a movie I might see, though the story has been done repeatedly. Predators has potential as it’s a sequel to two great movie though from 20-30 years ago!! The Last Air Bender was originally a Nickelodeon cartoon called Avatar (gee I “wonder” why it’s not being called that), an enjoyable show but wonder if M. Knight Shamalan is going to be able to adapt it well into a live action movie being his first PG project. The only other two that make me glance are Jonah Hex and the Expendables, but until I find out more information, I’m going to file them under the maybe pile. 2010 is a bit of a downgrade for me going from 2007 with Spider-Man 3/Simpsons Movie/Pirates 3, 2008 with Iron Man and The Dark Knight, while 2009 had X-Men Origins/Terminator Salvation/Up. Okay, maybe 2009 wasn’t that great of a year, but it looks a little sharper than 2010 in my opinion.

Nicole: If you asked me this question this time last year I would have so many movies to be excited about. I'm not going to movies as frequently as I have been in the past. Then I did a Google search and found quite a few movies that I'm excited to see. Shrek 4 looks like it won't disappoint, although the second one is my favorite, so we’ll see. Typical girl answer coming next: Sex and the City 2. Everyone wants a love like Carrie and Big and at least while the movie is playing, we all have it. I'm interested in seeing all of the fashion and hair trends they bring to the table. “Get Him to the Greek” looks hilarious. Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, and Diddy, it doesn't get better than that, oh wait, yes it does, Jason Segel's, Forgetting Sarah Marshall's character, Aldis Snow is also in this movie. I read somewhere that he allowed that character to be in the movie which is awesome! I love Jason and everything he's in.

4. Music games have become very popular in the mid-to-late 2000s. There are many franchises

still running wild today including Rock Band, Guitar Hero, and DJ Hero. With these three titles

and others, what have been some of your favorite games? Also, feel free to share what you’d

like to see from these games in the future.

STVO: I remember when music games first launched and were played mostly by the hardcore gamers. The first time I remember music/dancing games were from the original PlayStation system with the arcade hit Dance Dance Revolution (DDR), PaRappa the Rapper, and a series called Bust-a-Groove. These three are some of my favorite games in the music/rhythm genre. DDR helped me get back into shape during college, PaRappa the Rapper is a silly yet fun game starring a rapping dog, while Bust-a-Groove is entertaining as it's a dance off game where you hit the right buttons in a sequence to compete against another dancer. Think of it as "You Got Served - Japan: The Video Game."

Today we have more mainstream yet still very entertaining games with Guitar Hero and Rock Band (haven’t played DJ Hero yet, unfortunately.) There are two problems I have with these titles and even the wannabe titles. The first problem is that there’s too many of the same titles: to date, there have been 13 Guitar Hero titles released since October 2005 and a lot of them have been themed versions such as Van Halen or Aerosmith. Even with the sequels, some just add slight tweaks such as the ability to play with 4 drum players, 4 guitar players, etc. The second problem I have is that with all of these games and peripherals being released, they’re expensive! Seriously, a Rock Band pack each year costs around $150+ for a game, a guitar, microphone, and drums. Unless you’re guaranteed to have friends over every day or this is the only game you play in your collection, that’s a lot of money spent!! My suggestions for future games are to keep the genre simpler by releasing inexpensive peripherals, make one ultimate game with multiple song packs to download, and release more innovative games bi-yearly. Doubt it would happen, but one could dream, right?

Nicole: I'm no musician so when I heard that Guitar Hero was coming out; I couldn't have been more excited. I was obsessed, playing for hours on end, so much that when I looked away from the TV, the floor was moving. I must say I got pretty good, for a girl. As time passed, the thrill of it went away, but came back when Band Hero came out, and I got the chance to be a drummer and a singer, although the latter only happened once. I haven't played DJ Hero, but I want to try it! I think this industry is only going to grow because so many people want to be musicians and this gives them that chance, even if it's just for a short period of time.


That is it for this week's edition of Crosstopix! Special thanks to Nicole D. for joining the discussion! Remember to join the CrossTopix page on any of these social networks: Facebook, MySpace, or Twitter. If you're interested in talking to STVO or becoming a guest, please e-mail him at Kingstvo@gmail.com. Next week, there won't be a CrossTopix discussion but it will return in two weeks with not one, but two guests! STVO will be at Anime Central this weekend in Rosemont, IL (www.acen.org) and will be posting a review of the event next week. In addition, look for some new columns to debut from other contributing writers. Until then, stay tuned and have a great weekend!

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