Cultural News Bytes – January 22nd

Television

Perhaps as the column on the right suggests, tonight is an interesting night for TV. NBC has created quite the phenomenon in Heroes this season, and they’ve done quite a good job of establishing it as event programming. However, for better or for worse, they’ve decided to leave it in its timeslot. The result? A one-on-one confrontation with Jack Bauer.

This is ballsy stuff from NBC, really. From what I’ve been witnessing on message boards, Heroes is going to have a tough time maintaining their entire audience with 24 in its timeslot. Regardless of Heroes’ success, the reality is that 24 is both riding momentum from last week’s four-hour extravaganza and offers a consistently large amount of drama. Although Heroes is returning from a lengthy hiatus, its “cliffhanger” was more of a prognostication of the future than an actual cliffhanger, and I don’t think it will be enough to defeat the realities of nuclear holocaust.

Let’s look at each side’s advantages

24

– Riding success of last week’s premiere.

– Recent media coverage has been supportive of its storyline.

– Provides a bit more weekly drama, less slow episodes.

Heroes

– Returning from hiatus with strong marketing.

– Has the better lead-in (Deal or No Deal w/ Heroes preview vs. Prison Break)

My prediction: 24 takes the ratings win by a slim margin. I think that, though, any sign of a weakening storyline on 24 could reverse this trend. Either way, it’s a big story to watch for tomorrow. Us Canadians, however, don’t have to worry about it, as Global is airing both shows. Huzzah for the 49th Parallel!

Cinema

Just a quick note and link for the purposes of saving something for tomorrow’s major piece. Newsweek, every year, puts together a roundtable of people related to the Academy Awards in order to look back at the past year in film and understand who its major players were. Last year was a feature on a series of directors (Spielberg, Haggis, Ang Lee, etc.) whose films were all very dark and full of depth. Coincidentally, their films were all nominated for Best Picture. This year, they decided instead to look at some of the actors and actresses (including a good number of the front runners).

The Lineup: Brad Pitt (“Babel”), Forest Whitaker (“The Last King of Scotland”), Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Departed”, “Blood Diamond”), Cate Blanchett (“Babel”, “Notes on a Scandal”), Penelope Cruz (“Volver”) and Dame Helen Mirren (“The Queen”)

The result is a fascinating and humorous conversation that maintains a light hearted feel while really getting into some interesting discussions with these actors. Brad Pitt is in particular quite funny, as we could perhaps expect, and I think that it’s really interesting to note that they put them in front of an audience. Really, this is just one giant “Inside the Actor’s Studio” done for Oscar season, which I think serves its purpose well. In Awards season, these people become names on a ballot, not really allowing them to establish themselves as anything more. While someone like Pitt or DeCaprio might not feel this, someone like Forest Whitaker isn’t a celebrity to most people, and I think interviews like this one rightly balance the star hungry populace and those who want to learn more about the people who are being awarded by their peers.

Give it a read, it’s worth your time. And, tomorrow, myself and the elder McNutt will be previewing the Oscar Nominations in Cross-Blog Extravaganza, so stay tuned for that early tomorrow before the nominations go out.

Video Games

So, here’s a short story. The new Nintendo Wii connects to the internet, where you can surf the web and download classic Nintendo games…oh, and check the weather! It’s a really neat feature that I tried out while home for the holidays, and one my brother continues to enjoy. There’s just one problem, you see: I can’t access it here at Acadia.

It’s really quite tragic. We’re not allowed wireless routers in residence, and my little USB Dongle thing that Nintendo released has a neat habit of crashing my computer into a blue screen of death. As a result, I am without a connection to the internet. Why do I lament this today? Because, sadly, today one of the classic games I would most definitely purchase has been released onto the Virtual Console.

Alas, it is true! The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is one of those games that I never got to really play, and one that while I started in emulator form (Evil, I know) I never finished it. As a result, I want it quite badly, and sadly have no internet connection with which to acquire it. Curses!

To help soothe my pain, and everyone else’s, here’s a YouTube “video” clip. Really, it’s just the game’s logo, but it contains perhaps my single favourite piece of video game music of all time, the theme to the game’s Dark World, in all its MIDI glory.

1 Comment

Filed under Award Shows, Cinema, Television

One response to “Cultural News Bytes – January 22nd

  1. hey guys thanks alot for all the insight. really liked the section. and iam going to give it a shot. if you have any other nice books or sites on the subject, love to hear from you. thanks over again.

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