Super Mario Brothers: Rio Olympics

  The Rio Olympics came to a close a few days ago and it has been an incredible ride.  United States competitors took home more gold medals, Usain Bolt proved himself once again to be the fastest runner in the world, and Michael Phelps gave the ultimate glare that broke the internet in just 24 hours.  With all of this excitement this summer, the Rio Olympics came to an end with the traditional closing ceremony.

After all of the Olympics event, the hosting country puts on their closing ceremony show for their audience.  All of the competitors are tired out from their performance, so a good show is in order to celebrate their hard work!  Rio put on a colorful display of dancers, performers, and singers that was accompanied by music and lighting effects.  Once Rio completed their ceremony, they passed the torch over to Tokyo for hosting the summer Olympics in 2020.  Tokyo put on a dazzling show with anime characters appearing around the city, but the real star that stole the show was Mario.

Mario, the superstar of the Super Mario Brothers series, appeared at the closing ceremony!  The beloved mascot of Nintendo jumped into a warp pipe from Tokyo to enter another pipe leading into the Olympics in Rio.  A man climbed up the pipe dressed as Mario, only to reveal that he was Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.  Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as Mario…no words could describe how EPIC that performance was!

This colorful reference spread through social media like wildfire, with viewers freaking out about Japan’s Prime Minister dressing up as Mario.  Rio put on a colorful theatrical performance, but Shinzo Abe stole the show when he appeared from the pipe.  Audiences can definitely look forward to more animated theatrics when Tokyo hosts the Olympics in 2020.  In the meantime, Olympic athletes will take this time to train harder for the next summer games.

Mario has become the quintessential brand for Tokyo.  Mario was one of many Nintendo characters created by Shigeru Miyamoto, releasing him for the home consoles with Super Mario Brothers for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985.  It sold millions of copies worldwide and aided in resurrecting the American video game market when it crashed during the 80s.  Both in reality and in the virtual world, Mario is considered a hero for gamers worldwide.  While he is busy saving Princess Peach from the castle, Mario is saving millions of people suffering from boredom on a daily basis!

I watched the closing ceremony for Rio and was amazed to see Mario making an appearance!  Japan is widely famous for their video games, so it was great to see a video game superstar like Mario pop up the warp pipe for the Olympics closing ceremony.  Choosing Mario as part of the ceremony was a brilliant strategy for marketing Nintendo.  While Nintendo won’t be sponsoring the 2020 games, it was a great move by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to appear as Mario.  Not only did the publicity stunt raise awareness of Mario, but it showed Abe’s comical side to the audience.  Kudos to Japan for their strategic business move to announce the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games.  With a colorful and animated display like that, we can only expect more exciting performances in the next Olympic opening ceremony!

 

2016 Fall TV’s Flop

Before fall starts creeping in with the cooler air and colored leaves, advertisements come on for new TV series that are hitting the networks soon.  Whether it is a new season of a current show or a new series just starting, audiences can look forward to a slew of fresh new stories to see on the silver screen.  A change in seasons means that we can look forward to original and fresh ideas to enjoy.

But recently most of these “fresh” ideas have become reboots that stem from classic TV shows/movies that have aired just decades ago.  Rebooted series have already been canceled after just one season and received numerous pans from the audience.  Where are the original series that we used to look forward to every fall?  With all of these TV flops happening, is cable TV even worth watching?

A trailer for a Lethal Weapon TV series was released on May 16th, just a mere month before summer started.  The cast of Lethal Weapon includes Damon Wayans, Clayne Crawford, Keesha Sharp, Jordana Brewster, and Kevin Rahm.  Lethal Weapon will premiere on the FOX Network on September 21st.

After releasing the trailer on YouTube, a wave of pans flooded the comments section.  If audiences are already turning off from the series before the shows has hit the airwaves, you know that this is only going to end up badly.  This is just a PR nightmare that is just waiting to happen.

Reboots have already been flopping during 2016’s TV season.  CBS’s Rush Hour series premiered on March 31st and announced its cancellation on May 16thRush Hour starred Justin Hires and Jon Foo in this police procedural comedy of the same name from the film.  The series aired 7 episodes and was cancelled less than two months after the first episode hit the airwaves.  Another failed reboot was Uncle Buck, a single-camera comedy series that aired on June 14th for the ABC network.  ABC announced its cancellation less than a month after the series aired, with only 8 episodes that made it on TV.

2016 has been a rough year so far for cable television.  These days “original” and “fresh” ideas usually consist of superhero series, a reboot from a classic title, or a sitcom starring that once famous comedian who comes back for his/her own series.  Where have all of the good series gone?  And with all of these shows quickly being cancelled this year, is cable TV even worth it?

Surprisingly, a majority of original series are flocking towards networks that would showcase the darker and edgier content towards their audience.  American Horror Story is flourishing on FX because their targeted demographic is males/females in the ages of 18-49.  It is rated TV-MA not just because of its violent and gruesome content, but because the show was INTENDED to be marketed towards the demographic who enjoy horror series with edgier content.  FX is one of the highest-rated networks because series like American Horror Story are original, pushing the boundaries with their edgy content and gruesome story-line that speaks to its audience.

With all of these “original” shows quickly being cancelled, could this become the beginning of the end for cable TV?  Premium channels like FX and Showtime have been dominating the Nielsen TV rating war with their controversial themes and original storylines for their audience.  Cable TV could be in even more hot waters with streaming services like Netflix and Hulu pushing out their own original series.

So what is the answer to salvaging networks like CBS in the all-out ratings war?  Or has Netflix and Amazon planted the seed in what would become the dominating networks in pushing out the best shows the audiences have ever seen?  We don’t know what the future holds for TV this fall, but we do know that audiences have been migrating from catching an episode of The Rockford Files on the old TV antennas to streaming Orange is the New Black on Netflix.  It is a dawn of a new era for creative content and streaming services have been planting the seed for better shows to binge-watch.

 

American Horror Story: Spooky Maze

A few weeks ago, the new teasers for the latest installment of American Horror Story were released on FXThese vague clips gave us very few information about the next season of the horror series.  As baffling as the teaser trailers were, watching these clips made me realize that fall was just around the corner.  But these teasers are not the only surprise for this year’s Halloween celebration.

Other than the new season being released in September, American Horror Story will be featured as the main attraction for Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights!  Fans of the acclaimed horror series can visit the Universal Studios in Hollywood or Orlando to enter the American Story Horror maze.  The maze will pull in stories from season 1, season 4, and season 5 of the show.  Fan-favorite monsters such as Rubber Man, Twisty the Clown, and even the Addiction Demon will make their appearance to spook guests who enter this daring maze.

All three monsters are what made American Horror Story such an incredibly twisted horror series to watch.  The Rubber Man made his appearance in episode 1 of American Horror Story: Murder House.  His most notorious scene was when he took advantage of Vivien in her bedroom, setting the stage for what would be the most disturbing tale ever seen.

Twisty the Clown gathered his bag of death-defying tricks for season 4 on American Horror Story: Freak Show.  He scared millions of audiences when he appeared on episode one, making Pennywise look like child’s play compared to what Twisty has done to his victims.

But it’s the latest monster, the addiction demon, that will be sure to scare everyone who enters the Hotel Cortez.  It was the first episode of American Horror Story: Hotel where the addiction demon took its first victim Gabriel, who was played by Max Greenfield.  Gabriel was the first to check into Hotel Cortez, setting up what would be the most disturbing event ever played out on the episode.

It’s really exciting to see American Horror Story being used for other marketing strategies!  The popular anthropology series took off after the first season and became a hit for the fall season.  Each season had a monster and disturbing tale to tell to its audience.  Whether it is a haunted house or a freak show, creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk really know how to put true fear into a story.

This would be an amazing exhibit to enter for this year’s Halloween celebration in October.  Universal Studios is famous for switching around various exhibits for their park attendances, but this will attraction will definitely be popular for the crowd.  Both American Horror Story and Universal Studios will gain major publicity points for shelling out this attraction for the fall.  September and October are going to be amazing months for American Horror Story this year.

 

All About That #VanLife

Millennials like me are a unique generation of people to hear about.  We strive for individual expression, push for more equal rights among everyone, binge-watch shows on Netflix, use ride-sharing apps like Lyft to get home, and most of our news we get comes from Buzzfeed.  Many people are perplexed by our behavior, scratching their heads on the dramatic technological changes we’ve created for this new world we live in.  Some ideas have broken ground on a solving a complex problem while others have just created a new fad for people dive into.  One unique fad that has taken storm lately is the van life movement.

Van Life, known as #VanLife on social media, is a movement where young adults are redesigning their vans to create their new homes.  More young adults are transforming their vans into a mobile home rather than saving up for a larger house.  The main objective is to create their mobile home they can travel around with to save money on expenses like mortgages, bills, repairs, and other unfortunate costs.  Once their mobile home is complete, the only expenses they deal with are food and gas for the car.

It’s like something out of On the Road where young adults have been cruising around in their new home for a year or so now.  People showcase their vans through Instagram or Twitter with other fans of this movement.  Cross-country trips are nothing new, but the #vanlife movement has taken the adventure to new heights.  Now you won’t have to go back home after your adventures because you already live in it!

This is a fascinating concept that I have heard about a few times.  I read On the Road by Jack Kerouac a month ago and the novel inspired me to take a cross-country trip of my own.  Just the thought of getting into a car and driving all across the country would be the most amazing experience ever.  While I don’t have a van around, I have had thoughts of just taking my things into my Toyota Camry and starting my own adventure.

Millennials didn’t conjure up this idea of cross-country traveling, but they certainly elevated the idea in the digital world.  We utilized social media to revolutionize how we watch TV or how to purchase products online and at the store.  Van life is just another example of millennials transforming the On the Road experience into a greater cause.  With the summer still in full swing, now is a great time to hop into a vehicle for a cross-country adventure with your friends or family.

Phelps’ Glare Seen Around the World

2016 marks another year of the summer Olympics.  Every 4 years, athletes from all across the country come together to compete for the gold.  From the United States to Egypt, participants from around the world battle it out to become the very best of their nation.  Competition runs high for many athletes whether it is performing the perfect dive or hurling the javelin as far as they can.

Before it became the month-long TV phenomenon, the Olympics were originated in Ancient Greece with the first event held in 773 B.C.  Ambitious men came together in Olympia to test their strength, agility, coordination, and other physical attributes to become the very best.  Only men were able to compete in the Olympics, performing their games in the nude (yes, ALL games were performed buck naked!) as a means to show off their male physique.  It was a battle of strength, courage, and intelligence among the various competitors that wanted to be the best.

Flash-forward hundreds of thousands of years later and the Olympics is still relevant in the digital age.  Audiences never have to miss a competitive moment when millions of fans share highlights on social media.  There’s always that memorable moment that breaks the internet and the newest highlight comes from the popular U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps.

That’s right folks!  Michael Phelps is making waves on the internet once again (no pun intended!).  Other than winning multiple gold medals for men’s swimming, he rocked the world with the notorious tabloid pictures of him doing bong rips at a party.  All partying aside, he still kept swimming to win more gold medals at this year’s Olympics in Rio.  He recently won the gold medal last night, but it was his infamous glare that broke the internet.

Before competing against Chad le Clos of South Africa, Phelps was sported in a blue sports coat glaring at le Clos.  Phelps glared as Chad le Clos shadowboxed near the other competitors. Immediately after his glaring moment, the internet was swarmed with memes surrounding his highlighted moment.  Below are some memorable memes conjured up by various internet users.

So what was Phelps’ glare all about?  Was he secretly seeking revenge against him for winning the gold medal during the London Olympics?  Either way, his unforgettable glare is just one of many highlights during the game.  America’s greatest value in life is competition and nothing said it best than Michael Phelps’ stare-down towards Chad le Clos.

I actually watched the Olympics last night and remember seeing Phelps’ reaction before his run.  It was amazing to see Phelps win another gold medal for America.  Why is America so competitive?  America VALUES competition.  Phelps’ glare represents what America stands for – competing to become the very best in the nation.  This country works hard to kick ass every day, including fighting for our freedom.  We won our right back in the year 1776 and still prove ourselves worthy as an amazing country.  Kudos to Michael Phelps for breaking the internet once again!  His glare around the world shows everyone what America stands for as a nation.

 

Nintendo Power Hits the Digital Shelves

One of the coolest magazines that came out when I was a kid was Nintendo PowerNintendo Power was this amazing news and strategy magazine that was published each month by Nintendo of America.  The first issue was published in July 1988 with a spot light on the release of Super Mario Bros. 2 for the NES.  Upon its initial release, Nintendo of America published 3.6 million copies of the magazine.

Each issue contained certain sections for the readers to read through on their free time.  One example was the Pulse section that featured letters to the editor that were submitted by the readers.  Power Up was a multi-page section dedicated to news relating to the video games, their developers and publishers, and special announcements.  The ending section of Power Up was called Game Forecast, a tidbit listing upcoming games and the status in relation to their release.  Counselor’s Corner was a section where counselors answered game-related questions and provided hints or strategies to their audiences.

Millions of Nintendo fans wanted their hands on the magazine each month.  Nintendo was entering the golden age of home console video gaming during the 90s and their Nintendo Power magazine was riding the wave of success.  The magazine ended its decades of fun with their final issue released on December 11th, 2012.  It may have been an end of a glorious era, but the internet swooped in with a surprise.

Starting this week, Nintendo fans can find every issue of Nintendo Power online.  That’s right, all 285 issues of Nintendo Power have hit the digital shelves!  Fans of the gaming magazine can find every issue at archive.org.  90s gamers can head over to the site to reminisce about the golden days of home console gaming, when you had to read Nintendo Power to search for the hidden secrets found in Super Mario Brothers.  Travel back in time with these classic issues featuring those cartoony graphics of your favorite Nintendo characters on the front cover.

It is so cool to see all of these issues of Nintendo Power up on the internet!  I haven’t read any of the issues since I was a kid and it’ll be great to read some when I am free.  Looking back, I relied more on Prima Strategy Guides or strategies I printed out from the internet to get through the level I was stuck on.  Nintendo is riding the nostalgic wave once again by putting up these issues on archive.org for everyone to rejoice over.

If you are a true 90s gamer, you definitely should scroll through a few issues to reminisce on the golden age of gaming.  Before things like YouTube or IGN, Nintendo Power was the magazine to get in order to beat that tough boss or complete that difficult level you have been stuck on for weeks.  So if you want to figure out how to pummel that boss on Donkey Kong Country 2, I would take a look through an issue of Nintendo Power for those hints and secrets of the game.

American Horror Story’s Mysterious New Chapter

If I had to choose one TV series that is my favorite, it would have to be American Horror Story.  Created by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, this twisted anthology horror series brings a new level of fear for the audience.  From entering into the Murder House to checking out of Hotel Cortez, I have watched the most wretched and tragic stories come to life on the silver screen.  American Horror Story is one of those series that keeps pulling me back for another chapter in this anthology series on FX every Wednesday night.

Each season of the show invites viewers into a new theme every year.  Past settings of American Horror Story include a Coven, a freak show, a haunted murder house, and even an insane asylum for the mentally ill.  There are new characters appearing in each chapter and familiar faces resurface from the former seasons.  What also makes the series interesting is that each chapter is connected in one form or another.  With very few clues provided for what the next season will be, this year may be the most intriguing chapter of American Horror Story yet.

Recent photos surfaced on the internet that could reveal a possible colonial theme for season six of American Horror Story.  One photo shows a tree with the word ‘CROATOAN’ etched on the surface.  If you actually paid attention in history class, you would remember that Croatoan was a reference to the mystery of Roanoke.  Roanoke was a North Carolina colony established in 1590 where 117 people mysteriously vanished.  So based on the newest clues revealed by Ryan Murphy, we could be in for a taste of pre-American history this year!

The set pictures weren’t the only hint that has been dropped this year.  A few teaser trailers have been released a week before the set pictures came up.  Here are the details of the teasers that have been revealed:

Milli Crossing:  A millipede crosses through Lady Gaga’s head, slithering near her nose and mouth.  The teaser ends with a black backdrop with the phrase ‘?6’ and the date of when the season will air.  Does the millipede have any significance to Lady Gaga’s newest character?  Are bugs going to be prevalent in Roanoke?

Post Op:  Here we see a naked bald man tied down while another figure staples what reveals to be ‘?6’ on the top of his head.  Will we see more forms of torture in the next season?  Is the bald man one of the serial killers of the next season?  Who was that strange figure stapling ‘?6’ onto his head?

Lullaby:  This trailer shows a baby crib surrounded by a white veiling in a darkly lit room near a window.  The camera pans in to reveal a mobile with a knife, a claw, a hook, and the phrase ‘?6’ as metal tools.  At the end, a demon hand latches onto the knife and pulls it down.  We then see the ‘?6’ phrase in a film-screen type backdrop in the end.  Could the tools be the weapons the serial killer uses in the season?  Was that the baby from season one on American Horror Story: Murder House?

Sunset Stroll: We see the sun setting in this deserted land as three mysterious figures walk by.  The figures walk closer, with their eyes lit and their bodies cast as silhouettes in front of the sun.  This trailer ends with the ‘?6’ phrase on another black backdrop.  Who were those mysterious figures lurking by?  Why were their eyes lit up?

Descent:  The trailer is set in a flight of metal stairs shown within a darkly lit room.  A young woman runs down as hand try to grab her, with one of them grabbing her ankle and causing her to scream in terror.  It ends with the ‘?6’ phrase written in chalk on a black board.  Are the demon hands part of the monster theme for the newest season?  Will children become the main focus just like last season in the Hotel Cortez?

After viewing the teaser trailers, we are left with more questions than answers.  This year’s season of American Horror Story is sure to become a monstrous hit among the fans!  What can we expect for this year’s various themes within the land of Roanoke?  Aliens? Devils? Haunted children of the past?  We will have to be patient while more clues are dropped between now and September 14th.

I am really looking forward to the next season of American Horror Story!  The series always drops the best hints that keep me guessing as to what the next chapter will be.  It wasn’t until I started watching Nip/Tuck that I really got into Ryan Murphy’s work on Television.  After binge-watching each season of Nip/Tuck, I started watching the 1st season of American Horror Story and I absolutely loved it.

Ryan Murphy has this twisted concept of human psychological horror that you would never even think about.  It is this concept of horror that make you gasp of fear at the mere thought of what happens to the characters on screen.  Horrific acts such as abortion, murder, mutilation, and rape are common throughout both of those shows.  From what I have seen from his work, I can definitely anticipate a twisted tale behind the mysteries of the Roanoke colony.