Tag Archives: Nostalgia

Reboot TV is the NEW TV


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MTV recently aired the first episode of Fear Factor after a five-year hiatus.  The rebooted series featured everything from the original format – six contestants, three extreme stunts, and the $50,000 cash prize.  For a show that revived after being on break for that long, it actually turned out pretty good!  I would definitely flip back to MTV on Tuesdays just to catch the latest episodes.

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But this isn’t another promo post for Fear Factor (already did that on Tuesday!).  What’s interesting to point out is that Fear Factor isn’t the only nostalgic series that revived on the airwaves.  Showtime recently brought back the 90s cult classic Twin Peaks after being off the air for 26 years.  Agent Cooper was back on TV to admit that it was a DAMN fine cup of coffee!  Four episodes into the season and it’s already a hit with the audience.

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Even ABC is jumping on the nostalgic-bandwagon with plans to revive Roseanne in early 2018.  The wacky blue-collar family sitcom will feature the original cast in an eight-episode season premiere.  Their everyday struggles will still be relevant to modern-day America, even if it is two decades later.

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Other than Roseanne, Will & Grace is another classic sitcom being revived for NBC.  Eric McCormack (Will), Debra Messing (Grace), Sean Haynes (Jack), and even Megan Mullaly (Karen) are reuniting for 10 new episodes this fall.  It seems as though rebooted series is the latest TV trend this year.

So…what’s going on here?  Why are all of these series suddenly jumping back onto our TV line-up?  What benefits are TV networks getting by reviving these classic shows?

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Well folks, our answers all lie within what shows have been airing nowadays.  TV series these days are already getting the boot after less than 3 seasons.  Series like Aquarius and The Real O’Neals were cancelled after their last season aired (Imaginary Mary got the ax after just NINE episodes!).  These cancellations are causing TV networks to go back to square one in order to boost their ratings.

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For the record, FOX has already been running with this strategy.  FOX has found huge buzz by reviving classic series such as 24, The X-Files, and even Prison Break.  NBC took notice of this trend, thus motivating them to bring back Will & Grace for their audience.  Rebooted series is the new TV trend for cable television in 2017, with many networks utilizing this strategy to fight off their competition (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, the internet in general).  Networks like Showtime and ABC are looking to dust off old series for their returning audience as a means to boost their ratings/buzz.

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With more audiences flocking to Netflix or Hulu, you can’t really blame cable networks for going back to their own series.  Before the days of streaming content, shows like Will & Grace are what made NBC such a popular series.  But it’s not so much that the streaming series are ruining cable networks – the content itself is running ragged, with writers scrambling to produce something original in this 21st century.  Not only was Will & Grace popular for its humor, but it was also a groundbreaking series in its day (known for shifting public opinion of the LGBTQ community).  It’s hard to tap into that sort of creative energy that Will & Grace had and these new series (like Imaginary Mary) are struggling to keep afloat (the trailer alone for Imaginary Mary made me want to puke after watching!).

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What does the future hold for cable television?  Is rebooting classic tv series their last hope before streamed networks take over?  If there are “original” TV series coming out in the fall, would they even make it past the first season?  With these new shows being axed after the 1st season, is there any hope left for cable TV?

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To me, I think this is an interesting strategy for many cable networks.  Audiences have been growing bored with the “new” shows, so this is a shift in strategy to gain some more buzz or ratings.  Those “#1 new comedy!” advertisements really won’t hold true if they get cancelled after just ONE season (I’m looking at you, The Great Indoors!).  TV networks should work with the ‘rebooted TV’ strategy for a while until they really drum up some original series and not something that will air for just ONE season.

It’s tough to say what the future holds for networks like ABC and NBC.  They’ll have to hold onto the classic series for a while until shows are new and improved.  If not, these networks themselves will just become a reboot.

Fear Factor Returns!


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Back in middle school, the one show I always looked forward to on Monday nights was Fear FactorFear Factor was a game show hosted by UFC commentator Joe Rogan where six contestants from around the country battled each other through three extreme stunts.  These stunts challenged the participants physically (and mentally!) for the prize of $50,000.  Each stunt revolved around the contestants’ fear of bugs, water, heights, tight spaces, snakes, and other scary ideas.  It was the one show I looked forward to after the first day back at school.

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Fear Factor had a great run on NBC, with five seasons airing up until 2006.  They tried to revive it back in 2011, but it didn’t live up to the hype they had before.  MTV2 airs rerun episodes every now and then.  You won’t have to stick around for the reruns anymore because I’m happy to announce that Fear Factor is coming back!

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This is not a drill – Fear Factor IS returning to the airwaves with all new episodes.  MTV announced back in April that they are reviving the daring game show with a new season beginning tonight.  The 12-episode season will be hosted by Ludacris and will follow the similar format as the past season (six contestants, three stunts, $50,000, the whole shebang!).  Stunts for each episode will be inspired by elements of horror movies, pop culture, urban legends, and even viral videos.

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Rather than showcasing some gross-out stunts, MTV will shift its focus to lighthearted fare for the millennial generation.  We will also be seeing more younger participants (specifically, the millennials) competing in the series.  MTV is looking to showcase contestants empowering through their fears rather than being mean-spirited about what scares them.  With millennials being the majority of competitors, we could be in for some interesting stunts.  Maybe the millennials will have to pay bills or–dare I say it—start ADULTING!

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Whatever the case, we could be in for an interesting Fear Factor reboot.  A few aspects will change, but it will follow the original format as intended.  The first episode airs tonight, so hopefully things pan out great for the series.

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It was really surprising to hear that Fear Factor was returning!  I loved watching the series back in middle school because of the unique game show format it had on NBC.  Joe Rogan was an amazing host for the show, so Ludacris definitely has some big shoes to fill.  While it’s great to hear that Fear Factor is returning, I was concerned when reading about what direction the show will be going.  For one thing, the gross-out stunts were one of the main reasons why I loved watching the series.  It was worth getting my homework done early so I could watch contestants eat animal dicks for $50,000.

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And another thing…why is MTV looking to change format to show contestants “empowering through their fears”?  Wasn’t that the whole point of the series in the first place?  Watching contestants face their greatest fears for $50,000?  At the end of each episode, Joe Rogan would announce, “evidently fear is not a factor for you!” when he/she won the game (that phrase pretty much sums up the whole point of the show!).

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Sure, there was a lot of trash-talking and manipulation among the contestants…but that was the POINT!  It’s a COMPETITION, for Christ sakes.  Watching contestants eat live bugs for a chance at money may be grotesque, but that’s what Fear Factor was all about!  Hopefully they won’t dial down the gross factor too much because that’s what made the series what it was.

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In the end, I’ll have to check out the reboot tonight to see how it goes.  Hopefully there won’t be too many changes in the rebooted series.  As for now, I’ll head to my nearest TV to catch the premiere.

Check out the season premiere of Fear Factor tonight at 10 PM on MTV!

 

Gettin’ Down with the Party of Five!


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Yesterday I was on a nostalgic 90s-mood.  I caught the last few minutes of my childhood favorite Pinocchio, watched a few minutes of Disney’s Hercules before starting my blog post, then heard some good tunes from Nirvana and Sublime while strolling through the beach.  We may be pacing through 2017, but my mind has been craving for some nostalgic 90s content.  As a matter of fact, one classic series I’ve been binge-watching lately is Party of Five.

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Party of Five is a classic 90s teen drama revolving around the Salinger family in San Francisco.  The cast stars Scott Wolf as Bailey, Matthew Fox as Charlie, Neve Campbell (star of the Scream films!) as Julia, Lacey Chabert (voice of Eliza Thornberry on The Wild Thornberrys!), multiple kids starred as Owen, and Paula Devicq as Kirsten.  The parents of the household were killed by a drunk driver, forcing the kids to grow up real fast.  A lot of dark issues pop up during the series, especially with the long-term effects of parental loss.  Other controversial themes that come up during the series include cancer, domestic/substance abuse, abortion, and other ideas.

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After binge-watching two seasons, Party of Five has been amazing to check out.  It’s an emotional roller-coaster through some of the episodes, yet it’s got some mature content for a TV-PG rated series.  This is one 90s classic you can easily binge-watch all seasons on Netflix.

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If Full House and Shameless got together and made a baby, that baby would be Party of Five.  As a matter of fact, I noticed some strikingly similarities to Showtime’s Shameless in many ways.  For one thing, both sets of kids had to grow up quickly once their parents weren’t around (Frank and Monica are alive, but they were deadbeat parents that really weren’t around for the Gallagher clan!).  Both series explore some controversial ideas within each season.  Only difference is that the Gallaghers aren’t shameless about their actions (it’s called Shameless for a reason, duh!).

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Party of Five didn’t have as much diverse characters, but there were truly some colorful people hanging around the Salinger gang.  Ross Anderson came out to Claudia when she set them up on a date on season 1.  Either way, the family accepted Ross for who he was (because the 90s weren’t that homophobic).  Shameless featured not just one, but multiple gay characters in the series.  Ian Gallagher came out to Fiona near the end of season one and had an on-off relationship with Mickey (btw props to Ian for being shameless about his sexuality!  #GoIanGallagher).  Both Shameless and Party of Five have their share of colorful characters in each season.

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Other than the bold characters, both shows features characters doing drugs/alcohol in some of the episode.  Bailey’s former girlfriend Jill was hooked on speed and died of a cocaine overdose at the end of season 1.  There’s lot of drinking scenes, but the craziest of them all was when Claudia got caught drinking with Jody in her tent (FYI, Marla Sokoloff’s bad-girl personality can also be seen in Full House & Fuller House!).  As for Shameless…well, pretty much EVERY drug was used each season.  Cannabis, alcohol, cocaine, heroin, meth, and many other substances were shown since the end of season 7.  While drug/alcohol use was a big deal in the Party of Five household, everyone in the Shameless family were shameless about it (especially with weed!).

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At the end of my rambling between Party of Five and Shameless, I conclude that Party of Five is definitely an interesting show to start on Netflix.  It’s definitely a toned-down version of Shameless, yet features similar concepts between the two series.  I haven’t gotten through half of the series and I look forward to see what new adventures arise for the Salinger clan.  Who knows what crazy drama will stir up next in season 3 of Party of Five.  Who knows, we could see some shameless characters in the future!

Yooka-Laylee Drops a Hot Track!


If you ever played Donkey Kong 64 during your childhood, then you certainly remember the DK Rap.  This funky song introduces the Kong crew through a well-written rap about what their special abilities were.  Diddy Kong could fly real high with a jetpack on and Lanky Kong floated just like a balloon!  It was a silly rap song that game composer Grant Kirkhope created for the title.

Flash forward almost 20 years later and Kirkhope’s latest work was composing video game music for Yooka-Laylee that’s slated to release on April 11th.  After his success with the Banjo-Kazooie series and Donkey Kong 64, Grant Kirkhope was busy composing new tunes for the game.  One of the best part about Kirkhope composing the score?  He created a rap track specifically about Yooka-Laylee!

That’s right folks – Yooka-Laylee has their own rap song featured in the game!  What started as an amusing stretch goal for Kickstarter has now become a real thing that Playtonic promised for their fans.  This rap son is as cheesy as the fans would expect, introducing some of the characters and their goals within the game.  Both Yooka and Laylee have a verse dedicated to introducing them and their special powers; it also introduces characters such as Trowzer the Snake and Rextro Sixtyforus (who is an homage to the Nintendo 64).

Playtonic’s Yooka-Laylee is meant to invoke feelings of nostalgia for players that enjoyed the classic 3D platformers like Banjo-Kazooie or Donkey Kong 64.  It has that collectathon game-play feel to it that gamers enjoyed during the early 2000s.  Providing a Yooka-Laylee rap only makes sense because it pays tribute to the DK Rap that was created for Donkey Kong 64.

Yooka-Laylee stars a chameleon named Yooka and his batty pal Laylee as they venture out from Shipwreck Creek to explore deep inside the work of Hivory Towers.  The duo travel to Hivory Towers to search for the ‘Pagies’ in order to explore the secretive Grand Tomes.  Yooka-Laylee must stop their adversaries Capital B and Dr. Quack from absorbing all of the world’s literature and converting it into profit.  Players can use the Pagies in order to enter into new worlds or expand old worlds that were already unlocked.

It’s amazing that Yooka-Laylee got their own rap song!  Donkey Kong 64 was one of my favorite N64 games and the rap song was so catchy.  I’m glad that more nostalgic features from Rare’s classic titles are making their way into Yooka-Laylee.  This is a great strategy to reel in the audiences that enjoy the collectathon titles.  Hearing this rap song made me even more ecstatic to play Yooka-Laylee.

As a fan of collectathon games, I thought this was a neat idea from Playtonics.  Former employees of Rare that worked on Yooka-Laylee are doing great at providing interesting quirks from the classic titles into the project.  Yooka-Laylee is sounding like an amazing title to play and I can’t wait to check it out this month.  Who knows what other hidden features I may discover when I start playing the game.

With Playtonic employees coming in from working on various video game titles, it’ll be astonishing to see what kind of gameplay experience they provide for the players.  Yooka-Laylee releases in less than 2 weeks and fans are pumped to play the game soon.  Let’s hope that we discover more nostalgic features within Yooka-Laylee when it hits the shelves on April 11th!

RetroBlox: The Future of Retro Gaming


One of the cool perks of owning a video game console was storing them in a video game library in your room.  Having all of those games was a great way to show off your collection to your friends that come over for the day.  Whether it was the old school Super Nintendo or going modern with the PS4, it felt accomplishing to store all those treasured games into your organized library.

Back when I was living in Ipswich, I had a plethora of games stacked into a huge bookcase.  I had titles that were for consoles such as the PS2, Super Nintendo, Wii U GameCube, PS3, Wii, and other systems.  It felt riveting knowing that I had a library of games to choose from on a rainy, mundane day.

Since moving into Lynn, my gaming consoles have scattered around in boxes.  I do have most of my games, but I doubt that most of them work these days (or the console for that matter!).  It sucks that my library of games could become useless if the console breaks.  Now that we’re settled into 2017, I wonder if there will be a new console built to play all of those nostalgic games.

Well folks, I just came across an awesome find that answered my question.  Allow me to introduce to you…the RetroBlox!  RetroBlox is the first modular HD retro-gaming console, becoming the next step to a “one console” future of video games.  The RetroBlox console provides a small slot up top for the retro game cartridges that would play titles from systems such as NES or Sega Genesis.  Besides the slot, it also includes a disc drive that would be compatible with CD-style titles from systems like the PS1.

The versatile gaming experiences work through the Element Modules provided.  The concept is simple: insert the type of module you want, plug in a game to play, and then add that game to your personal collection or play through the cartridge/CD.  Each Module is specifically crafted for each console to play on.

All of the games provide an amazing user interface that provides 1080p HD picture quality.  Instead of scrolling through texts to find a game, the interface showcases the art and personality of every game in HD.  Not only will you be able to play these games, but you will see them in their original box format!

Besides the retro-style concept, the RetroBlox also allows you to connect with peers and share your gaming experience.  You can share screenshots and videos to show off to your friends Facebook or Twitter.  Better yet, you can stream your favorite games on Twitch!

No other news has been announced about the console, but it will be hitting Kickstarter on Spring 2017.  Be on the lookout for the RetroBlox on Kickstarter when the campaign starts.  It definitely looks like a revolutionary idea for the ultimate nostalgic gaming experience.

This sounds like an awesome console!  I love the idea of purchasing one console that would play a majority of old-school titles.  It is definitely something I would fund money into because I want to play all of my old games again.  Some of the new games look amazing, but I am definitely a nostalgic gamer these days.

Here’s to hoping that the RetroBlox kicks off with a huge hit!  This would become a great console for the Millennials/Generation X’ers audience that grew up playing these classic titles.  Nostalgic gaming has been the latest trend the past few years with the release of the Sega Mega Drive Classics Hub (more on this here) and the Nintendo NES Classic Edition (read about this console here).  If the nostalgic gaming trend continues this year, then the RetroBlox should take off big time.

If all goes well, the future of the one-console gaming concept could be lurking right around the corner.  Let’s hope the future comes in sooner than later!