2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner
  • My Top 10 Best (Favorite) Video Games of 2013

    Tue, December 31, 2013 by Terry Terrones with no comments

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    Happy New Year’s Eve! It’s the last day to get 2013 New Year’s Resolutions done. That means I have only a few hours left to learn Spanish, lose 20lbs and quit smoking. Although I’ve never been a smoker, so that’s one down, two to go!

    Since I have so little time to complete this year’s resolutions, I’m going to make this Top 10 list short and sweet (In case you missed it, here’s a link to my picks for the Top 10 TV Shows of 2013.). Below are the video games I selected as the 10 best for the year. While a new generation of consoles just launched in November, next-gen exclusives got very little love. 2013 was dominated by the Xbox 360 and PS3. On a side note, you’ll notice that video game titles in 2013 loved to use colons (:). Why that is, I’m not quite sure. I guess we’ll have to wait until 2014 to see if that trend continues.

    Disagree? Feel I missed something? Comment on this post to have your voice heard.

    10. Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)

    9. Bioshock Infinite (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)

    8. Forza 5 (Xbox One)

    7. Batman: Arkham Origins (PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC)

    6. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag (PS3, PS4, PC, Xbox 360, Xbox One)

    5. Injustice: Gods Among Us (PS3, PS4, PS Vita, PC, Xbox 360, Wii U) 

    4. Saints Row IV (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)

    3. GTA V (PS3, Xbox 360)

    2. The Last of Us (PS3)

    1. Tomb Raider (Xbox 360, PS3, PC)
    “Tomb Raider” was the most fun I had with a video game all year. Some of the games on this list stressed me out or had moments I had to push through to get to the more enjoyable parts, but not this one. “Tomb Raider” was pure fun from start to finish. It rebooted a character I’ve enjoyed for years, had plenty of action and it fell right into my sweet spot with all the collectibles – I had to work to find them but it wasn’t torture either. The “definitive edition” of this game comes out for next-gen systems on January 28. I reserved it the day it was announced.

     

  • My Top 10 Best (Favorite) TV Shows of 2013

    Tue, December 31, 2013 by Terry Terrones with no comments

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    It’s time to do what we always do at the end of the year, reflect. Reflect on the best TV shows of 2013 that is! Now when I say “best” what I’m really referring to are my own personal favorite (or “best”) programs. TV shows I can’t live without. I watch A LOT of TV (more than my wife would probably care for me to) so I get a good look at pretty much everything. Reality TV, dramas, comedies, you name it I’ve probably seen it. I also get screeners of shows sent to me and have online access to screeners of shows yet to be released. That’s a lot of TV. But just like everyone else, I have my own personal preferences.

    When you go through this list you won’t see many sitcoms (I just don’t find many things on TV to be that funny.). You’ll also notice a mix of old and new programs. My criteria for a “Best of 2013″ show wasn’t confined to programs that have been on the air a long time. One of the TV shows on my list has only run six episodes. In my opinion, if it’s a good show and stays away from DVR purgatory (when you record something because you think you might watch it but it stays on your DVR forever) then it’s a candidate to be on the list. There were a lot of nominees that didn’t make it (“Elementary,” “House of Cards,” “Million Dollar Listing New York”) but these are the top 10 shows I felt were the best of the best.

    Think I missed something? Feel free to weigh in on the comments. Tomorrow look for my picks for the Best Video Games of 2013. But for now, here are the Best TV Shows of 2013.

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    10. Sleepy Hollow, FOX 
    With “Sleepy Hollow” Fox did the impossible – they made Ichabod Crane cool. Cool jacket, cool accent, cool attitude. This show, which is a re-imagining of the Washington Irving short story, finds Icky (that’s I call him) in modern day New England, battling all sorts of odd mystical creatures including the Headless Horseman. Crane (played by Tom Mison) has great chemistry with his police detective partner (Nicole Beharie) and I always get a kick out of his man-out-his-time-period moments.

    9. Archer, FX
    I’ll admit that “The Big Bang Theory” makes me chuckle now and then and the funny “Brooklyn Nine Nine” just missed this list, but the only show that can make me laugh on a consistent basis is “Archer.” Super spy Sterling Archer may be a misogynist and a complete jerk but much like “South Park’s” Eric Cartman, he’s a riot anyway. Thankfully the show returns for its fifth season January 13. Let this trailer keep you happy until then.

    8. Mad Men, AMC
    Don Draper is an enigma, wrapped in a blanket, wrapped in a tortilla. A team of psychiatrists couldn’t figure him out, which why he’s so fascinating to watch. Season six ended on a bit of cliff hanger (no spoilers here) so the series’ final season is one I’m really looking forward to.

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    7. The Americans, FX
    When it comes to TV, the 1980s is a decade usually relegated to the world of sitcoms. And truth be told, because of the clothes, music and hairstyles of the time, the 80s are a target rich environment for cliches and jokes. But “The Americans,” which focuses on two Russian spies living in the U.S. disguised as a happy family, makes use of the 1980s better than any other TV show before it. There was a fear that existed in that decade that’s palpable in the show. A fear of nuclear war, a fear of communism, a fear of losing our way of life. You could say we live like that now but the Reagan era 80s were a different animal. What makes “The Americans” so unique is that you actually root for the bad guys. Even though the husband and wife team of Elizabeth and Philip (played by Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys) are spies, in many ways they just want what every American wants.

    6. The Walking Dead, AMC
    After the end of season three I was done with “The Walking Dead.” Season two was long and drawn out and season three was much of the same. After getting absolutely no resolution with the evil, eye patch wearing Governor I was ready to throw in the towel. As a fan of the comics, the disconnect between the show and the graphic novels was just too wide. I was done. What a difference a show runner can make. Scott Gimple took over and season four has been everything I hoped this show could be since season one – a fascinating blend of the comics it was borne from along with the creativity a TV show requires. TV is a different medium, Gimple understands that but still keeps “The Walking Dead” grounded in the world in which it was created. Something that hadn’t happened in the two seasons prior. I hope Gimple stays on for a long time.

    5. Almost Human, FOX
    This show has only aired six episodes but it still makes the cut. “Almost Human” proved that a sci-fi TV show can actually work if you have interesting characters and the special effects serve a purpose (something “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” has never learned). Detective John Kennex (Karl Urban) and his android partner Dorian (Michael Ealy) are my favorite crime fighting duo since “Lethal Weapon’s” Riggs and Murtaugh.

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    4. Survivor, CBS
    In 2012 this show looked to be on its last legs, then came the 2013 seasons of Blood vs Water and Caramoan. A well selected mix of new and returning cast members and some unique twists have helped my all time favorite reality show get back to form.

    3. Arrow, CW
    Superhero shows are very difficult to pull off. They either come across as too campy (see Adam West’s version of Batman) or run the risk of skewing too young (the likable but flawed “Smallville”). Thankfully the CW Network hit the nail on the head with “Arrow.” The network took the Green Arrow, not exactly a household name among non-comic book readers, and turned rich snobby bad boy Oliver Queen into a badass justice seeking vigilante that anyone could root for. Add a solid cast of supporting characters to lead actor Stephen Amell’s tough, determined, yet witty Queen and you have a winner.

    2. Game of Thrones, HBO
    “Game of Thrones” has its flaws – a cast of 100 different characters with weird names and some less than interesting story lines (most of the kids). I also get bummed when characters I’m fond of die while others who deserve to don’t. But that’s the great thing about George R.R. Martin’s world of Westeros, the good guy doesn’t always win. In fact, they typically get killed in gruesome fashion. This brings me to “Game of Thrones” 2013′s “Red Wedding” episode, which was one of the most talked about TV events of the year. It was an emotional football to the groin. This show is full of moments like that, which is why I’m addicted to “Game of Thrones.” Of course the dragons and nudity are cool too.

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    1. Breaking Bad, AMC
    There really is only one choice for the best TV show of 2013. “Breaking Bad” is one of the best written, best acted and most dynamic shows in television history. For five seasons over six years, “Breaking Bad” was the leanest show on TV, with every episode cleverly moving the story forward with hardly any wasted moments to speak of. “Breaking Bad” was the first water cooler TV show since “Lost” and was a program people actively recruited other people to watch. If you’re a “Breaking Bad” fan you had the, “Are you watching Breaking Bad? No?!? What’s wrong with you?!? You need to get on Netflix now and get caught up!” conversation about two times a day. In September AMC pulled off a rare feat, finishing an amazing series with a gratifying ending.

     

  • Video Game Haiku Review – The Walking Dead Season Two: Episode One

    Mon, December 23, 2013 by Terry Terrones with no comments

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    I’ve been covering the video game industry for almost 10 years so I have access to a lot of games, so many that I honestly just don’t have the time to review them all. At least not in the detail that I’d usually go into for a review that would get placed in the Gazette (unlike an IGN or Kotaku, I’m just one guy). While I don’t review every game I receive, I do play them all. To expedite the review process and give you a general feel for a title without a more drawn out review, I’ve come up with something short and snappy – the haiku review.

    These are reviews of a video game in haiku form, complete with a review score and a short summary of the title. I used to do these for the Gazette a few years ago and now I’m bringing them back. Hopefully these bite-sized reviews will provide some information to make an informed decision about a game. Like many people like to point out to me, most review readers are just looking at the score/grade of a game anyway. Maybe this will give you a review in a more interesting way. At least that’s my hope.

    Title: The Walking Dead: Season Two Episode One
    Format: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, iOS, PS Vita
    Price: $4.99
    Publisher/Developer: Telltale Games
    ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
    The Grade: B

    The Walking Dead: Season Two Episode One Haiku Review

    Clementine returns

    The story moves kinda slow

    Yet still entertains

    Summary: As players of season one would expect from this series, “The Walking Dead: Season Two Episode One” is filled with tension and tough moral decisions that will leave you wondering whether or not you made the correct choices. This is a game you think about long after you’ve finished playing it. While I enjoyed the game it had a shorter than usual play-through time (a little over an hour), some serious lag issues, and the story moved much slower than expected for this series. While episode one acted mostly as a setup for the rest of the season, for $5 it’s still a great value and worth your time.

     

  • Bruce Campbell added to Denver Comic Con 2014 lineup

    Thu, December 19, 2013 by Terry Terrones with no comments

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    In a press release sent out yesterday, the Denver Comic Con announced that it has added yet another star to its 2014 event – actor and director Bruce Campbell. Campbell, known for his roles in “Army of Darkness,” “The Evil Dead,” and “Burn Notice,” was confirmed along with illustrator Steve Lieber and voice actor Jim Cummings.

    The lineup for Denver Comic Con (which takes place in Denver at the Colorado Convention Center June 13-15) is coming together quite nicely. About a month ago, it was announced that character actor Michael Rooker (Merle from “The Walking Dead”) and Walter Koenig (Chekov from the original “Star Trek” series) would also be in Denver for next year’s Con.

    “Bruce Campbell is a pop-culture icon,” said Christina Angel, Denver Comic Con Director said in the press release. “Adding the cult film actor behind Evil Dead’s Ash Williams and Burn Notice’s Sam Axe is a fantastic addition to the 2014 Denver Comic Con line-up, and a perfect example of how we’re delivering top-notch guests to our fans.”

    Tickets for the 2014 Denver Comic Con are on sale now at DenverComicCon.com.

     

  • Is the TV anchor who cursed on-air coming to Colorado Springs?

    Thu, December 19, 2013 by Terry Terrones with no comments

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    According to a recent post on the Huffington Post, Justin Kraemer, a reporter and anchor for KSN in Wichita who was caught cursing at the end of a newscast, just might be coming to Colorado Springs to work for NBC affiliate KOAA. Kraemer had a Ron Burgundy moment, saying on-air after the camera had cut away from the news desk near the end of a broadcast, “Let’s get the f@ck out of here.”

    Kraemer was subsequently fired but according to an insider who talked to Gawker Media, he already had plans to leave the station before his faux pax. Maybe he was just in a hurry to get to Colorado Springs.

    “I’m embarrassed,” he said in an interview with the Wichita Eagle. “I did something extraordinarily unprofessional. It’s something that’s drilled into you the minute you start in this business to always consider the microphones hot.”

    I’ve reached out to KOAA to see if they have any comment or can confirm whether or not Kraemer is expected to be a part of their team. As of now, I haven’t received any response. I’ll post any new information I find here.

    You can see Kraemer’s slip of the tongue in the link below.

    UPDATE: I received this message in an email from KOAA GM Evan Pappas, “Hello Terry.  Despite reports, Justin Kraemer will not be working at KOAA.”

    http://dailypicksandflicks.com/2013/12/15/ksn-news-anchor-drops-f-bomb-after-signing-off-video/

     

  • Get to know the real Johnny Carson

    Tue, December 17, 2013 by Terry Terrones with no comments

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    On Saturday I went to the AT&T store to upgrade my phone. I’ve had an iPhone 4S for the past two years and was looking to get a 5S so I could play a wider range of games on it. I brought my old phone and my laptop because I wanted to make sure all my info and data was transferred from one phone to the other.

    This was a bit of a time consuming process but the person helping me out was very patient. The customer service rep (Marcel) was a young guy, probably in his early 20s. Since there was a lot of down time we chatted quite a bit. Our conversation turned to books and I mentioned a new book about Johnny Carson that I had recently started reading. Marcel didn’t know who Carson was.

    I suppose that shouldn’t be too surprising, considering how the importance of late night TV has dwindled now compared to how it was in Carson’s heyday. That and Carson last hosted the “Tonight Show” in 1992. Not to sound like Dana Carvey’s Grumpy Old Man but back in the day network TV, and late night especially, was a big deal. Of course, viewers didn’t have all the choices they have now and you also had to have actual talent to make it to the small screen in TVs Golden Era. And as most people of a certain generation will tell you, Carson had plenty of talent.

    I’m only 42, so I grew up as more of a Letterman fan but the respect Carson commanded among his peers and the adoration his viewing audience had for him was incredibly significant. So it was with great interest that I purchased the Carson biography written by Henry Bushkin, the late night host’s attorney and confidant for 18 years (The book was released in October and is available for under $20 in most places).

    It’s only 304 pages and is a brisk read. Bushkin is a solid story teller and you get the feeling that he really cared for Carson, which might be why he waited so long after his death (Carson died in 2005) to release this book that reveals so many scandalous stories about about someone so beloved. The picture Bushkin paints is of a person who’s much more complex than his TV persona lets on. Carson could be an incredible jerk but also monumentally generous. He had trust issues, a bad drinking habit and an inability to form true emotional connections with people he loved (something he blamed on his mother his entire life). Yet he was also revered in way that’s almost impossible to imagine today.

    Even after reading this book, I came away note judging Carson for all the crummy things that he did, but feeling like I knew him more as a real person than I did when I used to watch him on TV.

    If you’re of a certain age and want to get to know the real Johnny Carson, I highly recommend looking into this book.

     

     

     

     

  • Greetings humans…

    Tue, December 17, 2013 by Terry Terrones with no comments

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    Welcome to the Colorado Springs Gazette Pop Culture blog! I’m your host, media columnist Terry Terrones (that’s me with my Uncle Bill up above).  I cover TV, films (on occasion), comic books (I’m never going to step on Bill Radford’s toes, I’m a comic noob compared to him) video games and lots of other odds and ends that deal with media and entertainment.

    If you love any and all things pop culture, you’ve come to the right place. What, more specifically, should you expect from this blog? Conversations on trends in pop culture, mini-reviews of TV shows and video games, an introduction into the world of comics from a new fan’s point of view, mini-interviews with celebs of all different levels and probably even some giveaways. This blog is basically a place where I can put all the cool info I find out but just isn’t quite beefy enough to run in a column.

    By the way, no Kardashian talk. I strictly forbid it. Stay tuned, we’re going to have a lot of fun.

    Gazette Media Columnist Terry Terrones is a veteran journalist and pop culture addict. He covers the worlds of TV, film, video games and spends too much time on several social networks. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/terryterrones.