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UNDERRATEDOVERRATED

Underrated/Overrated

December 27, 2009

Television: Now that "Avatar," for all its jaw-dropping effects and technology, ushers in a new age of cinema as "Star Wars"-styled spectacle, here's hoping TV can continue the evolution it's enjoyed in the last few years of becoming the new home for groundbreaking storytelling and drama. We're not sure what's coming to top "The Wire," "Friday Night Lights" and "Lost," but we're excited to find out.

Video game machines as media players: We've long feared bringing a game machine into our lives because we'd never step away from EA's Madden franchise long enough to feed ourselves. But now that both XBox and the PS3 can stream movies from Netflix, we're coming around. Something gearheads have long recognized will soon come true -- your computer is merging with your TV and vice versa.

Killing genres: Over the last 10 years, we've heard the death knell for jazz, rock, hip-hop and cinema (to name a few), and there's no end of the pop cultural dead pool in sight. Alarmist forecasts like these are always wrong, of course, so to avoid similar rushes to judgment we declare that the next decade should be all about the birth and rebirth of new and familiar forms. New Wave skiffle revival, anyone?

Beard-folk: Don't get us wrong, we have greatly appreciated the gentle pleasures derived from Iron & Wine, Fleet Foxes, Bowerbirds and the like, to say nothing of how fun it's been to watch aggressive facial hair overtake the fashion mainstream. But there's too much going in 2010 for artists to look like they just woke up in the forest. Time to break out the razors and hit our instruments with feeling again.

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