Stay tuned for these TV apps

Sep 24, 2009
TV

The beginning of autumn means the return of football, Starbucks’ pumpkin spice lattes and every couch potato’s delight: the new television season. Whether you’re looking for a TV-themed app to keep you up-to-date on the shows you miss or an app that extends the narrative of your favorite characters, you have plenty of options. Apps […]

The beginning of autumn means the return of football, Starbucks’ pumpkin spice lattes and every couch potato’s delight: the new television season. Whether you’re looking for a TV-themed app to keep you up-to-date on the shows you miss or an app that extends the narrative of your favorite characters, you have plenty of options.

Apps to entertain

To promote its new season in Las Vegas, “Top Chef” released Top Chef Las Vegas Slots (free). It’s a nice promotional tool (and a good time-waster!), but considering that Bravo really has nothing to lose with this, I would think the slots could be a bit looser. Prizes in theory include “Top Chef” recipes, but the only jackpot I won was a contestant bio. Maybe I shouldn’t go to Sin City next week.

“The Office” is featured in two iPhone and iPod touch apps: NBC’s The Office Challenge (99 cents) and The Office Golf ($1.99). In Office Challenge, players take the role of an office employee (Kevin, to start) to complete 36 micro-games based of events that occurred on “The Office” (think flonkerton and ping-pong). But the controls aren’t the best and the graphics are, well, pretty lame. Golf is graphically a small step up and features four 9-hole courses for putting in the palm of your hand.

Showtime’s serial killer hit “Dexter” also has two apps in the store. Dexter Scramble (free) features images of Dexter that, you guessed it, you unscramble. It’s newest release Dexter the Game ($5.99) is considerably more involved, with the user becoming Dexter, gathering evidence and then going homicidal.

The best games based on TV shows are developed like Dexter the Game, which puts the player in the role of the main character. Another such game is CSI: Miami, which, at 99 cents, is a downright steal. The CBS show’s official app puts you in the shoes of Lt. Horatio Caine to solve a murder. Loading is slow and often, but for a dollar, I was pleasantly surprised by the gameplay, both in the overarching case and in the mini-games within it.

Fans of “24” should relish the opportunity to play Jack Bauer in 24: Special Ops ($2.99), which features combat and shooting alongside mind games such as code breaking and bomb defusing. For anyone unsure of taking the $3 plunge, a limited-feature free edition is also available.

Apps to inform

If you’re a nine-to-fiver and don’t TiVo “The Today Show,” you’re likely missing out on the Hoda Kotb vs. Kathie Lee Gifford antics. The Today Show app (free) enables users to catch up with the fourth-hour ladies, as well as other segments, through built-in video clips.

The Zumobi Network, which developed the NBC app, also created one for newscaster Rachel Maddow. Rachel Maddow (free) is identical in structure to “The Today Show” app and features most of Maddow’s popular segments from “The Rachel Maddow Show.” Although these apps are slower than watching video on a PC, I didn’t have much of a lag watching clips on a 3G device.

Hipsters missing out on MTV’s daily talk/entertainment/music mash-up show “It’s On with Alexa Chung” should enjoy MTV’s It’s On (free). This app connects users to it-girl Alexa Chung’s Twitter feed and blog. Its primary feature is video, but there aren’t many clips (and no full episodes) considering how often this show was on during its first season. “It’s On” returns for a second season on Oct. 12, so interested parties might want to wait until then to decide whether to keep or trash this app.

“Access Hollywood” tries to capitalize on the celebrity craze with its app Access2Go (free), but its clunky interface is not worth the free price. The app tries to appeal to users with polls and its Fab or Flub voting section, but not even this interactivity can save this app from immediate deletion.

Best of the rest

Some television-based apps are in a class by themselves. To promote the start of  the new seasons of USA’s “Psych” and “Monk,” NBC Universal launched a Psych Bobblehead (free) and a Monk Bobblehead (free). Why anyone would download these apps is beyond me. They feature touch and shake-activated bobbleheads of Shawn, Gus and Monk, respectively, and tapping the screen plays random lines of dialog.

NBC has also released the Heroes Comic Reader ($4.99), so “Heroes” fans can have access to 135 graphic novels created by “Heroes” writers and graphic artists. Despite the large amount of content, the price tag is hefty considering the same content is available for free on NBC.com (only not readable on iPhone—it’s in flash format) and the comics aren’t optimized for iPhone viewing.

Family Guy ($1.99) features popular clips of the FOX sitcom but not full episodes. You can also toss Peter Griffin around and create a Stewie pinup. One of the more interesting features is the mixer, where you can drag in clips to create a custom “Family Guy” video. There’s also hidden content, but I haven’t found any—I can only handle so much “giggity” at one time.

One of the potentially most useful TV-related apps is CW City Wise (free), especially if you’re in the Hollywood, Beverly Hills or Manhattan areas. City Wise catalogs filming locations from the popular CW shows “Melrose Place,” “90210” and “Gossip Girl,” so that you can visit the same restaurants, clubs, hotels and shops as your favorite character. App users can also find special access perks for featured locations, including freebies and discounts. The app is relatively light on content from non-show cities, but there is some. If the app continues to update with places and more insider perks roll out, I would expect this to be a success.

Search for more

Home Apps Games