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Black Mirror the New Modern Day Paranoia

Analyze the Netflix series Black Mirror by focusing in on the technological and communicative issues each episode reveals, with technology advancing so rapidly how could these events predict the future? Why do these things seem to make sense in the real world? How could it cause paranoia for the future of technology?

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    The Role of Opening Credits

    TV opening credits obviously let viewers know who the main cast is as well as give everyone involved in the process their due. The aesthetics and artwork of each individual show’s credits can also persuade the audience into participation. How do opening credits function depending on what shows one is watching? There are certain shows that begin with catchy themes, eye-catching graphics, or contain "easter egg"-like codes/foreshadowing. There are others which keep the visibility of opening credits to a minimum, perhaps to heighten the realism of the show’s fictional world. How does the nature of certain shows determine the way opening credits are presented to the audience?

    • Approved this, but I was going to say would you be able to add some examples? One that always springs to mind for me is the minimalistic credits for Hannibal – Francesca Turauskis 3 months ago
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    • How about a little bit of comparison and contrast with the opening credits from previous decades? I've notice several old programs that have opening theme songs that the lyrics were actually displayed on the screen as they were sung. – NoDakJack 2 months ago
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    • This would be such a great prompt to expand on--once I get to the point where I can publish articles I may take this on myself! So many nuances and storytelling aspects can be found in a good opening credits sequence. There's so much to talk about! Context clues and interpretation of the cinematography and any song lyrics would be good points to discuss. – RachelHart 2 months ago
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    • Just going to leave this right here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qG_P_1JnfXI – ProtoCanon 1 week ago
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    • Wonder if there's much of a difference between opening credits and opening titles, but here's a fairly enlightening video by Cinefix i hope you find useful :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8twthdaqB8 – Matchbox 1 week ago
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    Baldness as a Symbol of Power in Breaking Bad

    Analyse what shaved heads/baldness might mean in relation to power structures in Breaking Bad. Why are so many of the characters in seats of power bald, and what does it mean when both Walt and Jessie shave their heads? How does this theme interact with cancer, arguably the shows most powerful antagonist?

    • Interesting observation, but one could even take it further to other AMC original series. For example, in S02E03 of The Walking Dead, Shane shaves his head immediately after killing Otis, to cover up where his hair was torn during the struggle. The scene is very reminiscent of Walt shaving his head in S01E06 of Breaking Bad, as both circumstances signify these characters' shifts to the "dark side" (so to speak). – ProtoCanon 1 week ago
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    • Interesting point...I would have never thought to connect those dots. – MikeySheff 1 week ago
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    • On the other hand, the follically challenged - Walt, Gus, Hank - all died, while the hirsute Jesse and Saul made the cut. – Tigey 3 days ago
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    5

    A reflection on (Netflix) television reboots

    With a Gilmore Girls and Fuller House reboot on the horizon and a continuation of Arrested Development already completed… it is worth looking into Netflix (or arguably other network’s) choices to reboot old shows.

    Does this have any connection with the countless rebooted movies (or Disney’s rebooted classics)? Is this a general trend in popular media? Why is Netflix perfectly placed to bring back old shows? Is there a market for this sort of television/does it generate enough money to keep warranting it? Also does this trend erode the need for original works? What about nostalgia pandering or nostalgia marketing?

    There is a lot you could tackle with this subject and you could easily expand it into the general culture of reboots or focus it in on one Netflix reboot show. Either way, examine the place of these reboots in our social and economic climate.

    • Certainly a worthwhile topic. Something interesting to address on this subject: this tendency is parodied in season three of BoJack Horseman (which happens to be a Netflix original series) with "Ethan Around" as a clear surrogate for "Fuller House." This coy self-awareness on Netflix's part merit's a place in this discussion. – ProtoCanon 4 months ago
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    • This is a great topic in that Netflix has hit the reboot market. Today there is much more creative license than in the past so it makes sense that these successful ideas can be recreated with a fresh updated look. Who was who said there are only 7 stories anyway? Everything is just a variation on the same themes. – Munjeera 4 months ago
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    • I think the reboots are a good marketing strategy, I'm sure they're looking at what age groups are now adults that had those shows and movies as children. It's to profit off of nostalgia while also trying to dissuade people from thinking it's childish and old (obvious because now it's new, rebooted and "more mature" most must tell themselves). Honestly I'm sure there's a trend going on right now where if production companies don't tie in to something older and make something completely new the demographic is smaller and less profitable. It'd be neat to see the success of reboots over originals in this climate. – Slaidey 4 months ago
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    • Perhaps also exploring the requirements for something to be rebooted, would be helpful for this topic. How successful did a show have to be in it's primed to be considered? What are the parameters for a reboot? I love this idea, particularly as it's so relevant with the reboots that are coming up or rumoured to be coming up. Good luck! – Abby Wilson 3 months ago
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    • Interesting topic. In terms of reboots, I believe that they can be a hit or a miss. I think the big reason why there are so many reboots is because people and Hollywood have simply run out of ideas. This will be an interesting article for whoever goes through with it. – CreativeDreamer 3 months ago
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    • Must be a good crop of member-berries this winter... Putting out a reboot is a safe option financially - it's a proven method to attract an already loyal audience and possibly bring in a new one as a bonus. However, I think that Netflix has shown that there is an appetite for clever original works. I know that they don't release them, but it would be really interesting to see what the viewing figures are for the service to see if my claims are justified. – SightUnsound 3 months ago
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    • Great topic! IMHO, reboots are shameless nostalgia pandering, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. We loved the old shows, and keep retuning to them, because they're good. I feel like the reboots might cause TV network execs to say to themselves, "Okay, what did those shows do correctly, that we aren't doing anymore?" Reboots don't erode the need for original work, either. If anything they're a jump-off point for new shows that embrace the conventions people like. – Stephanie M. 1 week ago
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    • Interesting topic. You might also consider how/why Netflix television shows have become more popular than Netflix movies. Each year, the number of movies on Netflix decreases because less and less people are watching them. Clearly, there is a market for TV shows and perhaps their high demand has something to do with these reboots. – JadeMV 1 day ago
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    7

    How does Binge Watching change the way we watch or engage with "television"

    With the popularity of online streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon, who sometimes release an entire season worth of content at a time, how does this difference in presentation change how we watch and engage with entertainment. Just a few years ago, tv viewers had to tune in week after week to view the last hit t.v. show, but now, many famous and successful shows are released on Netflix at a season by season basis. For example, House of Cards, Marvel Shows (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage), and Master of None all dropped with their entire season available for viewing from day one of their release. What is the effect on our thoughts and perceptions of a show when we can sit down and view the whole thing in one sitting rather than having to wait week by week for the next episode. What is lost and what is gained in this shift?

    • Very interesting topic. Another facet of it that may be worth exploring in relation to this is how the binge-format is changing, not only how we watch, but also how content is created and structured. For example, something that I noticed while binging BoJack Horseman is that most of the episodes (especially in the later seasons) end very abruptly without a punchy joke or poignant conclusion to facilitate the landing. This would be incredibly frustrating if you then had to wait a week for the following episode to pick up where they left off, but because the show is conducive to binging by design, it works quite well. That's just one example that comes to mind, but I'm sure there are plenty of other ways in which this new form has influenced the content to be found if you take a closer look at it with this in mind. – ProtoCanon 3 months ago
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    • Queer film critic B Ruby Rich writes in her book "New Queer Cinema" that television and film used to be community activities. Everyone would gather around a TV and watch it as a family or as a community, but now, it's all personalized and individualized. While people still watch TV and movies together, services like Netflix and Amazon make it much easier to watch television by yourself and in copious quantities. – X 3 months ago
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    • Definitely an interesting topic... any polls out there to show what people prefer? Do young people who have grown up with netflix see it as normal? Does the availability make people watch more? What kinds of people prefer binging or prefer waiting? – Sboother 3 months ago
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    • This is a particularly alluring topic to explore, especially from a psychological point of view. The concept of binge watching shows has become extremely relevant with the advent of Netlifx and especially, as you mentioned, their originals. Just because the whole season is out doesn't mean that viewers have to scrap their whole Saturday or stay home from work to watch it. The fact that binge watching has become a phenomenon has really highlighted the matter that consumers are showing less and less self control in yet another facet of life. – gabyelan 2 months ago
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    • Binge watching would also affect how tv writers create stories because there's no more waiting around. Before Netflix we would have to wait for the next episode to air & there was a suspense/feeling of anticipation, but that feeling has disappeared now b/c all of these shows are now available under our fingertips – seouljustice 2 weeks ago
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    • There's also the new water cooler elitism of those who can afford to pay for up-to-date programming spoiling shows for those who can't afford paid shows. Can someone sponsor me and solve this catastrophic first-world problem? – Tigey 1 week ago
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    • Film Crit Hulk, an insightful if somewhat informal writer, wrote a column about this: http://birthmoviesdeath.com/2016/10/12/luke-cage-netflix-and-the-death-of-episodic-tv I absolutely recommend that any potential writer on this topic read Hulk's thoughts before writing. – bookstudent4 3 days ago
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    3

    American Horror Story and Rape as a Method of Terror

    In every season of Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story, rape, miscarriage, and other forms of vaginal trauma are used to highlight the horrors felt by the show’s female characters. Consider how effective these tropes are, or if female horror can extend beyond fears of mutilation or motherhood.

    • I don't watch the show, so I can't give insight on the show specifically...But considering how 'sacred' the vagina is, or is suppose to be anyway, when it comes to the process of making life, you can see how any trauma to it can be deemed horrible...Obviously there are other ways to scare of horrify females, but I must assume that rape is still a fear in the back of the mind of most women...Is it fair to say that women fear being raped more than hacked up by a deranged clown? – MikeySheff 2 weeks ago
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    • I see what you are saying and I think Ryan Murphy uses this concept of rape as a method of terror to really feed off that fear. In terms of evolution, ever species perceives reproduction as a means of survival. This probably adds to our own subconscious fear. – emilyholter 2 weeks ago
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    • At the same time I think using rape as a form of trauma is a poor way to capture how female characters feel because there are so many nonviolent ways to explore trauma. At this moment it feels more as a overused shock point – seouljustice 2 weeks ago
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    • Personally, I think rape is an effective conduit of fear. It's an extremely personal violation and an attack on womanhood, just as raping a man or otherwise harming his genitals would be an attack on manhood. However, I also feel female characters in the media get shortchanged because rape is often portrayed as the worst torment they can face, and the only thing they have to worry about. This is especially true in historical pieces because like it or not, getting raped or pregnant outside wedlock in past eras would ruin your life.What I would like to see more of, is women facing fears and terrors other than rape. Just like a man, a woman can contract a deadly superbug. She can face the horrors of war, on or off the battlefield, and that doesn't have to include being raped. She can survive life in slavery or a concentration camp, and survival alone is enough to show she's traumatized but tough. She can lose a limb, have a beloved child ripped from her, face down opponents in high-stakes intellectual conflicts...the possibilities are endless. Too much dependence on rape and rape tropes limits writers and limits women. – Stephanie M. 5 days ago
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    1

    The Personae of Tim Heidecker

    Comedian Tim Heidecker first became famous for his oddball sketch comedy television series Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Since the show’s run ended in 2010, he has pursued a number of creative projects in a range of media, including stand-up comedy, two rock albums with the duo Heidecker and Wood, and the web/television series On Cinema and Decker, as well as several podcast appearances and a sustained social media presence.

    In many of these projects, Tim plays a version of himself as the consummate Hollywood boor: ill-tempered, egotistical, pretentious, vulgar, and desperately out of touch.

    What does this character represent, and why does he have such appeal? Is he in fact one consistent character? How does the Heidecker persona change from one context to the next? What factors remain consistent, and how has the persona evolved over time?

    Consider, also, the historical precedents for such a figure, such as Andy Kauffman’s toying with the media and Stephen Colbert’s persona on The Colbert Report, even characters like Barry Humphries’ Dame Edna.

    • "Ill-tempered..." Sounds like Don Rickles' racist jokes about Obama. I'd love to see Jiminy Glick interview this fluid character. – Tigey 5 months ago
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    celebrity appeal: how celebrity endorsement galvanizes the cause

    Choose a celebrity or multiple celebrities and discuss the phenomenon of celebrity appeal in America. Do celebrities have an obligation to use their popularity and appeal to speak out against things like global warming and war? Also, their great and often rapid accumulation of wealth, should this obligate them to support social justice causes, and in what ways? Some clear examples to discuss are Dicaprio and Pitt or even Mortensen and Michael Moore. Recent developments revolving around the presidential inauguration and celebrity refusals to participate, could provide good points for discussion.
    One more point for discussion would be to evaluate the effect that certain celebrities have had on the social or political causes they’ve endorsed, in our contemporary moment or in the past.

    • This is an interesting topic. I think it might also be interesting to examine the effects of public social/political advocacy on celebrity popularity. At the risk of sounding cynical, it seems to me that a celebrity publicly stating opinions about political/social issues can work either for or against him/her - depending largely, of course, on whether or not people LIKE the opinions he/she is stating. This is admittedly just a casual observation on my part, but from what I gather, when people LIKE the message, they tend to cheer the celebrity on and praise him/her for sharing the message - but when they DON'T like the message, they tend to trash the celebrity, call for boycotts of his/her work, and/or declare that celebrities in general should "just shut up" about politics. The various reactions to Meryl Streep's Golden Globes speech are a good new example. – OBri 2 weeks ago
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    • Celebs are damned if they do or if they don't. If they speak out about social justice causes, they're labeled as phonies or ppl say that they're only speaking out because it's the 'trend' to do so. However, if they don't speak out they're criticized for not using their public roles properly. – seouljustice 2 weeks ago
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