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Bald Women in Film

There are mainly four reasons women have their heads shaved in films: 1) toughness (“Alien 3”, “G.I. Jane”), 2) illness or scientific experimentation (“Life in a Year”, “Stranger Things”), 3) rebellion, counterculture or villainy (“Mad Max: Fury Road”, “Guardians of the Galaxy”) or 4) mysticism (“Dr. Strange”, “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell no Tales”). Of course, some of these reasons may overlap, but usually bald women in film are depicted as an abnormality, as a product of trauma, as the result of an extraordinary and life-changing event that catapults the plot. Why is getting a buzz cut for a woman a decision that needs to be justified and have a deeper meaning or rationality? Why does society feel the need to point it out publicly, to joke about it? Why people tempt to question the sanity or sexuality of a woman who decides to wear short or no hair? Are women supposed to have long, silky hair in order to be beautiful, feminine or just not weird? But most importantly, how does the film industry handle it? The normalization of western beauty standards might be being reinforced (imposed) by the way bald women are often portrayed in movies.

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    Technological Horror, The Evolution of Supernatural and Weird Horror?

    In H. P. Lovecraft’s "Supernatural Horror in Literature" (1927), Lovecraft describes a horror that distances itself away from anything physical and attempts to attack the psyche of the reader through cosmic mystery, ancient folklore and culture as well as our primal instincts. Themes such as space and the deep ocean, primordial Gods and mythology and their respective mysteries seep into literature to create a profound sense of dread and isolation from the real world.

    With the advancement of computers and networks, a new theme in horror fiction has found its footing amongst the aforementioned ideas: the theme of technology and the mystery of cyber data, the disposable nature of human flesh, its replacement by better and stronger artificial prosthetics and the paranoia of human-made machine rising against its own creator after achieving consciousness, something only humans so far possess. Works such as Harlan Ellison’s "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" (1968), Mamoru Oshii’s "Ghost in the Shell" (1995) or Frictional Games’s "Soma" (2015) explore this newfound horror with different methods, but with great success.

    The question therefore lies within the nature of this trope. Is technological horror part of the weird and the supernatural as it treats technology as its own entity and its own vast realm of mystery, similar to that of the endless space and the deep ocean? How does technological horror fit with the ghost, thriller or other forms of scary themes? What other modern fictional stories bring forth technology as a truly terrifying aspect that attacks the mind of the consumer and isolates them from their world, rather than cause brief shock or superficial scares?

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      Time travel in fiction

      There’s a lot of time travel in fiction and many times, it makes no sense. Sometimes, the nonsensity is a strength, other times a weakness. Examples of media that use this trope (not necessarily have to be used) are Steins;Gate, Harry Potter and the PoA and of course, Avengers: Engame and Back to the Future. This topic should explore when time travel is done right, what constitutes it being done right in the writer’s opinion, and of course, delve into the types of time travel (multiverse, paradox and time loop), and whether it’s a good idea for fiction to use it.

      Perhaps a good idea would be to examine how differently this trope is used in different medias, whether TV or film.

      • Lovely topic, but perhaps too broad. Maybe just focus on one or two examples of time travel, or contrast a successful and unsuccessful example? – Stephanie M. 2 months ago
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      • The film 'The Butterfly Effect' is a great experience, essentially saying that you can't change the past to end up with the happy ending that you want. It says some other things, but just watch the film. I also like the way the film '12 Monkeys' does it. If someone wrote this article, they they have to decide what is 'correct'. I suppose I lean towards what does current theoretical physics allow/say is correct? – heath 2 months ago
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      5

      What makes an anime/manga popular? How does it get into the mainstream?

      With so many different anime and manga available in the world, there are bound to be many that grow in popularity much more than others. For instance, series like Demon Slayer/Kimetsu no Yaiba absolutely blew up in popularity in late 2019. Other series like One Piece and Naruto have stayed relevant ever since they began in the late 1990s, and it seems just about everyone knows what Attack on Titan is even if they never watched/read anime/manga. But what is it that makes these series so popular? The characters, themes, accessibility, plot, or something else completely?

      • A degree of familiarity within innovation and a high-quality storyline tend to be the two main variables. – J.D. Jankowski 1 year ago
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      • I feel like it'd be good to note that all of the ones you've mentioned here are generally classed as shonen (marketed at young/teen boys), and I believe they all (or most) were originally featured in the very popular Shonen Jump magazine in Japan. I'd imagine that having such a big audience as teen boys, and coming from such an established publisher, would help the ones you've mentioned. – AnnieEM 2 days ago
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      3

      Zuko, Snape, Eleanor Shellstrop -- What makes a good redemtion arc?

      Characters that present as villainous at first and nobly heroic nearing the end, have always fascinated audiences. Zuko from Avatar The Last Airbender, presents as a particularly striking example of this. Here we have a young teenager who just fills an antagonist role so well. He constantly is hunting Aang and company in the hopes to restore his honour. As the story progresses however, through various trials, tribulations, self-reflection, and personal development, he ultimately finds his own honour in helping the Avatar. Eleanor from the show The Good Place has a similar arc where self-development, understanding, and personal growth prove key to her redemption.

      One can argue that Snape in Harry Potter doesn’t quite follow this redemption arc, and while many fans think his redemption proves just as valid, a case can be made against it. Snape arguably doesn’t make any effort in his own redemption, and his love for Lily and grand reveal that ‘he was actually one of the good guys all along’ just doesn’t seem to offer that same ‘satisfaction’ for lack of a better word as the other redemption arcs previously mentioned so much as it seems to play more into the role of a plot twist than a redemption arc. We don’t see the same focus on growth and becoming a better person here.

      This begs the question- what makes a good or bad redemption arc and what differentiates a redemption arc from a plot twist?

      • Interesting idea! Redemptions are very interesting! I would just remove your thoughts from the topic before it will be approved. – Sean Gadus 2 months ago
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      • I'd actually be happy to write this once my pending piece has been approved (though I don't know Eleanor so mmight replace her with someone else.) I approved this topic but I feel it's better to remove your personal feelings. – Adnan Bey 2 months ago
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      • I feel like a "redemption arc" is always kind of in the eye of the beholder, especially if we're talking about characters who aren't made to be seen as purely wicked. If a character is a full-blown villain, then it's easy to pinpoint if or when they stop doing purely villainous things. On the other hand, if a character makes some questionable decisions that don't cross the line into outright evil, then different people will have different opinions about how much growth is necessary before the characters "prove" they're no longer as bad as they were to start with. I also feel as though it's harder with longer-running series that span several years (like the Harry Potter franchise) because it's so hard to keep characters consistent for all that time. A character might advance a little, then backslide, several times over the years, which makes it harder to track their growth. – Debs 15 hours ago
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      4

      Does Don't Look Up do it's job as a satire?

      Adam McKay, one of the great modern comedy feature writers (Step Brothers, The Big Short, Anchorman), has stirred up controversy with his latest Oscar nominated feature, Don’t Look Up. In a world that appears to be going more and more insane with each passing day, the premise of Don’t Look Up should be the type of concept that resonates with the majority of the population. And looking at its success with the Oscar nomination and its popularity on Netflix, clearly it did. It narrowly missed the streaming service’s record for the highest watch time of a film in its opening 28 days, at 360 million hours.

      So then, how does a film this so well-perceived by the Academy and popular with the masses manage just 55% on Rotten Tomatoes, 49% on Metacritic, and a relatively underwhelming 7.2 IMDb? The feature isn’t perfect, and perhaps the star-studded cast and wealth of talent behind the scenes had some expecting the impossible. But gripes over story and weren’t what prompted such an adverse response from reviewers. Something else that’s rubbed a portion of viewers the wrong way. In creating this satire, Adam McKay poked the bear and pissed off the very people he’s trying to appeal to: climate change deniers. Negative reviews of this film almost always circle back to the same critique, which is the perception that McKay is attempting to preach true knowledge to his (it’s not exclusive to them, but for simplicity’s sake) conservative audience that they are laughably naïve and easily swayed by politicians that would sacrifice them in a heartbeat to turn a profit.

      To come to a conclusive judgement on whether Don’t Look Up hits or misses the mark of a great satire, we must do an objective deep dive into its character. Does it hit too close to home for people to accept, or is it simply so absurd that we can’t help but laugh at it, and not in the way McKay intended?

      • I would love to read a piece on this, actually. I think it's a conversation worth having, especially in this current climate. No, the film isn't perfect, but it shows a lot of how imperfect we are as humans and how much we depend on each other to survive. Also, let's talk about the elephant in the room - the disgustingly rich, who I'm sure will be on the first spaceship out of here if sh*t hits the fan. So, yeah, it hits too close to home. – Dani CouCou 2 months ago
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      • This is good. An article can address issues such scientific methods and how TV addresses them-usually poorly with an audience really not understanding or appreciating the rigor that goes into any scientific process. Certainly, the movie had me thinking of Covid and the denialism surrounding it for, unfortunately, many. – Joseph Cernik 5 days ago
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      1

      Why is the delinquent protagonist the best kind?

      Alex Russo in Disney Channel’s hit TV show, "Wizards of Waverly Place" (2007-2012), is well loved for her constant antics: pranking her brothers, breaking rules, being lazy and selfish but ultimately having a heart of gold. Why is it that audiences adore "rule breaker" characters? Is it because they can do and get away with things that the rest of us in reality cannot so we live vicariously through them? Or is it because to be good all the time is boring? What other films and TV series star rebel protagonists and why are their immoral actions so appealing to viewers?

      • The main reason I think we see so many rebel characters is because it is an easy way to introduce conflict into a plot. – Blackcat130 1 week ago
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      • I'm not sure delinquents and rebels are always the "best" kinds of characters, per se, but I think their appeal taps into wish fulfillment. Most kids hate where they go to school, and most adults hate where they work, and so the idea of being able to just flout the rules and do what you want is super appealing. This is especially true if, as often happens in these kinds of stories, a character breaks a rule for the greater good, and by the end of the story everyone sees how right they were all along. – Debs 6 days ago
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      1

      What is the legacy of Skins?

      Skins was a British teen soap opera which began in 2008 and ran for about seven seasons. This series was renowned for its controversial subject matter, as many of the characters did things like have sex, experiment with drugs, and struggle with serious mental health concerns. Several of the cast members–including Nicholas Hoult, Dev Patel, and Kaya Scodelario among others–went on to have illustrious film and television careers.

      What if any influence has Skins had on the teen soap opera genre? How many modern teen soaps–which tend to feature fairly dark subject matter–were inspired by Skins, whether directly or indirectly? How do more recent television shows for teens compare to Skins in terms of characterization and structure?

        Film

        The Appeal of Wednesday Addams
        The Appeal of Wednesday Addams
        A Cinematic Journey Through Time
        Star Wars, Love, Loss & Redemption
        The Dark Side of Beauty Standards in Helter Skelter: A semiotic analysis

        TV

        The Book of Boba Fett Is A Failure That Hold Warnings and Lessons For Future Star Wars Projects
        The Book of Boba Fett Is A Failure That Hold Warnings and Lessons For Future Star Wars Projects
        Social Commentary in The Office
        MythQuest and the Challenges of Creating Entertaining Educational Children’s Programming
        Breaking Bad’s Jane: An Island in Albuquerque

        Animation

        Disney Heroines and Gaslighting
        Disney Heroines and Gaslighting
        Celebrating, Analyzing, and Resurrecting Fillmore!
        Nickelodeon, Disney, and the Story of Growing Up
        Ren & Stimpy’s History: 30 Years Later

        Anime

        The Legacies of the Atomic Bomb in Anime
        The Legacies of the Atomic Bomb in Anime
        Anime Versus Cancel Culture
        Perfect Blue: A Genre Study
        Your Name: Finding Love Across Possible Worlds?

        Manga

        Elfen Lied’s Eugenic Underpinnings
        Elfen Lied’s Eugenic Underpinnings
        The Horrifying Appeal of Junji Ito
        One Punch Man vs. My Hero Academia: Reconstructing the Silver Age of Comics
        Manga: How to Travel Between Dimensions

        Comics

        Continuity and Connectivity in Comic Book Movies
        Continuity and Connectivity in Comic Book Movies
        Comics in Education: Benefits and attitudes
        How Gwenpool Knows the Unknowable (And Can We Do the Same?)
        Monstress: World-Building With a Feminist Twist

        Literature

        BookTok Influencers and Their Impact on the Publishing Industry
        BookTok Influencers and Their Impact on the Publishing Industry
        Star Wars Publishing Is Taking An Exciting Plunge Into The Unknown
        Harry Potter and the War on Terror
        Demystifying Franz Kafka

        Arts

        Are Immersive Exhibitions Ruining Art?
        Are Immersive Exhibitions Ruining Art?
        Apex and Abyss: A Thematic Analysis
        Issues of Consent, Representation, and Exploitation in Deepfake Pornography
        Autism in Media: Progressing, Yet Stuck

        Writing

        Writing in Isolation during a global pandemic
        Writing in Isolation during a global pandemic
        Fantasy Writing in the Age of Reason to Today
        Fantasy Writing and The Middle Ages to The Renaissance
        Men Written by Women: Dreamboats or Brutes?