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    Latest Articles

    Latest Topics


    Opening theme songs and TV/Cartoon shows

    The most beloved (and not necessarily great) television/cartoon shows tend to have unforgettable, epic opening songs that have undeniably helped them attained cult statuses. But, more recently, due to strict runtime or creative choices, shows have distanced themselves from such practice, choosing instead very short intro music, for instance, Breaking Bad (20secs) as opposed to the more traditional 1-1:30min long intro.

    Analyze how a great opening song can contribute to the popularity of a TV/cartoon show even if it is not of great quality or does not hold up in time. Are theme songs more than just accompaniment? With the market slowly being dominated by streaming, will the practice and culture of the opening songs still be relevant (especially when you can skip the intro)?

    • "5,4,3,2,1. Thunderbirds are Go!" In my opinion, probably the best ever intro to a children's tv series. Instantly recognisable. Unforgettable. It still brings a smile to my face even now. – Amyus 5 years ago
    • Amyus - what's interesting is that I am more familiar with the theme song as opposed to the actual show! – kpfong83 5 years ago
    • From my experience, some of my favorite anime first came to my attention by having really cool opening themes. So, they definitely make a big impression. It might help as well to draw a distinction between opening theme songs that are memorable and those that are "good" in a musical sense. – Debs 5 years ago
    • Debs - I thought about anime openings as well but I think they deserve a whole topic on their own. The fact that they can recruit J-pop singers or well-known singers is astounding. I mean, some artists made a career out of anime songs. – kpfong83 5 years ago
    • I think since the intro is (as the name implies) typically the first thing a viewer sees when they watch a show, there's a need to make as big an impression as possible right out of the gate. That's partially why many theme songs and openings are so flashy, so they can get your attention right away. They also need to set the tone of the show to give audiences an idea of what kind of show they're in for. – Daniel C. Hein 5 years ago
    • I'm not sure where the opening to "The Flintstones" fits in here or "Underdog." Where is the cutoff between short and long? – Joseph Cernik 5 years ago
    • I think theme songs are also useful for serving basic exposition, whether that be lyrically or visually. Off the top of my head, the lyrics of the Phineas and Ferb theme song and explain the plot pretty well, while BoJack Horseman's is instrumental but is expository in a more visual way. – haileyscomet 5 years ago
    • Please mention Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go!, the difference in the theme songs really show the difference in the audiences, the tone of the show and the modernity of it coming back in this different format. – tingittens 4 years ago

    The role of toys in popular culture

    Toys hold a special place in the heart of fans from all walks of life. From second-hand and bargain-bin action figures, retro toys making a comeback (original Transformers), Funko pops or legos, to unique hand-crafted statues or busts, all those products derived from popular culture have built new communities, connected collectors and reinforced the appreciation in the original works.

    Has our consumption for toys changed in recent years thanks to better marketing or distribution? Has the perception of adults collecting action toys changed? Have action figures and statues now been elevated to similar statuses as work of arts (painting or sculpture)? It goes without saying that toys are getting more and more expensive and yet, the demands for some collector’s items are growing.

    • It's an interesting idea. Perhaps just as relevant would be the question: when does a toy cease to be just a toy? For instance, 'collectables' are created to be exactly that and no doubt there are collectors who would thrown their hands up in horror at the very notion of 'playing' with their precious items, or letting a child get his or her grubby mitts on them! An equally valid question would be: have we lost sight of what a 'toy' should be? – Amyus 5 years ago
    • I'm thinking about which category this would fall under on this site. I would suggest perhaps considering covering toys for a particular media genre, like comics or movies, and then you can include a broader discussion of toy consumption. For example, my brother grew up as an avid collector of Star Wars lego models. It would be interesting to see how movie franchises (or tv series, or comic series, etc.) are influencing and influenced by toy collectors. – Eden 5 years ago
    • Amyus - as a parent of a toddler, I have definitely lost sight of what a toy should be! I look at those 'cheap' Marvel/DC movie-inspired toys and would gladly buy them for my kid, yet when I encounter the 6-inch scale premium articulation Marvel Legends figures (which is roughly more expensive), I automatically consider them as collectibles. Is it because they are more expensive? Is it because my kid would not appreciate them as much? Am I jealous that there are better toys of characters I love now? :) Eden - Completely agree with your point! If I were to narrow my search, I would focus on comics. I tried to incorporate toys based on Japanese franchises/manga/anime but got completely scared by the scale of popularity considering that there are live full-blown sculpting competitions of Gundam figures. – kpfong83 5 years ago
    • kpfong. You make some excellent points! Apologies, not being a parent, I can only draw from my own experiences as a child - though I do recall receiving a die cast metal Spitfire for my 10th birthday and I wouldn't let anyone touch it, let alone play with it! – Amyus 5 years ago
    • Amyus - No worries and thanks for sharing your opinions! – kpfong83 5 years ago
    • Cool topic! I'd love a discussion on technological toys and games or apps vs. more "traditional" ones such as dolls, stuffed animals, or action figures. Also, while statues and figurines like FunkoPop are called toys by some, I do think they have opened the door for adults to engage or reengage in fandom and toy culture. I'd love for the author to explore this, too. – Stephanie M. 5 years ago
    • No matter what, toys will continue to attract kids (and perhaps even adults). Gone are the days when toys were made of simple everyday stuff, and yet stimulated the child's brain to be creative with them. – monolina 5 years ago

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    Latest Comments

    Interesting article.

    As you pointed out well, marketing plays a crucial role in the success of the movie and I sometimes wonder if actors/writers/directors have full control over how their movies are being sold to the audience by the studios.

    The Paradox of the Strong Female Character

    I never came across the term “Flanderization”, but you identify it well as one of the main phenomena which led to the downfall of the series. I remember that my interest for the show gradually went down after the various retcons and the changes made to Flanders.

    The Legendary and Cautionary Tale of The Simpsons

    A great use of Bakhtin’s concept of the Chronotope! I was very impressed at how it was applied so efficiently throughout your analysis of the 3 works.

    Adapting Worlds, not Stories

    Great analysis of all the movies mentioned. I completed agree with your conclusion that marketing plays an important role in packaging the films for the audience. It definitely plays a role in their reception and how far the viewers will commit to find more about the real matter.

    How Important is Historical Accuracy in Films?

    Thanks for the response! I wonder if the SW universe can ever offer a “solution” to paternalism or “break the cycle”. But it seems that the newer movies do not really attempt to do it, choosing instead to repeat the cycle.

    Star Wars: a Criticism of Paternalism as Stepping Stone to Empire

    Very enjoyable read with great references to philosophical ideals. I am not a huge fan of the prequels but this article gives me cause to revisit them.

    I have to ask though: Is there a way to avoid Paternalism when you are among at the top of the food chain? Can you be paternalistic yet not an abuser of power?

    Star Wars: a Criticism of Paternalism as Stepping Stone to Empire

    Thanks for the recommendation!

    Monstress: World-Building With a Feminist Twist

    I really like the design of the pirates and the Arcanics.

    Monstress: World-Building With a Feminist Twist