Samantha

Graduate of Western University living and working in Toronto. In my spare time I play with my puppy, Theodore.

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    Dystopian Films with Young Heroes

    The Hunger Games, Divergent/Insurgent, After Earth, Elysium, The Maze Runner. All of these films were released within the past 5 years and they are all dystopian themes with a child as the main hero protagonist. The child helps galvanize and lead their people to salvation while usually overthrowing a corrupt government. In every scenario, the child succeeds.

    What does this theme say about our current society? Is it linked to the weak North American economy or the global environmental crisis?

    • I think there is a lot of psychology in this discussion. One could discuss how children/teenagers are needed to make changes because they have grown up knowing nothing but this society and are not yet defeated like previous generations. They have youth and hope on their side. It might be interesting to tie into any historical accounts of youth rising up against tyranny. – Liz Watkins 5 years ago
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    • I find it interesting that 3 out of the 5 films you have cited came from books. It would be worth looking at how literature deals with this theme and how it conceives childhood/ teenage years within a dystopian world. How is this youth different from non-dystopian works? – Rachel Elfassy Bitoun 5 years ago
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    • What about the fact that these dystopian novels and films all fall into the Youth genre instead of the Novel genre? What does that say about the world? – orenhammerquist 5 years ago
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    • I think we'll need to look at this topic from a less optimistic but more likely direction. Specifically, remember that the teenage market is a huge source of income in entertainment, both for music, books, film, video games, and others. A parent is hugely more likely to purchase for the child as opposed to a single adult or a childless couple. As such, teenagers tend to like media which focuses on teenagers. Thus, whenever these stories become popular, it looks like they're the stories that go on to make popular films, but it's really the inverse: The films were popular because the stories were popular. Doesn't really seem to have much to do with culture to me, just economy. – Christopher Vance 5 years ago
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    • You can analyze the characters from these films and draw parallels between them. Overlapping traits, familial circumstances, social status - how are they significant to these characters? – Arlinka Larissa 5 years ago
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    Is The 'Laugh Track' Dead in Sitcoms?

    In the 90s and early 2000s laugh tracks were the norm of most, if not all, sitcoms: Seinfeld, Friends, Tool Time, MASH, Golden Girls, Cheers etc. Although these shows were different in theme and direction, they all had two things in common–they were extremely popular and they had a laugh track.
    Now if you look at popular sitcoms that are currently airing, such as: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Modern Family, Community, Cougar Town, Parks and Recreation etc, laugh tracks are no where to be found. Why is that? Has mainstream humour changed? Or on a more broad level, has the sitcom transformed. (ie. The Mockumentary).

    There are the exceptions, them being Big Bang Theory and Two Broke Girls but, in my opinion, both of those shows lack substance.

    • I would be interested in the history of the laugh track as well. I don't think I notice it in watching, and I wonder how much it actually affects the audience's response. – Liz Watkins 5 years ago
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    • This is a really interesting and original topic! I would be interested in seeing official research done on this with audience's responses, like Liz suggested. Be careful though - judging of its efficiency may get very subjective. I think it would be best to focus on the history of laugh tracks and official documentation. – Rachel Elfassy Bitoun 5 years ago
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    Latest Comments

    Hey Tyler,
    For the younger, more tech-savvy Generation Y, Netflix and other streaming sites are definitely a very popular way to watch popular tv series’ and movies. I confess that I have binge-watched a series on Netflix solely because all the episodes are available to me at once. In fact, Netflix is dangerous in the way that it encourages binge-watching and, in turn, procrastination in the average post-secondary student.

    However, the benefit of Netflix is that it offers such a variety of options. I find myself watching old shows (currently I’m on Friends) that are no longer airing (or are on their fifth and sixth seasons), informative documentaries (like that one on Burt’s Bees!) and a variety of movies that have been on my ‘watch list’ for years. Likewise, Netflix offers movies a place to be released that wouldn’t normally make theatres. For example, The Interview which was banned from theatres for completely ridiculous reasons was released directly onto Netflix. So basically the ban just allowed everyone on Netflix to see it for free rather than pay in the theatres.

    All this being said, I don’t feel that Netflix will ever replace television. This is for the simple reason that Netflix doesn’t have everything. There are many reality shows (most being on the cooking channel) that will never transition to Netflix. There are also many differences between the Canadian Netflix and the America Netflix–the major difference being that the American one is better. Countries like Australia and parts of Europe don’t have Netflix at all. And lets not forget the news and the most amazing sitcom ever: Modern Family.

    Rogers is actually fighting back against Netflix with their service, Shomi. It is essentially a cheaper version of Netflix for Rogers clients can access through their satellite rather than their Internet wifi. Say goodbye to the spinning buffer symbol.

    Great article! Netflix definitely has my vote I just don’t think it will ever fully takeover.

    Netflix and Streaming: How Television is Changing

    Hey Abhumangu,

    I really appreciate the topic of your article! It’s incredible how animation films can instill such strong emotions in views of all different ages. Many modern Pixar and Dreamworks films are actually geared towards adults as well as children, which cannot be said about classic Disney films.

    You make many good points about the power of animation when you speak about the complex software used, the ability to defy physics without objection from the viewer, and the general malleability of the genre. All of these elements allow animation to transcend our imaginations in ways that live-action never could.

    I do, however, find myself lost when you mention how emotion is not a direct result of animation because animation isn’t magic. In the first few paragraphs of your article you talk about the, for lack of a better term, magic that takes place when Elsa’s hair transforms before the viewer’s eyes and that is a great insight! It is the magic that animation achieves that pushes it past live-action and brings wonderment to the screen.

    It is a similar point when we have main characters who are animals: The Fox and the Hound, The Lion King, Finding Nemo, Bambi, Ice Age. All of these films are magical because they allow animals to speak and communicate in a language we can understand. Some of them even talk to people (Family Guy). It is both funny (because who hasn’t voiced their own pet every now and again) and magical.

    Another part that I want to touch on is when you applied your points on animation to live-action movies like Guardians of the Galaxy, Harry Potter and 2012 that incorporate animation in them. These movies are in a completely different genre known as hyper-realism. They cannot be compared to purely animated films.

    Movies like Lord of the Rings and War of the Worlds are going to instill strong emotions because they hit closer to home. The audience can see themselves in the film (the actors) alongside animated characters (orcs and Gollum) and almost believe it is real. Likewise they can see the actual world collapsing in War of the Worlds and be completely terrified because it is based in world that the viewer can understand.

    Overall, I was very enthralled while reading the article and think the topic is very relevant and vast.

    Thanks for the post!!!

    Animated Works: Ability to Induce Strong Emotions

    Hi Jessica!
    Great article filled with insightful observations. I am always fascinated by how the writers of long running shows like HIMYM, Friends and even J.K. Rowling with the Harry Potter series seem to map together such intricate clues throughout the story that all tie together in an otherwise “surprise ending.”
    I have to admit I was one of the disappointed viewers at the finale because of the very reasons you outlined. However, after reading your article I have to say that you’ve swayed me! Which can only mean that you hit the mark on your rationale.
    The fact that in the first episode we are basically told the ending to a never-ending story is both ironic and hilarious. Kind of like a joke between the writers–you know?
    I also think your point on the ending telling us about true love is very sweet and also so fitting with Ted’s character and the tone of the entire series.
    Yeah they could have given us a bit more time to accept both Tracy’s death and Ted’s decision to go to Robin (it felt like IMMEDIATELY after Tracy died Ted got over it, which obviously wasn’t the case) but overall, and after your argument, I can say that the ending was rather touching.
    Great job. I hope to read more of your work.

    Why the How I Met Your Mother Series Finale was Actually Genius