Julian Bennett is a game enthusiast of the video and board variety. He prefers playing with people so anything co-op has his interest.

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Perception of Nation-Self in Television

I think it would be interesting to look at how TV influences how a nation presents itself. Quantico for instance presents the FBI as an industry that only accepts the best of the best of the best of the best. Continually culling from their supposedly elite recruits. Shows like CSI and other procedurals and police dramas like Castle and even Brooklyn-Nine Nine irrespective of genre portray the police as singlemindedly determined to find the truth. As a force that refuse to accept confessions if there isn’t evidence to back them up. Who will search for the truth inspite of all the evidence to the contrary if they find someone pleading their innocence. They will only accept a righteous confession as the final closing of the case.

They also rarely show people using lawyers. Laywers are seen as evil. Even seasoned spies when caught (Castle) confess to the police without a lawyer because the cops simply yell lies at them. Seating in interrogations is always across tables never invading someone’s personal space until "Bad Cop" shows up to get physical.

Shows like The Whisperers are strangely patriotic and frame every decision as if based on the principles of the founding fathers. The decision to intern children without telling anyone is based on how they will be perceived in history.

There are many other examples and types but I believe these create a sense of righteousness in how America perceives itself. Quantico tries to humanize their character by giving them all secret flaws and having them share them with other characters at seemingly random times while at the same time having the most complex exams on a nearly daily basis that sound like a logistical nightmare. And while it makes sense in Sleepy Hollow for the founding fathers to come up constantly. It’s odd that a show about aliens invading is so focused on the political theory rather than threat assessment. I think it does the accused a disservice in real life to never show people talking with their lawyers unless they’re rich and (likely) guilty. It creates a general perception that the police can question you and you are obligated to answer them without representation.

  • Good topic! I see this in Law & Order all.the.time, too. There is some analysis that could be done with Althusser and the ideological state apparatus. Although, if someone selects this topic, I would stick to one genre of shows to analyze simply because examining several different genres might make the parts of article disjointed from one another. – Caitlin Ray 7 years ago
  • I think it's important to look at multiple genres but I might stick to one facet of ideal perception and then look at it across the genres. For instance. You could look at legal representation and you can see it in dramas, mysteries, and comedies and see how they each do it similarly and how they do it differently. In TV defense attorneys are the devil to cops and attorneys are (usually) their buddies. I think it'd be important to highlight the importance of how defense attorney's work and are perceived in real life in comparison to how they are in TV. Or you could do a similar thing with interrogation, or evidence. – wolfkin 7 years ago
  • Ah yes, I agree with this-legal representation across genres would probably work as an analysis because it has a common thread of "legal representation." The author would still need to tread carefully to not take up too much material. I agree that defense attorneys are often considered the cops (and therefore "the truth's" enemy). However, "The people" or the state attorney, are often on the same side as the cops and seem to also be the mouthpiece for "truth." – Caitlin Ray 7 years ago

Do we need cliffhanger endings?

It seems like television shows always end the seasons with cliffhangers. But why? It’s been a long time since JR was shot and it had people talking for months to try to figure out who was responsible. Do cliffhangers matters anymore? Shows like Misfits managed to have satisfying endings with minor cliffhangers and were able to come back the next season with new stories. What purpose do cliffhangers serve especially in our constantly fractured TV landscape in America it’s become common to break seasons in half just to have a winter finale and then a end of the show season finale. Wouldn’t no cliffhangers better serve shows like the recently cancelled The Whispers or The Event both of which ended in cliffhangers that will never be resolved. Contrast to show that didnt end in cliffhangers like the miniseries turned full TV show The 4400 which was originally a miniseries that had a satisfying ending. And when it turned into a full series to my recollection ended with a cliffhanger.

  • I think the cliff-hanger ending (of seasons leading up to the finale) merely try get a rise out of the fans. An example of this was the finale to the third season of House of Cards. But I would not want a cliff-hanger at the finale of the series itself. – luminousgloom 7 years ago
  • Cliff-hanger endings have always served the same purpose: to get people talking, and to convince them to come back in droves for the next season to see what happened. Only in hindsight, if a show gets cancelled before a cliffhanger is resolved, does it seem like a pointless inclusion. But it wouldn't quite be the same if that cliffhanger had been resolved. Some shows can thankfully set things up to end on a good note if they get a memo early enough in advance that their show will be cancelled, which is what happened with "Brisco County Jr." But if it pops up inbetween seasons, then no one can do anything about it, like what happened to "My Name is Earl." – Jonathan Leiter 7 years ago
  • I think it depends. I think you can still have a satisfying show without cliffhangers depending on your genre/show style. I don't think it's necessarily bad to use them though either. It generates intrigue and talk. It allows the viewers to involve themselves in the story even though it's not currently airing and they are waiting for the next season to start. I kind of like the excitement personally. And I like to think and scheme and wonder instead of be handfed the story passively. But again, I think some plots lend better to being consumed passively vs. actively, so I think it's really up to the writers. That said, obviously from a monetary standpoint, building hype and buzz usually generates revenue which is always the goal. – Tatijana 7 years ago
  • "Only in hindsight, if a show gets cancelled before a cliffhanger is resolved, does it seem like a pointless inclusion." --- I think it's the other way around. It's always a pointless inclusion and only in hindsight if they don't get cancelled does it seem like brilliant forethought. I don't think that cliffhangers really get people talking like they used to when a television show was a unifying force. --- "And I like to think and scheme and wonder instead of be handfed the story passively." --- There's still room for ploting and scheming. There's just no reason to stretch it out over the season break when no one knows for certain if they'll be back. If you KNOW you're back there's room to argue for cliffhangers but take Scream Queens for instance and Harper's Island as well. Both of which had active communities trying to ID the killer while the show airs. It's not the end of show talk if you talk week to week. – wolfkin 7 years ago
  • There really hasn't been a cliffhanger phenomenon quite like "Who Shot JR?." It was really the first, and best example of what the cliffhanger is for: to raise awareness and word-of-mouth regarding a show in order to draw more viewers. Since cliffhangers are used now with such frequency, they have lost their initial punch. However, every now and then, it still works. When Rick Grimes and his group of survivors were captured by cannibals at the end of Season 5 of "The Walking Dead," it did lead to a huge audience for the next season's premier. I think, at this point, what cliffhangers do best is to speak to our own addiction to anticipation. Waiting months to resolve hanging storylines feels almost like that post-Thanksgiving anticipation for Christmas morning. – TheHall 7 years ago

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Latest Comments

I speak the truth. I read the book AND watched the movie. I’m not sure you’ve done either at this point.

What The Audience Got Wrong About "Gone Girl"

I disagree but only because I don’t think the movie did a good job of making Amy as complex as she was in the book. I felt no real attachment to her. I would never have attached to her the label of representative. She’s clearly exceptionally disturbed not “typically disturbed” as the comments by these men would suggest. One of the things I noticed when reading the book afterwards was how much more I understood why Amy was so attractive. I understood why they were marriedmore and it made the turns punch that much harder. It made a lot of things less confusing.

What The Audience Got Wrong About "Gone Girl"

I can’t speak for the ladies and female Thor but there is a contingent of black people who are upset about the changes because it’s marvel taking traditionally black heroes and erasing them. They’ve essentially killed off Falcon by making him Captain America. Personally I’m not interested in black spider-man what I’m interested in is Marvel investing in the black characters they DO have. Like rather than making Thor a woman I’d personally rather than make a woman character and just give her the hammer and let her stand on her own name.

If they can pull nobodies like Iron Man who was C-List before the films or randos like Guardians of the Galaxy and make them household names. Rather than trying to make their headline white dude heroes not white dudes. How about they bring up some of their actually black characters like say making Luke Cage pop (and I’m eagerly anticipating his Netflix debut). Same with DC.

For all the Spider-Man movies we have.. THREE reboots. Why can’t we get Static Shock to the screen. I’m tired of Spider-Man and honestly New York in general. I would kill to see Static back on the air. He’s basically the same hero but black. Rather than making Spider-Man black I’d like to see the comic book industry push for more Static.

What Marvel Hopes to Achieve with the Changing of Race/Gender in Pre-Existing Characters

when I speak of Dragonball I refer to the franchise including both Dragonball and Dragonball Z. When I said it was the first big Anime release in the west. I meant primarily that DBZ is hundreds of episodes long and it was released in the west. It wasn’t literally the first show and but it was the first BIG show.

While I do believe that DB was very influential to getting DBZ (Heck it was my intro to the series when I was a kid. I recognized the characters in DBZ from this awesome show I watched and only found out the name afterwards). Dragonball itself wasn’t a BIG anime show, not like Dragonball Z. DB only got 13 episodes. DBZ was big in part because it was more action oriented and I think because the market for Anime was slightly more mature and ready to consume by the time DBZ came over here. We were primed with DB, primed with Akira and some of the other movies.

Dragon Ball: Why is it Still Endearing to People Everywhere?

DB is popular for two reasons. 1) The cultural ties to the strong national myth. Journey to the West. A very famous Chinese story iirc. and 2) in the West it’s famous because it was first. Dragonball was one of the first big Anime tv releases in the west. It was unlike any other cartoon show being made over here. It and Sailor Moon are classics and nothing else can compare. it was SM for girls and DB for guys. Nowadays there’s too much noise. Nothing could possibly get big like Dragonball again because while Naruto is popular it had to compete with Bleach and One Piece. There was nothing competing with Dragonball when it was on over here and for that it was unifying like nothing else and for that it was endearing. Dragonball is like a shared experience. We all know what it was like to watch five episodes of the a fight before the first punch landed. We remember fondly the characters but the show itself.. very few people would watch it now. Which is why the Kai.

Dragon Ball: Why is it Still Endearing to People Everywhere?


Presuming fanservice, can fanservice be used in interesting ways.

Ok, more interesting. I’ll come back and finish the article later, but still there’s room for highlighting the ways not to use fanservice rather than how to use it.

Fanservice in Anime: Perception Versus Intent

yeah I’d rather read the article Intent vs Perception because I think this completely underscores the effects of fanservice by trying to showcase the intent as if intent can change perception. It doesn’t really work like that. It’s like saying “No offense but…” just because it isn’t intended to say objectify women doesn’t mean it is not objectifying women. And while Kill La Kill is, I agree, very clearly crafted to in part mock skimpy fighting outfits. It does it while at the same time engaging in the same behaviour. While they get points for also trying to, at some points, objectify a few of their male characters what I remember is that it didn’t, and can’t really be the same. The focus and majority are one female characters.

If your hero is a black man fighting racism and that black man is just as sexist as his enemy is racist that’s not being better.

Fanservice as titillating tone setting or for laughs is problematic. Fanservice to tell a story. In theory I could possibly get behind that but i really can’t see it as necessary. You can tell stories without fanservice. And considering the perception of fanservice to keep trying to make it work is drawing from a poisoned well. As an artist you can create your vision however you like but for all your intent perception will be colored first by the environment of perception and in 2015 the perception of fanservice is poisoned well first before anything, and that will stop people from seeing any other aspect of the vision.

Fanservice in Anime: Perception Versus Intent

Dude Skyler was awesome. I loved Skyler. It’s Marie I wasn’t a fan of. But man Skyler was one of my favorite characters up there with Walter himself.

Refusal to Settle: Why I Love Skyler White