Friends, That 70s Show, Community, The Office, Modern Family, the list spans kilometres. These kinds of ensemble tv shows, where rather than being just one main character, the focus is on a main group of characters, are incredibly popular today.
Investigate WHY that is. Is it something to do with the kind of show – many shows with ensemble casts are comedy or sit-com? Can viewers better find someone to relate to within a group, rather than with a designated sole protagonist? Does it open more expansive avenues for story-telling, when the focus is on six different people as opposed to just one? Does this keep viewers more invested, less bored? Is it the relationship aspect that draws viewers in? Do they enjoy feeling part of the on-screen group’s little family? Arguably, within a group, characters can afford to be more flawed as they have their peers to keep them in check, does this make for more relatable characters? Or is it the opposite, do these shows create caricatures (the smart one, the funny one, etc.) and is that why people enjoy it?
This article should offer specific examples of TV shows and what it is about them that people enjoyed.
There is something about this TV show formula that just works, and an article offering an answer to ‘why?’ could be very interesting and insightful.
Interesting topic! The cool thing about ensemble casts is that it gives more audience members a chance to find someone they can relate to. If there's a single defined protagonist, you either relate to that person or you don't. If there's a large ensemble cast, though, then it's more likely you can connect to someone in a fairly major role. – Debs2 days ago
My article investigates touchable art and introduces artists who recover in their practices the bodily needs for physical contact. Amongst the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 are ‘no touch’ policies and the closing of art institutions for unlimited periods of time.
But our crave for touch grows with the passing of time, and so does our need for seeing new, beautiful things.
My article suggests different ways in which the public can soothe their desire for physical contact by experiencing art in the virtual space. It engages with the works of British artist Lucy Clout, Berlin-based Americans Claire Tolan and Holly Herndon and American artist Julie Weitz. Most recently, Australian artist Michelle Vine was awarded a residency with Museum of Brisbane for which she produced work that brought together touchable art and participatory art forms.
Very intriguing and topical idea! You seem to already have artists and/or touchable artworks in mind, though. Perhaps you could mention them in the topic already, to guide the reflection? – Gavroche4 days ago
A query, Crisia. Is this a topic suggestion, i.e. for other writers to consider writing about, or are you announcing your intention to write about this subject? – Amyus4 days ago
Thank you for your notes!I'm announcing my intention to write about this subject :) – Crisia4 days ago
Throughout history, many stories have featured characters who are depicted as being "too good for this sinful earth" and therefore dying young. Charles Dickens, for instance, wrote many such characters into his stories; and Uncle Tom’s Cabin also depicts its most famous characters in this way. Such an idea, of course, has explicitly religious connotations, with the idea being that the character is so pure that they belong in heaven and not on earth. Do such characters still exist in modern, secular media? If so, what are some examples? How can a story that lacks a religious bent portray a character as too good for the world (if indeed it’s possible)?
"Top 10" type videos and articles on the internet are so prolific right now it’s like they fill up any negative space available on the net. Examine why that is and how this type of arguably cheap content has become so popular. Is it because of the platforms they inhabit? i.e, "the medium is the message," or is it simply because of the mindset of the generation? Interested to hear your thoughts!
I would not call "Top 10" a new thing, it has been around for decades. Perhaps how it has changed, say, of songs that have been in the top 10 in different years might provide insight into changing tastes. – Joseph Cernik7 days ago
Analyze the relationship between Odysseus and Telemakos of “The Odyssey”. Specifically, look at the characters at their start (Telemakos being more passive, Odysseus being more hot-blooded). How do they develop? How do they influence each other in their development? How is this relevant in driving out 108 suitors from Odysseus’ home, all vying for Penelope’s hand? How does Athena influence both of them?
Cool topic. I missed out on The Odyssey in school because I was in honors/advanced English, and they for some reason thought we "nerds" (hardy har) didn't need to read it. So, I'll look forward to this one. – Stephanie M.4 months ago
There was recently another essay that previously touched on parts of this topic.https://the-artifice.com/odyssey/ – Sean Gadus1 week ago
Two contemporary anime films, Weathering With You, and Penguin Highway, feature strong visual and thematic motifs of water and the weather. I suggest an article that explores how these motifs show similar themes between the two films of hope, youthful abandon, and understanding the unknown (to name a few), and how these themes reflect the cultural associations of water and weather in Japanese society, and perhaps society as a whole. I couldn’t help but notice that the two films both feature water so heavily, as well as an enigmatic female lead with mysterious powers connected to water/weather. Water is a primary element that has the power to both give life and end it. Japan has a long history of devastating typhoons, fearsome weather deities, and folk customs like the teru teru bozu. As a genre, animation enables filmmakers to depict otherworldly places and events that traditional filmmaking just can’t. Water, in particular, is quite challenging to animate well, so both of these films would have been quite challenging to make. I think there are links between the motif of water/the weather as a fearsome but also a crucial element in the world; exploration the unknown as a young person; Japanese animation’s penchant for the otherworldly and existential; and the challenges of animating water.
While still being a plot-focused show, Sense 8 offers an interesting look into what it means to connect on a deep level with another human, sharing sometimes violent or pleasureable experiences in equal measure. Examine the different relationships in the show and what they say about our experience of love and closeness, or alternatively, the lack of those qualities. What is the show trying to get at by telling the stories of these deeply interconnected people?
To a certain extent, genre fiction like fantasy, science fiction and romance are disparaged as being "lesser" than literary fiction. Like Margaret Atwood’s "The Handmaid’s Tale" however, the line between genre and literary fiction can often be blurred.
It begs the question: what is literary merit, exactly?
Is literary merit purely contingent on thematic complexity? Is it the author’s mastery of prose? Can purely "feel-good" works be considered as literarily meritious?
This is a good point. Perhaps the way to approach this topic is look at several classics in literature and how they were accepted or not accepted when they were first released--not every classic now was a classic the moment it was released. – Joseph Cernik7 days ago
Arguably, any type of entertainment offers some form of escapism (which is why we are often drawn to it). However, The Sims seems to present a unique situation.
I suggest an article that looks at the element of escapism with regard to The Sims. In that it is just simulating life, does it really offer a sense of escapism? This could present some discussion points like, the inclusion of supernatural beings, the lack of negative consequences for life decisions, the ability to play out an idealised life.
Do people play The Sims to create what they want/are missing in life? Is it just enjoyable to escape ones own life and control someone else’s? There is an entire niche of YouTube dedicated to The Sims gameplay, this could also present content for this article, in terms of how people play.
In the first player-voted pack for The Sims 4, a pack that allows players to do laundry won. Perhaps this article could offer suggestions as to why players are so enthralled in simulating the mundane, and to refer back to the key idea, is this a kind of escapism?
Analyse both the contemporary and past trends in anime and decide whether representation of different race of people is required or not considering the fact the amount of liberty an anime creator enjoys. Also, if representation in anime is a need of the hour as many people believe the sheer ridiculousness in shonen anime character style does not require characters to resemble real life human beings.
I think any attempt to discuss racial diversity in anime needs to take into account that the Japanese have their own ideas about what constitutes "diversity." Japan isn't a very racially-diverse nation, so when Japanese anime and manga attempt to depict diversity the discussion tends to center more around things like social and cultural class, or, in some cases, the few minority ethnic groups that exist (like the Ainu, who feature prominently in "Golden Kamuy," for instance). One anime that's rather famous for exploring the various forms of diversity in Japanese culture is "Samurai Champloo." Obviously anime that don't take place in Japan need to be more conscious of different races and cultures than those that do. I also think cultural provincialism is a bigger problem in a lot of anime than racism as such. I've seen anime that were set in "white" nations and featured white characters that still struck me as very insensitive, because the creators make everyone whose opinions matter (and even some who don't) behave and react the same way a Japanese person would. – Debs2 weeks ago
Bella Swan and Edward Cullen. Catherine and Heathcliff. Lily Evans and Severus Snape. Besides the obvious examples of unhealthy relationships in literature, there are also some that are commonly contested, like Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy or Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester. Despite the toxicity of these relationships though, and despite the fact that from a twenty-first century mindset, they could be called manipulative or abusive, people still love them. People still read the stories of these characters and enjoy them.
Do toxic relationships in literature have a particular pull? If so, what is it? What makes a relationship toxic, and are any of these, or others, redeemable? Is the woman always the "victim," or can men be victimized by toxicity as well? Are toxic relationships more "accepted" with white couples (you’ll notice none of these examples contain people of color or minorities)? Why is that? What about LGBTQ examples? Discuss.
I feel like it's in large measure of the potential for abusive relationships to function as narcissist's fantasies, even regardless of gender. For example, in a story like Twilight a woman gets to imagine herself being the object of affections of a man who's so infatuated with her he's willing to cater to her every desire (even if he also treats her quite badly). Whereas men get to fantasize about having a weak, passive woman who loves having them in control and being their willing slave. Part of it might also be that some people really are so desperate for a partner that they're willing to do anything for one, no matter how degrading. – Debs5 months ago
I should also add that, if anything, I think toxic relationships are more common in media with LGBT characters than without them, and that a big part of this is that something that anyone could recognize as creepy and awful if a man were doing it to a woman (i.e., rape, kidnapping, etc.), is more likely to be perceived as not that bad when it's a man doing it to another man, or a woman doing it to another woman. – Debs5 months ago
This is a very rich topic. If you plan to write this topic, I suggest reflecting upon subtopics. In my opinion, the meaning of toxic relationship also differ from period to period, so pay attention to that, as well! – Crisia5 days ago
A very interesting topic and at the same time a good question! These relationships are so timeless and have been attractive for generations. In my opinion, to desire someone and being desired by someone is a deep wish and / or a fantasy that has nothing to do with age or gender. – Guinevere3 days ago
Enter the Gungeon is a rogue-like video game (procedurally-generated dungeon crawl levels featuring unique gameplay and permanent death of the player) released more than four years ago. The game features four playable characters, with three additional characters that may be unlocked through completing in game objectives, each featuring their own unique weaponry and bonus items to help the player on their journey into the Gungeon: a bullet-hell dungeon where at the bottoms lies the gun that can kill the past.
The title alone must sound silly. The explanation, perhaps even more so, but let me tell you: Enter the Gungeon slaps so hard. It’s unique gameplay, storyline, unlimited pop-culture references, and rewards for each Gungeon run(geon) that encourage players to come back again and again make this game endlessly replayable.
In this article, delve deep into the gameplay, why the game is so relevant, highlight its pop-culture references, why the gameplay is so much fun, why its structure makes it the perfect game for long-form gamers or those that only have an hour at a time to enjoy, and all around why it deserves as much attention today as it did upon its release.
This sounds really interesting, but I think the article would need to be cautious that it is not too subjective. Rather than looking at why it is so fun, this could translate to a discussion of what elements of the game play are most enjoyed by those playing it. Then, WHY are those aspects of game play so popular? (I'm not familiar with the game so forgive my generalisations, but is it suspense, or mystery, or action, that players enjoy?) I think this would need some form of evidence to avoid coming across as just opinions, whether it be reviews or statistics to demonstrate popularity, etc. – leersens2 weeks ago
Thanks for the advice. As this would be an article a bit close to my heart due to my (obvious) admiration for this particular game, I would be weary to make this a subjective glorying article about the game. The highlight of the article should be about what it is about the game that makes it so enjoyable and how it's in depth pop-culture connections keep it relevant to anyone playing it as well as people of any age. (No need to forgive as no offense was given. Perhaps the article would give inspiration to want to try the game out?) I would want this to be a review piece but also touch upon why after four years it's still (pardon the repeated terminology) slaps so hard. – FarPlanet2 weeks ago
Being Australian, I am more than aware that Australia gets depicted in certain ways in film, like in Crocodile Dundee, Australia is portrayed as being home to masculine men who fend for themselves in the outback, have ridiculous accents, are laid-back, etc. This has always fascinated me because its a caricature, not at all like the Australians I actually know.
So, my suggestion is an article that looks at your country of choice. Analyse a collection of films pertaining to that country and interpret how it is depicted. Is it truthful? Or is it only partially truthful? Are they creating a caricature, and if so, how are they creating that? Closely analyse the film here, making sure the article discusses the art in depth.
Do the people of that country agree with how they have been portrayed? Has that shaped the perceived national identity of that country? Do people from abroad stereotype them in the way films have? Is it just humorous, or does it have a more serious, political undertone? Are the stereotypes somehow convenient in the process of story telling?
Look at who makes these films, are film makers promoting stereotypes that belong to themselves, or are they made by people who have never experienced life in that country? What kind of statement does this then make? Perhaps, make an assessment as to WHY filmmakers have chosen to represent your country of choice in this way. Is it artistic, political, or a mixture of both?
This is a very fun topic. Also, what countries do you think are portrayed too often? What about those that aren't shown enough? Heck, is there a country that might have popped up on TV but never been portrayed on film? – OkaNaimo08193 weeks ago
A good idea, I would add that the films need to be some small cross-section of positive and negative views of a country. – Joseph Cernik3 weeks ago
You could glean a lot of good information from this. One of the first films I thought of was the musical version of The King and I (1950s). It's heavily romanticized, which plays into a different kind of stereotyping. You might also look at Fiddler on the Roof, which is arguably stereotypical in its portrayal of rural Russia/Ashkenazi Jews. – Stephanie M.3 weeks ago
This is a good topic. I think it would be important to note the intended audience of the film, and how the depiction of the country changes based on audience. – Serena3 weeks ago
One of the most fascinating cultural panels I ever went to was one that discussed the animation industry in North Korea. Since North Korea is a dictatorship, virtually all the entertainment is propaganda of some kind or another, but it was interesting to see the different ways that it played out, and some of the shows that were featured in the panel had genuinely human moments, which reinforced that, ultimately, the people of North Korea are still people. – Debs2 weeks ago
Season 5 of My Hero Academia has been delayed, not just because of COVID-19, but because one of the seiyuus (voice actors) is recovering from vocal cord surgery. Nobuhiko Okamoto plays Bakugo, a hot-tempered U.A. student who yells a lot, and it’s not surprising that the role had a negative affect on Okamoto’s voice.
This article would look at how voice acting has negatively affected the health of some voice actors, whether it be in anime, Western animation, or video games (I believe there was a story a couple years back about people getting sick due to their performances in gaming). It could be a critique of the industry or a reflection on how dedicated the actors are to the roles, or a mix of both. (Keep spoilers to a minimum, though, please!)
Cool topic. I used to be involved in choir and musical theater, and you learn quickly what a precious commodity a voice is. One facet you might look at is how different roles use the voice. For instance, you mention a voice actor who has to yell a lot. The neurologic pathways to speaking vs. yelling are different, so the vocal chords are used differently. Sometimes, voice acting or singing also requires you to pop your larynx, which can cause its own kind of harm. – Stephanie M.3 weeks ago
I’ve seen topics where people look at yandere games, financial success, etc. However, I don’t think anyone’s taken a good look as to why yandere is so popular. What is so appealing about psychotic stalking girls? As someone who is still very new to anime (even after 18 months!), I’d like more of an explanation about yandere, whether you can be a boy to be a yandere or if it’s strictly a girl thing, and whether yandere characters like Yuno Gasai have had a negative impact on adolescent and teenage girls. This would be a very fun article, especially as, again, Yuno Gasai remains one of the more popular anime girls because of her yandere status.
What lies in a yandere's past? What drives a yandere to become psychotic? What was the turning point or defining event that decided her future as a yandere? Every villain(ess) has a past and a backstory. It might also be worth considering that a yandere could actually has a positive influence on the life of an adolescent/teenage girl - by effectively offering her an avatar through whom she can explore her own darkness without resorting to violence or mayhem in real life. We all have shadow selves, whether we choose to accept them or not. – Amyus3 weeks ago
I agree, exploring the yandere trope from a female perspective would be very enlightening. I myself am not super well-read in it, so I can't offer any insight there, unfortunately. It probably also has to do with gender roles in Japanese culture, and a male fantasy of being desired and needed--even if it's excessive and dangerous. – Tylah Jackowski2 weeks ago
I can say for a fact that the yandere archetype is in no way exclusively female. I've seen plenty of male examples. That said, it does seem to me that the male version of the character is more likely to be treated as an outright villain and less likely to actually get into a relationship with the love interest (unless it's one of those weird stories about romanticized abuse). Another interesting angle to explore may be the distinction (if there is any) between a yandere as such and a character who just happens to get into or seek out a toxic relationship, without it being a defining aspect of the character. How central to a character's personality and arc do their mental problems and relationships with others have to be before they can be called a yandere? – Debs2 weeks ago
Since the Fine Brothers found YouTube fame with their ‘React’ series (Kids React/Teens React/Elders React/etc.), it seems that channels dedicated to reacting to other media has become prolific on the platform.
By reaction channels, this would entail the channels that merely watch/listen to films/tv/music and react to them as they watch – not offering productive commentary, merely just watching and giving subjective opinions as they watch.
Investigate what makes them so popular, is it because they are found genuinely entertaining? Is it because people enjoy having their opinions on a show/album/movie confirmed by someone else? Is it the charisma of the presenter that matters? Is it merely ‘easy’ content to create so it appears to be everywhere because it is just accessible for many creators?
Perhaps an article on this topic could look into the criticism of this video content – it has often been labelled as bottom-tier YouTube content, unoriginal and uninspired.
Some creators begin their careers with a reaction channel, then use the audience they gain from this to then transition into other content creation. Why is this type of content perceived so negatively despite being so popular amongst viewers?
Another angle to pursue could be what the artists’ response is to their art being used for someone else’s monetary gain through reaction channels. Do they, and the platform they upload to, disapprove of this behaviour, does it breach copyright laws? Do musicians/film makers/video game creators like this kind of publicity for their work, does it boost profit or encourage a new fan base?
Can parallels be drawn between reaction channels on YouTube and, say, young adult fiction in literature or reality tv in the television industry? That is, within any industry there exists a hierarchy based on public opinion regarding what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’ within that medium. Is reaction YouTube just another example of that? A guilty pleasure genre, perhaps?
I realise this is a lot of ideas thrown into one, so an article on this could be selective in which angles it chooses to pursue, however, ‘reaction’ channels are arguably a cornerstone of YouTube creation, and an article exploring this and its affect on the YouTube community would be an insightful read.
I think this is a very interesting idea. Speaking personally, the reason why I like the Fine Brothers' "React" series is the personality/charisma/character of each reactor, especially those who are unafraid to go against the public opinion by, for example, liking/disliking something that is overwhelmingly disliked/liked.Though, I've always wondered about the dilemma of using someone else's art for monetary gain, not only from a legal but also from an ethical standpoint. Even if copyright laws aren't breached under the doctrine of Fair Use, it still seems, in my opinion, morally ambiguous to profit off someone's work. This is especially the case when one is deriving profits from the arguably passive act of "reacting", as opposed to providing constructive criticism like reviews, for example.It might also be interesting to draw comparisons between reaction channels and the realm of YA fiction. At least in my own experience from being a semi-avid reader of YA and regular watcher of "BookTube", I feel as though there is a herd mentality that causes readers to feel guilty and/or ostracised for their reading preferences if they don't align with the general public opinion on which books are "good" or "bad". – Marcus3 weeks ago
Recently some of The Last Of US II plot and gameplay leaked; a few months ago some elements of the new Star Wars The Rise Of Skywalker were released on the internet before the movie itself; and about a year ago, Game Of Thrones major plot’s elements of the last season were revealed before it aired. How could those leaks have affected or could affect the audience (or the gamer community), whether it is on its viewing (gaming) experience or on the decision to pay to see the movie/the tv show (or buy the game)? What do the reactions following such leaks may reveal about the ‘dark side’ of some fandom? And, on the other hand, how the risk of leaks impacts on the creators’ work? How those new threats are taken into consideration by directors, filmmakers, producers, etc.? How are they, then, received by the audience?
Lev Grossman, author of The Magician’s trilogy, has stated that in the series— which is also clear as day for readers— he recreates a version of C.S. Lewis’ world, Narnia. Many readers grew angry, believing that Grossman was not creative enough to create his own world. However, the author expresses (in multiple interviews) that he’s trying to create a grown up version of Narnia, as he himself grew up loving the series.
Additionally, Grossman further expounds that he intended to integrate the magician aspect of the beloved Harry Potter series into his books.
For those who have not read The Magicians, the series circulates around Quentin Coldwater, an eighteen-year-old who discovers magic after finding Brakebills, a school for magicians. Quentin was obsessed with the fantastical Fillory books— Grossman’s version of the Narnia books— and soon learns that Fillory is, in fact, real.
Grossman references and creates allusions to the pop-culture works of Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, Rowling, Lewis and many more throughout the series.
With all of that said, I think a real discussion and comparison of every allusion/reference to Lewis throughout The Magicians trilogy would be interesting in opening up an in-depth conversation. Not only would this help readers see that Grossman is not plagiarizing, but it would display specifically how Grossman took Narnia (and Harry Potter) and made such a captivating grown-up version.
To conclude, I’ll leave with a comment made by the New York Times, “if the Narnia books were like catnip for a certain kind of kid, these books are like crack for a certain kind of adult.”
This would be a very interesting article. However, I don't think all of the books should be compared/contrasted. Maybe just The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and The Dawn Treader, as those already have their own film adaptations. – OkaNaimo08194 weeks ago
I definitely agree! It would be tedious to do one book alone, and so I welcome any discussion about similarities, parallels, critiques on how it could have been improved in either series, etc. (: Thank you for adding that. – Abie Dee4 weeks ago
I feel like you could focus on the religious politics as well. CS Lewis, of course, was a Christian writer and wrote many Christian themes into the Narnia series. It could be said, as well, that Harry Potter has some Christian themes, albeit less obvious ones. Yet, judging by Lev Grossman's name he's almost certainly Jewish. It might be really interesting to explore how the different religious backgrounds of the authors impact the stories they tell. – Debs3 weeks ago
With the growing number of independent game developers, it is becoming more challenging for smaller studios to get recognized. One of the major ways to get fans is to attend and exhibit at gaming shows. Cost is the elephant in the room regarding these shows, and the cost for E3 is insane considering it being the largest expo for gaming in the world. However, investing in a trade show proves very beneficial when done right.
Do you think indie developers should exhibit at E3?
I'm not sure if you have a diverse enough topic, as you've largely outlaid already the major pro and con. This is one of the times where I think going broad might be better and talking about what options indie developers have today, and weigh up the strengths and weaknesses of the different options. – SaraiMW2 years ago
I believe this topic with due consideration to SaraiMW’s note holds special significance in the current scenario. With WFH becoming the new norm, people not on the frontlines do have some more time on their hands than before. What new steps and out of the box solutions can indie game developers come up with that will become the next trend-setting game changer (pun intended) in the market? And If successful, what impact can it have on exhibitions like E3? Writers are encouraged to propose new ideas with in-depth analysis and not just copy-paste content from other sites. – Dr. Vishnu Unnithan3 weeks ago
Many people have been circulating a meme that a 1993 episode of The Simpsons predicted a worldwide pandemic like the novel Coronavirus. There are plenty of other interesting coincidences that overlap in real life and “The Simpsons"
Interesting start. You might expand it into a commentary on what it says about our society, how humor helps us deal with crises, and/or life imitating art, especially in long-running TV shows. Are there other long-running programs where events have also been "predicted?" How do these types of shows offer general commentary on the real world? – Stephanie M.4 weeks ago
I tend to agree with Stephanie's comment. Also, playing Devil's Advocate here for a moment - how many times has The Simpsons failed to 'predict' a particular event? – Amyus3 weeks ago