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Adult Escape into Children's TV

Over the past few years, many TV shows designed for and marketed towards children have amassed large adult / new adult fan bases. My Little Pony, Miraculous Ladybug, Owl House, and She-Ra are some examples. What is it about children’s TV that draws older viewers in? Often these adult fandoms are active on platforms such as Reddit, do these platforms facilitate these fandoms or are the platforms merely making them more public? Or, from a different angle, does a large adult fan base have an impact on the trajectory of a children’s show? (Ex: Some of the shows listed showcased queer representation in later seasons that was largely cheered on by the older fans).

  • This topic works well with series made for teens as well. A good example is Skam, the Norwegian teen show which nearly everyone was watching when it was airing. – Misagh 2 weeks ago
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  • Looking into the fandoms, complete with conventions will be important to understanding these subcultures. – J.D. Jankowski 5 days ago
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  • Adventure Time, Summer Camp Island, and Over the Garden Wall are some more examples of "children's tv" that adults can also connect with. I believe that these shows, including the ones you've listed, are successful outside of their intended demographic because they don't talk down to their audience. – Vincent 1 day ago
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Taken by Vincent (PM) 1 day ago.
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"We're Here!" is Queer Eye for Drag Queens

HBO’s "We’re here!" is, essentially, doing what the reboot of "Queer Eye" did– heading into rural and isolated communities and confronting the structural limitations of that community, building a pop-up drag show for one weekend. The queens work with a few people (some cis, straight men; some queer folk; some baby Queens) to help them embrace their femininity and performativity. And it is clear that a connection is made. But then what? Queer Eye’s reboot has been critiqued by feminist, gender studies, and queer writers for the appropriation of racialized cultures, the shaming of people living in poverty, and the kind of neoliberalist fantasy that consumerism will save someone. Is "We’re Here!" doing a similar kind of thing? My instinct is that "We’re Here!" is avoiding some of the traps of Queer Eye while falling into a few of them.

  • I approved the topic because I believe the overall concept is solid. But, I would caution against getting your personal feeling involved if you decided to write on this article. Sentences like "My instinct is that "We’re Here!" is avoiding some of the traps of Queer Eye while falling into a few of them." can be ignored by critics as they will simply say they had the opposite feeling. I would lean more heavily into criticism formed by studies or providing evidence from the show for your points. – Blackcat130 2 weeks ago
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  • Absolutely! Good point. And I would agree that anyone who writes this topic should find analytic through points and avoid speculation. – ProfRichards 2 weeks ago
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Taken by Aliadwan02 (PM) 1 week ago.
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Squid Game: a Digestible Dystopia

Considering the recent success of Squid Game, what factors led to its popularity? The plot itself is one that – while unique, is perhaps not as haunting as less popular films and TV Shows. Is its more simplistic plot the cause of its international success?

  • I'd argue that, while the battle royale format is relatively simple, Squid Game is actually trying to make a fairly complex point about class and privilege. The contrast of simple surface/deeper content could be explored here. You can see online how often people misinterpret the point of the show (ex. "it's about having a go-getter mindset!"). Is it digestible because people are taking something from it without having to dig too deep? And are they taking the right thing? – SBee 3 weeks ago
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  • I agree with the above comment. Squid Game may seem simple, but it's underlying commentary on class and wealth cannot be overlooked. However, the gore, the bright colours, the flashiness of the game and the characters are attractive to viewers without having to dig too much deeper. – oliviatrenorden 2 weeks ago
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  • I agree with SeeB. I’d also like to see a consideration of how the national context also influences its popularity. There’s a transnational consumption of Korean culture as mainstream. I think there’s something there to explore. Is S Korea the canary in the coalmine? – ProfRichards 2 weeks ago
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Squid Game: Refreshing the Battle Royale Genre

As Squid Game becomes one of Netflix’s most-watched shows of all time and holds audiences attention far beyond the cultural scope of South Korea, it begs the question as to why this show resonated with people on an international scale? By no means is the concept of forcing individuals into a life-or-death game original, so what does Squid Game do differently?

In so many ways, Squid Game subverts the expectations of a typical Battle Royale story and refreshes a genre that had largely stagnated. In order to highlight these subversions, engagement with predecessors in the genre is a must; the original novel Battle Royale by Koushun Takami and its numerous adaptations (lending the death game genre the ‘Battle Royale’ namesake as a cultural phenomenon), the Hunger Games series by Susanne Collins, As the Gods Will by Takashi Miike, and other TV series like Liar Game and Alice in the Borderlands. The director takes inspiration from manga but the scope of intersectional engagement may become too wide if one crosses over mediums into manga, anime, and video games with death game narratives.

By comparing these predecessors with Squid Game, a number of distinct differences and focus can be found. These include but are not limited to: game structure and rules, consent and human rights, the role of debt and desperation, spectacle and dehumanization, and cultural specificity. While the director Hwang Dong-hyuk is cited as saying he wanted to create a series that was distinctly Korean, the international reception begs a closer look at what Squid Game is doing differently.

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    YouTube Kids: Harmless or Dangerous?

    In past decades, children got their television "diet" from specific shows on specific channels, or program blocks on one or two channels tailored for them. Today, our children have an endless list of shows to choose from thanks to streaming services and 24-7 content.

    One example of such content is YouTube Kids, a network of channels that are given new content daily, sometimes several times daily. Some of this content is positive, but just as much if not more is allegedly detrimental to kids. Writer and artist James Bridle, for instance, gave a TED Talk for YouTube that, while three years old, has 4.8M views. His TED Talk posits that YouTube kids is actually dangerous to kids’ mental health and development.

    Examine this TED Talk as well as other sources, such as the Momo controversy from the late 2010s, or certain shows and videos on YTK. What content is the most detrimental, and why? Is there anything parents, guardians, and tech experts could do to make content more educational and child-friendly? Perhaps most importantly, what exactly is the draw of YTK, and why do so many adults welcome its content, questionable or not? Discuss.

    • You should look into a youtube channel called "How to cook that" by Ann Reardon. She does debunking videos (normally 5-minute craft kind of videos) and discusses the implications of having these dangerous videos widely accessible to children. She also discusses the legalities of these videos being on youtube in the case that someone is injured following a video. – scampbell 3 weeks ago
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    A new Foundation

    The new TV show ‘Foundation’ from Apple is an imagining of Isaac Asimov’s novella series of the same name. With an initial two episode drop the show has already received mixed reviews.

    As always it is difficult to deal with any type of adaptation. There will always be those for whom the original material, and their personal experience with it, cannot be eclipsed. However, the point of adaptations is to allow a re-imagining of source material within the context of the period it is re-produced in. Even the nay-sayers have to admit this depiction of the fall of a great Empire, corrupt and dystopic, underpinned by a focus on a ‘genetic legacy’ that infers an extreme type of nepotism, is as extremely relevant in message and content today as it was when Asimov wrote it.

    Already in two episodes the show has raised a myriad of questions about religion, politics, and technology that have contemporary value. A discussion of the original work and its social connections, which is then compared to the changes made in the show that reflect the social concerns of today, would be a valuable discussion to have. It would be interesting to examine the changes made by the showrunners, and how that fits within the socio-political and technological landscape of today.

    • I think this would be a great topic! As you say, an adaptations must be considered in regard to the context it is adapting source material into but I think analysing the context of the source material as well would be helpful as well. I think a comparative approach with reference to the similarities and differences between Asimov's context and our own would lead to a great discussion. Especially, as the argument could be applied to many adaptations that have be re-produced about these days (or will be coming out, for example the upcoming Dune movie). – HarryP 1 week ago
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    New Season: When should it end?

    Various TV series are loved and enjoyed for different factors that lead to producers investing more as time passes and ratings rise. It’s good for the show, the production, and the fans as more seasons get made. But when is the limit of stretching a story? Especially when lead actors decide to leave the cast?

    Helpful examples are long running shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Supernatural, the CW Arrowverse, Once Upon A Time, etc., and even more recent hit shows like Stranger Things. Also, a good comparison are with shows that did well with just one season, particularly “limited series”, a current television trend that includes Netflix’s Maniac and HBO’s Sharp Objects.

    • This is a really cool topic, I actually think about this a lot. For example, Dexter is my favourite show, but I do think they should have ended sooner than they did, since the story felt stretched. What do you think is a good gauge for knowing when to end a show? – priyashashri 2 years ago
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    • Any good show should end when they run out of stories to tell or when the narration should obviously conclude. The order should be story>show. With so many shows, it is the other way around- They decide there should be more seasons because ratings are good or whatever and come up with a clearly forced narrative. – abky 2 years ago
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    • I think a really good example is ‘Community.’ In it’s final episode the characters address that it must be the last episode for various reasons, including the fact that many actors had left. They offer suggestions as to what the storyline of the hypothetical ‘next season’ will be, and they conclude that it can’t be. Or there’s a reference in an episode where the earliest seasons are referred to as the best era (that’s paraphrased, I cant remember verbatim). Just a really cool example of a show’s self awareness that it has run its course, and the decision process the show’s creators would have had to go through. – leersens 1 year ago
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    • Every day I pray that they'll stop renewing the Simpsons for another season, if you love something, let them go. – Daniel Duncan 3 weeks ago
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    • I think the time to write this article would be now. In a sort of 'as the walls fell' perspective. We are seeing now more than ever studios dragging IPs out for the closet and a slew of new content to see what gets traction. It isn't entirely a model of reprint what is proven like it used to be. I think seasons and run times are more defined by data than ever. This should be a focus in the article, how interpretation and use of seasons has changed over time. – MichaelOlive 2 weeks ago
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    How the Rugrats Reboot Will Influnece Television

    On May 27, a Rugrats reboot featuring CGI animation, new character voices, and adventures with a distinct 21st-century flavor will premiere on Paramount Plus. Some fans of the original Rugrats are eager to experience the reboot and compare/contrast, while others are skeptical at best. No matter what side you’re on though, there’s no denying this reboot will influence how people see the Rugrats franchise and perhaps, associated television (e.g., Nickelodeon).

    Discuss questions such as how the Rugrats reboot will influence these spheres, as well as the potential positives and negatives of the reboot itself. For example, how will the reboot’s location on a streaming service change the viewing experience and relations to the characters and plots? Do you think kids or adults will be more invested in the reboot, and why? It seems many of the new adventures will take place in the babies’ imaginations; is this a positive or negative move?

    • I like this topic if possible, do you have a more narrowed scope for the article. For instance, in my experience Suzy played side character growing up and I look forward to perhaps seeing her in every episode. Are you looking to compare their general influence then and their possible contributions now? Just looking for clarity – CardinalRayPrints 6 months ago
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    • Influence is a big part of it, yes. I like how you brought up Susie, because in this day and age, she needs to be more of a main character, which will impact the show's influence for the better. On the other hand, there are certain things that may make its influence negative. For instance, I grew up watching the show and having to wait for episodes. The instantaneous nature of a streaming service may mean the new version, all its updates notwithstanding, has less of an impact because the audience can so quickly move on to something else. – Stephanie M. 6 months ago
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    • Ah, I see thanks for providing that revision – CardinalRayPrints 5 months ago
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