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Latest Topics

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Should Season 2 of The Mandalorian Include Characters From Other Star Wars Properties?

The Mandalorian Season 1 has been a huge critical success for Disney . One of the key factors for the series’s success was the lack of prior Star Wars knowledge that was necessary for viewers of the series. The series was largely accessible to new audiences who may have never watched Star Wars film before, though it still contained many references and connections for long time Star Wars fans. For season 2 (which debuts October 30th), there have been many rumor circulating that the series will include characters from other Star Wars books and animated series. Rumored among the cast include characters from The Clone Wars and Rebels like Mandalorian warrior Bo-Katan and former Jed Ahsoka Tano. While these characters are popular among Star Wars fans, their appearances may required more complicated explanations/exposition for those who have only watched The Mandalorian. Should The Mandalorian remain largely separated from other Star Wars stories, or it should it integrate characters from the wide Star Wars universe, at the risk of losing some of what made the first season so refreshing and distinct?

  • This is a pretty interesting topic. Unfortunately, I can't see this discussion ever being anything more than an opinion piece. There will always be an argument for including characters from the extended universe of Star Wars or simply creating a new character for Mandalorian. If you write on this topic it would probably be best to write about the pro and cons to either choice. And use criticisms fans have had for either decisions to support your arguement. – Blackcat130 7 days ago
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2

Analysis of the "Very Special Episode"

In past decades, situation comedies and dramas were often known for their "very special episodes." These stories took a break from more lighthearted fare to discuss serious topics or issues, often those facing young audiences of the day. Special episodes could often be categorized thus:
-Featuring "special" characters (often disabled), who rarely if ever appeared again but existed to educate audiences and teach the main characters lessons about compassion and tolerance
-Analyzing the dangers of teen life (peer pressure, drugs, drunk driving, child/teen molestation)
-Focusing on particular current events (the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle, the AIDS epidemic, 9/11, etc.)
-Teaching young audiences when and how to give or seek help in serious situations (eating disorders, abuse, CPR, etc.)

Pick a few "very special episodes" to focus on from sitcoms or sitcom/dramas (Diff’rent Strokes, Punky Brewster, Seventh Heaven, Full House…) How has the "very special episode" evolved? Why are they often mocked, even by those who enjoyed their affiliated shows? Is the "very special episode" still around now, and what does it look like?

    3

    How Satisfied Are Viewers of TV Shows That Just Stop Without An Ending?

    Pitch (2016, one season) starring Kylie Bunbury and Mark-Paul Gosselaar. This series focused on the first female major league baseball player. A good series that just suddenly stopped. What happened after she was injured as she had the opportunity to pitch a no-hitter? The series just ends with no conclusion. Graves (2016-17, two seasons) starring Nick Nolte and Sela Ward. This series focused on a former two-term Republican President and how he wants to now correct some of the "wrongs" he was responsible for. Suddenly, the series ends with his arrest and we never find out if his wife, the former First Lady, is elected as a Senator. It is frustrating to see good, well developed, well acted series, just end. Are viewers satisfied with what they watched? Is there some way to complete these series, as well as others, to bring them to some conclusion in a one or two part episode? Maybe Netflix, Prime, or Hulu can take up the cause.

    • Granted it doesn't detract from the main point the article is trying to make, perhaps a comparison could be made between shows that just stop and shows that remain running for too long when, perhaps, they should have stopped. – Samantha Leersen 2 months ago
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    • In the same vein than Samantha Leersen and with the same caution, maybe adding a comparison with shows whose last season has been cut short (Person of Interest is the first example that comes to my mind, though it isn’t that famous – sadly)? (And/or a comparison with endings that may have felt rushed to some viewers (Game Of Thrones, for instance)?) Also, in the same vein than your last point, maybe the article could mention the role of fanfictions to conclude such shows with no proper ending? Anyway, very interesting topic! – Gavroche 2 months ago
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    7

    The Portrayal of Small Towns in TV Shows

    I’ve been watching That 70s Show recently and noticed that their small town has a bad reputation, the after-graduation goal is to get out of the dead-end town. ‘Being someone’ means moving away from home. Then, I got to thinking, there are elements of this thinking in many other shows I have seen, Daria, Gilmore Girls, Community.
    Is this prolific enough in TV shows to be considered a trend? Is there reason for this? Does the same ‘I need to get away from here’ thinking occur in characters born and raised in the city? Is this specific to American TV shows, or other countries’ shows too? Perhaps an article on this topic could offer a suggestion as to why the city is so romanticised?

    • "I'm gettin' out of this hick town!" Yes, I think this is an interesting phenomenon in film and TV. That 70s Show is a good example because I think it was much more prevalent to make those statements back in the 70s, 80s etc. The forces of urbanization meant that better jobs could be found in cities, but also there were lots more cultural waves going on that were focused in cities. If you wanted to be a punk or a hippie or anti-establishment like Hyde for example, that was something that you couldn't find many like-minded people for in small town America. Many high school and college movies of the last few decades had a dynamic that set the "interesting, alternative" type main characters against the jocks and cheerleaders of small town life. (Juxtapose this with something like Riverdale which only slightly criticizes jocks and cheerleaders, and ultimately upholds them as kind of the social rulers of high school). I think the 21st century has maybe seen a re-romanticization of small town life, in contrast to urban life which isn't idolized so much anymore. – Claire 4 months ago
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    • Another tidbit: I think, to make this a more recognizable-sounding topic, you should frame it as something like "Leaving Small Towns as a Coming-of-age Milestone for American Youth." – Claire 4 months ago
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    • Not sure how far back you want to go with this, but you could also do some research on the Industrial revolution as well since it caused one of the first big population shifts in history. It might be worth looking into as a short paragraph before you get into everything else as it frames the mindset a little. – MaeveM 4 months ago
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    • I feel like some of this has to do with the cultural biases of the content creators, who usually live in big cities like Los Angeles and NYC. People in those kinds of places tend to look down on small towns and consider them "boring" or "old-fashioned" and that comes through in the stories. – Debs 4 months ago
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    • I feel like everyone has the American Dream to some extent, and probably especially those in small towns. Boredom, bad entertainment, dull nightlife... of course they'd want to escape and live it up somewhere culturally (and literally!!) rich. Cities are centers of progress and wealth. Maybe it's easier for people in small towns to believe that that wealth is accessible/available to everyone. – Sophia Tone 4 months ago
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    • Nice topic. You might also want to check out The Middle, where living in the fictional town of Orson, IN is central to how and why the Heck family does a lot of what they do. Narrator and mom Frankie is very up front about the fact that Orson is *not* romanticized, that her family is just doing the best they can.Additionally, you might check out some older sitcoms like Family Matters and Full House. They take place in cities--Chicago and San Francisco, respectively--but there is almost no sense of urban life except in select episodes or arcs, such as FM father Carl Winslow being a cop. The "small town," cheesy feel is very much still existent. Just a thought. – Stephanie M. 4 months ago
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    • I'm not familiar with a lot of non-US tv shows, but here's one example: The Netflix series Dark is set in the small fictional German town of Winden, and most of the younger people seem to really hate it and want nothing more than to get away. – JamesBKelley 6 days ago
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    2

    Are Competition Shows Inherently Against Minorities?

    The impetus for this topic started because, during the pandemic, I’ve become rather hooked on Chopped and its iterations. One thing I’ve noticed about Chopped though, is a dearth of female competitors and winners. Many episodes have male chefs outnumbering females 3-1, and many episodes have the female chef eliminated in round one. Some fans have noted this happens even and especially if female judges outnumber male ones.

    Then I started noticing this trend in other competition shows. For instance, I am a huge Jeopardy fan, and have noticed that men win much more often than women. Also, women can have winning streaks–some, like Julia Collins, have won as many as 20 games in a row. But this is nothing compared to the streaks of Ken Jennings (74), James Holzhauer (30 ), and other male players.

    This got me thinking, women aren’t the only ones getting shortchanged. It’s fairly common, for instance, to see persons of Asian descent on Jeopardy or Who Wants to be a Millionaire, but not other POCs. It’s becoming more common to see LGBTQ people in competition shows, but not as common as it could be (and those contestants also often lose). Also, while people with learning disabilities or "invisible" diseases such as celiac or diabetes do appear on cooking competitions, trivia competitions, and athletic competitions, it is completely unheard of for people with visible, physical disabilities or disabilities like autism to appear. (Of course, in the case of athletics, the argument is, "Well, we have Special Olympics/Paralympics," but that’s problematic in itself).

    Is this trend as prevalent as it appears? Is it changing in a positive or negative way? What could competitions, from sports to cooking to trivia, do to be more inclusive and welcoming? Discuss.

    • I think this is a really interesting topic to discuss. Perhaps, an article on this topic could take into account - if possible - the demographics of those who apply for such shows, are individuals belonging to minority groups applying and just not getting selected? Or are they choosing not to apply for such programmes? Is there any reason/research for this? Also - another possible angle, is this prejudice the same across several countries? For example, does the American 'Masterchef' look the same as the Australian or British iterations of the show? Is this a problem intrinsic across the globe, or just pertaining to certain countries? – leersens 4 months ago
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    1

    Titles in TV shows

    Despite not being a part of the show per se, episodes’ titles can be very important and conscientiously made and choose by the creators. Indeed, they may reveal clues about the plot. They may add up to something, they may be little enigmas, they may seem incomprehensible at first, they can be cultural or academic references… For instance, Blindspot’s convoluted titles are in fact anagrams, the titles of Mr. Robot’s episodes from season one to three are written in Leet Speak, while in the recent Netflix show Warrior Nun each title is a reference to an extract of the Bible in connection with the episode’s plot. Other titles may include puns or schematics. Some titles’ format may become a tradition throughout the show.

    From there, many questions can come to mind. Can we discern trends, whether historical or thematic? Is there some TV shows that stand out for their particularly clever use of episodes’ (or show’s) titles?

    To what extent can we say that titles are a part of an implicit pact between the creators and the viewers? With platforms like Netflix and the increasing temptation to binge-watch our favorite shows, we may be paying less attention to the titles and the cuttings, therefore, to what extent are titles still relevant? How the pact previously mentioned could evolve in the future?

    • Favorite episode title choice is "Ozymandias" from Breaking Bad Season 5. The title tells you everything you need to know about the episode by referring Percy Shelley's poem. I also like a lot of Halt and Catch Fire's episode title which reference 1980s Computer Commands/Systems, song titles, and cultural ideas. I feel like those help ground the viewer in its 1980s-1990s world and are a treat for people who understand the references. – Sean Gadus 2 months ago
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    • An interesting idea. Are there are studies showing the title of a episode matters? I remember in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the title of the episode was announced at the beginning of some shows on TV. – Joseph Cernik 2 months ago
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    0

    Warrior nuns...really?

    A bizarre name that can as easily put you off as draw you in – ‘Warrior Nun’ (WN) is the latest TV series from Netflix. It is based, unsurprisingly, on a comic book character by Ben Dunn. It tells the story of a young woman who is reincarnated by an angel’s halo during an attack by demons on a sect of warrior nuns. The presence of the halo in her body, when the previous Warrior Nun died gives her abilities and a new life.

    Sounds ridiculous right?
    It is. It is also a fascinating look at a range of new archetypal roles around women that are becoming increasingly popular in TV and film. Similar in format to the ‘Motherland: Fort Salem’ with the focus on a military-esque sect of women only warriors it pushes against traditional gender stereotypes and a patriarchal society. WN actively critiques concepts of free will, religious determination and the complexity of friendship. It has a Buffy feel that fits within the scope of a traditional monomyth narrative, but also brings new perspectives that consider issues of racial roles and language. Much of the dogma linked to the catholic church is considered and critiqued within the way the myth of the halo and the order is presented. It further utilises a fantastic bilingual approach that Netflix does seem to be actively beginning to incorporate, whereby any Spanish spoken in the show is not subtitled, but at points where Italian or other languages are used these are provided with subtitles.

    The show is worth a deeper analysis both for the development of themes and ideas that are reflecting changing perspectives on gender, race and religion, but also from the perspective of wider changes that are being reflected through the stable of shows from Netflix and other show providers. What do you think?

    • Excuse me for playing Devil's advocate here, but what is the point in a streaming service not subtitling one specific language that many of its viewers do not speak, and yet subtitling other languages? As a subtitler, I'd hardly consider this to be a 'fantastic bilingual approach.' An explanation please. – Amyus 2 months ago
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    • Spanish is the second highest spoken language in the United States behind English. That's about forty-one million people speaking Spanish in their homes in America, not to mention that it is also the most frequently taught secondary language in America too. To me this seems to encourages people to learn and understand a language that may not be native to them while also catering to a large section of their audience that it is native to. You could also consider that this show is available in Spanish speaking countries, too, so Netflix just nabbed a huge section of their world-wide viewing audience in one fell swoop. Point being, many of its viewers do in fact speak it and that number is increasing. – FarPlanet 2 months ago
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    • "Warrior nuns"--two words i never thought would go together. Sounds fascinating! – Stephanie M. 2 months ago
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    • I don't know what to think. If it's not lambasting the Church and mocking nuns, great. On the other hand, I can see a lot of things Catholics/Christians will take issue with. I look forward to this article with great interest. – OkaNaimo0819 2 months ago
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    • I just assumed this was an outgrowth of the movie "Priest." – Joseph Cernik 2 months ago
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    1

    The appeal of watching hot people find relationships

    Love is Blind. Love Island. Too Hot To Handle. The Bachelor/ette. These are just some of the examples of shows that have loyal followings even though they have nearly identical set-ups and very similar premises: can people find love in a short period of time, removed from their everyday lives? What I find most interesting about this show is, what drives people of all backgrounds to watch it? What makes people sign up for these shows in the first place? How do these shows maintain viewership over the years even though it’s become very clear that these relationships never pan out? Are people less jaded/cynical about love than they profess to be? Or, is it enjoyable to watch them fail? I’d love for someone to share their thoughts on what makes people come back to "reality" TV shows about love/dating, time and again.

    • I think an interesting aspect to cover is that these kinds of reality shows are often guilty pleasures. There are a lot of people who watch these shows but would not ever admit it. That could open an interesting discussion: if they're so popular, why are people so ashamed to admit they like them? – Samantha Leersen 2 months ago
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    • I'd love to hear people's thoughts, because I hate reality TV dating. :) – Stephanie M. 2 months ago
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    • The very few times I spent a moment here and there watching this stuff, I assumed the idea was get beyond the physical looks to obnoxious personalities. – Joseph Cernik 2 months ago
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