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Blurred Lines: The Surge in Branded Content and Advertainment

Examine the incorporation of branded marketing in the history of film and TV, and how the normalization of sponsored content has allowed for successful films like The Lego Movie to branded documentary series like Margot vs. Lily by NikeWomen. Is it changing the world of advertising or is it changing the world of entertainment?

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    What happens when our favorite shows come back?

    Nostalgia is every where as many shows which had been cancelled or ended long ago are returning. X-Files and Gilmore Girls came back, Young Justice finally got its long awaited season three, and Charmed is getting a reboot. How does this affect how we watch the new season out reboot? How does this affect our perceptions of the old show? Does waiting so long end up paying off?

    • Great topic! From the moment PrisonBreak ended I have been waiting for it to come back. – Munjeera 2 weeks ago
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    • You might also delve into, which shows get a comeback, why, and who should get to decide. Are there shows that haven't received a comeback, but should? What makes a show popular enough to warrant one? – Stephanie M. 2 weeks ago
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    • I think that sometimes shows shouldn't come back because they are rarely as good as the original and sometimes try too hard. I would love friends to come back, but i know that i'll only be disappointed because it can never recreate the magic of the past. Maybe try and identify where comeback shows go wrong and some examples of this. – Emefa1 2 weeks ago
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    Taken by Kristen (PM) 7 hours ago.
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    Race Relations in Comedy

    Analyze the way racial stereotypes are utilized in comedic settings such as Chappelle’s Show. Are racial stereotypes permissible when used for comedic effect, and perpetrated by members of the race being stereotyped? Do these representations bring light to social justice issues, or further engrain harmful thought patterns? Is is possible to do both?

    • Interesting and very relevant topic. However, I think a more fruitful approach would be to look at both sides of the spectrum. We live in a society that has become very attuned and sensitive when it comes to comedy/jokes surrounding race, language, gender, and sexuality. There's actually a lot of excellenty articles examining how comedy (especially the standup variety) is dying because people simply cannot "take a joke". If you're going to pursue this topic I would urge you to look at both these spectrums and see if a happy medium can be found, or if one will have to concede to the other in order for the genre to survive. You could even extend beyond the Chappelle's Show to comedic forms in writing, etc. – Mela 4 weeks ago
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    • Historically, comedy has always had racial undertones. Telling a joke at another's expense is nothing new. Neither is intolerance. What is new is the backlash comedians face when an audience perceives they have crossed the line. People can get on social media and the comedian can be ostracized.That being said, I think you have posed your questions well. "Can joking about stereotypes actually perpetuate the stereotypes?" Great thought provoking question. Comedians of colour such as Chris Rock and Russell Peters have answered these questions in interviews and would be worth taking a look at for this article. – Munjeera 3 weeks ago
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    Movies to TV: What caused the shift?

    Whether it’s True Detective, Fargo, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire, Stranger Things, etc. there has been a strong shift of interest from movies to TV. TV shows now have high production levels that mimic large-scale movies in both aesthetics and tone. TV is perhaps taken more seriously now than ever before. Does this have to do with ease of access? With services such as Netflix, viewers can binge-watch entire seasons if they want to. There is also the bankable element of episodic teasing out of narrative compared to the contained narratives of movies. Are TV shows taking more risks? Orange is the New Black and Stranger Things cast mostly unfamiliar faces yet Netflix is also responsible for reboots of familiar shows as with Fuller House and the upcoming Gilmore Girls. Even actors have shown greater interest in moving to TV, which was once seen as lesser than being a film star. Or is something else at work here? Can films make a comeback from this and how?

    • Good topic! In terms of what caused the shift it seems like part of it is economics. Tentpole movies these days are supposed to have boxoffice appeal across the world—which is one of the main reasons most of them have low-IQ CGI action sequences that seem almost endless. TV shows, in contrast, can appeal to niche audiences and go for awards, which means prestige television tends to be more character-driven and thought-provoking. Since economics is driving this, at least to some degree, my guess is that it can't be reversed. – Ben Hufbauer 4 months ago
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    • You're right! I don't know how I forgot to mention that aspect of it. Yes, movies nowadays are more keen to appeal to a global audience (especially China at the moment). That's also why big budget, CGI action movies such as those with universally recognizable superheroes became very popular. With exciting action sequences, as you mention, it also minimizes any problems in terms of language/cultural barriers. Thank you for the note! – aprosaicpintofpisces 4 months ago
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    • I think it is a mixture of things that has resulted in a decline in movie attendance and the rise in television viewers.1. Ticket prices. People turn away from cinemas because of the cost of not only admission but concession items. Also, perhaps people do not find it as necessary as they once did to rush to the cinema to watch a new movie.2. The accessibility to premiere television programming from HBO and others. Whether it is through streaming providers or through pirating, perhaps people enjoy the comfort of their own home when watching movies or television.3. The most interesting analysis could be that the mini-series format that alot of television shows incorporate now is indeed a better way to tell a narrative than to squish the story into a 2 hour time limit. – Jeffrey Cook 4 months ago
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    • The above commenters pretty much covered why there's been a shift to tv shows. I just wanted to add that tv shows give directors more time to cover stories, and they can flesh out their plots too since movies have a limited time frame.– seouljustice 4 months ago
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    • I think its people's hunger for character development and relatability. We are living in difficult times and its hard to share or talk about experiences and having someone understand us. That's what TV is for. We like to feel like we can relate to characters, and we like to see their stories unfold and see them grow for better or for worse, while learning from them at the same time. It is a new form of growth for these modern times, but society hasn't fully grasped that concept. – jcastro4 4 weeks ago
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    • I've read that some actors prefer to work on TV series because it allows them to develop more their characters. And now that we have shows like Game of Thrones, House of Cards, etc. that are like movies, and have attached directors like David Fincher in House of Cards, and the recently announced TV series that Alejandro G. Iñarritu will be making with Emmanuel Lubezki. The line that differentiates TV from Film production has become harder to draw. With the big studios producing just sequels to superhero movies, TV has become the place to find original content and allows filmmakers to experiment with pilots before investing millions of dollars. – arturoandre 3 weeks ago
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    • Great observations. I have also noticed that although people are still going out to the theaters and appreciating movies, TV seems to be the go to for a casual evening at home. I think it's because now television is broaching more adult topics, like you said. In the past TV was the one place where things were censored, or created with family friendly intentions. Nowadays because of the new technique of showcasing intense and emotional moments, people find tv just as riveting as a major motion picture. Orange is the New Black is a great example of this. The subject of the show itself, a women's prison, is relatively controversial to start and the creators even took it to the next level by adding powerful character dynamics that resemble real life. Hollywood could actually learn a thing or two from the emotional resonance new television enraptures the world with. The Walking Dead is about zombies but it's easily one of the most moving shows of the last decade. At least, the first four seasons were. Movies are great because they have an entire storyline in only one to three hours. Maybe because the shows have more airtime they can explore more in depth topics. This may also affect why people have become more interested. Because the good shows have more runtime, thus the viewer can get more comfortable in their experience and enjoy having a lot of quality television to watch. Sometimes we even 'binge watch' tv for hours, even an entire day, because the quality of the show is so good. There are very few movies that have this effect; that they are worthy of wasting an entire day watching them. Lord of the Rings is binge watchable. However, the quote really usually only refers to the nonstop viewing of a tv series. If a show can capture a person's attention that long, most of these shows have adult topics, it's no wonder there's been a shift in favor towards television. Movies will always be loved though. You can't watch TV at a theater. – animerose 3 weeks ago
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    Being Above the Law in "How to Get Away With Murder"

    Analyze the issue of the show’s main characters being involved in law yet acting above it (i.e. through murders, blackmailing, theft). What are the implications of this hypocrisy and how can this form a commentary on modern society or human nature? How is the show so appealing despite the characters going against simple black-and-white laws most people have been raised to instinctively follow? How can we condemn real-life criminals, yet root for these fictional ones as they do the exact same thing? Do the characters’ backstories inform and alter our perspective of them, humanizing them so it becomes more difficult to see them as villains?

    • This is a brilliant idea, particularly in the case of Annalise. – Sonia Charlotta Reini 3 months ago
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    • I recently watched the first two seasons again after that nail-biting cliffhanger in the middle of season three. This time around I was quite impressed how the characters really struggle with what they have done. Everything is internalized and they are not as heartless as they pretend to be. They each have unique reactions and coping mechanisms, and as you pointed out, they are indeed humanized because we can clearly see that they all have a strong moral compass. I really like this idea! – AlexanderLee 3 months ago
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    • I think this is a great topic but it definately can be broadened into the appeal of anti-heroes in general and also the nature of empathy. Whether its Annalise, Dexter, or Batman- we're actively rooting for the people who are taking the law into their own hands because we've been convinced these are criminals/conspiracies the justice system simply cannot handle or wouldn't understand. We forgave the Keating five for Sam's death because he was shown to be a terrible guy responsible for the murder of a missing college student. In the same vein, Dexter was a sociopathic serial killer but because he lived by a code the audience could still be convinced to root for him. We lived in his head and understood his motivations. But if it was an episode of Criminal Minds we'd 100% be rooting for them to catch him. The characters who are humanized and relatable are easy to make excuses for. – LC Morisset 4 weeks ago
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    Taken by Rina Arsen (PM) 2 weeks ago.
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    The Nostalgia Trend: Good or Bad for Future Generations?

    It seems like every new release these days is either a reboot, a revival, or a sequel. That’s all well and good for those of us who grew up with the original media and are now more than happy to see it return, but is this trend perpetrating the longevity of the series we love, or is it robbing the next generation of too many chances to form their own unique experiences with new media?

    • I think the question is less about the level of goodness for younger (what I assume you mean by "future") generations, and more about how the generation appreciating the original interacts with the new nostalgia. Media is like a time capsule. Social climate, humor trends, and so much more changes over time, so when we reboot media, how do people balance nostalgia/tradition with change and the present?I don't think that younger generations will care as much. Especially if they are unfamiliar with the older versions. – ASeriousLady 5 months ago
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    • I love this question. I was just talking about the book The Future of Nostalgia by Svetlana Boym, and I think she's on to something regarding cultural landmarks and landscapes that might be applicable to your developing analysis. Of course, I'm also thinking of the cable show Stranger Things, which was full of 80s references, but didn't advance the plot or make the characters more finely drawn. As a child of the 80s, I thought the references were a nostalgia "straw man" that distracted from problems and gaps in the narrative. – pfurnish 5 months ago
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    • We need new media. I want to see what Millennials and their successors can come up with on their own, because we really are the generation of reboots and superheroes. No more "Stranger Things" style homages. At the very least, go the "Rick and Morty" route and bastardize a respected property until you imbue it with a new thematic significance, elevating the work to new levels of art. Anyway, yeah, someone needs to write this topic, if only to speculate what a landscape with more unique properties would even look like coming from our specific concerns and fixations. – demogorgonzola 4 months ago
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    • I've always believed old and new things have their place, but that we've lost out on enjoying some older things because pre-nostalgia, our generation was exposed to so many new and trendy things. Example: Sometimes my parents or grandmother (my only living grandparent) will talk to me about the things they watched or read or experienced, and while I can appreciate they loved these things, I can't actually relate. I'd like to see more of a mix of nostalgia and new media, especially since each generation has its own experiences to feel nostalgic about. I mean, one of these days our kids and grandkids are going to be nostalgic about iPhones, Netflix, and online pizza orders. Scary. :) – Stephanie M. 1 month ago
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    Prequel-itis: Causes, symptoms, and cures

    Symptoms of prequel-itis, in TV shows specifically, include 1) pointless cameos and foreshadowing for the sake of fan service and 2) backtracking to keep the plot from progressing "too far," which would result in the show ending. Examples of victims include Gotham, Smallville, and Merlin.
    What I don’t know about, and what I’d be interested in reading, is possible cures for this problem. I am unfamiliar with the Star Wars cartoon prequels, but I’m told they do a better job, so they may hold answers.
    Another possible piece of this topic is causes of prequel-itis. Why do prequels exhibit these problems so often? Is there something inherently problematic with prequels in general?

    • Sounds like a good topic in my opinion. Although a more specific definition of prequel-itis would definitely help. You might also include a third point to them. Which is: retroactively improving the already established lore and story of the series. The best example for this include the Walking Dead, as well as Flash. Looking forward to reading about this topic :) – shehrozeameen 3 months ago
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    • @shehrozeameen Prequel-itis, as I see it, is like a syndrome, a set of symptoms that commonly occur together. There isn't really a definition other than "a set of symptoms experienced by prequels including x, y, z...." If the author of the topic could think of a specific definition, of course, he/she'd be welcome to apply it. – noahspud 3 months ago
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    • I'd certainly be interested to read this. Would you also consider doing one for sequelitis, because there are a ton of bad sequels out there. Disney is particularly guilty when it comes to both prequels and sequels. They're also fond of the midquel for some reason. – Stephanie M. 1 month ago
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    • To be clear, this topic is a suggestion for someone else to write (that's how this works). Also, you do have a point, but sequelitis is a separate thing, and I felt that prequelitis was a topical subject that hadn't gotten much attention. – noahspud 1 month ago
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    • I think this is a very interesting topic but I disagree with Merlin being placed in the prequel category. Although the show did begin before Arthur was King, the show very much did hit every major event in Arthurian Legend. It included everything from the sword in the stone, knights of the round table, Guinevere's Affair and Arthur's (spoiler alert) eventual death in the series finale. I'd argue that rather than backtracking, the show fast forwarded a bit to hit all these plot points before their pre-decided series end in season 5. The only real difference was that Merlin was depicted as young rather than a wizened old sorcerer adviser. (The series has a host of finale issues that I could probably write a whole different article about but that's not relevant to this comment) – LC Morisset 1 month ago
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    • Fair point. Except for the first, what, three seasons, Arthur isn't king, Morgan isn't evil, and Merlin isn't a respected advisor. So it certainly begins as a prequel, and it does indeed backtrack: Arthur starts to think magic is okay. Merlin almost tells his secret. Something bad happens. Arthur is once again convinced that magic is bad. Repeat. Morgan dies as punishment for her bad deeds. Oh wait, she has more to do later. Let's bring her back and let her sit in a cottage for a year. All the Arthurian mythology stuff happens in those last couple seasons, and we see the set up for all of them: the lady in the lake, Excalibur, each major knight of the round table, and Morgan's descent into villainy. I call that a prequel. – noahspud 1 month ago
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    The X-Files Character Juxtaposition

    Chris Carter, upon making the main concepts of the show, ensured that the two main characters would be in opposition of one another. The series includes character Dana Scully, a skeptic, and Fox Mulder, a true believer. The juxtaposition of each of their characterizations adds to the series conflict. By creating both external and interior conflict, the writers create an intriguing and thought provoking series.