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Diversity and representation in the Arrowverse

Discuss racial and gender representation in the various television series that comprise the CW’s Arrowverse franchise, such as the introduction of television’s first transgender superhero in Supergirl and the normalized same-sex relationships of Legends of Tomorrow. Present examples/details and discuss their relevance to your overall analysis of the show(s).

  • Okay, good idea. You seem to be a little more focused on gender though, so maybe just tackle that for this article? Or, you could talk about race, gender, and some other difference (are there religious representations in the Arrowverse? Representations of national origin, such as a person who is from a "majority" race but not the same country as everyone else)? – Stephanie M. 2 days ago
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The Role of "Celebrity Animals"

What can "celebrity animals" — like Dolly (the cloned sheep), Tilikum (the killer whale), or even the octopus who gained fame on the Netflix Original, My Octopus Teacher — tell us about "the human socially constructed natural world" as Nick Couldry calls it?

Animals (especially charismatic species with which we feel we can identify) can certainly ground environmental issues and cause us to at least feel something for environmental crises. However, there is often unequal distribution of attention that leads to inequality: mediagenic coverage that places certain animals in a positive spotlight allows us to care more for a gorilla or elephant than for an insect or fish, for example.

Media power is prevalent in the operation of animal fame. Given that human animals are the norm in studies of celebrity environmentalism, what difference does it make to consider the role of non-human animals? Consider, with reference to one non-human animal celebrity associated with environmentalism (like Dolly, Tilikum, or others that have come about in mainstream media).

  • I think this topic is great! Other examples that immediately come to mind are Harambe (the gorilla) and Cecil (the lion), both of whom came to be heralded as martyrs in the social media court of public opinion. I also wonder if less personalized/individualized examples might also fit into this paradigm, such as the nameless polar bears precariously photographed on shrinking ice sheets, or the much discussed declining honeybee populations (whose absence has been memorialized on boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios). How do these animals function as metonymical stand-ins for ecological destruction, and does the same logic of celebrity apply without the overtly anthropomorphizing gestures of assigning a proper name. On the subject of anthropomorphism, I wonder if there's also room in article to discuss the celebrity status of fictional animal protagonists, which seems to be most common of dogs (e.g. Call of the Wild, Old Yeller, Air Bud, Marley & Me, The Art of Racing in the Rain, etc.) and horses (e.g. Kholstomer, Black Beauty, and particularly War Horse -- on page, stage, and screen). Lastly, I'd be remiss if I didn't recommend the prospective author to read up on the recently scholarly literature in the booming humanities discipline of "Animal(ity) Studies," whose key contributors have been Carey Wolfe, Peter Singer, Jacques Derrida, Margo DeMello, and particularly the posthumanist theories of Donna Haraway. – ProtoCanon 2 weeks ago
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  • Verrrry nice! I'm assuming you've seen a lot of animal documentaries, including Blackfish (Netflix). If you can find anything, you might also use the story of Keiko, the orca who played Willy in the Free Willy franchise, as a source. I had some other suggestions, but it kinda looks like you're covered. :) – Stephanie M. 2 days 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?

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    Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: The mental health content we need

    I was looking around this year for content during the pandemic about mental health or lack of. As a college student, I watched a fair few of my friends experience depression or widespread anxiety for the first time due to the impacts of the pandemic.

    It is no secret that this generation is calling out for resources and the destigmatization of "mental health" as a form of combating and healing. However, what next? You’ve healed from the stigma of your mental illness and you still feel like shit. Where is that story?

    I believe that the answer we need lies in the TV "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" a musical comedy from the genius mind of Rachel Bloom. The show is not a light touch of social anxiety but instead a humorous and relatable dive into personality disorders and the darker side of "mental health". In a way separate from buzz words like "representation" and "normalization", Bloom does what all good writers have learned to do, tell a universal stories through the outlandish specifics.

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      Anti-Heroes in Television

      It would be interesting to see a comparative character analysis of some of TV’s biggest anti-heroes (Walter White, Tony Soprano, Omar Little, to name a few). The analysis might consider a few similar traits amongst those heroes and explore the dynamic characterization that can oftentimes develop more gradually and organically in TV series than it can in film.

      • I've written extensively about TV antiheroes so this is a very attractive topic to me, but I would also maybe suggest discussing the cultural background of the antihero protagonist, i.e. how it reached a new epoch in the 2000s following Tony Soprano and gradually dissipated through the 2010s after Walter White. – GJWilson6 2 weeks ago
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      • Great feedback, GJWison6. Thanks! – JCBohn 1 week ago
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      Doctors and Nurses on TV

      Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a new spotlight shone on doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers. To show support for those in the medical field, it’s now time to evaluate the portrayal of both doctors and nurses in TV: particular tropes, harmful stereotypes, progress in the way women/LGBTQ/BIPOC characters are handled or portrayed. What are some examples of groundbreaking works in the genre? What are some terrible or offensive examples?
      Some shows to look at are Grey’s Anatomy and Scrubs. Comparisons can also be made to non-American TV shows and how they approach the subject matter.

      • I think The Good Doctor should definitely be added to the discussion. The majority of the doctors are Black or Brown (although the main protagonist is white, which brings up other issues). There's also plenty to say about how female physicians are treated or portrayed, especially with the addition of Dr. Jordan. Check out the episode where Jordan treats a large Black female patient, and has to deal with the racial and weight-related implications of her treatment, as well as how her fellow doctors handle it. – Stephanie M. 3 weeks ago
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      13 Reasons Why: helpful TV show?

      TV series 13 Reasons Why depicted real-life challenges of American high school students. Bullying, rape, suicide, mental health, drug addictions and many others are included. Season 1 and 2 dealt with Hannah Baker’s 13 reasons to kill herself, and whether or not the school was responsible for failing to prevent this from happening. Season 3 focused on Hannah Baker’s rapist Bryce Walker’s accidental death and how Hannah Baker’s circle of friends covered it up. Lastly, Season 4 centered on how the friends of the "framed victim" investigated into finding out the real killer. It is often argued that TV shows/media of this sort are bad influences on young audiences, with examples include horror movies and heavy metal music. Why do you think, after all the accusations and criticisms, Hollywood/American television is still producing and promoting such contents? Is it because any publicity is publicity, and sensational contents are always good TV show materials? Should television be producing fewer of these shows or only to be broadcast on adult channels? Does demand for such contents create supply? Or, perhaps a little more positively, the show does alleviate real-life problems of high school students and young adults, and more of these are needed?

      • This is a solid topic. I would look into creator intent for this subject. As, some directors just do as you pointed out in your thesis; and they merely wish to create content that will get easy media attention. They do this because they know people will watch shows just because it is talked about and could careless about whether or not the press is positive, while others actually care for the taboo topic and want to do them justice. Netflix's cuties is another worthwhile thing to look into. Not trying to poison the well here, but I believe cuties was an example of individual who had a questionable understanding of the subject matter, and this lead to it possibly doing more harm then good. Beast with no Nation is also worth looking into, as it was received positively for the most part. – Blackcat130 1 month ago
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      The Evolution of the "Family Sitcom"

      Family sitcoms, also known as domestic comedies or dom coms, have existed since Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, and My Three Sons, which aired around the 1950s. In the ensuing 70 years, the family sitcom underwent plenty of growth and change. Simple domestic problems that could be solved in 22 minutes with commercials gave way to edgier and more realistic family-centered plotlines. Traditional nuclear families made room for single, adoptive, LGBTQ , and other "non-traditional" parents (ex.: Henry Warnamont of Punky Brewster, a bachelor senior citizen, or the grown-up incarnations of Stephanie Tanner and Kimmy Gibbler, who raise their kids while raising others’ in the same house as their patriarchs did before them.

      Examine the evolution of the family sitcom using a few of your favorites. You can discuss changes in family dynamics or plotlines (e.g., plotlines about keeping virginity vs. plotlines about teen pregnancy, plotlines about avoiding racism vs. ones about becoming inclusive). You could discuss race, religion, disability, or other minority statuses as topics that are getting more attention. Other topics might include the parenting styles presented on different shows, how the humor has evolved, the expectations placed on adults and children, and so on.