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The (alien) cultural interference debate, and 'The Orville's' gender bending.

In a relatively recent episode of the new Sci-fi comedy show ‘The Orville,’ titled ‘About a Girl’ an interesting discussion is raised about the issue of gender identity, sexual categorisation, social acceptance and cultural interference. In the episode the same-sex couple (aliens known as the Moclan, of which all are male) give birth to a female, an unusual but not unheard of situation. The Moclan believe that growing up as a female in an almost exclusively male society is the equivalent to experiencing a form of social disability or social isolation. Yes, already an incredibly confronting concept. However, the two fathers differ on what is to be done, with one wishing to have their girls sex organs altered to allow her to live a "normal" life as a male Moclan.

The mostly human-based crew of the space ship become involved in this debate, strongly arguing for the right to her original gender to be honoured. Arguments concerning genital mutilation, female rights, and nature versus nurture all arise. This episode comes to ahead when a trial is held to decide and a very rare female Moclan is found. She has been living up in a cave in the mountains, but is also the races’ most celebrated writer and philosopher. She argues for the right of the child to be allowed to remain a girl. However, the council ultimately rules in the favour of having her sex changed. A decision The Orville crew must accept as being a culturally acceptable choice.

Now, this discussion is not a new one, as often Sci-fi, and especially Space Operas, will use the alien race division to debate topics relevant to cultural and racial difference. However, an unusual choice by the writers is that unlike usual network shows, the alien race does not "come to its senses" and perceive the world from the human (privileged and thus better) viewpoint. Well, while I can respect this as a creative choice, and perhaps and interesting sociological choice, I can not help but be left with a bad taste in my mouth. Is this because I am so Westernised in my view I cannot accept that other culture’s have the right to their view? Is it as a feminist that this is too close to genital mutilation for me to stomach? Or have I become so used to the stereotypical television norm of "making it all better" that I find it difficult to reconcile my expectations of entertainment with real life?

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    Will cable TV die in the next 10 or more years?

    With the advent of online streaming services, is the television platform nearing its end? If so, how much longer can the platform last? If this topic was picked, the writer could research evidence leading to the conclusion that TV will die out soon or if it still has many years left to go.

    • I think that is a very strong possibility. – AGMacdonald 3 months ago
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    • There's been speculation that this could happen--but only if there are not so many competitors for streaming. With Twitter and Facebook livestreams, each channel (and Disney) getting their "go" on, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Netflix completing with content, and so on, customers may be disgusted and just pirate, or have large groups to share the services. – IndiLeigh 3 months ago
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    • With the death of television I'm seeing an emergence of broadcast streams. The appeal of tv for the older generations was in part that they don't have to think about or choose what they're watching-- Just put on your favourite channel and sit down. Reruns are fine, and it's a god way to get introduced to movies they might have otherwise not given a chance. I can see specific tv channels turning into company hosted streams, perfect for mindless entertainment when you don't feel like paying attention. – Slaidey 2 weeks ago
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    The Doctor is In: How Has 'House' Influenced Our Perceptions of Medicine?

    The medical drama "House," starring Greg Laurie, burst onto the scene several years ago with an engaging and intriguing premise. A true medical detective, Gregory House seeks the answers to dangerous physical and mental conundrums that threaten to steal his patients’ lives. The show featured many rare diseases and fascinating patient stories, leading scores of viewers to tune in each week.

    However, some of those viewers had a love-hate relationship with the hit series’ main character. Gregory House is anything but your stereotypical friendly, warm, family practitioner. He doesn’t care about his patients; he takes their cases because said cases are "interesting." A pit bull has better bedside manner than this man. House is also a drug addict and a consummate jerk to anyone he comes in contact with. He flaunts authority, breaks rules, and is perhaps unrealistically self-absorbed. His personality, or lack thereof, led some viewers to change the channel while others said things like, "If I’m sick, call Dr. House" (a once-popular saying on Facebook Flair).

    With these two elements of the show in mind, consider how House–its premise and protagonist–has influenced our perceptions of medicine. Is House a realistic physician? Does he, or his show, prompt us to be more sympathetic and empathetic toward our doctors and other fellow humans? Does House make medicine look like a noble profession, or is he a medical Sherlock Holmes whose intelligence and curmudgeonly ways are used as gimmicks? For those who are loyal House fans, what kept them coming back for eight years?

    • I've never watched 'House' although it's notoriety is such that even I, stuck out in the boondocks that is the Midlands (UK), have heard of it and know what the series is about. Perhaps I should give it a go, especially as Hugh Laurie (not Greg) is an exceptionally fine actor and superb musician, as well as a great comic, writer, raconteur...etc. Well, you get a thumbs up from me for this great suggestion for a topic. – Amyus 3 months ago
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    • Why did I say Greg? Must've been thinking of the character and actor at the same time. – Stephanie M. 3 months ago
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    • I wouldn't be surprised if Doc Martin made house calls even to the Midlands (Amyus). Might be worthwhile considering his antics (or snide demeanor) for a more nuanced article (Stephanie). – LFreire 3 weeks ago
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    The impact of Netflix on our viewing habits

    Netflix has become enormously popular and universally used thereby opening doors to many new series and even having series exclusive to it such as Daredevil, Mindhunter etc… Netflix has revolutionised our watching habits because of this and has made the concept of ‘binging’ a television series more commonplace. Discuss its impact on not only our viewing habits but in the entertainment industry as a whole.

    • My initial reaction is to say that the "binge" culture that Netflix contributes too is negative because it can reinforce the need for instant gratification, but I also see the benefits of streaming services for the entertainment industry in general. Prior to Netflix, premium channels such as HBO and Showtime seem to be the only outlets for for a new series or comedy special with fewer content restraints than basic cable channels. Shows like Orange is the New Black and Stranger Things found homes with Netflix, securing funding and meeting few restrictions on graphic content which has led to some amazing viewing. My question would be - is there any accurate data that suggests binging shows is contributing to more of a need for instant gratification? And if so, is it worth it to receive great content through Netflix and Hulu originals? – Aaron 4 weeks ago
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    • I think the biggest impact that Netflix has brought into our society is that you can download, stream and play anything from their massive list of content anytime, anywhere.Think about it. We used to wait everyday to 8PM to watch our favorite shows, and had to wait until the next day for the next episode. We do not have to wait anymore, and we can even be watching at home, in the bus, in the train, in the car, in the patio, really anywhere. We do not have to wait for anything, we do not have commercial breaks, and we can stop a show halfway in because we did not like it, and switch to another one in a matter of seconds.Our viewing habits in 2017 can be summarized into one sentence, "we have complete freedom on our viewing habits". – andresfett 3 days ago
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    Taken by Andres Tovar (PM) 9 hours ago.
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    Antagonist-Centered Stories: What Can We Learn?

    Everybody loves a story from the POV of the hero–the one whose moral compass points due north, who sacrifices him or herself for others, who puts others first. Most can’t resist the appeal of an underdog or a comeback kid–i.e., the geeky kid who gets bullied in Chapter 1 but kicks the bullies’ butts in Chapter 10 because by then, they’ve discovered their inner strength and gifts.

    Despite these truths, there is a definite explosion of antagonist-centered stories out there, whether in movies, books, or television. The trend isn’t new; you can find it in fairytale spoofs like Seriously, Cinderella is SO Annoying! But lately, antagonist-centered stories are far more developed, giving their evil (or formerly evil) protagonists real development and character arcs.

    Look at some examples of this phenomenon, such as Disney’s Descendants, the character arcs for Regina, Hook, and Zelena in Once Upon a Time, etc. Do certain genres lend themselves more to this type of arc, and why (as you can see, it’s huge in fairytales–but why)? What does it take to do this kind of story right? Do you believe antagonists or villains always need their own stories, or should we be content to let them be evil (and in what cases should we leave them to their evil)? Have fun!

    • Try and find some more obscure examples of where antagonist-centred stories work and where they don't work, don't just stick the mainstream titles. This might help either prove your case or highlight why it might not work (depending on which way you go with this) – AidanGuagliardo 1 month ago
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    The Reasons Behind Shipping

    Why do fans pair characters together? With shows like "Once Upon A Time", where a multitude of fairy tale characters interact with one another, fans have developed a term called shipping. Shipping is the act of fans pairing two characters together in a romantic relationship, regardless of it happening in the show or not. Shipping can even reach past genres, with some fans pairing characters from two different shows. With so many ships that fans support, sometimes aggressively, it brings up the question as to why. What is the psychological reasoning behind wanting to pair characters together?

    • This is a fascinating phenomenon and a really curious question. Nice topic! – PMGH 1 month ago
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    • We recently published a relevant article: https://the-artifice.com/phantom-of-the-opera-shipping-fandom/ – Misagh 1 month ago
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    The use of Foreshadowing in AMC's Breaking Bad.

    Vince Gilligans brainchild Breaking Bad is a television series which is often mentioned within the conversation of the greatest television series of all time. This is attributed to Gilligan’s excellent storytelling abilities- particularly his use of foreshadowing throughout the series. An article discussing this narrative technique used within Breaking Bad including specific examples would be quite enthralling.

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      The impact of a female Doctor Who

      The announcement that we would have the first female dr who really divided a lot of people. Personally, I think it is a fantastic idea, but I would love to see an article that looks at both sides of the argument. It would also be good for the author to look at other women in science fiction television roles, and what they brought to the role in comparison.

      • I'm not entirely sure that there is a valid, non misogynistic, reason not to have a female Dr. Who. An article focusing on the evolution of the Dr into this new incarnation and its impact could be fascinating without being inflammatory. Combining that with or creating a separate article focusing on women in leading/supporting roles within science fiction could be interesting as well. – L Squared 4 months ago
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      • Im of the opinion that creating genuine original kickass females are better than just substituting original male characters....Ellen Ripley is my favourite character in sci-fi... Maybe some more great characters ??? – RedFlame2000 3 months ago
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      Taken by Nad (PM) 4 weeks ago.