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Explicit content in Euphoria: glorification or necessary depiction?

HBO’s hit show Euphoria depicts the journeys of teenage characters as they navigate a complicated social landscape of sex, drugs, and overall delinquency. It follows the main character, Rue, as she becomes more and more entrenched in a drug addiction. Side plots depict such storylines as Rue’s friends becoming entangled in sexual affairs with adults, threatening each other with guns, and above all, sneaking around behind their parents’ backs.

Sexual and graphic content in regards to teenagers is nothing new in media. We’ve seen it in the past with shows such as Skins, DeGrassi, and Beverly Hills, 90201. However, Euphoria has stirred up a unique controversy in that it revolves almost entirely around drug usage as a plot point, as well as depicts teenage characters (portrayed by adult actors) in explicit sexual positions with full-frontal nudity. In certain scenes, drug addiction almost looks enjoyable: attractive, thin, and happy-looking teens are all too happy to be high at any moment they can.

This has been the topic of many an argument among viewers: is it dangerous to depict teenagers engaging in such behavior, as it may be read as inspiring or encouraging to a young audience? Conversely, is it important to depict the realities of these issues and not to shy away from tough topics, thus cementing their taboo within society? There certainly are teenagers today that deal with and engage in such activities. Should we be thinking of them and providing media with a representation of the struggles they face, or will such a show encourage straight-edged teens to move in a different direction?

  • Glorification or necessary depiction? I think this is a really interesting topic for discussion in relation to Euphoria, but also other shows (those already mentioned but also many others such as 13 Reasons Why) as well as in literature. Is art imitating life or is it the other way around? And, how much responsibility does a director/writer/artist have to take for how their work is perceived or responded to? – Userpays 5 days ago
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  • A show so explicit yet mainstream is definitely worst discussing. It has become a cultural phenomenon and impacted various different industries. Maybe the discussion should not focus so much around whether it is a show that needs to be made, as this could just lead to speculations around the writer/producer's intentions. It might be more productive to consider what elements of the show are drawing young people in. The sound track, fashion and makeup looks have been particularly influential on Gen Z. What impact have the specific elements in the show had on Western culture? – Writingitseems 5 hours ago
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  • worth discussing* – Writingitseems 5 hours ago
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The War on Poverty Through Black Sitcoms

Arguably, the war on poverty in America (President Lyndon B. Johnson), though one of its goals was to break the cycle of dependency, in fact did the opposite by creating incentives and decentives that penalized work (raises led to loss of benefits) and rewarding nonmarriage.

Hollywood tends to take it a step forward, by focusing both on the war on poverty the religious exploitation of blacks during The Peculiar Institution. As a result, popular black sitcoms, such as Good Times and What’s Happening! specifically from the 70s (a key era in black empowerment) focused on the idea of being good (morality v immorailty). By appealing to the message in The Willie Lynch Letter of focusing on the woman and using her as a buffer, these shows keep the main black family from taken advantage of opportunities because they may be somewhat "immoral." (see episode 4, season 1 of Good Times for an example).

What is your take on this idea?

  • Question on your framing, you say that one of the goals was to break dependency where are you basing that off of and secondly you draw a conclusion that it rewarded nonmarriage, where are you pulling that from? And what frame of reference are we using with regards to the "immorality" of black families? – Sunni Ago 1 month ago
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  • Great question. These are ideas that are connected to the war on poverty. Part of the Great Society was to break the cycle of dependency on the government and create tax payers out of those it considered tax eaters. Nonmarriage was rewarded through women losing certain benefits if they married or if the state found out a man was living in the house. Immoral as in if I have to gamble (shoot pool) for instance, to pay rent, why is this considered immoral? If I have to cheat a little to get by, why is this a bad thing and why are the mothers of the shows used to convey this as being immoral, leaving the families in perpetual poverty. I hope this provides clarity. – Montayj79 1 month ago
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  • Interesting topic. I wonder how sitcoms like Diff'rent Strokes, The Cosby Show, or Family Matters might fit in, since they tended to portray Black or mixed families as more middle class or even wealthy/upwardly mobile? That is to say, were these the logical "next step," or were they too idealized? Did they gloss over poverty too much? – Stephanie M. 1 month ago
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  • They could definitely fit in or stand on their own as a new topic. The Cosby Show came across my mind as I wrote this question out for sure. I think these shows tried to portray a different side rather than focus on the stereotype of poverty being all there is. – Montayj79 1 month ago
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Homonormativity in Mainstream TV

Analyze recent queer relationships as they are represented in a few mainstream TV shows (Atypical, Heartstopper, And Just Like That, L Word Gen Q, etc). To what extent are these relationships and characters homonormative? Homonormativity is the tendency for queer relationships to model goals and expectations on normative straight relationships (monogamy, goals like marriage and childrearing, citizen/rights-based activism, for example). Is it possible for mainstream TV to present compelling alternative queer characters and plotlines or is the form destined to churn out homonormativity?

  • Really interesting topic. I'd be particularly interested in the ones that set themselves up as queer - e.g. The L Word - and how they actually engage with queerness. – metacohen 2 months ago
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  • Thinking that this could be a very collaborative and all-inclusive piece if it comes to fruition. Being a heterosexual white male and not having knowledge on this topic makes my engagement with your potential prompt limited, but it does seem like a truly compelling topic for that reason. You could certainly take an educational yet relatively opinionated take on this in order to inform but also to make a firm claim on the way you believe mass media as a whole (specifically in TV and film) could move with this issue. – matthewmcgovern 2 months ago
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Published

Bridgerton's Reimagining for Society

Evaluate how Bridgerton reimagines British society to fit its narrative – consider issues such as race, gender, and class dynamics.

  • Nice topic, but I think it's too broad. Try narrowing it down by choosing one or two of the issues you raised and expanding on them in the actual article. – Stephanie M. 7 months ago
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  • Perhaps an exploration on historical accuracy vs. historical authenticity? A lot people like to criticise the casting of diverse actors as being "historically inaccurate", but what does that say about society then and now? – alexmulvey 7 months ago
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Season length: from 22 to 12

In the past it was common for TV series have seasons with 20 episodes. This has changed in the past decade or so. Now it is more common for shows to have 6-15 episodes. For example, The X-Files was a popular show in the 90s that had 9 seasons with 20 or more episodes each. When it was rebooted in 2016, the following two seasons had 6 and 10 episodes respectively. This shows the change in episode numbers according to the times.
Discuss why this happened and what factors played a role, such as streaming, globalization, changing attention spans, busy lives, intended audiences, etc.
Was this a change that occurred due to differing consumer needs or production needs? Was it due to the changes in how television and media is consumed?

  • Interesting observation, and I think it might be due to a number of the things you mention. For one, streaming allows people access to a plethora of series and movies, thereby potentially limiting their "attention span" for one series. In addition, since there are so many series being created, perhaps production needs are inadequate. – LibraryLass 2 months ago
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Why Six of Crows is the most intriguing part of the Shadow & Bone series

Netflix fantasy series Shadow and Bone are based on five books written by Leigh Bardugo. The first three are part of the so-called Grisha Trilogy, and the other two (Six of Crows) follow a different group of characters years after the events of the first three books. Showrunner Eric Heisserer said he wouldn’t have written the show without them, so the article could explore their particularities and why they’re so endearing to the story and the public.

  • I think part of the charm of the crows is that they are already an establised friend group. The characters didn't have to get to know each other as Alina did with the Grisha. It meant we could get into the action way sooner. On another note, the Crows are technically 'the bad guys; it is always interesting to see their perspectives – hannahclairewrites 5 months ago
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  • I agree with the establishes friend group. There are no character developments being made when characters interact with each other to become friends, rather, they are already aware of one another. – hafsakhan310 2 months ago
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What is the legacy of Skins?

Skins was a British teen soap opera which began in 2008 and ran for about seven seasons. This series was renowned for its controversial subject matter, as many of the characters did things like have sex, experiment with drugs, and struggle with serious mental health concerns. Several of the cast members–including Nicholas Hoult, Dev Patel, and Kaya Scodelario among others–went on to have illustrious film and television careers.

What if any influence has Skins had on the teen soap opera genre? How many modern teen soaps–which tend to feature fairly dark subject matter–were inspired by Skins, whether directly or indirectly? How do more recent television shows for teens compare to Skins in terms of characterization and structure?

  • I automatically think of Euphoria, but not really any others. What other examples would you use? It might be easier to just compare Skins and Euphoria. – Elisa 5 months ago
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  • I agree with Elisa! Euphoria seems a lot like a modern take on Skins. – Anna Samson 2 months ago
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  • Skins was beautifully produced and written. The characters are all complicated and loveable through their flaws. Shows like 13 reasons why have gone for the same things but done it in a much more graphic way, romanticizing the bad things meanwhile skins teaches lessons and is meaningful and very diverse. – Ellissa 2 months ago
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Crossing Over: TV shows from other countries popularity in the US

With shows ranging from the obvious (The Office) to others of less prominence (Degrassi), what does it take for a show to catch on in the US? With a show like the Office, it seemed a US version was needed, but shows such as Degrassi made it internationally and then had others based off of them. What others are there and what writers, directors, actors made became bigger because of it?

  • Including some examples of US remakes that weren’t successful can lend more depth to the reasoning behind these remakes – Anna Samson 2 months ago
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  • As the devil's advocate, what about foreign TV shows that ought to never be remade for US audience, because they nobody will be able to 'get it right'? – greenturnedblue 2 months ago
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  • I like the topic but perhaps you can identify 1-2 shows you would like potential writer to discuss or rephrase: "What two other shows are there and what writers, directors, actors did it make bigger because of it? – Montayj79 2 months ago
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  • I could see this being popular. There are plenty of shows I would like to see brought to the US. – Hannahegeorge 2 months ago
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