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NBC's Hannibal and Playing With Canon

NBC’s critically-acclaimed but fairly short-lived television series Hannibal is an adaptation of Thomas Harris’s novels featuring the psychiatrist-cum-cannibalistic-serial-killer Hannibal Lecter. Although initially structured as a prequel to the first Lecter novel, Red Dragon, over the course of its three seasons the show became an entirely different animal, adapting pieces of all four of Harris’s novels about Lecter (Red Dragon, The Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal, and Hannibal Rising) to form a whole that’s very different than the sum of its parts.

How does Bryan Fuller choose, combine, and discard very different plot threads from the books into one cohesive series? Does he? Are his methods effective, or is the show’s plot line a muddled mess?

  • Excellent topic! Fuller's alchemy on that series is easily one of the most remarkable artistic achievements in recent television. It's worth noting, however, that he didn't have the rights to include the Silence of the Lambs characters and storyline into the series, which is why the roles of Clarice Starling and Will Graham were fused into one character. Upon cancellation, there was always the hope that Netflix might revive them for a fourth season, and that the timing might coincide with obtaining the rights to Silence of the Lambs, but that prospect kept looking less and less likely as the major players began taking on other projects. However, interesting that you should bring this up now, given the recent announcement: http://tvline.com/2016/12/23/hannibal-silence-of-the-lambs-miniseries-bryan-fuller/ In any case, I'd be excited to read this article. – ProtoCanon 3 months ago
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  • I think this would be a great topic considering the depth of source material and other adaptations of Harris's books. I would like to take a crack at it but I might have to spend a month or two just going over everything to write something worthwhile. – CoolishMarrow90 3 months ago
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  • a few thoughts on some places to start: Miriam Lass and Abel Gideon as expies for SoTL Clarice and Lecter, the choice to adapt two books (Red Dragon and Hannibal) in season 3, the treatment of Hannibal Lecter's canonical but unpopoular backstory from Hannibal Rising. – Sadie 3 months ago
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  • I would compare the show with the Anthony Hopkins movies to better understand the difference between the two takes on Hannibal Lector. – BMartin43 3 weeks ago
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  • Love the show. And it is ripe for discussion, especially season 3 which incorporates so much of Hannibal and red dragon.Can't wait to see what someone creates with this topic! – SeanGadus 2 weeks ago
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celebrity appeal: how celebrity endorsement galvanizes the cause

Choose a celebrity or multiple celebrities and discuss the phenomenon of celebrity appeal in America. Do celebrities have an obligation to use their popularity and appeal to speak out against things like global warming and war? Also, their great and often rapid accumulation of wealth, should this obligate them to support social justice causes, and in what ways? Some clear examples to discuss are Dicaprio and Pitt or even Mortensen and Michael Moore. Recent developments revolving around the presidential inauguration and celebrity refusals to participate, could provide good points for discussion.
One more point for discussion would be to evaluate the effect that certain celebrities have had on the social or political causes they’ve endorsed, in our contemporary moment or in the past.

  • This is an interesting topic. I think it might also be interesting to examine the effects of public social/political advocacy on celebrity popularity. At the risk of sounding cynical, it seems to me that a celebrity publicly stating opinions about political/social issues can work either for or against him/her - depending largely, of course, on whether or not people LIKE the opinions he/she is stating. This is admittedly just a casual observation on my part, but from what I gather, when people LIKE the message, they tend to cheer the celebrity on and praise him/her for sharing the message - but when they DON'T like the message, they tend to trash the celebrity, call for boycotts of his/her work, and/or declare that celebrities in general should "just shut up" about politics. The various reactions to Meryl Streep's Golden Globes speech are a good new example. – OBri 4 months ago
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  • Celebs are damned if they do or if they don't. If they speak out about social justice causes, they're labeled as phonies or ppl say that they're only speaking out because it's the 'trend' to do so. However, if they don't speak out they're criticized for not using their public roles properly. – seouljustice 4 months ago
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  • I think another important point to discuss in this is how much the celebrities actually do for the organizations they promote versus just talking about them. This goes a long with the affect they have had on those issues. I think drawing a clear line between the movements/organizations growing because of the groups own efforts and what the celebrities have actually contributed. – JenniferRobinMc 3 months ago
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3

Are the Gilmore Girls Actually Likable?

With the revival of the beloved show "Gilmore Girls," watchers get another chance to see what their favorite people of Stars Hollow have been up to. It’s no question that those who loved the show before still love the show after watching it over again. However, and with much regret, after enjoying the seven seasons once again, along with "A Year in the Life," some viewers can’t help but question some of the choices the Gilmores make. From homewrecking, to bullying, to cheating, to using, being rude, and somewhat cruel at times, they still somehow manage to make audiences love them. What distracts us from these events? What makes watching it so enjoyable? What qualities redeem them? Why do we love them?

  • Focusing on the original series versus the revival might be helpful in keeping the essay focused. – mazzamura 3 months ago
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  • I was actually thinking about this recently and I was a fan of the series when it originally aired on The WB back in the early 2000s. I also own every season on DVD and tuned in for A Year in the Life on Netfilx with much anticipation. However, in watching AYIAL, I found myself really hating the Gilmores. They were bossy, self-righteous, and made selfish decisions that dragged others into their messy lives. I wanted to smack Rory and shake Lorelai. Emily, I just wanted her to open her eyes and ears to really hear herself and the racist and classist things that she would say to her hired help.Then I realized, I never loved the Gilmores -- it was always the characters around them that redeemed them. It was Stars Hollow, Paris, Lane and Hep Alien, Jess, Liz, TJ, everyone else (even Logan) that made the girls the magnet of my attention and appreciation. The pop-cultural references and wit were great, but the girls alone just didn't sit well with me. I felt it growing up with the series, but now I can more effectively express this feeling. Maybe the revival was too shady for me, but I think looking back at the series, I had more eye rolls towards Rory and Lorelai than I liked to admit. At least Rory got me psyched about applying to college and making something of myself...but how unnerving it is to see where she actually ended up... – khunt12 3 months ago
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  • I really enjoy this idea and you can do the same for other shows as well such as Friends or One Tree Hill. – boyerj 3 months ago
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  • I really like this topic as someone who was never a Gilmore Girls fan. I watched part of A Year in the Life recently and I just couldn't understand the appeal. My main issue was I couldn't understand why they spoke in monologues but that's mostly irrelevant. But I do think the issue isn't so much likability but maybe a bit of subconscious envy. It's appealing to see someone do or say whatever they want with no repercussions and remain the protagonist of the story. Even in something as trivial as eating, the Gilmore Girls live a fantasy idea. They eat junk food in large amounts at all hours of the day but remain attractively slim. Meanwhile the average person subsisting on pizza, ice cream, and pop tarts for 20 years would certainly not look like that. Many people love villains because they do whatever they want; in a way I think shows like Gilmore Girls (and Friends as another commentator mentioned) give viewers similar satisfaction whilst still rooting for the 'good guy'. – LC Morisset 3 months ago
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  • I've never understood the appeal of Gilmore Girls, and I've seen a few thinkpieces since AYITL came out posing this exact question. This could make for a good article, but whoever takes this on should be cautious to not repeat points made elsewhere, or to at least find new evidence for them. – Sadie 3 months ago
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  • Early in the show yes - the snappy dialogue makes them particularly attractive. As the show progresses, however, they slide into boy-obsessed women, often at the risk of other aspects of their personalities, which makes them unlikeable, or two-dimensional. – queeniesukhadia 3 weeks ago
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  • Many people love villains because they do whatever they want; in a way I think shows like Gilmore Girls (and Friends as another commentator mentioned) give viewers similar satisfaction whilst still rooting for the 'good guy'. – Clay Cain 3 weeks ago
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  • I have a very hard time enjoying this show because the rhetoric is nauseating. I like the characters, and the premise, but no one talks like that. I am on English Major at UW-Madison and I have never even heard extremely nuanced peers who have an immense capacity for vocabulary and language converse in the way the dialogue is written for that show. – kraussndhouse 2 weeks ago
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How did 13 Reasons Why change when it was adapted for Netflix?

13 Reasons Why was hugely popular and important YA novel written in 2007 by Jay Asher. In 2017, it received a 13 episode Netflix adaption, which has renewed interest in the story. How did this story change, develop, or grow in its transition to the screen? Were these changes effective, or did they hinder or distinctly change the overall story or characters?

Take us through the changes between the netflix series and the book that inspired it.

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    Testing the Narrative: Virtual Reality as Supplementary Content

    Examine how shows like Stranger Things and Mr. Robot incorporate virtual reality content as supplements to their series. Will we see more of it? When will virtual reality stand on its own? Looking at how VR has exploded in recent years (Facebook buys Oculus for 2.3 billion) and how VR’s growth in the video game sector is creating a wider base of VR headset owners, which could benefit TV shows adopting VR content.

    • It would be wise to cite examples of how VR has expanded not just for television content but for video games as well. – BMartin43 4 weeks ago
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    How does Binge Watching change the way we watch or engage with "television"

    With the popularity of online streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon, who sometimes release an entire season worth of content at a time, how does this difference in presentation change how we watch and engage with entertainment. Just a few years ago, tv viewers had to tune in week after week to view the last hit t.v. show, but now, many famous and successful shows are released on Netflix at a season by season basis. For example, House of Cards, Marvel Shows (Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage), and Master of None all dropped with their entire season available for viewing from day one of their release. What is the effect on our thoughts and perceptions of a show when we can sit down and view the whole thing in one sitting rather than having to wait week by week for the next episode. What is lost and what is gained in this shift?

    • Very interesting topic. Another facet of it that may be worth exploring in relation to this is how the binge-format is changing, not only how we watch, but also how content is created and structured. For example, something that I noticed while binging BoJack Horseman is that most of the episodes (especially in the later seasons) end very abruptly without a punchy joke or poignant conclusion to facilitate the landing. This would be incredibly frustrating if you then had to wait a week for the following episode to pick up where they left off, but because the show is conducive to binging by design, it works quite well. That's just one example that comes to mind, but I'm sure there are plenty of other ways in which this new form has influenced the content to be found if you take a closer look at it with this in mind. – ProtoCanon 6 months ago
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    • Queer film critic B Ruby Rich writes in her book "New Queer Cinema" that television and film used to be community activities. Everyone would gather around a TV and watch it as a family or as a community, but now, it's all personalized and individualized. While people still watch TV and movies together, services like Netflix and Amazon make it much easier to watch television by yourself and in copious quantities. – X 6 months ago
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    • Definitely an interesting topic... any polls out there to show what people prefer? Do young people who have grown up with netflix see it as normal? Does the availability make people watch more? What kinds of people prefer binging or prefer waiting? – Sboother 6 months ago
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    • This is a particularly alluring topic to explore, especially from a psychological point of view. The concept of binge watching shows has become extremely relevant with the advent of Netlifx and especially, as you mentioned, their originals. Just because the whole season is out doesn't mean that viewers have to scrap their whole Saturday or stay home from work to watch it. The fact that binge watching has become a phenomenon has really highlighted the matter that consumers are showing less and less self control in yet another facet of life. – gabyelan 6 months ago
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    • Binge watching would also affect how tv writers create stories because there's no more waiting around. Before Netflix we would have to wait for the next episode to air & there was a suspense/feeling of anticipation, but that feeling has disappeared now b/c all of these shows are now available under our fingertips – seouljustice 4 months ago
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    • There's also the new water cooler elitism of those who can afford to pay for up-to-date programming spoiling shows for those who can't afford paid shows. Can someone sponsor me and solve this catastrophic first-world problem? – Tigey 3 months ago
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    • Film Crit Hulk, an insightful if somewhat informal writer, wrote a column about this: http://birthmoviesdeath.com/2016/10/12/luke-cage-netflix-and-the-death-of-episodic-tv I absolutely recommend that any potential writer on this topic read Hulk's thoughts before writing. – bookstudent4 3 months ago
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    • I have found that the final episode of a series is much more bitter than sweet when I have binge watched the entire season. If I have waited week by week for episodes to air, the season finale is much more exciting. Being forced to patiently wait for the finale adds to the thrill of finally watching it. When I watch a show all at once, I usually arrive at the end of the season without even realizing it's the end. Then I am just left to reflect and be sad that the season ended so abruptly. – InvidaSin 3 months ago
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    • I really like to concept of TV shows as forming a community. Even if you sat in front of the TV Thursday night to watch your show at a certain time alone, you knew that many others were watching what you were watching at the same time. What's also interesting is shows "dropping" a whole season at once and then having to wait a whole YEAR to see the next season sometimes. You binge and then by the time the next season comes around you have to rewatch the previous season to recapture the essence of the show again and reconnect with the characters and their plots. – Gaby 3 weeks ago
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    Theatre on screen: live vs. recording

    Theatre has been prevalent in the film industry since Dorothy skipped down a yellow brick road in 1939 and existed even before that. While traditionally theatre is preformed live in front of an audience there have been several movies made including "Into the Woods" (2014) and "Les Miserables" (2012) that seek to immortalize those performances. Do film adaptations provide the same experience or is it a mere shadow of live theatre? When preforming live things can go wrong, people will improvise, and it turns out a little differently each night. Does this enhance the piece or take away from it? Conversely, there are musicals that are based on movies like "The Waitress" (2007). Do the musical adaptations add to the movies or do they make a difference at all? And lastly, what about the live recordings of musicals like "Hairspray Live!" in 2016? Do these hybrids provide a happy medium or is there even an audience for it?

    • It would be interesting to explore this topic, but be sure to cite how in recent years TV and Broadway have become one with these live shows broadcasted on TV or in theatres such as "Newsies." – BMartin43 4 weeks ago
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    • The 'liveness' of theatre vs. movies/television is always an interesting topic to write about. A good book to read about this topic is "The Theatre of the Unimpressed" by Jordan Tannahill. It has some great insights on theatre in the modern world of digital entertainment. – tysonfraleigh 4 weeks ago
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    The portrayal of Medicine in TV Shows

    Audience fascination with medicine has resulted in a large number of riveting TV series pertaining to the topic being made. Analyse the various aspects and ethical dilemmas of medicine portrayed on various medical shows.(even the lesser known ones)

    • It should be. But, you should display acuity in choosing products that are not hoax ( giving you only complications.) – droy 4 weeks ago
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