Social media is buzzing about a disturbing, but not necessarily new trend–the cancelling of sapphic television series, especially on streaming services like Netflix. "Sapphic" refers to content "of or relating to sexual attraction or interplay between women," and disgruntled and confused viewers aren’t seeing enough of it. They point out the short-lived nature of once-popular series such as The Baby-Sitters’ Club (2020) and Paper Girls, to name only two.
Even more disturbingly, some series that might not be called sapphic, but are certainly women-centered, have been cancelled, were panned by critics, or have disappeared into long hiatuses. (See Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, and Anne With an E for examples).
Discuss why these series, especially on Netflix, might have been disproportionately represented on the chopping block. Do the "powers that be" see women-centered content, particularly the sapphic, as a threat, and if yes, why? Do cancellations happen just because of the nature of Netflix–shorter seasons and encouragement of "bingeing"–but if yes, why is male-centered content not cancelled as well? Do female viewers want different types of content, and if yes, what do they want? What would it take to bring female-centered shows, sapphic and otherwise, front and center on streaming services again?
This is such an important topic! It’s also important to compare it to other queer works released, especially ones about white gay men and explore how bias and discrimination plays into it – Anna Samson3 weeks ago
Analyze the accuracy of TV and movies that are about policing. A lot of these shows/movies display place work as light-hearted and fun. Some examples are Brooklyn 99 and ride along. Even though both are clearly comedies, impressionable viewers might think differently about policing.
Certainly there are comedies that portray the police as a “light-hearted and fun” profession. But there are also dramas and thrillers that portray it as brutal and corrupt. Depending on the genre, a movie may portray a profession under different lights. The question is: Is accuracy the goal of a movie that portrays a profession or is it the telling of a story under certain genre principles? I think that handling viewer perception is a different issue that falls under an “education” problem that is out of the hands of movie producers or directors. Or it could be a discussion about artistic responsibilities and their impact in society. – T. Palomino2 months ago
They certainly do. Different perspectives are pushed out, and you go through those perspectives while watching the film. Therefore, even unrealistic circumstances which happen in the movie can be interpreted as very real or vise versa. – AchuB1 month ago
I divide police TV series into two categories. Shows that use the police universe as a source of occupation/physical setting to tell a story about a specific character or multiple characters (I.e Blue Bloods) they do touch on what it is like to be in Law enforcement but are not an accurate or real representation of the work that Police Officers undertake. Then I see the premium police (dramas) series like NYPD Blue, Homicide on the Street, Prime Suspect (UK) and the like to be a real insight into the work, the police force/department as an organisation and the nuance of everyday police work. – NatalieB1 month ago
I like this topic, but I think you could go deeper. Certainly these shows could make viewers feel that policing is a more lighthearted and fun profession than it actually is, and that deserves analysis. But at the same time...what should police comedies, and darker/edgier police procedurals, do in response to this, if anything? How can, or should, shows like Brooklyn 99 balance comedy and reality? Considering how police are viewed right now, and what officers and their families go through, what should police shows in any genre look like (should they go for comic relief, or stick closer to reality)? Consider these and any other questions you might come up with. – Stephanie M.1 month ago
I like this topic very much and think you are on to a great idea here but expanding on the concept would be much more helpful. referencing more shows and particular parts would go a long way – Josephrogers134 weeks ago
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? – Userpays2 months ago
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? – Writingitseems2 months ago
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 Ago4 months ago
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. – Montayj793 months ago
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.3 months ago
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. – Montayj793 months ago
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. – metacohen4 months ago
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. – matthewmcgovern4 months ago
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.9 months ago
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? – alexmulvey9 months ago
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. – LibraryLass4 months ago