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The Nostalgia Trend: Good or Bad for Future Generations?

It seems like every new release these days is either a reboot, a revival, or a sequel. That’s all well and good for those of us who grew up with the original media and are now more than happy to see it return, but is this trend perpetrating the longevity of the series we love, or is it robbing the next generation of too many chances to form their own unique experiences with new media?

  • I think the question is less about the level of goodness for younger (what I assume you mean by "future") generations, and more about how the generation appreciating the original interacts with the new nostalgia. Media is like a time capsule. Social climate, humor trends, and so much more changes over time, so when we reboot media, how do people balance nostalgia/tradition with change and the present?I don't think that younger generations will care as much. Especially if they are unfamiliar with the older versions. – ASeriousLady 5 months ago
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  • I love this question. I was just talking about the book The Future of Nostalgia by Svetlana Boym, and I think she's on to something regarding cultural landmarks and landscapes that might be applicable to your developing analysis. Of course, I'm also thinking of the cable show Stranger Things, which was full of 80s references, but didn't advance the plot or make the characters more finely drawn. As a child of the 80s, I thought the references were a nostalgia "straw man" that distracted from problems and gaps in the narrative. – pfurnish 5 months ago
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  • We need new media. I want to see what Millennials and their successors can come up with on their own, because we really are the generation of reboots and superheroes. No more "Stranger Things" style homages. At the very least, go the "Rick and Morty" route and bastardize a respected property until you imbue it with a new thematic significance, elevating the work to new levels of art. Anyway, yeah, someone needs to write this topic, if only to speculate what a landscape with more unique properties would even look like coming from our specific concerns and fixations. – demogorgonzola 4 months ago
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  • I've always believed old and new things have their place, but that we've lost out on enjoying some older things because pre-nostalgia, our generation was exposed to so many new and trendy things. Example: Sometimes my parents or grandmother (my only living grandparent) will talk to me about the things they watched or read or experienced, and while I can appreciate they loved these things, I can't actually relate. I'd like to see more of a mix of nostalgia and new media, especially since each generation has its own experiences to feel nostalgic about. I mean, one of these days our kids and grandkids are going to be nostalgic about iPhones, Netflix, and online pizza orders. Scary. :) – Stephanie M. 1 month ago
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Prequel-itis: Causes, symptoms, and cures

Symptoms of prequel-itis, in TV shows specifically, include 1) pointless cameos and foreshadowing for the sake of fan service and 2) backtracking to keep the plot from progressing "too far," which would result in the show ending. Examples of victims include Gotham, Smallville, and Merlin.
What I don’t know about, and what I’d be interested in reading, is possible cures for this problem. I am unfamiliar with the Star Wars cartoon prequels, but I’m told they do a better job, so they may hold answers.
Another possible piece of this topic is causes of prequel-itis. Why do prequels exhibit these problems so often? Is there something inherently problematic with prequels in general?

  • Sounds like a good topic in my opinion. Although a more specific definition of prequel-itis would definitely help. You might also include a third point to them. Which is: retroactively improving the already established lore and story of the series. The best example for this include the Walking Dead, as well as Flash. Looking forward to reading about this topic :) – shehrozeameen 3 months ago
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  • @shehrozeameen Prequel-itis, as I see it, is like a syndrome, a set of symptoms that commonly occur together. There isn't really a definition other than "a set of symptoms experienced by prequels including x, y, z...." If the author of the topic could think of a specific definition, of course, he/she'd be welcome to apply it. – noahspud 3 months ago
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  • I'd certainly be interested to read this. Would you also consider doing one for sequelitis, because there are a ton of bad sequels out there. Disney is particularly guilty when it comes to both prequels and sequels. They're also fond of the midquel for some reason. – Stephanie M. 1 month ago
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  • To be clear, this topic is a suggestion for someone else to write (that's how this works). Also, you do have a point, but sequelitis is a separate thing, and I felt that prequelitis was a topical subject that hadn't gotten much attention. – noahspud 1 month ago
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  • I think this is a very interesting topic but I disagree with Merlin being placed in the prequel category. Although the show did begin before Arthur was King, the show very much did hit every major event in Arthurian Legend. It included everything from the sword in the stone, knights of the round table, Guinevere's Affair and Arthur's (spoiler alert) eventual death in the series finale. I'd argue that rather than backtracking, the show fast forwarded a bit to hit all these plot points before their pre-decided series end in season 5. The only real difference was that Merlin was depicted as young rather than a wizened old sorcerer adviser. (The series has a host of finale issues that I could probably write a whole different article about but that's not relevant to this comment) – LC Morisset 1 month ago
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  • Fair point. Except for the first, what, three seasons, Arthur isn't king, Morgan isn't evil, and Merlin isn't a respected advisor. So it certainly begins as a prequel, and it does indeed backtrack: Arthur starts to think magic is okay. Merlin almost tells his secret. Something bad happens. Arthur is once again convinced that magic is bad. Repeat. Morgan dies as punishment for her bad deeds. Oh wait, she has more to do later. Let's bring her back and let her sit in a cottage for a year. All the Arthurian mythology stuff happens in those last couple seasons, and we see the set up for all of them: the lady in the lake, Excalibur, each major knight of the round table, and Morgan's descent into villainy. I call that a prequel. – noahspud 1 month ago
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The X-Files Character Juxtaposition

Chris Carter, upon making the main concepts of the show, ensured that the two main characters would be in opposition of one another. The series includes character Dana Scully, a skeptic, and Fox Mulder, a true believer. The juxtaposition of each of their characterizations adds to the series conflict. By creating both external and interior conflict, the writers create an intriguing and thought provoking series.

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    TV Revivals and Millennials: The Connection

    They are everywhere, revival after revival. Gilmore Girls packed in 6 million initial viewers nearly 10 years after its not so ending ending for A Year In The Life. Boy Meets World sprung to life 20 years later with a new generation and over 5 million initial viewers in Girl Meets World. Full House was revived almost 30 years later a little bit fuller and with 14.4 million viewers in its first 35 days on Netflix. I believe the secret to these successes are the millennials. It’s been repeatedly noted that millennials crave authenticity and TV revivals are swimming it. Getting a second chance to meet with characters you grew up with is like reconnecting with an old friend. Older millennials crave this sense of familiarity in a world they no longer understand. However on the (not so) opposite hand we have the later millennials. While it is still about authenticity for them it’s more about feeling like they are apart of something, fitting into a "generation" that doesn’t quite belong to them. Why do you think TV revivals are so important to this generation? Is it just because they’ve seen everything on Netflix and need a new show or is a deeper, more heartfelt search for somewhere to fit in?

    • Interesting observation; however, I should warn the prospective author of this article to be wary of such broad strokes in generational thinking. [Watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HFwok9SlQQ and also this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iJdimomLTQ ] I'm not suggesting that the demographic correlation that you're proposing does not exist, but it may be a little more nuanced than "Older millennials crave this sense of familiarity." That said, there might be something worth exploring about the condescension of Netflix executives operating under this mentality when shaping their programming around what they think millennials want. – ProtoCanon 2 months ago
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    • I think Millenials may have some nostalgia for the past as they are very close with their families. Even playing LPs is experiencing revival. – Munjeera 2 months ago
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    • I definitely agree that this conversation is nuanced, and would like to see you explore the topic in as much depth as possible. As an older millennial (born in '86), I do feel a sense of familiarity when I watch revivals like Fuller House. But more than the familiar, I crave shows that use older conventions, that don't feel like they have to fall back on gimmicks or cheap humor to get viewers. That craving drew me to "newer" shows like The Middle and Speechless, ones that explore new ground but have their roots deep in the good old family sitcom. That might be an angle to explore. – Stephanie M. 1 month ago
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    Controversy or Consciousness in Marvel Netflix?

    Comic books, back in the day, were the dose of tiger balm to the congested chest. They were painful narratives that made us think, that put our problems into the perspectives of a false world so a hero could show us they can be solved and the villains of our lives vanquished. Unfortunately, the solutions are solely on the page or on the screen, now with the Netflix series’ of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage, but does that erase the effect they have on us as viewers and readers?

    Do the shows take some issues too far? Present them too blatantly or too straight-forward for escapism?

    Are they too real and too relevant? Or exactly what we need?

    • Something else to consider would be whether or not the intention of comic books is still escapism. As entertainment becomes increasingly politicized, the escapism aspect may sit on a balance with a desire to provide political commentary. If you wanted to do that more broadly, too, you could look at the balance of escapism and commentary in modern comic books or their adaptations (like Daredevil/Jessica Jones/Luke Cage), which I feel like is what you might be trying to do.There's an excellent article about Ta-Nehisi Coates discussing his run of Black Panther which touches on this --> http://kotaku.com/ta-nehisi-coates-is-trying-to-do-right-by-marvel-comics-1769418783 – Sadie Britton 1 month ago
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    • I think the subjective nature social consciousness makes this a hard question to answer. Comics have always run the gamut from utterly ridiculous to uncomfortably real but a lot of that is in the personal interpretation. Most comics aren't going to be as clear in their messaging as Captain America punching Hitler in the face. The X-Men arose as an allegory for the Civil Rights movement but not every white comic reader in the 60s was thinking "I see, this is like how we treat black people". However black comic readers may have connected with the story in a different way. Jessica Jones and Luke Cage both seemed overtly political but technically were recreations of plot lines that were decades old. When Brock Turner is making headlines, Jessica's inability to consent holds more weight. When Black Lives Matter plays a large part in the political sphere, a bulletproof black guy (in a hoodie) holds more weight. Your environment and your gender/racial/sexual identity change whether you view it as a nice work of fiction or a very political one. – LC Morisset 1 month ago
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    Nostalgia as a Genre

    In the three days after its Netflix release, "Stranger Things" rocketed to number 26 IMDB’s top 250 shows. Marketed across the internet as a well-casted, spooky, nostalgia-perfect program, the description inspired a cross-internet search for movies, television shows, and assorted media that has been marketed for its "nostalgic" value and their close ties to the 80s and 90s. The majority of the hits were produced in the past 20-30 years (Clueless, Grease), but many instead are recent productions taking place in that time period (It Follows, Stranger Things), falling into decades not old enough to be considered "period pieces" but also clearly not modern age.

    Examine this category of film and television, its cultural appeal, its widespread success across the western world, and determine whether or not "nostalgia" is being appropriately applied to these very specific decades, or how media of these categories might be alternatively described.

    • Excellent topic! You allow for a multitude of avenues to be explored. I also appreciate your own inquiry into the use of the word "nostalgia" when referring to works from these decades, and the categorization of such titles. Who is to say what is and what is not able to conjure up feelings of nostalgia? Great choice...I look forward to reading this, as I believe someone will pick up this topic. – danielle577 8 months ago
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    • This is a great topic and I think many readers will be able to relate to it. I myself find that I am a part of the nostalgia generation and I think it's because there are too many sitcoms out there today. Back in the 90s and early 2000s there were only a handful of sitcoms. You watched Friends, Party of 5, 90210, and you felt a connection with the characters. The shows were simple and offered viewers a place to go and just enjoy the story lines. I think this topic can be picked up with ease and I look forward to commenting on it. – iwrite 6 months ago
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    • Love this topic as a fan of "Stranger Things" and the 80s iconography it pays tribute to. Part of the appeal of nostalgia stems from those who grew up during those specific periods as well as those who just have a fondness for those eras in general. I do wonder if younger audiences for "Stranger Things" enjoyed it as much as I know older millennials did. If they did, I suppose the appeal for them is that it has elements they can relate to, i.e. the group of kids and their adventures with Eleven. For teenagers, it had the Nancy, Jonathan and Steve storylines; Gen-Xers have Joyce and Hopper.I thought nostalgia was cleverly applied to "Stranger Things," because, while the show is bursting with 80s love, it also flips 80s tropes on their head at the same time, such as the Final Girl trope and the love triangle twist. Thus, it is upgraded to modern times while still remaining nostalgic.I think nostalgia has such crossover appeal because older people may introduce kids to the things popular in their era, and it gets passed on. I think its appeal is also in part due to an ironic yearning for the pre-Internet life. Interesting questions you have; hope your topic gets picked! – cebalo 6 months ago
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    • It's interesting as someone born mid-90's to see such a resurgence of classic "80's" nostalgia. I'm faintly aware, as an observer and less as one who's experience ATARI or the other trials of the 80's, and it's interesting to see how the Duffer brothers brought back to life a world so naturally, despite the ever-changing time and our own modern aesthetic of conscious dystopia. I think this is a very keen topic! – bbartonshaw 1 month ago
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    5

    Does TLC Participate in the Exploitation of Women?

    TLC. formerly known as The Learning Channel, has become a place to watch voyeuristic shows. That alone is disturbing, but what’s more disturbing is that many of these shows seem to exploit women. What Not to Wear, which ran from 2003-2013, performed makeovers on infinitely more women than men, and while Stacy and Clinton were encouraging toward their contributors, one could argue the message was, "Women can’t get away with dressing less than their best, ever."

    What Not to Wear is not the only example. In five seasons of My 600-Lb Life, the vast majority of obese contributors have been women (as many as 80% in a 10-episode season). Counting On focuses on Jessa, Jill, and the other Duggar women instead of the Duggar men, playing up the girls’ pregnancies, weddings, and other "traditional" activities. Toddlers and Tiaras featured airbrushed, enhanced beauty pageant participants as young as 2-3 years old.

    Using these examples and any others you might like, discuss whether TLC is in fact exploiting women over men. If so, do they mean to do it, or are they just trying to net a bigger female audience? Is that a form of manipulation and if yes, is it okay? Why does TLC not seem as focused on men, men’s lifestyles, or the self-improvement of men who might be overweight, sloppily dressed, etc.? Is TLC promoting or demeaning traditional women’s roles such as wife and mother, and if yes, why?

    • Another good question would be what exactly are we learning from the programs on "The Learning Channel"??? Even educational channels are now giving in to the 'reality show' boom, much to the dismay of us who grew up watching shows that actually taught us something. You bring up an interesting point that may point to a bigger problem within our society. – MikeySheff 1 month ago
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    • I was just thinking about that (ironically while watching TLC). Why call it The Learning Channel, because you're not actively teaching things people need to know. Yes, you could argue, for instance, that My 600-Lb Life teaches people about health--but do you need to stick a 750-pound woman in front of us, and say what a pig she is, to do it? Do you need to use toddlers with blonde wigs and fake teeth to decry unrealistic standards of beauty (when actually, you're doing the opposite)? Now that I think of it, TLC isn't even the only guilty channel. Have you seen the "History Channel" lately? – Stephanie M. 1 month ago
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    Existentialism and Moral Relativity as an Artistic Crutch

    Judging by volume, it seems easier to write morally ambiguous screenplays. Such screenplays also seem to benefit from the default of events being meaningless or random in a meaningless or random existence (e.g., Tony Soprano’s series-ending "dirt nap"), while works regarding morality as objective, ala Breaking Bad, must convincingly explain actions and repercussions without the easy shrug of "stuff happens." If we set the Way Way Back Machine to say, a century ago, the bar of acceptance for atheistic works was high, but today, its bar for justification seems awfully low. Whaddya think about that, my friend?

    • I approve. Ambiguousness can be done well, but I have seen few authors and especially screenwriters pull it off. Moral relativity gives the appearance of freedom, but I think artistically, it actually boxes people in because they have to be careful not to make definitive statements about what's right and wrong, or why they think so. I'm not saying everything has to be squeaky clean--Lord knows that would be boring--but I'd definitely like to see less relativism.I think sometimes filmmakers, screenwriters, what have you, get caught in the trap of relativism vs. a *specific worldview*. That is, some people feel if a work does not appear to support a certain worldview, it has to be completely relative or it doesn't work. Judeo-Christian works, especially films, are particularly guilty. A happy medium is desperately needed. – Stephanie M. 2 months ago
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    Taken by JulieCMillay (PM) 2 weeks ago.