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Latest Topics

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What is the function of 'Trending' categories on streaming services.

What is the function of these categories on streaming services:

Disney – Trending
Netflix – Popular on Netflix, trending now, Top 10 movies in Australia today
Amazon prime – top movies, top tv
Stan – trending on stan, popular now

Psychologically why do we want to be watching what everyone else is? Or if not, why?

How does this work on services such as Netflix, who have their own original content? Can we trust that they aren’t bumping their own numbers?

Also, how do they know what is being watched most? Do they get these numbers anonymously or can they see what each user/profile is watching? Netflix has a category based on the user’s country, so they must be able to see at least some user info with what is being watched.

I have seen writer’s use eg. Bridgertons viewing stats in articles, where do they get these numbers?
Are they released by the streaming services or are these inferred from their places in ‘trending’ categories?

Having these lists and categories seems to guarantee that certain content will reach pop culture icon status (eg. Tiger King), which spurned trends on social media and spin-off shows.
Perhaps this is why the services have these categories, so that everyone is talking about the show/movie that can be seen exclusively through their service.

  • I think FOMO, or the fear of missing out, plays a major role in why the 'trending' section works so well. Many want to be able to connect with others and fear that if they do not they will be left behind – Alex 3 weeks ago
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Locked

Modernizing Old Stories

In the new Death on the Nile (adapted from Agatha Christie’s book), they made a number of changes to ensure the work was better appreciated by a modern audience. This included changing certain motives and secrets for characters (having a former kleptomaniac instead have a secret lover, for example) and adding a romantic subplot for the main character.
Regardless of whether one thinks these changes work or not, I wanted to open up a discussion on why we feel the need to modernize old stories (even bringing some into the modern day rather than keeping them set in the past), and if these efforts help our understanding of these stories.
After all, movies tend to be made for a wide audience. There is a risk that many viewers won’t understand what certain decisions or plot elements imply, because they don’t have a knowledge of the time period it was originally created in. Changes are made to ‘translate’ the work for modern audiences. But on the other hand, it can easily go too far and attempts to modernize can remove beloved parts of the original work.

  • This could be an interesting larger discussion, for instance the modernisation of Shakespeare's works. – Sarai Mannolini-Winwood 2 months ago
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  • I think that one reason why certain stories lend themselves to modernization is that at the time they were written they would have seemed "modern" to begin with. A lot of the technologies and cultural references used by Agatha Christie would have been considered modern, even cutting-edge, at the time her books were written, and it's only nowadays that they seem old-fashioned or "period." This was also the reason why the BBC decided to set its "Sherlock" series in modern times. Sherlock Holmes would have been considered a "modern" detective at the time the novels were originally written, and so, paradoxically, the best way to honor its original vision is to tell a version of the story set in modern times. – Debs 2 months ago
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  • Updating language is always a good reason to 'modernize' a story. Without the ability to actually understand Shakespeare, for example, people might be mislead into thinking it's high-brow classical storytelling instead of a collection of dick jokes stuffed into a thriller jacket. – kgy121 2 months ago
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  • Nice topic, but it feels a little broad. Try narrowing it down. For instance, you could do a whole article on the language issue alone. – Stephanie M. 1 month ago
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  • It may be of great importance to end the article by drawing a line between the elements that are essential to protect an art piece's identity and the elements that can be changed in response to time, place, and culture without altering its identity. – Samer Darwich 1 month ago
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Taken by mmclaughlin102 (PM) 1 month ago.
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Squid Game: a Digestible Dystopia

Considering the recent success of Squid Game, what factors led to its popularity? The plot itself is one that – while unique, is perhaps not as haunting as less popular films and TV Shows. Is its more simplistic plot the cause of its international success?

  • I'd argue that, while the battle royale format is relatively simple, Squid Game is actually trying to make a fairly complex point about class and privilege. The contrast of simple surface/deeper content could be explored here. You can see online how often people misinterpret the point of the show (ex. "it's about having a go-getter mindset!"). Is it digestible because people are taking something from it without having to dig too deep? And are they taking the right thing? – SBee 8 months ago
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  • I agree with the above comment. Squid Game may seem simple, but it's underlying commentary on class and wealth cannot be overlooked. However, the gore, the bright colours, the flashiness of the game and the characters are attractive to viewers without having to dig too much deeper. – oliviatrenorden 8 months ago
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  • I agree with SeeB. I’d also like to see a consideration of how the national context also influences its popularity. There’s a transnational consumption of Korean culture as mainstream. I think there’s something there to explore. Is S Korea the canary in the coalmine? – ProfRichards 7 months ago
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  • This is a very interesting question indeed. I would say that the suspense also played a role in its success. Plus, there is an interesting presentation of the characters who are different in their intentions in the game. You get to see those who make you feel uncomfortable or angry and those who make you feel like there is still hope in humanity. The emotional responses these characters have on the audience is what I believe made the show an international success. – Malak Cherif 7 months ago
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  • Could also consider that the translation into English was far from perfect, apparently lots of the nuance was lost. However, it managed to be wildly successful in both forms. – JDWatts 2 months ago
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  • I really just think people in the western world made it seem more popular than it was intended to become. I've seen this plot before in anime I've seen but it's more of a niche sub-genre. It took the average Netflix viewer by surprise because it's not something they watch, the survival game type of vibe. – jeet 2 months ago
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  • It'd be interesting to discuss the cultural differences underwriting the themes. Western culture and entertainment are becoming more desperate for innovative content and turning to other languages and cultures to find them. Does this mean that Western content creation has been tapped out in terms of innovation and will be limited to endless remakes of the same stories, over and over? – PeterRogers 4 weeks ago
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NASA and Don't Look Up

Analyse Don’t Look Up that came out this past year. In what terms is it showing the truth and/or exaggerating. With the NASA scientist being arrested and the implications on climate change, there is the connection that we are destroying ourselves. How does this connection make us think more about the impact we have on our lives? Or why is it so hard to take action to basically save us?

  • Going on from here to discuss human psychology in situations like this would be really important. The investigation could start on a personal level and end on a collective level. Let's start with some hypothetical questions: why is it possible to intentionally heart oneself? Is it simply a matter of ignorance? Where one knows, is it then a matter of lack of faith? Is it a lack of emotional impulses? Why is it possible to know and believe in self-hearting yet not act on it? How does a personal activity become a community-wide behavior after this? Etc... – Samer Darwich 2 months ago
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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. 2 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 2 months ago
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Has Body Positivity gone to far?

In 2020, during an appearance on BuzzFeeds "AM to DM" Julian Micheals (Personal Fitness Trainer) was criticized for comments she made about singer/rapper Lizzo. "Why are we celebrating her body? Why does it matter?…’Cause it isn’t gonna be awesome if she gets diabetes". At the time many accused Micheals of fat shaming, but Micheals went onto explain in future interviews that it wasn’t about what people found attractive. That she had a concern for what we as a culture were valuing. She had an issue with us being okay with a health problem that could lead to further health issues like "diabetes". This does not appear to be an isolated incident either. As there have been calls for more diverse body types appearing in media (whether it is video-games, movies, comics, television or advertisement) to help spread body positivity. We have seen comics like "Daughter of Starfire", "The ‘New’ New Warriors", featuring large bodied superheroes. And more recently we have seen the premiere of "Lizzo’s ‘Big Grrrls’ " a show about big bodied women competing to be backup dancers for Lizzo. A counter argument that is often brought up is how media (television, comics, games, etc.) will often overly promote physically fit bodies and how many believe it can be just as damaging. The problem with this argument is that both the hyper acceptance of large bodies and the need to fit what society deems “healthy” is believed to lead to unhealthily results. Making this counter arguement a logical fallacy known as tu quque. In both situations the hyper marketing of a certain body type is believed to lead to negative results, so it doesn’t invalidate Julian Micheals criticism of Lizzo, and vice versa. This once again brings us to the question: are producers of visual media (video-games, comics, television, or advertisement) responsible for their viewers, mental health, self-worth, and body image? Should those who work in visual media try to promote a healthy body image? Are they responsible for what becomes a cultural trend? Or is it on the individual to manage their mental health, self-worth, and body image?

  • This is a great topic. However, I think you've accidentally made your whole argument in the topic instead of an article. Narrow it down a little--or broaden it so that the argument is not focused on two specific individuals. Then you can craft a piece that will reach a broader audience by covering more facets of the body-shaming conundrum. – Stephanie M. 2 months ago
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  • I think that you could look at Michaels presumption that Lizzo was unhealthy and prone to diabetes because she is larger. Whereas smaller body types are mostly presumed healthy, though those with them can have eating disorders, take diet drugs, smoke etc. to stay thin. There is also the fact that a lot of doctors blame all symptoms a larger person complains of on being overweight and refuse to look further, as they too presume that fat=unhealthy – JDWatts 2 months ago
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The Dropout, wecrashed, and Inventing Anna: Why Are There So Many "Real-Life" Retellings?

There seems to be a current fascination by streaming platforms and TV networks with the idea of creating a mini-series based around recent historical events. These flashy productions range from exploring Elizabeth Holmes’ meteoric rise and fall from grace, the strange and shady business practices behind the business wework, and of course, the shocking true story of Anna Delvey, who scammed her way into the upper echelon of American pop culture. What is it about these topics that is making streaming platforms so excited? Is it as cynical as simply wanting to make a quick buck out of flashy, recognizable content with A list talent? Or, is there something deeper? A cultural fascination with being able to voyeur over the 1% and their public scandals?

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    Has The Overarching Narrative of Stranger Things Gotten Too Big To Fully Explore Its Characters?

    When the first season of Stranger Things was released in 2016, one of the strongest appeals of the show was its tight focus on its small group of characters and one major setting. Each subsequent season of Stranger Things has expanded the number of characters and settings in significant ways. With this in mind, has the overall narrative of Stranger Things gotten too big to fully develop and explore its characters in the same way that Season One did? The upcoming season four looks to have at least three different character groups in different settings including the town of Hawkins, a city in California, and a prison camp in Russia. An article could explore or trace which settings and characters are added to each season, and if they were properly utilized in the story/narrative.

    • I'd love to read this as an article! To anyone wanting to write about this, it may be worth including a look at how the writers/directors involved have fluctuated over the seasons, and how their influence ties into the show's narrative development – seriouscourt 2 months ago
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