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Devs: The Ghost in the Machine

Alex Garland has been making his name in the film industry for sometime now. Primarily with his contributions to the high concept, hard science-fiction genre. Writer of such films as 28 Days Later, Sunshine, and Dredd, as well as directing the films Ex Machina and Annihilation, Alex Garland has an ability to meld incredible storytelling about space travel, artificial intelligence, and futuristic tech with touching human emotion and true to life character flaws. His most recent endeavor has seen him take a step back from the big to the silver screen in his television debut, Devs: an eight-part stand alone series involving quantum computing, determinism, and humanity (in every sense of the word).

The article would highlight several aspects; Alex Garland himself, the technology of the show, the allegorical elements between technology and religion, and the philosophical and ethical issues such as determinism, multiverse theory, morality, and the illusion of free will. This article will be discussing the show in rather in depth details so a Spoiler Warning should probably be addressed rather early in the article.

  • Looking for some genuine feedback regarding people's thoughts about this one. Anything else that should be included or highlighted? Is there anything that should be omitted due to not being as relevant to the subject matter? Thanks, everyone. – FarPlanet 3 months ago
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The appeal of 'ensemble' tv shows

Friends, That 70s Show, Community, The Office, Modern Family, the list spans kilometres. These kinds of ensemble tv shows, where rather than being just one main character, the focus is on a main group of characters, are incredibly popular today.
Investigate WHY that is. Is it something to do with the kind of show – many shows with ensemble casts are comedy or sit-com? Can viewers better find someone to relate to within a group, rather than with a designated sole protagonist? Does it open more expansive avenues for story-telling, when the focus is on six different people as opposed to just one? Does this keep viewers more invested, less bored? Is it the relationship aspect that draws viewers in? Do they enjoy feeling part of the on-screen group’s little family? Arguably, within a group, characters can afford to be more flawed as they have their peers to keep them in check, does this make for more relatable characters? Or is it the opposite, do these shows create caricatures (the smart one, the funny one, etc.) and is that why people enjoy it?

This article should offer specific examples of TV shows and what it is about them that people enjoyed.

There is something about this TV show formula that just works, and an article offering an answer to ‘why?’ could be very interesting and insightful.

  • Interesting topic! The cool thing about ensemble casts is that it gives more audience members a chance to find someone they can relate to. If there's a single defined protagonist, you either relate to that person or you don't. If there's a large ensemble cast, though, then it's more likely you can connect to someone in a fairly major role. – Debs 3 months ago
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  • Certainly the writing team has more work cut out for them with an ensemble cast as opposed to one main character. Also, it leaves the door open to additional characters that interact with one or more of the main cast. Ensembles, represent a wider slice of the demographic pie and gives multiple actors a chance to shine. Often lesser character's get a spin-off show for themselves. One main character can be daunting for that specific actor, as many are less capable of truly engaging the audience. If a viewer misses an episode of a one character show, it can be hard to understand what may have happened or will happen but with an ensemble you can play to the strengths of the other actor's character's. If your main star does something outside of work that the viewing public doesn't like, or perhaps is illegal or unseamly it can wreck a perfectly good or even great show. Just look at what happened to the Rosanne reboot. She ruined what arguably was and would have been a multi season hit show. Rosanne flipped out on social media and the show got axed quickly. If I was part of that cast I would have been very upset at what the main character did on her own time. I'll close this out by also saying that it's much harder to handle the eventual fall from stardom if you're a former Superstar that was a singular character, than if you had a group of stellar characters to play with. There's more than a handful of actor's that took that fall hard. Some didn't make it through that pain and ended up destroyed by depression, drugs, alcohol and heartbreak and in the absolute worst outcome suicide. Super Stardom isn't for everyone. – WillyMac 3 months ago
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The Nature of Love in Sense 8

While still being a plot-focused show, Sense 8 offers an interesting look into what it means to connect on a deep level with another human, sharing sometimes violent or pleasureable experiences in equal measure. Examine the different relationships in the show and what they say about our experience of love and closeness, or alternatively, the lack of those qualities. What is the show trying to get at by telling the stories of these deeply interconnected people?

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    How do leaks affect both the audience and the creators?

    Recently some of The Last Of US II plot and gameplay leaked; a few months ago some elements of the new Star Wars The Rise Of Skywalker were released on the internet before the movie itself; and about a year ago, Game Of Thrones major plot’s elements of the last season were revealed before it aired. How could those leaks have affected or could affect the audience (or the gamer community), whether it is on its viewing (gaming) experience or on the decision to pay to see the movie/the tv show (or buy the game)? What do the reactions following such leaks may reveal about the ‘dark side’ of some fandom? And, on the other hand, how the risk of leaks impacts on the creators’ work? How those new threats are taken into consideration by directors, filmmakers, producers, etc.? How are they, then, received by the audience?

    • Tom Holland is supposedly never given the complete script as he is infamous for leaking plot details accidentally. – Dr. Vishnu Unnithan 3 months ago
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    The Simpsons predicted Covid-19: and other real life coincidences from the television show

    Many people have been circulating a meme that a 1993 episode of The Simpsons predicted a worldwide pandemic like the novel Coronavirus. There are plenty of other interesting coincidences that overlap in real life and “The Simpsons"

    • Interesting start. You might expand it into a commentary on what it says about our society, how humor helps us deal with crises, and/or life imitating art, especially in long-running TV shows. Are there other long-running programs where events have also been "predicted?" How do these types of shows offer general commentary on the real world? – Stephanie M. 4 months ago
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    • I tend to agree with Stephanie's comment. Also, playing Devil's Advocate here for a moment - how many times has The Simpsons failed to 'predict' a particular event? – Amyus 4 months ago
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    • Suddenly, the Simpsons seem to be referred to as having segments in an episode or an episode itself that touched upon everything. Perhaps this notion was inevitable considering the incredible length of time the series has been on TV. – Joseph Cernik 2 months ago
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    Police Propaganda in Cop Shows

    I think it would be incredibly insightful to fully delve into the propaganda that is commonly shown on our favourite cop shows so that they can be watched and enjoyed critically. I am not saying that cop shows are bad, I enjoy Brooklyn 99 and a few others. But it is really common to see tropes such as "good" cops breaking the law on a hunch because they really need to get the criminal but the bureaucracy in place to keep them accountable stops them. There is also a common theme of framing the police officers in charge of keeping other cops in line as the "bad guys" (e.g. The Vulture from b99). Always framing defense attorneys as evil, even though they are the only thing stopping cops from just arresting anyone on no evidence. And especially the theme of citizens invoking their rights (their right to counsel and their right not to speak to them without a lawyer, etc.) as things that are only done if you are guilty. All of these things are specifically framed to manipulate the audience into mindsets that would actively harm them if they actually were to interact with cops in real life. There is a lot of sources to back these sorts of things up but I don’t think I am the best at fully articulating the ways this is done subtly and pervasively in every cop show.

    • Ah, now this is a timely topic if I've ever seen one. You might do some compare/contrast. For instance, you say invoking their rights is something characters only do when guilty; is there ever a case on TV or in the movies where this isn't true? Are there examples wherein defense attorneys are protagonists, or wherein the lines between good cops and bad cops aren't as clear (e.g., Dark Blue)? I would also spend some time talking about how cops interact with majority/privileged vs. minority characters, and what that says about police forces and society. – Stephanie M. 4 months ago
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    • It would be interesting to see a change in these types shows--more nuanced with a blending of "Blue Lives Matter," with "Black Lives Matter." – Joseph Cernik 2 months ago
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    Published

    The portrayal of feminism in Fleabag (2016)

    One of the topics that has appeared in BBC’s Fleabag is feminism. As a women-centered television drama, Fleabag focuses on the life of a woman who lives alone in London and the women surrounding her such as her sister, dead friend, and stepmother. What is the attitude of the director on feminism in this TV series? And how feminism is shown through the narrative, characters, and mise-en-scene?

    • I think you should flesh this topic out a bit by adding one or two sentences about how you feel about it and why you think this topic is relevant. Have a look at other topics that have been approved. – danivilu 4 months ago
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    New Season: When should it end?

    Various TV series are loved and enjoyed for different factors that lead to producers investing more as time passes and ratings rise. It’s good for the show, the production, and the fans as more seasons get made. But when is the limit of stretching a story? Especially when lead actors decide to leave the cast?

    Helpful examples are long running shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, Supernatural, the CW Arrowverse, Once Upon A Time, etc., and even more recent hit shows like Stranger Things. Also, a good comparison are with shows that did well with just one season, particularly “limited series”, a current television trend that includes Netflix’s Maniac and HBO’s Sharp Objects.

    • This is a really cool topic, I actually think about this a lot. For example, Dexter is my favourite show, but I do think they should have ended sooner than they did, since the story felt stretched. What do you think is a good gauge for knowing when to end a show? – priyashashri 4 months ago
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    • Any good show should end when they run out of stories to tell or when the narration should obviously conclude. The order should be story>show. With so many shows, it is the other way around- They decide there should be more seasons because ratings are good or whatever and come up with a clearly forced narrative. – abky 4 months ago
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    • I think a really good example is ‘Community.’ In it’s final episode the characters address that it must be the last episode for various reasons, including the fact that many actors had left. They offer suggestions as to what the storyline of the hypothetical ‘next season’ will be, and they conclude that it can’t be. Or there’s a reference in an episode where the earliest seasons are referred to as the best era (that’s paraphrased, I cant remember verbatim). Just a really cool example of a show’s self awareness that it has run its course, and the decision process the show’s creators would have had to go through. – leersens 4 months ago
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