Author Archives: ngladys

Effectiveness of systemic analysis

In Kinder’s article, “Re-Wiring Baltimore: The Emotive Power of Systemics, Seriality, and the City,” discusses how The Wire’s systemic analysis strengthens the emotional effect it has, creating a great television series. Essentially, Kinder argues that systemic analysis is the best way to fully use the narrative power in television and deliver the most emotionally compelling performance. Although I agree with Kinder’s statement, I wonder whether an emotionally gripping piece is really enough to enact change in Baltimore and other cities.

A systemic analysis paired with an emotionally driving force does cause the audience to react, but does it effect the change Simon wants? I feel that Simon evokes emotion, but because it is driven by deep pessimism, I would argue that the audience is left feeling there is nothing they can do to fight this. Simon delivers truth, but not enough hope to drive the audience to enact change. I question whether this is the most effective way to compel viewers to help eliminate this corruption that affects Baltimore and many other cities across the country.

Annotated Bibliography

1. Billingham, Peter. Sensing the City Through Television. Bristol: Intellect Books,

2000. Print.

Billingham’s book asks the question how fictional representations of the city contribute to our sense of identity. He does several case studies, one of them being Homicide: Life On The Street.

2. Dates, Jannette L., and Thomas A. Mascaro. “African Americans in Film and

Television: Twentieth-Century Lessons for a New Millennium.” Journal of Popular Film and Television 33.2 (2005): 50-55. Print.

Dates and Mascaro look at the way African Americans have been portrayed in film and television and how that has and will influenced their portrayal in film and television in the future.

3. Gray, Herman. Watching race television and the struggle for “Blackness”

Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1995. Print.

This book looks at the portrayal of African Americans in television series in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. This will particularly useful in my paper as I compare it to the way African Americans are portrayed in Homicide: Life on the Street.

4. Hunt, Darnell M. “Making Sense of Blackness on Television.” Channeling

Blackness Studies on Television and Race in America (Media and African Americans). New York: Oxford UP, USA, 2004. Print.

In this chapter, by Hunt, he explores the sense of blackness in popular television. He discusses what the blackness is, what it represents, and what it means for the future of African Americans.

5. Mascaro, Thomas A. “Shades of Black on Homicide: Life on the Street: progress

in portrayals of African American men.” Journal of Popular Film and Television 32.1 (2004): 10-19. Metapress. Web. 27 Oct. 2009. <>.

In this article, Mascaro looks at the different ways black men are portrayed in Homicide: Life on the Street. He argues that by exploring the varied characteristics of African American men, the series was able to develop a rich portrait of African Americans.

6. Nadel, Alan. Television in black-and-white America race and national identity.

Lawrence: University of Kansas, 2005. Print.

Alan Nadel explores the implications of conservative bias in television and its effects on the portrayal of race and racialized narratives of American history during this early period of TV broadcasting.

7. Hébert, Lisa P. “Gender, Race, and Media Representation.” Gender,

Race, and Class in Media A Text-Reader. By Dwight E. Brooks. Minneapolis: Sage Publications, Inc, 2002. Web. 27 Oct. 2009. <>.

This article has a section which talks about the way African Americans are represented in Homcide: Life On The Street, that is particularly helpful in terms of my final paper.

Term Paper Proposal

In my term paper, I wish to compare the discussion of race from book to television. I want to look at what is left out, what is added, which techniques are used in each, how they compare, etc. I really enjoyed looking at how race is discussed in Homicide, and I think I will look at the series and book, again.  But instead of looking at just one particular scene, I will look at how race is discussed in the series, as a whole. I think I will narrow what particular racial issues I want to look at, but I haven’t quite decided yet. If anyone has any ideas of race issues in Homicide that they find particularly interesting, let me know!

Race in Homicide – Proposal

In my paper, I would like to look at what role race plays in Homicide, comparing and contrasting the way it is discussed in the television series and the book. For the moment, I am thinking of looking at several scenes in “Three Men and Adena,” one in particular where Tucker accuses Pembleton of being ashamed of his black heritage. I am also thinking of looking at the way African Americans are portrayed in both the book and the novel, especially comparing and contrasting the detectives versus the criminals – also looking at this scene.

The process of creativity in television

In Wollen’s “Signs and Meaning in the Cinema,” he explores the auteur theory. At the end of the added pages from 1969 he states that “a valuable work, a powerful work at least, is one which challenges codes, overthrows established ways of reading or looking, not simply to establish new ones, but to compel an unending dialogue, not at random but productively…” This idea is particularly interesting because it explains why authorship is important – why it matters whose idea it is. Unlike film where an auteur is easier to assign, in television, it is harder to decide who deserves the credit to the collective authorship that occurs.

One usually associates creativity with individualism. In television that becomes less of the case because of the great collectivity involved. Creativity becomes less of a mental process and more of a social process. It is hard to deem one person as the prime creator, when there are so many forces involved in the creative process. Is it the writer, director, producer that ultimately makes a work valuable? Who is that single person on the creative team that comes up with the idea that challenges the established codes? Does that person even exist? The individualistic approach to the idea of creativity is in a sense defeated when considering the television creative process because there are so many people involved.

New perspective…

In John Hartley’s essay “From Republic of Letters to Television Republic? Citizen Readers in the Era of Broadcast Television”, he states that “Watching television needed to be thought of more as literacy than as a behavior” (Hartley, p. 402). Throughout the essay, he introduces many ideas about television studies that I had never even considered. However, this specific point really hit me. I have always looked at television as a type of activity – a form of entertainment for me. To see it as something beyond that, but more the writing behind that is a very interesting concept to me. Whenever hearing the word screenwriting, I always associated it with film, rather than television. As Hartley discussed in the essay, I was one of the many people guilty of relating television with minimal quality. If the word television came up, I would automatically think of trashy (yet absolutely addicting) shows like the reality series The Hills and the drama Gossip Girl.

Reading about television in a more intellectual and academic way was so fascinating because it instantly got my mind racing. It jumpstarted my brain to start thinking about television in a completely new way and it makes me even more excited for this class.