In our constantly fluctuating society, there is a strong hunger for narrative. Culture is replenished with new commodities and things to trade, such as Youtube videos or viral memes, constantly. We never run out of new things to talk about or new little stories to tell your friends. Needless to say, that television has fed into this desire very heavily and owes its success to our love of a good tale. Also, we demand that TV be a reflection of our real world, so that it feel intellectual and contemplative rather than escapist. Through this constant struggle for realism, we are shown many respected character’s faults uncovered, or at least exposed to the viewer, and many villains exalted, or at least forgiven by the show.
To explore this phenomena, I plan to evaluate the show Dexter, focusing on episode 5 of season 2, in which Dexter connects his modus operandi to that of a comic book character. Connecting two forms of contemporary expression that desire the seen as valid by the general populace, rather than merely forms of entertainment. Besides exploring the implication of this kind of media interaction, I also hope to discuss Dexter‘s use of satire and mystery and its connection the police procedural genre.
For my term paper I want to write about how the texts we have studied class, namely Homicide and the Corner, stand in a weird place between fiction and non fiction. I want to write about how these shows, though completely fictional, are based on reality and what happens when real events are the basis for fictional narratives, especially when they deal with the social/political issues that these show discuss.
For my term paper I will explore the shows Californication and Community . I will look at how each show depicts a troubled male protagonist as he attempts to win over a particular female character. I think both shows are prime examples of contemporary writing in television comedy. Whereas the first tends to feature a more deadpan, sardonic sense of humor, the latter seems to be more playful. I will look at the writing for both shows and analyze how the main character in each show shapes the course of events.
At this moment I am concerned with the miniseries phenomena. This week we looked at “The Corner” and discussed other miniseries such as “Rome” and “John Adams”. I’m not sure whether I want to analyze the emergence of the miniseries and its relation to film or a specific miniseries. I do know that I am concerned with the conception of the miniseries , its’ deployment on TV as opposed to film, and a content analysis of the text.
I’d like to take a look at South Park, mainly the authors of the show Matt Stone and Trey Parker. I want to examine how the show started, how it evolved, where it is now and their overall relationship to it/the creative process the whole way. It would also be relevant to look at adaptations of South Park, mainly the South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut film and how writing a movie and learning that kind of structure impacted the format of the series. I’ll also look at the influences of South Park, the influence South Park has left on culture and more importantly what the story of Matt Stone and Trey Parker means to future TV authors of tomorrow.
I’d like to explore authorship in Battlestar Galactica. The writer’s use various, unique tools to make the Battlestar universe what it is. I’m most interested in the use of religious/historic references in the show and their impact on the viewer. In what ways does Battlestar fit into the Sci-Fi genre, and in what new directions does is take the genre? I could compare it to the style of the original Battlestar Galactica that aired decades ago, or to other popular sci-fi names such as Star Trek. The flow of Battlestar has always intrigued me, featuring some of the most intense beats before commercials I have ever seen. I’m not entirely sure which direction I’ll take yet.
There are few examples of television authors that really are a driving force of their program. One of these great auteurs is Aaron Sorkin, the creator and writer of the first four seasons of the West Wing. These first four seasons have a clear message, with a cast of fast-talking and fast walking characters that help the viewer to understand the complicated world of behind the scenes politics. This message and the outstanding dialogue that clearly sets the theme and style of the show come from Sorkin to an enormous extent. I want to examine the inspiration of the show that came from Sorkin, who Sorkin used to help create his vision and how he functioned as a great auteur. I also think that a discussion of the unique dialogue and style of the shooting of the show, which much like Homicide aims to place you in the thick of things, affected the popularity and understanding of the show.
I’m thinking about writing my paper on the series (or season) of Freaks and Geeks, focusing on it’s particular definition of the American family, characterization of high school, and the transformation of Judd Apatow as an underrated TV auteur into an absurdly successful filmmaker. I probably won’t focus on all three in the paper, but those are concepts that I’m definitely exploring. I was also considering comparing it to a conventional sitcom (which I haven’t settled on yet) but I’m leaning more towards looking at the show by itself.
I was thinking about Veronica Mars and that Mittell article on genre that we read. I would like to look into how the show complicates the idea of genre by being a kind of “high school film noir mystery” all in one. I would explore how the show fits into the historical trajectory of detective shows in general, and also look at how the structure plays a role. The first two seasons have one big season-long mystery and then “mini-mysteries” for each individual episode. The last season does not have that same structure; there’s no season-long mystery and instead there are mysteries that will last for a few episodes. I’d like to see how this change from the first and second seasons to the third impacted changed the show and played with genre expectations / compared to previous detective shows.
Thanks in advance for any feedback! 🙂
I was thinking about this some more, and I started getting interested in thinking about The Corner as a work of non-fiction being turned into a narrative that purports to be a documentary. To what extent are the people the book and show are based on authors of their own lives? What does it mean that two outsiders (Simon and Burns) are the ones telling their stories? What does it mean to have that story, in turn, get made into a mini-series? To what extent is authorship a myth? To what extent is the identity of the author important? I think it might be interesting to trace authorship across these adaptations: from real life, to book, to movie, and see what conclusions I draw.
Now I have two really different paper ideas. Help!!
For my term paper, I will focus on the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion, created by Hideaki Anno in 1995-1996 about three children who pilot giant robots to defend Earth from attacking “angels.” As an author, the show reflects Anno’s struggle with severe depression during the time of its making and deals with themes of sexuality and Freudian psychology. The show was unlike much before it, yet has influenced all anime since. The last two episodes of the series were subsequently supplemented by a movie ending the story. Additionally, currently the entire series is being made into four movies as a redux in which it is all reanimated and certain aspects are changed, though the overall story is the same. In my term paper, I will examine the underlying psychological and psychedelic themes of the series and how they are influenced by its authorship, as well as how these are portrayed differently over time in the new re-released version of the series.