History on Film: The Politics of Love on the Dole (1941)

All movies can be read as political texts, and with Love on the Dole (1941), this is especially true. Not even five minutes in, we have been ushered into a sympathetic view of the working-class struggle in post-war Britain. The movie opens with a prologue that presents rural 1930s Britain as a bleak place where the people, … Continue reading History on Film: The Politics of Love on the Dole (1941)

The Dark Dandy: Aesthetic Subversion in Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal

The Dark Dandy: Aesthetic Subversion in Bryan Fuller’s Hannibal. In Hannibal (2013-2015), a genre-defying television show developed and produced by Bryan Fuller, this is accomplished by complicating what is good and evil through careful aesthetic subversion that supports, in formal elements, a plot that with a consumerist morality deifies the bad guy, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen). In doing so, such a show invites the viewer to reconsider the status quo and contemporary morality beyond television, into reality. By making Hannibal Lecter a success by the neoliberal American values of wealth, class, and beauty any attraction we have for him makes us question our own motives and the measures by which our society deems someone good. Hannibal  coded itself as a cool, intellectual TV show by using uncharacteristic art direction, costuming, and cinematography to make us like a killer by aestheticizing him and his grotesqueness, thereby critiquing what our capitalist society exalts.

On the Air Tonight: Music in FX’s The Americans

Music is the first thing one experiences in the pilot episode of The Americans. Quarterflash’s 1981 hit, “Harden My Heart,” plays as we get the show’s setting: Washington D.C. No year is announced, but the song, with it’s era-specific “sexy” saxophone, tells us we are in the ‘80s. We aren't sure that the music isn't diegetic … Continue reading On the Air Tonight: Music in FX’s The Americans

Prestige in Horror: The Semiotics of Penny Dreadful’s Intro Sequence

The opening titles sequence of Showtime's Penny Dreadful visually invokes genre conventions while using music to connote quality. The first shot is a selective focus close-up of a spider emerging from frame left in low-key light as violin music commences with suspenseful charge, two-thirds of the screen still in darkness. This isn't any ordinary spider, as the … Continue reading Prestige in Horror: The Semiotics of Penny Dreadful’s Intro Sequence

VISUALIZING HINDSIGHT: The Semiotics of Halt and Catch Fire’s Title Sequence

Halt and Catch Fire  is a show more about time and technological progress than characters, and the intro sequence reflects that.  Currently airing its fourth and final season on AMC, the show charts the evolution of digital technology from the personal computer boom through to the creation of our current portal to the web, algorithmic … Continue reading VISUALIZING HINDSIGHT: The Semiotics of Halt and Catch Fire’s Title Sequence

Link: #LGBTFansDeserveBetter

"Stop killing off TV’s lesbians: This depressing trope limits storytelling about queer women" What do you do when you really like a show that buries its gays or participates in ‪#‎queerbaiting‬ to avoid gay characters altogether? ‪#‎snowqueen‬‪#‎sleepingwarrior‬ ‪#‎dastiel‬  

Boss is King: Meritocratic​ excuses of wage theft by above-the-line workers in semi-embedded deep texts

After seeing a fan mash-up of Sherlock with House M.D. on YouTube, I was curious what CBS’s Elementary might offer as an updated, American version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories. I searched for an interview with one of Elementary’s female producers, and landed on Liz Friedman, a very accomplished television producer and writer who … Continue reading Boss is King: Meritocratic​ excuses of wage theft by above-the-line workers in semi-embedded deep texts

Convergence Breeds Convergence: Crossover in CBS’s Supergirl

https://youtu.be/XtN5lTIUHeA Laura Prudom writing in Variety’s March 22, 2016 article, “Supergirl’ Meets ‘The Flash’: Stars Take Us Behind the Scenes on the Crossover (EXCLUSIVE)” reveals the economic convergence involved in such event programming. Henry Jenkins defines various forms of the post-network phenomena of convergence, the economic variety consisting of the ownership of different forms of media. … Continue reading Convergence Breeds Convergence: Crossover in CBS’s Supergirl

When Voicemails Are Love Letters: Hitting the Repetition Wall in CBS’s The Good Wife

  Best known for its crime procedurals like NCIS and event reality shows like Survivor, CBS doubled-down on its cash cow shows years ago, as unabashed king of back-door pilots spinning off into series. While comedies and non-crime dramas exist and are even popular on the network, the majority of CBS shows are similar in … Continue reading When Voicemails Are Love Letters: Hitting the Repetition Wall in CBS’s The Good Wife