All posts filed under: TV

Recommended Film & TV Books | Part 1

I’ve been studying film and television in school for some years now, so as a result I’ve amassed quite a collection of film and TV-related books. Here’s part 1 of my recommended media texts list – and you can expect a number of these posts in the future since there are so many books that I’ve found to be truly invaluable. Although I’ve linked each book to Amazon, buy locally if you can find them at your community’s bookstore! Save the Cat! The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need by Blake Snyder: Save the Cat! is, indeed, the last book on screenwriting you’ll ever need. The book includes information on high concept ideas, genre-play, beat sheets, and even a bit of pitching advice. It contains basically everything you need to know about coming up with an idea, writing your script, re-writing your script, and getting it sold. Designs on Film: A Century of of Hollywood Art Direction by Cathy Whitlock: There was a point during college when I thought that I wanted to be a production designer, so my boyfriend got …

Final Thoughts Before the Return of “Twin Peaks”

Tonight’s the night! After re-watching Fire Walk With Me I have some final thoughts I wanted to put out there before the series premiere. *SPOILERS AHEAD* ON NOSTALGIA I’ve certainly been critical of “nostalgia-TV” in the past (see my post on Fuller House), and am particularly weary of 90’s specific reboots and revivals – but unlike other shows, the Twin Peaks return doesn’t bother me. Is my love for the show somewhat nostalgic? Yes, absolutely. Is its newfound popularity since it began streaming on Netflix at least slightly indebted to the grips of nostalgia? Surely. But more than that, Twin Peaks‘ adoration and acclaim should be credited to the fact that it was, and still is, an extremely well crafted, unique, intelligent, and inventive series that changed the televisual landscape forever. Based on how the original series ended and what I’ve gleaned from interviews, I imagine that the revival will pick up with “good Cooper” still stuck in the Black Lodge 25+ years later, trying to get out. Simply seeing the characters/actors return 26 years after the final episode is a return to the same, but I imagine that …

It Is Happening Again: “Twin Peaks” is Almost Back

After over 25 years, Twin Peaks is returning to television on Sunday, May 21st and I am so, so excited! Incase you don’t follow me on Twitter and see my annoyingly obsessive tweets, Twin Peaks is pretty much my favorite show of all time. I’m not an OG fan because I wasn’t even born until 1991, so I couldn’t watch it in its first run, but thanks to Netflix I discovered the series shortly after graduating from film school. As an undergraduate I took a television class in which my teacher lectured passionately about how important and revolutionary Twin Peaks was for TV, and it stuck with me. So once I realized it was on Netflix, I decided to give the series a shot and was absolutely floored by the first episode; immediately captured by its unique atmosphere. Twin Peaks is campy fun, but also terrifying. It’s surreal, yet frighteningly close to reality. It’s sometimes lighthearted, though often horrific and dark. Each episode catapulted me through a series of emotions from start to finish. It captured my attention in a way that no other show has, or I presume ever will. I …

On Nostalgia & the Home in “Fuller House”

Nostalgia-TV has had a recognizable presence in the American televisual landscape for the last decade – from Hawaii Five-O (1968 – 1980, 2010 – present) to Dallas (1978- 1991, 2012 – 2014), and beyond – but in recent years, producers and networks have turned to reboots and revivals more than ever before, as the film industry follows suit. This trend towards remakes and spin-offs seems to reflect an economic model – one that depends on a preexisting audience as an example of profit potential – but nostalgia’s marketability extends beyond those parameters. As a result of revisiting an idealized past, nostalgia-TV relies on capturing the attention of viewers for whom the past is romanticized and may represent a more stable time. In particular, the recent rebooting of popular family and child-oriented 90’s series seems to tap into a specific audience with newfound political and economic power. Netflix’s Fuller House (2016 – present), a reboot of Full House (ABC, 1987 – 1995), offers an example of a series intended to rely on a passive and non-critical …

Words of Wisdom from the Wisest of Them All, Oprah Winfrey

Today marks the 30th anniversary of The Oprah Winfrey Show, which premiered on September 8, 1986. The series, which is considered by many to be the best talk show of all time, lasted 25 seasons, running nationally from 1986 to 2011. The show’s host, Oprah Winfrey, is an icon and a national treasure whose wisdom, generosity, intelligence, and strength shines through all that she does. In celebration of the 30th anniversary of her talk show, here are just a few of Winfrey’s greatest quotes: “Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.” “It does not matter how you came into the world, what matters is that you are here.” “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” “The whole point of being alive is to evolve into the complete person you were intended to be.” “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” “Turn your wounds into wisdom.” “The biggest adventure you …

Essential Resources for Media Scholars & Fans

Whether you study media, teach media, or are just into media – the internet is full of resources. Below is a list of the sites that I use when I’m researching a film or television series, or even putting together a lesson plan for my undergraduate discussion section. Check ’em out, and be sure to share your favorite media studies resources in the comment section below! I’m always looking for new sites to explore.   Film Studies For Free → Film Studies For Free is a web-archive of open access (and ultra valuable) film and media studies resources. The site not only links to written work of note, but also features a number of spectacular video essays, my personal favorite medium for examining film and television.   Shot Logger → Shot Logger describes itself as a site that “facilitates the analysis of visual style in film and television.” Run by the Telecommunication and Film Department at The University of Alabama, Shot Logger boasts 941 films and TV shows logged, and 295,302 frames captured as of December 2015. For an example of the depth of …

Exploring “Twin Peaks”

In honor of Twin Peaks Day, I’m reposting this video essay I made on the series last spring. Enjoy, and please feel free to share any feedback! For my final project for CTCS 587: Television Theory, a graduate Cinema & Media Studies course at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, I elected to do a video essay on Twin Peaks. In “Exploring ‘Twin Peaks’” I take a brief look at the production history of the series, as well as the show’s hybridization of genres. Because this was my first attempt at creating a video essay it certainly has its issues – but despite some technical and conceptual roadblocks, I truly enjoyed working on this project. In retrospect, I realize that I underestimated the amount of effort video essays require. From conducting research, to writing a script, recording voiceover, gathering clips, and assembling them into a cohesive format – it’s quite a time-consuming undertaking! All in all, I’d describe making a video essay as a labor-intensive, but immensely fun endeavor. I’m interested in exploring the video essay genre further, so any constructive criticism or feedback is welcomed. Incase you’re interested, here …

This Week’s Essential Reads on Hollywood’s Diversity Issue

I’ve come across quite a few articles this week that I think are essential reads on the current state of diversity in Hollywood, and I decided that they’re important enough to share with y’all. What’s made in Hollywood is disseminated across the globe, and whether we like it or not, these images permeate our conscious and have a lasting effect on our lives. Because of the impact that these images have on our identities and how we identify others, I think it’s imperative that we examine what’s happening in Hollywood. So pour yourself a drink, get comfortable, and start reading! What It’s Really Like to Work in Hollywood* (*if you’re not a straight white man) What Does the Academy Value in a Black Performance? Hollywood is Suffering from an “Inclusion Crisis,” Diversity Study Says  

Brief Thoughts on Netflix & Other Streaming Services

In a recent interview with Vulture, Quentin Tarantino voiced his opposition to streaming on a small screen: “It’s just a generational thing, but that doesn’t mean I’m not depressed by it. The idea that somebody’s watching my movie on a phone, that’s very depressing to me.” Though I believe that nothing trumps absorbing a film in a dark theater with your loved ones sharing the experience with you, or even just alone, it seems that having the chance to watch at home has fortified our ever-evolving relationship with media. We can now watch movies or shows in bed, on a plane, or in a car. One could argue that this new way of watching has destroyed the experience a little (and the intentions of the medium itself), and maybe that’s true, but one could also assert that it has strengthened the relationship between the viewer and what they’re viewing. Accessibility and intimacy has revolutionized media. Our role as audience members is less formal, and in many ways more powerful. We consume in a manner that has muscled its way into our day-to-day life. Watching something …