Tag Archives: television

LGBT in Television

One of the ways most people relax is sitting down to a good show after a long day. Now, with Hollywood becoming more involved in the fight for LGBT+ rights, there are more LGBT+ characters than ever before. However, according to a new GLAAD study, LGBT+ people are still misrepresented (1) in most shows.

In their annual report, they found that there are no transgender characters on primetime TV.  Also, the report said only 2% of shows on cable represent these people. There was also a finding that demonstrated the lack of racial diversity in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters in these shows (1).

It is a wonderful thing that shows are now including LGBT+ characters at rates we’ve never seen before, but these people need to be represented well. There are even cartoons, like Steven Universe, that show LGBT+ people in a great way. But yet, some shows seem to stick to the stereotypes of LGBT+ people.

gay tv characters
“Now, with Hollywood becoming more involved in the fight for LGBT+ rights, there are more LGBT+ characters than ever before.” Photo from: www.pride.com

While some shows do hold on to wildly negative views of LGBT+ people, there are shows like Orange is the New Black and Transparent that bring great representation to this community. Transparent is on its fourth season of production, and with the way Jill Soloway is presenting her characters, it’s bound to have more. It is said that Soloway has an authentic way of representing her character’s relationships with sexuality, spirituality, gender identity and mental health, making the show “one of the best television shows ever written” (2).

Not all shows that have a gay or lesbian character approach it the wrong way. Glee came out as one of the first shows that openly dealt with LGBT+ people being bullied, self-doubt, and families that did not approve of the character’s sexuality. So, using Glee as an example, I think that while yes, some shows don’t know how to represent the LGBT+ community, there are a majority of shows trying to improve the way the community is represented.

1 – http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/representation-lgbt-characters-tv-needed-study-article-1.2413435

2 – http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/11/02/8-of-the-best-lgbt-shows-on-television-today/

Is fall television still a big deal?

For decades, television programming has been centered on a big viewing tradition, Fall television.  America’s biggest, oldest, and most watched broadcasting networks such as NBC, ABC, CBS, & FOX pretentiously advertise the upcoming viewing season with endless TV commercials, and ads that appear in other news outlets such as magazines, newspapers, and social media. But this is a tradition that should be done away with in 2015.

Fall TV used to be a big deal. Graphic by Katie Gibson
Fall TV used to be a big deal. Graphic by Katie Gibson

For starters, TV executives often tend to cater to one specific group of viewers. The 18-25 year old demographic. Since the invention of TV, this demographic was who watched the most Television programs; however, times have changed, and the average young American leans more toward online streaming services.

These streaming sites which have caught most people’s attention, such as Netflix, Hulu plus, or Amazon prime, have come in and changed how and when young adults watch television.

Not only boosting cheap monthly prices, but also giving viewers the ability to view at their demand. TV execs should take notice of this drastic change and cater more specifically to an audience of a certain age. Since viewing patterns have changed so should they.

Also, many 18-25 year olds myself included, don’t seem to watch television the way our parents did. So, having a fall primetime schedule is useless.

Of course, there are popular shows from Fall TV that have premiered recently and raked in some of the best ratings cable television has seen in the past few years. For example, shows like Fox’s Empire or ABC’S How to Get Away with Murder, have gained a huge following becoming trending topics on social media site twitter every week once a new episode premieres, even having their own special emoticon each week that relates to the show. But that’s the only good that has come out of TV in recent years. Big networks like those aforementioned should, have their hottest new shows sent directly to online streaming services.

Maybe then they will gain a bigger following and re-captures those sky-high ratings of past decades. Do you agree or disagree with my sentiments? Feel free to leave your opinion in the comments section.

Five of the funniest TV series on Netflix Instant

 

All of the Arrested Development seasons are on Netflix. Graphic from Industrial Color
All of the Arrested Development seasons are on Netflix. Graphic from Industrial Color

There are two things in this world that are absolutely amazing: binging on Netflix and choking on tears of laughter. Thankfully, with Netflix’s abundant array of hilarious shows, you can do both the time. Now we’ve all seen the classics such as “How I Met Your Mother”, but here are a few shows that surprisingly few people have seen, but are laugh-out-loud hilarious.

1) “The League”

“The League” is about a group of friends who are in a fantasy football league together. Now, I know what you’re thinking, but the show revolves more around the characters’ hilarious antics than football. Word to the wise, this show is not one to watch with the parents.

2) “Arrested Development”

When the wealthy Bluth family finds themselves facing legal actions due to bad business practices, their estranged son, Michael, and his son, George Michael, return home to help their family. The show is crazy and delightfully awkward and will leave you in stitches. Starring big name stars such as Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Michael Cera it’s no wonder that this show has become a cult classic.

3) “Blue Mountain State”

College football? Insane parties? Boatloads of booze? What more could you want in this extremely raunchy comedy? “Blue Mountain State”, known to fans as simply “BMS” follows the lives of college football players and their booze ridden, drug filled misadventures. While the show is very funny and must see for all college students, this is another example of a show NOT to watch with your parents.

4) “Psych”

With the abundance of crime shows nowadays, it baffles me how many people have yet to watch “Psych”. The laugh-out-loud comedy follows Shawn Spencer, a man with super observation skills, who fakes being psychic in order to help the local police solve cases in the area. The show has crime, mystery, hilarious jokes, and romance. It’s the ultimate package.

5) “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”

This Netflix original is extremely quirky, but also very funny. It revolves around a woman who was kidnapped as a teenager and kept in a bunker with three other women by a crazy pastor for over a decade. After being rescued, she moves to New York City to start her life over, but due to being held captive for so long, she is stuck in her teenage mentality and completely disconnected from the real world. Created by the remarkable Tina Fey, this show will not disappoint.

Be prepared to laugh, be prepared to binge-watch.

 

Everything you need to know about American Horror Story: Hotel

It’s almost that magical time of year again when Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk release yet another long awaited season of “American Horror Story”. If you’re anything like me, you’re a little nervous for this season because it revolves around newcomer, Lady Gaga’s, character rather than Jessica Lange who usually plays a lead role. Never fear, however, because here is what you need to know before the premiere on Wednesday October 7th.

1) Taissa Farmiga will NOT be in this season.

Yes, it’s a huge bummer. I really thought she would come back for this one since it’s been an every other year type deal for her since season one. However, she has other filming commitments so while we will be missing her on the 7th, we will hopefully be seeing her soon in her upcoming projects.

American Horror Story kicks off their fifth season with "Hotel."
American Horror Story kicks off their fifth season with “Hotel.” Graphic from Pop Matters

2) Jessica Lange WILL be in this season.

When Lange, the usual star of the show announced that she would not be returning for season five, our hearts were understandably crushed. However, one of the show’s creators, Ryan Murphy, has confirmed that while Lange will not be playing a huge role, she will make an appearance. At least we can wean ourselves off of her.

3) Darren Criss WILL be in this season.

Darren Criss rose to fame after starring in Ryan Murphy’s hit show “Glee” (although I fell in love with him while watchingA Very Potter Musical” way back before his “Glee” days) and now after some vague Instagram remarks, it is apparent that Criss will be making an appearance on American Horror Story: Hotel.

4) Max Greenfield WILL be in this season.

Yes, Schmidt from “New Girl” is checking into the Hotel. Let’s all pray that he doesn’t die, although knowing Murphy and Falchuk, he probably will.

5) Evan Peters will be playing a serial killer.

Yes, you read that right. Sure, he shot up his high school in season one, but he ended up being a reformed bad boy. In all the other seasons, he played pretty moral characters. This season, we’re going to see a different side to him.

6) The plot may include something about the story of Elisa Lam.

If you don’t remember, Elisa Lam was a 21 year old Canadian tourist, who back in 2013 was staying at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles when she died. She went missing and was found days later in a water tank on top of the Cecil during an inspection after guests complained about low water pressure and funny tasting water. Bizarre and incredibly creepy security camera footage captured Lam acting very strange in the elevator as she presumably rode up to her death. She appeared to be interacting with an invisible being. The autopsy report showed no drugs in her system, making this video even more disturbing as it could never be explained.

The hotel had been the temporary home of a few serial killers and many people who believe in the supernatural say that one of their spirits killed Lam. Many fans of American Horror Story are expecting the new season to touch on this case ever since Ryan Murphy dropped hints that the show would cover famous Los Angeles hotel deaths from over the years.

7) Ryan Murphy says this may be the most disturbing season yet.

If you’re like me and you hate blood, you might want to sit this one out. Not wanting to miss out on a great season, I just plan on watching this one through my fingers as usual.

If you want a taste of what’s to come, check out the opening credits and this first look, released a few days ago.

Five TV shows that have the best music

What makes a good TV show? Awesome characters? An intriguing plot? Cliffhanger season endings? To me, it’s the music that makes a show. Music is so important to set the emotional tones and to be honest, great music makes me love a show ten times more than I would if the show’s creators had questionable music taste. Here are television shows that have some of the best music of all time (in no particular order):

How I Met Your Mother contains great music to get into. Graphic from Series Addict
How I Met Your Mother contains great music to get into. Graphic from Series Addict

1) “How I Met Your Mother” (Available on Netflix Instant)

In my humble opinion, “How I Met Your Mother” has the best of everything in TV show history, including amazing music. “Let Your Heart Hold Fast” by Fort Atlantic,Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect” by The Decemberists, “Waiting for An Invitation” by Benji Hughes– all of these amazing songs made appearances on this show plus a million more. We’re talking nine seasons of pure musical genius.

2) “Gossip Girl” (Available on Netflix Instant)

For some strange reason, people think “Gossip Girl” is lame. I don’t understand that mentality. It has sex, scandals, and terrific music– what more could you want? Featuring songs like,Photograph” by Air, “Paradise Circus” by Massive Attack, and “Signs” by Bloc Party, the show has introduced me to a lot of obscure bands that I may not have listened to otherwise.

3) “Vampire Diaries” (Available on Netflix Instant)

This is one instance where every time the show puts out a new soundtrack, I just buy it because I know it’s going to be great. I love the dark, edgy songs that they play (thanks to the show being about vampires). Check out “Bloodstream” by Stateless, “Down” by Jason Walker, and Digital Daggers’ cover of the Tears For Fears song, “Head Over Heels”.

4) “Degrassi”

Degrassi has some of the best music in television history. It has some pretty terrible songs as well, but mostly the creators were really on it when choosing the soundtrack. The show introduced me to “Model Homes” by In-Flight Safety, “Straightjacket” by Stef Lang, and “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead” by Stars (a Canadian indie band that became my favorite band because I heard this amazing song on “Degrassi”). Bonus: I don’t usually like songs written exclusively for TV shows, but the “Degrassi” original song,Here Today” by Flashing Midnight (a fictional band) is really, really good. Also, never forget that “Degrassi” gave us Drake.

5) “American Horror Story” (Available on Netflix Instant)

I love “American Horror Story,” 50% for the show and 50% for the music. The music is really, really awesome. It’s dark and twisted and haunting and it just stays with you, like the plots and the characters do. Some of my favorite songs from the show include, “For Everything A Reason” by Carina Round, “Flickers” by Son Lux, and “Harsh Realm” by Widowspeak.

If you’re interested in finding more amazing music from these shows, you can find whole playlists that usually include at least 90% of what is played on the show, on either YouTube or Spotify.

Parks and Revolution

I recently began a Netflix adventure of binge-watching “Parks & Rec.” I’ve tried in the past to get into the show, but until recently I wasn’t a fan . However, this time , I realized that Leslie Knope is the grown-up version of myself.

“Parks & Rec” isn’t only a hilarious show, it’s also revolutionary. In the past, popular shows seemed detached from reality and didn’t touch on important issues. Watching the show, I found myself noticing jokes that touched on political issues quite cleverly.

For example, Leslie’s best friend, Anne, decides she wants to have a baby. In television, it’s very rare that characters take on an unconventional parenting role. Anne is a single nurse who decides that she wants to be artificially inseminated, which is definitely a new concept in TV.

Many other characters take on roles that in the past would have been quite scandalous. One couple that makes a frequent appearance involves a prissy, overtly Christian woman and her flamboyant husband. The irony of the situation is that they speak out frequently in support of abstinence-only sex education. With this pair, “Parks & Rec” knocks out two birds with one stone: they address the issue of gay people being suppressed and forced into relationships where they act straight, and the issue of abstinence-only education.

In the past, there may have been some jokes here and there about those issues, but characters in this show take the time to have a meaningful, insightful dialogue about them.

Another revolutionary character is the man himself, Ron Swanson. Ron is the epitome of masculinity: he eats copious amounts of meat, has a killer mustache and refutes anything that could make him appear weak. My personal favorite trait of Ron is that he is a devout Libertarian. In the past, shows may suggest that their characters are either Republican or Democrat, but Ron Swanson is the first Libertarian character who lives those values.

Ben, Leslie’s husband, begins working at a non-profit organization where he is spoiled with exquisite dinners and works in an office almost entirely made of mahogany wood. Immediately, Ben starts cutting back the non-profit’s spending to allow money to be spent towards their charities. It’s often reported that non-profits are spending money inappropriately when that money could be used for charity. This is an issue that’s rarely discussed, but “Parks & Rec” manages to discuss and dissect it clearly.

Overall, I think “Parks & Rec” is a revolutionary show which discusses political and social issues in a way that makes even the most absent-minded viewer aware. There are numerous other issues that are touched on throughout the show’s existence which may be addressed in both big and small ways. It’s a tragedy that the show has been cancelled, but hopefully Netflix will save the day and buy it.

 

The Parks and Rec cast being goofy. Graphic from VIP Fan Auctions
The Parks and Rec cast being goofy. Graphic from VIP Fan Auctions

 

Is “Pretty Little Liars” a bad influence?

On any given Tues. night, thousands of girls on and off Radford University’s campus wait anxiously for the newest episode of the hit television show “Pretty Little Liars.” It’s a teen mystery show set in a town called Rosewood, following the lives of best friends Emily, Aria, Spencer and Hanna. The girls try to uncover the truth behind the murder of their friend Allison.

I’d never watched the show before, but after my roommate’s continuous begging and because of my own curiosity, I decided to give it a shot. Continue reading Is “Pretty Little Liars” a bad influence?

Effects of television on children’s development

The effects of television on children is a subject that has been studied many times over. Because of the worry about its link with aggression and obesity in children, many researchers have scrutinized this topic. In this day and age there are more than ten screens in any given household with television sets, computers, and hand held devices. In these fast-paced times it becomes too easy for parents to plop their children in front of the television to keep them occupied while they are busy. Continue reading Effects of television on children’s development