Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

 
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Tuesday, Mar 24, 2015
Networks will continue to falter in their attempts to imitate Game of Thrones if they fail to prioritize character development over flashy fantasy storytelling.

Though Game of Thrones is obviously the poster child for mainstream fantasy television, the genre has been prevalent in TV for decades, albeit as one almost exclusively aimed at younger audiences: Hercules, Xena: Warrior Princess, Beastmaster, among others. HBO’s series was able to successfully shift itself out of this niche by casting its fantastical elements alongside more universal ones, like family drama and the perils of holding power.


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Wednesday, Mar 4, 2015
For a series perpetually on the verge of cancellation, it managed to carve out a special place in the television landscape.

There are some shows that come out fully formed right out of the gate. And then there are those that take a little time to find themselves. Parks and Recreation may have had a somewhat rocky first season, but when it found its voice in its second season, there was no stopping it from becoming the best comedy on television.


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Monday, Mar 2, 2015
As with any beloved performer, there was more to Leonard Nimoy than a pair of pointy ears and a catchphrase. Much, much more.

Leonard Nimoy is gone. Spock has finally left this planet and beamed up to cosmic places unknown. He wasn’t the first of the original Star Trek cast to leave us. DeForest Kelly earned that sad distinction back in 1999. Then everyone’s favorite fake Scotsman, James Doohan, followed suit in 2005. So we’ve been prepared for another intergalactic parting, especially when you consider the rest of the cast—William Shatner (age 83), George Takei (77), Nichelle Nichols (82), and Walter Koenig (78)—are all in the twilight of their years.


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Wednesday, Feb 25, 2015
This show embraced its reputation for the weird and the strange, but it's storytelling methods are among the messiest in television.

Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk’s American Horror Story made its debut during the midst of the post-Twilight craze of serialized-supernatural dramas (True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, etc.). The program was a startling in its change of tone to those who followed Murphy, fresh off the success of Glee at the time. The series was conceived as a highly-serialized anthology that would essentially reset its setting, cast, and focus each season.


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Monday, Feb 16, 2015
These three segments may not be Jon Stewart's most popular ones, but they do represent him at his most intelligent, heartfelt, and, of course, downright funny.

In case you somehow missed it, Jon Stewart has announced that sometime in 2015, he will leave The Daily Show, the trademark faux-news comedy program he commandeered from Craig Kilborn and transformed into a cultural powerhouse whose format is often imitated but truly, never bettered. “Did I die?” Stewart asked on the 11 February broadcast the day after his announcement, stunned at the outpouring of sadness on social media regarding his decision. Indeed, reading tale after tale of writers and young Americans who became politically active or went out and pursued degrees because of what Stewart has done is nothing short of incredible.


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