Week Five-Six: Cult TV

Question: Wilcox and Lavery (2002) identify 9 defining
characteristics of ‘quality TV’ – can you apply (with justifications) any of
the 9 characteristics on this list to another TV series (including those on
Netflix, etc.) that you have viewed recently ? Are there any other
characteristics that you could add to their list?


This weeks question were quite difficult for me to respond to due to one

1: This weeks questions were based on comparison & similarities between the core points made through the readings and recent TV series. I have not engaged with any TV series from 2001 till date, plus the last time I remember being evolved with a TV series was Xena: Warrior Princess (1995-2001), unfortunately, I hardly remember anything from that show. This was my personal take on this matter and I am totally happy with my decision. As a result, it took me a while to look for a possible solution which may assist me on this assignment.

As I am not familiar with TV series and unable to draw similarities between the text and the TV series, I decided to take question number one, which is,”can you apply (with justifications) any of the 9 characteristics on this list to another TV series (including those on Netflix, etc.) that you have viewed recently ?” and based it on a movie sequel which I did personally engage with, that is the movie, The Fast and The Furious (2001- present), as I find this sequel of movies beautifully befitting the definition of “Quality TV“.

Quality TV is defined profoundly by Dorothy Swanson as, “a quality
series enlightens, enriches, challenges, involves, and confronts. It dares to take risks, it is honest and illuminating, it appeals to the intellect and touches the emotions. It requires concentration and attention, and it provokes thought” (Wilcox, Lavery, 2002, pg. 5).

The movie sequel, the fast and the furious tends to have all the key words prescribed in the definition of quality TV. As a result, I would now link some characteristics mentioned in this movie sequel which is pointed out by Wilcox and Lavery (2002). The first characteristic which I would like to expound upon is, Quality TV has a memory (Wilcox, Lavery, 2002). The cast remembers each other and the happenings which took place between them. This also reminds the viewer and makes it feel real. Just as Wilcox & Lavery (2002) states, “the characters remember, and we remember with them” (pg. 6). An example from the movie sequel is, Han Lue ends up in a crash which leads to his death in the third Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift movie and then reappears in the 7th movie where this incident is reignited and  it is revealed that Deckard Shaw, Owen’s brother had driven the car that crashed into his (Wikipedia, 2019). Similarly, the vehicle Brian O’Connor (Paul Walker) used in the second movie 2 Fast 2 Furious, blue R34 Nissan Skyline GT-R, he used the same vehicle in the fourth movie also. That skyline became so famous that it began to represent Brian O’Connor. You could see that the streets were being filled with that model of Skyline and it was considered to be a honorable position if one was able to acquire that. Sadly, that was the last movie which Paul Walker played the role of Brian. RIP. When the news of the death of Paul Walker reached the global attention, there were many who could not believe that this report is true, many were shattered into bits as if their own family member has passed on. As a result these all link to the first characteristic of quality TV and that is, quality TV has a pedigree. Just as Joss Whedon, the creator, writer and director of the famous, Buffy the Vampire Slayer explains his purpose behind the series,

“I designed the show to create that strong reaction. I designed Buffy to be an icon, to be an emotional experience, to be loved in a way that other shows can’t be loved. Because it’s about adolescence,…. I wanted people to embrace it in a way that exists beyond,…. I wanted people to internalize it, and make up fantasies where they were in the story, to take it home with them, for it to exist beyond the TV show. And we’ve done exactly that” (Hocking, 2019, pg, 30).

This movie franchise also achieved this goal.

Finally, the characteristics which was underpinned by Wilcox & Lavery (2002) coherently matched with the movie sequel The Fast and The Furious. Definition of quality TV and the two characteristics, the memory which quality TV preserves and the enthusiasm which stays awaken after the movie has finished were discussed and multiple examples are listed. I hope this blog was an interesting read for you. 

Qays Buksh 


Hocking, Darryl. (2019). Popular genre: Cult television [Lecture Material]. Retrieved from, https://blackboard.aut.ac.nz

Wilcox, R. & Lavery, D. (2002). Introduction, in R. Wilcox & D. Lavery (eds) Fighting the forces: What’s at stake in buffy the vampire slayer.Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield.

Wikipedia, (2019). Han Lue. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_Lue

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