week 6

Week 6

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?

9 defining characteristics of ‘quality TV’

Quality TV usually has a quality directors and guidance line-up.

High rating and quality shows must often also can be accept with audience of minority culture.

Quality TV tends to have a large ensemble cast, a huge cast of famous actors

Quality TV has a memory (story). It will make everyone who have seen remember the story and characters.

Quality TV creates a new genre by mixing old ones. (creativity)

Quality TV tends to be literary and writer based.

Quality TV is self-conscious.

The subject matter of quality TV tends toward the controversial.

Quality TV aspires toward ‘realism (Wilcox and Lavery,2002)

[the point I add] Charming Characters (personality)

 

In my opinion, the best quality TV is The Big Bang Theory

A good-looking play always has such charm that every character in it will be like a partner in your life. The big bang theory has these points,

  • Famous background

The Big Bang Theory is an American television sitcom created by Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, both of whom served as executive producers on the series, along with Steven Molaro. All three also served as head writers. The show premiered on CBS on September 24, 2007 and concluded on May 16, 2019, having broadcast a total of 279 episodes over 12 seasons (“The Big Bang Theory”, 2019) .

  • High rating and large ensemble cast

The show was nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series from 2011 to 2014 and won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series four times for Jim Parsons. It has so far won seven Emmy Awards from 46 nominations. Parsons also won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Comedy Series in 2011. The series has so far won 56 awards from 216 nominations. It has also spawned a prequel series in 2017 based on Parsons’ character, Sheldon Cooper, named Young Sheldon, which also airs on CBS.

  • Additionally, the big bang theory has memory in my heart:

A good-looking play always has such charm that every character in it will be like a partner in your life.Ten seasons down, perhaps we have already forgotten some of the plots, but these characters, but very real in our minds, life.

  • Toward ‘realism

Some people say that such a group of people, in the play looks particularly lovely, but if in real life, it would be terrible, it is estimated that the collapse of long ago.

In fact, I often wonder, in life, where are we better than them?

It seems not. Vanity, paranoia, selfishness, quarrel, etc. What is it that we don’t have?

You said that Shelton, such a grinder, must have cut off his contacts long ago in life.

In fact, we are not as determined as we would like to be. Most of us are Leonard. Many times, when we encounter something unsatisfactory, we will tolerate it; we think we don’t like it, but in fact, we can’t express dislike at all – but sometimes life is really magical, sometimes we meet real “bad people”, sometimes we meet like thanks. That’s what Dalton is like – a wonderful flower, but a warm person.

Ultimately, we all got together and settled, and somehow became friends.

I like the temperature of the play very much. Looking at them as silly as day by day for ten years and looking at the small changes that have taken place on them, the sense of temperature of time, mingled with the temperature of their stories, constitutes a warm color in many of our blanks in life.

  • Creativity and literary and writer based

The four protagonists of the drama are bookworms with high IQ, which contrasts sharply with Penny’s social ability and dependence on common sense, making the whole play full of comedy. It is full of all kinds of real scientific knowledge, which was not thought of by TV dramas before.

Reference list

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.

Hills, M. (2004). Defining cult TV; Texts, inter-texts and fan audiences, in R. C. Allen & A. Hill (eds) The Television Studies Reader. London and New York: Routledge.

The Big Bang Theory. (2019). Retrieved 26 August 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Big_Bang_Theory

Week 6: Cult TV

2. What role does Hills (2004) suggest fans play in the construction of cult TV? How is new media now central to this? Discuss with examples.

Cult TV by its very nature is dependent on building itself a audience of hardcore fans who love the world of the show and therefore provide it with a guaranteed audience. However, because the show depends heavily on said fans for support, it is essential that its producers engage with their thoughts and opinions on how the show should develop, and where the future lies.

According to Hills (2004), “cult status arises, ultimately, from an audiences passion for a TV show.” They are only defined as cult because of the fervent following that they have built up over the course of the shows run time. These fans are its defenders and advocates, those who spread its popularity to the masses on behalf of the show and shield it from the oft times harsh criticism that they may face. They are not passive consumers of entertainment as most audiences are, but instead actively engage with the show and others in the community. Be it through online discussion forums, writing to the producers and directors themselves, or even attending events dedicated to the appreciation of their favorite cult tv show, the fans are striving to connect with the stories and others who share their passion for it. “This creates a communal fan distinctiveness” Hills (2004), as every interaction between the fans builds relationships and allows people to discuss their passions with other like-minded people. Events can become regular things for them to attend, so that they can catch up with new friends and explore the shows themes and characters together. Often, really dedicated fans will begin to produce pieces of fan fiction or artworks that are based on said stories, showing their interpretations of the show and its contents. Thanks to their constant exposure to the show, and their engagement with others that also love the show, these works can often be extremely in depth and accurate to characters and world-building within the show. “Fans will produce their own ancillary content, filling the gaps left by the producers in the stories.” Bourdaa, M., & Delmar, J. (2016).

New Media has impacted heavily on these communities of fans, providing them with more forums in which to communicate.  The online landscape has provided often geographically scattered groups with a means of communicating between each other instantly and easily. Barriers like oceans and mountains are easily bypassed, and tools can be used to allow those who don’t even share a language to communicate, enabling discussion of ideas about their shared passion for a tv show. The online environment has also allowed the communities of these shows to grow much faster, as those within the communities can congregate much faster and spread word about the great qualities of what they love to  much larger audience than they would otherwise, through traditional word of mouth. As soon as someone hears about a show, they can go and watch all the available episodes, often for free online, and then find those with whom to discuss things about the show with as soon as they finish, using the internet to connect with them extremely quickly. Websites such as http://www.fanfiction.net allow people to search for the stories written by others about their favorite shows, introducing them into the fandom easily and quickly. Thanks to new media, people are able to integrate easily with their chosen fandom.

 

Bourdaa, M., & Delmar, J. (2016). Contemporary participative TV audiences:
Identity, authorship and advertising practices
between fandom . Participations: Journal of Audience & Reception Studies, Volume 13(Issue 2). Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/

Hills, M. (2004). Defining cult TV; Texts, inter-texts and fan audiences, in R. C. Allen & A. Hill (eds) The Television Studies Reader. London and New York: Routledge.

Elizabeth Keen’s Blacklist. (2014). Retrieved August 25, 2019, from https://www.fanfiction.net/

 

Week 6, Cult TV – Question Two

2. What role does Hills (2004) suggest fans play in the construction of cult TV? How is new media now central to this? Discuss with examples.

Hills suggests that with the constant development of new media, fans are able to play more important roles concerning the construction of cult TV. New media plays a more crucial role nowadays as it allows fans to feel more connected to something that they feel passionate about and this is evident in the roles fans played in relation to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other cult TV shows.

In Hills’ (2004) text, it was suggested that cult TV has a special relationship between the fans and viewers and the show itself, the media also plays an important role in that relationship (pg. 517). For example,  when Buffy the Vampire Slayer was airing on TV in the early 2000s, there would be time gaps between the dates each episode would air on TV. Those time gaps allowed fans of the show to have the opportunity to make up fan theories and predict what would possibly happen next in the show. (Hills, 2004, pg 518). There would be numerous ways for fans to talk about their favourite TV shows, there would be fan meetings and fan magazines just to name a few, available for that kind of discussion. Also, since technology and modern-day media were still in the early stages of developments during that time, for Buffy the Vampire Slayer in particular, “… fan-talk is the more significant mode of engagement here, rather than fan fiction” (Hills, 2004, pg 518). However, as media developed through the years, a lot of changes occurred in the way fans would participate and get themselves involved with cult TV fandoms as well as fandoms in general.

One small change which occurred, that relates to new media is that now, streaming platforms such as Netflix, release all the episodes of a show all in one go. A controversial example of this can be seen in the show 13 Reasons Why. By releasing everything all at once that opportunity to predict what happens in the next episode does not happen anymore. In 13 Reason Why’s, since the whole season is released at the same time, writers, producers, directors etc. get zero opportunity to hear any feedback from their target audience. That means that when they do finally hear about what the public thinks of their show, it may already be too late. For example, 13 Reason Why was heavily criticised for not having any trigger warnings since the show portrayed a lot of sensitive topics. As a result, a lot of viewers have had serious mental health issues since they had watched something extremely traumatic. But, due to the large outcry for no trigger warnings, the second season of the show did have those warnings, so though media has changed, the fan’s voices are still being heard. 

Another change which occurred was that there is a new wave of feminists craving a change in the way characters are portrayed in TV shows. Buffy was a character which “challenges the forces of gender stereotyping… Buffy kicks butt – and viewers rejoice… Clearly Buffy engages the social forces…” (Wilcox & Lavery, 2002, pg xviii). However, opinions and feminist views are something which is always changing to meet the needs of the current social and political standards of the time. So, while Buffy as a character can be considered as a feminist icon, it is very limited to the period the show aired in.

Another important change which also relates to new media is that a lot of the fan discussions went online and thus created an online participatory culture for fandoms. New media gives the public access to information as well as equip them with the ability to provide and create information. Additionally, new media allows people to communicate with a wider range of people at a more expansive reach. Henry Jenkins (2010) stated that with the help of new media, fans can have space online where they can communicate their opinions and creations within a fandom and mobilize their skills towards causes they care about (at 2:23min and at 17:20). Example of this can be seen with the fans of Game of Thrones. With the extreme popularity of the show and the books it is based on, fans have made their love for the show known on new media. There are numerous fan theories available on blogs, images of cosplay can be found on Instagram and fanfiction which are written by fans on websites such as fanfiction.net – where there are over 8,000 published! So, evidently, it can be said that with the help of new media, fans can be more involved in the construction of all kinds of fandoms including cult TV shows.

Hills, M. (2004). Defining Cult TV; Texts, inter-texts and fan audiences. In The Television Studies Reader (pp. 509-523).

TEDxNYED – Henry Jenkins – 03/06/10 [Video]. (2010, April 13). Retrieved August 24, 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFCLKa0XRlw&feature=youtu.be

Wilcox, R & Lavery, D. (2002). Introduction. In Fighting  the Forces: What’s at Stake in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (pp xvii – xxix).

WEEK FIVE: CULT TV

What role does Hills (2004) suggest fans play in the construction of cult TV? How is new media now central to this? Discuss with examples. 

According to Hills (2004) a series can be established as cult TV by analysing the shows fan following. The fans play a vital role of constructing cult TV through their engagement with the text beyond just viewing it. This includes a wide variety of interactions including fan clubs, plot speculation as well as fan fiction. Conversely, the connectivity of new media and technology has also allowed fan defined cult TV to flourish. 

The fan centred approach to defining cult TV is what Hills (2004) calls a “grassroots phenomenon”  (p. 510). This indicates the status of cult TV as the result of fans rather than the influence of the production company. This is because fans of cult TV are not passive consumers. They interact and engage with a show in a variety of ways, so much so that the show pervades other aspects of their life. Besides watching the show, cult TV fans will organize themselves into appreciation clubs, gather at conventions as well as create commentaries, fan fiction and episode guides (Hills, 2004). The Six of One appreciation society for The Prisoner (1967-1968) was one of the earliest examples of fan organizing themselves. Six of One, was established in 1977 as a non-commercial and official appreciation society for the series (Six of One, n.d.). Despite forming over a decade after The Prisoner first aired, Six of One demonstrates the role fans have in constructing cult TV. Their willing participation to expand a tv shows’ universe by analyzing it and using it as a framework is vital to cult TVs construction by fans. 

Fan activity occurs in real life as well as online. Hills (2004) states that, the development of new media has intensified fan interaction and engagement. As soon as a show is released fans start visibly sharing opinions and thoughts online bringing fans together almost instantly. Small and dispersed pockets of fans are able to connect more easily, allowing for more diverse and smaller series to become cult TV. New media has also allowed cult TV status to be applied more rapidly and frequently than in the past (Larsen, 2012). New media streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime have played a role in not only a wider variety of shows becoming cult TV, but how fast their fan base is established. Series such as Rick and Morty (2013-present), and Stranger Things (2016-present) are examples of rapidly established fan bases. These shows have their entire season released at once, rather than weekly episodic releases. This allows viewers to consume content very quickly, become fans and establish a cult TV series much faster than in the past. However, cult TV shows with weekly episodes still exist, such as Game of Thrones (2011-2019). In this instance, new media has fuelled fan interaction especially in terms of spoilers and speculation. It was vital for fans to consume the latest Game of Thrones episode as soon as possible. If they failed to do this, there was a high chance they unintentionally see spoilers about the latest episode. This is pervasive nature of new media in modern society. It is so fast paced and interconnected that it forces fans to become more dedicated to shows leading to more and more cult TV series.

References

Hills, M. (2004). Defining cult TV; Texts, inter-texts and fan audiences, in R. C. Allen & A. Hill (eds) The Television Studies Reader. London and New York: Routledge.

Larsen, K. (2012). Fan Culture: Theory/Practice. Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Six of One. (n.d.). The Official Prisoner Appreciation Society. Retrieved August 24, 2019 from http://www.sixofone.co/ 

How Game of Thrones apply to those 9 defining characteristics of ‘quality TV’ identified by Wilcox and Lavery (2002)? Are there any other characteristics that you could add to their list?

Television series Game of Thrones has applied to those 9 defining characteristics of ‘quality TV’ identified by Wilcox and Lavery (2002). 

Quality pedigree

Game of Thrones(GOT) was characterised by brutality, chaos and adult fantasy. The audience had been witnessed and followed the characters’ personal growth and setting developments for eight seasons since 2011. Author George RR Martin started his writing carer since the 1970s and was nominated for serval Awards. Screenwriters David Benioff and D. B. Weiss had a history of writing popular cinematic and fantasy films.

Quality shows must undergo a noble struggle against profit-mongering networks and non-appreciative audiences.

Book fans were frustrated the overuse of sex and sexual violence to highlight the TV series even the plot doesn’t exist in the original book. New approachers argued that there were too many characters and therefore too many plots and subplots that considered unnecessary. Moreover, their expectation of fantasy was different which related to magical realism. Audiences assumed more magical creatures and often referred to  Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. “The series uses the idea of fantasy in the abstract, with very few specific elements of the genre, leaning more toward magical realism.” Finally, the blizzard ending had caused the ranking of season 8 dropped to 58% scores on Rotten Tomato. Even overall the series has earned the sixth in IMDB Top Rated TV Shows chart. 

Tends to have a large ensemble cast.

GOT was set mainly in Westeros including seven Kingdoms, northern wonderings and different races from the eastern continent, Essos. According to HBO official website, 40 nameable actors and actress were cast in the first seasons and the number had doubled in the rest of the seven seasons. 

Quality TV has a memory.

Engagement of multi-social media in order to create cultural resonance. Global fans of the show and original novels and critics uploaded their reactions and interpretations on social media in each episode. Characters’ names and related scenes were often dominated by the worldwide trend on Twitter. The fan base was powerful and debatable as different values and ideologies that the audience agreed or disagreed clashed and collided through the characters’ performance and growth.

Quality TV creates a new genre by mixing old ones.

Game of thrones involves in many genres such as fantasy, politics, adventure, thriller, action and suspense. Unlike the battle between good versus bad, this medieval fantasy show displayed consistent internal and external progress and conflicts amongst characters. Moral ambitious because it was set in wars amongst houses, power and interests. The show has reidentified the genre of fantasy by depicting realistic conflicts in human nature. 

Quality TV seems to be literary and writer-based.

HBO’s phenomenal TV drama Game of Thrones is based on George R.R. Martin novels, A Song of Ice and Fire. However, even quality TV is writer-based yet HBO writers faced major criticism of lacking creativity and self-direction. Since the author couldn’t catch up on the TV series, under the lack of resources, HBO failed to develop the characters’ arc including emotional development and personal growth.  Screenwriters managed to highlight the climate senses with exaggerating graphic violence, splendid soundtracks, performance and extending setup of atmosphere visually in order to weaken the core defects.  

They applied serval favourable characters to dominate the missions which the audience had nearly no clue to detect. GOT was famous in reasonable twists especially when benevolence and kindness were punished for power. Yet, the ideological and value conflicts between these victims and punishers were comprehensively built up before the brutal outcome arrived ( e.g. red wedding). The poor writing of screenwriters had only served their fans by highlighted their outstanding characters without advancing the narration arc towards the ending.

Quality TV is self-conscious.

 According to the author, A Song of Ice and Fire is heavily inspirited by the 15th Century British War of Roses.

Western politics and public issued society by referencing quotes from GOT. States’ leaders such as President Trump, former presidents Obama and former British PM Cameron GOT reflected power control and intelligence. Netherlands former Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Frans Timmermans (2013) stated: “Game of Thrones sort of captures the Zeitgeist more than anything else I’ve seen…‘winter is coming.’ in the series means a lot of different things to different people.” GOT portrayed a revolutionary shift in the order of society.

Marques (2019) quoted “Neo-medievalism appears more prone to the creation of new fantasy worlds in which medieval culture is assimilated, although contemporary elements are also included in order to reflect on them.”

The subject matter of quality TV tends towards the controversial.

The intense confrontation between male and female power.

The upraise of feminist power. Queens from different kingdoms respectively replaced their husbands, brothers and sons. They were slaveries of male domination in terms of rape, humiliation, public punishments, and marriage. However, they preceded personal growth and empowerment which lately were portrayed as either radical or stone-cold rulers, in a way controversially shared equality with their male ancestors. Significantly, the moment that two main Queens resulted in became tyrants had triggered the questions criticism regards the quality of female domination. In addition, male domination was simultaneously declining since kings and princes were gradually died out (assassination, tortured, poisoned, sentenced or burn to death) in order to confront the female arrivals. Male protagonist Jon Snow was never be king since he had no motivation, even he was entitled to be the Northern King yet was critically replaced by his sister because of his love interest. These situations reflect the uncertainty and denial of female domination in modern society, from male perspectives.

Quality TV aspires towards realism.

 Western politics and public issued society by referencing quotes from GOT. States’ leaders such as President Trump, former presidents Obama and former British PM Cameron GOT reflected the control of power and intelligence.

Young and Perrin (2018) suggested teaching international relations by using the TV show. It combined realism, liberalism, constructivism and presented different performance of power in geography, time, religions, culture and society, politics via the relations between human in different parties, magical creatures and the universe. In addition, the concern about the potential awareness of modern thinking such as human rights, democracy and the moral recovery in the international system was depicted in different levels and episodes. 

Other characteristics: Creates a thematic film tourism experience. 

Cult TV within this decades have expended their commercialized field to film tourism in order to maximize merchandise the TV series and benefit the host tourism and economy, GOT has brought numerous tourists and investment in Northern Ireland, Spain, Croatia, Malta, Scotland and Dubrovnik. “The experiences of a television series elicit emotional attachment and personalized memories with the filming locations.” ( Rimias, Mitev, & Michalko, 2017). Thus, host tourism can be considered as one of the characteristics of modern cult TV.

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References:

Young, L. D., Carranza Ko, Ñ., & Perrin, M. (2018). Using “Game of Thrones” to Teach International Relations. Journal of Political Science Education, 14(3), 360–375. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.aut.ac.nz/login.aspx?direct=true&db=eric&AN=EJ1177261&site=eds-live

Marques D.(2019).Power and the Denial of Femininity in Game of Thrones. American Studies, Volume 49, Number 1, Spring 2019, pp. 46-65 (Article). Retrieved from https://muse-jhu-edu.ezproxy.aut.ac.nz/article/721884/pdf

Rimias, A., Mitev, A., & Michalko, G. (2017). Thematic guided tours to co-create film tourism experiences: The case of the Game of Thrones. Revista Turismo & Desenvolvimento (RT&D) / Journal of Tourism & Development, (27/28), 451–453. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.aut.ac.nz/login.aspx?direct=true&db=hjh&AN=130540931&site=eds-live


Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Cult TV

If you haven’t already answered one of these questions for last week, please choose one and do so. This week you will need to choose a secondary question and answer that as well.

1.  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?

2. What role does Hills (2004) suggest fans play in the construction of cult TV? How is new media now central to this? Discuss with examples.

3. How does BvTS deconstruct traditional literary notions of good and evil? Discuss a recent TV series that also seeks to do this (including those on streaming services such as Netflix). 

4. Discuss how Hill’s three characteristics of Cult TV can be applied to a recent TV series (including those on Netflix, etc)

1. 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?

The nine defining characteristics that are thought to make up Cult TV, Quality pedigree, noble struggle, large ensemble cast, memory, new genre by mixing old, script based, self conscious, controversial, and aspirations to realism (Wilcox & Lavery, 2002) can be applied to a number of new shows, some of which can be found on Netflix. One of those shows that encapsulate nearly all of the qualities of Cult TV is the Peaky Blinders, written by Steven Knight. As a brief synopsis , the Peaky blinders is a show set in the 1920’s/30’s that follows the gang, the Peaky Blinders and their rise to power on the streets of Birmingham, England. The fifth season begins on August the 25 and since its creation it has seen a huge rise in popularity to what I would now call Cult status. From the nine qualities listed above, I have chosen three to use as evidence of Steven Knights, The Peaky blinders, being regarded as a modern example of Cult TV. 

A noble struggle

  • The Peak blinders was not an overnight success and when it first launched on Netflix in 2013. it was pulled apart by critics and failed to reach the American audience. In her article, Raeside (2013) calls the show nothing more than a steampunk beer commercial and just rehashed gangster cliches. Her criticisms continue throughout the first season, noting that while the show does improve, it certainly isn’t worth watching. The New York Times was equally scolding of the show. Despite this, viewership was strong.
  • Surviving to return for a second season, Mejia (2016) comments that the show was really made into what it is today, not by a change in opinion by critics or even the show becoming more complicated and noteworthy, but organically, it was the fans of the first season who spread the word and created the fan base which we see today. All of sudden England was full of men getting their heads shaved like the Shelbys and the charismatic Thomas Shelby, found himself as a poster child for the new cool.  Even the likes of David Bowie a fan of the show from the start, before his passing allowed some of the tracks from his final album, Lazarus, to be used in the third season. This and other genuine celebrity endorsements launched the show from critical poverty to the renowned masterpiece it is today. Both the Guardian and the New York Times now praise the show and have written recent articles lauding its success. “Not only is this series providing one of the most exquisitely daft and thrilling hours of the TV week, but it’s now given me three previous series to catch up on over Christmas” (Rebecca Nichalson 2017) “Peaky Blinders,” the gritty-chic crime drama with a cultural imprint that is more modest in scale, though perhaps not in intensity (Jeremy Egner 2017)

Large ensemble cast 

  • The cast of the show is enormous. In the main family are the Shelbys, Thomas, Arthur, John, Polly and Ida. With the inclusion of another John later on and Finn, who becomes more a character as he grows up. 
  • Then you have the gang and their crew of henchmen, who are never background noise but play respectively important parts of the story narrative. For instance, Curly, the slow, dim witted stable hand, is vital to the one of the stories key themes, that of escape and changing who you are. The show is set during the industrial period and the backdrop of smoke and metal creates a sense that everything is becoming mechanical. However Curly, who remains simple and innocent throughout all the blood and carnage,reminds us that while things can change some things stay the same. Therefore, you can escape an external situation however, perhaps you can’t change internally who you really are. 
  • Of course then there are the numerous enemies of the Shelby family, some of who play both the role of ally and enemy depending on what’s happening in the story. Alf Solomon, played by Tom Hardy, is one of the most memorable characters. A Jewish gangster who at times works and fights against the Shelbys. Another thematic reminder of change and permanence. The reason why I mention this, is that maybe the purpose of having a large ensemble cast is that the more characters there are, the most access we have the stories themes and purposes. In the case of the Peaky Blinders, we have numerous characters which help convey the stories messages. 

New Genre Mixing 

  • The Peaky Blinders is a show that combines elements of western gun-slinging classics, gangster cliches, anti-war story lines and family dramas, all the while using new age music, typically rock music, from artists such as the Black Keys and Royal blood, to give the show a more modern, 21st century feel. These styles all mix together to tell the story and this is one of the key aspects of what creates Cult TV Egner (2017) describes the show as an amalgam of interesting parts which make up a captivating story. Perhaps, and this is my own thinking, the fact that these shows have so many genres is why they attract such a devoted and wide audience. Because they can be enjoyed in so many different ways?
  •  Individual Characters, such as Polly, also add a new element to the show as the way in which certain characters are portrayed is very modern and gives the audience a fresh perspective. Polly is the matriarch of the story and is given roles of power and importance and despite her age is still a sexual character who has a number of affairs throughout the show. This re branding of female characters is another way the show mixes with the formula of regular storytelling. Ada, the other central female lead is also allowed to explore non traditional roles and we see her use the Slelby name as a way of giving her access to parts of 20th century English society that would not have been available to her in real life. Such as, her taking control of the Communist party in Birmingham and drinking at bars without a male escort. While the last may not seem important, it shows how much power a family of cut throats like the Shelbys can have over society. They can challenge the rules and norms to such an extent that they basically don’t end up applying to them. Though this is not a new idea, it’s the way the show uses that power to explore themes of feminism, patriarchy, religion and spirituality. Making the show a collective experience of various genres. 

References

Raeside, J (2013) Peaky Blinders recap:episode one Retrieved from. https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2013/sep/12/peaky-blinders-recap-episode-one

Mejia, P (2016) How ‘Peaky Blinders’ became a binge worthy hit. Retrieved from https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/tv-news/how-peaky-blinders-became-a-binge-worthy-hit-193505/

Egner, J. (2017) ‘Peaky Blinders’: The Disparate Ingredients of a Cult Hit. retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/21/arts/television/peaky-blinders-netflix-bbc-cillian-murphy.html

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

Nicholson, R (2017) Peaky Blinders review:one of the most daft and thrilling hours of the TV week https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2017/dec/07/peaky-blinders-review-exquisitely-daft-and-utterly-brilliant