television

Has Prestige TV Set the Bar Too High?

Sam Skopp

Many critics and viewers alike believe that television is currently in a golden age, due to the unprecedentedly high level of quality and popularity of shows such as Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones, two particularly high watermarks of prestige television. Looking forward, however, is high-quality TV just a trend, or the new standard? Game of Thrones continues to be a heavy hitter in the world of pop culture. Without giving anything away to those who may be sensitive to spoilers, news about a certain plot point expected to be addressed in the show’s upcoming season has regularly made headlines since June, when the previous season concluded.

Cosby, Not Ebony Magazine, Fanned Stereotypes of the Black Family

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Ebony Magazine stirred a mini-firestorm of rage when it dredged up an old photo shot of the TV Cosby show family, plopped it on its November cover, and then fractured the picture. The obvious point being that embattled comedian Bill Cosby not only disgraced his legacy but disgraced the hitherto near sacrosanct image and legacy of the celebrated Cosby TV show family, the Huxtables. The premise of the show was that there is fully intact, respectable, high-achieving, prim and proper black middle-class families. 

How ABC Ruined Eddie Huang’s ‘Fresh Off the Boat’

Melinda Parks

But the show departs from expected sitcom tropes in one crucial aspect, groundbreaking because it hasn’t happened for two decades: Fresh Off the Boat is a sitcom about Asian-Americans. In early February, entertainment critics and the Asian-American community alike eagerly anticipated the pilot episode, holding their collective breathe to see how this show would depict a minority that remains largely unrepresented by the media. 

From ‘Mad Men’ to ‘The Americans’: How Television Handles the Issue of Sexual Assault

Megan Walsh

One of the methods often used to integrate a rape storyline into a show is as a tragic backstory – a flashback used to explain why a woman is the way she is, particularly if that woman is of the colder, less trusting variety. The Americans did this with lead character Elizabeth Jennings, a Soviet spy undercover as a normal American citizen. In the pilot of the series, during a flashback, we see a young Elizabeth preparing for her future role as a spy and subsequently being assaulted by a commanding officer. 

From Agnes Towler to Peggy Olson: The Working Woman on Television

Sophia Dorval

When Julia hit the airwaves in 1968, much was made of the choice for that sitcom's titular lead character, a pre-Dynasty Diannh Carroll portraying another small screen first, a Black woman in a non-servile position.   In contrast to the revolutionary tone of the raging ‘60s, Carroll's Julia was a suburban single mother, nurse and Vietnam War widow who provided lighthearted laughs for three seasons.  This precursor to The Cosby Show helped Carroll make history as the first Black actress to earn an Emmy nomination as a lead actress in a comedy series.   

The Problem of the Latina Sex Symbol in Hollywood

Sabrina Vourvoulias

A recent study from the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism of the University of Southern California gives cause for more than just pause. One of the findings in a study on race and ethnicity in 600 popular films conducted by Stacey Smith, Katherine Pieper and Mark Choueiti is that while Latinas were more likely to be featured in popular films than any other race or ethnicity, no other race/ethnicity is more sexualized.

What’s in Store for ‘Orange Is the New Black’ This Season?

Kate Voss

With the second season of OISTB set to be released on June 6th, many fans are practically panting with anticipation for the new episodes (which are all released at once, making it prime binge-watching material). Of course, speculation about where the second season will go has run rampant since last summer, and Netflix has been good at keeping a lid on all the show’s secrets. However, there are a few major theories out there that seem to have lots of logic and support behind them. 

Whatever Happened to Latino Media?

Alfredo Estrada

They’re folding like cheap card tables. Since the beginning of the year, we’ve seen the demise of NBCLatino.com, an English-language website for Latinos, as well as CNN Latino, Time Warner’s year-long effort to create programming for the U.S. Hispanic market. Now come rumors that Poder, Televisa’s magazine providing “Intelligence for the Business Elite,” may cease publication. Hold on, amigo. Isn’t the Latino market growing in demographic leaps and bounds? Don’t we have a zillion dollars in purchasing power? Didn’t we decide the election? One would think that Latino media should be thriving. 

The Ongoing Revolution of Television

Veronica Mendez

Media platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and even Amazon have all released successful series this past season. They have lured big-time writers and directors like Weed's Jenji Kohan and “Fight Club’s” David Fincher. TV is now drawing big-time players like Matthew McCaughey (True Detective), Martin Scorsese (Boardwalk Empire), and John Goodman (Alpha House) to the small screen,  which was unthinkable 10 years ago.Yet this “Golden Age” in TV also means fierce competition. With the rise in popularity of digital platforms like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, the television landscape has been severely altered. 

Number of Black-Owned TV Stations Plummets to Zero

Joseph Torres and S. Derek Turner

We just experienced a shameful milestone in the history of U.S. media — and barely anyone noticed. There are now zero black-owned and operated full-power TV stations in our country.This sorry state of affairs is the culmination of a trend that started in the late 1990s when Congress and the Federal Communications Commission allowed massive consolidation in the broadcasting industry. 

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