Monthly Archives: October 2013

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Abandoned Theme Parks

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By Tong Lam Since the 1990s, the Chinese government has begun to try to boost the domestic economy by encouraging citizens to spend more on non-essential items. As part of this initiative to forge a consumer society, the Saturday-Sunday two-day weekend was introduced in 1995. By the end of the decade, the government even began […]


Dear Television, The New Sitcom, Week 3 Maciak_sitcomimage

The Good Bros of Fox

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Dear Television, HEY, REMEMBER WHEN Fox Tuesdays were the next best hope for a full-on televisual Ladies Night? An evening of television created by female showrunners and structured around Zooey Deschanel and Mindy Kaling? Fox had harvested the fruit of a decade of Tina Fey pioneering and invited us all to sip upon the delicious, […]


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Are Sitcoms Sincere Again?

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Dear TV, I LOVE JANE’S take on the sitcom-as-Manchild and her point that the contemporary sitcom’s reliance on the manchild lets it get away with some pretty lazy comedic work. It’s all true: I love Schmidt but there’s a limit, and I’m glad he’s hitting some actual consequences this season. Still, I think there are […]


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Can the Sitcom Grow Up?

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BROOKLYN NINE-NINE — one of Fox’s new sitcoms — begins with a classic expository trick: the viewer’s first introduction into this world coincides with that of new characters’. (As if they weren’t all new to us.) The pilot presents commanding chief Ray Holt (played by an almost virtuosically stoic Andrew Braugher) to his police precinct, […]


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Civil Wars: Reinventing America in Science Fiction Television

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NEW GENRE TELEVISION this week included the return of CW’s Arrow, an adaptation of DC’s character Green Arrow, the alter ego of Oliver Queen, a billionaire turned vigilante, like Bruce Wayne’s Batman. Green Arrow, visually associated with Robin Hood, tends toward a leftish defense of the working class and poor, whereas Batman, particularly in his […]


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Troubled Waters

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By Maura Elizabeth Cunningham On a recent visit to Beijing, I spent a few hours one Saturday afternoon wandering the grounds of Yiheyuan, or Summer Palace, in the city’s northwest. The “palace” — generally called the “New Summer Palace” to differentiate it from an earlier one that foreign armies destroyed in 1860 — is not […]

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Streaming Pam Beesly

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Dear Television, It is the strangest thing to have a long-term fictional love interest. It’s a type of relationship that is very intimate, and very powerful, but it’s fictional. I mean, there is a part of me that is Pam, and a part of him that is Jim, and that part of me is in […]


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Why We Watch Netflix In The Middle of the Night

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Dear TV, I WENT TO a puppet show last night. It was the story of the little mechanic who runs the human brain (pictured here as a moldy-looking engine room), zipping around adjusting dopamine and pressure levels trying to regulate his human’s behavior. There was one scene when the beleaguered homunculus was trying to get […]


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Return of the Living Series: Season Premieres

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IN RECENT DISCUSSIONS among scholars of speculative fictions, the science fictionalization of contemporary life is a frequent point of reference. No longer confined to a small, recognizable, and generally low-rent neighborhood, images and ideas drawn from sf are central to today’s media landscape. At their best, speculative genres provide compelling metaphors for contemporary experiences of […]


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The New Canon

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This week, Dear Television — Jane Hu, Lili Loofbourow, Phillip Maciak, and new addition Anne Helen Petersen — will be addressing Netflix. We have little interest in rehashing the arguments that the trade papers have done before, and better — “Is Netflix a network? Is Netflix paying too much? Why does Netflix persist in torturing […]