My brother Gary was the one who got me interested in cult TV in the first place. I saw him watching Buffy‘s ‘Hush’ during its original airing when I was 7 and was hooked straightaway. For the next three years, I watched the series religiously with him. This opened the door to other cult series – Buffy’s spin-off series Angel, spy drama Alias, even the ridiculously convoluted yet captivating island drama Lost. On Gary’s recommendation, I saw all these series as they aired and enjoyed them as popcorn TV.
Image from Lostpedia
It was Lost that turned me from a casual viewer into one more interested in discussing and analysing what was going on. Whilst it started off fairly straightforward, by Season 5 there was a complex time travel storyline placed on top of a handful of other mysteries. What started off as a quick Google to understand the plot led me to online forums full of people discussing what was going on, trying to guess what would happen next, and posting pages of theories on how the series would end.
From vampires and witches, to robots and demons, on the surface Buffy the Vampire Slayer may seem like just another fantasy series. It had its fair share of memorable monsters – who can forget the Gentlemen? But watch a little closer, and you find a wealth of deeper meanings in the show’s subject matter. There is so much potential for analysis when it comes to Buffy, in fact, that it’s spawned its own area of academic study: ‘Buffy Studies’.
Biennial conferences take place in the USA under the name of Slayage conferences, encompassing both Buffy and all other works by Joss Whedon. These conferences see around 200 people travel from all over the world to discuss the show. What makes Buffy so special? What makes it worthy of such in-depth study?
Matthew Pateman, head of Humanities at Sheffield Hallam University, has delivered keynote talks at previous Slayage conferences. He is also the author of The Aesthetics of Culture in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. Why was Buffy so ground-breaking? “Buffy was a first. It was clever, and demanded viewers to pay attention. The X-Files came close, but its characters never really changed or evolved. The characters on Buffy had memory, they learnt and grew as the series went on.”
From being cancelled too soon, to problems getting ahold of the right actors, to unplanned pregnancies, there are many cult TV series out there that had an awful lot of potential – and still are worth a watch – but, for one reason or another, don’t quite reach the heights they have the capability to. This post will look at 4 of the big culprits when it comes to dropping the ball:
Theodore: “Sometimes I think I have felt everything I’m ever gonna feel. And from here on out, I’m not gonna feel anything new. Just lesser versions of what I’ve already felt.”
A lonely writer falls in love with his newly installed, artificially intelligent, operating system (OS) on his computer. That’s the gist of ‘Her’, and it’s hard to explain how romantic the film is to someone if they haven’t seen it.
Premiering at the New York Film Festival late last year, Her stars Joaquin Phoenix as Theodore and Scarlet Johansson as the voice of Samantha, the OS. Samantha is not a ‘robotic’ form of artificial life with no personality – essentially, the film treats Samantha as if she is a real, albeit highly intelligent, person sans a physical body.
Named the Best Film of 2013 at the National Board of Review Awards, nominated for three Golden Globes, winning one for Best Screenplay, and currently nominated for five Academy Awards, there is a lot of hype surrounding this film that seems rather simple on the surface.
Cordelia: “[to Fiona] Feel the fear and the pain. Let it all in. And then let it all go.”
Am I the only one who can’t believe Coven is already over? With the finale that aired last week, I can now say for certainty Coven was my favourite season of American Horror Story; albeit very closely followed by Asylum.
Writers took notice of the criticisms of last season, and left us with far fewer loose ends this time around – with the exception of certain strange things like what on earth happened to Spalding, but at this point in the show it surprises me when fans complain about unanswered questions. Isn’t that what American Horror Story is becoming known for?
Cordelia: “You will all be tested. The Seven Wonders – Sunday, at dawn. It begins. Everyone participates. And by next week, we will have a new supreme.”
As ever, this week’s episode of American Horror Story (AHS) was an eventful one. We saw new powers manifest, characters return, and of course a multitude of deaths amongst the cast – can it actually qualify for being an AHS episode anymore if no body dies?
Only one more episode is left, and despite some shaky moments midway through the season, I think it’s safe to say that, at this point, Coven has been my favourite season to date.
Veronica (Kristen Bell): “You want to know how I lost my virginity? So do I.”
Veronica Mars was a cult hit during its run from 2004-2007, and has since been brought back to life as a feature film coming out in a few months thanks to one of the world’s most successful Kickstarter projects. The sheer fact the fans of the series have solely funded an entire feature-length film shows the power of a cult success. So, I thought it was high-time I saw what all the fuss was about.
The ‘Restless’ analysis continues with a look at Xander’s dream.
The main theme of Xander’s dream is his fear that his friends are moving on and growing up without him, whereas for him, all paths lead back to his parents basement. This is demonstrated literally throughout the dream – no matter where he goes and how far he seemingly ventures, everything ultimately takes him back to the basement. His fears aren’t all that ridiculous, either – considering how uneventful his life has become in Season 4 in stark contrast to the adventurous lives of Willow and Buffy.
Not only is he afraid of not really going anywhere, but perhaps worse than that is the idea of ending up like his parents – specifically his father.