Netflix Pandemic Show binge-a-thon by Anjeanette LeBoeuf

Given the progressively dismal state of affairs in the nation currently, I have relied heavily on binge watching shows on Netflix. One of my coping strategies I started using in graduate school was having tv shows or movies playing in the background. More often then not, it was something I had already watched or something I was not truly invested in so it would become a form of white noise while I did work. During this pandemic, I have found not only have I continued using Netflix as my white noise, it has also become a source of coping, self-care mechanism. From watching the ridiculous “Tiger King” docuseries, re-watching the “Great British Bake Off”, and the hilarious movie “Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga.”

Continue reading “Netflix Pandemic Show binge-a-thon by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

Game of Thrones is Over, Now What? By Anjeanette LeBoeuf

This post contains spoilers on the Game of Thrones series


AnjeanetteFor many, this past week saw the MASSIVE HBO hit, Game of Thrones, air its last episode. Thousands were left unsatisfied with the ending and even the entire last season. There was an online petition signed by over 1 million people demanding a season rewrite/reshoot. I have seen on countless social media accounts the amount of people seemingly bereft now that the show is over. I have also seen other shows and tv channels banking on people searching for a new show to immerse themselves in. So why, Game of Thrones? And what will replace it now that it is over?

Continue reading “Game of Thrones is Over, Now What? By Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

“Queen Sugar:” Must-See Ecowomanist TV by Elise M. Edwards

elise-edwardsHave you been watching “Queen Sugar”?  It is a thoughtful, compelling, and gorgeous TV show that evokes ecowomanist sensibilities.

“Queen Sugar” is a television drama in its second season on OWN, Oprah Winfrey’s network. It was created by celebrated filmmaker Ava DuVernay, who is also the show’s executive producer.  The show has an all-female directing team and an inclusive crew.  Like many of the original series on OWN, “Queen Sugar” features a predominately African-American cast, and like many other programs on the network, it delivers content intended to stir the viewer’s soul.  But notably, “Queen Sugar”’s soulful messages are not mediated by the cadre of life coaches and inspirational leaders often seen on Oprah’s network.  Instead, it is the fictional Bordelon family who invites us to reflect on their world and ours. The series’ three main characters, Nova, Charley, and Ralph Angel, are siblings who take over their father’s sugar cane farm in Louisiana after his death. Their narrative and the lush cinematography that captures it offers viewers the opportunity to consider the complexity, joy, and hardship of African-American characters who are rarely depicted on screen.  The show’s themes and aesthetics are expressive of ecowomanist spirituality.

Continue reading ““Queen Sugar:” Must-See Ecowomanist TV by Elise M. Edwards”

The Internet and the Divine? by Ivy Helman

studyWhen my dad was in town for the wedding, he asked me a question about Prague.  I didn’t know the answer.  So, I said, “let me look on my all-knowing phone.”  I googled the question, found a reliable website and told him what it said.

I used to only mention the qualifier all-knowing, or omniscient, in relation to theology, often in discussions of theodicy: who is the divine in the midst of evil and suffering?  If we presume that G-d is all-knowing, does that mean that the divine has competition?  Perhaps that is a crass remark, but I also think there is a measure of truth to the idea.  In reality, the phone is not a divine competitor, but the internet might be.  And, maybe, then the phone is our intermediary or our way to access the divine.  Computers belong to this distinction as well.

This concept of technology taking the place of the divine is not new.  The television set has been accused of being an altar.  That is clearly not a compliment.  Continue reading “The Internet and the Divine? by Ivy Helman”

Sense8: The Show No One is Talking About, But Everyone Needs to Watch by Anjeanette LeBoeuf

AnjeanetteNetflix released a new Sci-Fi drama series called Sense8 in June. This original series was created, written, and produced by Andy and Lana Wachowski (The Matrix) partnered with J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5) to bring to life a world where certain humans were born with the ability to communicate and share through a mental link with other humans. They wanted to attempt to do something that had never been done before in TV, to change the “vocabulary for television production”* , the same way The Matrix became a major influence for action movies.** One of the main goals decided on was exploring the relationship between empathy and evolution in the human race.

The way Sense8 explores empathy and evolution is in the eight main characters, or sensates. All eight span the globe: culturally, religiously, and economically: Sun, Nomi, Riley, Kala, Will, Wolfgang, Lito, and Capheus. Continue reading “Sense8: The Show No One is Talking About, But Everyone Needs to Watch by Anjeanette LeBoeuf”

The Reclamation of Culture in Reality TV By Elise Edwards

In my academic life, I spend a lot of time thinking about issues of race, gender, religion and cultural production.  In my free time, I watch a lot of tv.  At times, the two interests converge, and I’m fortunate to have this community and forum to share the thoughts that come from it.  A couple months ago, I started revising a paper I’d written a few years ago about the issue of cultural imperialism and in that process, I recognized that there had been a subtle shift in television programming that features black women.  In the wide and ever-expanding reality tv genre, there are many shows that cast a black woman as a villain (the black bitch) or sexual object.  But there are other shows that present alternative, positive images of black women as caring, capable, professional, and talented.[i]   I’ve also noticed that several shows seemed to be overtly designed to combat the lack of positive images by celebrating the passions, skills, and abilities of women of color.  I am encouraged to see black people claiming an active role in their own cultural production. The act of creating is self-affirming, and when used by marginalized peoples, it can be a source of empowerment to counter their mistreatment.   In Art on My Mind: Visual Politics, bell hooks states, “It occurred to me then that if one could make a people lose touch with their capacity to create, lose sight of their will and their power to make art, then the work of subjugation, of colonization, is complete.  Such work can only be undone by acts of concrete reclamation.” [ii] Continue reading “The Reclamation of Culture in Reality TV By Elise Edwards”

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