After all, as she’s been saying for years, she wasn’t the one who came up with the idea. She simply put it in a comic strip, where it was eventually noticed.
“When the media, communications and information industries make up nearly 8% our GDP, larger than the car and oil and gas industries put together, we need to be heard, as those industries are heard. But when I see the panel of experts who’ve been asked by the culture secretary to take a root and branch look at the BBC, I don’t see anyone who is a part of that cast and crew list. I see executives, media owners, industry gurus, all talented people – but not a single person who’s made a classic and enduring television show.”
“It’s not just that the likes of Spike Lee and Hal Hartley have had to go to Kickstarter to fund their projects: Frederick Wiseman and Abel Ferrara have seen their recent crowdfunding campaigns fail. “Having lived and worked in an era with fewer players and a lot more money, many of these artists are now faced with shrinking budgets and crowded release windows … If they want to continue making features, it seems they’ll have to get used to it. Which begs the question, is it still worth it?”
“Diversity isn’t one thing; it’s a lot of things. It’s in front of the camera and behind it, in writers’ rooms and executive offices. It’s not exclusively about race and gender and sexuality, but about other things as well. It’s about the bland and unremarked-upon affluence of almost all television families, and the fact that TV doesn’t incorporate very many people who go to church, and all the other ways that it historically looks at the population through a keyhole. And it’s about what stories you tell.”
“Binge-watching isn’t just the new sex — it’s the new workout, the new book club, the new cocktail hour. Where once most new shows premiered in the fall, now they drop all the time, some in complete seasons. Announcements of new programming from clever upstarts Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Acorn feel like pop-culture air-raid sirens: ‘Citizens, seek shelter: ‘The Man in the High Castle’ is descending.’ Of course, we want to see it, but, oh, my God, who has the time?”
“The characters matter. As we become the story’s protagonist, the companions represent the other players. In a way, they bring a sense of humanity into the plot. Their personalities may attract or repel us, their motivations may or may not align with our own. They become our point of reference, our guides, our rivals or friends. They give us decisions to make and show us the consequences. Sometimes, through them we see our community. Sometimes, they are extensions of ourselves.”
“Midcareer actors took note of Bryan Cranston’s transition from the goofy sitcom dad on Malcolm in the Middle to the megalomaniac drug lord in Breaking Bad (and the four Emmys it earned him).” Now, for instance, Katie “Dawson’s Creek” Holmes is playing a scheming sports agent, controversial comic Sarah Silverman a sad and struggling 1950s lesbian, Patrick “Capt. Picard” Stewart a skirt-chasing, coke-snorting TV pundit.
“Where a debate between two urbane intellectuals ought to have ushered in a golden age of elevated, rational discussion, it instead – due to the personal enmity to which the combatants gave voice – sparked the worst aspects of modern media, a debased version of political talk, the gladiatorial mudslinging that prevails in broadcasting today.”
“Sesame’s migration to cable begs to be understood as a failure in public funding, and it is in part. In a kinder society, PBS would have more funding, and it could rush in to support a struggling flagship. But what changed Sesame Workshop’s financial situation wasn’t a PBS funding cut but the media environment itself. The same economics that have hurt musicians—the transition from physical ownership to digital ownership to streaming—are what threatened Sesame Workshop’s budget and sent it running to HBO. In a world with less media ownership, even widely beloved, publicly funded media need a premium patron.”
“Locarno has emerged as one of the most important Western festivals to support Asian film, particularly works without big box-office prospects. For mainland Chinese filmmakers, that kind of affirmation from foreign industry insiders has become more crucial in recent years, as various levels of government under President Xi Jinping carry out the broadest crackdown on free expression since 1989.”
“The difficulties women have had navigating Hollywood permeate every part of the business, from writers rooms to directors’ chairs to below-the-line production jobs — and, of course, to acting, which can be rife with the most corrosively age-obsessed, looks-conscious, and sexualized aspects of film and television.”
“For Sesame Street in particular, the shift toward streaming has meant a sharp decline in DVD sales, one of the key sources of revenue for the program (which only got about 10% of its funding from PBS). In 2014, Sesame Workshop lost $11 million, and its operating revenues were down by close to 14%. That trend meant it essentially had no choice but to do the deal with HBO.”
“The tendency to associate classical music with murderous insanity is a curious neurosis of the American pop-cultural psyche. There is little evidence of such a predilection among real-life serial killers, who seem to prefer Black Sabbath, AC/DC, REO Speedwagon, and, of course, the Beatles. So where does the trope come from?”
“Despite our vigorous attempts to unearth associations between children’s racial attitudes and their exposure to these types of programs, there were no significant direct effects of exposure to intergroup friendship shows such as Sesame Street, and minority hero shows such as Dora the Explorer,” the researchers write in the journal American Behavioral Scientist.
Scott Timberg: “The Oscars have never had a perfect batting average, but go back 20 years to the 1995 Oscars and work your way up through 2005 – the era in which the independent film movement crossed over into the mainstream – and time and again, the Academy it failed to acknowledge the best films and tended to fall for faux-profound piety. (Okay, it’s not the only time it’s done that.)”
“What these new-media entities need most is money (and perhaps a bit of old-media prestige). Comcast has plenty of that, thanks to its cable TV, ISP, and movie businesses. Getting that cash also gives Vox and Buzzfeed a broader reach—and it allows them to brag about being “unicorns” for passing the $1 billion mark. So what does Comcast/NBCUniversal get out of these kinds of deals? For the most part, it means they get a hedge against the future.”