“Heeere’s Johnny!”…Again…and Again…: Pluto TV and the Continued Presence of Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show

(Image source: https://www.facebook.com/PlutoTV/videos/johnny-carson-tv/1012800892491661/)   In August 2020, Pluto TV, a free streaming service from ViacomCBS, launched a new channel called “Johnny Carson TV.” Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, the channel streams hour-long edited episodes of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (NBC, 1962-1992).[i] This article will explore… Continue reading

‘Brings Back Some Memories’: Textual and metatextual experiences of nostalgia in Twin Peaks: The Return

  “When you see me again, it won’t be me,” the entity called The Arm warns in the second season finale of Twin Peaks, the cult 1990s TV series co-created by screenwriter Mark Frost and filmmaker David Lynch. This cryptic statement was borne out by the long-awaited revival of the… Continue reading

“Be Curious, Not Judgemental.” Influences of Positivity and Kindness in Ted Lasso

    In the summer of 2020, Ted Lasso, a sitcom centred around a former NBC soccer promoter, was released to both critical and commercial success and appeared to channel a specifically upbeat register quite unlike its peers. Built on the tried-and-tested ‘fish out of water’ comedy trope, Ted Lasso centres… Continue reading

Quantum Leap: Jukebox Nostalgia and the Flattening of History

In the opening scene of the Quantum Leap episode “Animal Frat” (2×12), Dr. Sam Beckett ‘leaps’ into the body of Knut “Wild Thing” Wileton, arriving in his body on top of a pool table as two ‘Tau Kappa Beta’ fraternity brothers pour beer from the keg into Sam’s startled face…. Continue reading

The Mandalorian: The Latest Space Western Series in a New Era of American Television

  From the outset, Jon Favreau’s The Mandalorian (2019) pays homage to a duality of histories: the American Western genre and the rich tapestry of the Star Wars franchise. Set in the years following the fall of the Empire and before the emergence of the First Order, the show follows… Continue reading

Mirroring the Medium: Depictions of Female Domesticity in ‘WandaVision’

WandaVision (2021) is, at its core, a story of grief and nostalgia. In its genre-bending magnificence, WandaVision narrates the evolution of American sit-coms, hurtling us forward through the second half of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, as the black-and-white pastiches of The Dick Van Dyke Show and Bewitched… Continue reading

“The Only Way Forward Is Back” – Nostalgia, Grief and Television in WandaVision

WandaVision, one of the newest installments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), abandoned the cinema altogether to bring two of the Avengers, Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) to the small screen in a 7-episode miniseries airing weekly between January and March 2021 on streaming platform Disney+. The… Continue reading

Eliminating “Blood and Thunder” from Containment Culture: Audience Efforts to Censor Postwar Radio Programming in the Run-Up to Television

The decade after WWII (1945-1955) was distinct and pivotal in the formation of American media policy, and in establishing postwar social norms.[1]  The major broadcast networks (NBC, CBS, and ABC) had profited from wartime spending and garnered some regulatory goodwill through their work with the Office of War Information.  Still,… Continue reading

When Mariah met Lutie – Luke Cage, The Street and the cultural capital of TV comic adaptation

Content Warning: Graphic Images (violence, severed heads) Netflix released the first series of Luke Cage in September 2016 to immediate acclaim. Cheo Hodari Coker, the producer of the Marvel comic adaptation, uses the richness of African American culture to create a hyper-real Harlem as the backdrop for his eponymous hero…. Continue reading

Watchmen and Hunters: Reading Nostalgia, Repair, and Heroism in American Historical Fiction

    Watchmen (2019 and Hunters (2020) are both TV shows that engage with a deep sense of nostalgia and reparation: whether it is their counterfactual worldmaking with an ‘American god’ or a group of Jews who are on the ‘hunt’ to kill Nazis in post-war America, they both demonstrate… Continue reading